Saturday, 28 February 2009

Consideration of others

We have reached the fourth of our six competencies and the first one that branches out from the individual learner and sees education as 'situated'. This key idea, put forward by Bruner, (
prompts us to contextualise learning rather than only focusing on the individual mind and its development.
John Hattie ( sites behavioural issues as a top ten strategy for improving learning. ( This competency however is not just another way of re-enforcing 'school rules'; we are not trying to 'trick' the individual learner into behaving well because it suits us as teachers to have an ordered classroom. Instead the presence of Consideration as a competency is an acknowledgement that it benefits the individual as much as the collective.
To be considerate of others - and in particular of their learning needs - is to acquire an understanding of how others learn which in turn prompts the learner to reflect on their own learning. Consideration of others is therefore another meta-cognition tool, promoting empathy and awareness.
Of course it is also true that good behaviour, kindness, generosity, collaboration, sharing, mutual support and respect create outstanding learning teams and that each individual within that team therefore benefits. This competency points to these skills and attributes as well.
But on a more subtle level Consideration of others also acknowledges the need to be a selfish learner on occasion. Sometimes it is vital to stop the teacher and get them to explain again, even though you suspect everyone has got the point. Learning to be considerate in this context allows the learner to draw to themselves the resources they need to be successful without impinging on the rights and needs of others. This is a mature skill which matches the balance we all have to strike as human beings between looking after 'number one' and operating cooperatively.
The delivery of this competency is done through modeling, through the creation of a school wide ethos of kindness and cooperation and through the insistence that being considerate of others benefits the individual as much as it benefits the whole community.

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