Monthly Archives: August 2014

SOLO in 3 min: TeachmeetNZ

Feel free to jump straight to the video, I just want to capture some back story.

My journey with SOLO Taxonomy began some time ago and I feel very fortunate to have been working in a secondary school that I think was one of the early adopters in New Zealand with regard to tapping in to the expertise of Pam Hook.

timeline slide

The slide above is my attempt to timeline the schools journey – I am fairly confident I got the time frames correct. Anyway, I started teaching in 1999 or 2000 (I forget) and since then, it has been a fantastic learning journey. Under excellent leadership, there was a real emphasis on supporting teacher learning and I got the opportunity to go to some great conferences and even present at several. This has included ULearn conferences and a highlight for me was presenting at ICOT (International Conference on thinking – held in Wellington NZ in 2013).

Prior to 2006, as a school, we had learned loads of stuff but things would come and go. This then all changed. I think it was a Ulearn conference where a number of us saw Pam Hook and Julie Mills present on SOLO Taxonomy. As the timeline shows, from then on, SOLO slowly became the framework that united all other things. In a school of 1500+ students it would be incorrect to say that SOLO is everywhere all the time but by and large, it is a common framework across the school.

So in the past, I have made quite a few presentations (mainly for our own staff) and I have even seen some of my slides turn up in other peoples stuff quite recently which I guess is flattering. Anyway, when I was approached to participate in the Geography TeachmeetNZ the other week, and do something on SOLO, I felt a little nervous. This is because through my year and a bit long relationship with Twitter, I have seen lots of other educators who have also seen the magic of Pam’s adaptions of Biggs taxonomy and the power it has in a school situation. I was nervous that I might not have anything new to add. The other fear I had was “how do I fit all my learning with SOLO into 3 minutes?” So, I just tried to focus on the essence of it. you know, the vibe. That it’s all about making learning visible to the students.

I feel it is very important to point out that everything I know SOLO, is really just parroting Pam’s words (I guess through my own lens and hopefully not too incorrectly) or it is an adaption of ideas gleaned from working with Pam and my other talented colleagues. I now really enjoy generating my own rubrics and templates as I find student needs that are not being meet (teaching as inquiry I guess). Whenever I do this, I always endeavour to attribute my work to Pam Hook (see http://www.pamhook.com )who is the one that first linked Biggs’s SOLO Taxonomy to a learning framework for schools. She really does deserve guru status I reckon.

Thanks also to Sonya Van Schaijik @ for all her nudging and work on TeachmeetNZ and also to Steve Mouldy @ for his tireless efforts for anything Geography (and a truck load of other things lately)