Learning in the great outdoors!

(Guest blogger: Hanna Forsberg)

9C71200A-0BDD-4B02-9E20-3B0024A8CAC2Elever som läser kursen Biologi 1 tillbringade en heldag i Tyresta nationalpark söder om Stockholm. Tyresta skog är vår närmaste nationalpark och är mest känd för sina urskogsområden, vackra tallmarker – och den stora branden 1999. Eleverna vandrade till brandområdet och fick en guidad tur av en av Tyrestas medarbetare. På vägen dit fick vi anledning att diskutera bland annat naturtyper, indikatorväxter och biologisk mångfald. Till och från brandområdet passerade vi även två stora bäverdammar, eleverna utsåg bävern till “djurvärldens arkitekt”.

Vår guide i brandområdet berättade om gott och ont med skogsbränder, brandekologi, 84703CA3-68E6-4053-BF3A-80A9415C8BFCartspecifika anpassningar och succession. Själv delade jag ett minne från då jag träffade på ett team från Danmark som fotade ett modereportage i den dramatiska, brända miljön. Tidigare hade även rockband ansökt om att spela in en musikvideo där, det fick tillstånd till detta, under förutsättning att de inte spelade någon musik som kunde störa djurlivet…  Vår guide var även expert på bävrar och berättade mer om deras fascinerande liv.

B5CBA71F-EAC1-4AEB-92BB-FEB17D31A9DAUnder promenaden tillbaka till Tyresta by hade vi tyst vandring under en period för att uppleva naturens alla intryck, det gick då att höra både uggla och lom.

I Tyresta by fick vi en visning av Naturum, Nationalparkernas hus. Vi fick lära oss mer om Sveriges natur, våra 29 nationalparker, ekosystemstjänster och värdet av att bevara den biologiska mångfalden. Visste du till exempel att våra myrmarker renar det som blir vårt dricksvatten?

Innehåll ur kurs Biologi 1 som behandlades under dagen:8D515140-10A1-4E94-B37A-92C6CAFEF13A

* Ekosystemens struktur och dynamik, samt ekosystemtjänster.
* Naturliga och av människan orsakade störningar i ekosystem med koppling till frågor om bärkraft och biologisk mångfald.
* Kunskaper om biologins betydelse för individ och samhälle, i synnerhet ekologiskt hållbar utveckling lokalt och globalt samt olika sätt att bidra till detta.

Dagen bjöd på en mils vandring, duggregn till och från, ett gäng glada elever, nya upplevelser och kunskaper.
——————————————————–

Biology 1 students spent a full day in Tyresta National Park in the south of Stockholm. Tyresta forest is our nearest national park and is best known for its woodland areas, beautiful pine fields – and the big fire in 1999.

829F8C68-3CE8-48E8-8CF3-99BDF6DB72B6During the study visit, the students walked to the fire area and had a guided tour with one of Tyresta’s employees. During our hike, we were able to discuss the natural habitat, plants, and biodiversity. To and from the fire area, we also passed two large beaver dams. The students appointed the beaver as the “animal world architect”. Our guide told us about good and evil with forest fires, fire technology, species-specific adaptations, and succession. I, myself, shared a memory from when I met a team from Denmark who photographed a mother in the dramatic, burned environment. In the past, rock bands were also asked to record a music video there, given permission for this, provided they did not play any music that could disturb wildlife …

Our guide was also an expert on beavers and told us more about their fascinating life. During the walk back to Tyresta, we had quiet walking for a period of time to experience all the impressions of nature, so it was possible to hear both owls and lamb. In Tyresta, we received a view of Naturum, the National Park’s museum. We learned more about Sweden’s nature, our 29 national parks, ecosystems and the value of preserving biodiversity.

Did you know, for example, that our marshlands clean what becomes our drinking water?

Core Content from Biology 1 addressed during the study visit:

* Structure and dynamics of ecosystems. Energy flows and recycling materials, and also ecosystem services.

