Learning and Teaching at Gilson College

Learning for living, Character for life, Hope for the Future

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‘Developing a Culture of Learning by Making Thinking Visible’ – Raelene Delvin & Sandra England 

You may be interested in reading the article, “Developing a Culture of Learning by Making Thinking Visible”, on which our Head of Primary at Gilson College – Taylors Hill Campus, Raelene Delvin and I collaborated. It was recently published in the Avondale College research journal ‘Teach Journal of Christian Education’. 


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There’s More Than One Way to Flip a Classroom – Digital Education – Education Week

I’ve had a few conversations with colleagues lately about the concept of flipped classrooms, so I will make a couple of posts that provide some thoughts about this style of learning. Here’s the first article, written by Katie Ash, published in the Education Week blog http://blogs.edweek.org on June 26 2012, with the full version accessible from the linked article title here:

There’s More Than One Way to Flip a Classroom – Digital Education – Education Week.

‘In a packed session this afternoon at ISTE 2012 here in San Diego, a panel of nine educators, as well as two moderators presented their ideas and experiences with “flipping” their classrooms.

The session was led by Aaron Sams and Jonathan Bergmann, two chemistry teachers who pioneered the flipped learning model back in 2006. The pair recently co-wrote a book, published by ISTE and ASCD, called Flip Your Classroom.

Defining what “flipping your classroom” meant was the first topic of conversation, which proved to be somewhat more difficult than you might expect. In fact, the reason the panel consisted of nine educators, instead of two or three, was precisely to demonstrate that there were many different ways to effectively flip a classroom…’ Read more

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What’s a Principal to do? Classroom Management, Discipline Problems and Redemptive Discipline

The URLs below link to two downloadable articles from the Journal of Adventist Education February/March 2011, that will be of interest to leaders who work with teachers to develop and improve their classroom behaviour management routines and strategies.

‘Trial or Trail – The Path to Redemptive Discipline’,

by John Wesley Taylor V

Discipline, a Problem?

Findings from the Phi Delta Kappa/Gallup poll indicate that discipline, or the lack thereof, is one of the greatest challenges facing public schools in the United States. This has a dramatic effect on education. Studies indicate that 14 percent or more of public school teachers in the United States leave the profession after their first year, with almost half of beginning teachers exiting within the first five years. Of those who drop out, sig- nificant proportions do so because of classroom management or discipline problems.

Even students recognize that their teachers’ approach to discipline has a significant relationship to their effectiveness in the classroom.  Across a variety of settings, young people agreed that their worst teachers were those who were either coercive or soft on discipline, while their best teachers were those who were both demanding and caring.

This issue of discipline is not unique to the modern era. History reveals that parents and teachers have long searched for so- lutions to student misbehavior. Rousseau, for example, an early theorist of adolescence, observed that a young person can be “almost ungovernable.” From the Old Testament comes the query, “How shall we order the child, and what shall we do unto him?”… Read more

So What’s a Principal to do? Thoughts on How to Help Teachers With Classroom Management and Discipline Problems

by James R Jeffrey with Donna Jeffrey

…Continuing down the hall, I spotted a student sitting on the floor just outside Ms. Susan’s [Pseudonym] classroom door. Not an encouraging sign! Upon entering the back of the classroom, I could tell that things were not going well for this experienced teacher. Students clustered in small groups throughout the classroom, shouting at one another and at students in other groups. The teacher was trying unsuccessfully to get everyone’s attention, but the class seemed determined to ignore her.

As I contemplated this scene, it was all I could do to keep from stepping in to restore some semblance of order. But I resisted the administrative temptation to “take over” and solve this teacher’s immediate problems. Instead, I took a deep breath and asked myself three questions: (1) What had gone wrong in this classroom? (2) How could the principal help Susan? and (3) Could some type of school-wide discipline plan have prevented the chaos in Ms. Susan’s classroom? These three questions are the central focus of this article. But let’s first clarify some important issues involved in classroom discipline and management in a Christian school.

Discipline, a Major Concern for Teachers

1. School and classroom discipline are major concerns for teachers, parents, and communities. For the past 40 years, the Gallup Poll2 organization has asked Americans, in an open-ended question, to describe the biggest problems facing public schools in their communities. Consistently, lack of discipline and control of students have ranked number one or number two. While no such data exists for Adventist schools, I would surmise, from observation and direct in- volvement, that parents, teachers, and churches also consider discipline a significant concern.
2. Although the terms “classroom management” and “discipline” are often used interchangeably, they are not synonymous. According to Marshall, discipline “deals with how people behave,” while classroom management has to do with “procedures, routines and structure.” Wong and Wong agree with this distinction but go even farther, asserting that the vast majority of classroom behavior problems are “caused by the failure of students to follow procedures and routines, which in turn are caused by teachers who do not have procedures and routines.”… Read more

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VISIBLE THINKING – Project Zero, Harvard University


At our 2012 Adventist Schools Victoria Annual Conference (ASVAC) we chose to place in the hands of each teacher a copy of the book ‘Visible Thinking’ by Ron Ritchhart, Mark Church & Karin Morrison
The precursor to this book is the PROJECT ZERO VISIBLE THINKING website. The resources on the site will be useful to complement your reading of the book.
There you will find PDFs of most of the Thinking Routines that are featured in the book. These PDFs can be used as easy references for teachers, as well as handouts to students.

The following quote from the website introduces Visible Thinking In Action:

VisibleThinking In Action

Every committed educator wants better learning and more thoughtful students. Visible Thinking is a way of helping to achieve that without a separate ‘thinking skills’ course or fixed lessons.

Visible Thinking is a broad and flexible framework for enriching classroom learning in the content areas and fostering students’ intellectual development at the same time. Here are some of its key goals:

  1. Deeper understanding of content,
  2. Greater motivation for learning,
  3. Development of learners’ thinking and learning abilities,
  4. Development of learners’ attitudes toward thinking and learning and their alertness to opportunities for thinking and learning (the “dispositional” side of thinking),
  5. A shift in classroom culture toward a community of enthusiastically engaged thinkers and learners.

Toward achieving these goals, Visible Thinking involves several practices and resources. Teachers are invited to use with their students a number of “thinking routines” — simple protocols for exploring ideas — around whatever topics are important, say fractions arithmetic, the Industrial Revolution, World War II, the meaning of a poem, the nature of democracy. Visible Thinking includes attention to four “thinking ideals” — understanding, truth, fairness, and creativity. Visible Thinking emphasizes several ways of making students’ thinking visible to themselves and one another, so that they can improve it.

The idea of visible thinking helps to make concrete what a thoughtful classroom might look like. At any moment, we can ask, “Is thinking visible here? Are students explaining things to one another? Are students offering creative ideas? Are they, and I as their teacher, using the language of thinking? Is there a brainstorm about alternative interpretations on the wall? Are students debating a plan?”

When the answers to questions like these are consistently yes, students are more likely to show interest and commitment as learning unfolds in the classroom. They find more meaning in the subject matters and more meaningful connections between school and everyday life. They begin to display the sorts of attitudes toward thinking and learning we would most like to see in young learners — not closed-minded but open-minded, not bored but curious, neither gullible nor sweepingly negative but appropriately skeptical, not satisfied with “just the facts” but wanting to understand.

Continue reading.