Over Christmas I had the amazing opportunity to visit some of the best learning communities in Barcelona. It was a whirlwind trip looking at two 1 year old to 18 year old schools and Barcelona Learning Innovation Community. All three communities were vastly different but exemplified pockets of innovation within schooling systems. Over the past few years I’ve been fortunate enough to attend some great professional learning and most suggest using a 3,2,1 strategy. 3 things you loved, 2 things you want to implement and 1 thing you will try tomorrow. The aim of the strategy is to narrow down all your grand ideas to small changes which can have a big effect.

3 things I loved

1. Holistic Child Development

As we walked around Col-legi Monserrat on all the walls was a RULER chart based on a Yale Centre for emotional intelligence. The chart was used daily for students to “check in” around how they were feeling and how it might effect their learning for the day. Teachers were also using it post incidents for students to be able to label their emotions. At Col-legi Mare de Deu dels Angels students engaged in 10 minute classroom social skill programs everyday to build students emotional capabilities. At both schools there was an overwhelming sense of family.


2. Robethics

At Col-legi Mare de Deu dels Angels students were given a reason to their learning. Coding, although seen as critical, took a backseat to the ethical understandings students developed. Students developed robots and makey makey projects to assist local hospitals, younger students or other students with learning needs. The subject was labelled robethics to highlight the need for ethics to be the central reason behind each creation.

3. Barcelona Learning Innovation Community – all of it!

Wow! Students aged from 15- 24 year olds are invited to come and learn at their own pace in a creative environment which develops links between educators and entrepreneurs. Stephen Harris, chief learning officer and co-founder, is doing an amazing job at bringing the space to life. Learners are in various groups with varying ages to complete co-created projects. Learners who came in with little-to-no english were able to speak fluently to us just 6 months in and share their learning. Although started as a school for 15 years and older (the age you can legally leave Spanish schooling), the school now has students from 12 years.

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2 things I want to implement

1. Mood Meters

How often do your students come into your class looking down and when you ask if they are okay, you get the response – yeah I’m fine. The RULER chart, designed by Yale, allows students to label the emotion. The students get the emotion based on their energy and feeling for the day based on a -5 to +5. Col-legi Monserrat used it as students entered the room – it could also be used as the roll call at the start and end of the day.

2. 3 way conversations on learning

Col-legi Monserrat gave time to 3 students of various projects, subjects and ability, time to sit together once a fortnight. They used this time to create a portfolio of their work and share their learning with their peers. This “tribe” was also in charge of informing the other student of anything they missed while they were absent. The grouping of these students were based on a series of steps and processes as they students were assigned to be together for the entire schooling year. A support network for all students.

1 thing to do tomorrow

1. Promoting independence in students

How often do we allow ourselves to slip into doing things for our students that they could do simply to make the process quicker? This year my one goal is to allow students time. I saw three year olds walk down stairs with their backpack on while their teacher walked ahead not slowing down but knowing that they would catch up, other students, at the age of 4, were given the opportunity to cut out their work no matter how long it took (or how big the risk looked that they could cut their finger off!) This year all students at St Luke’s will be given to opportunity to grow in independence from the Catholic Early Learning Centre right through to our Year 8 students. This has started with all students having diaries to record what needs to come to school and when. Parents will also be given information and resources to support their children.

I feel like I have done very little justice to bring to life all the things I have learnt but this is a good start. Small changes – aiming to make a big difference!

Let me know what you’re trying for the first time this year?




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