* Natural and man-made disturbances in the ecosystem linked to questions about bearing capacity and biological diversity.

* Knowledge of the significance of 894241B1-7C61-45ED-B723-E8F7935D36FCbiology for individuals and society, especially ecologically sustainable development locally and globally, and various ways to contribute to this.

The day offered a mile of hiking, drizzle on and off, a bunch of happy students, new experiences, and knowledge.

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Variation in the “how” and authentic tasks are key to student motivation

thinking-emoticonAs a school leader, I think a lot about what motivates the students at my school. Of course, our work is greatly informed by current educational research on this topic. Yet, I am left to ponder how does this scientific evidence translate into our classrooms? After countless conversations with students and teachers and nearly 75 walk-through observations this year, I have begun to draw some conclusions.

I believe student motivation at my school is influenced by many factors:

-the balance between challenge without overload and self-confidence

-relationship and level of trust between student and teacher

-real and relevant tasks

-variation in the “how”

-the element of the unexpected; curiosity

Here is one example of what student motivation looks like in Social Science:

Students in Social Science 2 have studied a module of their course about Climate Change.

The task was called the World Climate Project.

After a thorough introduction to theories and resources.  Students were divided intoparis groups each representing a different country that had signed the Paris Agreement and were also amongst the largest global CO2 emitters. Each of these countries has different social, political and economic situations and are affected by climate change in different ways.

spetscountry.jpgThe task was to research relevant information about the country in order to develop a realistic climate policy for that country. The research and presentation were developed in teacher-led coaching feedback sessions.  

Each group presented their country’s proposal for the class.  

The country presentations were assessed by both the Social Science and the Natural Science teacher as many concepts, theories and important points relate to both courses.IMG_0070 (1)

In the next two weeks, all groups will take part in negotiations with other countries over policies and solutions. The purpose of the negotiations is to reach consensus on how to reduce emissions and reduce the rate of global temperature increases. Some of the questions that will be central to these discussions are:

  • What should the global climate change and emissions targets look like?
  • How can different countries contribute to achieving these global targets?
  • What kind of measures should be taken in order to achieve these targets?

The “HOW” …

The project consists of the following stages:

Part 1: Research of country and development of climate policy.  

Part 2: Presentation of country climate policy (group presentations)

Part 3: Participation in UN-led climate negotiations (whole class)  

This unit of study directly relates to the course core content:

Teaching in the course should cover the following core content:

  • Contemporary political development in society on the basis of historical ideological conditions, such as human rights, nationalism, colonialism and gender equality, in relation to the distribution of power and economic conditions. Issues of the freedom of action of players versus structural conditions.
  • Critical examination of sources, interpretation, and assessment of information from different media and sources when working with complex social issues. Referencing sources in accordance with established norms.
  • Oral and written presentations in different forms, using different techniques common in the area, such as debates, articles, reports and essays.

And, the grading criteria:

  • Students can discuss causes, and also political economic and social consequences of different solutions to social issues. Students can give arguments for their viewpoints and evaluate the viewpoints of others.
  • In their work on social issues, students can search for, examine and interpret information from different sources.
  • Students can with certainty and in a structured way, express their knowledge of social studies using different types of presentations.

How does this example relate to my conclusions about student motivation?

Consider this:

  1.  Students were challenged to think beyond the details of climate change.  They were required to consider the application of the details for their own situation and set that in the context of a comparison with other countries.  While difficult, the students had the coaching of their teacher throughout the process.  They also discussed with their Natural Science teacher for further support.  Presentations were in groups of three and practiced in advance.

-balance between challenge without overload and self-confidence

-relationship and level of trust between student and teacher

2.  The Paris Agreement is a current agreement being debated.  The realities of different country’s situations are what defines this debate.  By “taking on” one country’s perspective, students had to set aside their own opinions and work even hard to understand those of their country.

