At this current point in time and writing, I am focusing on the recommended chapters of The Peeragogy Handbook (chapters 11, 12 and 16). The readings continue to make me reflect and make connections with my own teaching practice. They are also providing me with an understanding of what I need to consider and move toward for our Case Study Research Proposal.
Chapter 11 looks through the lens of K-12 Peeragogy. The introduction immediately places teachers working in isolation as ‘their own island’ as opposed to the ongoing development of disciplines, which requires teachers to work and learn in collaboration with others, to keep up with these changes. The authors suggest a number of incremental ‘phrases’ to become a connected/networked learner, and postscript the below infographic by Tolisano, Lucier & Branigan-Pipen.
- deciding to take the plunge
- entering the phray
- building and shaping your PLN
- extending the digital PLN and connecting face-to-face: such as ‘grassroots unconferences’ e.g. TeachMeets
Chapter 12 deals with P2P self-organized learning environments (SOLE) provides an authentic learning environment that refines skills in “meta literacies” which include (but are not limited to) critical thinking, collaboration, conflict resolution, decision-making, mindfulness, patience and compassion. While SOLES do not exist in learning institutions, according to the authors, my current international school does nurture peer to peer learning through the implementation of annual Teacher Interest Groups (TIG). Teachers are asked to nominate special interest areas, and others then choose the peer learning group to connect with. Throughout the school year, these groups meet to learn, collaborate and delve into their particular interest areas. This culminates in an end of year professional day of sharing. It is not as simple or easy as that though. TIGs may not be accepted if there is not the required interest. There is no follow up beyond the day of sharing. How has it impacted our teaching and practice…’down the track’. There are opportunities, too, that are not being promoted. I am aware of many staff, apart from myself, who are undertaking Master’s (or other degrees, or studies) outside of school. While this may impact our individual professional practice, it is not something that is shared amongst the school community. It is a window of opportunity that has not been opened.
But to return to SOLEs and the handbook. The authors refer to Sugata Mitra’s model as a doorway to understanding a SOLE approach to peer to peer learning, with three key components: learners, context and project.
The authors reference the need to integrate ‘what we are learning about diverse learners into a Universal Design for Learning context. Furthermore, SOLEs exist with a very specific context and parameters. It is learner-centric peeragogy – i.e. emergent, bottom up, seeking to answer. (p.119).
- How do we design a project (or phrase a problem) that ignites a learner’s passion?
We need to consider the learning environment (LE) which as the authors state: ‘has a tremendous, if not overwhelming influence on learning’ (p. 120). They recommend the first step is to ‘reconnect to the environment around us’ (ibid). The internet also has a role to play as “it is the immediate, just-in-time learning that makes free and open access to the world wide web so important in a SOLE” (ibid)….Technology is integral to the design. So is diversity and complexity to include all learners (and learning styles to accommodate them).
- “Ownership and leadership emerge when learners can apply their creativity and/or authentically assist each other in a common goal” (p. 121).
- Integrate design thinking and the design process (p.122)
Chapter 16 talks about ‘The Student Authored Syllabus’. We need to move toward a ‘guide on the side’, appearing only ‘when needed rather than determining the content that the learners need to master’ (p.147). Groups with wide range of expertise:
- “It is important that each co-learner chooses to focus their deep inquiry on a topic that they are less familiar with. This will even out the expertise level across the cohort as well as ensure that a c0-learner is neither bored nor dominating the dialogue” (p.148).
3 example designs to structure the learning:
- weekly topics structure – each co-learner host a topic each week
- milestone based structure – milestones set for a certain date for group
- relay learning structure – co-learners rotate topics
The authors state that “What is important is that each co-learner can take responsibility for a reasonably narrow area given the duration of the course or the timeline of the group” (p.149). I feel this is something I need to keep in mind when considering the Case Study Research Proposal. This chapter continues with an abundance of information when considering learner generated topics, involving experts to begin your learning journey, informal meetings, deciding useful outputs to use e.g.blogs, wikis, community service projects, business proposals, recommendations to senior management or administration, new products et al. (pp 150 – 155). Group cohesion and deciding rules to abide by (shared expectations) is also important (e.g. see p.152). Assessment and feedback loops need to be considered. How can the co-learning group assess their performance? (p.152).
There is a lot to consider, including the conversation below which includes input from different thought leaders that I follow….it is great to see them all here!
Corneli, J., Danoff, C. J., Pierce, C., Ricuarte, P., and Snow MacDonald, L., eds. (2016). The Peeragogy Handbook. 3rd ed. Chicago, IL./Somerville, MA.: PubDomEd/Pierce Press. Retrieved from http://peeragogy.org.