Exams

(for the man, Karl Ove Knausgaard)

Exams are tests or evaluations. A physician may perform a physical exam on a patient, to evaluate overall health or to diagnose a particular illness or injury. An appraiser may closely examine an antique or work of art to assess its value or authenticity. I know a man who has an irrational fear that the products he buys at the grocery store have been tampered with, before purchasing an item, he will examine it—its packaging, seals, surface area—to ensure that nothing is out of the ordinary, and regularly, although this examination brings up nothing awry, his paranoia prevents him from buying the product anyway. 

In schools, exams are a way of evaluating student learning, often at the midpoint or end of a course. Sometimes—especially if a large number of students are writing the same one at the same time—an exam may take the form of a multiple choice test, perhaps even a Scantron test, where the examinee shares information by colouring in little oval bubbles on a standardised test paper, which is then fed through a scanner machine that reads the information by using light to identify which oval bubbles have been filled in. Inevitably, during a large Scantron test, one or more students fills in the oval bubbles incorrectly; drawing an X or a check mark rather than colouring the bubble in; using red or green ink, neither of which create enough contrast for the test to be read; filling the oval bubbles in too lightly or too unevenly; et cetera. It is also not unusual for students who are inadequately prepared, or feeling apathetic or just plain silly, to fill in the oval bubbles in order to create a picture, pattern, or message, probably most likely something like a smiley face, penis, zigzag, ACDC or ACAB, respectively, rather than to try to answer the exam questions correctly. While there is the potential for this to result in a traditional ‘passing’ grade on the exam—as it would be a nearly impossible task, let alone a colossal waste of time, for an educator to design the series of correct answers with the avoidance of pictures, patterns, or messages, even the most expected ones, in mind—it is unlikely. I have sometimes had trouble with Scantron tests when I am required to provide my full legal name, which contains 30 characters without, or 33 characters with, spaces. There are not always enough bubbles for me to fill in “Jessica Elizabeth Swaine Sheppard,” which means that, if directions about what to do are not provided, I must use my best judgment to determine whether it is best to leave “Swaine” out entirely, default to middle initials, or simply include as much of my name as I can before I run out of space. Being forced to make this judgment call feels arbitrary, and for some may undermine the exam-writing experience before it has even begun. 

Not all, in fact it might be fair to say not most, exams rely on Scantron. Often, regardless of the form(s) of questions comprising the exam, students indicate their answers on the exam paper itself. This is helpful for those of us with longer names, if we have to indicate them in their entirety, as we can adjust our handwriting accordingly, making it smaller or narrower in order to fit our name into the space provided, or perhaps by choosing to write outside of that space. There is more leeway for how this sort of exam is filled out, too: on an exam paper that will be read and marked by an actual human, a student can successfully indicate a multiple choice or true/false answer by circling, underlining, or otherwise marking either the whole answer or a small part of it; longer answers might be expressed as lists, full sentences, diagrams, charts, graphs, or other organizers. This does not prevent students from drawing silly pictures or providing nonsense answers if they choose to do so, but it does provide them with the option of more than one method of expression. Often, exams require students to write by hand, even though this is something many rarely do in class nowadays. Before the proliferation of personal computers, when the majority, if not all, classwork, homework, and assignments were completed by hand, the written exam was normalised, it didn’t introduce an underutilised form of communication into a high-stakes context, causing stress around the arbitrary possibility of penmanship rather than knowledge influencing students’ achievement. Beyond general legibility, idiosyncratic loops, hooks, tails, or character shapes are a factor with handwritten exams, and one that may be exacerbated by the fact that many students so rarely practice writing by hand, at least in large output tasks. Often, students’ handwriting will deteriorate over the course of an exam, or they may invest so much energy into writing neatly, mincing ideas to focus on legibility, that they are never able to reach a flow state with their thoughts. Like the arbitrary alteration of one’s name to fit a Scantron form, or a passing grade that is the product of a random, creative filling in of bubbles, rather than a legitimate attempt to answer the questions posed, one might argue that it’s a game. The minced, truncated nature of many written exam responses—which are furthermore dependent upon the quality of penmanship and the assessor’s ability to interpret it—seem to rely on a plenitude of falsity. 

