Learning Circles offer a rich learning environment for all participants.
We like to mention some of our most important pillars and fundaments:
In his work Michael Fullan (NPDL) describes a shift from the 21st century skills to Future Skills, with more emphasis on the development of the student as a ‘global citizen‘.
We strongly share Fullan’s thoughts about ‘Teaching for humanity‘. They overlap the main fundaments of our Learning Circles:
Working on subject content globally with peers, meanwhile intensively practicing various skills, all woven into meaningful assignments.
John Hattie’s research on ‘Visible Learning’ show us how effective formative assessment is. The challenges in the Learning Circles are based on the conviction that:
Students make progress in learning by giving feedback, asking questions, setting their own learning goals, make choices in how to proceed and by specifying criteria for good learning outcomes. Therefor, a part of the assignments will consist of ‘questions for the other participants’, designed by students for students.
Usually students get feedback from the teacher, but in the Circles mostly from their ‘global classmates’. They will share their work in the wiki and give & receive direct feedback.
In the last month of the Circle process, students can write an individual letter in ‘peerScholar’. This exciting process of ‘peer learning’ enables them to reflect on their own and their peers’ work by giving and receiving constructional feedback. The result is that students learn to reflect on their own learning outcomes. Learning progress is visible for teachers and students.
Summative assessment shows the current status of a student with a grade, while formative assessment focuses on growth: what is good and how can you make it even better?
A formative culture is more than just testing the knowledge of students. Formative evaluation requires thinking about education and continuous adjustment so that students can achieve their learning goals. The thinking process also drives the teacher’s actions in education. Perhaps for this reason, we can better speak of ‘formative thinking and acting’.
Good learning outcomes and learning fun are partly due to:
providing feedback, ask questions, clarify the learning goals and indicate criteria for a ‘good’ learning outcome. It is not just about setting targets, but also the pursuit of goals and formulating clear success criteria that can be determined or achieved. If criteria are not clear, feedback will be a problem. And if the goal is not clear, it’s also difficult to choose or adjust the right path to it.
Students are often well able to assess their own work and that of their fellow students. Through self-assessment and peer assessment, students are responsible for their own learning process and feel more ownership. Feedback can be given by a teacher, by fellow students (peers), by parents, by others, or by teaching materials. It’s a natural fact that positive feedback is one of the most powerful methods to learn and grow.
Essential steps for formative feedback are provided in all phases of the Learning Circle process:
The methodology of the Learning Circles makes formative ’think, act & do’ feasible for teachers and students.
Global learning with and from each other becomes lively and visible!
See also: Methodology of the Learning Circles
In every wiki for the Learning Circles an overview of skills is provided in a pdf.
It can be helpful to carry out tasks thoughtfully, and to keep track of skills that have been addressed and practiced.
A summary of the main skills:
Contributing to group work
Know and respect agreements
Learn from feedback
Stand up for yourself
Helping others achieve their goals
Contribution to the work climate
Actively listen to others
Ask questions to support others
How to use writing to share ideas with others
How to read, evaluate and edit the work of others
Critical Thinking (to problems & issues):
Think of a good question for the assignment
Think of a good question for the interview
How to start and carry out a research in respond to questions
The ability to collect, interpret and present information to others
Reflection on own work/actions:
Effectiveness of own actions
Insight in consequences of own actions
Learning from the approach of others
Reflecting on the quality of work
Set realistic goals
Divide goals into sub-steps
Create a schedule/plan
Perform planning; set priorities
Organizing tasks for assignment
Self guided learning & ownership:
Define learning goals
Ask for help
Make choices in: priorities
Make choices in: how to learn
Make choices in: where to learn
Make choices in: when to learn
Make choices in: with whom to learn
Global collaboration & Cultural Perspectives:
Analyze social problems
Clarify the problem
Explore issues of national and global significance
Understand how regions are similar and different
Learn to work with peers in other places
Understand how technologies are used in virtual collaboration
Gain experience in working with computers
Be aware of ‘Netiquette’ in digital communication