It is all about the Label















Yes…. That is  A LOT of acronyms!

Amongst these acronyms are some popular slang terms, some short hand terms used for HSC projects… and labels for different teaching pedagogies or strategies that are ‘trending’ at the moment.

I say ‘trending’, because there seems to be an increase in teachers using some or all of these strategies, just because they are the most talked about thing at the moment. While I think that it is great that teachers explore different ways to engage their students: Is using a concept once because you heard about how someone else used it, really make you an expert? And how do you measure success if you only dip your toe in it?

I am not saying that I am not a culprit of this.

I  have researched and read about many different pedagogies but I am not claiming to be experienced in any or all of them. When I think about my teaching over the last few years, and my conversations with my peers on Twitter, I think that I have taken elements of the things that I like from many different sources, and applied them to my own context.

Over the holidays, I was privileged to be a part of the Project Learning Swap Meet organised by Bianca and Lee Hewes and Peter Mahoney. Let me tell you… the passion that exudes from these people and the amount of excitement that was generated during the school holidays and on a Saturday, was incredible!



The reason why I mention this when talking about LABELLING the teaching that we do, is that I believe to be able to take that label on board, you have to have been taken over by that pedagogy, believe in it so much that you are living it and breathing it. Then, that label becomes yours. I have learnt so much from Bianca and her mind and the way she has used Project Based Learning in the classroom. ALL of her topics and syllabus outcomes are taught this way. From Year 7 – 12. All the assessments that her kids produce are real products. Not some made up classroom thing. She always seeks a real audience and real experts to guide her students learning. Bianca is not following a trend, she has created this trend! And because I talk to Bianca about her ideas all the time, I have become inspired by her teaching process and applied some of these ideas to my classroom.

But because I use them, should I label myself as a PBL teacher??

At the beginning of the Year, there was a lot of talk on Twitter about the SOLO taxonomy. I read these tweets, then looked through my research from last year. I was already doing it then…. Thank you to Pam Hook for your excellent info about using this to promote higher order thinking. Stemmed from this I used Tait Cole’s Punk Learning Hexagonal Think Link tool… which also led me to the Triptico App. These tools have been great in my classroom, and I will continue to use them…

But because I use them, should I label myself as a user of SOLO??

Over the last few years I have designed a few games as units of work to engage and inspire my students. I developed websites that allow the students to work from level to level to achieve different learning outcomes. As the level gets higher, so too does the expectations of the student. One was for my Gifted and Talented class, a topic about Conflict, where the students journeyed through Conflictus. The other, a Visual Design unit of work about concept art and game design, where students journey through an Unchartered Land.

But because I use them, should I label myself as a GBL teacher??

Let’s just think about these labels before we put our names to them…. If you want to take that label, be true to it. Otherwise, be like me, use what works for you… apply it to your context.

Don’t follow a trend for the sake of it….! Just love your teaching for what it is…. and keep up with your 21st Century Learners!!!

About missjessm

Art. Teaching. Design. Life. View all posts by missjessm

6 responses to “It is all about the Label

  • @clarindabrown

    Great post Jess!

    Whatever works at that time, with your students, in that context is what great teaching is about.

    I agree with the desire to keep trying new things and experimenting us what keeps this job amazing – sometimes with spectacular fails along the way!

    Thank you for making me think about how it’s okay to just keep trying things that appeal without the need for models, labels and tags!


    • missjessm

      My teaching is always evolving and will never remain stagnant…
      So can’t pinpoint myself to one thing. But would definitely declare myself a student-centered teacher!

  • Phillip @sailpip

    Another thought provoking post!

    What is my label? Do I align myself with a trending teaching method?

    I agree, work out what works for you, and keep learning (and taking risks)

    Thanks 🙂

  • Simon Harper

    A though provoking post. Having come from another industry it amazed me how many accronyns abound in the educational sector. Some of the acronyms above I dont know what they are. I dont think you can label how these different pedagogies are you used in different classrooms because we all come from diverse backgrounds and our students do also. So the way I use say Educational Gamification in my practical classroom will be very different to a language or science teacher. At the core of each strategy are key points of quality teaching that I dont think have changed over time.

    Been a TAS teacher PBL is at the core of all major projects, however, I use elements of a range of teaching strategies to meld it to my students needs. I dont think what I do can be tied to one of your acronyns as I believe we need to vary the range of strategies to broaden our students learning. Without risk taking Teaching and learning will not be advanced.

  • michele

    hear hear!! great post jess x

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