Tag Archives: Engaging Students in Learning

Parent Engagement

24 Feb

parent-engagement

Families should be partners in a child’s education. I have been thinking a great deal about this recently when attending our parent nights. A paper from  Johns Hopkins University cites Six Types of Involvement: Keys To Successful Partnerships(Epstein, et. al. 2009. School, Family, and Community Partnerships: Your Handbook for Action, Third Edition) backs this up. Family nights could include BBQ, curriculum nights, family movie night, sports night, school carnivals, literacy night, and themed nights. Too often, schools host family nights with the intent of raising money. The primary goal of a family night should be building relationships.

“When parents, teachers, students, and others view one another as partners in education, a caring community forms around students and begins its work (Epstein, 2011, p. 91).

ERO asks these key questions in there challenge to schools.

Evaluative questions

  • How well does the school gather and use information about the needs, wishes and aspirations of parents, whānau and the wider community?
  • How effectively does the school inform parents about their children and communicate information about the school?
  • How well does the school engage parents and whānau in the life of the school?
  • How well does the school engage with and make use of community resources, agencies and other educational institutions?

 

 

What are you doing in your schools that is Gold?

 

 

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I’ve been thinking…

4 May

As a member of a Senior Leadership Team in a secondary school I take time over the holidays to reflect, think, write and read. And I mean read. I have an addiction. I admit it. I love to lose myself in fiction and nonfiction alike. I digress this week I have read and reflected about leadership and what is good leadership.

When you’re in the presence of great leaders, you just know it. Their energy is infectious, they inspire with ease, and when they speak about their mission, you want to get involved. Some of my best friends have these though will deny it. As I have written before you are not born with it. You develop it.

What I have done here is summed up my Big 5 if you like.

1. Treat people well. Look no further than Luke 6:31. This is not easy. When you think about it, this requires trust, going that bit further doing anything to insure that their emotional and professional needs are being met. This type of care requires time, a willingness to invest financially in your people, and an ongoing commitment to evolving how that’s executed.

2. Be humble. This hard but this moves us from good to great

3. Walk your talk – all the time. Saying one thing and doing another is a common trap that leaders find themselves in. Most of the time, it’s not intentional.

4. Have a clear mission and moral purpose. Great leaders aren’t driven by financial gain. They do what they do because they have a higher calling. Here I go back to the Kiwi Leadership Model. Awhinatanga. Awhinatanga is about having empathy with groups and individuals in the school community. By being able to appreciate the point of view of others, leaders can help build a strong learning cultures if the store is living the mission and purpose. And Manaakitanga: Leading with moral purpose. Effective leaders have a central belief system that is focused on student learning and well-being. They set clear goals, and pursue them to ensure success for all. They focus on closing the gaps between the highest and lowest-achieving students in order to raise learning standards and outcomes for all. They create schools that welcome and include all members of the community.

5. Keep asking questions and being Ako. Great leaders are non-stop learners and they know they don’t have all the answers. Ako is about building collaborative learning and teaching relationships within the school. It suggests a reciprocal approach to leading learning. When principals demonstrate ako, all members of the school community participate in identifying significant issues and solving problems

Enjoy your week.

Something Different for the Holidays

28 Apr

A cool little website to look at over the break is Thunks

“A Thunk is a beguilingly simple-looking question about everyday things that stops you in your tracks and helps you start to look at the world in a whole new light.”

Here are some examples of questions?

  • Is there more future or past?
  • Is black a colour?
  • If I switch the lights off does the wall change colour?
  • If you are caught in a thunderstorm will you get wetter if you run to shelter or if you walk?

They are a great way to get students thinking, which is one of the key competencies of the New Zealand Curriculum, and could be used as “Do Nows” or plenaries. Once you’ve modeled a few thunks, the students will be able to write their own to share with the class.

The independent thinking website has lots of ideas about thunks, as well as other cool stuff. They even have their own YouTube channel.

It’s all about supporting and motivating students to think independently.

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.

Competent Learners @ 20

23 Feb

While cleaning out my office this week I came across this  pieces which worth reflecting on. Fortunately the link was still working. The Competent Children Competent Learners study has tracked around 500 children in the Wellington region from just before they started school, to age 20. It has looked at the impact of early childhood education and then later educational experiences and time use out of school on children’s development. It has monitored the development of skills such as reading and writing, and also attitudes such as perseverance and curiosity. When they returned to the participants at age 20, the researchers looked at how the young people had got on with NCEA. They looked at the impact of earlier school performance, engagement in school and their experiences of learning.
Some key findings included:

  • More than half those with low performance at age 8 went on to gain NCEA Level 2 or Level 3. That means that children’s support from teachers and parents, the learning opportunities they had in and out of school and their interactions with teachers, parents and peers, enabled them to make real progress.
  • Those who gained NCEA Level 2 did not necessarily have higher levels of mathematics, reading, writing or logical problem solving at age 14 than those whose highest qualification was NCEA Level 1, or who did not gain any qualification. But they did have higher levels of perseverance, communication, social skills, curiosity and self-management.
  • The period from age 10 to age 14 appears to be a time when it is particularly important for teachers and parents to watch for signs that children are turning away from school and learning. This applies as much to high performers at school as low performers. It was clear how deeply memories of school at this time can colour later attitudes to learning.
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