Co-learning – our students are doing it now

We have just moved into Unit 5 of Connected Courses:   About co-learning. I’m thinking about it as I sit in the school library during exams.


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The library is the playground for study before exams. Classes have been cancelled and the signs of playground are all over the library – noise, noisy groups, grouped learners, learning clusters, clustered distractions, distracted discussions, discursive learners…

Many students have chosen not to stay home because they predict being distracted. (They know themselves. They have acted.) Wouldn’t the noisy playground be a distraction in itself? How do you remained focused in such an environment? (They are alert. They are engaged. It is social. They interact. There is laughter.)


We sometimes talk about study habits to students. Of course, there are students who need help, lots of help, learning how to study. We talk about study habits. Do we study? How long ago have we studied? Do we watch our students studying? I see study habits in action now. The library space has become a learning space with energy – not from us, but from our students. They have taken over. It’s how it should be.

Do you have an exam today?

No, I just came in to help a friend. Now I’m going to get onto my own study.

The technology is being used. Apple TVs, screens are being used for small group presentations. (Nobody told them how to do it.) Whiteboards are being filled with mathematics and diagrams. One student standing and teaching (yes, teaching) and others sitting attentively, listening, putting up their hands to ask a question (Yes, really). Have we modeled this?

We step back. We observe. They are learners and teachers. It’s uplifting.

2 thoughts on “Co-learning – our students are doing it now”

  1. Hey Tania
    Reading this also got me thinking: when we talk about study habits do we recognize that students have different needs and styles of study that work for them? I generally l like doing maths in noisy spaces for example. I didn’t used to like “studying together ” (mainly coz i arrogantly felt i was faster than others) buy discovered i learn better when i do.

    Loved reading your observations!
    Just the other day a colleague assessed a class and students described to her a study group they spontaneously created to help them with difficult material

    Do we need to model ths or does it happen spontaneously?

  2. Hi Tania
    This sounds marvellous, exactly how schools should evolve in the 21st century. We are still a long way off this ideal, perpetuating the idea of “organized” learning in mostly silent rooms, and neat rows of desks. But one can always dream… Thank you for giving me bright ideas on a grey November morning 🙂

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