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The Dialogic Learning Weekly #166

Welcome to another Friday. Is it Friday? These days seem to be losing their flavour a little. As my c
The Dialogic Learning Weekly
The Dialogic Learning Weekly #166
By Tom Barrett • Issue #166 • View online
Welcome to another Friday. Is it Friday? These days seem to be losing their flavour a little. As my colleague Chad said this morning, “there is only yesterday, today and tomorrow.”
Well for today I have some solid provocations for you. The further into the newsletter you go, the longer the reads. Enjoy exploring the articles and stay safe.

The KISS Principle: Keep It Simple Stupid
With more and more constraint and increasing complexity, the challenge of designing teaching and learning can seem overwhelming.
An approach I have seen time and again, from schools and businesses making progress right now, is to keep it simple.
As Mike Meechin implores:
We are making an immensely tough transition in a ridiculously short amount of time in a stressful global pandemic. Stressors are at an all time high.
My call to educators is to practice simplicity.
The KISS Design Principle - yes another little mental model to add to your cognitive toolkit - was first coined in the 1960s. Kelly Johnson a lead engineer at the Lockheed Skunk Works used the principle to approach complex projects.
Lockheed Skunk Works developed the S-71 Blackbird spy plane - I think I had it on a Top Trumps card once.
Johnson encouraged the design to consider how simple it would be to repair, with limited equipment in less than ideal scenarios.
This would be a useful challenge in how we design learning now. What happens when things stop working? Is it simple enough for parents and students to resolve themselves?
Alternatives and adjustments need to be easy to implement, when we have little control over the circumstances.
KISS (Keep it Simple, Stupid) - A Design Principle
Maslow Before Bloom
A coherent set of ideas here from an independent report about pedagogy during these times: Thinking about Pedagogy in an Unfolding Pandemic.
Wellbeing first is not a new endeavour for schools. The disrupted connection and duty of care has altered the dynamic with teaching and learning. The experience is now much more hidden and challenging to control.
We need to reduce the pressure on teachers and on ourselves. Maslow before Bloom.
Teaching and learning during a pandemic are of importance, but health, safety and wellbeing must come first at all times, and schools and teachers must operate with an understanding of the complexities of home lives and or the mental, emotional and physical strain their communities are facing.
Another powerful reminder from the authors is about the use of Formative Assessment strategies. The paper outlines strategies and principles which are well worth considering. They also highlight the following:
Online technology tools should be taken advantage of to provide timely feedback even when students are learning on their own through asynchronized learning activities. Feedback should continue even when there are no direct interactions between the teacher and the learners. In a way, the feedback in formative assessments takes on and manifests the needed teaching presence in an online distance learning course.
From my own experience “little and often” helps students, or adults in an online workshop, not only see formative feedback to move them on, but small gestures and interactions help us to feel connected and noticed.
Thinking about Pedagogy in an Unfolding Pandemic
A million forking paths lie before us
To finish this week a highly recommended essay from Charles Eisenstein, titled The Coronation.
Settle in to read this one and also to reflect on the challenge he presents about the collective will our global efforts have revealed. Why are we not using similar collective efforts to resolve even bigger perennial challenges?
I won’t summarise his work here as I think the craft of his work needs to be appreciated in context. However I do want to share a few reflections that jarred with me.
Will we all become more risk averse? How will this impact on children’s play?
My 7-year-old son hasn’t seen or played with another child for two weeks. Millions of others are in the same boat. Most would agree that a month without social interaction for all those children a reasonable sacrifice to save a million lives. But how about to save 100,000 lives? And what if the sacrifice is not for a month but for a year? Five years?
Are we all really at a crossroads? When do we start defining what the path forwards looks like?
What can guide us, as individuals and as a society, as we walk the garden of forking paths? At each junction, we can be aware of what we follow: fear or love, self-preservation or generosity. Shall we live in fear and build a society based on it? Shall we live to preserve our separate selves? Shall we use the crisis as a weapon against our political enemies? These are not all-or-nothing questions, all fear or all love. It is that a next step into love lies before us. It feels daring, but not reckless. It treasures life, while accepting death. And it trusts that with each step, the next will become visible.
You have plenty of time to explore this one. Stay in touch and let me know what resonated with you.
The Coronation | Charles Eisenstein
Stay connected and reach out to others if you need anything. Keep in touch (digitally). Thanks for joining me for this week’s newsletter. Just hit reply if you need a chat.
In dialogue we trust.
~ Tom Barrett
Chuck Wendig
WEDNESDAY. Ha ha just kidding, April Fools, it's not Wednesday! Time has no meaning anymore! It's run together like wet paint! A gurgling slurry of temporal mess! The timelines have collapsed in a cosmic toilet flush! Do whatever you want! THE TIME POLICE CANNOT CATCH YOU NOW
Did you enjoy this issue?
Tom Barrett

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