Quality Learning and Teaching

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What’s in a name?


Often the labeling of different formats of curriculum delivery can lead to confusion. Whilst I have heard of Project learning and Problem based learning and possibly engaged my students in this type of learning, neither of these labels were ever applied when I was planning or delivering the curriculum. The important thing is that students are engaged, active and empowered in their learning. At the same time they need to be learning the required skills and knowledge as outlined through the curriculum.

Whilst working at Mordialloc College our students developed their own projects in response to the key learning elements of the defined curriculum. These elements were provided on a capacity matrix and students decided what elements they wished to cover and learn about in a particular project. Whilst the team of teachers who set up the learning environment for this type of learning did have to do a lot of work, once it was in place it ran very smoothly. The key was in ensuring the learning processes were documented and transparent. In brief,  things that allowed this type of learning to occur were:

  • Resource area, including posters, videos, books, handouts etc all outlined on a resource matrix. Students could access these without referring to the teacher.
  • Compulsory workshops for key skills.
  • Requested workshops for “just in time” learning.
  • Conferencing with “Family Guide”.
  • Access to technology

There also needed to be a cultural shift in teachers realising that they were not the “font of all knowledge” and that students could have much more involvement in directing the curriculum and learning.

I recently wrote a post related to capacity matrices.


Quality Learning Australia also documented our journey (www.qla.com.au). Two videos, in particular, are relevant to this post. In the first one a student explains how the capacity matrix is used and the 2nd link indicates how the learning centre operated.



Another label for learning is “Inquiry Learning”. I was involved in a Project labeled Inquiring Minds for the 21st Century where Karen Green led school teams through a process of developing inquiry in their schools and classrooms. Karen provided a document titled Blooms Taxonomy and Questioning which I think is very useful for developing open ended questioning. I have attached this document, with Karen’s permission to this post.

Blooms and questioning 1

Blooms and questioning 2

Another document that I found useful for students involved in open-ended type projects was the Inquiry PDSA (This incorporated the work of Karen Green and QLA). I have also attached this document here. It outlines the process of the inquiry, the questions to ask and the tools to help with the inquiry.

pdsa ac-2mep0k0

If the focus is taken away from the “product” and placed on the learning the name of the process is not important. The aim of project learning and problem based learning would surely aim to do this.









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