Archive | May, 2016

Pedagogy and Student Achievement

29 May

Vision Road Sign with dramatic blue sky and clouds.

More and more teachers are giving students projects to do, whether at school or at home. They often have complete freedom of how to present the final outcome. Common examples include a PowerPoint presentation, report, poster or physical model. A few, may go for a more creative option such as a video. However, digital technology, when used, is often limited to presenting passive information without any interactivity. The type that doesn’t encourage any engagement. We must remember the tool should not drive the presentation just like with teaching.

It must be said that some teachers do encourage students to take advantage of digital technologies. Examples include blogging or other forms of presenting content, e.g. social media, or wikis. Even then though, for those who engage with the content, it‘s still mostly passive (reading/watching). Sometimes it increases a bit to up/down-voting or commenting as the ultimate engagement. Tools like spellasaurus or Mathletics are fine but it is the pedagogy behind it which is key.

Years ago, in an effort to understand the students we served and the role of teachers in creating spaces where learning can happen, we created a list of what we believed these conditions were:

  • Knowing our learners
  • Creating a safe community of learners
  • Having something meaningful for students to learn about
  • As teachers we have to have a deep understanding of the content, the learner and instructional practices
  • The notion of teacher as learner and actually doing the risk taking, being open to make mistakes

We spent some time discussing as a staff what resonated with us most and what caused us the most dissonance. It was an incredible insight into the thinking of our staff in our collective and individual impact on the learners in our care.

I believe that supporting learning at the classroom level is no different than supporting innovation and learning at a staff level.

We need to be able to do what we are asking our teachers to do. We have to create spaces where creativity, innovation, risk-taking in learning, and experimentation are welcome.

Advertisements

Leadership Abilities

27 May

The Thinker

I have been truly blessed to have been mentored by some great leaders and I hope that I have responded in kind in my own career. Peter Drucker says the only event that is inevitable in the like of the leader is the “unexpected crisis.” Only when you encounter a setback, an obstacle, a difficulty, or the inevitable crisis, do you demonstrate the kind of person you really are. It is not what you say, wish, hope, or intend that reveals your character. It is only your actions, especially your actions in the face of adversity and possible setbacks or losses. These are some of things that that have made me better:

Whatever It Takes: Have A Clear Vision

You must have a clear vision. In a way, leadership is “situational.” What is necessary for success in a leadership position is determined by many factors, including the people to be led; the objectives to be accomplished; the competition for resources; the social, cultural, political, and economic environment; and the situation that the leader finds at the moment. Changing any of these factors will change the qualities of leadership necessary for success.

Aspire And Develop Leadership Qualities

It is not easy to rise to a position of leadership in any organization or in any society. The competition for leadership is fierce. Only the people who are the very best equipped to acquire leadership positions and then to hold on to those positions rise to the top in any area.

Develop Your Own Character

Aristotle, probably the greatest philosopher and thinker of all time, said a simple method can help, if you wish to learn a virtue later in life. Simply practice the virtue in every situation where that virtue is required. In other words, if you wish to develop the quality of courage, act courageously even when you feel afraid. These values and virtues are tested in tough times I hope I have managed to stay true to who I am.

Lets Be Connected

22 May

constructivist

Ka rongo, ka wareware

Ka kite, ka mahara

Engari, mā te mahi ka mōhio.

I hear and I forget, I see and I remember, but through doing, I know.

 

Last year while on secondment to NCRS I did some presenting to groups and reflecting on teaching practice. Everything I did centred around our teachers raising student achievement. It reminded me about the importance of being a connect educator. I hope I brought this back to my own environment.

Overall a connected educator at Sacred Heart Girl’s College knows how to grow as a professional and to empower each other and their students to build their own personal learning networks to learn using the technologies that are available. Much is learnt from each other, with each other, and with the classes that they teach.

As part of my appraisal, one of my guiding principles is Whangaungatanga or connectedness, Kaitiakitanga or Guardianship and Manaakitanga or Generosity of spirit. These all deal with connectedness.

Kaitiakitanga – Guardianship

Ensuring sensitivity and thoughtfulness of actions in environments both local and distant.

A connected educator at Sacred Heart Girl’s College knows how to build their community of practise that has active participants like guest speakers and where everyone co constructs knowledge. A great example of this is uLearn16 or #edchatnz or subject associations meetings.

Whanaungatanga – Connectedness

Being connected requires learners to develop a secure sense of their own identity and agency to think and work towards where their potential might lie.

Sacred Heart Girl’s College is already a strong learning community that collaboratively constructs knowledge to form a foundation for learning. A connected educator at Sacred Heart Girl’s College knows how to use the managed online tools to find people and how to connect with them. They think carefully about the dynamics of interactions.

Manaakitanga – Generosity of spirit

Developing the ability to walk in others’ shoes which includes seeing issues from others’ perspectives and thinking carefully about the dynamics of interactions.

