Wednesday, 31 July 2013

Your teacher talked with you ? Yeah right !!!!!

Very excited to be at the School Trustees Association Conference - 840 passionate parent educators  who have taken their places on Boards of Trustees to support their schools, their communities, and above all their kids.

Miranda and I presented a workshop on the importance of research and inquiry and the sorts of question Boards can be asking of their principals and their schools.

At one point in my presentation I asked the audience of about 70 to think back to a time when they had failed an assessment in school - there was a bit of laughter - obviously that was not too difficult to do - and then I asked them -'Do you ever remember a time when a teacher sat next to you and said something like - Let's talk about why you have failed this assignment OR -how can I help you understand the bits you have missed ? OR -what is is that stopped you learning this ? OR -maybe I've missed something in my teaching, can you help me with that ? OR -let's find a way together to make sure this failure does not happen again ?  ---- The laughter grew louder and louder. YEAH RIGHT ! was the general mood.

Please let's stop the craziness. Let's encourage all our teachers to be inquirers. How else do you learn how to be a teacher if you don't inquire from your students. The answer of course is that YOU DON"T - you just make the same old mistakes over and over and maintain the status quo.

You might just as well stay home and knit !!

Wednesday, 17 July 2013

Let's change the career structures.

Andreas Schleicher commented that New Zealand would be the top in the world in education IF we could solve the major problem we have of one in five of our students not achieving.

One of the challenges he posed was how to get our best teachers and leaders into our most challenging schools.

We talked about making that part of the career structure. Maybe for teachers to advance to the next career stage they need to have worked some time in a challenging school.Maybe before DPs can become principals there would be a requirement to spend some time in a challenging school and to show that they had been part of  making a difference for the students in that school.

Seriously - the young teachers that I know who quite clearly have a career in teaching would jump at this challenge. It would be such an exciting opportunity for them. They are all people who want to make a difference in the world. That's easy to spot. Of course they can do it anyway but to make it part of the career structure would add a highly motivating dimension to teaching as a long term career.

I would be very interested in comments from other people on this issue.

Friday, 12 July 2013

You get paid not for what you know..........

Great to be at the breakfast and later the dinner with Andreas Schleicher. So interesting to hear someone with that huge perspective. One of the comments (among lots of others) he made was -"'You get paid not for what you know, but for what you do with what you know."
He was making the point again that education has to respond to the needs of the students now. Being creative, innovative and thoughtful is a requirement for everyone.

Steve Maharey the Vice chancellor of Massey university visited our students on Thursday and he made exactly he same point to them. He told them to make the most of the impact projects because it is in the projects that they do the learning that will be required of them at university and in the jobs they will be involved in. The world has changed from when their parents left school. They need to know how to solve problems, be part of teams, how to lead, how to contribute. He talked to them about keeping their options open, not getting too focussed on one particular career goal. He impressed on our students that because of their experience with the impact projects they will already have an edge and to be aware of the edge that they have.

It is just great to have this endorsement from two people for who are so reputable one who has a global perspective and one a national, university perspective.

Sunday, 7 July 2013

Tony Iro and Science

Attended coaches' breakfast this morning where Tony Iro presented. I was fascinated by the parallels between teaching and sport. Tony talked about the players who did really well very often saw playing as a science. They didn't just practise, they also watched hours of videos looking at  strategies and different game plays. He describes them as the scientists. Yes they have to be fit but they also need to know the game. It's by watching and building a data bank of good play that brings the improvement. It's the same with teaching isn't it ? - If you want to be a better teacher then at some point you need to see it as a science. Just like the players who want to be champions, watch, watch, watch-- what are the tactics that successful teachers use ? Practise them in  your own game - perfect one strategy then move to another, perfect that and move on to another. Eventually be the teacher that other young players are keen to watch.
Teaching is a scientific endeavour - just like sport.

Thursday, 4 July 2013

Measuring Success

We have just had the league table results published in the Metro magazine. So we all look anxiously at our own schools and compare ourselves with all the other schools. Hopefully we look at least okay.
 I am not opposed to the league tables actually - we need to have a yardstick and the league tables are as good as any. What I am not sure though is that they are the only yardstick.

 On Saturday night I went to the show CABARET performed at the school by the students. I know that as part of the impact project, groups of students have designed and taught the choreography and I know that the students have designed and built the set. The sense of achievement these students feel at the end of a hugely successful show is outstanding. They have had to be enterprising, resourceful, reliable and resilient. They have had to establish goals, make plans, manage projects and set high standards. They have had to develop strategies for meeting challenges and they have had to know when to follow and when to lead and when and how to act independently. (straight from the NZC)
 From this experience these students are more confident and more ready to find their place in the world.

Our four young men who have set up the Young Engineers' Association in New Zealand had an amazingly successful day. 33 school teams presented on the day.University lecturers were their guest speakers and the feedback was overwhelming. They are already planning the next day for next year when they will be at University in Auckland. The same thing applies as above. The sense of satisfaction for these young men is overwhelming - They made comments like - "We just can't believe that what started out as just talking ended up in such a fantastic day - and everything went well"
And again how much readier they are to face the world of university and beyond.

 Sean a Year 12 young man did our Tuesday presentation to the staff. He presented to us his application which he will have ready to launch at the end of this impact project semester. It is an application that teaches music theory. Sean spoke about how hard he has to work on the application because historically is is the 'second mouse who gets the cheese". He is determined to be the first mouse and the second mouse. Sean is working on his own with support from an inschool mentor and external providers of information. He knows he will finish because he has learnt to persevere even when things look incredibly hard.
Sean is quite clearly going to be successful in the tech world.

 So how do we present these stories to the media or ERO or to prospective parents ? How do we record and measure that success ?