View profile

The Dialogic Learning Weekly #179

Hi there, welcome - you are receiving this email newsletter because you opted in to ideas, provocatio
The Dialogic Learning Weekly
The Dialogic Learning Weekly #179
By Tom Barrett • Issue #179 • View online
Hi there, welcome - you are receiving this email newsletter because you opted in to ideas, provocations and insight into Learning, Leadership and Innovation.
If that is not something you want sent to your inbox every Friday you can unsubscribe using the link in the footer of this message. I want you to look forward to each issue and that you are part of this community for the right reasons.
During this week I have facilitated over 18 hours of small group online workshops. The majority of that time was spent with the teachers from St Paul Lutheran School in Adelaide. We spent our time in dialogue about the SOLO Taxonomy and a myriad of learning moments from every age and subject.
Here are three key reflections from that experience.

Our attention is finite
A driving question for our dialogue about learning and the SOLO Taxonomy (Structure of the Observed Learning Outcome) has been:
What signals are showing you that learning is taking place? How do you know?
I prefer to talk about signals of learning, rather than just learning outcome, as the latter seems so loaded with baggage. It also perhaps broadens our radar to a combination of signals about learning.
The tone of voice / disposition / non-verbal cues / eye contact - as well as the written, spoken or created ‘outcome’ as a signal.
I wonder though how much we can attend to? There is a limit to our focus and attention resources. So we have to understand which signal we have to tune into. Which signals might give us the clearest indication that learning is happening?
Learning is mysterious and complex
I have kind of said it all in the little title of this section. Over 16 hours of dialogue about learning there wasn’t a moment I thought this is exactly the same as another student we had discussed.
The moments of learning that were shared were unique to those learners, and in a way, to those moments. Whether that was expressions of peace in the animal kingdom, fantasy narrative writing in Year 2, chord progression in a ukelele performance or how a kindergarten student used thought bubbles in her writing.
They were all intricate, beautiful, unique and complex moments of learning. To over simplify those moments with grades and blunt tools for generalisation feels almost disrespectful.
Our systems standardise the experience, outcome and assessment of learning too much. They seek to extrapolate algorithms and labels too soon. Forcing those moments of learning to take their chances in an edgeless assessment system built for reliability not for validity.
Perhaps sometimes we need to stop and respectfully accept that the complexity of what we are experiencing doesn’t need to be classified or labelled or graded. Maybe then we will see the unfettered beauty of it.
The great balancing act - from Roger Martin's "The Design of Business"
The great balancing act - from Roger Martin's "The Design of Business"
Stand at the crossroads
One final thought is that experiencing learning with students is always about standing at a crossroads with them. There are always choices and pathways, always opportunities and next steps.
Our dialogue explored the examples of learning, the evidence or signal of learning and then considered what the next steps might be.
We choose to stand at a fork in the path or crossroads with the students in our class and help them understand the next step in their journey.
This has been one of the most useful ways I have been thinking about formative assessment (Dylan Wiliam) over the last few years.
And of course we strive to share a common language and mental model with our students so they can see the pathways themselves. They realise they are at a junction or crossroads, know the next steps or direction and understand how to take action.
Thanks to the team at St Paul Lutheran School - it is always a privilege to work with such a highly motivated, professional and positive team.
Thanks to you as well dear reader, for exploring this week’s newsletter - drop me note if you are also grappling with the SOLO Taxonomy in your school and if you think I might be able to support your work.
As always let me know: What resonates?
In dialogue we trust.
~ Tom
Did you enjoy this issue?
Tom Barrett

Ideas and inspiration about Leadership, Learning and Innovation. Every Friday.

"nobody else shares such inspiring work on innovative education."
"I look forward to my Friday email as it is always thought-provoking."
"Not too long, not too short, just right!"
"exactly the nourishment I need on a weekly basis."
"I particularly enjoy the way Dialogic Learning readers are given insight into thinking processes in grabs large enough to be meaningful but small enough to chew on and digest."

If you don't want these updates anymore, please unsubscribe here.
If you were forwarded this newsletter and you like it, you can subscribe here.
Powered by Revue
Carefully curated in Melbourne, Australia