Tag Archives: Reflection

Friday Thought: June 9

10 Jun

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This week I have been thinking about how I can stay on task. That is keep our year long inquiry going. Sometime it can be difficult especially in June, its cold, people are extra busy with reports and coughs and colds are kicking in.

How to Stay focus on your goals then, it could be about the following?

  • Concentration

If you have set many goals, focus on the important one first. Don’t bother yourself with the other goals. It is much better to set 1 goal at the time. 

  • Create a big picture

Cut out pictures that will remind you of your goals- gather them and paste them on a board, wall or poster.

  • Take a break

Feel the air- breath! If you feel you have given too much, then take a break, pause for a while.

Don’t stress yourself so much. Take it easy. You will reach the end. I am sure of that as long as you have started it.

 

Friday Thought: Be Reflective

2 Jun

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I was told this week Andrew you must reflect more on your practice. It was a timely reminder. I have heard a few times recently when discussing the importance or reflection as part of the school improvement process. When digging deeper into what is meant by this, I have found that in some cases there is a lack of understanding as to what it really means to be a reflective teacher. Too often, when we think about being a reflective practitioner, the reflection process is limited to evaluation; what went well and what did not. In some instances, reflection may include what might I do differently next time. A peer tells me often it is about process.

Being reflective is much more than that. Reflection must involve action. True reflection in education cannot happen without the the thoughts of what might be done differently next time actually translating into planning for action and taking action. There is no point saying that all teachers are reflective if there are lots of thoughts but no action. How does that really improve student learning?

Collaboration is an important part of being a reflective teacher. Reflecting on your own can have its limitations in terms of having other people to bounce ideas of, having other people to challenge each others viewpoints, having other people to give us the necessary feedback to critically reflect and, most importantly, other people to share our journey with. I recognize my own PLN here.

The Lost Art of Reflection

6 Dec

The Thinker

Reflection is a lost art in classrooms. With the push to cover more content and standards, teachers often make a choice between coverage or pausing for reflection. Reflection comes in many forms: reflective journals, group work, whole class, silent reflection, reviewing yesterday’s work, reflecting on an essential question, or creating a product that shows your thoughts on a previous lesson or understanding.

How often do students feel like the pace of schooling is rushed? Once a unit is finished, the teacher moves to the next unit. Reflection involves slowing down to share what we learned. In the absence of reflection, it is unlikely that a classroom is a Culture of Inquiry. How do students reflect and make meaning out of their experiences?

Learning takes place when inquiry is present. This year as Faculty’s met every Wednesday to develop lessons and assessments, analyze the amount of time students have to question, talk with their peers, and reflect. This inquiry is a step towards reflection. May it continue in 2017.

Confucius say….

26 Nov

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“By three methods we may learn wisdom: First, by reflection, which is noblest; Second, by imitation, which is easiest; and third by experience, which is the bitterest.”

Learning from experience plays a critical part in combining information and skills in context to create knowledge, and the meaning and form that such experiences can take are as varied as the countless subjects and disciplines themselves that comprise the broad sweep of human activity.

Confucius, rightly, acclaims reflection as the cardinal route to wisdom. We begin to learn by imitating those who know what we also want to know. We learn even more by trying our new knowledge out in the real world in some sense. But we only truly begin to embed that knowledge within us, we only truly begin to ‘know’, when we set out to cast a critical eye over our practice and we question why we do what we do, how we do it, what works, what does not work, and how can we do better.

In teaching, as in other professions, reflection can take many forms, each as valid as the other, but each bringing a different range and kind of insight to our professional practice. Here some ways I am thinking about:

Critical self-reflection – taking the time to go back over our own teaching, either from memory, or from notes taken, or increasingly today from a video of our teaching; we do this with the aim of challenging ourselves on what went well or not, and why;

Collaborative reflection – working with one or more colleagues who join with you in reflecting on your teaching, perhaps having observed your lesson live, or having watched a recorded video of your teaching after the event; of course, this can, and perhaps should, be reciprocal – collegiate reflection can be very powerful indeed.

Coaching and mentoring – working with either a more experienced colleague or an external expert who watches you teach (again either by classroom observation or through the use of video) and is able to offer advice – this can be done live or in retrospect, or both.

I am really excited about reflection like this and even more excited by the reaction of the middle manager group. Lets see what occurs in 2017.

