This week’s reflection is one I found from earlier in the year during Maori Language Week and while our Year 9 students were planning their Marae trip. At the same time we were looking at Tataiako as a staff.
First some facts. Māori language week was set up back in the 1975. Part of the reason that the celebration was instituted was due to New Zealand almost stamping the language out. Kids got the strap for speaking Te Reo when my parents went to school. During the 1980s various Māori language recovery programmes were instituted including Māori immersion schools. Still during my time at school I can’t remember it being taught.
I remember my sister was advised that learning Te Reo was a waste of time because it was dead language but she embraced it at university. I only wish I had done the same instead of those dusty old Middle English papers. That was only 25 years ago. It is a shame there’s still large pockets of Pakeha New Zealander who don’t want their kids to learn Te Reo.
In my educational journey I have enrolled in a Level 2 Te Reo course next year. I wish I had learned more as a younger student especially when going overseas. Overseas I found Kiwis embrace Māori culture and language as part of our identity. I still remember leading a haka while teaching in Papua New Guinea. I’m just glad it was before the era of Instagram or Facebook!
This year, while studying educational documents like Ka Hikitea or articles like the Issues of Culture and Assessment in New Zealand Education pertaining to Māori Students by Rangimārie Mahuika and Russell Bishop I have realized the language is so rich. So even though my own knowledge of Māori is pretty poor, I could still help my students by empowering them. One of the most powerful things I did was to get the kids to identify my learning need. They helped me also prepare Powhiri. What the kids came back with was nothing short of amazing. This was an illustration of the professional learning network at its best. The students saw me as a lifelong learner.
This is a great resource for a staff meeting. I especially liked it as I am a big fan of Seinfeld.
Jerry Seinfeld on Saturday Night Live
I have been reading this week a great deal about collaboration and leadership in a learning environment. I suggest the following by Jane David useful.
What research says about collaborative inquiry
As teachers I don’t think we do this well but I don’t know why as personally I love going into the classrooms of my school to be invigorated by what great ideas our staff have. I hope in the revamped appraisal system and Registered Teachers Criteria in Schools will encourage this more.
Literature suggests ‘collaboration’ to happen staff must understand the culture of the SLT. It must be clear that to have an effective PLN in school, there couldn’t be any independent contractors who were working in isolation doing their own thing. This is important.
To establish and sustain a collaborative culture, you have to confront behaviours that aren’t collaborative. Gossip and not holding each other accountable is not helpful. When a topic is being discussed, there needs to be compromise before the discussion is over. This discussion should be robust and everybody shall feel safe.
Everybody in an institution knows who is working together and those that are on their own path. The question is what is the SLT do about?
As leader it shouldn’t be a secret or mystery when it comes to their beliefs and thoughts on education. We can’t be backward in coming forward about what we really believe. More importantly you have to follow it up. In the about section of this blog I outline my own beliefs.
Don’t try and change someone’s attitude; focus on changing their behavior through expectations.
We are a learning community and ākonga is at the centre of the learning community.
This week the X Factor was a popular topic conversation in our College community. While no expert in these shows I did find this YouTube 0f the winner of Ukraine’s Got Talent 2009. Turn the sound up and enjoy. Simply stunning.