This is not to say that all students struggle with exams, or that every exam is rife with contrivances, there are many situations in which exams are used quite effectively as an evaluative basis of requisite skills or knowledge, when taking a driving test or becoming certified in first aid, for example, and so it is reasonable to expect students to practice the skill of exam-taking as they are bound to use it in life. And, like the mastery of any skill or subject, students are likely to derive pride from the successful completion of exams, particularly if they worked hard or if their success was unexpected; many teachers and parents have encountered students brimming with genuine pride after exceeding their own expectations on an exam, and this sort of authentic satisfaction can be the basis of growth in confidence, which is generally beneficial. Ideally, this success and confidence is rooted in thoughtful, meaningful learning, learning that transcends subject and format. 

An ELL student, Tom, who came from China and struggled tremendously with English for over two years, described in his summative colloquy the difference between studying ESL for comprehension versus English for communication of ideas: “it’s like language is an apple. ESL is the skin. But English class is what’s inside when you take a bite.” As many educators prepare for or reflect upon the exam period, how might we ensure that students are being offered a whole bite of the apple? 

 

Shaking Through

(This was linked in the title, but made the post proper difficult to get to, so it’s here now instead.)

Since I wasn’t really in a school this year, and don’t feel that it’s my place to share the consolidation of any pedagogical learnings or goals, here is a life lesson courtesy of teenagers.

This morning I was fortunate enough to join a group of senior high school students as they discussed a poetry assignment. One student, while quick to point out that, “I don’t write poems,” was brave enough to let the group study his work.

We discussed things we liked about his poem. We asked for his rationale around parts we weren’t sure about. We shared our interpretations. Sometimes, we questioned the execution of his intent, or offered suggestions about what he might do differently. And, without fail, he provided answers that were gracious, honest, and insightful.

Though he is not “into” poetry, he was able to explain his creative choices; to justify them; to find intent within them in the moment; or—in a couple of cases—admit that they weren’t intentional creative choices at all.

And isn’t that about all we can ask of people as we’re all rattling through life in this wild year? To do what we can, to fake it if we need to, and know when to admit that we don’t know?

In our efficiency-driven system, how might we trade a bit of bureaucracy for humanity? I imagine our students model it beautifully every day.

Against the Wheel

Since the pandemic began, I have been hyping it as an opportunity to make systemic change, to shake free—for now and forever—of the shortcomings of our current education system, and to embrace best practices. Generally, that idea has been met with hesitation at best, fear and overwhelm at worst: “Yes,” colleagues say, “we’d love to. In theory. But everybody is working so hard just to keep going right now. Where will we find the energy for fresh, new, innovative ideas?”

What if I told you that innovation doesn’t have to be fresh or new? That perhaps one of the most innovative things we can do right now, to benefit ourselves, our students, and education in general, is look back?

Hyperbole and a Half visual reference for millennials.

Skeptical? Sure. I mean, just look at the word innovation, that “nov” in the middle suggesting all things novel i.e. new. But, etymologically, we can trace the word’s roots to innovacion (restoration, renewal) and innovare (change, renew), and it is in this original sense of restoration where I propose there is room for systemic change, best practice, and teacher well-being. Bluntly: #allthethings

We’re frequently caught up in this idea that in order to become better, we need to be on the cutting edge of things. But better does not always mean new, and new doesn’t always even mean different: frequently, it is just a repackaging of what came before, bedecked in shiny new buzzwords that let us feel like we’re part of something fresh and modern, when in actuality we are just spending valuable time reinventing the wheel.

That is not to say that we should avoid all things new, Like scientists, we—as educators—should embrace the inherent fallibility in the world, and be prepared to adapt to our ever-changing circumstances. But, also like scientists, we should be comfortable relying on established truths and laws, without feeling the need to revamp them unnecessarily. Gravity, for instance, has stood the test of time… pretty darn well, I’d say. Let us draw on pedagogy that has done the same.

Newton in an outdoor learning space. From: http://innovationflow.blogspot.com/2012/07/archimedes-bathtub-newtons-apple-and.html

As Maria Montessori wrote: “Education should not limit itself to seeking new methods for a mostly arid transmission of knowledge: its aim must be to give the necessary aid to human development.” (in From Childhood to Adolescence) How might we support our students to be critical thinkers, creatives, problem solvers, and good humans? Perhaps it’s easier than we think. Perhaps with some good old fashioned discourse, observation, and lived experience, we can restore the roots of the truly educative experience, that which allows us to leave our subject silos and understand the relationship between ourselves, our world, and one another. Perhaps by stepping back and making room for students, teachers, and the world around us to guide learning—rather than getting bogged down by what standardised curricula or new-fangled tricks and tools suggest we should do—we can also make more room for authentic learning experiences and everyone’s well-being. God only knows we need that right now!

