The 4 R’s and more

The 4 R’s that Guy Claxton first exposed us to have resonated with us ever since we began exploring what resilience, resourcefulness, reflectiveness and reciprocity (we’ve been calling this social responsibility) look, sound and feel like for children and teachers. I happened to chat to Guy at a day workshop a few weeks ago and he told me that he has expanded these 4 Rs. At first I was surprised with an ‘Oh, really’ as we have been ‘in love’ with the ideas that have arisen, from really grappling with what each of these mean for the way learning unfolds. In fact, our Inquiry question for our Teaching Practice Certificates, Staff Appraisals and Self Review are all aligned to consider this.  Our research question is:  What does inquiry look like in our learning community, where nurturing children’s identities as resourceful, resilient, reflective and responsive social learners is important to us?  Each teacher in our team has used a passionate interest to consider their individual inquiry for the Education Council, Teaching Practising Certificate evidence:  With this Team, collegial focus as a framework, how do I contribute to our learning and teaching culture, searching as it is for ways to enhance inquiry based learning? We have generated a whole new way of aligning this work together, so we contribute to the wider centre based investigation and work much more collegially, sharing the research with each other in ongoing useful ways.

However, I have to say that exploring the ‘verbs’ Guy has listed gives a very practical face to how these 4 Rs can delve deeply into the ‘face, sound and feel’ of learning and takes teachers far beyond descriptions. We are using the verbs from this list as we reflect on the way we set up learning opportunities and the way we think about ‘ways to grow learning’, in other words ‘plan’ for further deepening of possibilities. When this list of verbs sits in concert with each other I think it is impossible to present a didactic, teacher led programme. It can’t be, if we truly make certain these verbs are able to flourish. Jane Gilbert said: “Knowing is a verb….it is in process…..” Gilbert, J. (2005). Catching the knowledge wave: The knowledge society and the future of education. Wellington, New Zealand: NZCER Press. So, we can’t fill children up with knowledge, it is much more fluid than that and it is always going somewhere. When we reflect on children’s learning as it is happening ’in the moment’ in front of us and we then write about this learning so we can track children’s progress and think about ways to deepen this further, we are using these verbs inside our Learning Stories and in our thoughtful appreciation of the way children ‘go about’ the process of ‘being a learner’. Te Whāriki’s aspiration statement comes off the wall, out of the book, and is living and real!

“to grow up as competent and confident learners and communicators, healthy in mind, body, and spirit, secure in their sense of belonging and in the knowledge that they make a valued contribution to society” (Ministry of Education 1996).

Here is Guy’s list.

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