In this episode, we chat with Laura Smiley who is currently the acting Department Head for Moderns for FSL and ESL at John Fraser Secondary. Laura shares what she’s doing with her students in FSL and how it connects to Empowering Modern Learners. She shares that since she has made changes to her practice, her students sometimes get so immersed in their learning, they don’t want to leave at the end of class. Laura believes that as educators, it is our duty to prepare students to become members of a global, diverse and rapidly changing society, going beyond the classroom and transferring learned skills and knowledge. In this way, students continually learn and work to develop their place and role as active and responsible citizens.
In the introduction, Jim mentioned the idea of “Flow” by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi and you can watch this video to learn more about it:
What’s New in the World of EML?
Amit shared the work he is doing with a teacher and students at Mayfield Secondary School around podcasting. Their teacher is asking students to explore podcasting as a means to express their ideas about the texts they’re reading, and she wanted to use a new medium.
Jim shared the work he is doing with the teacher librarian, along with other teachers and students, at Arnott Charlton PS. A school club has been established called the “Design Clubhouse” in which about 60 students meet to work on long-term design projects in the makerspace and LLC space at the school. We are learning about what students are interested in designing and what connections could be made to the curriculum if brought into the classroom.
Links from the Interview with Laura Smiley
- Future Learning Video referenced by Laura in her work with the Secondary Assessment Leadership Team (SALT).
- Rethinking Letter Grades by Caren Cameron & Kathleen Gregory
- Peer Feedback in the Classroom: Empowering Students to Be the Experts by Starr Sackstein
- Contact Laura: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Laura on Twitter: @MmeSmiley
Shares for the Week
Jim shared points from a conversation he had last week with a small group around the idea of engagement:
It reminded him of the above graphic, created by @plugusin, which draws a distinction between engagement, which is more about strategies to get students interested and excited about what we what them to learn, and empowerment, which is more about supporting students to learn by following their interests and passions. I think both are often on the table but they are both on a continuum of student agency:
Image by John Spencer
Amit shared an article from Mindshift entitled Developing Students’ Ability to Give and Take Effective Feedback by Katrina Schwartz where she outlines a method of using Edward de Bono‘s strategy called the “Six Thinking Hats” to help students provide and receive feedback in class. He outlined what the various hats look like as well as what ground rules were set down for these students. The video below shows a sample that was shared in the article.