Saturday, 27 May 2017

Pedagogical Change Through Collaborative Leadership - NZEI Middle Leaders conference

Presenters: Stephen Eames & Jason Ataera

Ask yourself WHY? Pedagogy drives change.
As the rate of change increases our institutions must become more agile in response.
We must be experts in co-creating systems which meet the needs of our ecosystem.
Gone is the system for life, we are instead using systems which keep pace with the changing needs of our learners.

Sit alongside colleagues as we delve deeper into themes such as Pedagogy, Institutional Agility, Ecosystems, and systems for now. We will share our journey of change in an Intermediate context in a lighthearted way and spend time looking at some of the key points you can take away and apply in your context.

Welcoming the participants and starting conversations with soft music in the background set the scene.
Then light hearted chatting and laughter as people settled in and discussed the perspective cards placed on the tables. Jason and I roved the room adding to the comfortable, relaxed feel. Making
introductions, connections and building up relationships.

Starting the presentation with a Cook Island greeting brought the group together and followed by brief descriptions of who we are and our leadership journey, including an outline of our context enabled everyone to feel that what will follow is of value and delivered from the heart.

Down The Back Of The Chair. - Context is king

The message - It is up to you to make meaning of what we are delivering. All contexts are different. Pull out the pieces that apply to you, your school, your context and the students in your school.

Down the back of the chair
"Pleasure, Treasure, Toys and Trash, down
the back of the chair"
"Some hairy string and a diamond ring."

Depending on your needs and context...A diamond ring doesn’t help if you just broke your shoelace. - What are your needs?

We made it clear that we were not espousing that we have the all the answers, and that we are not a ‘No Tosh’, De Bono, Guy Claxton or anything in particular school. We take inspiration from multiple sources and draw upon the theories, ideas and research to help us develop our own pedagogy and deliver techniques and strategies which complement what we strongly believe in and our vision.

 Next key message - Know your staff and develop your strategies.
As we have heard numerous times, it's about people, people, people. What is your strategies to enable teachers and students to flourish.
People react differently to change.

We then introduced the T- Shaped person metaphor, outlining how we will provide tools which will build breadth of skills and knowledge and can be drawn upon in personal contexts so that participants can delve deep into an area within their own schools.

This led into Institutional Agility.
Agile Leaders limit an organisation to their own Leadership Agility (Top Down)
Agile Institutions harness the agility of everyone within the organisation

"The smartest person in the room is the room, the smartest person in the organisation is the organisation." The goal is not to be the most agile.

Thought provoking insights on how to foster innovation and support change whilst staying true to the deeply held beliefs of the organisation.

Famous New Zealander and Company perspective cards
Focusing on three key areas - Pedagogy first, Systems driving practice / practice driving systems and accountability.

We drew on examples of each and presented challenges we had faced. We opened up the room to discussion and using perspective cards, reverse brainstorming and 5 Whys, we explored the concept of Institutional agility.  
Throughout the presentation we provided opportunities to share, discuss and ask questions.

Getting to know names and schools helped to gain an understanding of different personalities and contexts and in some cases the challenges they faced. Trends included: Student agency, personalised PD and accountability. All of which we were able to address and provide advice. 
Personal stories of students and teachers were received with smiles of acknowledgement and jokes and jest between Jason and I provided entertainment and complimented the content.  (Dr Barbara Fredrickson suggests positive emotions broadening one's ability to think creatively with flexibility)

The presentation flew by and after the conclusion messages and thank yous the first comment heard was
That was great! The time flew by” then lots of thanks and appreciation.

“The chair, the chair, the challenging chair,
The champion chair, the cheerful chair,
The charming chair, the children’s chair,
The chopped and chipped but chosen chair
To think our fortune waited there

Down the back of the chair.”

Saturday, 11 March 2017

EduCampWelly17 - #WellyEd Conference at Raroa

Raroa intermediate was the ideal setting for this years EducampWelly17 (I am a bit biased as the AP there.) The Learning Street provided inspiration and prompted questions and conversation on the changing landscape of learning and learning environments.

EducampWelly is a spin off from the #wellyed network. A network of passionate educators. Created by Philippa Antipas @AKeenReader and has now grown to form an exciting group of connected teachers and educational professionals. EducampWelly17 attracted teachers and educators from Wellington, other parts of NZ and a few attendees from overseas.

After introductions, The day was kicked off with 'The Smack Down' - Each person gets one slide & 1 min. This was an opportunity to hear a range of ideas, thoughts and pitches. Quick, fun and thoughtful.

This was followed by the shaping of discussions and workshops based on participants interests. Tours of the school ran throughout the day providing opportunities for participants to ask questions and look around a range of innovative learning environments.