-real and relevant tasks

3.  In class lectures, coaching sessions, research, discussions in Natural Science class, group presentations and class debate … different steps in the process allow for different approaches and development of different skills.

-variation in the “how”

4.  The country presentations are now complete.  The students are eager to move on to the debate because they do not know how it will end.  They know how they want it to end, but they are unsure if it will work.  They are motivated to participate to get their proposed solution agreed upon by all.

-the element of the unexpected; curiosity

Wondering if this unit of study is typical for this class and if they are motivated to learn more than in a traditional setting, I reviewed an external survey of students in the Stockholm area where they commented on the learning at their school.  

In each statement:

-The teaching motivates me to learn more.

-My teachers cooperate for my learning.

-There is variation in how we work during my lessons.

this class answered much more positively than their counterparts in other Stockholm schools.

enkät spets

spets skl vt2017

These student survey results mirror my observations and discussions with this class. The students said they really “get excited about their country’s ideas” and are “really ready for debate”.

We all understand that motivation is a key component of learning.  If we can identify (and agree on) what ingredients are needed to incite motivation, then we can work systematically to design the learning to ensure that it happens.

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Blended Learning is the what, Instructional Design is the how

img_8286I recently participated in a lively debate about how can we help our students learn best?

The debate was centered on the topic of blended learning – what it is and how can we use it to make learning effective and efficient.  It was evident to me after following the debate that there are many different opinions and ideas floating around.  And while this is a healthy and important debate to have, I want to spend a few minutes discussing how I view blended learning at VRG and make clear why I believe this approach can help our students learn best.

First of all, let’s talk about the “what” and then work backward to the “how”.  Adapted from the Clayton Christensen Institute definition, we define blended learning as:

blended learning vrg

What does that really mean?  This means that if we are doing it right, blended learning activities will enable our students and enable our teachers.  Our students will experience their classes to be more relevant to their interests and needs and abilities. Our teachers will experience a structured, effective way to utilize all the tools in their toolbox to see and support and teach every student.  In reality, one blended classroom will look very different from another.  There will be a blend of lecture and discussion and collaborative exercises.  There will be a blend of group and individual tasks.  There will be a blend of online and face-to-face activities.  The blend will be determined by what the teacher deems best for the specific learner.  We will know when we have the blend just right when the teacher has more one-on-one time with each student and each student feels seen, supported and challenged.

We use this illustration to think about our vision for Blended Learning.

blended-figure

If this is the “what”, the next question is, of course, the “how”.  Early on in our pilot studies, we realized this was the important question.  That was when we began to discuss the process of Instructional Design.

instructional design

The teacher is the leader of the learning.  The decisions the teacher makes determine the roadmap for the student.  Finding the balance between all of the aspects mentioned above is what makes the roadmap effective.  Designing the structure of the course (pace, path and place) and determining which aspects to emphasize makes the roadmap labweek4befficient.  Many important interactions occur when learning is present:  when and how the students should interact with the content; when and how students interact with the teacher and their classmates; when and how students interact with reflection to connect new ideas to their already existing knowledge.  By understanding best practices in instructional design, we can draw a roadmap for each student to make the most of every interaction.

Good instructional design requires teachers to get and give continual feedback. In traditional classrooms, the feedback processes were too slow and time-consuming.  This forced teachers to make decisions based on “the average” of a class.  In a blended learning classroom, teachers are empowered by an understanding of each and every img_0043-1student’s progress thanks to effective edtech tools.

I realize now we should spend more time talking about the “how” and less about the “what”.  Teachers are the key to student learning.  How they design and teach their courses are key to successful student learning.

To be clear, we are focused on offering blended learning empowered by efficient and effective instructional design. img_9677

Want to see what a blended classroom can look like:

Blended Learning in a Physics Classroom

Creating Blended Learning Environments

Want to read a summary of our work over the past two years?

(in Swedish) En digital kursstruktur för synlig undervisning och ökad elevkontakt #CanvasLMS

Want to discuss this more or join our debate?  Comment below.

