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'If students can't learn the way we teach, we must teach the way they learn' (Ignacio Estrada, via Tomlinson)

HTAA Conference: Day One Workshop Sessions

Posted by Lisa Hill on October 5, 2008

The first session of the day was terrific. Presented by Kate Wain, it was titled Brain-Friendly Teaching, a layperson’s interpretation of the recent findings from neuroscience – and what astonished me was that Kate ‘s school (St Hilda’s in Southport) had funded her to go to the US to learn about this stuff – it certainly is a different world in private schools!
Anyway, Kate was an excellent presenter and I am really cross with myself for having misplaced my notes somewhere because I wanted to pass on the relevant points to staff at school. Most pertinent, was that certain parts of the brain don’t develop fully until the 40s or later, and that some types of thinking are beyond primary school children. She spoke specifically about the ability to plan, and how this requires a capacity to think of consequences in the future – a skill that is difficult for most adolescents, never mind 10 and 11 year olds. What I take from this is that I need to provide much more support for students to plan and monitor project work, for they are not developmentally ready to do this for themselves.

After that, I went to Strategies for Critical Thinking, presented by Eric Frengenheim.
is a dynamic speaker, and he has adapted various thinking tools for education use. His Framework for Thinking at Different Levels is fabulous: it links numerous thinking tools with Bloom’s Taxonomy and I know I’ll be referring to it constantly as I plan my next units of work. I wish now that I had bought his book…
I didn’t go to session three. I was just too tired after having slept badly, so I rang Tim who had just returned from a day’s gallivanting in Brisbane. Thanks again to the Navman, he found the College and we went back to the hotel for a snooze. (I always sleep badly on the first night away from home – I should have gone up a day earlier). It was a shame because it was about the new portrait gallery in Canberra, which I am very keen to see. It’s due to open in December.
I missed the screening of Broken Sun too. We were too tired to go anywhere so we dined in at the hotel – which (in contrast to breakfasts) was very nice.

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