Fostering a love of learning and ensuring students learn important academic skills

By Shaun McGurgan.

Shaun is currently a Year 9 and 10 teacher at Silkwood Independent School, Gold Coast Australia. His area of expertise is Personalised Learning. He has led trainings for micro-schools and homeschooling parents in various countries.

Differentiate Your Intentions

Differentiate your intentions and use these to measure the success of the lessons. To foster a love of learning the intention would be on engagement. For acquiring skill the intention is on learning. This differentiation between tasks and learning is a key to long term success in class.

Intentional Lesson Planning

There’s two styles of lessons I offer with two different intentions.

The first is a lesson where I am fostering a love of learning through engagement. The intention here is 100% engagement 100% of the lesson. To achieve this I use a developmental curriculum in the early years (to grade 8) and personal learning plans in the upper years (9 to 12). This is coupled with a structured lesson plan.

The second lesson style is based on a list of academic skills in English and Mathematics. The intention here is learning useful skills. These skills must be important and measurable. The syntax for these lessons is (a) what am I learning? (b) how am I learning it? (c) When will I know I’ve learned it?


What is meant by engagement?

When the teacher can ‘drop the reins’ of a lesson and the students continue with the instructed tasks.

What is the developmental curriculum based on?

I base the curriculum on the ‘language of childhood’. This language changes year to year and is based on an understanding of consciousness development of human beings. There is a large influence of folk tales and ancient mythology woven into the curriculum.

How were the skills chosen?

Based on years of asking the question ‘what is it children really need to learn in order to progress academically and be prepared for high school.

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