Archive | March, 2014

Let’s blog or tweet or poke or…

30 Mar

What has joining the online world about education and technology done for me? How has writing here changed me or the way I approach my work? Have I learned anything? How has this weekly reflection helped me?   I know this for sure……I know less than I thought I did. To me it has been a process of māramatanga (enlightenment I use Maori term for it is so much richer) From a practical perspective it dips into so many of the Registered Teaching Criteria for teaching registration in New Zealand buy I digress.

Education is about being willing to learn, being willing to take risks and acknowledging that we do not have all the answers. Not only do we have to admit to not “knowing” it all, but we need to be eager to look for the answers. Teachers must model this for their students. Teaching is more about guiding students to learn new skills for themselves as it is about telling students about what they should know.
Today’s students need to know how to research, work with a team, how to think critically and find information when they need it. All learners need to be able to read, reflect and respond. I think the most important thing that I have learned is that I must continue to learn! I know now that no teacher has learned everything they need to know about being an effective educator. We are always ako (students). We need to learn every day. What we learn today changes what we will do tomorrow……. teachers are in the best position to model this for the community.

Professional Readings

Teaching “Naked”

To balance things out I thought I might suggest this reading this week from Jose Bowen, dean of the Meadows School of the Arts

NCEA and Student Motivation

While doing some research on student motivation this week I came across this really good article.

Leading Under Stress

23 Mar

It is getting to the busy end term in fact the pressure cooker time. Leader’s true colours come through during this time. While in my role I have thought of 5 things I can do that transforms pressure from a liability to an asset:

  1. Know Thyself: Leaders must know themselves, their strengths and weaknesses, and where they will and won’t compromise. When a leader is comfortable in their own skin they won’t fear dissenting opinion and diversity of thought, they’ll encourage it. Knowing who you are frees you to become a better thinker and a better leader. I have my own leadership philosophy on my office wall as a guide.
  2. Lead: Make a call and stick to it.
  3. Keep It Simple: Complexity creates pressure. The best leaders look to simplify everything they can. Simplicity rarely equates to a lack of sophistication – it actually demonstrates remarkable elegance. Simplicity drives understanding, which leads to a certainty of execution. One truism you can count on is performance relives pressure.
  4. Focus: Focused leaders rarely feel external pressure. Unfocused leaders feel as if pressure is coming at them from all directions. Focus affords leaders clarity of thought that a cluttered mind will never realize. It’s not possible to lead an organization toward a better future when a leaders mind can’t see through the fog. An organization is never under greater pressure, or at greater risk, than when leaders lose their focus.
  5. Create Space: Have time out and other interests. Eg read my piece last month on ironman.

The Importance of Prior Knowledge:

As I prepare to teach a new topic I thought this week’s professional reading is apt.

“Educators often focus on the ideas that they want their audience to have. But research has shown that a learner’s prior knowledge often confounds an educator’s best efforts to deliver ideas accurately. A large body of findings shows that learning proceeds primarily from prior knowledge, and only secondarily from the presented materials. Prior knowledge can be at odds with the presented material, and consequently, learners will distort presented material. Neglect of prior knowledge can result in the audience learning something opposed to the educator’s intentions, no matter how well those intentions are executed in an exhibit, book, or lecture.”     


Fisher and Frey’s article “Building and Activating Background Knowledge” in Principal Leadership highlights the importance of activating prior knowledge in learning quite nicely.

I Believe…

16 Mar

While reviewing systems and my beliefs I reflected on this during the week. I believe I can serve the children who will live out their lives in the 21st century by building collaborative partnerships between families, communities, and educators independent of any proprietary business interests. Teach the deep reflective understanding of global historical, philosophical, creative, and intellectual content via the best methods 21st century with gospel values.

Every child deserves to be treated as a citizen of the 21st century. Every child in deserves an education that treats them first as human beings who will live out their life in the immediate globally connected world of the 21st century. A students key skills in school is his ability to bond with teachers. We’ve spent a generation trying to reorganize schools to make them better, but the truth is that people learn from the people they love.

I acknowledge there is a gap between 20th century manufactured education and its accompanying textbook-based bubble test knowledge and the reality of a shift in the authority of knowledge as made clear by the democratic and participatory technologies of the 21st century. Our students deserve better than to be sold a textbook or its online equivalent. This is changing our teaching profession. Many teachers are struggling with this change. It is up tp SLTs everywhere to give staff the tools to adapt.

Students should be made aware that most of what we predict about future career and workforce markets is complete nonsense. Students should learn that socio-economics effects the results of institutionalized education.

Something we should challenge ourselves to research more:

• Critical Media Network Skills

• Participatory and Networked Information and Communication Skills

• Collaborative Thinking

• Creating Networks and Digital Community

• Awareness of Digital History and Digital Footprint.


Professional Reading

I really enjoyed being part of this group during the week. It was an interesting discussion.

Leadership Tips for any Organisation – Part One

10 Mar

It has nothing to do with being right or wrong.

I think being right is typically one of the least important reasons for getting something done. Far too often I have seen something “wrong” end up getting the green light because of the many variables and circumstances that ultimately have nothing do with what is right or wrong. Being right is not wrong, but understand that being right is not always right either.

Saying “no” is the most important word you could ever say.

“Yes” is so easy. Many times I have had to say no and it is not popular but it the best for the organisation.

Let it go. 

Sometimes you need to leave it for another day. Sometimes you need to swallow your pride and acknowledge I was wrong. Lose the battle in order to win the war is such fine advice.

Professional Reading

10 Mar

This year I am making a major effort in terms of reading and collecting useful articles. As usual these can be found here or on Delicious. Again I would like to acknowledge my networks from around the country for these suggestions.

Asking for help isn’t easy for some students – Chicago Tribune

Research from the University of Pennsylvania suggests that students’ ability to speak up for themselves and seek help from a teacher often varies by socioeconomic status. Researchers tracked 60 students from 3rd through 5th grade beginning in 2008. Jessica McCrory Calarco, lead researcher, visited students’ homes, interviewed their parents, and grouped them as middle class (at least one parent had a college degree and a professional career) and working class (most parents graduated high school and worked in service jobs). While observing students in class every week, she discovered that middle-class students already knew how to ask questions and therefore spent less time waiting for help, while many working-class students had to learn those skills from their teachers and peers. Calarco believes this insight has implications beyond one assignment. “We tend to assume that once you put kids in school, what they get there will help them overcome any differences they bring with them. But what this shows is…children have a meaningful impact on the way schooling is happening and what they are able to get out of it,” she said.

Empathy, Personalization, and High Standards – ASCD

High school social studies teacher Rich McKinney left instructional spoon-feeding behind after he learned how students could use empathy to more deeply connect with and understand the lives of those they read about.


Fitted Storytelling from Edward Roads

Danielle Anne Lynch

Music, Theology, Education, Liturgy

Learn To Love Food

Food Fun For Feeding Therapy and Picky Eaters


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