Learning at RPS
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About the Playground
Education is more about outcomes (what people actually do and
experience) than about learning outputs (what they could do).
Thus the most authentic appraisal of education takes
place in 'unmanaged' situations such a the playground.
What is Happening?
Before we can begin to improve a situation we need
to understand it. Copying some 'good practice' from somewhere
else will only be successful if the significant factors in both places
are the same. Without knowledge (of both situations) this remains
largely a matter of luck.
Things to know
- Purposes? What should be happening in the
situation, viz, what should it look like, sound like feel
- What is happening? Events, incidents, people's experiences:
what does it really look like, feel like, sound like? Who
Knows and who can tell? Collect data!
- Collate & analyse the data
- Identify issues and opportunities
On this basis it is now possible to
- Plan: (re)-design for an improved
- Do: develop the capacity for everyone
concerned to achieve the purposes…
- Study: monitor progress
- Act: to achieve further improve or just
Tools & tasks
- Record sheets
- Collate & Analyse
Individual, class, grade,
- Make the elements explicit
- Work from real experience
- Enable authentic learning by all concerned
- Contribute to improvement
- Benefit from improvement
Training: Participation requires training and agreement
on purposes, methods...
- What these things means
- Making an overall assessment
- Sharing Responsibility
- Everyone contributing
Collecting data on quality in the playground
Develop frameworks, measures & categories
- Good day or bad day?
- Being Hurt
- Being Harassed
- Problem areas
See the some sample
results from April 2000
Working with others to achieve improvement
- The data collection process involved class meetings with students at
- Issues and experiences were discussed
- Possible improvements were identified
- Staff teams collated and reviewed all material gathered from students in
- individual & class data
- issues and experiences
- suggestions for improvement
Making it easier for everyone to do well in the
- Problem prevention – not counter measures,
easier then better
- Knowledge & Skills - Rules &
agreements + capabilities
- Systems - Spaces, things, processes,
equipment, monitoring, assistance, Safe School Committee playground
- Culture - Purposes, activities,
relating, agreements, cooperation ……
- Coaching, Program Achieve…
- Knowledge: harassment, inner experience…
- Skills: play, conflict resolution…
- Systems - making priorities, purposes & procedures
Somewhat to the surprise of staff it was discovered that some Prep
students (5 year olds) were often quite lonely in the Playground. The cause was
slow eating!! By the time these students had finished their lunch, their class
mates had dispersed across the the large school campus so it was difficult for
them to find a friend to play with. The solution?
Teach them to eat faster? Keep all the Preps together until the slowest
eaters had finished eating? The Prep teachers came up with a brilliant
short term solution using a sheet of paper and and five words. They simply
placed a sign in one of the Prep classroom windows: Need a friend? Meet here!
and trained their slow eaters in what to do.
In the long term, this issue significantly changed the on-going
development of the Playground resulting in a natural focal point for younger
students where it was easy to find a friend to play with.
Windows a comprehensive strategy to prevent problems