 

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Kollegialt lärande ur olika perspektiv

Guest blog author:  Markus Anderson

solving the jigsaw puzzle

Bild av Yoel Ben-Avraham

Under mina fyra år som förstelärare på VRG Djursholm har kollegialt lärande stått i fokus. Innebörden av kollegialt lärande för en skola är att lärare på ett strukturerat sätt via olika aktiviteter lär sig av varandra för att på så sätt utveckla undervisningen.

Ett exempel på vad det kollegiala lärandet för min del tidigare har fokuserat på är bedömning och implementeringen av gymnasiereformen (Gy 11). Ett annat exempel är arbetet med hur vi i skolans utvecklingsarbete kan ta hänsyn till beprövad erfarenhet, aktuell skolforskning samt att koppla detta till vår egen verksamhet så att vi kan bygga upp en evidensbaserad praktik. Detta är ett tankesätt som är hämtat från den medicinska forskningen och även ett arbetssätt som Skolverket förespråkar. I den medicinska forskningen vill man veta t.ex. vilken behandlingsform som ger bäst resultat för patienten. Vad som ger “bäst” effekt är dock mer komplext när det gäller lärande. Effekten av en undervisningsmetod beror inte bara på metoden i sig, utan också på vem som använder den och i vilket sammanhang. Idén med evidens är att systematiskt dra slutsatser från forskningen och prova olika metoder i klassrummet och lyfta fram de metoder som fungerar bäst just för mina olika undervisningsgrupper och även för skolan som helhet. Kollegiet arbetade med detta genom att bland annat göra lektionsbesök hos varandra.

Det här året ägnar jag mig åt kollegialt lärande dels som processledare för programlagsarbetet samt genom att studera hur det kollegial lärandet ser ut på andra gymnasieskolor i Danderyds kommun.

Programlagsarbetet

labweek4bFör att på bästa sätt utveckla undervisningen inom naturprogrammet arbetar vi i programlag där de lärare som undervisar på programmet ingår. Detta arbete leder jag tillsammans med min kollega Hanna Forsberg. I programlaget arbetar vi just nu med att identifiera utvecklingsområden utifrån naturprogrammets programmål och att i linje med detta ta fram en tydlig progression av elevernas kunskapsutveckling i de olika årskurserna. Vi tar också fram ämnesövergripande projekt för att hjälpa elever se samband mellan olika kurser och utveckla ett naturvetenskapligt förhållningssätt.

Danderydsstudien danderyd kommun

Detta är en studie som finansieras av Danderyds kommun och som jag genomför i samarbete med mina kollegor Mona von Porat och Anna Sarri Krantz. Fokus för Anna och Mona är formativa arbetssätt som används i klassrummet i matematik och svenska. Mitt fokus ligger istället på lärarnas kollegiala arbete. Syftet med mitt delprojekt är att utvärdera det kollegiala lärandet i ämnena svenska och matematik i Danderyd kommuns tre gymnasieskolor. Utvärderingen ska ge kunskap om vad det kollegiala lärandet handlar om och i vilka former det sker samt ge kunskap om möjligheter och begränsningar i det kollegiala lärandet i Danderyds kommun med avseende på såväl förutsättningar som processer. Genom att identifiera och värdera dessa är min förhoppning att ta fram ett underlag som kan användas för att utveckla det kollegiala lärandet med fokus på att förbättra metoder i undervisningen. I skrivande stund har jag genomfört ett flertal auskultationer på Marina läroverket och på VRG Djursholm. Nästa steg är att göra liknande observationer på Danderyds gymnasium och efter det sammanställa en rapport och presentera resultatet för Danderyds kommun och lärare 02 Markus Andersson

Att få möjligheten att bedriva praktiknära forskning är stimulerande och utmanande! Min förhoppning är att just praktiknära forskning blir ett mer vanligt inslag för alla lärare i hela landet och jag tror att det skulle kunna bidra till givande skolutveckling och högre måluppfyllelse för eleverna.

