Significant Learning Environments (CSLE)

Reading and studying A New Culture of Learning by Douglas Thomas and John Seely Brown, has pushed me to reconsider how we – the educators – are challenged to think about our classrooms as environments for learning filled with inquiry, the wealth of technology resources, the significance of play and the increased importance of community and mentorship to produce a new culture of students who learn through each other and self-discovery (Thomas & Brown, 2011). The authors argue that learning has shifted from an educational environment of exclusively explicit knowledge (that which is “easily identified, articulated, transferred, and testable”) to one of tacit knowledge (that which is “understood as a product of experience and interaction”) (Thomas & Brown, 2011, p. 74). We live in a world of consistent change and unlimited access to information, and the education system has unfortunately not kept up. The teacher is no longer the sole provider of information and because of the plethora of knowledge at our disposal, it is time to shift our thinking from the old model of teaching (explicit) to a new model of learning where our students learn by doing, watching and experiencing in this digital world(Thomas & Brown, 2011). 

We need to praise learners for their effort, strategies, progress, hard work, persistence, learning from past mistakes, and rising to the challenge, instead of telling them how smart they are or congratulating them for not making mistakes. We need to remind learners that mistakes help them improve, that they learn from mistakes and that if something doesn’t work, they can try another way to solve the problem. This in turn creates critical thinking skills and a passion for life-long learning. And I intentionally target learners in my plan because everyone can benefit from the growth mindset – all learners regardless of age, position or ability. Carol Dweck explains that simply giving praise to a student for their effort during a failure is not likely to help them develop or maintain a growth mindset. Instead, it is important to help them realize that “nobody has a growth mindset in everything all the time.”  There will be failure and with that comes feedback and criticism. Embrace it. Learn from it. Everyone.


What’s happening with Falcon STS?

One might look and assume my innovation plan, Falcons STS (student-led instructional technology course), failed as it was not implemented as planned in August 2021. However, that would be completely incorrect. Patience has never been my gift, however, with my evolving growth mindset and having focused on crucial conversations, withstanding the whirlwinds and how studentsContinue reading “What’s happening with Falcon STS?”

Connecting the Dots – Assessing Digital Learning and Instruction

Throughout the past few weeks, I have dived deeper into my initial innovation plan, a student-led instructional technology help desk, and explored in depth how this might impact the overall campus climate in my Lamar University Course EDLD 5315, Assessing Digital Learning and Instruction. I spent a lot of time working through the first threeContinue reading “Connecting the Dots – Assessing Digital Learning and Instruction”

  • I will model growth mindset not only in my “work” life, but also adopt in my personal life!
  • Beyond the posters and signs, the power of YET is shown in our words, actions and responses. I will rise to that challenge and make YET the focus of my words, actions and responses!
  • Growth mindset is the FOUNDATION of my professional learning plan – in order to change the sit-and-get PL, we must be willing to take risks and try new things. Substantial time will be spent in small groups, PLCs and the full day trainings researching and practicing growth mindset!
  • Passion, perseverance, stamina, motivation – growth mindset can increase each of these because failure is not FIXED.
  • I have to work on my growth mindset every day to try and avoid the traps of fear, lack of control and just overall negativity in the education system.
  • We will encourage and support because we believe we can impact positive changes and withstand the inevitable challenges because of our growth mindset. 

It is challenging to provide engaging, personalized instruction that leads to deep learning. I strive to find new and exciting ways to present the required materials, however it has morphed into more of a “to-do” on my checklist. I have become the “entertainer” where the focus is on how to make the time we spend together learning as fun as possible. I have been known to do cartwheels to gain attention, use props, throw treats to participants (smarties, of course) and have impromptu conga lines when we need to move!!   I am proud to say that my learners were never bored (hopefully!) but also embarrassed to admit that my focus was not necessarily on retention or deep, meaningful learning. Instead of asking how will the information I teach impact the learner or how can I make the information feel important/relevant to the learner, I will reframe it to remember that I can create significant learning environments with the focus on the core elements of passion, imagination and constraint built with play so that my learners can develop the skills they require to be successful (Thomas & Brown, 2011).

An effective and engaging learning environment takes everything into account and recognizes that learning is often messy, dynamic, and always deeply personal (ChangSchool & Bates, 2015). Regardless of the age of the learner, the goal is the same…the desire to instill lasting, contextual knowledge for our students. A New Culture of Learning by Douglas Thomas and John Seely Brown has reignited my commitment to create a culture of “play” that is not entertainment but rather hands on, contextual and imaginative so that the learners (no matter what age) can walk away having had FUN while gaining meaningful KNOWLEDGE too. 


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