Following his highly amusing keynote Dave Keeling shared his thoughts on creating the right climate for learning. The whole theme was relaxed but challenged; his weapon of choice for keeping a relaxed atmosphere is humour but he also shared the challenge question technique and some reflections on creating the right classroom climate for thinking.
Learning is all about thinking, we need to focus on the deep thinking, but to get them willing to engage in the powerful and profound you need to get students willing to take a risk. Ask them questions they can answer to get them used to sharing their thoughts. Then you can ask them to take a risk on thinking and get them hooked.
Get them to try and argue what’s best, Daddy or chips, fire or ice? The key is getting them used to giving reasons and building an argument. Or even go for who would win; shark or rhino? Again it’s all about giving reasons and building arguments.
Curiosity + Passion = Intelligence
Utilise the strengths of others, tap into the skill base of those around you. If you know someone has a skill you need why not just ask them for help, you might even have a skill they need. Can you get students to start using these tactics in the classroom?
Give students reasons to be motivated, tell them why they’re doing things. It gets more passion than just going through the motions.
Start asking real questions, find out new stuff, ask about real world issues.
Get them challenged so that they get to feel “Moments of sudden glory” (Thomas Hobbes) when they figure things out.
Get them to make connections, think in a different way.
Give them answers and ask what the question is. “If this is the answer, what is the question?”
If they’re stuck get them to look for someone who isn’t to explain it to them.
After the final session delegates were challenged to make a video to share their learning. These can be found here. The link is to the first one and the rest are there on YouTube once you start watching.
Barry Dunn – @SeahamRE