Sunday, 29 January 2017

Explore deeper the values of Modern Pedagogy

Much research around the terms 'modern' or '21st century' or 'future focused' learning have placed several values at it's centre. Learners having a choice in what they do, and teachers creating activities that are authentic to their students are two of these such values that we hear discussed in the education sector.

I believe that educators need to explore deeper than these values.

Giving students choice about which activities they complete is no longer enough. To ask them to complete a list of "must do's and can do's" or choose from a "learning menu" is not going to prepare learners for their future well enough for them to thrive in a technology-driven world.

We need to grow their thinking by scaffolding them to actually own and drive their own learning, which means students need to be in control of their learning from the beginning of the planning process, to the outcome of the learning. As long as adults are planning learning for students instead of planning with students, teachers cannot say they have relinquished control.

For students to explore learning that is deemed authentic by adults needs to be challenged. Authenticity is too broad a term, and can be interpreted in too many ways across the education community. Teachers need to explore how they can support students to have a positive affect on, and make change within their world. Opening learners' minds to the possibilities, problems, excitements and challenges that the world poses for them.

Upon hearing this, parents and teachers lament. What is the teachers' role if students are designing their own learning in order to change the world?

To broaden. Learners are not adults. They "do not know what they do not know." A teachers' job is to expand students' interests and expose them to new passions and ideals. To open their minds up to the possibilities in the world when institutionalised borders are removed.

To challenge. To make students comfortable with being challenged, to explore ways students can deal with challenge. To help students refine and develop their ideas in ways that are meaningful and helpful to the world.

To deepen. To use the flexibility of the New Zealand Curriculum to explore how students can take their learning deeper, and make it more sophisticated. How they can explore multiple subjects through their learning concepts and grasp the idea that Mathematics, Science, English, and Art don't stand alone, but rely on each other to function together.

To connect. To use experts in our communities who can share their knowledge with learners. To connect students with agencies and community groups who can help them make their ideas and dreams a reality. Teachers do not need to be the experts, indeed cannot be experts in everything, but they need to know how to facilitate connections with outside experts.

What is required of the modern teacher is not to be an expert in a subject, but to be an expert in learning and in learners. 


  1. Hear, hear Mr Broom.

    From my limited experience as an educator in a fairly traditional primary school, I feel like we hugely overlook that last role - To Connect. We have such a wealth of experts from such a variety of backgrounds in our parent community but make almost tokenistic attempts at connecting them with our kids on their learning adventures.

    Has the self-assured hubris of educators created a sense of learned helplessness in our parents and whanau? If so, we need to demystify the idea that educators are the only ones 'trained to educate' and start validating the role of whanau as experts in their child's education.

  2. Also, I've been re-posting your stuff on my blog - Hope that's cool?!