A connected educator at Sacred Heart Girl’s College knows how to use and take the tools from their kete to move their practice forward. They know how to get the learning needed to improve the craft of teaching. A connected educator at Sacred Heart Girl’s College knows how to use pedagogical eTools.  They know how to bring back what they have found and learnt online and share it with their school community via a reflective educator blog. Personal learning is transparent, visible and accessible by all.

Ka rongo, ka wareware

Ka kite, ka mahara

Engari, mā te mahi ka mōhio.

 

 

 

 

 

Learning

20 May

download

There is no one size fits all mode to education. Each child’s progress is individual to them and different children develop at different rates. The physical growth of a child is obvious to an observer but at simultaneously children are developing intellectually, socially, emotionally, morally and spiritually. Every child is a complex individual and no child moves suddenly from one phase of development to another and children do not make progress in all areas at the same time. Children develop and learn in different ways and at different rates and all areas of learning and development are equally important and inter-connected.

In order that the learning and developmental needs of all children in an International School are met it is essential that all classroom instruction is differentiated by the classroom teacher. The process of differentiated instruction is by its very definition the mechanism by which the needs of each individual learner are met. Given that children learn in different ways and at different speeds it is essential that a lesson be planned to cater for the learning requirements of all. Every child has a right to access the curriculum and to learn and thus the teacher has a duty to ensure that all lessons are structured to enable all children to achieve success. The implication being that the curriculum must be accessible to children with special educational needs whilst at the same time academically rigorous for the most able children in a classroom.

A Vision A Memo

11 May

jeffrey_katzenberg_27808

Integrating meaningful learning experiences that promote critical thinking skills is essential in cultivating a classroom of 21st Century learners. One way we do this is by actively involving the students in their learning through collaborative work. This helps the students take ownership of the learning and think critically about issues. Yes collaboration is key.

This month I have been thinking and have had time to think. My vision in schools then would be this. In our perfect school our student-centered learning environments are varied and flexible to accommodate the needs of learners and provide ongoing opportunities to build a collaborative community of students and staff. Our environments promote collaborative, individual, small and large group learning.

Students learn in collaborative flexible groups based on need. When students collaborate together they learn how to communicate with others effectively, work as a team, practice self-discipline, and improve social and interpersonal skills. Through collaboration, students are able to have a better understanding of what they are learning and improve critical thinking skills. This reality is not far away

Vocational Pathways

1 May

rosette-full

How do you define University and Career Readiness? Vocational Pathways is going some way to helping guide schools in this. Sir Ken Robinson, world-renowned education and creativity expert, shares how education has changed over the past century.  Visit Changing Education Paradigms.  I have been reflecting if Robinson’s view of the changing role of education reflect the vision of educators at my school?

As a teacher we must reflect on the following:

1)  How do I support Vocational Pathways and my students being career ready?

2)  How does the role of a guidance counselor and mentor teacher change when we view every student as a “Vocational Pathways Graduate?”

3)  Does Vocational Pathways begin at primary school?  What does it look like at each level?

4)  How do we assist parents and community members in seeing that Vocational Pathways is for every student?

5)  How does Vocational Pathways change curriculum, instruction, and assessment?

Our Government has set clear and challenging Better Public Service targets. 98% of children who start school in 2016 will have participated in early childhood education, and 85% of 18 year olds will have achieved NCEA Level 2 or equivalent in 2017. To ensure the connections across the system, I have set an additional target of 85% of primary school students meeting national standards in 2017. These are ambitious targets, but we are on track to meet them.

When politicians make a speech, it may come across as political rhetoric.  However, teachers can begin having a conversation about what it means to understand Vocational Pathways and have students career ready.  The changes will not come from speeches, new standards, new assessments, or hoping that more students will achieve.  Change will come when educators define Vocational Pathways and then begin to ask, “What is my role?”

 

Mytwosentences

Thoughts and Observations from Edward Roads

Danielle Anne Lynch

Music, Theology, Religion, Education

Learn To Love Food

Food Fun For Feeding Therapy and Picky Eaters

Enseñar a pensar

Metodologías de innovación educativa

youreffectiveleadership

This WordPress.com site is the cat’s pajamas

NotesFromNina

Meaningful learning and effective teaching with a Finnish twist

where the mountain meets the surf, anything is possible

karen spencer

"Washing one's hands of the conflict between the powerful and the powerless means to side with the powerful, not to be neutral...Education is a political act." — Paulo Freire

Education in the Age of Globalization

where the mountain meets the surf, anything is possible

Teaching & E-Learning

Learning in Today's World

A View from the Middle

where the mountain meets the surf, anything is possible

Powerful Learning: It's a Digital Thing

where the mountain meets the surf, anything is possible

Search Msdn

where the mountain meets the surf, anything is possible

where the mountain meets the surf, anything is possible

Artichoke

where the mountain meets the surf, anything is possible

Mike's Blog

where the mountain meets the surf, anything is possible

Back2skool

Technology lessons from the classroom...

Welcome to the Frontpage

where the mountain meets the surf, anything is possible

Mark's Learning Log

Director of Learning Inquiries Pty Ltd (an experienced educator from Principal to Coach)

Mal Lee

where the mountain meets the surf, anything is possible