For this post, let’s assume that failure can have a positive, productive relationship with learning. Let’s explore what goes on when that potentially positive relationship is thwarted. If the possibility of failure is too awful to contemplate, using it strategically for learning is unthinkable. The strategy instead becomes one of avoiding failure at all costs.
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Getting our heads back in the game
When people want to emphasise how important it is to succeed, or to get something right, they say “Failure is not an option”. Avoiding failure seems like a good idea because it’s so often a horrible experience - for us and sometimes also for anyone depending on our success. But in some fields of work, and in certain situations, failure actually is an option.
People in different fields of work – like GPs, carpenters, engineering technicians, and health and community support workers - have different relationships with the idea of failure and the making of mistakes. This has really struck me when doing research on learning in workplaces.
Are you a "game-curious" teacher?
In October we convened our first games for learning project meet-and-greet with around a dozen game-curious primary, intermediate, and secondary teachers in Wellington.
At this time of year I’m remembering the questions we used to have in our school about the PATs - ‘Term 4 is coming up - what week shall we do the PATs in?’ ‘Have we got enough Test 3s for the Year 5s?’ ‘When’s the BOT report due - we need to have it sorted by then?’. You know those conversations I’m sure.
Improving learning means improving teaching - how can you use the data you gather for a teaching inquiry to improve teaching? After all, even though you may have a lot of teaching going on in your school, education is about learning and if there is no learning going on then there is no education.
Meet the research team...
Welcome to the first update blog for NZCER's games for learning project. We're well into the scoping phase of the project and here's what we've been working on:
As Term 3 starts, you are probably getting ready to start gathering student achievement data. Not only will you want to use this data to measure the impact of the changes to teaching and learning you’ve made this year, but you may also want it to become the basis for your next focused inquiry.
When I was a principal I confess we only ever assessed using the recommended test for each year group and we measured progress by the stanine. We had no idea the tests were designed to give teachers rich, descriptive information about the level of the curriculum each student is working in, and, what their next steps should be.