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The Dialogic Learning Weekly #163

Welcome along to another weekly newsletter. This week a full update about a project I just completed
The Dialogic Learning Weekly
The Dialogic Learning Weekly #163
By Tom Barrett • Issue #163 • View online
Welcome along to another weekly newsletter. This week a full update about a project I just completed in Papua New Guinea.
On Wednesday I landed back on Australian soil after spending four days in Papua New Guinea working with 50 teachers from 12 provinces.
Chris Harte invited me to co-design and facilitate a 2 day workshop on learner centred pedagogies. It was lovely to work alongside him again.
The workshop was part of PNGAusPartnership Secondary Schools. A new initiative partnering 12 PNG and 12 Australian high schools to strengthen education, leadership and people-to-people links.
Here are some of the insights I take from an amazing trip.

Sharpening Our Tools
Our 2 day course focused on learner centred pedagogies. We spent time together exploring a range of teaching and learning strategies.
Building the toolset was a deliberate aspect of our time. One of the teachers explained that she had used some of the ideas before, but our work had helped to sharpen our tools. 🛠
Another explained there was a lack of language to accurately describe some of the strategies. It made me reflect on the importance of a shared language and names for these strategies, and how this mediates collaboration.
Papua New Guinea has 832 living languages (languages, not dialects), making it the most linguistically diverse place on Earth. With that in mind you can understand that sharing practice, ideas and strategies is challenging.
Exploring some new project ideas.
Exploring some new project ideas.
Commitment to the Teaching Craft
Within hours I began to reflect on the teacher’s purposeful attitude. They were there to improve their craft. 🖐
There was a clarity about what was valued in the session. The strategies and techniques that shift the emphasis away from too much teacher talk. Our participants were soaking everything up.
Even the methods Chris and I used to co-facilitate were noticed and explored. We modelled, then developed the skillset through collaboration and dialogue.
One of the teachers explained that in many of the rural communities teaching students was significantly challenging, but “thankfully and hopefully it might not be anymore”, due to the skills she had learned.
When we have choices in our pedagogical toolset and a broad skill base to enact them, we might feel a little less worried about the challenge.
Chris Harte Unstuck
Workshop is a-buzz with project hives, learning design and pitch preparation. Working with @tombarrett is always a joy and a privilege.
Ready to Learn
There was no question about the mindset of the teachers in the room. They were ready to learn and open to improve their teaching. 🧠👐
Although they may have been teaching in a teacher directed and centred way, they were not obstinate about this approach. It was dominant amongst the secondary teachers we worked with, but they were ready to improve and change.
For many of the teachers this was a new approach to professional learning. We modelled pedagogies and offered an abundance of strategies. Some participants felt it revealed what sort of teacher they were.
Here is some feedback from one teacher.
I used to think that I should dominate the lesson on how students should learn. But, now I think that I should be more flexible and design lessons in a way that provoke more curiosity, discover their capabilities and what they can contribute in the real world.
It was exciting and refreshing to help teachers who were so humble and open in their efforts to get better.
Smiling after the final presentations
Smiling after the final presentations
Perhaps the most important insight for me was that despite 832 living languages and all of the challenges these teachers experience, many of which I am only beginning to understand - we gathered together as one group and connected around the language of learning. A universal human truth.
Thanks for taking the time to read the update this week. See you next time.
~ Tom Barrett
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Tom Barrett

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