Friday, 22 March 2019

Sharpening the Focus

We're into the second month of the academic year. We've been able to hear and see every learner learn. We've been able to observe their learning behaviours.
The management team has been able to see teachers implement their learning programmes and begin to design for increased differentiation.
We're testing our theories and hypotheses about what might improve things and what might keep the joy alive as we do so.
As we share these theories and hypotheses with one another and discuss our own and each other's views we can sharpen the focus as "iron sharpens iron".
I'm still very hopeful that there are skills, processes and understandings that sit behind and through the Core Subjects, which if attended to well, can assist us in bringing accelerated learning in 3 subjects simultaneously.
I'm suggesting to you in this blog and the embedded presentation that we pay close attention to:
  • Language acquisition, development, sustaining & transfer
  • Learning Design including:
    • Formative practice
    • Progressional understanding
    • Effective planning for learning
I'm also suggesting that if we develop successful pedagogy for our Māori and Pasifika learners that it works for most if not all of our learners and reduces disparity between genders and ethnicities whilst it does so.

Friday, 22 February 2019

February Inquiry

Kia ora Tātou
The year is underway, the learners are in class, programmes are moving into top gear.
It's time to have those Class Descriptions coming clear and to be sharpening our thoughts about Teaching as Inquiry.
For the principal, it's time, having looked at data over the summer, compared the Woolf Fisher Research Centre Data, that we received on 12 Feb at our Manaiakalani Staff Meeting, held at Tamaki College, and having compared those results with our own, to be coming clear about my own Inquiry, and some early stages hypotheses which might sit behind it.
My Inquiry, in brief, is to be able to describe clearly how to get improved acceleration in the 3 Core Subjects, -Reading, Writing and Mathematics, simultaneously without harming learners, teachers or anybody else in the process and how to keep the joy of creative learning absolutely alive and kicking whilst we do it.
Some of us can recall clearly the days of School Improvement where we learned to accelerate one subject at a time over 3 years for each, took too long for the learner and killed much of the joy in the process. 9 years to improve 3 subjects systematically is longe than the life of a primary school learner at primary school. -Not acceptable.
The short presentation below, is my attempt to link my Inquiry to those of the teaching staff in Pt England School and the Manaiakalani Kahui Ako and to explain what I hope we cna achieve if we focus together sharply and work together well.

Thursday, 31 January 2019

2019 Direction

Happy Year to you all!

We've had some weeks to ponder on the result/s of 2018 and think about how we continue to improve in 2019.
I'm sure my staff will all be pleased to hear, "not by doing anything new!".
To the Pt England Staff and other members of my audience, I hope this screen record of my January korero to Pt England, will be a really useful rewindable resource of how I think, collectively, we're going to win this education, acceleration game in 2019.
Because it's not a game!
It's deadly serious. Lives are genuinely at stake.
Somehow, we have to do this work well together without killing or depressing teachers, without making the quest for improvement simply miserable. We need to use the Learn, Create, Share pedagogy to keep this work a joyous, celebratory pursuit of equity and excellence. 
So I do hope you enjoy and learn from my 2019 Inquiry, which is focused on how to get acceleration in the 3 core subjects simultaneously whilst keeping the joy alive and having powerfully interwoven themes and experiences of Wellbeing and Cultural Responsiveness.
Let me know what you think!

Friday, 14 December 2018

How did we do?

In November/December of each year, we take stock of all the thinking, discussing, inquiry and application of learning. We do our best to produce the final, honest summative discussion document for the year. Generally this takes the place of a presentation which we present to our whanau, our staff, our Board and anyone else who's interested and then seek feedback about what we need to plan and include for the subsequent year.

Of necessity, this presentation is a bit longer than those I usually post as it's attempting to sum up the year of activity and learning. As always, I'm very happy to receive any feedback or ideas, either for the school or for how we could manage this process more effectively.

In summary, we've had a really good year and we have much to celebrate. We need to work hard at getting better acceleration in Reading and Mathematics, and we need to keep concentrating on how to get effective acceleration in 3 core subjects simultaneously. The acceleration we can see in Writing, is something to be very happy about. Our sporting and cultural results are outstanding.
I trust you have a wonderful Christmas and a blessed New Year.

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, but 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.