Markus Andersson,  Lektor Biologi/Kemi/Naturkunskap | Ph Lic Teacher Biology/Chemistry
Förstelärare | Lead teacher

Read more from Markus here>>  Digital tests and Lead teachers lead the learning

 

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VRG students win at #UF2017 (again!)

This week was #UFSTHLM 2017 week.  Many of our senior economy students presented their UF companies at the annual Junior Achievement Convention in Stockholm.

During this convention, each team of students presented their company.  Each company represents a concept the students have taken from idea to action.  Creating a UF company is a hands-on task.  A task that lasts for a full academic year.  Students write business plans; plan and implement marketing; work through development challenges; create, monitor and follow-up all economic aspects of running their company – it is a holistic task. With the support of a coach, students lead their own learning.

On Monday, VRG had 14 companies represented:

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On Wednesday, four VRG companies were recognized for winning one of the competition categories:

ecoborn

Best Booth went to EcoBorn UF.  A company that makes and sells eco-friendly baby clothes with already colored cotton.  You can read about their company’s idea in this article: Tonårskillarna som vill minska gifterna i babyskläder  In addition, EcoBornUF won 2nd place in Best UF Company.

ungkarrieruf

Best Service went to UngKarriärUF.  A company that creates podcasts about different careers students may be interested in.  They interview people who are working actively in the chosen career about the path they took to get there and what type of everyday tasks they accomplish.  You can listen here>> to listen to their latest podcast where they interview a Community Manager.

frey.jpg

Best Product went to FREYCashmereUF.  A company that sell eco-friendly cashmere
scarves made (partially) of recycled threads.  In
addition, customers are encouraged to donate an old scarf when they buy a new one.  The donated scarves are then taken to charity.  Their motto is “a scarf for a scarf.”  You can read more about their sustainable idea in this article: En halsduk för en halsduk

safewoman

Best Business Plan (4th year in a row VRGD has won this award) went to SafeWomanUF.  A company that sells an “all-in-one” kit of products to aid women’s defense and security.

 

Congratulations to all of our UF companies – #stolt.

Thanks also to Henrik & Alexandra (UF coaches) for all your support!

Read about UF2016 here>>

Read about UF2015 here>>

 

 

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Teachers team together & learn from each other @VR Workshops 2017

 

vrworkshops6

Richard Walls (Head of Innovation), Louise Westerberg (Founding VR Board member), Alistair Creelman & Kerstin Hallén (VR Director of Schools)

 

 

On March 17, more than 200 Viktor Rydberg Schools teachers assembled at VRG Jarlaplan for an afternoon of lectures and workshops –  led by VR teachers, for VR teachers.

#learningleaders

 

 

 

The afternoon began wit an inspiring lecture from Alastair Creelman.  Alastair works as a specialist in E-learning

at Linnaeus University in Kalmar.  He spoke about the many dimensions of instructional design when considering online, face-to-face and blended learning experiences.  He shared many great resources for how to design effective learning with “smarter collaboration“.

vrworkshops7Following a quick break, the teachers broke into workshop groups.  Each workshop was led by a colleague.  A list of workshops was provided in advance, everyone got to choose.  Topics ranged from voice training to special education to digital tools for formative feedback to historical walks around the city.vrworkshops11

Typical for each session was an engaged leader willing to share his/her idea about learning, and active participants interested in understanding more.

Perhaps even more so than quality professional development workshops was the inspiring networking going on in the formal and informal discussions in the hallways.

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VRG besökte #TrippelHelix konferens om skolans digitalisering

Read here to see how Hanna Forsberg, Lead Teacher at VRG, is working to ready our school and our staff for further development of blended courses at VRG. Here is an account of her networking with local agencies to share best practices.

