Jesse Wright was looking forward to developing and building on some new approaches to his own teaching when he went to Harvard for Project Zero’s Cultures of Thinking seminar in Boston, Massachusetts.
“Most of my expectations of the experience were based around some excellent professional development that myself and all Oakwood teachers had been exposed to early in the year delivered by Simon Brooks on Cultures of Thinking,” says Jesse. “The main strands and ideas of Project Zero Classroom complement self-directed learning (SDL) and the OneSchool teaching framework beautifully. Overall, there were some key points that resonated with me and I will take back into my own teaching practice and also try to share and pass on colleagues.”
One of the first lessons he learned was the idea that we are all learners, both students and teachers. Teachers must embrace these concepts of creativity, thinking, understanding, and learning in their everyday teaching practice. Project Zero Director, Daniel Wilson, stated that only through transformative adult learning do we evaluate student learning.
“A second key point is on the process of learning and deeper understanding,” says Jesse. “An underlying theme of the sessions was on slowing down the learning to enable an opportunity to explore concepts on a deeper level. The question is not what is important, it is the process of answering that question that is important. I [also] left with more questions around ideas in education and learning than I had before I attended. The desire and passion that was ignited in me as a professional was also something that I was not expecting, as the ideas and research areas of Project Zero have really hit home in my own learning and inspired a passion in me that I did not know was there.”
What about advice to somebody who has been given the opportunity to attend a similar course? “The best advice I can give to anyone…is to go in with an open mind,” says Jesse. “Do do as much reading as possible around any areas that captivate and challenge your own teaching philosophies, and be ready to have completely immersed yourself in the learning opportunity.”