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MLP or just Effective Pedagogy

Started by Neill O'Reilly 09 Sep 2015 4:56pm () Replies (64)

I am keen to find out if anyone can define MLP and if we can't, perhaps ditch the term and just talk about effective pedagogy?

Can anyone give us a succinct definition of what Modern Learning Practice / Modern Learning Pedagogies are?

Can't be about technology- not that modern (they were part of the rationale for the move to open plan units in the 1960's)

Can't be about student centred learning... being around for ever!

Can't be about having a shared vision, values and beliefs...they are not pedagogies or practices

Is it about preparing children for their future- I think thats just part of our day to day job (effective pedagogy?)

If it is about pedagogies I am wondering if there are some new modern pedagogies I am missing?

Perhaps it is about Collaborative teaching? If so lets call it that. But that seems confusing because you can go on a course to do MLP in a traditional classroom?

Be cool if it was about culturally inclusive practice (that's quite modern) but I don't think it is?

I suppose my concern is;  Have we created a new acronym for something when perhaps there is no need and it just adds to the confusion of MLE, ILE, ILS, FLS...MLP? Perhaps more importantly teachers are been led to think there is a new pedagogy or a 'modern learning practice' that is required to teach in a flexible learning space as opposed to a classroom

Really keen for some feedback....



  • Neill O'Reilly (View all users posts) 08 Oct 2015 1:15pm ()

    Hi Leigh,

    Perhaps "educative purpose is to be a better teacher." should be in a much smaller font!

    None the less my job as a principal is to do the best I can for my school and our children- that means I am continually trying to (one of my purposes) to be a better principal....If teachers achieve this then they will do the most important things- improved outcomes, hauora, self regulation and enable our children as lifelong learners!

    What I observed in my research of the open plan era was most teachers did not understand the vision and the 'why' of the movement. This had significant negative implications- your illustration affirms the importance of vision/ beliefs

  • Neill O'Reilly (View all users posts) 08 Oct 2015 1:02pm ()

    Hi Margaret,

    There is a continuum about what collaborative teaching is. For example in some cases collaborative teaching is two or more teachers in a flexible learning space where they have their own class but do some teaching of each others children. They remain responsible for the teaching, learning, reporting, assessment, next steps of their own class. At the other end of the continuum is a space where all children are 'ours' and all that relates to their learning is shared between the teachers- planning, teaching, assessment, reporting, next steps etc. Groups are fluid, children may opt into workshops... (I hope to have a continuum ready to share in the next few days) 

    Neither is right or wrong they are just a continuum. What may help teachers and leaders is to see a model continuum and identify where they are on it and where they want to be. In my travels over the last term I have seen great examples right along this continuum, in other words there can be great outcomes for learners and teachers all along it.

    This may help with what you mean by "teachers need clear guidelines" as these can only really be generated by the school based on their vision for learning, they belief in collaborative teaching and their environment.


  • Margaret Walker (View all users posts) 08 Oct 2015 10:44am ()

    I agree Paul, this discussion is helpful in shaping thinking, for me, about collaborative teaching. I also love the storyboard analogy of different perspectives when exploring a concept.  

    To continue in the same vein about what is collaborative teaching, my question for our principal recently was: 'if we are to have collaborative conversations about learners, what do these conversations look like and sound like?'.  Collaborative teaching a in a space can revert to team teaching and cross grouping, perhaps there may also be invaluable discussions about best practice?  Teachers need clear guidelines about collaboration.

  • Margaret Walker (View all users posts) 08 Oct 2015 10:26am ()

    Hi Gael and Sarah

    I am enjoying these discussions about MLEs FLEs etc (I agree the terminology is still evolving) and can see the link or entertwining with Teaching as Inquiry. If we view teaching as Inquiry as a concept about effective teaching and responsiveness to learners rather than a process to be gone through for appraisal, I believe it will help to set up an environment to support collaborative and collegial teaching in a 'space'. This is my opinion based on research I have done and on what I have read and viewed on and through the VLN.

     [My research about leadership in TAI involved BES, Hattie, Fullan (many of the names mentioned in this forum) and also the 2012 ERO publication 'Teaching as Inquiry - responding to learners'].  

     A lot is talked about what teachers should be doing, but leaders need to support them in this journey. So many teachers I have spoken to clearly have limited understanding of the theories underpinning MLEs and some still see TAI as 'something else to do'. Through the research I can definitely see the links that leaders could make to create a positive, supportive, effective environment for both teaching as inquiry and collaborative teaching in our schools.  Belief in the concept will transform an arduous process to an enthusiastic, collaborative, day to day event centred on learners and effective teaching.

  • Leigh Hynes (View all users posts) 08 Oct 2015 9:06am ()

    Educative purpose must be about preparing our learners for the future.  This is a nation wide goal, expressed succinctly in the NZ curriculum.  We want our learners to be confident connected actively involved lifelong learners so that they are prepared for the future.  Teachers are employed to achieve this end.  This is where I have a problem if a teacher responds that their "educative purpose is to be a better teacher."  What for?