Hannas skolblogg

Skolans digitalisering: från IT-strategi till verksamhetsförändring

Den 14 mars höll Swedsoft en konferens inom ramen för projektet Trippel Helix – nationell samling för skolans digitalisering.  Trippel Helix har ekonomiskt stöd från Vinnova, och fokuserar på vad och hur när det gäller digitaliseringen av skolan. Detta bland annat genom att hålla regionala och nationella workshops, samt forskningskonferenser (läs mer om projektet här). Min egen erfarenhet av Trippel Helix workshops är att det är bra forum för spridning av information, möjlighet att ge input och respons, samt att knyta kontakter mellan aktörer inom de tre “benen” i trippelhelixen: skola, akademi och näringsliv. En av de mest framstående aktörerna i området, Skolverket, har haft löpande samverkan med Trippel Helix i samband med regeringens digitaliseringsuppdrag.

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“Spring” into action in our library!

Guest bloggers: Maria Axelsson & Anja Vikingson
kollafakta

During the spring semester in the library, we have a focus on media literacy and source criticism. Today, when more and more information is being filtered through social media, it is becoming increasingly important for students to develop source-criticism skills to be able to orient themselves and evaluate sources. The library helps both teachers and students with the source-criticism tools. We organize lectures, workshops, do lesson visits and talk with students in the library.

We also support students with their search strategies as they do their diploma projects and prepare for further studies. Within the VR Schools Foundation, we library2have developed a database of all graduates’ diploma projects. It opens up as a test for all of the VRG schools this year. The aim is for pupils to inspire each other and get the chance to share their results.

Additional activities 

In addition, the library has a reading club where we discuss the books we have chosen and read together. Before each holiday, we arrange “klarsittning” where students can stay after school and finish assignments before the holidays. Librarians, student resources, and some library1teachers are available to help and we provide “fika”. This year, we have also organized a chess tournament.   And, we have organized film screenings with LGBTQ + Group and to follow current events like the US elections.

library3Follow us on Instagram to see more about what is happening and to get book recommendations: 

https://www.instagram.com/vrg_biblioteket/

Or, come visit us!

Maria Axelsson & Anja Vikingson

Librarians

____________________________

Vårens aktiviteter i biblioteket!

Under vårterminen i biblioteket har vi ett fokus på media literacy och källkritik. Idag då allt fler nås av information filtrerad genom sociala medier blir det allt viktigare att utveckla sin källkritiska kompetens för att kunna orientera sig och värdera källor. Biblioteket hjälper både lärare och elever med källkritiska verktyg. Vi ordnar föreläsningar, workshops, gör lektionsbesök och samtalar med elever på plats i biblioteket.

Vi handleder även elever i sökstrategier då de skriver arbeten och förbereder dem för vidare studier. Inom stiftelsen har vi utvecklat en databas med målet att tillgängliggöra elevers gymnasiearbeten på våra skolor. Den öppnar efter ett testår upp för alla stiftelsens skolor i år. Syftet är att eleverna ska inspirera varandra och få chansen att dela sina resultat.

Förutom detta har biblioteket en litteraturklubb där vi diskuterar böcker vi har valt och läst ihop. Vi ordnar så kallad klarsittning där eleverna kan sitta kvar en eftermiddag och arbeta klart med skoluppgifter inför lov. Bibliotekarier, resurser och några lärare finns då tillgängliga för att hjälpa till och vi bjuder på fika. Nytt för i år är även schacktävling. Och vi har ordnat filmvisning tillsammans med HBTQ+gruppen och bevakat amerikanska valet. Följ oss gärna på Instagram för att se mer vad som händer och för att få boktips:

https://www.instagram.com/vrg_biblioteket/

Maria Axelsson & Anja Vikingson

Bibliotekarier

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IDA – Instructional Design Academy – an idea in the making

IMG_4289.JPG

15 teachers, 2 days, 1 focus = how to describe, improve and further develop the quality of instruction at the Viktor Rydberg schools … IDA, Instructional Design Academy, is an idea in the making.

