Before the Aha Moment - A Look at Learning

Lisa Highfill also joined the Canberra Summit from the U.S. So of course she captivated the assembled group with her accent, or rather her mastery of a range of accents. She talked fondly of the tiny American town that she moved to as a child, and how quickly she 'learned' to change her accent so that people wouldn't automatically make assumptions about her.
This was related to one of the key themes of Lisa's presentation: that the place in which we grow up in plays a big role in the way that we approach learning. One of the resounding messages was about the free-range children that many of us grew up as. We reflected on how we developed all the 'life' skills we have now through the 'free-range' lifestyles many of us led as children. Lisa challenged us to think about whether this is how we approach learning in our classrooms.

Lisa showed us the video of the dad who makes a rod for his own back when he gets into the cot with his crying baby, and in contrast, how the mother duck patiently waits for her ducklings to figure out how they're going to get to her. Which of these is our approach in the classroom? Do we (should we) give our students all the answers, or support them as they 'try to figure it out'? Many people responded to this via the Twitter feed:

Lisa emphasised the need to let children try things: exploring and discovering a whole lot of stuff while they learn. As long as they can demonstrate their understanding, Lisa assured us that we're doing OK by helping them to get there.

She then demonstrated the Hyperdocs concept that allows teachers to bring together material for her students in dynamic and flexible ways. This also resonated with the group.
And finally, Lisa encouraged us all to do more sharing. She told us the horrifying story of the beginning teacher who actually paid for a resource created by someone on her teaching team, and encouraged us to spend more of our time connecting and sharing what we know. Because it's just as important for teachers to be collaborating and sharing their ideas as it is for students. There are lots of ways to do this, and we hope that the teachers that attended the Summit were motivated to do it themselves! We're hoping we'll see them on our G+ Community, and at all the sharing events that take place throughout the year. 

Did you see Lisa's keynote? What did you think? Please leave a comment.