TRANSCRIPT: DeakinDesign Principle: Holistic
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Laura Tubino: Hello, I am Laura and I’m a lecturer in curriculum design and a member of the lifelong learning in mathematics teams which focuses on empowering students to take ownership of their learning. And we consider the cognitive and affective characteristics of each specific cohort so Kerri is also part of this team.
Kerri Morgan: Hi I’m Kerri and I’m a lecturer in mathematics. Students in my unit have not studied math for a long time, or they did not pass your 12 maths methods. Many students have experienced failure in maths and our aim was to transform this mindset to an expectation that they could learn maths and so develop attitudes and behaviours that can be applied in their subsequent learning journey.
Laura Tubino: To me, what resonates the most from the holistic principle is the acknowledgement that students are individuals and the just as they come from different backgrounds, they are also embarking in different journeys. So being able to assign learning that provides them with tools and strategies to achieve their personal goals and to develop resilience and to me it’s just as important, or maybe even more than helping them acquire specific domain knowledge.
Kerri Morgan: um for me a holistic level experience is one that addresses the whole person to develop a can do attitude, rather than a I don’t get it attitude to appreciate how many cultures, contribute to the development of knowledge to accept that each of us has different strengths and they can use them all together collaboratively to do great things. And then the awareness that we can learn if we apply the learning strategies and tools that come so naturally in our familiar contexts in those contexts that may be more challenging. um I think also holistic learning is not only about the whole person, but about the whole learning community and understanding that we are all learning together.
Laura Tubino: So I think we’re going to be describe the unit that Kerri teachers and this unit was presented to students as a quest where the students collaborate and support each other in solving mathematical challenges embedded in diverse cultural settings. So it contains multiple components, but in particular these four resonate with a holistic and. Students can select a target grade as a goal and we’ll work on the tasks associated with that grade. So different personas are presented to the students, which describe the attitudes and behaviours required to achieve the different levels. Students can then see what is required of them, so, for example, of the past level the concepts are learning independently for each other. Students follow instructions and use the resources provided and when tempted to give up, they must ask for help. Whereas at the high distinction level the persona will be connecting different concepts finding and evaluating different learning resources and support in their peers learning. So what this does is help students understand that the only way of achieving higher grades grades is becoming independent in their learning and at the same time, it allows students to pursue different goals work on different skills and follow their individual pace.
Kerri Morgan: So the second part we wanted to talk about was our first assessment task, which is not a mathematics task, it is a self reflection that requires students to identify a strength that will help them achieve the goal in this unit and identifying strengths encourages students to realise that they do have skills that can be brought to the table in this goal, we emphasise these skills during the unit, for example, the importance of the questioner in the learning journey. The second thing the students have to do is identify a dragon, something that they feel my prevent their success, and also a strategy for slaying the dragon. Listen enable students to externalise learning blockers and to realise that they can overcome these and get support and so builds a resilient attitude towards challenges.
Laura Tubino: Third component of this unit and was the fact that students were encouraged to learn together in bands so just to be clear, there is no group work or teamwork. A band is a group of students who learn together, they ask each other questions, discuss resources and support the learning of their peers. And this is intended to help students see that their level is not that far from that of their peers and to feel that they belong so most student said that this was one of the best components of the units, despite being the most contented contested and, at the start of the trimester.
Kerri Morgan: Finally. The fourth component is the content of the unit, here we have a setting as a light quest theme with students journey to ancient civilisations, these include Egypt, China Mesopotamia and Greece, and finally, they arrive in the House of Wisdom in Persia. Each of these civilisations and cultures farmed they created goods they traded they built cities, the engineered great projects and the important thing is, they all required mathematics. We can see how these cultures contributed to the development of mathematics often building on the knowledge from other cultures. And this fosters inclusivity and an appreciation of one’s own and others’ cultures in fact this unit was the first maths unit to include the GLO8. Presenting the mathematics as challenges forming part of the journey moves away from your traditional maths format, as well as less overwhelming to students but does not compromise the content.
Laura Tubino: I think, maybe the main challenge was in doing something so different so this whole idea started through trying to gamify the unit to make it more engaging. And from there, we started collecting all these different components and some people were really thinking that in putting this kind of gamification will disengage some students, that they will think it’s not serious and but luckily we were encouraged to just go crazy and to make as many mistakes as as we could so that was good.
Kerri Morgan: So the main challenge from my side was doing the redevelopment during covid so initially, we would have had more support and more resources and been on campus and instead this had to be done remotely and this meant I had to rely on the librarian sending me books that could be used to find out cultural contributions of different cultures, I had to do the videos online rather than in a studio. But we got there.
Kerri Morgan: But one of the things impacts that really made an impression on me was when I read some of the phrases in the evaluate and usually my evaluates will say something like ‘Kerri helped me achieve this’ and it moved to ‘I found that I can do’ so, it was much more the student finding that they were able to learn maths in fact they had the skills to do so, it happened in their learning portfolios to they literally were saying things like I found that I can do anything as long as I approach it in this way. Interestingly, in the group that have agreed to be surveyed we found that about I think it was roughly a quarter of them expressed that they’ve been told that they would never be able to learn maths by teachers in the past and in the final portfolio reflection, none of them expressed that they were all positive. Oh, one more thing I just wanted to add the other thing about the cultural cultural impact so involving the different cultures, we had students saying I never realised that my culture contributed this and I think that word they used was it was heartwarming and endearing when they discovered that.
Kerri Morgan: It was really a teamwork, you know, so there was Lauren I and Laura was amazing because every facet of the redesign was founded in good educational pedagogy. And we saw that that actually is reflected in the results, for example, the bands you might student think how they just trying to make us do group work, but what they found was they learned better and faster exactly what the pedagogy said. So the wider team also they were like try it try something crazy but try something and I think that’s really important, because when you move outside your comfort zone you actually learn lots more and you achieve a lot more.
Laura Tubino: So one thing that. We realised while working on this was so as a lifelong learning in mathematics team we redesign multiple units at the same time, but each unit and addresses different cohorts and we took the cohorts into account when redesigning the unit, so now redesign was the same, and I think that is part of the holistic principle considering you know who your students are and what they need when you design the unit.
Kerri Morgan: Finally I’d like to acknowledge that just the same as takes a village to teach a child, it takes a team to redesign a unit. So all the lifelong learning through mathematics team contributed in this project and includes Laura and myself, Julian Ugon, Andrew Cain and Simon James, also as I alluded to earlier, the librarian Alyce Greenwood was fantastic during lockdown providing material and finally we were supported through the CloudFirst team.