The journey of learning together

Self Directed Learning

‘The most important attitude that can be formed’, wrote John Dewey ‘is that of the desire to go on learning’ (Smith, 1996). I think this is important in self-directed learning. I feel that it is important to scaffold students and facilitate them in developing the tools required to become self-directed learners. As part of your classroom children should be begin developing a desire to be life long learners. In today’s society I feel that it is vital that we all commit to continually learning in whatever way we can.  To be able to accomplish this children need to be self-motivated and capable of engaging in learning both with others and independently.


A taxonomy can provide a process and stages which can benefit the way we think and our development in the thinking process.

Here is my taxonomy

Identification – what do I need to improve on

Goal setting – what am I looking to achieve

Question – what steps can I take to assist my development

Action – put into place the steps to improve

Reflection – have I achieved my goals, what could I have done better, what can I still improve on


Smith, M., K. (1996). Retrieved October 16, 2013 from






Reflecting on our 4 year journey at university using an Aboriginal pedagogy and sharing our journey with Aboriginal symbols

Learning Spaces

Some of the spaces where I have engaged in my learning in the past week. It’s amazing to consider how much of my learning occurs outside of the classroom. I consider how much this has changed over the years. As we become more independent learners we tend to complete more of our ‘study’ in different places. I would love to hear and see where other people consider their learning spaces.

This is a task I would love to do with my students. Although I feel many students would give an initial reaction of in the classroom it would be great to push them to elaborate on where they feel they learn best. Asking them to consider the sounds in the environment, who is in the environment and if there is some environments that they feel are detrimental in their learning.


Co-operative learning is a learning environment where students work together and are responsible for their own learning as well as others in their group. Co-operative learning has a structure which ensures that all students equally contribute to discussions and activities. It results in all students learning together, with no child being left behind. Co-operative learning is based on following set structures. ‘structures differ in their usefulness in the academic, cognitive, and social domains, as well as in their usefulness in different steps of a lesson plan (Kagan, 1989)

Group learning is an environment which has limited to no structure. Children work together on a topic/task to achieve an outcome. The learning of each child is closely monitored or assessed. The final production of the group is considered the understanding and ability of all who are in the group.

Collaborative learning it appears to be set somewhere between co-operative learning and group learning. There is often some structure or guidance given through roles such as organiser, visionary, doer and carer. It is more structured than Group learning but does not have the same sense of everybody equally contributing as co-operative learning does.

I believe co-operative learning presents the best educational outcomes as the structures ensure all students have equal input. Not just that they are given the opportunity but that the structure requires it. It allows teachers to regularly allow students to work in groups knowing they are all learning and not just the ‘dominant’ personality overtaking.

Kagan, S. (1989). The structural approach to cooperative learning. Educational Leadership47(4), 12-15.

Technology in the classroom

On my most recent placement the senior school (grades 5 and 6) ran a Bring your own device program. This meant that each student in my class bought their own Ipad or Ipad mini from home to use during the day for classroom activities. It is a recent program to the school and therefore they are still sorting out the finer details. Of my 23 students we had 3 who did not have their own device and therefore they had access to the 3 classroom iPads. There was very few days where the children didn’t use their iPad in one way or another. Most commonly they were used during their integrated unit (media) and during writing.

The most important part of this program working was for the students and teachers to have an understanding of the technology. Through using the iPads the children were able to use air server to mirror what was on their iPad onto the IWB to increase interaction and discussion during and after lessons. Without the necessary Professional Development that had gone into this program and the teachers in the school using the technology it would not be as effective in the students learning .

Communities of Practice

A community of practice provides opportunities for shared learning and teaching. It develops an environment with others who have a shared goal and, concern or passion. Within the classroom communities of practice can provide opportunities to extend children’s thinking and learning by using more knowledgeable other in their community who they are able to develop relationships with (therefore developing their social skills) while extending their academic needs. I feel it is important to recognize that these communities involve sustained engagement over a period of time and this is key in attaining the most from what others have to offer.

It is interesting to consider how you may visit a sight, such as a the aquarium and become a part of this community of practice and then develop your own community or practice within your classroom  while still accessing the aquariums community. A sight such as this can also provide opportunities for cross-curricula learning as children and staff become part of the community and can continually engage in a visit to the site as well as additional resources.

Smith. M. (2009). Communities of practice. Retrieved from



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