I spoke in our September webinar to a requirement for effective learning called differentiation. In a nutshell, this is about avoiding one-size-fits-all lectures and singular assessment tasks/activities that pay no regard to your learners’ strengths, interests, prior knowledge or job role.
It took me back to a time as a School Teacher when I was suddenly asked to fill in for an absent English teacher with a particularly boisterous Year 9 class. Yes – I was suspicious about the authenticity of the absence! The vague lesson plan left behind mentioned “examining the narrative within a piece of music”.
Something I’d heard, in the haze of a hungover half-sleep at university came to me about this differentiation concept and how it can be achieved through providing student choice over task.
I played the students the Queen anthem “Bohemian Rhapsody” (incidentally, Mercury rated “Somebody To Love” a more artful accomplishment) and wrote six choices of activity on the chalkboard – that’s how long ago this was!
- Summarize the narrative in the song in your own words including all of the important parts.
- Describe the main idea, theme or moral of the story within the song.
- Retell the story in your own words.
- Write about the main character in the story. Did you like his character and why? Did you find the character interesting?
- Compare the story in “Bohemian Rhapsody” with the story in another song you know.
- Sequence the events of the story in an eight-square movie storyboard.
Then I got out of the way and observed two key things:
- I survived this Year 9 class with less stress and far more smiles than other Teachers had been.
- That the students didn’t choose what they saw as the easiest option. They sought challenge and produced more through that self-imposed higher expectation.
When you train people, when you lead teams are you facilitating any personal autonomy over the learning or the work? You might just be surprised about what gets done when choice and differentiation are part of your learning leadership repertoire.
FREE WEBINAR – “Learning Together – The Risks and Rewards of Collaborative Learning”
We can be solitary creatures these days, yet we know deep down, that big things can only be achieved through collaboration. So why don’t we do it more? Why don’t we do it better?
I’d contend that it’s because of a well-learned and healthy distrust for group work. We all remember that time that we had to collaborate on a big project and Bob completely lost his marbles and wrecked to for everyone. Don’t we?!
The problem is not that collaboration in itself is the problem but that learning and working together is often intruded upon by the human element. And it’s time to have our human-ness work in our favour by learning what makes us tick when in a team.
This webinar is designed for any learning leader who wishes to:
- harness collective effort and energy positively.
- learn the principles of successful collaboration and cooperation.
- collect practical structures and strategies to make group work … work!
- realise latent potential within teams and within learning experiences.