Monday, 20 August 2018

Focusing In

It's August and there's not a whole heap left of the year!
There is, however, still time to make a substantial difference if the focus is tight and we know exactly what needs to be done.

You will have noticed that during 2018 my broad focus inside this big idea of partnering with whanau and their tamariki in moving from subsistence to capital building citizenship, has been on language.

After spending time wandering around the school the school and talking with learners and teachers, bust mostly from working with learners whom I'm "spending time with", I've noticed some things we would all do well to pay attention to in having a sharp focus on a particular subset of language; namely Reading.

I think the conversation we will have about this will be at least as important as any ideas I bring you as the 'story starter'.

See what you think.

Monday, 23 July 2018

Play, Eat, Learn

Term 3 is a wonderful time in the school calendar. Because we had our Fiafia in Term 1, we have no big school wide events this term, -nothing to distract the teacher from going for gold in Term 3!

The Term 3 focus in Pt England School is a Health/PE led one, called 'Move Ya Body'. Hence the title to this Post. 'Play, Eat, Learn'. Our kids need to play. They need to be creative, -they need to eat well in order to learn.

We can help them do this by making it an intentional focus this term. 
I'm suggesting, in fact, that in Term 3 the very best thing to do, is to do the basics very well. Deliver the New Zealand Curriculum Really well!

As always, I have some suggestions for things we ought to consider as we pursue this idea of delivering the curriculum really well without distractions.

Monday, 14 May 2018

Resilient Learn Ready Kids become Employment Ready Young People

During the last month I connected with the OECD Report on Resilience which uses the PISA tests over successive years to discover whether learners from the lowest socio-economic quartile across 70 countries, rise, fall or plateau in their test results.

Aotearoa/NZ did not perform as strongly as we would have hoped and occupies a position rather central on the chart, instead of where one would hope, in the upper right quadrant.

I was very interested in the definition the OCED crew used as it seemed remarkable similar to what our learners would have to do to achieve merit or excellence in NCEA. This also links to the language deficit our learners have and why they find it hard to meet these performance characteristics.

This led me to continue my inquiry with our staff and CoL teachers, using this report as very valuable point of reference to enable and empower us in our own context to consider what our practice imperatives are to deliver the kind of learners described in the title to this post, to the New Zealand Community.

Thursday, 15 March 2018

Data with Purpose, Teaching as Intervention

I've decided I'm quite fed up with a much quoted false dichotomy: -" A teacher is a guide on the side not a sage on the stage".

I've decided a teacher is neither.  A teacher is a teacher. Teaching is an intervention. Its not just a business where we guide our learners through different stages of development.
If we want and need to get acceleration in learning to the tune of 1.5 years progress in 1 year, we need learning design to be understood as an intentional, focused, evidence based intervention. This is the guts of what teaching is: -understanding where a learner is at, what they already know, what they need to know next and in a highly engaging and relational way, nudging, chivvying, cajoling, demanding that they make their best effort to achieve it.

This is not a guide on the side, -neither is it a sage on the stage, (perish the thought), it's a TEACHER!

Tuesday, 30 January 2018

Must Our Children Fail at School?

As I finished the summer break and pondered the state of NZ Education as well that of our community and school, the words of this title rang in my head.

I needed a factual, 'no ducking' yet encouraging way to think about this with our staff to focus attention on where we've come from, where we are now and where we'd like to be.

I hope the the content of this post is a foundation for an ongoing inquiry, with a sharpening focus that lasts through all of 2018. This is a year of Review writ large in education in Aotearoa. What shape should ours take?

As I thought about our past, including that of my own family, and all that we've learned along the way and as we wrestle with an over crowed curriculum and the ever increasing constraints of compliance, I decided to coin Vivianne Robinson's phrase as part of my conclusion.

"Do less to achieve more".

Monday, 11 December 2017

2017 Review

Having worked at Pt England since 1991 and wound up the year "in this chair" in 1993, I do celebrate the work and effort, wins and needs to win, of each year!

This has been a good one. We certainly have some stuff to work on, but we also have some stuff to celebrate.

The embedded screen record below is my "partnership meeting" with our Pt England whanau where we talk about what has gone on during the year and how we might approach things in the New Year.

Thanks SO much for supporting us in 2017! We need all of you to make this the village we would all like it to be.

Monday, 4 December 2017

December, and I really feel like putting the seesaw graphic in there again. -I won't because I'm sure you're all really bored with that one already!
Our emerging end of year data shows the need to:

  • focus on language acquisition
  • focus on mathematics
  • focus on learner and staff wellbeing
  • focus on the environment
Any one of these would normally be at least year's work. As I commented in an earlier post this year, I think the only way ahead is integration.
So.....we have to find a really smart way of putting all these things together so that teachers don't feel as though there are more and more "bolt ons" that nobody can do justice to.

We're fortunate to have scored 600 hrs of centrally funded PLD, which we can use to apply to the Manaiakalani and Language challenges and equally fortunate to have been offered the opportunity to participate in DMC Mathematics PLD.
So we have the money, ...but do we have the time and capability?
Fortunately Jannie Van Hees has some exciting ideas about how we could use environmental themes to carry the language development and develop maths and science at the same time.
Lets see how this plays out!