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Shared clarity about next steps means that the path to future learning is clear to both teacher and students. The teacher has a carefully mapped out "big picture" of the learning, and is able to communicate it to students so that they are at all times aware of where they need to go next. This enables students to become self regulating and able to take ownership of their learning.
Role of the teacher
For students to understand where they are headed with their learning, teachers should constantly share with them the "big picture" of learning, at the beginning of each unit of work and throughout the progression of the learning. This enables students to monitor their progress against defined benchmarks or progressions. If possible, progressions of learning for particular areas of learning can be displayed in the classroom. An example could be exemplars of writing at successive curriculum levels, against which students can monitor their achievement. Both student and teacher can construct "where to next" through the use of exemplars, matrices, or progressions. The more students are involved in the process of identifying next steps, the greater their understanding will be of how to extend their learning.
The role of the teacher is to be the expert in the subject. This requires excellent curriculum knowledge, and keeping current through new research, new technologies, and new ideas. The more the teacher is excited and enthusiastic about the subject, the greater the possibility that students will be too. A challenge for teachers is to build student identity with the subject so the students see themselves as ‘writers, mathematicians, scientists’.
Professional learning resource
Download this slide presentation for further professional development. It identifies strategies to further clarify the next steps in learning through suggested readings and classroom activities.
Next steps in learning
(PowerPoint 2 MB)
References and readings
Absolum, M. (2006). Clarity in the classroom. Auckland: Hodder Education. pp. 165-173.
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