Top 5 Essentials in ‘Education that Matters’ Post-COVID

Top 5 Essentials in 'Education That Matters' Post-COVID

Charles Neave, Director of Pedagogy and Professional Learning, shares insights from Harvard Project Zero’s ‘Education That Matters’ Conference.


St Leonard’s College teachers tuned in to the ‘Education That Matters’ Conference in March to hear from experts at Harvard University’s Project Zero Graduate School of Education. Teachers zoomed in to a variety of workshops where we discussed some key essentials to learning post-covid.


  1. Making Thinking Visible with Ron Ritchhart

St Leonard’s has now been working with Dr Ritchhart for many years, but at this conference he honed in on the ten cultures of thinking in action. He spoke about developing whole-school cultures of thinking to effectively model deep thinking for all students. Post-covid, it highlighted the importance of returning to classrooms, offices and the staffroom so those incidental conversations can be creative and rich. We don’t want to be papering over the cracks, we want to use design-thinking processes to go into depth and properly develop nourishing education experiences.


  1. Educating for a Complex World

Flossie Chua, also from Harvard, took us through Project Zero’s new publication ‘Leading Learning That Matters’ which we’ll be using with our Academic Directorate at the College to start some powerful conversations. Flossie first spoke about how we need to look at what students learn: is it inspiring, engaging and connected to the real world? She then introduced us to some helpful strategies designed to facilitate change that her team has developed with schools. Our world seems to change more often than it used to, and post-Covid understanding of how to manage the change process is key for students and their teachers.


  1. Preparing Students for Complexity using new Socio-Emotional Thinking Routines

Building on the idea of change, Veronica Boix Mansilla presented some fascinating research on routines where she encouraged students to think more deeply about humanity. She modelled routines where students were asked to empathise and explore issues of social justice. She also effectively showed us how to link this culturally responsive pedagogy with our curricula.


  1. Questioning and Listening to Students

Ron Ritchhart’s second presentation focused in on the importance of creating a positive culture of questioning and listening in the classroom. Since returning to face-to-face teaching we’ve noticed how students’ conversational and listening skills have deteriorated. It sounds simple, but his practical strategies on how to use follow-up questions and then how to deeply listen to students will enable us to better tailor instruction to every individual, and better prepare students for meaningful conversations in the future. We also discussed how to document these deeper conversations, and where to record valuable thinking.


  1. Supporting Young People to Learn About Themselves

Whilst this topic sounds like it’s focused just on wellbeing, this workshop introduced us to Project Zero’s long standing Out of Eden Learn project, which convenes young people from around the globe to participate in meaningful online intercultural ‘learning journeys’ together. Using stories as a basis, young people develop a more nuanced understandings of their own and others’ identities, cultures, and histories. We’ll be exploring these connections further at the College.


Whilst the conference stimulated us with new ideas, it was also great for staff to join together, share lunch, and converse. Professional Learning is so much better together, and the ideas that therefore grow from Project Zero’s seeds will continue to nourish our education community.