The day was a buzz with conversation, accompanied by coffee, baking and to end the day pizza and drinks put on my N4L

Here is a link to a reflection from one of the teachers that attended the conference.

Saturday, 4 March 2017

Sir John Jones - Leading Remarkable Learning 4th March 17

How great teachers and schools make a difference.

Sir John Jones was knighted in 2003 for his services to education. He has worked extensively in challenging schools in North West England. He speaks with a huge amount of passion. His messages are serious, heartfelt and filled with humour.
Sir John’s messages focused on making connections with people and teaching from the heart. He talked about the teachers who are the magic weavers and the power they have to make a real difference. His many stories and clips presented brought tears to the eyes of those listening.

“80% is about relationships and the other 20% is about relationships.”

Ubuntu - A quality that includes the essential human virtues; compassion and humanity.

It’s lots of little things that can create the new normal.

  • Become the asker of brilliant questions.
  • Change why?  to what?
  • Beware collective Nouns
  • Who are your Magic Weavers?
  • Reflection - Ask the question “What mistakes did you make today?”
  • Change the Script - Take care with your questions and how they are received.
  • No Invisible Students

Sir John spoke about the relentless pursuit of excellence, teaching with warmth, passion and righteous indignation. He also talked about mindsets and believing in students.

Sir John gave me an opportunity to reflect on same of the amazing students in my career, the connections made and what really counted and made a difference.

Jason Elwain - Avoid assumptions

Sugata Mitra - Leading Remarkable Learning - March 2017

I have long been a fan of Sugata and in many ways he has been a big influence on my teaching approaches and philosophy of teaching. I have watched and enjoyed his Ted talks numerous times and have experimented with the concepts of self organised learning environments on a number of occasions. 

Sugata Mitra is Professor of Educational Technology at the School of Education. He was given the TED Prize in 2013 in recognition of his work on 'building a School in the Cloud,' a creative online space where children from all over the world can gather to answer 'big questions’ He is also well known for his ‘Hole in the wall’ experiments.

Saturday, 8 October 2016

Reflection Michael Fullan U-Learn16

Michael Fullan

Michael Fullan, is a worldwide authority on educational reform with a mandate of helping to achieve the moral purpose of all children learning.

Michael works alongside educators and governments to change the role of teachers to that of activators of learning who design learning experiences that build on learner strengths and needs, create new knowledge using real-life problem solving and help all students identify their talents, purpose and passion.

Michael talked about systems change and working with clusters of school to implement change.  

Amongst other points Michael outlined that humans are innately wiring to connect, create and help others.
We need to amplify the innate characteristics in education.

Michael outlined whole system change strategies.
  • Accountability has a history of failure, not that you remove accountability, as positive accountability has an effect
  • Standards also do not fosters sustainability change
The major contributor of sustainably change is systems  and culture change

  • Breakthrough Leadership
Respect and Reject the status quo
Be an expert and apprentice
Experiment and Commit

"The dynastic duo and must be addressed in schools.
New developments in Neuroscience and new developments in Learning Environments."

Reflection - Larry Rosenstock / High Tech High

Larry Rosenstock

The first keynote for U-Learn 2016 was Larry Rosenstock - Larry is the C.E.O  of the San Diego-based High Tech High.  Although I have listened to him speak before and have watched the film ‘Most likely to Succeed’ I was excited at the opportunity to listen to him once again.  
Larry presented his views on the educational paradigm shift and the move away from structured educational systems of the past.

A particularly poignant part of his talk for me was when he spoke of his earlier days in education and the way that students were grouped based on assumptions - ‘These people can do this and these people can do that.  Manual workshop was prescribed to the boys and vocational studies to the girls and similar systems of organisation. Some of these systems, although, not so dramatic still exist in classrooms today.
My reflective question: Are we still selecting or grouping students for opportunities based on assumptions?  - what factors do we use to justify these grouping?

He went on to talk about his desire to focus his attention on people that it was predicted wouldn’t be able to do something (achieve in an area or pursuit)
This being one of the drivers in creating High Tech High.
Larry also reaffirmed that ‘knowledge is socially constructed’ and displayed some wonderful examples of student projects.

  • Challenge assumptions and provide opportunity to succeed

Later in the week we got the opportunity to be involved in a workshop with Larry. Exploring ‘memorable moments’ - This was another fantastic session.

Tuesday, 9 August 2016

Supporting pedagogical change

Last year I worked with a wonderful group of teachers and created a collaborative learning space which was originally 4 separate classes. Creating a open, visual, connected and student centered learning environment. It was shaped to effectively deliver curriculum with the students futures in mind and taking into consideration the skills and attributes that I believed would lead to success, now and in the future. As well acknowledging the neuroscience of the adolescent brain. (as I work in an intermediate school)

I love, buzzing, productive learning environments, where students are fully engaged, comfortable, self motivated, and drawing on a range of essential skills in socially constructed learning opportunities.

