Patrick took us through some examples of innovative 21st century schools and the way that they have adapted their practice. For example, Sequoyah school in California hold students back twice throughout their schooling to ensure that each child experiences failure and leadership.
He looked at the changing role of teaching and discussed the acts of a relevant teacher. This is a person who questions their content and pedagogy, considering whether what they are teaching will be relevant and helpful to their students. Is it worthwhile teaching students information that they can access through Google at any time? Relevant teachers are aware that students can gather information at any time online and expects students to answer their own questions, to take ownership of their learning. They support students to be independent knowledge seekers, with liberal use of the shoulder shrug (see below).
He then discussed the use of 20 percent time, or genius hour. This is where time is allocated for the students to lead a personal inquiry project of a topic of their choice. It allows for great student agency, time management skills, collaboration and independent thinking. This was something I ran last year in my single cell class at Glenbrae. I had two students learning their native language and one learning Korean, one learning about Ancient Rome, one comparing Asia and Australasia and one looking at careers. It was a wonderful Friday activity and the students greatly enjoyed it and learnt a lot from it. This year, my timetable does not allow for this with my changing classes, but I am open to setting broad parameters and utilising student agency with my literacy class in a similar way.
Next Patrick discussed the gamification of learning; as our students have access to games that provide instant feedback, our school system can seem underwhelming in comparison. He discussed the use of Minecraft EDU, the Institute of Play and that various organisations are attempting to gamify learning. However, relevant teachers take the principles of gameplay and apply them to learning.
He ended with his top tip for being a relevant teacher: Be a learner.