December 4

Workshops, masterclasses and salted caramel…

I’ve been told that I have a few idiosyncrasies. There are some things that I’m very passionate about. One might say obsessive. The outlawing of comic sans, magenta fonts, underline headings, the use of Microsoft paint, wiz and Weebly for projects, salted caramel (really….this is a thing?), sweet and savoury combined, soggy bread (should have discussed this before I got married), the use of the terminology “a” PBL (aside from grammatically incorrect, implies that there’s just a project, not a pedagogy) and lastly…okay, let’s be honest it’s not going to be lastly….the distinction between a workshop and a masterclass.

My point being here, is that there should not be one. When I run workshops in my classes, it’s to learn something. For every student that should be extending their learning. So, for a student who doesn’t know how to spell, that workshop is appropriate. For students who need to structure sentences better…they workshop this. The workshop, then should become a norm in the classroom…every student attending workshops at their level, for their need at their needed time.  This is when open pedagogy  with multiple teachers teaching more than one to thirty becomes very powerful. This differentiation should now become the normal happening in the class. No longer is there a master class for a smart kids, and workshops for others. Every student participates in a range of workshops catered for their need. And, in our classroom, students should see them as opportunities to learn new things, which is constantly happening in targeted groups…no matter what level that skill is at. 

This is where we then see shift…whee we can support and extend students in workshops where they’re not seen as pullout programs, as extra hits or as extra support….but all kids learning with a teacher or students at their level, where they might attend some workshops designed to extend, and some to support, but in the end, it’s all just “learning”