    I just want to add a diagram of Daniel Kims work here - the patterns of behaviour like collaboration are low on the leverage scale.  The vision is what drives the change and if you do not have shared vision or educative purpose then it will be hard to make educators understand why they are being collaborative let alone understand what they need to do to be collaborative.


  • Neill O'Reilly (View all users posts) 08 Oct 2015 8:47am ()

    Thanks for the ongoing input into this Paul- come on you other people who are reading there is plenty of wisdom out there to share!


  • Neill O'Reilly (View all users posts) 08 Oct 2015 8:46am ()


    I think it is helpful to understand our educative purpose (sorry folks it is education jargon but an important one), sort of like; why we come to work each day. For me it could be as simple as to "Improve learning outcomes, hauora and self regulation" and "To become a better teacher!" I am sure each school has their own.

    If we have this clear then every initiative that is proposed (1:1, BYOD, PMP, Keeping ourselves safe, Inquiry, Collaborative teaching, ability grouping or not, questioning techniques etc) can be put through the filter of "How will this help us achieve our educative purpose?"

    With Collaborative Teaching I think there are two starting points:

    1. What is our schools shared belief about collaborative teaching? (the 'why' factor, which leads to the how and what)
    2. What is our schools and teachers understanding of what student centred learning is?

    Let's go with #1. We believe collaborative teaching allows teachers to maximise the collective intelligence, skills, knowledge and motivations of staff for the benefit of our learners. We believe in the immensely complex world of teaching in 2015 with the diverse needs of learners and the overall goals of our school that teachers must worked collaboratively if we are to move beyond our current results....etc (each school needs to do this)

    #1 A collaborative teaching and learning environment cannot work if it is teacher centric (the research i have done is pretty clear on this), so it must be student centred, this is also effective pedagogy. So what does that mean for teachers, students, parents, support staff and our community? Again schools really need to understand this as it has significant implications for the effectiveness of the collaborative team. If Paul thinks a student centred learning environment looks, sounds, feels like "A" and Neill thinks it looks, sounds and feels like "B" we have problems. The question for schools "What does a student centred learning environment look, sound, and feel like at __________ school?"

    Once we have these two sorted we can then begin to determine how too make it all work- the systems we need, the support for teachers and children etc ...

    To summarise:
    1. Schools should know there educative purpose
    2. Teachers, leaders and BoT's should have a shared belief about why they believe collaborative teaching is the way to go
    3. Teachers, leaders and support staff should understand what a student centred learning environment is (looks,sounds,feels like)


  • Paul Wilkinson (View all users posts) 08 Oct 2015 6:37am ()

    Thanks Neill. 

    I love the tidal flow of synthesis and expansion of these ideas. 

    You are quite right. Questions 2,3 and 4 are really the same question. So if we can grapple with the "why is this  a good idea? of collaborative teaching (your use of the word deprivatised is a key starting point I think) and the practicalities of who does what when we will have both theory and practice sorted. The challenge then is to ensure that our espoused theory matches our lived experience (assuming the theory is educationally sound of course).

    Great discussion


  • Paul Wilkinson (View all users posts) 08 Oct 2015 6:13am ()

    Three great questions Neill.  If you added something like ... How will we demonstrate student progress? I think you have the essential questions that schools need to be able to articulate answers to. Combine those answers with the NZC and you have the theory sorted. Just get on with doing a really great job of creating an environment that matches the vision. Hah! Easy really. 

    Last night  I watched the documentary "Most likely to succeed". It is an expose on an American high school (High Tech High). Matching that documentary with the four questions you could clearly see they had thought through and were able to articulate what pedagogy, being student centred, collaboration (both student and teacher) and reporting on progress looked like. Well worth watching if you get the opportunity some time. If you don't the thirty second summary is ...

    teams of two teachers (may have been other groupings but the movie focussed on one particular pair of teachers)

    mixed disciplines

    no bells, extended learning times

    students left to figure stuff out on their own and to fail at stuff (supported through reflection rather than teacher solutions)

    project based learning

    termly showcase of learning as main reporting and accountability tool

    teachers have total curriculum freedom

    There is a brilliant segment showing one boy who did not succeed in having his segment of the collaborative project completed by the showcase night. They filmed him over the next four or five weeks (into the summer holiday break) working to complete his piece of the project so that it could be added to the whole class model (it was an unbelievably complex laser cut, gears and pulleys connected representation of the rise and fall of civilisations). 

    What stood out for me was at one point they filmed the teacher standing outside the room looking through a window into where this boy was on his own (in the holidays by now) laser cutting pieces. The teacher was saying words to the effect... "It is quite hard standing here watching him fail over and over, I just want to go in there and fix it up for him". 





  • Neill O'Reilly (View all users posts) 07 Oct 2015 3:14pm ()

    Thanks Mia,

    No you are quite right we don't need labels for everything....however ,

    I would want to know and understand (as a school, team) what; Effective pedagogy is, what student centred means, and how to create an effective collaborative teaching and learning environment (student centred will include agency, voice etc)


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