The Dialogue Shift: From Us to Them
The 2019 NEXTschool Summer Institute was a fitting culmination of a very successful EXPLOREyear giving over 100 participants, mainly returning and new school cohorts, the opportunity to share experiences, hear from students and take inspiration for implementation from keynote speaker, A.J. Juliani. Of course, the event started out with a live performance of the NEXTschool song by McGill researcher Vanessa Gold, as well as sincere support from MNA and Parliamentary Assistant to the Premier for Relations with English-Speaking Quebecers, Christopher Skeete.
Perhaps the most compelling statement that summarized the overarching theme of the Institute came from Colleen Lauzier, Principal at St-Johns School, RSB. Over the course of the 2018-19 EXPLOREyear, she saw “the dialogue among her teachers shift from ‘What’s good for me?’ to ‘What’s good for students…?”
Indeed, from the reflections shared by each participating school, it is evident that NEXTschool’s student-centric nature and the design thinking process’ emphasis on user empathy have deepened teachers’ understanding and enthusiasm of the initiative’s ultimate objective of enhancing student engagement. The level of collaboration and commitment from the teachers and principals at all participating schools throughout the EXPLOREyear has resulted in school cohorts “being united in the potential of what we can do” (Val Dubuc, teacher, Heritage Regional HS, RSB).
Michael Canuel, (CEO of LEARN, co-founder NEXTschool) added that “students are at the heart of the profession for all teachers – and that the structures that grow around them sometimes inhibit them to focus on students; the NEXTschool model is designed to lift those constraints.”
So, what did ‘they’ (the students) say?
The student panel, composed of 5 current high school students, energized the audience and affirmed the path of NEXTschool, sharing with the crowd that they hoped schools would:
- be more interactive and engaging
- move away from the ‘ritual/game’ of school and towards community-based projects
- address real-world topics that matter to them
- foster deeper, inclusive relationships among students and between students and teachers
It was remarkable how without prompting, the hopes of these students aligned strongly with The 10 things to know about NEXTschool and its 5 Essential components, as presented by co-founder Noel Burke.
After hearing from the students and sharing their own experiences, the audience was excited to hear keynote speaker, A.J. Juliani who continued to affirm the perspectives of teachers and students by presenting his practical ideas and ‘can-do’ approach to “empower students to own their learning”. Mr. Juliani is the Director of Learning and Innovation at Centennial School District (PA, USA) and a faculty member at the University of Pennsylvania Graduate School of Education. Through compelling visuals, humour and the drive to translate theory into practice, he shared many tangible examples of engaged learning in classroom settings and presented do-able details of the 5 steps of Project-based Learning:
- Start with a problem/challenge/inquiry – a reason for learning
- Focus on what students are going to learn. What knowledge and skills will they acquire and master?
- What will the students make/create/design? For whom? Why?
- How can you scaffold and structure the experience? Plan and consistently use a structure (design thinking/inquiry learning/scientific method etc.)
- When will students self-assess, revise, reflect? Shift from failure (permanent) to failing (process). Assess the learning and the process, not just the final product.
A.J. Juliani ended his session by challenging attendees to work in small groups to create brief public service announcements based on one of the UN Sustainable Development Goals; it was amazing to see what engaged and creative learners were able to accomplish in a short amount of time!
You can review A.J. Juliani’s full powerpoint presentation here.
McGill Faculty of Education researchers, led by Dr. Lisa Starr, have been following the initiative and their informative introductory brief and ongoing participation will continue to document and inform the evolution of NEXTschool.
Stay tuned as we share details in the upcoming weeks about the 2nd year of exploration in 2019-20 and move toward the implementation of the NEXTschool framework in September 2020!
Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any questions, or want to join the NEXTschool movement!
https://hosted.learnquebec.ca/nextschool/2019/08/22/the-dialogue-shift-from-us-to-them/NEXTschoolThe 2019 NEXTschool Summer Institute was a fitting culmination of a very successful EXPLOREyear giving over 100 participants, mainly returning and new school cohorts, the opportunity to share experiences, hear from students and take inspiration for implementation from keynote speaker, A.J. Juliani. Of course, the event started out with...lizfalco email@example.comAdministratorNEXTSchool