This won’t look the same in every classroom. It can’t, and it shouldn’t. But in these challenging times, and beyond them, perhaps the best thing we can do for ourselves and our students is set aside our detailed lesson plans and interminable curriculum documents, and think about how to facilitate relevant, in-depth learning experiences—through tried-and-true methods, and by drawing on our observations, relationships, and insights—and then take a deep breath in and a big step back, and get the heck out of the way.

We don’t have to be early adopters or on the cutting edge to create meaningful systemic change. Sometimes all we need to do is go against the grain—or in this case shall we say “against the wheel”: its reinvention, anyway.

The perils of early adoption. “The Far Side” cartoon by Gary Larson.

 

 

 

Both Honest and Gentle

Admittedly, I’ve been feeling a little lost in terms of blogging this year. It feels a bit hypocritical to write about what schools ‘should’ be doing during the pandemic (see: capitalise on the opportunity to shirk convention and tradition, and embrace what education could be) when I am on sabbatical and thus a relative outsider on the scene compared to those who are in schools every day, and I felt some guilt associated with not being there. I want to put out there that I think that sort of guilt is dangerous. There’s a militaristic or traditional athletic mindset at play, a willingness to “die for that inch” that—while noble in theory, can in practice lead us into situations where we haven’t taken enough time to care for ourselves to possibly offer our best to others. But I digress: this is about the positive stuff, the opportunity we all have to risk safely and reap the rewards.

We—in CIS Ontario in general, and Cohort21 specifically—are lucky to be part of a community that supports not just its team’s goals, but its individual players. We might not all be super comfortable with blogging, or forsaking our binds to the curriculum, or navigating the complexities of hybrid teaching and learning models, but we are all here because we believe in kids and we believe in education, and while we may offer provocations and constructive criticism to one another, we do so out of love and in support of this shared vision.

So, as @mrand quoted in her beautiful and heart-wrenching blog post, “why wait?” Whether you’re nervous about sharing your first blog post, wondering how to make small changes in your practice, feeling inspired to overthrow the conventional educational model, or curious about a passion the you haven’t yet pursued to its full extent, get out there and give it a shot. Why wait? We are here for one another, and we recognise that that means giving room for each one of us to be here for ourselves. We can be both honest and gentle as we work to bring out the best in ourselves, each other, our students, and education. Our legacies are not in our protocols, roles, or titles, but in our love.

And love’s the greatest thing that we have.

 

Capra & Luisi’s The Systems View of Life: A Unifying Vision

(A book review. Sort of.)


I had heard of Fritjof Capra in university, but my classmates and I were all so caught up with Arne Næss’ Nordic O.G. appeal that I don’t recall ever us getting deep enough into Deep Ecology to learn much of or from Capra.

I was missing out.

The Systems View of Life explores the world we are part of, and our role within it, both as a means of understanding the systems that comprise and sustain the Earth, and of offering solutions to many of the issues facing the world today through a paradigm shift to a systemic point of view.

The systemic viewpoint is key because of our inextricable link to the Earth and its systems. Indeed, as Capra & Luisi state: “We can never speak about nature without, at the same time, speaking about ourselves” (p. 74).  This connection to the natural world is a key tenet of Deep Ecology, a term coined by Næss (that dude from paragraph 1) to refer to a worldview that recognizes the inherent value and dignity in all living things—not simply those that are of use or benefit to humankind—and the belief that a fundamental shift in perception and policy is required if we are to preserve the diversity and health of the Earth as a whole (see Drengson, 2012).

Capra & Luisi’s book proposes that the only viable solutions to the crises facing the world today—from energy and environment to food and finance—are sustainable approaches that work within the systemic realities of the Earth. Our assumption that resources, rewards, and growth are finite needs to be radically reframed if we are to find long-term solutions that maintain the health of all Earth’s systems.

To contextualise the paradigm shift that needs to occur, the authors delve into various ways of knowing from micro to macro levels: from the history of mathematics and science, and the evolution of these fields, to the development of the social, political, and economic systems that are prevalent in the world today. While recognizing both the contributions and the limitations of these systems, Capra and Luisi illustrate a shift from a siloed, quantitative, structural approach to understanding the world to an interrelated, qualitative series of processes.

As the authors move towards addressing solutions for the crises arising from our outdated worldviews, they pose a very ‘Cohort 21’-type question: “How [might*] we transform the global economy from a system striving for unlimited quantitative growth, which is manifestly unsustainable, to one that is ecologically sound and socially just?” (p. 371) Is not this something we should always have in our minds as educators?

