Thursday, 20 June 2013

YENGA continued

Here are our boys one day before the big event. Such a huge accomplishment. 170 students from across Auckland are attending. I wish them the best of luck.

Tuesday, 18 June 2013

Appalling results

I am intrigued by the results of the national standards published last week.Although they are not surprising they are appalling. We have somehow got used to the fact that so many Maori and Pasifika students do not achieve that we no longer gasp in horror.

Monday, 17 June 2013

Enabling Constraints

My friend Rose gave me a picture of a bird of paradise - and it serves me well as a metaphor for "enabling constraints". The structured point on the stem has a plan, is on a mission, knows exactly where it is going. There is no wavering. The beautiful flourish of orange and purple  flowers  are made possible because of  that underlying structure.
The Best Evidence Synthesis gives - Ensuring an orderly and supportive environment -an effect size of 0.27 in comparison with 0.84 which is - Promoting and participating in teacher learning and development. It is still high on the list of important things to give time to and needs to be attended to.
I am enjoying watching our team leaders planning for the second round of impact projects. I was in Sharon's community and it was great to see how engaged all the students were in the selection process. Sharon set up three groups. The Group called group 1 was the group of students who already knew exactly what the project was to be about and were ready to go. Those students were given the proposal sheets and they were on the way. Group 2 was the group of students who knew what project they were doing and wanted to move to a new community because they were keen to move to a mentor in a different community. Those students were given a sheet and on it they had to write a paragraph about why they wanted the change - how it would support the development of their project. Once they had written the paragraph they could get the move endorsed and signed off by the tutor and then head off to the new mentor and get the same sheet signed there. Group 3 was the group that had not yet decided on their project. I liked the way Sharon said to all the students -"That is a good place to be and today is about resolving that ." Those students were asked to go to the seminar room and they would work with a teacher to discuss and then find a project that would work for them.
At the same time that all of that was happening the DPs in charge of each area had a list of students, from the tutors, who had not found great success in their previous project. These students were interviewed separately. I was also involved in this process because I have responsibility for two communities. What I enjoyed about the conversations I was involved with (and the DPs reported the same ) is the commitment that the students have to the projects and their honest reflection on why they did not find success the first time round.\
So back to the enabling constraints - I am excited by the constraints that the team leaders are putting in around the projects and I am absolutely excited by the depth of learning that is becoming more and more apparent in the projects designed by the students.

Sunday, 16 June 2013

A Bad Teacher with an ipad.

I loved what Peter Garelja said at the Emerging Leaders' conference in the weekend. He was talking about the effect of ICT, and that in the hands of a poor teacher it really will have as little or no effect because 'a bad teacher with an ipad is a bad teacher with an ipad."
I remember thinking the same thing about the class size debate last year. A bad teacher with a small class is a bad teacher with a small class. I know that some countries have made the decision to go with bigger class sizes - NOT TO SAVE MONEY - but to give teachers more preparation time and time to engage in their own rigorous learning. This is a no goer of course but I can't help but add that a good teacher with a small class is a good teacher with a big class is a good teacher.

Wednesday, 5 June 2013

It's in the relationship!

Sometimes you've used an example so often that you forget it's a good one.
We all know (from every researcher and from every students you ask ) that when students have positive relationships with their teachers they are more likely to engage with the learning and to be successful.
The nature of that word 'relationship' is interesting. Relationship imples that there are two equal parties respecting each other and being willing to consider each other's point of view.
In Te Kotahitanga one of the exercises we got teachers to engage with was to consider their own relationships.
Just imagine, we'd say, if you went home tonight and said to your partner "Now look there's a problem here in our relationship but guess what! I am an expert, I have studied for a very long time and I know a problem when I see one and you know what ? the problem is you."
Mmmmm you might just be packing your bags and looking for shelter for the night.
So then let's consider our relationships with our students. Can we honestly say that we don't do exactly that sometimes ? Do we always see our students as equal partners in this teaching and learning and do we always consider their point of view ? OR do we always have the answer because really, deep down we know for sure we  that the problem is them?
Just something to consider.

Sunday, 2 June 2013

Teaching REALLY is inquiry.

When I learnt Maori I always wondered why the word 'ako' means both to teach and to learn because I really thought they were two different things - there was teaching and there was learning.
However, of course, it makes huge sense - simply one does not exist without the other. And that makes sense of that saying - If you have taught something and the students haven't learnt it then you haven' t taught it. The ONLY response you can have as a teacher is to INQUIRE from the students where the gap is and once you have discovered that, to fill the gap -that's what teaching is.The next step, and the one we sometimes let go is to make SURE in your next planning that you work to mitigate against the same thing happening again because that is what perfecting the art of teaching is.
Teaching really is inquiry.

Endorsement for impact projects.

I was in Whitcoulls today and was  served by Nick, an ex student. Nick is studying architecture at university. I asked him how it was going and he answered "You have no idea how well impact projects prepare you for university. It's insane !!!. We are just always doing projects."
I am pleased for Nick. He looks confident - obviously he is doing what is right for him.  And of course I am delighted with his passionate endorsement for impact projects.