When you start out on the journey to becoming a teacher, there is so much to learn. You need to master classroom management (or at least get a handle on it), content, getting to know your students, managing relationships between staff and parents and generally getting your head around everything. Along the way you make choices about what it is you take in and what you leave behind. In a post a couple of days ago I wrote about my first exposure to the SOLO Taxonomy at university. At the time I flagged it as something to come back to, given it is going to change a whole lot of what it is that I do as a teacher – or actually more to the point tie a lot of what I have always done together with some of the things I have wanted to try out.
Last year I did some professional development with John Hattie, one of the things which he mentioned (in passing) was the SOLO Taxonomy as something he agreed with, and it was that which triggered the memory of it from uni and wanting to look at it again as something to tackle in the new year. While sunning myself in Noosa coming across my Twitter feed was a book called ‘Using SOLO as a Framework for Teaching by Steve Martin: A case study in maximizing achievement in science’. Now while I don’t actually teach science just now – I have in the past – I thought that for the price it may give me some concept of what I was going to need to go through. It did. Excellent book.
Too often we dismiss ideas and approaches because they don’t come directly from from our KLAs. I can honestly say that in the process of researching and mapping out this change I have read and asked help from many teachers from different KLAs, year levels and teaching experiences, and through the power of the internet – from all over the world. You may have helped me in your sleep 🙂 (thanks will be following)
The SOLO Taxonomy
The Structure of Learning Outcomes (SOLO) Taxonomy came into being through John Biggs and Kevin Collis in their 1982 publication Evaluating the Quality of Learning: The SOLO Taxonomy. SOLO is based on five basic levels:
Prestructural: No clue, avoiding or repeating the question or focussing on some irrelevant point.
Unistructural: Having one piece of information or one idea.
Multistructural: Identifying or listing relevant pieces of information, but has made no connections between them.
Relational: There are connections being made between several relevant facts or ideas.
Extended Abstract: The top level – where learners have several facts or ideas and have connected them to some other concept or theory.
When you start researching SOLO you end up being pointed in a couple of directions repeatedly:
http://pamhook.com/ – where there are a lot of downloadable resources available
But I also found really useful explanations at:
http://purpleelf.edublogs.org/ – also found some information on the 5 minuite plan which I am going to blog about soonish
Lets face it – the internet is a really big place, and there are times you don’t know how you end up some of the places you end up. Through this whole process I am also developing a growing appreciation for Twitter, which I have dabbled with from time to time, but never really taken to – until now.
This year I am going to have – in addition to my ICT classes – two SoSE classes, one Year 9 and one Year 10, which of course may change by the time we start for the new academic year, but none the less it is primarily these two groups that I am going to be introducing SOLO to. These classes will be made up from students I have taught before in other year levels or other subjects, and I know some of the challenges I am going to be facing with them… putting in minimal effort to jump through a hoop is going to be on of the main problems. What I am hoping that this will do, is give us the language to set the higher expectation about what it is that they are going to be achieving, and giving them the skills to be able to show and understand what they need to demonstrate to improve their output for themselves. Essentially giving them the skills to be more self motivated.
I am not expecting miracles from this, but evidence and the opinions of people I trust tell me that it can’t hurt.