*okay, the actual text says ‘can’ rather than ‘might,’ but come on: it’s so close!


I’d recommend this book for anyone, really, as education is such an important component of ecological literacy. Specifically, read this book if:

–you’ve never thought about math or science from an historical perspective;

–you’ve never thought about social science from an ecosystems perspective;

–you think unmitigated economic growth is a feasible, good idea;

–you are interested in systems thinking;

–you believe there is inherent value in all forms of life;

–you believe that Earth [is] really dying;

–you want an inspiring read that feels intellectually stimulating but still accessible.

(I’m being a bit cheeky here, but I think you get the point. I also think that if you were interested by @gnichols‘ review of Doughnut Economics, or have read and enjoyed that book, there are some similar concepts and themes at work here.)


Capra, F. & Luisi, P. L. (2016).The Systems View of Life: A Unifying Vision. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Drengson, A. (2012.) “Some Thought on the Deep Ecology Movement.” Foundation for Deep Ecology. Retrieved from  http://www.deepecology.org/deepecology.htm

 

GEODES: more than meets the eye

HMW incorporate vertical integration into our schedule to promote student engagement and enhance teaching practice?

I hoped to experiment with the vertical integration concept in December by having my grade 10 English class join forces with the grade 12 World Issues class on a mini-unit around the concept of agency. While we ended up downscaling from a mini-unit to a single lesson, we were able to have a meaningful discussion in which most of the students from both classes participated. I don’t feel as though this was a large enough experiment to have provided much new insight to inform my action plan, but it is fair to say anecdotally that the grade 10’s rose to the challenge of having meaningful discussion with senior students, and that both groups were able to broaden their views of agency, as it related to their respective classes, based on input from their peers.

While I was a bit disappointed that the mini-unit plan couldn’t work this semester, I also know that I really don’t need to be. What’s the hurry? There is lots of time to work on this plan. In fact, there is a way to gain some insight into my action plan coming down the pipe that I am *SUPER EXCITED* about!

For the second semester, we are working towards the development of an integrated program for our grade nines. Now, their courses are still all individually blocked in our semester two schedule, but we are planning to double or triple or quadruple up regularly, and will be framing all of our courses with the same Big Questions. We’re calling our integrated course group GEODES (for GEography, OutDoor ed, English, and Science—credit to @gvogt‘s wife Tia for the acronym!) Did I mention that I am *STOKED* for this?

As is characteristic of geodes, there’s more to this than meets the eye. There’s a twinkling, gemmy, beautiful surprise inside.

That surprise is this: beyond incorporating cross-subject integration GEODES will also provide an opportunity to think creatively and adaptably about scheduling, and welcome in other class groups, thus offering more regular—and possibly longer-term—chances for mixed-grade learning. This is not just a fun project that is pedagogically sound; it is also a chance to experience on a smaller scale some of the scheduling and curriculum pieces that will be key to addressing my HMW. 

 

The Magic Number

(c) Thomas Hawk

I didn’t quite follow the instructions. BUT! I felt a little bit of magic in the air, followed it, and am pretty excited to see where it leads.

GUT—with school size and sphere of influence in mind, I took a broader approach to identifying areas of need at our school. We’re small (~110 students), open to innovation, and—as a member of the Leadership Team—I’ve got a seat at the table from which larger program initiatives need to be explored. My gut initially went to some kind of integrated approach to learning: perhaps in terms of ecological perspectives, skills-based assessment, or balance and holistic development. However, these are all things that we are already trying to focus on at RLC. So, I shifted focus to how we might make change at a program level that supports the great things we are already doing, and opens the door to additional possibilities. I am currently exploring the potential for vertical integration/multi-age programming as a means to enhance our academic program offerings, student learning, and teacher development.

(Fun fact: 3 is a commonly used year spread for vertically integrated/mixed-age learning communities.)

HUNCH—in order to collect info from stakeholders to inform this idea, I created an open-ended Google form for faculty, and a multiple-choice form for students. I am not confident I asked good questions; I wanted to get some general perspectives about the topic, without making my own position clear, and found I struggled to decide how to do so. I think this is a good first step regardless, and one that I can build upon as I speak to individuals in more detail.

