Coconut Thought Pieces and Experiments

Kindness is the Great Leveler

Kindness is all that matters. While grades hinder learning (and don’t even assess it), kindness stays. Kindness has impact. Kindness is the great leveler, no matter what race, socio-economic background, privilege or challenge, we can all be kind. Perhaps we should think more about cultivating kindness and less about what scores our kids get on [...]

Impact and Net Promoter Scores—How we can re-think curricular innovation

There doesn’t seem to be a universal definition of what curricular innovation is all about, even if it’s one of the hottest buzzwords in education. Curricular innovation is often associated with student-centered experiences, learner empowerment, creation over consumption (or regurgitation), and preparing kids for the unknown. Of course in some circles this raises the question, [...]

Innovation vs. Tradition – who decides?

This photograph popped up on my iPhone recently and got me thinking about innovative education and the growing tension between preparing students to be future-ready while also retaining more traditional elements of the practices that we believe are beneficial for students and their learning. Is it possible for schools to be innovative in the presence [...]

What if teachers were required to go on externships as part of their professional development?

I have been thinking quite a bit recently (and I am certainly not the only one) about how much of the curriculum delivered in the classroom actually prepares students for success in their professional and personal lives. There is so much discourse out there about 21st-century skills and the preponderance of competency development over knowledge [...]

Measuring impact needs to be part of any assessment strategy

What if we turned assessment upside down and, instead of starting with looking what the student can do or what they know, we started to measure the impact of students' ideas and actions? What if, instead of having assessment center on skills and knowledge in relative isolation (a test, a product, a presentation), we looked [...]

Personalised learning should be our pedagogical response to an unknown future

Cultivating an attitude of life-long learning is key to supporting this generation’s ability to respond to change and to adapt. Alvin Toffler, the late American futurist, explained how the impact of the post-industrial age and its digital revolution is changing the fabric of our societies so rapidly that it is resulting in social confusion, information [...]

Global-Minded Starts with Local-Minded

I am thinking a lot about the ethos of international schools and how so many mission statements want to develop global-minded learners. I think this is wonderful!... but, at the risk of generalizing, I would bet most of the kids in international schools have been exposed to the world for years by living and traveling [...]

Competencies Should Drive Curriculum (and Reports!)

Twenty-First Century Skills, Survival Skills, Soft Skills, Approaches to Learning, the 6C’s, the 4 C’s… whatever we decide to call the dispositions, approaches, and abilities that are difficult to quantify and supposed to be so critical for success in the world, they remain inexplicably absent from the core of curriculum development and reporting in many [...]

Collaboration that Unfetters Creativity

At Pixar, writers and directors sit around a table to go over the script during what they call crit sessions. It is an open conversation but there is a process called “plussing,” which means that no idea is shot down and you’re only allowed to make a comment if you are adding to the idea. [...]

The Hour Glass Model of Education or How Every (High School) Learner Should be an (Social) Entrepreneur

Walking into an Early Years classroom can often be a disorienting experience for a high school teacher. There are sand tables and water table; shelves with blocks in one corner, easels in another; firefighter, doctor, and police officer getups in a third; and an adult or two who observe students and take notes on the [...]

Kindness is a Pillar of Leadership

Some time ago, I made a conscious decision to sign off all of my emails with Kindest, Charlotte. Not, Best Regards, Best, Sincerely or Yours, but a salutation that intentionally affirms the type of collaborator and leader I aspire to be. I hope this small step communicates to all those with whom I exchange messages [...]

Learning to Lead

Last summer, I embarked on a European train expedition spanning 11 countries in 8 weeks with my husband and two children. We all stopped on our backpacks along with an adventurous spirit, our inter-rail train passes, and expert knowledge of Trip Advisor. Reactions from family and friends ranged from, ‘You must be mad!’ to ‘Wow, [...]

History as Reverse Chronology

I am not naive enough to believe this will be easy, but maybe if we just throw the idea out there we can start something that will change the way we think and do things. Also, this may be more problematic with Early Years and lower grades. Americans will probably remember a specific Seinfeld episode [...]

Learning Through Experiences

How do we learn? For Confucious, the explanation was simple: I hear and I forget. I see and I remember. I do and I understand. The simplicity and relevance of Confucious’ words still resonate in learning environments around the world, particularly in the context of education for the under 16s. The process of ‘learning through [...]

Co-Curricular Activities Should Inform Classroom Experiences and Learning

Over the last hundred and twenty years, not much has changed inhow most schools organize their co-curricular or after school activities. Traditionally these programs offer students the chance to participate in sports, learn to play an instrument, or be part of a club that gathers like-minded or interested peers. These activities offer wonderful opportunities for [...]

When the Time is Right

Living in Hong Kong provides many opportunities and conveniences. Cycling on the island is not always one of them. In the early hours of weekend mornings one can spot groups of riders on the road in tight formations climbing hills before zipping down their slopes, but the narrow roads and even faster drivers make this [...]

Experiential and Project-Based Learning Case Study

Students engineer an Escape Room in which they will lock up their parents. Learning happens most effectively when it is meaningful. The freedom to decide what and how one learns allows for the creation of a learning experience that becomes personal and therefore has greater impact. Students can imagine what and how they want to [...]

Personalization

Note: We are not sure we even like the term "personalization" as it can put the learner in a passive position if someone else "personalizes" their experience. If deep understanding only happens when it is personally relevant, no one can personalize an experience, but rather, the learner must find personal meaning in that experience herself. [...]

Reporting and Planning to Meet Individual Needs

We tried something that we hope is innovative to meet learners where they are and where they need to be (including their voices). We tried something that aims to change the way we approach learning and assessment. This something also shifts thinking in terms of how reports communicate: instead of only looking backward, we made [...]

Just in Time Learning

Our idea of what the 21st century classroom looks like is different from what most of us experienced a few decades ago. The physical space can be reconfigured to meet the different needs individual and collaborative projects. Digital devices are used in ways that transform experiences. Learners are actively engaged rather than passively receiving information. [...]

What inquiry is not and what maybe it is

The word “Inquiry” is used in education all the time, whether in marketing brochures, school mission statements, or curricular plans. Most people in the sector will agree that an inquiry-based approach comprises of some form of central question and is designed to promote student exploration and curiosity, with the majority of the learning coming not [...]