Making the learners and the learning visible at Holy Family Catholic School

Recently, I was meeting with the two teachers who were in Positions of Responsibility for “Making Learning Visible”. They were asking were wondering where to start…

My mind went to Situational Analysis, Coalition of the Willing and Building on Strengths. So I said “lets go on some learning Walks around our 33 Classes and look at the good things happening.

In our latest “learning Walk”, we walked across the yard to Emma T. and Bianca’s double Yr 2 classroom. I explained to the staff that what we were trying to do was to “make learners and learning visible in our classrooms. We have read that Harvard’s “Project Zero” had identified certain principals of learning which seemed to be present in classrooms achieving these visibility outcomes.

  • Learning is Purposeful

At the outset, I suggested that there were ways of setting up classrooms so that learning could be purposeful and ways of doing it that caused the purpose to be not so apparent. I heard one teacher saying recently that he and his partner now question each an every item of furniture they have in their room. . Rooms in which this is happening really reflect student’s interests

  • Learning is Social

We are questioning how we can make knowledge creation more active than passive and more relevant to learners needs. Rooms can be set up to make such interactions and group work more accessible

  • Learning is Emotional

We are conscious of ways which could evoke an emotional response from the learners and ways which might shut down such a response

  • Learning is Empowering

Very obviously, there are ways of facilitating empowerment of learners and ways of minimizing learner empowerment simply in the way we set up the room. You can see in these rooms opportunities and artefacts of self-directed learning

  • Learning is Representational

Rooms can reflect the Reggio concept of 100 languages and Gardiners idea of multiple intelligences as learners translate their learning into their various representations of what they have understood.


I have been talking to the staff about these five Principles of Making Learning Visible which I gained from Mara Krechevsky in my visit to New York recently. I also refer to their book:


(Visible Learners Krechevsky, Mardell, Rivard, Wilson) 2013


What distinguishes classrooms that make learning and learners visible from other classrooms? The authors have identified five (and often over-lapping) principles of learning that suggest how you achieve powerful learning.


My comment would be that armed with this language, teachers are able to recognize more adequately what they are looking at when visiting classrooms and learning from the experience. You can see this evolution happening before your eyes by visiting our Class Blogs on this website.

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