What makes ‘typical’ and ‘great’ learning? Teachers’ perspectives

I’m currently participating in the Bastow Institute’s Create: Middle Leaders program. Our first major activity was to take photos in our classroom, then have a conversation with 4 students from the class and get them to choose 2 pictures that represent ‘typical’ learning, and two that represent ‘great’ learning.

We brought these pictures to day 1, compared and contrasted with a small group of other colleagues, then presented a poster ‘provocation’ to share with other groups. My group chose to contrast the typical/great dichotomy, and to set up a spectrum, inviting viewers to guess which end represented ‘typical’, and which represented ‘great’, here’s how it looked. 

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And we posed a question?

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Have a look back at the first poster pic, where do you think teachers’ sticky notes would have congregated, further towards the left, or further towards the right?

Now, for the result… scroll down

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No big surprise there. Here’s what the cluster looked like close up.


And here’s what the lone ranger in the middle had to say…IMG_20170525_112227The author of this post it made a really good point in conversation afterwards. He said that if we took the top right photo on the poster (see closeup below)

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And we replaced the student doing the building with a teacher. How would that change the interpretation of those teachers viewing. Would it suddenly invalidate the modelling of the person doing the modelling, or would there be no difference?

I think this suggested thought experiment was a really sensitive yet striking way to support teachers to question assumptions about what I would suggest is a somewhat false ‘learner centred’ and ‘teacher centred’ dichotomy.

And with that, here’s the answer that our group came up with…


IMG_20170525_112245In closing, I just wanted to feature the work of another group who I thought framed the ‘typical’ vs. ‘great’ learning debate really eloquently (not to mention in a very aesthetically pleasing way).

Enjoy the cherry tree!