A Learning Situation Captured in Real-Time

When I started with the RECIT in the fall of 2007, one of my first tasks was to support teachers in creating Learning Situations. I felt a little out of my element at first. I understood the concept of a Learning Situation and I had lots of ideas about how technology could be leveraged to help our adult students. However, I didn’t have a clear grasp of what it would all look like in a classroom with actual students! My main preoccupations were:

  • What do the different parts of a Learning Situation look like for the students?
  • What do they look like for the teacher?
  • When does the teacher cover essential knowledge in a competency-based approach?

I had the opportunity to work with many teachers over the years who were creating and implementing Learning Situations. A few years later, I shared what I had observed in a video named “Essential Knowledge in a Competency-Based Approach? Piece of Cake!”, which was created in 2014 for the RECIT DevPro project. This video became one of our most popular and can be found here in both English and French. The central idea in the video is that while Essential Knowledge (content, grammar, etc) shouldn’t be the core focus in a Learning Situation, it’s still an essential part of the “recipe” and should be covered as students progress:

Note: I much prefer the adapted French version of my video, which is linked in the above image. If you prefer, you can watch the original English version.

Fast forward to the present, several of my colleagues and I felt that it would still be helpful to move beyond the theory and document an actual adult education teacher and her students progressing through a Learning Situation, from A to Z. So this is what we did!

Through a RECIT National Service project, Tina La Rosa (Teacher, Galileo, EMSB), Frank Furfaro and Jorge Quiroga (Pedagogical Consultants, EMSB), and I have carefully assembled a video documentary resource entitled “A Learning Situation Captured in Real-Time” and published it online for our adult education community.

The Learning Situation we documented was for a CCBE (Common Core Basic Education) Literacy course, ENG P106-4 Lifestyle Options. The topic covered in Tina’s Learning Situation was preventing the spread of the flu, a very relevant theme these days as we are in the midst of flu season in Quebec.

Our team designed our documentary project as bite-size video clips in order to identify and focus on each step we observed in Tina’s classroom. Each 1-2 minute video clip has been edited to be intentionally short and to the point. You can watch the clips at http://bit.ly/ccberealtime or by clicking the image below:

You can view the YouTube playlist of our documentary at the following link: http://bit.ly/ccberealtime

One of our main goals in the project was to highlight how essential knowledge is integrated into Tina’s Learning Situation in a meaningful way. As seen in the videos, there are specific times to hone in on essential knowledge (in this case specific linguistic features because it is a Common Core Basic Education class) that is necessary for the productive tasks later in the lesson. Essential knowledge will vary depending on the course (Math, English Language Arts, French, etc.)

I feel this project is a great extension to the “Piece of Cake” video and helps further answer the initial preoccupations I had around Learning Situations. Our documentary not only shows what a Learning Situation looks like (for both teachers and students) but also aims to make the theory more tangible and concrete.

Lastly, please keep in mind that this only reflects one particular take on implementing a Learning Situation. There isn’t only one way to teach a Learning Situation so it will look different in other classrooms and subjects.

Credits: Thanks to Tina La Rosa for inviting us into her classroom. Also thanks to Frank Furfaro and Jorge Quiroga from the EMSB Androgical Support Team who made this possible and guided every step of this resource project. We’d also like to thank the staff at Galileo Adult Education Centre (EMSB) for inviting us to film.

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