Do you have disengaged, passive learners in your classroom? Students who do the bare minimum or give up easily? Do you have days that leave you exhausted, feeling like you’re doing most of the hard work for your students, dragging them through the learning process?
The Learning Landscape will not only engage learners, but it will also give you your time and energy back as students begin to take charge of their learning!
Bring learning to life
The Learning Landscape brings learning to life in your classroom. It helps students understand their role as active, skilful participants in the learning process.
It gives you a language of movement and exploration that engages students in their learning.
More importantly, it is a way for students to visualise learning like never before.
Every lesson will be a new adventure. As students navigate their way through the Learning Landscape, they discover and explore new knowledge and insights. To gain more complex and difficult understandings, they take on challenges and struggle as they climb higher towards the peaks of expertise.
In their travels, students encounter four different types of Challenge Pits. Downhill Challenges are simple tasks that are easily completed; they require little effort and don’t gain students height in the Learning Landscape.
Learning Challenges, on the other hand, require students to climb.
They need to struggle. To successfully reach the other side and gain new heights, they must fill their backpack with Habits of Mind.
Occasionally, students will encounter an Aspirational Challenge, where the challenge of climbing a huge cliff is insurmountable in one go. When this happens, they need to find a new learning path that breaks their learning goal into smaller Learning Challenges.
By understanding these different types of challenge and what’s required to succeed at them, students better understand why some tasks are more difficult than others.
Over time, students can choose which mountain of expertise they want to climb. They recognise others who have followed similar paths and built their expertise in their chosen field. These experts’ backstories of moving through the Learning Landscape, becoming better climbers and gaining height year after year, helps students understand what’s required to create new abilities, inspiring them on their own journey.
Students become active learners
Students come to appreciate that they are in charge of where their learning journey takes them. There are no fences in the Learning Landscape. Ultimately, where they choose to go and how high they climb depends on the actions they take. Students are not limited by who they are, only by what they choose to do. And this realisation gives learners the confidence and resilience to set greater goals.
As students succeed, their understanding of their ability to move freely through the Learning Landscape grows. They develop a deeper comprehension of themselves as learners – something you, as the teacher, recognise as a Growth Mindset. In fact, every time we use the metaphor of the Learning Landscape so students can visualise their role in the learning process, we help move them along the Mindset Continuum towards a Growth Mindset.
In fact, every time we use the metaphor of the Learning Landscape so students can visualise their role in the learning process, we help move them along the Mindset Continuum towards a Growth Mindset.
Teaching for Learner Agency
As teachers lead students through the Learning Landscape, they not only give learners direction in where they are going and what they are learning (the curriculum) but also in how they are getting there. The teacher’s role becomes one of coaching students to become ever more skilful in the way they engage in the learning process. And that helps everyone!
Students who understand their role as active learners make better use of class time, and so make fewer demands on their teacher’s time. Teachers no longer need to drag students through the learning process.
By bringing learning to life, helping students understand their role as active learners and teaching them to engage more skilfully in the learning process, we remove many of the boundaries students see to learning. They take charge of their learning, becoming increasingly self-directed, self-motivated and self-monitoring.
And here is where the real power of the Learning Landscape lies: in helping students engage in the learning process in increasingly skilful and effective ways. We help them develop Learner Agency and become Agile Learners.
Create a classroom of Agile Learners
Agile Learners understand they are capable of growth and how to go about achieving that growth. They embrace challenges for the opportunity they provide to cultivate their Habits of Mind and climb higher in the Learning Landscape. They use mistakes and feedback in highly effective ways to help them learn. And rather than wandering the lowlands, taking the easy paths, they spend their time growing, climbing to new heights.
Just imagine what it feels like as a teacher to lead a group of Agile Learners through the Learning Landscape! Instead of being a drain on your time, these learners inspire and are inspiring!
Agile Learners embrace learning. They know that every moment spent taking on Learning Challenges, getting better instead of busy, is time invested in their future.
Because as students climb higher in the Learning Landscape, they begin to recognise something very special. Everything below them is now within their reach.
The Learning Landscape is a rich and powerful metaphor that engages learners and brings learning to life. It helps students visualise the learning process, enhancing their metacognition and building Learner Agency. As they more deeply understand their role as learners and experience the growth that comes with that, they develop a Growth Mindset.
These active, self-motivated Agile Learners bring your classroom to life, giving you back the time and energy you had spent on passive, disengaged learners.
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