Monday, 5 November 2007

The Learning Agreement

In the first episode of All the World's a Classroom, Professor Ian Cunningham talks a little about his practice of creating a learning agreement with his students. I was curious about this so asked him to elaborate and produced this short 6-minute podcast. The idea is to ally the student and teacher/facilitator in a common quest and to build not only a short term agenda, but a long term strategy for learning. The basis for this are key questions - Where have you been? (what past experiences have built up the student's world view) Where are you now? Where do you want to go? (what are the students thoughts about their life and career).
Then once this has been discussed the final 2 questions really jumped out at me as entirely missed by most educational models: How do we push this forward in your entire life and How will this make you happy and fulfilled? This belief in learning being fun and joyful is such a breath of fresh air in a world where results and league tables seem all important and all powerful, and empowers both the student and teacher to grasp the nettle of learning and make it all about today - not about merely preparation for the future. Listen to Ian's thoughts on the podcast, I think that while he uses this approach with students that are outside of the school environment, it could and should be used with all students to give them a sense of ownership around their learning.

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