The Plastic Brain

Reflections on Teachers’ Day with Martin Westwell

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On Martin Westwell

Prof Westwell is the Director of the Flinders Centre for Science Education in the 21st Century. The Centre aims to bring evidence-based research findings to teaching through various partnerships and programs.

On the Australian Curriculum

  • The new AC provides a sound foundation for moving Australian Education forward
  • It could be used to support a shift from industrial to post-industrial practices
  • For all those who watched the Ken Robinson RSA video and said “Yes!”, this is your chance.
  • The (Maths) proficiencies in the AC provide a useful way of drilling down to the “essence”. These are: Fluency, Understanding, Problem Solving, Reasoning.
  • I currently build through these sequentially, but there is no reason not to start at “higher” levels
  • The latter three can be referred to as Fluency+
  • Students do well in NAPLAN numeracy at fluency, poorly at Fluency+
  • Fluency+ is teachable and learnable, but not instructable (but Fluency is).
  • Westwell’s “essence” seems similar to Lynn Erikson‘s “concepts”, which form part of her concept-based curriculum, which itself is strongly influencing the IB MYP approach.

On Success Predictors

  • Self efficacy and self directedness have positive correlations with education success
  • A surface approach to learning has a negative effect, of the same order as procrastination and test anxiety

On Pedagogical Aspirations

  • Evidence-rich teaching and learning environments
  • Engagement is a three-legged stool, where cognitive, emotional and behavioural engagement are all required.
  • DECD (?) will be providing a new online resource for SA teachers, which will provide tools for marrying these aspirations and the AC.

ON “Dan Meyering”

  • Westwell has coined this phrase to refer to using techniques pioneered by Dan Meyer to bring new life and learning to his Maths classroom. If you don’t know of Dan Meyer, you really should check out his blog.
  • Some of the ideas discussed included – using intuition and guessing, helping less (knowing when to stand back), highlighting the limits of a student’s existing skills and knowledge
  • Dan’s key tip on engagement is perplexity

Author: Rogan Tinsley

Biology, science and maths teacher with a PhD in Neuroscience and passion for education.

One thought on “Reflections on Teachers’ Day with Martin Westwell

  1. Pingback: Teachers’ Day with Martin Westwell – Follow up | dr.adenozine

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