• George

      Absolutely…I think that when we ask the question, “What is best for learners?”, student voice is crucial. We can’t really empathize with others if we don’t have constant conversations.

  1. Bridget

    I love this thinking. It really does start with empathy and differentiation. Meet the child where they are and find exactly what they need. Then plan how to get there. It makes me think about how we are still teaching dictionary skills in a certain program for dyslexia. While I understand the need for learning alphabetizing in our world, I am just not sure any child will use a dictionary these days. If we can even find one. 🙂 I, myself, quickly type dictionary.com or google “define ___” when needing a quick definition.

    In my opinion, “best practices” are always the practices that involve student voice, choice, and teacher-student relationships. What works for one will not always work for another. Having the ability to see this as a teacher is crucial, and this is what will meet the needs of all learners. Just as the Reflect, Revise, Remix will always be different year to year because your students change year to year.

    Awesome visual, George, to clearly see these things written out. Thanks for always pushing my thinking forward.

  2. Hi George,

    I enjoy reading your posts on a daily basis. Thank you!

    If the needs of our learners constantly change, the material should continuously change, and as a result, the facilitators and teachers should adapt as well. The importance of sharing is so important to revive best practices into innovative practices.

    Empathy is key for me. If we do not know the child and know what is on his/her mind, how can we possibly facilitate personalized learning? Giving students a choice and a voice lead to investment in their learning process. Reflection for all learners can take that to the next level.

    After reading this post a couple of times and looking at the slide, my thoughts were that the Reflect, Revise, Remix box maybe should go under the Innovative and Practice Boxes, and then circle back to the question of “What is best for this learner?” Wouldn’t you want everyone to reflect, revise, and remix after both Best Practices, as well as Innovative Practices? I included a quick sketch:

    Just a thought…

  3. Dacia Reid

    I have been following your blog for only a couple weeks but am really enjoying it thus far. I have just started a Masters of Technology program at UBC so am finding many correlations in the readings we have. I also work as the Program Practice and Education Manager in a large Health Authority in BC so am immersed in the world of teaching, learning and education daily but in Health care settings. I was looking at your visual and comparing it to the one Inge submitted and wondered how I would adapt it to my thinking. I have changed the boxes to interconnecting gears. Gears represent the idea that the innovation, best practice and reflection is continual, every changing and connected rather than stand alone entities. You need to keep your eye on all three components because as one changes the others move as well. It is always a balancing act. I have bravely submitted this to share and cross my fingers that the link will open for you. It was my first attempt at attaching a link through Google. My mind is exploding with new knowledge and I have to admit your blog is very distracting to what I am really supposed to be doing! I find myself reading and thinking and thinking and reading to the wee hours of the morning. Dacia


  4. I’m wondering what you are thinking about in terms of context. I guessing teachers may come at this with the perspective of having content that needs to “be covered,” particularly in higher grades. i.e. What is best for this learner to learn this content and prescribed skills required for all?

    My notion of empathy comes from a different context. The individual learner, with personal experiences, and social contexts and communities creates a unique learning path, interconnected with others. Their learning is mapped looking back with curiosity driving forward. Not exactly classroom, course, pre-determined-outcome friendly.

    Age-based grouping and siloed courses is most common and efficient practice, even if it isn’t “best.” Innovation should have us going after the fundamentals shouldn’t it?

    What if we asked, what is meaningful for this learner? This is something that will constantly change, lifelong. It’s messy. And encourages empathy.

    • Jilian

      Hi Barry and George,
      Barry- I think that you’ve expressed my thinking better than I did earlier. It’s the question that has thrown me. I guess I assumed that the “teacher” (admin, community expert, etc.) was asking the question, “What is best for this learner?”, and I didn’t hear the learner voice. Empathy implied, how do we “really know” unless the learner is included (in the graphic?) -it still seems teacher centered.
      “Best” is such a final word. I think I’m looking for a process question.
      I get the gear graphic too.

      • The unique individual experience is definitely part of it. For one thing, our assessment practices don’t fit this belief: http://barry-dyck.blogspot.ca/2016/01/there-is-something-rank-in-state-of.html

        The psychology of empathy is also tricky. When we step into another’s shoes, are we just bringing our own ego? Why do we seem to be able to care about the one, but much less about the many? Empathy can be the ability to take on another’s perspective, feel another’s emotions and to recognize and show concern.

        I’m wondering how we are using our empathies to motivate transformational, regenerative change based on what our learners (and research) is telling us about effective learning (not schooling).

        The rational evidence is clear, our emotional response is awakened, and yet our collective action is tentative, if not delayed and postponed.

        I’m also seeing the word “best” as fitting in one meaning-making domain from working with David Snowden’s Cynefin Framework. We move among all domains depending on context, none being better or worse than another. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cynefin_Framework

  5. Ann

    After reading all of the feedback, I am thinking this might be more of a circle graphic with the other elements included. The circle would represent the whole child. The review, reflect, remix would be the outside circle process as in action research or plan-do-study-act. It is thought provoking and can help educators be more purposeful in their decisions for students.

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