Showing posts from January, 2022

Minecraft World Building: Lessons for the Classroom

This year I have the privilege of being a Global Minecraft Mentor. As part of being a mentor, we have monthly meetings to share best practices and collaborate ideas.  January's meeting involved the amazing Stephen Reid . Stephen outlined in his Scottish brogue, the critical characteristics of an effective Minecraft world, which allows students to learn and express that learning.  As Stephen was presenting, I thought, wait a minute, these are not just critical aspects of a Minecraft world, but also key to any successful classroom. Now I am not one for silver bullets in education, except maybe if your Minecraft world is under attack from vampires, but I think considering these ideas and personalizing them will allow a teacher to consider the design of their lessons for the benefit of their students and lead to better learning outcomes. So what is the secret sauce? The Importance of Play In a Minecraft world and in the classroom in general, give students the space to play and explore.

The currency of teaching

Last year, I moved to countries from Malaysia back to my tÅ«rangawaewae, New Zealand. I started teaching halfway through the academic year, which meant the students I was now teaching had already been taught  by other teachers over the 6 months previously. In fact, one class had already had 5 teachers that year! Being a boys school, this added an extra challenge as boys tend to learn through relational learning.  At its core, relational learning relies on strong relationships between teachers and their students. This is in contrast to setting up a classroom environment based on power. While teachers in more traditional settings, like the school I had just arrived from, can certainly act in this way and can absolutely form deep connections with students, truly relational learning makes mutual respect between the teacher and student central to the classroom. In a relational learning environment, a teacher needs to simultaneously assist in a student’s personal growth and also maintain the