I believe this takes time and effort and a team who are keen to develop the most effective learning environment which meets the needs of 'All' of the students

This year I have moved out of the classroom - My role enables me to work with teachers and students, supporting them to make adjustments to their learning spaces and practices. Helping them adapt their classrooms and spaces to reflect future focused thinking.

When working with teachers I have found there are two areas which can be explored or used to establish where a teacher is working at and start setting goals and inquiry focuses.

How does the environments support student learning?
- This often is about how the space is utilised, the teacher or teachers' role within the space

2. What is in place to enable students to manage their learning and increase student agency?
- This is the systems or support in place to promote or the develop student agency - This is where technology can be integrated so successfully or in some cause not.

So in order to make pedagogical decisions teachers should be considering, listening too and continually monitoring and tracking learning.

At any one time students are operating at various levels of agency and have a broad range of skills and mindsets to draw upon to enable success in a learning environment that is focused on developing student agency and a 21st century skill sets - Critical and creative thinking, collaboration, effective communication etc....

As teachers and facilitators of learning there needs to be an awareness of where students are operating at, to enable success and a need to carefully construct programmes that support the develop of all students. As well as tapping into the potential of multiple learners.

Traditionally educators have often approached classroom organisation and curriculum deliever without the learner in mind or the future of the learner in mind. Setting structure to suit the teacher or tick a box. Resulting in turning students off learning or creating negative or inhibitive mindsets. Sometimes directing teaching to the middle and losing many students in the process.  
As well as create classrooms that are bias towards students who have high levels of agency.

There is a real need to personalise. A learning environment needs structures as well as freedom and to do this teachers need to understand their learners and have opportunities to explore what evidence is needed to make informed decisions.

Next steps for Teachers
Teachers must plan and provide opportunities that meet a need or a purpose, that are motivational and stimulate curiosity in the learner so that they are self driven and developing a range of skills in the process. Providing, problem solving, critical thinking opportunities which draw upon a range of digital and non-digital resources.

If we priorities around skills and processes our timetables should dramatically change and students get to 'use' knowledge through exciting scientific , mathematically problem based learning opportunities.

Saturday, 4 June 2016

Raroa Innovation Network

I believe there are two extremely exciting buzzes in educational leadership. One would be observing students fully engaged in their learning and the other is passionate teachers, who are excited about what they are doing and are self motivated in the pursuit to strengthen their practice. (There is an obvious correlation between the two)

This is the motivation behind the Raroa Innovation Network and the providing of an opportunity for teachers to network and celebrate and discuss their on going progress, challenges and goals.

". The most useful insights and innovations often come from the ground up, from those who practice in a real-world environment and can experience the shifts in learning and student needs first hand. Teachers are largely untapped sources of intellectual and creative talent. As such there is an opportunity to lead change by transforming the culture and conditions of teaching, in order to empower teachers as learning designers and innovators." - Dr Simon Breakspear

Passionate teachers are aware of the need to adapt their programmes and practices and are looking for inspiration and a chance to discover cutting edge ideas in order to meet the needs of the students in their learning environments, to enable success now and in their futures.

Saturday, 12 March 2016

What events or actions create the greatest learning gains?

In the photo you see a group of students involved in creating an inquiry pathway, after conferencing with a teacher.
What interests me is “what events, actions or processes spark the greatest learning gains.”

Firstly 'the idea'
The idea generated was a spin off  from a set of immersion tasks. The idea ‘Floating Houses’ (floating above the ground) is interest and passion driven.
During the conference it was discussed “Why, this idea?” and "what's the relevance?" -  Giving purpose and relevance as well as making connections to an area that the students are keen to learn more about.

“What do we have to find out?” - questioning
- What knowledge is needed to pursue this inquiry pathway.
We had a laugh as the students shared ideas and discussed a range of concepts, drawing on prior knowledge. Themes such as electro-magnets and vacuum technology. Building curiosity, intrigue and a desire to learn more.
We discussed - “So what, where could this led you?”, and “how could we use this knowledge?”, where would it take their learning. They are keen to build a floating house, using the design process and prototyping.
What do we do , planned or unplanned, intentional or unintentional to increase the 'learning effect '
for example, what will be the effect when a blog post is created and e- mailed to the parents outlining what they are trying to achieve and celebrating their learning. Opening up conversations at home.
What will the effect of them sharing their learning and the process of creating their inquiry pathway with the class or other classes, collaborating with others and gathering ideas? What will be the effect of giving continual feedback, reflection time and opportunities to assess and share the many skills that they will draw upon during this inquiry.
What would the effect of bringing in an engineer to talk to them about their idea. The effect of actually building a floating house, drawing upon their new knowledge and ideas.

