Over the past few years an increasing number of New Zealand schools have become involved in New Pedagogies for Deep Learning (NPDL). NPDL is a global collaboration of more than 1,400 schools in seven countries, seeking ways to transform teaching and learning approaches, and provide the conditions that will facilitate deep learning.
The challenge of making learning relevant, engaging, and sustainable in the modern world is one that is confronting to all schools. The NZ schools in the NPDL project represent a variety of contexts, with their own priorities and challenges, and each is using the NPDL tools, frameworks, and support to develop a coherent, school-wide approach to achieving their aspiration for deep learning.
Deep Learning Competencies
At the heart of it all are the Deep Learning Competencies, better known as the Six Cs. These are the skill sets each and every learner needs to achieve and excel in, in order to flourish in today’s complex world. These competencies form the foundation for the New Measures. NPDL teachers use the Deep Learning Progressions to assess learner’s current levels in each of the six Deep Learning Competencies. They combine this with information about learner achievement, interests, and aspirations to get a clear understanding of what each learner needs.
This is illustrated in the video below where Tracey Scott, Visual Arts teacher from Bream Bay College, shares her story of using the 6Cs in her senior NCEA classroom.
Also from Bream Bay College, Gwyneth Cooper has been using the NPDL frameworks to establish strong connections between Cultural Competencies and Deep Learning. How can we weave the 6C learning competencies into learning experiences which are socially and culturally located?
Deep Learning Lab
Participating schools gather each year at a Deep Learning Lab (DLL), where they come to be inspired and informed about the ways they can deepen learning in their schools. The 2018 DLL was held in Auckland, which included inspiration from CORE’s Rosalie Reiri on the significance of local context and the development of cultural narratives and global NPDL team member, Mag Gardner, sharing her expertise on building collaborative cultures.
After attending the DLL in Auckland the teachers from Hawea Flat School in Otago gave feedback on what they’d learned from attending the Lab:
“We had a team of people come to the Deep Learning Lab in Auckland that ranged from teachers presenting workshops, lead teachers in other areas of the school as well as teachers new to our school who had little understanding of NPDL. The keynote speakers are critical and there was something there for everyone. As a team we connected strongly with Rosalie and her place-based keynote address and also with Mag Gardner. It’s great to hear from international speakers as well as those from NZ. The workshops catered well for the different places we’re all at on our NPDL journey. We came away feeling energised, inspired and everyone motivated to go ‘deeper’. Everyone on board our waka is paddling in the same direction. It affirmed a lot of what was happening back at our school and showed us how we could go further. We felt confident to ‘let go’ and follow the children’s lead while at the same time engaging more with our parent community and what they felt was important for their children to learn. We hadn’t in the past found that out from parents during the ‘planning’ phase and after the Deep Learning Lab we followed multiple times with our parent community. One of the biggest impacts has been us realising how important it is to show our parents what ‘deep’ learning is as many of them have come through a system where test outcomes have been the main priority for learning.”
Building on what they had learned at the DLL, teachers from Hillpark School and Clevedon School in Auckland decided to put into practice the ideas they’d gained from Rosalie regarding creating a cultural narrative relating to their local context. They identified that a number of their teachers didn’t actually live in the same area as their respective schools, so set about creating an “Historical hikoi” to help build an appreciation of the cultural histories of their local areas that they could then integrate more effectively into their classroom programmes. Their story is shared in the video below.
Wellbeing and literacy
The NZ schools involved in NPDL are demonstrating a variety of ways to implement the frameworks available through being a part of the NPDL project. A recent article in the Education Gazette records the story of Cobden School near Greymouth that has used a wellbeing focus to improve boys’ literacy.
Providing opportunities for immersive, trans-disciplinary approaches to learning that involve close links with the local community are a key focus of what schools in the NPDL programme seek to achieve. In the video below, Janis Sandri from Holy Family Catholic school in Wanaka shares her school’s story of how they formed learning partnerships with key members and organisations in their local community to support learner driven passion projects.
As each of the stories of impact in this post reveal, the NPDL programme is not a ‘recipe’ to follow. Rather, it provides a robust set of frameworks and tools, together with the support of experienced facilitators and a broad community of educators, that can be used to augment and further develop the work you are doing in your school already. The challenge of how we meet the needs of each individual learner while creating a localised curriculum and ensuring that the learning is deep is not an easy task, but with the support of a local and global community, and with the tools to help us plan for and measure deep learning, it does become more achievable.
NZ NPDL Deep Learning Lab 2019.
A two-day New Pedagogies for Deep Learning event. Be a part of the action! Christchurch 18-19 July – registrations open now.
If you’re interested in knowing more about how your school or cluster could become a part of the NPDL programme in NZ please contact:
Margot McKeegan firstname.lastname@example.org or
Derek Wenmoth email@example.com
This blog post was written collaboratively by Margot and Derek.