What does it take to inspire
Teachers love stretching their students’ imaginations in ways they know kids will respond to. That’s how the most meaningful connections are made in learning, and how students can take ownership of what they’re taught in school. Anna Russell, a Visual Arts teacher at Canberra’s Melrose High School, knows this well. Her creative field allows her students to shine in ways they never thought possible.
For this reason, the idea to incorporate the 6Ds of Solution Fluency into her teaching was well considered beforehand. “I was aware that I needed to enhance my pedagogy to meet the changes required for teaching in a digital age,” says Anna. Giving her students an inspiring challenge in which they could incorporate Solution Fluency was the first step.
Where do we
begin to transform?
Anna’s approach to using Solution Fluency in her classroom involved a Visual Arts lesson about symbols. She reminded her students that signs and symbols are everywhere around us, and that their usage is one of the main ways we communicate.
They began their exploration of symbols by viewing slides showing some fairly well-known and often iconic imagery. “I want you to tell me what they are,” Anna had instructed her students. “But more importantly, tell me how they make you feel.”
Connecting to her students’ inner awareness set the tone for upcoming projects that would demonstrate how the symbols we see make us feel, and how they affect our opinions and perceptions of the world around us.
Using Solution Fluency as a roadmap, Anna’s students embarked on a journey of discovering the true power of symbols in society. It was the groundwork for what would be some very rich and deeply insightful student design projects.
How do we plot a
path to success?
Using Solution Fluency for their projects allowed Anna’s students to gain a greater understanding of the true importance of symbols in our global society. Their own original artwork reflected the critical thinking processes that are inherent in a true problem-solving classroom culture—one of the hallmarks of Solution Fluency.
“The culture in the classroom has always been very positive,” Anna explains, “except that now students are more focused and busier.”
After all the projects had been completed, students reflected on thier work and processes, what was good, and what was difficult. They were reminded that there is no right or wrong in the debriefing of a learning journey, just honesty.
Anna went on to interview a few selected students during the process. Each one of them led her on a guided tour of their visual symbols diary, explaining how they used Solution Fluency’s 6Ds to make their creative visions a reality.
How do we measure
growth and progress?
How do we continue to
improve and excel?
As the Essential Fluencies continue to establish a home in Anna’s classroom experiences, she’s keeping her eye on the future. This includes some lofty goals for not only her own practices, but for spreading the word about the Fluencies as well.
“As I can see the application of the Fluencies across all KLAs, I would like to embed them in all of my practice, and mentor teachers in doing the same,” says Anna.
So what does she feel the most significant benefits have been in working with Solution Fluency in her classroom? “For me personally, this process has changed the way I teach and think about my pedagogy,” she claims. “It has provided me with the necessary adjustments that I needed to meet the needs and interests of my students.”