“Healing Fractures II”#3: philosophizing from subject knowledge

A number of attendees at “Healing Fractures II – Beyond Birmingham?” have requested links to some of the materials used in the investigative unit. This unit allowed a collaborative yet personal approach to the wide scope of Trojan Horse fall-out.

Following the mental and emotional lead-in using open questions and imagery discussed in the previous Healing Fractures II #2: Staging an enquiry outside the box, the following unit presented a social-constructivist approach to hard learning.

This particular unit was originally developed to meet the dual requirement of “learning about” and “learning from religion” in RE, and previous participants of “Islam in RE: Religious Literacy & Controversy Through Enquiry” will recognise the format in a completely different context.

We have already  discussed the complex politicisation of social constructivism in the UK and it’s (erroneous) association with “radical,” disorganised, child-centred education in previous posts, notably Deconstructing the Progressive-Traditional Dichotomy; a note to Mr Peal.

Quite to the contrary, Cooperative Learning secures focus, individual accountability and equal participation between HAPs and LAPs as has been borne out on multiple occasions: In Islam Awareness week programme alone, variations on the simple CLIP-stack “Text Investigation” was employed Monday with educators, researchers and community activists in Healing Fractures II, Tuesday to primary and secondary RE teachers inIslam in RE  using tertiary level materials and finally Wednesday and Thursday to Y6 Primary pupils, who successfully navigated GSCE materials with quite stunning results during Enquiry & Immersion. (Full programme here)


While materials and products were aligned to my specific LOs and tailored to the groups (see reflections on this in relation to primary here), the core of the interaction is the same through-out.

Regardless of variations, Cooperative Learning ensures the tight control of the learning process, the pupil experience of being responsible, needed and trusted, as well real-time assessment of both hard learning and social skills.

Participants from all events in Islam Awareness Week will in fact recognise the skeleton of the Global Village workshop presented last year to Norwich High School for Girls. Note that materials here included UN reports and Pilger articles from the New Statesman. With Cooperative Learning, the  staged mutual interdependence really raised the bar for what can be taught.

Healing Fractures II – Beyond Birmingham? sample materials

The following are a small sample to demonstrate the scope of materials deployed to base discussions on relevant subject knowledge. Enjoy:

Mending Broken Britain? Education’s Response

The ‘Trojan Horse’ schools panic | Salaam.co.uk | Muslims in Britain

CONTEST: The United Kingdom’s Strategy for Countering Terrorism July 2011

Anti-terrorism powers have fractured experiences of citizenship across the UK

Children should learn British values such as freedom and tolerance, says David Cameron – Telegraph

The Tablet – Catholic schools ‘will teach tolerance but not gay marriage’

SMSC requirements for independent schools

Promoting fundamental British values through SMSC

Homegrown Terror: The United Kingdom as a Case Study (downloads PDF)

So regarding social constructivism, how else are you going to get a room full of people with wildly varying personal and profession backgrounds and experiences to successfully take in these multifarious, and sometimes wildly contradicting, materials all claiming to be true, and to re-think their opinions in a collaborative effort?


Musing over input…

Cooperative Learning is NOT synonymous with social constructivism. It is simply a tool to manage social constructivism to Ofsted outstanding lesson levels, without which headteachers would not agree to to deploy it in classrooms.

In that sense, Cooperative Learning serves to de-redicalise student-centred learning and dissolve the dichotomy outlined by “right wing” educationalists such as Mr Peal and his CIVITAS patrons, while giving them what they want in terms of rote learning and classroom control.

If we assume this is the 21st century, and the global villages means we all are a team, the old Cooperative Learning catch-phrase  ” Everyone succeeds when the group succeeds.” seems to have meta-level implications here.

More images from the session are found here in the Werdelin Education gallery.

The Primary version of Enquiry & Immersion full-day school trips is now available. Download itinerary and pricing here.


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werdelin.co.uk is the business end of cooperativelearning.works.

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