Tag Archives: Engagement

My PLN

7 Mar

34e78-staffmeeting2

As a Teacher I find it so important to build by professional learning network. This week I had experiences that highlighted this fact. First I attended a Deans meeting where we shared ideas on restorative practice and process in pastoral matters. The following day I sat down with a member of the maths department and co-constructed an online survey. At the end of the week I joined an online discussion on Vocational Pathways.

My weeks activity has made me reflect on the importance of my own Professional Learning Network and what it does. Here are three things it does for me:

​1. Connect and Collaborate with teachers all over the world. Break down the walls of my classroom and interact with educators all over the country and the world. It often brings new and different perspectives on education standards.

2. Share ideas, resources, tools, and tips, Having a strong PLN can be better than Google when it comes to finding  new ideas and tools.  It is quite humbling that my knowledge and expertise will be valued and welcomed.

3. Engage and Learn about anything. Take the initiative to learn from other educators. Want to know more about Achievement Standard, Pathways, KAMAR, BYOD or PB4L? It is here.

Most importantly it has an impact on classroom instruction. At the end of the day, learning from your PLN will directly impact your classroom and students. The benefits for you as an educator trickle down, ākonga i te pokapū.

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Lift the Team Morale

15 Aug

Morale

Leaders own the job of creating engagement. Although individual engagement is critical, team morale is the key. You might have a difficult team, but when they share common values, drivers, and motives, and care about each other much like friends, they will raise their performance for each other. Thus any leader should focus a great deal on helping his/her team members bond. If they fail to cohere, intragroup competition will trump any collective success, leading to intergroup failure. This may seem like common sense, but too many managers are so focused on managing processes and attending to the formal aspects of task performance that they forget to build an engaging culture. In addition, when leaders are interested mostly in their own career, and success is not defined in terms of their team’s performance, they will tend to neglect and eventually alienate their teams.

In short, good leaders can turn B players into an A team, by following the right strategy, gathering precise performance data, giving accurate feedback, and building and maintaining high morale. Since few leaders manage to achieve this even when they have a team of A players, there is much hope for those who do.

What do you think?

Growing Leaders

14 Feb

Last week I had an engaging conversation via email with my sister. After years in the classroom, she was at a point where she was looking for ways to take on leadership roles.

Our conversation really got me thinking. Through our transformation process, I need to cultivate teacher leaders more than ever before.

Teacher leaders are the backbone of our work, and we as school administrators can’t do it alone. Let’s take a look at some innovative efforts that are changing schools around the country.

The only question left to be answered is this: Now that you can see the benefits, what can you as a school administrator do to cultivate teacher leadership in your school.

Physical Space

16 Oct

“Today’s schools must create spaces that students want to go to, similar to the way cafes attract people, rather than the space being purely functional.” Andrew Bunting

As I read my Saturday paper and drink my morning coffee I really liked this quote that got me thinking. This week as we undertake a building project I have been thinking a great deal about the learning environment.

I have walked around my school and I have watched my pay much attention to the creation, design and use of physical space. I think we should encourage all staff to rethink the way that space can be used in order to engage student learners. There were three main things that came to mind as I considered physical learning spaces:

  1. People like the atmosphere and vibe of a cafe – it’s an interesting, comfortable and enjoyable place to spend time. What can we borrow from this environment for the learning spaces of school?
  2. If collaboration is a skill that we want students to develop then does the layout of the learning space allow for this?
  3. Will students be more likely to develop a love of learning if they see the real world reflected in the learning contexts of their school?

A Vision for the Year

15 Feb

Vision Road Sign with dramatic blue sky and clouds.

As the school year begins I have been reflecting on the global issues that affect  teachers, parents and students. To help make this a great year I have been reading about things I can do which I thought I would share:

Relinquish control and embrace adaption

First understand that you can cannot control anything except for your own actions. This is true if you are a teacher, parent, child or school administrator. You can influence others and create environments that make it more or less likely that certain things will or won’t happen.

Know your own values/charism

Values are what we believe to be important about ourselves and others. They drive a lot of our behaviour and for the most part run in the background. When was the last time you took a look at what you value and adjusted your list to reflect who you are today or who you want to be in the future? Read your teaching philosophy this should guide you. I am also guided by the writings and teaching of John Baptist de la Salle.

Have a clear vision

Begin with the end in mind is a mantra often heard in boardrooms. Create your own personal vision (use your values as a guide) for the school year using the same principle. This is trickier than it sounds. The hard part is in not basing the vision on what you expect. Create your vision based on what you want that year to be like. Make it clear, vivid and as real as you can muster.

Set some goals

Values and vision alone are not usually enough to get you where you want to go. Once you have a set of current values and a clear vision create some SMART goals to move you in the direction of the vision. Part of goal setting is creating and then using an action plan. Goals need steps and we call those steps the action plan.

Align visions

Some visions and goals should be kept private. People can get trapped into talking the talk instead of walking the walk and unfortunately naysayers can deflate confidence. For these reasons some visions and goals should be shared only with people who you know will support you. Other visions and goals, like how you want your school year to go, should be shared. They need to be shared for a couple of reasons.

Invite others to do the same

You can make this a group activity. Here’s some ideas for different groups.

For teachers:

Spending some time at the beginning of the year to share your values and vision and co-create a class set of values along with vision and goals is a great way to empower kids. The days of dictating a list of do’s and don’ts I hope is a thing of the past. In today’s collaborative classroom working together on a vision of what the year will be like and a set of agreed upon goals sets a great tone for the year. Post the vision as a visual or a write statement and have everyone sign it, then display that in your classroom. Parents and teachers can also share the outcomes of these activities with each other.

For school leadership:

Nothing says “we’re a team” more that inviting your staff to co-create a vision. I know most schools have an “official” vision but as each year begins and new people come into the system while other leave it’s an important team building opportunity. This is a viewpoint we follow.

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