Getting the "right balance" - just make sure you get "back to basics" in that Modern Learn Environment.

Content vs. skills
Face to face vs. online
Rote learning vs. deep thinking
Individual activities vs group activities
Sage on the stage vs. guide on the side
Teacher led learning vs. self directed learning
Closed classrooms vs. flexible learning commons
Discreet curriculum subjects vs. an integrated curriculum

Is it just me or are all wrestling with this concept of "the right balance"? Is there even such a thing as a right balance? And right for whom exactly?

One thing I do know is, is that if we want to shift from a "traditional" to a more "future focused pedagogy" this involves a shift in this balance. A shift to skills over content, a greater mix of face to face and online, deep thinking over rote learning, more collaborative group work, more guide less sage, self-directed over teacher-led with all of this taking place in a flexible learning space and with a more integrated curriculum model.

But even if I can get my head around this, the more I think about it, the more questions I start forming. How much shift is enough? A little or a lot. Not sure. How do we know we have shifted enough? Much gauging of student engagement and achievement I am guessing.

And actually, who decided this shift is actually needed in the first place.

All of the money being invested in the development of Modern Learning Environments and the Network for Learning certainly suggests the government sees shift as a priority. Or does it. If we are to believe our current Minister of Education, when it comes to Mathematics, we actually need to get "back to basics" and embrace some good old rote hang on a minute...does that mean that whilst the government thinks we we need to evolve and get ready for these Modern Learning Environments (see last post) we also need to hang on to traditional pedagogy.

Got it. Shift two steps forward...and um, shift three steps back.

Our (NZ) curriculum and many popular educational leaders also suggest a shift is needed, you only need to cast an eye over the work of John Hattie, Dennis Littky and Ken Robinson to name but a few. I can happily accept that. I guess the challenge will be in estimating just how much of a shift is needed, especially as we (the HPSS senior leadership team) are presented with the rare opportunity of building a school from the ground up. Already we have learned much from our local leaders (Albany Senior and Ormiston both leading the way in this evolution), next we will get to learn from some world leaders (watch this space) and finally we will need to be brave and genuinely make the shift.

Okay, so one thing I know for sure, we will struggle (and should struggle) to get the "right balance", in fact it really will be more about ensuring that we keep evolving that balance so as to respond to our learners.

You can rest assured...we certainly won't be simply "getting back to basics" in our Modern Learning Environment.


  1. I think we are clearly moving on the right.

    Teaching in the Digital Age by Stanford University:

  2. I just stumbled upon your blog and wanted to say that I have really enjoyed reading your blog posts. Any way I'll be subscribing to your feed and I hope you post again soon.A fantastic presentation. Very open and informative.You have beautifully presented your thought in this blog post. wrestling basics


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