LEARNING—so far, it is clear that there is existing experience and interest in vertical integration among RLC faculty, but that there is also some confusion around what it entails. Moving forward, I need to ensure that the community understands that what we are looking at is more than a split-grade or combined class, and is not based on a “stronger young kids with weaker older ones” model, but rather a true mix. It’s also evident that students of all ages are fairly stuck in the mindset that younger teens don’t have anything to teach older ones, which is something I’m hoping this kind of action plan could debunk. Framing and frontloading will be important as I continue to explore options. Finally, I am optimistic that this could be a platform through which some other cool ideas, such as cross-curricular learning, leadership development, movement towards a skills-based mindset from a grades-based one, etc, could be developed. With a little help from my friends, I’ve begun to talk through this idea with my action plan in mind, and I am excited to dig deeper. Rather than go into too much detail on that front, here is what the inside of my brain looks like when it thinks about breaking and rebuilding the system:

(I promise that this is my “thinking writing” and I am more legible when necessary!)

Moving Forward—

i. I will have more specific conversations with individuals or groups of faculty/students to garner more of an understanding of how vertically integrated programming could be implemented in a way that meets their needs, and the goals that I am striving for.

ii. I will explore the systemic limitations that might exist on this sort of model. For instance, when and how can students “reach ahead” in a vertically integrated course? Are there time requirements and ways around them? How much of role can prior learning assessment play?

iii. I will explore the factors within RLC as an institution that may govern how, and to what extent, something like this could be done. How will it be scheduled? What integration of options will be presented? For what grade ranges?

I don’t know what this will look like—yet—but it is exciting to think about the possibilities!

Ah. And as proof that I can sometimes write legibly, and because it makes sense to include it, here is my “placemat” in its current form:

 

Sub-2: Closing the Praxis Gap

At ~04:15 EST on Saturday, 12 October, Eliud Kipchoge crossed the finish line of the Ineos 1:59 challenge in Vienna, having completed a marathon (26.2mi/42.2km) in less than two hours.

He is the only human ever to have done so.

This was no regular marathon. In fact, this was Kipchoge’s second attempt at sub-2 in a contrived environment in which all technical and tactical focus was directed at his effort to accomplish something that had never been done before. There are purists who will argue that such an elaborately orchestrated effort “doesn’t count,” and it is true that it doesn’t meet the course or pacing guidelines to be an official world record; however, it’s a remarkable feat, in or out of the record books.

I used to be a runner, My brain still thinks I am one, no matter how desperately my body tries to prove it wrong. So, after watching Kipchoge make a little history, baby, I wondered how to make it pedagogically relevant. What newfangled ed-tech was analogous to the EV that was both setting the pace for his effort and projecting a laser onto the ground to show his pacers where to run? How were the pacers themselves, spelling each other off in teams to surround him in a counter-intuitive reverse-vee phalanx (sorry, Mighty Ducks), representative of scaffolding, or collaboration, or the support systems we put in place for our students? How long until his $300+ sneakers become a metaphor for private-sector elitism?

Maybe the comparison is simpler than that. Maybe Kipchoge’s success—and how we can view it through a pedagogical lens—hinges upon the alignment of system with subject.

Until recently, few people believed that a sub-2 marathon could be run. When Kipchoge, his coaches, and the greater running community began to view it as a possibility, they recognized that the likelihood of success could be increased through the implementation of a controllable—but not limiting—system. Natural ability and training made Kipchoge an ideal runner for a sub-2 attempt, but he was supported by technology grounded in years of research, trial, and error. He had more than preparation and skill behind him, he had science, which is perpetually driven to innovate and iterate through its inherent fallibility. He had attempted this feat before, and fallen just short; the team behind him learned from previous failure, adapted the system, and tried again.

As teachers, we believe our students are capable of great things. Many of us spend countless hours on our own professional learning, considering our teaching philosophies and brushing up on theories that might enhance our practice. In terms of our own learning, we live in a pedagogical milieu that is both inspiring and—at times—overwhelming. The issue, I would argue, is that a significant source of this overwhelm stems from the fact that we think and work within a system that was fundamentally designed to support obedience, inculcation, and task-orientation. While we have certainly made some headway over time in the ways that we teach and empower our students, that’s not what the system was actually created to do:  in fact, an alarming number of the structural underpinnings of industrial-model conservativism have survived the last 200 years in our schools. Teachers are willing to innovate and iterate, but are—far too frequently—limited by the education system.

Students, as the subjects (and I use this term intentionally knowing it denotes control) of the education system, have little choice but to work within it. As much as we want to empower them, it is difficult to do so authentically within a framework that teaches them to play a particular game, with specific ends and outcomes in mind. Yes, this system—like Kipchoge’s—is controlled; however, unlike his, it is inherently limiting. The theory, and in many cases, the science, behind giving students freedom to harness their potential is out there, but we are so bogged down in the dregs of the industrial educational model that it is challenging, for many of us, to put this theory into practice in a meaningful way. We’ve fallen victim to a praxis gap.