This reflection has also led me to revisit John Hattie's research. Which explores the most effective strategies for improving student achievement.
Hattie created a scale to compare the impact of different interventions. He calls this the ‘effect size’. -
Noted below are a few of the significant interventions.

Peer Influence – group work & discussion: 0.82
Feedback and Assessment for Learning: 0.75
Positive student-teacher relationships: 0.72
Differentiation: 0.61
Clear learning objectives: 0.57
Challenging tasks and success criteria: 0.57
Providing worked examples: 0.55
Questioning strategies: 0.52

I can draw on these intervention, using them as a checklist, to inform my own interventions.

Below is a 5min brainstorm of learning events created in Team One's team meeting, as a led in to discussing inquiry direction.

While reflecting and and making connections with the design thinking process I stumble upon the Nueva School Design Thinking Process. - A great Design Thinking Infographic

Friday, 4 December 2015

Social Enterprise Inquiry Presentations

Well done on student led presentations.

Through this inquiry students had to draw upon a huge range of very important skills which will enabling them to be successful in their futures.

Being the last ‘end point’ of our inquiries we can be extremely pleased with the skills, mindsets and toolsets that our students have developed throughout the year.

Students have:

  • Generated some amazing ideas
  • Worked collaboratively
  • worked through a cycle of critique
  • Problem Solved
  • Discussed, developed and refined their ideas
  • Continually received and given feedback
  • Presented
  • Been questioned in order to justify their decisions

As well as learning about:

  • Business and consumerism
  • Financing
  • Marketing
  • Sustainability
  • Real life problems (shipping, wages, costs, employment, leasing etc...)

Well done Team 2 on a tremendous team effort!


Monday, 23 November 2015

Team 2 Market Day Success.

Today students in Team 2 worked hard to present their market day projects. The results were impressive and displayed a range of innovative, creative, clever and yummy products, performances and presentations. 

Tuesday, 17 November 2015

Mean Green House Competition - Highly Commended!

Congratulations to ... Hannah Malden, Charlotte Mills and Brianna Maloney, who have achieved a Highly Commended in the Genesis Energy Mean Green House Design Competition. This is a tremendous achievement and puts them in the top three amongst hundreds of entries nationwide.

The technology used to create their beautiful model 'The Hybrid House' is amazing, but equally as impressive was the depth of research, thought and integration of ideas that they have expressed in their presentation.

Friday, 30 October 2015

One Heart Day - Fundraiser.

Students in Team 2 have spent the past few weeks participating in One Heart Day.
This event has been organised by So They Can, a charity who support a primary school, Abedare Ranges Primary, in Kenya.
One Heart Day is about students coming together, from around the world, to learn about each other and understand the importance of connecting with each other. The day celebrates the African concept of Ubuntu, that when you give you also receive, that we are all one and that we can all help each other.

As part of this day students in Team 2 put on a Bake Sale and a Sausage Sizzle in order to raise money to buy sports equipment for the kids at Aberdare Ranges Primary School. Both were a huge success with the school raising an impressive $515!!

Wednesday, 14 October 2015

One Heart Day

In January I was lucky enough to travel to Kenya and spend some time at Abedare Primary School, a school set up by a New Zealander under the organisation So They Can. Today we were visited by 
some people from So They Can to talk about One Heart Day - a schools programme they have put in place to help students learn about what it means to be a global citizen and explore the idea that in giving we also receive. 

Over the next 2 weeks we will be completing some activities that allow our students to connect with students at Abedare Ranges Primary School.  Students were very engaged throughout the whole talk and started the activities this afternoon with enthusiasm!

Tuesday, 29 September 2015

Term Three Conclusion.

Term Three was a busy and productive term with plenty of opportunities for students to achieve and reach their full potential. The health inquiry was based around ‘Te Whare Tapa Wha’ as well as building confidence and learning strategies to help foster healthy relationships and personal safety and well being.

To conclude the inquiry students had to draw on their learning to plan, develop and construct a board game that includes the elements of Te Whare Tapa Wha as well as showing the importance of decision making and consequences.
This was hugely successful and the results were incredible. Students worked extremely hard to produce some very creative, fun board games.
Focus skills included:
Create a plan to meet a purpose
· Show awareness of the purpose and audience
· Select and develop ideas
· Organise clearly and logically
· Evaluate information
· Synthesise ideas
· Review to identify and address any problems
· Listen to interpret ideas and information
· Generate solutions
· Respond appropriately
· Create innovative ideas