My daughter is at nursery. We had her first parent’s evening last week. Our eldest daughter is at primary school. We had her 5th parent’s evening the week before. We experienced stark differences between the two experiences.
Our eldest daughter is in Year 2. The exchange went something like this:
“Lucy’s doing well. She’s beyond her expected level in reading and writing. She has some confidence issues in maths, but we’re working on those.”
“OK, that’s great. What about other subjects – like science? Is she enjoying those?”
“As a class we’ve been learning about The Seasons in science. She seems to be enjoying that.”
“Oh, ok. How about her project? I know she’s enjoying learning about the great fire of London….”
“Yes, she seems to be doing well with that. Do you have any more questions?”
And that was it. I got to rummage through her classwork. Then I left feeling a little “none the wiser”.
Sofia’s parent’s evening was a lot more pleasant. We were shown a book full of photographs of our daughter. She was attending to various different tasks. Each photo had a note next to it describing the development that was taking place. “Sofia learning how to draw straight lines and circles” or “Sofia playing in a group demonstrating social development” and “Sofia showing fine motor skills by feeding pasta onto a string to make a necklace”.
We could see our daughter learning. The whole experience left us feeling immersed in her education as opposed to an after-the-fact observer. I guess the shift towards more “academic” learning during primary school makes parent’s evening less nice and fuzzy, but I feel a lot more could be done to celebrate the process of learning as opposed to the outcomes. As a parent, it is a real joy to watch the development of our offspring. I care less about achievement than I do about the process: enjoying every day and each new learning experience is far more rewarding than the end product. As a parent, you want to share your child’s journey. You don’t want to guess what their experiences are by their achievements. You want to see and feel the enjoyment they’re getting from growing and developing.
The Process of Learning is the most important aspect
This is what I want Kloodle to be. Grades culture ensures our young people (and parents) become results obsessed. I think this is a travesty. Education is a process. We develop each day we are a part of it. Our true ability should be measured by our thirst for learning. Each day we should grow and develop. At school, our teachers plan fantastic lessons. I am sure they picture in their heads the “aha” moments that occur when a student grasps a concept for the first time. Yet these experiences are lost as the only aspect that is valued in education is that you now can answer that question in a test.
We are far more interested in the process a student goes through to obtain that knowledge. Great lessons and “aha” moments should be celebrated and recorded. Students should be afforded the time to reflect on their learning and the processes they went through. Our ability in the work place is derived from our desire to continually learn. The meta process of “learning how to learn” is one of the most important skills education teaches us. I have a hard time remembering Maxwell Relations, the Schrödinger equation and Woodward-Hoffman rules from my degree. However, my degree gave me the confidence that I could learn ANYTHING. My degree gave me the tools to go about doing this. Since I graduated, I have taught myself to code. I attribute this to the confidence I gained from my degree and the methods of knowledge acquisition I accumulated.
This celebration of process is common in high level sport. One of my cricketing idols – Ricky Ponting – speaks about “the process”. His focus was only on applying his process of practicing, setting up, preparing and then batting as opposed to thinking about how many runs he’ll get. He knew that if he did the right things on a consistent basis, the results would take care of themselves. By focusing on exam success, we’re teaching young people to worry about the outcomes. If we focused on learning and its process, we teach them to worry about what they can control and they will learn to enjoy the process.
How Kloodle can help to celebrate this process
We believe Kloodle is the tool to celebrate this process. Kloodle allows a student to become a documentarian; a recorder of their learning journey. Much like my daughter’s nursery achievement book, a student can record their academic and extra curricular journey on their Kloodle profile. Employability then arises from the interesting things they do and the lessons they derive. All of their experiences become an important aspect of the person they are becoming. By recording these experiences, a student shows the outside world the process they have gone through to reach a particular point in their life. A teacher can see the impact they have had on that student, an employer can see the student’s trajectory and assess whether they’ll be an effective employee and a parent can observe the development their offspring has made.
We believe that parental engagement is one of the strongest indicators of a child’s success. By engaging parents in this process, we hope to achieve 2 things: –
- A student’s Kloodle profile will be better equipped to demonstrate their employability to a potential future employer
- The student’s engagement in the education process is much higher
Knowing that their parent could be looking at their profile will provide impetus for students to upload content to their profiles. Parents will question what their child has been doing at school or college and want to see evidence of this on their profile. Teachers will also want parents to see content on a student’s profile. They will encourage more uploads in order to demonstrate the fantastic learning opportunities they are providing, and, in some cases, demonstrate that despite their best efforts, some young people do not engage. Thriving Kloodle profiles will demonstrate a thriving learning community – an educational establishment that values its learning process over its outcomes.
By involving parents in the education process, a student is more likely to succeed. We want a parent to be able to look at their son or daughter’s learning and offer their support, praise, rebuke or pride. We want parents to be able to play an active role in their child’s education. We know that by being able to see what their child is up to, a parent is far more likely to be involved in the process. We wanted to involve parents in this learning journey. We wanted them to be able to see the fantastic lessons teachers are organising on a daily basis, and the levels of engagement of their child in these lessons.
We also allow parents to join some of the Kloodle Wide groups. We realise that parents have a large influence on the career direction their child takes. We also know that this view may be blinkered and outdated, often reflecting their own experiences as opposed to the reality of the current jobs market. We want to expose parents to a range of different career ideas. By joining Kloodle Wide groups, they can access information relevant to career paths such as apprenticeships and university.
In summary, we want parents to feel pride at their son or daughter’s development. Too often, as a parent, you can be left feeling that your child may be inadequate as they aren’t achieving the limited set of requirements set out by the current system. We know that every person has some unique ability or talent. The trick is to uncover these and celebrate these talents so the student is left wanting to develop these talents further and work even harder. We want parents to know that education is actively seeking these talents and building up their offspring’s confidence to express these abilities and affording them the opportunity to realise their ambitions.