Shifting Workflows and Lights Academy — Part One

I really enjoyed this blog post from Catlin Tucker about shifting workflows in education. In her post, she identifies ten workflows that lead to a better experience for teachers and a more sustainable and enjoyable learning experience for students:

  • Shift #1 — From Transfer of Information to Student Discovery
  • Shift #2 — From Whole Group Teacher-led to Small-group Student-led Discussion
  • Shift #3 — From Reading as a Solitary Endeavor to Reading for Connection
  • Shift #4 — From an Audience of One to an Authentic Audience
  • Shift #5 — From Teacher Created to Student-Generated Review and Practice
  • Shift #6 — From Formative Assessment as a Teacher Tool to a Metacognitive Skill Building Tool for Learners
  • Shift #7 — From Feedback on Finished Products to Feedback During the Process
  • Shift #8 — From Teacher Assessment to Self-Assessment
  • Shift #9 — From Teacher Initiating Parent Communication to Learners Owning Conversation About Their Progress
  • Shift #10 — From Teacher Project Design to Student-Initiated Project-Based Learning

As some of you know, my main education role where I teach for my day job at Lutheran High School is to direct an honors, project-based experience known as Lights Academy. As I read Catlin’s list, it came to me that I have been able to already work with many of these shifts which she identified. My focus is not really on improving my experience as a teacher but rather to identify what works best for students.

To that end, I thought I would use the next few blog posts to share what is happening with these shifts win Lights Academy and open conversations with other educators about how we can collaborate to utilize these shifts in our classrooms in practical ways. I will share about the Lights Academy experience with these shifts and offer some thoughts. I would love for other educators to share their thoughts and experiences as well so we can continue to build energizing learning experiences for our students.

Let’s start with Shift #1 — From Transfer of Information to Student Discovery. Here are the ways that Lights Academy has already embraced this shift:

  • I rarely “teach” anything to the whole class. The only time I really “teach” in the traditional sense is when introducing a new skill or project. Most of the learning takes place in the actual student projects where they pursue their own interests in a project-based approach. Here is one student project which is an example of this.
  • All projects are based on student exploration through popular research, scholarly research, interviews with experts, surveys, shadow experiences, etc.
  • While I provide a planning structure and accountability for students to create their learning experiences, students are self-directed for their own discovery rather than my teaching.

Do you want to learn more about our Lights Academy approach to learning? Feel free to drop me a note or add a comment to this post. I would also love to compile other ideas on this to accomplish Shift #1, so feel free to leave a comment with those ideas as well. Upcoming posts will focus on some of the other shifts identified by Dr. Tucker.

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