Never underestimate the difference children can make
“We should never underestimate children – they care, they want to be heard and they can make a difference.”- Travis Goulter, Head of Junior School, Ormiston College.
Early in MIEE Travis Goulter’s teaching career, he learned how important it is to include his students in real-world problem-solving.
“I taught at a school located in an inner-city suburb,” Goulter shares. “A number of developers wanted to start building multi-story residential and corporate buildings that had the potential to change the very dynamic of the suburb. The issue had divided the community and raised many questions and concerns. In the debate about the development proposal, a voice was missing – the voice of the students.”
So Goulter created a unit where he provided students with digital cameras. The students took photos and footage, documenting their favourite parts of their suburb.
“We then collated these and recorded the students explaining why these landmarks, buildings, and places were important to them now and in the future,” he says. “The final product was a short film that was shown to the City Council, developers and community advocates.”
For Goulter, this experience confirmed that connecting learning experiences to students’ life leads to engaged kids. Goulter’s classroom challenge became about finding opportunities for meaningful problem-solving and he saw first-hand that, “we should never underestimate children – they care, they want to be heard and they can make a difference.”
He continues to use technology as a way to incorporate meaningful learning each day. One of his favorite learning experiences from the year has been the “Escape Room” challenge he created in OneNote for a group of year-three students who required further enrichment in Mathematics.
Even with the benefits technology offers to the world of education, Goulter believes that teachers can have all the, “bells and whistles, but this means nothing if they haven’t established a positive relationship with students.”
“Our society is changing at a rapid pace, and this is evident in education with the evolution of mixed reality, flipped learning, and agile learning environments,” adds Goulter. “With these changes and growing access to research, PLC’s and resources, we cannot lose focus on what still makes the biggest difference for our students: positive relationships and love of learning. Students can access cutting-edge technology and learning environments, but if they do not have a love of learning, they will not maximize these opportunities.”
Connect with Travis on his Microsoft Educator Community Profile, and be sure to check out his blog for even more inspiring stories.
About Travis Goulter
- Educational background: Bachelor of Education
- Favorites Microsoft product, tool, technology: OneNote Class Notebook
- What is the best advice you have ever received? Those who dare to teach must never cease to learn.
- Website I check every day: Twitter
- Favourite childhood memory: Playing basketball on my outdoor court till the sun went down.
- Favourite book: Michael Jordan: The Life by Roland Lazenby
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