Making the PYP Happen: using a visible thinking routine to share about pedagogy

As part fo the online course “Making the PYP Happen”, I am going to use the Visible Thinking Routine developed by the Project Zero team at Harvard University. called Connect-Extend-Challenge’ to share my thinking about my connection to the constructivist pedagogical theory:

a. What ideas did you “connect” with? Which theories felt comfortable to you, which one(s) did you agree with?

I agree that we build our learnign by doing, experimenting and iterating (making mistakes and learnign from them). As a learner and as a teacher, I have always prefered a constructivist approach but not in the sense of Piaget, I am rather inspired by the work of Caleb Gattegno who developed the Silent Way apprach and the pedagogy of subordinating teaching the learning. I practice the Silent Way approach when teaching French as I believe that learning is a creative process, not a consumer one. We experiment a lot in a Silent Way class and make mistakes to learn. We also play around a lot. As a teacher, I plan (prepare) and reflect (post-pare) for every lesson in order to answer the needs and wants of my learners.

b. What extended your thinking? What new ideas occurred to you? Did you learn something new?

I didn’t learn something new, but confirmed by beliefs about a constructivist approach. This made me think about how important it is to have a constructivist identity and vision as a PYP Educator. I took time to breath and think about my students and how necessary this approach is for them so they can learn in a safe, creative and engaging classroom. I thought about using more visible thinking routine as I am a big fan of Project Zero and this is also useful for the Professional Development I lead for my faculty in my school as the whole-school EdTech Coach. I also enjoy using the resources from Thinking Collaborative (strategies here) to inquire.

c. What challenged your thinking? What puzzled or created tension for you in your findings? What questions do you have now?

What challenged my thinking was the part about “learning styles”. I am not very sure we should still perpetuate this myth of “learning styles”. I am critical about the interpretation of Bruner and Gardner when it comes to this. Since we are now in the 21st Century, research has shown that this is not as simple as learning a specific way. “There is reason to think that people view learning styles theories as broadly accurate, but, in fact, scientific support for these theories is lacking. We suggest that educators’ time and energy are better spent on other theories that might aid instruction.” say Willingham et al. (2015)

T. Willingham, Daniel & Hughes, Elizabeth & Dobolyi, David. (2015). The Scientific Status of Learning Styles Theories. Teaching of Psychology. 42. 266-271. 10.1177/0098628315589505.

My question at this stage is:

How might the PYP integrate alternative constructivist approaches like the one of Caleb Gattegno?

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