Developing Our Principles of Learning

Whew! What a process!  First we started by considering the English 12 First Peoples Principles of Learning.  We discussed each of these Principles of Learning and what each principle meant and why it was important.


Then we did some work thinking about what a statements of Division 16’s Principles of Learning might be.  The ideas below in red were generated by the students through joining ideas together and by thinking and sharing though a whole group discussion.  The class was really focused and did an excellent job of adding on, clarifying and explaining their thinking about what we valued in our learning community and why.  Then we coded the draft Principles thematically using coloured dots and gave them names. For example all of the statements with yellow dots are called “Learning Choices”.  We grouped the draft Principles together in ways that made sense. Some Principles went in more than one category.

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After that, we broke into groups and each group tackled a colour theme.  The job of the groups at this time was to see if some of the Principles could be combined, or if some needed to be clarified.  We tried to create a shorter list of stronger phrases that might form the Principles of Learning for Division 16.  Our hopes were that the finished product would be something we could all agree with and commit to.

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Above are our thoughts about improving the wording and below is what the groups came up with when they tried to combine and streamline.


After that, we did some last whole-class discussion to make the best and clearest wording possible.  When we were finished, we adopted these Principles of Learning for our class. We hope that this will guide us through the upcoming year.  They will be the foundation for our Wall Projects!


And here is our explanation of what each Principle means and why they are important:

The relationship between teacher and student is important

The relationship between teacher and student is important because if there is no relationship there can be no respect and they might not respect one another or learn from one another.  But if there is a relationship, you can understand each other and not be afraid to ask for help.

Curiosity can help you be open to all kinds of knowledge

When you are really keen on something it opens you up to all sorts of knowledge.  Knowledge gives you all sorts of opportunities.  Being curious helps you embrace learning and it is OK to be curious.  This is important because it’s another way of getting knowledge and helps you find different ways of learning things.  Without curiosity, you might not want to learn things beyond what you already know.

Respect the fact that different people learn in different ways

You must respect other people’s differences to learn with them and be in a group with them.  Without that, you cannot have a healthy community.  This principle is important because it helps us all to have a better learning experience.

Your learning choices affect others

If you do something wrong then smaller or younger students will think it’s okay and follow your example.  However, if you do something good, other people will do that too, so it goes both ways. It’s important to make good choices in learning because it could come in handy in the future, and helps us to be good role models.

Take risks and learn from them

This basically means that you should take risks and if you make mistakes you should learn from them.  It’s important because it teaches you lessons so that you can make fewer mistakes when you are doing something you know how to do. It’s also important to take risks because that’s when the biggest learning can happen, when we try something new or do something in a different way than we have done it before.

Building a community and being part of it requires effort, commitment and teamwork

You must contribute to helping your community grow and get stronger.  You have to commit to the learning process to help make your learning community do better.  Being part of a community means everyone has a role to play.  Everyone contributes because we are all counting on each other.  This is important because it’s true in all communities.  You must try in order to learn.

Include and respect others in your learning community

When you are learning with other people you have to respect and include them which might mean respecting others’ differences because not everyone is the same.  When you are choosing groups at school, make sure everyone is included. It’s important because if you don’t include others you wont get to hear their thinking and you won’t be respectful. It’s an obligation to understand that other people bring different things and it’s each of our responsibilities to include others.

Listen to others and accept feedback and comments thoughtfully

This means to respect others’ ideas and take them into consideration.  When we look at the ideas of others, it can make our ideas stronger. It’s nice to listen to others. When people offer you comments and feedback, it’s to help you learn, and it can sometimes help you avoid problems and do better each time you try something.

Learning with patience makes content easier to understand

If you rush through your learning, you won’t have as good of an experience and won’t learn as much. When you learn slow, and are patient, you learn more things. Sometimes you think you know something, but when you get to the end you realize you didn’t actually know it. Don’t stress out or it gets worse. If you think you’re supposed to know everything and you think you should be able to know everything without practicing, you might get angry with yourself and rush more and more.  When you go slower you actually learn things faster. When it comes to being patient and learning, some people want to be the first one done but it affects the learning.

Embrace each others ideas and your own

Embracing each others’ ideas means to respect each others’ ideas and thoughts.  It’s important because we embrace others to work hard.  If we embrace each others ideas, then the person who was sharing knows they’ve been heard. Embracing your own ideas is about having the courage to share your ideas in front of others.

Take pride in your learning community

This means that everyone should be a leader because everyone built it and we should all care for each other in our community.  We think that it is important to take pride in your learning community because there will be people around you who want to learn with you and help you.

Interconnectedness between all of the learners in the room is important

If you are not connected with other people around you then there is no chance you could learn from one another and less learning can happen.  It’s important to be connected with others around you and to learn from each other.

Elders and youth can learn from one another

The elders are older and can teach youth more things from their childhood.  When they talk they make a bond.  It’s important because the bonds make friendship and that helps other people make new friends, it helps to start a new bond.