Liz Layhe from Dunbar Grammar School has kindly completed the CfE Blog Proforma to share the work they’ve been undertaking to create their Learning Walls…
What have you been doing?
As part of a Learning Team project we had the brilliant idea of setting up a Learning Wall in order that staff, students and parents can see what is to be learned at each level and the interrelationships between subjects. The learner is central to the whole process. The idea came from the LTS website and observational visits to St George’s, Edinburgh, to discuss and observe their Learning Wall. Following two inset half days each department put together on an A4 sheet the CfE outcomes, content and AifL strategies that they use to encourage thinking and learning electronically. The next part of the journey is to get S1 and S2 students during their Learn to Learn time to take on ownership of the Wall by adding content on a template for each subject onto a wall in the Assembly Hall. Ultimately it is hoped that the Wall will be part of our website and give access to all including parents. It is an ongoing and flexible project. At present we are only going to S3 to connect up with CfE.
In what ways does this practice relate to Curriculum for Excellence?
Each A4 sheet of paper has a block where CfE outcomes can be related to the content taught. This will be available for all staff to see both electronically and on the wall in the staff room (the student council suggested that only the content was required by the students so for their Wall that is all that will be seen). The Wall allows a way forward for all to see the ‘totality of experiences which are planned for children and young people through their education, wherever they are being educated’, the four capacities and the breadth, depth and progression of learning.
What were the reasons for doing this?
As a reflective practitioner I recognised a need to connect what was being learned in each department with my department and cut down on the students being taught the same outcomes in the same way. The idea was also to provide an opportunity for more productive dialogue between departments and in departments. Secondly I want students to realise the similarities between subjects and encourage transferable skills. A further reason was to make connections between what is already good practice in classrooms in AifL strategies and encourage departments to try out others. Finally it was an opportunity to start our journey of making connections of our existing practise with the Curriculum for Excellence and to allow all stakeholders to see that it is not an impossible task.
What has happened as a result?
This is a work in progress! However already dialogue between departments has taken place. It has been rolled out to students and they have been seen to look at the Wall and ask questions about the content. It has enabled the start of dialogue between the secondary and primaries. Evidence is in photos and through increased dialogue.
What would you do differently next time?
As this is a work in progress it is as yet difficult to evaluate fully but probably I would make the task more specific as there was some confusion by some staff of what it was really about. This is probably because I am continually readjusting my thinking on the way it should be laid out . It is a great adventure into the unknown!