How might we close this gap?  How might we break the cycle of viewing numbers as outcomes and outcomes as end points, and instead see them as natural byproducts of something greater?

The formal school system, far too often, becomes a ceiling that limits students’ potential. Compare that with the support system—founded in research, trial, and error—Kipchoge had in place when he ran 42.2km faster than any other human being ever has; a system which opened, for him as its subject, the gateway to success.

How might we make school a gateway?

“Guys, guys, guys, can we take a step back here?’

Jokes/soundbites/attempts to appear smart at meetings aside, I hadn’t been at TYS long on Saturday before I found others with whom to share the experience of the low-level panic that occurs when you step away from work responsibilities.

Whether we were missing a homecoming festival,  asking our student leaders to run their first community event, or leaving a list of triathlon logistics for colleagues and hoping for the best, (they rocked it; see photos below by Season 7’s @lfarooq and RLC residence don J. Glavin,) many—perhaps even most—of us felt some level of guilt, anxiety, or pressure of a day away. I certainly did, and I’ve always been fairly confident in my ability to roll with the punches when things are beyond my control.

But, as challenging as it may feel sometimes to take a step back from our daily routines, we are all in the midst of a beautiful opportunity to take a step into the world of Cohort 21.  It’s exciting to be part of this special community where we can collaborate, innovate, and grow. Let’s do this, Season 8 team!

Nothing but love…

c21_logo_mediumWelcome to your Cohort 21 Blog. This journal is an integral part of your Cohort 21 experience. Here you will reflect, share , collaborate  and converse as you move through the C21 Action Plan process. 

This is your first post and an opportunity to share a little bit about yourself as a learner and leader. Please respond the to the following prompts below:

1) Reflect on your own personal learning journey and K-12 education. Identify one learning experience that you can point to as having made a significant impact on some element of your own growth and development. It could be that teacher and subject that really sparked significant growth or a trip that opened your eyes to a whole new world or way of thinking or a non-catastrophic failure that you learned so much from.  Briefly describe the learning experience and identify the various supports, structures, mindsets and relational ingredients that were put in place by the teacher or facilitator that directly contributed to your growth and success. 

In the tenth grade, I joined the outtrip club at my high school. We did an eight-day canoe trip every fall, and a four-day hiking trip each spring. Tripping taught me resiliency and self-sufficiency, the value of being uncomfortable, and how breathtaking this world can be. It made me appreciate both solitude and teamwork, and allowed me to understand that there was far more to school than Playing the Grade Game, which had always been my MO in the past. The teachers who led our trips were knowledgable and supportive, but gave us room to learn through our own experiences; most importantly, their passion for nature shone throughout each journey. While I certainly gained knowledge, skills, and confidence by outtripping that I have carried with me through life, I think the most significant insight I gleaned was how important it is to make time to do — and share — the things you love

2) What is the one Learning skill (MOE) or Approach to Learning (IB ATL) that you feel is MOST important in this day and age? How do you intentionally build it into your curriculum and develop it in your students throughout the year?

*Full disclosure: A colleague recently presented a fascinating session on the correspondence between the MOE’s Learning Skills and Executive Functioning. I’d actually like to flip a coin and let it make the decision between the EF skills flexibility and metacognition for me here, but since that’s not an option I’ll go with self-regulation, which I’d argue provides a decent mix of the two.

Harkening back to my first answer, I believe self-regulation skills pave the way for a good school-life (or work-life) balance; a way of operating that allows one to both fulfill obligations and make time for passions. I try to facilitate the development of self-regulation in my students by actively and regularly giving them input into what topics they explore, the projects they create, and the steps they feel are important along the way. My hope is that co-creation empowers students to think about the process of learning and where their strengths and challenges lie, while also giving them ample opportunity to integrate their interests into the work they do. Furthermore, it gives them ownership over the process of learning, and puts them in the position of having to adapt and revamp when that process doesn’t play out as anticipated. 

3) Insert an image below that best captures the essence of that Learning Skill or ATL. (Click on the “Helpful WordPress Video Tutorials” link in the left hand sidebar to learn how to insert it)

The path through distraction to complete the task at hand and enjoy the things you love. Urban, Tim. “How to Beat Procrastination.Wait But Why.