In January, we gathered a group of teachers from each of our five schools and challenged them to think beyond what is happening in our schools today.  But, instead, think about what do we want to be able to do tomorrow.  We discussed ideas from current educational research, worked in brainstorming processes, debated ideas, developed specific paths for progress and, most importantly, we listened to each other. IMG_4296.JPG

Before they arrived at the two-day academy, each participant was asked to think about an area of expertise that they would be interested in developing a professional learning module.  The topic could be any aspect of learning in our

The topic could be any aspect of learning in our schools, but should be related to Instructional Design in a digital environment.

 

rotation-idaOn Day 1, we examined where we are right
now … with a focus on how students learn best and blended learning. Using a station rotation approach, teachers worked on individual tasks, team tasks and in a group.  We studied the work of Dylan Wiliam and discussed the idea of deliberate practice,

Using a station rotation approach, teachers worked on individual tasks, team tasks and in a group.  We studied the work of Dylan Wiliam and discussed the idea of deliberate practice, blended-figurereviewed the later work of John Hattie and visible learning, as well as different models of blended learning.

Then, each participant was challenged to develop a professional learning module within their area of expertise.

On Day 2, we discussed the long-term vision of our organization to eventually offer img_4305varied forms of distance and online education.  Then, teachers worked individually and in teams to develop their modules.
Using the ideas from Day 1 and the vision from Day 2, teachers were inspired to address current challenges and develop modules for teams of teachers to study.

Each module is built on a cycle of study, discussion, practice and review all in a team of peers.lyft

ida-feedback-2Based on the feedback from our first session, we are now in the process of planning the
second meeting of our Instructional Design Academy.

ida-response-1 What we know will be included:  current educational research, examples of best practice, intentional cycles of development and lots of time for teacher-to-teacher discussions.

ida-quote

We believe our teachers are the most important parameter in our students’ academic success.  Therefore, we will continue to develop our IDA program for all VR teachers.

 

 

 

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A lesson beyond the classroom

suecircle

Guest blogger:  Lead teacher, Sue Tennander

Topic: authentic learning

 

In the Communications course of the English programme, students study human IMG_1617interaction and communication in different contexts. Social interaction is undoubtedly something that all students already have plenty of experience of, but in order to develop their analytical skills they are introduced to a number of different theories that focus on how we learn at different ages. One assignment related to this particular topic requires students to plan, in groups of two or three, an activity that they can lead with a small group of fourth graders (eight-year-olds)  at the nearby British International School of Stockholm (BISS). IMG_1609This year, with their activity plans approved and predictions made about how things would work out, students spent a morning being the “big kids on the block“ rather than the youngest at VRG.

After a general introduction, each group of VRG students was assigned 3-6 eight-year-olds who were clearly eager to see what the giants from up the road had to offer. Within minutes, groups were spread throughout three classrooms and a corridor, deeply engaged in solving puzzles, playing word games, telling stories, doing memory tests, building towers and wrapping eggs in such a way that when they were dropped from a height they wouldn´t break. These are just a few of the many different activities that the VRG students had planned.IMG_1649

This was clearly the most energetic part of the assignment and it gave the VRG students plenty of authentic material on which to base their follow-up report. This is where they had the chance to relate theory to practice, analyse whether their activity had gone according to plan or not, and comment on the many different types of interaction they encountered during their visit.

IMG_1620The final stage of the assignment was for each pair/group of VRG students to practise their presentation skills a week later in class, when an overview of each activity involved at BISS was given.

The visit to BISS is just one of the many authentic learning situations that I and many of my colleagues at VRG strive to incorporate in our courses. I have a feeling that it is also one of the most fun, at least it seemed that way to me as I walked between groups of students from both schools smiling and laughing together.

 

Read about other examples of authentic learning at VRG, here:

Economy students work with mentor companies

Students use PechaKucha to lobby votes for their EU proposal

Students share Swedish culture with Language Immersion Programme students

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