Friday, May 26, 2017

Leaving to learn - the Big Four and Deeper Four

I am currently reading Leaving to Learn - How out of school learning increases student engagement and reduces dropout rates by Elliot Washor and Charles Mojkowski.

I am blogging as I continue to make my way through this book. At the very start the authors talk about the Big Four warning signs for dropping out of school. They are
  • Academic failure
  • Behaviour
  • Life events
  • Disinterest
Academic failure is an obvious one, if you are not succeeding at something then why would you wish to continue the pattern and stay in school. My son intrigued me tonight as he is learning the Ukulele and has had a change of teacher this term. All of a sudden his anxiety around his Ukulele practices has increased as the new teacher tests the learners to ensure they are making adequate progress to stay in the group. It is interesting and I am sure the original teacher did not tolerate students who did not practise and had consequences in place to deal with this. However the mention of tests has changed the whole dynamic for my son and added in a possibility of academic failure.

Disinterest is also at the forefront of many school's as they begin to collect student voice and look to ways to engage their learners in learning. The affordances of digital technologies, when integrated with a quality pedagogy can really reduce the disinterest of learners.

The Deeper Four are very interesting and I think drive the Big Four for our learners.

  • Not mattering
  • Not fitting in
  • Unrecognised talents and interests
  • Restrictions
I would think this is why well being is beginning to come to the fore front in education and the job place. I guess the challenge is how do we change a traditional education system to address these deeper four?


  1. It sounds like an interesting read Mark. I wonder how choice fits into this? Obviously all those four warning signs are clear to most teachers. Having just come out of a parent meeting about one student I can see many of those boxes being ticked. But what do you do as an educator if, despite trying to provide an environment that provides (as well as one can) the Deepest Four you mention, they choose to not to engage? Food for thought though.

  2. And herein lies a challenge because there are tests and there are tests. None of us want to hop on an aeroplane with a pilot who has not passed her tests. Whether called a test an audition, a try out, a trail etc... there are times when a 'test' will pop up.

    Disinterest is a blight across all society. Sometimes things are hard but they are more often than not the activities that bring the most reward. There is nothing more disheartening for a teacher than trying to teach a child who seems to have little interest in anything. Luckily e-learning affordances give us all more opportunity to find an interest or passion. The deep four is something I will have to put my mind to.

    Thanks for sharing Mark.


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