Designers follow a reason centred or action centred models to develop their content. We are in the technological age and technology is part of our classrooms and so looking at teaching through a designer’s lens provides insight and clarity. Technology in a classroom means tablets, smart phones, interactive white boards, laptops, computer screens. Screens, images, placement of content, visual literacy. Design. Planning lessons ought to be centred around design principles and, as it turns out, they serve us well. The image I have put into this post is by no means definitive. It is a way to demonstrate how we already use reason centred and action centred lesson planning and as you look at it you will think of other things. There is a bit of tension between the two in education because some would like to abandon or down grade the reason centred approach and focus more on the action centred approach. As a designer you wouldn’t do that until you were really experienced and had mastered the foundations of design through theory and research. As teachers we will often be champing at the bit to try different things and technology can increase that feeling because there are just so many great things you can do with it in a classroom. So approach needs to be tempered. We need some commonality, consistency and coherence across the curriculum. ACARA has done much to try to ensure that and to ensure we have content based on good practice and evidence. We are in a data driven world and we are able to access a lot of information about learning which was previously rather sparse. We can use that to our advantage. We can also use the benchmarking of NAPLAN, exams and national tests to inform our decision making as teachers. By contrast we can also take real advantage of anytime, anywhere learning and students, as well as attending lessons at school, can be participating in online learning, community based learning, project based learning, industry based learning – in other words – lifelong learning. Aitsl encourages us to create lessons based on reason:
1.1 Select from a flexible and effective repertoire of teaching strategies to suit the physical, social and intellectual development and characteristics of students.
1.2 Expand understanding of how students learn using research and workplace knowledge.
1.5 Evaluate learning and teaching programs, using student assessment data, that are differentiated for the specific learning needs of students across the full range of abilities.
1.6 Work with colleagues to access specialist knowledge, and relevant policy and legislation, to develop teaching programs that support the participation and learning of students with disability
2.3 Design and implement learning and teaching programs using knowledge of curriculum, assessment and reporting requirements.
2.6 Model high-level teaching knowledge and skills and work with colleagues to use current ICT to improve their teaching practice and make content relevant and meaningful.
3.6 Conduct regular reviews of teaching and learning programs using multiple sources of evidence including: student assessment data, curriculum documents, teaching practices and feedback from parents/ carers, students and colleagues.
6.2 Plan for professional learning by accessing and critiquing relevant research, engage in high quality targeted opportunities to improve practice and offer quality placements for pre-service teachers where applicable.
The action-centred approach in aitsl comes largely through the encouragement to initiate ideas and collaborate with others.
6.3 Initiate and engage in professional discussions with colleagues in a range of forums to evaluate practice directed at improving professional knowledge and practice, and the educational outcomes of students.
6.4 Engage with colleagues to evaluate the effectiveness of teacher professional learning activities to address student learning needs.
7.4 Participate in professional and community networks and forums to broaden knowledge and improve practice.
aitsl asks us to inform our action centred approach through a reason based foundation so that we consult widely and adopt professional insight into pedagogy.
Again it is coming back to the design and agile thinking principles:
Design thinking is : Understand, Explore, Prototype , Evaluate
Agile Thinking is about bearing the end user in mind, making incremental improvements and gaining feedback before you move on.
The reason centred approach and the action-centred approach are not in opposition in education. They operate together to stimulate growth and that positive mindset we keep talking about.