Getting into the SOLO way of thinking

20140413-224143.jpgI know it’s probably getting a bit repetitive all of these posts on about SOLO, but I’ve really been impacted by a lot of the ideas from that workshop and it’s really gotten me thinking.

I’ve wanted to find out more about how to develop a growth mindset in my students, as this is something I see to be a key idea to help make SOLO work. I found some great resources that I want to take the time to explore.

Alongside these thoughts, I’ve also been developing a new skill of my own – riding a motorcycle. Or a scooter, to be more precise. I’ve been wanting to take up the hobby for some time now and I finally acted on it a few weeks ago, booking into the pre-learners riding course that the Roads and Maritime Services (RMS – the new RTA) makes novice riders complete before they can get their L’s. I’ve been completing this course yesterday and today, and it’s been a whole lot of fun, as well as a steep-ish learning curve.

Interestingly, I’ve found that my developing ideas around SOLO helped me a lot in my attitude to learning this skill. In the past, when learning new things I’ve tended to have very high expectations of myself and assume that I should be awesome at it from minute one. Clearly these expectations are unrealistic (duh!) but I’ve always found that I put that sort of pressure on myself, even if it’s subconscious.

But I found myself using the levels of SOLO when analysing my own developing skills.

  • At the start of yesterday, I knew nothing about riding a bike beyond what I’d seen in movies and watching others ride (prestructural).
  • After learning some fundamentals (how to mount and dismount, learning the controls etc) I knew how to do some things but only with specific guidance and instruction one-on-one (unistructural).
  • As I practiced manoeuvres over and over again, I found myself getting it right more often than I got it wrong, but I still made mistakes. I was improving but still with a way to go yet (multistructural).

Now I certainly haven’t reached anywhere near relational or extended abstract (not without a whole lot more practice and experience), but using these SOLO concepts and terms I could definitely see how my skills were progressing. Most interestingly, I found that my attitude towards my rough skills was far more positive than I might have felt in the past. I was able to give myself permission to be rubbish at it much more easily than I would have. I saw where my skill was at, and rather than feeling frustrated at not being an expert from the start, I felt more satisfaction at my progress from one level to the next. I could also see strategies that were helping me to move up through the levels – repetition, visualisation, modelling the expert (I.e. the instructor), positive self-talk, and so on.

I really feel like I myself moved more towards a growth mindset in this totally un-school related activity, and I was really happy with that. I felt excited, positive and could readily accept that I’m still a novice, knowing that I’m simply not there yet.

Advertisements

2 responses to “Getting into the SOLO way of thinking

  1. Hi Chris,
    I am really enjoying you reflections on SOLO Taxonomy, much of what I have read from others is reflective after they have mastered it’s use, but you posts are very insightful for us novices.
    The link between a growth mindset and SOLO is so important. What plans do you have to introduce these concepts to your students?
    Jono

    • Hi Jono,

      Thanks for the comment – it’s nice to see that my novice thoughts aren’t just my own experiences! Alice has a great introduction activity that I plan on using at the start of next term to get students used to the language of SOLO. I’ve come across a great quiz to get the students ideas around fixed vs growth mind sets, but I forget where at the moment. I plan on turning it into a Google Form to give to my students electronically, leading to start the conversation about mindset. Beyond that I’m not sure – I was thinking of getting students to make their own ‘work samples’ by picking a topic and a skill that they are experts in and getting them to write out what the five levels might look like for their topic and skill. Hopefully this gives them a sense of what each level really represents in terms of understanding but with something they already know.

      Keen to hear your thoughts!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s