Learning to Learn. Learning to Teach.

What makes us grow as Teachers?

The training our group of teachers have received from Michael Walsh of the Let’s Think Forum has been the catalyst for many foundational thoughts and discussions. Mediating the thinking of children has challenged us to mediate our own learning. Subtle changes in what we have seen as the way thinking about the text and immediately related ideas to the text . Also reasoning outside and beyond has been so clearly revealed. Observing other teachers, including Michael, has allowed for a deepening of what team teaching can be. Almost a way to observe yourself is made available. Of course this is only metacognition.

In thinking about the essential role for teacher mediation I found the concept of lifelong learning or as the Lisbon treaty of the EU  calls it “Learning to Learn” totally relevant to my own professional development.
Learning to learn is defined by  Hautamaki et al. “The ability and willingness to adapt to novel tasks, activating one’s commitment to thinking and the perspective of hope by means of maintaining one’s cognitive and affective self-regulation in and of learning action” (Hautamäki et al., 2002, p. 39).

When a moment arrives in a thinking lesson to challenge students to make their reasoning more specific and clear, an opportunity to learn arises. This is how very different minds share the willingness to respond to each other with shared respect. Mediation is more than an isolated technical act. I feel we are all pulled into the need to respond adaptively to the new ways of thinking that are emerging.  In these moments we commit to share a perspective of hope.  The challenge these opportunities presents is a microcosm of a wider commitment. This is also a partaking in the deeply emotional and moral undertaking that lifelong learning is. During some of the observations  feelings arose that made me suddenly realise  that when a thinking lesson is in full flow it is a thing of beauty.

Hautamäki, J., Arinen, P., Eronen, S., Hautamäki, A., Kupianien, S., Lindblom, B., Niemivirta, M., Pakaslahti, L., Rantanen, P. and Scheinin, P. (2002) Assessing Learning-to-Learn: A Framework. Helsinki: Centre for Educational Assessment, Helsinki University / National Board of Education.

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