Making our Learning Visible

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Each month our Parent Advisory Committee holds monthly meetings to discuss PAC related issues. During these meetings I deliver a Principal’s Report filled with interesting matters about the school. This past week, rather than sit and talk about the wonderful aspects of Caulfeild iDEC, I walked our parents around the school to add a “show” component to my usual “tell”.

The mantra this year has been “Dare to go Further”, and our staff, students and parents have all embraced this message to ensure Caulfeild iDEC continues to be an inspiring place to learn for students and adults alike.

As iDEC, our focus is the nurturing of an inquiry-based learning disposition, while activating “just in time learning” opportunities that the use of digital tools provides. Whether it is an iPad, tablet or laptop, our students are gaining the digital aptitude to wonder, connect, investigate, create and present their learning in creative and meaningful ways.

K student sharing his learning of towers through a class blogK student sharing his learning of towers through a class blog

As the student community delves into their inquiries, they begin to ask, “Where to next?”. The hallways are adorned with evidence of student’s thinking through the learning process, sharing feedback and presenting their learning in a way that provides a space for multiple voices and activates students to become involved in each others learning. Going beyond the traditional “inquiry wall” to intentionally sending a message that we share this learning journey. 

As our iDEC parents walked along Caulfield corridors, they found a way into the classrooms and curious minds of the students; and they were presented with opportunities to re-engage. Connecting to what they saw, there are able to individually discover the ways they could contribute to the next steps by providing authentic learning experiences through their own areas of expertise. Collectively, the PAC could envision the changing aesthetic of the the learning spaces we are endeavouring to create. 

Grade 3
Grade 3
Grade 6/7
Grade 6/7
Connecting to our Learning

Beyond increasing the visibility of learning, our parents were shown how our school environment is changing. The Learning Commons philosophy of renewed spaces for collaboration and cooperative learning is moving beyond the Library walls. Our Digital Art room, Student Support Room, and Collaboration Rooms are filled with large and small table groups to inspire student learning. Through the inquiry model and use of digital tools we have changed the way students learn.  For me the Learning Commons is not one specific place; the school in its entirety is a Learning Commons. As such, the opportunity to adapt the physical environments in which students learn is an important step towards supporting the inquiry-based methodology. It is about providing the spaces for students to think differently and in a way that sparks critical thinking, collaboration, cooperation and physically creates the sense that we are a learning community who learn from one another.

Digital Art/Grade 4-5 Collaborative Space
Digital Art/Grade 4-5 Collaborative Space
Experimenting with innovative furniture
Experimenting with innovative furniture

As my Principal’s Report came to a close it became evident that the tour had demonstrated student learning, within the inquiry-based, digitally enhanced community of Caulfeild iDEC, continues to grow in depth and breadth and that the staff, students and parents are embracing the message of Dare to go Further. The only question that was left was “where to next?”


  1. Hi Craig. Always look forward to your posts. Love the mantra this year!
    The making learning visible or “looking for learning” perspective I think is not as important as the “making our thinking visible”. True inquiry as you know is the process. Rather than the end product I always ask students to show how they got there, how they’re thinking changed along the way and reflect on the whole process.
    Parents have trouble breaking free of their past experiences of schooling however it looks like you are are doing a fantastic job leading the education (or re-education!) of all stakeholders.

    1. Travis, yes I would agree that visible thinking is key to student learning and that the process is more important that than the product – it’s the journey and not the destination that matters. As such our school walls are beginning to reflect the learning journey the students are undertaking in the hopes that parents, and perhaps the whole school community, may connect meaningfully and enhance our students’ educational experience. Thanks for taking the time to comment Trav.

  2. Hi Craig! So exciting to see your school alive with visible thinking and learning. What a great way to educate parents and to bring them into the community of learnjng you are growing at your school. I love the way children and teachers can curate the physical, visual space in a school to communicate what they value. Great job!

    1. Thanks Kath. With the learning being more visible, the conversations between parents and teachers and teacher and students change from being end-result orientated (grades), to process driven where on-going feedback and discussion can further shape and enhance student learning. Thanks for your support of Caulfeild and West Vancouver!

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