Presenting PEEL by bnWs0X


                               The Project for Enhancing Effective Learning
                                      Ian Mitchell
The Project for Enhancing Effective Learning (PEEL) was founded in 1985 by a group of
teachers and academics who shared concerns about the prevalence of passive, unreflective,
dependent student learning, even in apparently successful lessons. They set out to research
classroom approaches that would stimulate and support student learning that was more
informed, purposeful, intellectually active and independent. The project was unfunded and
not a result of any system or institution-level initiative. PEEL teachers agree to meet on a
regular basis, in their own time, to share and analyse experiences, ideas and new practices.
The original project was intended to run for two years at one (secondary) school, however
the process of collaborative action-research, the developments of so many new ideas for
practice and the changes in classroom environment all proved very rewarding for the
teachers. Consequently, at the end of the initial two years, the teachers refused to let the
project end and a year later it began to spread to other schools in Australia and then in
other countries. This spread was driven by teachers in those schools who had similar
concerns about learning, as well as the lack of opportunities in a normal school day for
collaborative reflection, and who wished to set up PEEL groups of their own. While the initial
spread was in secondary schools, there is now a growing network of teachers in
primary/elementary schools. The project has also been adopted by a large number of
schools in Denmark and Sweden.
PEEL operates as a network of autonomous and voluntary groups of teachers who take on a
role of interdependent innovators. The teachers agree to meet regularly to reflect on their
practice, and to provide mutual support and stimulation for the processes of teacher and
student change. Coherence is provided by the shared concerns about passive, dependent
learning and by structures that allow teachers to learn from and share new wisdom with
teachers in other schools as well as a few academic friends. These structures include books,
PEEL SEEDS, (the journal of the PEEL collective) an annual PEEL conference, PEEL collective
meetings, a range of short courses and in-service activities, a website and a database of
over 1200 articles written by PEEL teachers. I was co-founder of PEEL and coordinate the
activities just listed.
Outcomes so far include a huge repertoire of teaching procedures designed to promote
effective learning; findings about the nature of student change, and teacher change; and
findings about the nature of collaborative professional development in schools and between
the school and tertiary sectors. Schools and teachers report substantial changes to teaching
practice and to the classroom environment. Teachers consistently report much higher levels
of student interest and engagement as well as learning that is more informed, purposeful,
intellectually active and independent.
Further information can be obtained from
                                                                               Office of Research
                                                                             Building 6, Room 203A
         Please visit our website at                                            Clayton Campus
                                                                             Phone: (03) 9905-2896

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