Three takeaways from participating in 
Manaiakalani Google Class OnAir in 2016

Talk Less - Listen More

This was something I learnt early on as part of the Class OnAir project. By watching myself teach and interact with the learner's I noticed how my questioning directed the conversations, and even at times, that there were learners who wanted to share, but didn't get the opportunity. 

Observing the lessons also showed me how some learners dominated discussions. I then encouraged them to sit back and listen to other perspectives, while encouraging those without a voice to speak up more.

As the episodes have progressed over the year, I've noticed a real difference in the way I lead the discussions (or don't) and was most impressed in lesson 16 where the learners were engaging in genuine learner led discussion about the book that they were reading and I could sit back and observe. 

Don't be afraid to shift the locus of control

I think that as teacher's we are often reluctant to step back and allow the learners to take charge. Over the year I've realised that the more the learners feel in control of their learning the more that they are engaged in the activities, and therefore the learning that comes from it becomes more valuable and meaningful. 

By giving choice and challenging learners to make authentic decisions which impact their learning (as in the examples below) they are more empowered and unltimately more engaged. 

Cognitive engagement comes from empowerment, agency and choice! 

The activities in which learners we more cognitively engaged were also the activities which learners had more control over how or what they were learning. For example, the poetry activity; they had the choice of creating an animation, a song or rap. Interestingly they all chose animation, but for many this was a highlight of the year. 

Another example was the debate lesson; learners co-constructed the debate topics and were then allocated into groups. Because the topics were ones which they had come up with, the resulting dialogue and debates that they created was much richer. 

A third example was our persuasive writing on eating insects. This required the learners to imagine possibilities and form an opinion based on the information that was presented to them. Learners were really challenged and excited by this activity and the resulting writing was superb. 

See below for the learner's highlights of the year...