A short blog post this week, just to get started with Shifts in Practice and introduce this month’s Try It Together. It was brilliant to feature Emma’s experience in last week’s post and I am excited to showcase more teachers’ reflections in the coming months.

Context matters

This week marks a month of being back at school, and a month of blogging! I love that each week I have a little time to myself to sit down, reflect on the week gone by and write about it. It encourages me to slow down, take a breath and think about what’s important in life. This week I want to go back to the beginning and write about some of the foundations of LTT. Inspired by our fabulous Language Acquisition Lead, Erin Leininger, who has been sharing a series on Twitter about Shifts in Practice for Learning That Transfers. She has created beautiful graphics to accompany the posts about each shift that are described in Chapter 2 of Learning That Transfers. So far Erin has taken a look at Student Role, Teacher Role, Curriculum, and Assessment – I love how Erin provides examples for classrooms of multilingual learners while also giving general descriptions for all transfer focused classrooms. Shifts in instruction, leadership & parents, and the community are coming up so be sure to check out what Erin shares in the coming weeks. 

Shifts in Practice

When teaching for learning transfer, we focus on the design of learning experiences, unit planning, course outlines – these are all essential elements, but we also know that there is a wider context and shifts need to happen in many areas to reveal the potential of learning transfer. The student and teacher role, curriculum and instruction, assessments, the role of leaders and parents, and the role of the community all need to shift when we engage in learning that transfers. 

Personal shifts

Each week I have an extended meeting with a small group of teachers to work on various projects and we open the space to anyone who is available and interested in joining. We have three branches to this space; planning for our disciplinary literacy programme, social and environmental responsibility projects, and interdisciplinary learning opportunities. It is quickly becoming one of my favorite parts of the week. In the last couple of years I have noticed a real shift in the way I approach my own learning. I have been studying in a Masters Programme and I realised that I see the modules in terms of concepts and conceptual relationships; I can’t help but make connections between previous and current learning experiences. When working in this group at school we approach each project in a conceptual way, we ask ourselves “what are the big ideas at play here?”, “how are these ideas related?”, “what is the significance?” – when you teach for learning transfer you begin to think differently, too. I am seeing that LTT is having an impact on all areas of my work, it is not just how I teach and how the how the students learn, but how we all work together within our community.

Try It Together

During the month of September I am focusing on some of the Shifts in Practice from Chapter 2, each week I will share how I have used a different strategy and in the final blog of the month I will showcase your experiences. Some of you might be working with a team at your school focused on Learning Transfer, some of you might be going on this journey on your own – we get that it can feel a bit overwhelming without a support network, so let this be your community. A place to experiment, share and grow together. 

The shifts and strategies I will be working on each week are:

  • Fostering Self-Directed Learning P30-34 (shift in student & teacher roles)
  • Student-Teacher Relationships P34-35 (shift in student & teacher roles)
  • Expansive Framing to Facilitate Transfer P37-39 (shift in curriculum & instruction roles)

Later in the school year we will circle back to the remaining Shifts in Practice. 

We love seeing how LTT is taking shape in your educational context! 

Please send any reflections, examples, pictures of student work to juliakbriggs@gmail.com by September 27th.

What else is going on in the world of LTT?

Exciting things are happening – Social Studies Lead, Nichelle Pinkney, turned in the first draft of her book Civil Discourse: Conversations for Stronger Communities (along with coauthor Joe Schmidt). I can’t wait for this book to be available, it couldn’t come at a better time.

We have been hard at work developing our online discipline specific courses, they are looking so slick and I am SO excited for them to begin on the 3rd of October. Have a look at what’s on offer here. Erin has created our first Modern Language Learning That Transfers course, so be sure to check that out. 

If you would like to keep up to date with all things LTT and find out about more opportunities to get involved, sign up for the newsletter (and get your hands on Chapter 1!) – it’s packed with great ideas, the latest LTT updates and free resources.

All the best and see you next time.