Time to Reflect

28 Oct
I firmly believe in self-reflection as a means toward growth and development. As such, we all would benefit from an intense session of self-reflection. Through self-reflection we will better understand who we are as educators, as well as how our actions are aligning with our beliefs. Here are some thoughts I am considering as I train this week.
1) – How and what are you doing to build strong and enduring relationships with your students and staff?

2) – What are you doing very well? Where are you seeing a lot of success? Do you know why…?

3) – What are you not doing very well? Where are you not seeing a lot of success? Do you know why…?

4) – What are you doing to improve your craft? How are you ensuring that you will be better able to address your students’ and staffs’ needs?

5) – In your absence, can your students and staff continue learning and growing? Do they absolutely need you to continue?

Curriculum Guru

10 Aug

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Curriculum Guru

Curriculum development is an ongoing process which requires collaboration, conflict-resolution and reflection. Too often, schools approach curriculum development as a product to be created. During my current role in 2015 I have developed a real passion for curriculum development.

Curriculum design and review is a continuous, cyclic process. It involves making decisions about how to give effect to the national curriculum in ways that best address the particular needs, interests, and circumstances of the school’s students and community. It requires a clear understanding of the intentions of The New Zealand Curriculum and of the values and expectations of the community. For some reading this is a good place to start.

Here are some thoughts:

Collaboration:

Classroom teachers decide what every student should know and be able to do, then they should be involved in the curriculum development process. Unpacking the standards, curriculum mapping, unit development, writing generalizations, developing essential questions and creating common formative assessments are each opportunities for collaboration.

Conflict Resolution:

Conflict is often avoided when teachers discuss curriculum development. When teachers debate which skills are essential and what content can be omitted, curriculum development becomes a matter of conflict resolution. When teacher teams embrace conflict and encourage conflicting opinions they are supporting student achievement. Open conversation is where professional develoment occurs.

Reflection:

When teacher teams reflect on the written, taught and assessed curricula, they will improve pedagogy and curriculum design. When teachers develop curriculum and fail to assess its effectiveness, it is difficult to know if the curriculum is meeting the needs of each student.

Some Questions For Curriculum Developers:

  1. Does our school have a ‘robust curriculum’?
  2. Is our curriculum aligned?
  3. Do teachers have a tool or method for communicating the strengths and weaknesses of the curriculum’?
  4. When teachers develop common formative assessments, do they use the data generated?
  5. Are teachers meeting on a regular basis to reflect on the written, taught, and assessed curricula?

If curriculum drives the work of teacher teams, then schools must create time for teachers to collaborate, engage in conflict and provide time during the school day for reflection and revision. Curriculum development should be a priority in schools, rather than something that is handed to teachers as a top-down product. When teachers collaborate to develop the curriculum, they will have co-workers who support them when they come to a fork in the road in instruction.

Maori achievement and what we know

10 Feb

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Quick reflection tonight on Maori Achievement. The main factors that influence completion rates for students are access, attendance and achievement. The barriers to their success at school are:

  • physical (due to geographic isolation)
  • cultural (a lack of understanding)
  • economic (due to the costs associated with attending school)
  • informational (due to the lower levels of literacy).

Absenteeism among Maori students is markedly higher than among Pakeha students. Poorer access and absenteeism contribute to lower academic achievement, making it more difficult for many students to successfully complete school.

Closing the school completion gap is a major national challenge and will require effort in a range of related areas, not just in schools. Gains in education may be limited unless other aspects of socioeconomic disadvantage are improved, such as health, nutrition, housing and employment. Ok nothing here is new but what we are doing are we doing enough. Not sure if 28 minutes was enough tonight but worth think about.

Teaching Reflection

9 Feb

Being a teacher makes our core values become visible. All the small (and bigger) choices we make in the classroom talk about our beliefs of good learning and teaching: how we place our students, what kind of questions we ask, what is valued in our class, etc., and they all also contribute to our students’ perception of education. Improving learning and teaching becomes easier when we empower every teacher with the knowledge of choices.

Taking time to think HOW exactly YOU want to teach makes all your choices become more conscious. It is easier to choose wisely when you have better understanding about the consequences of your choices.  Walking the talk of making well-informed choices is important for everyone who wants to teach.

The same can be said for students and that is my 28 minutes worth.

Taking Time to Reflect

9 Nov

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As an educator I make several instant and instinctive decisions during each and every workday.  Where do these judgments come from? How to be more aware about the reasoning behind these decisions?  Now, this is where the reflective practice steps in. I try and base them on my educational philosophy which you can read on this blog.

Reflecting not only increases the awareness about reasons behind certain decisions, but often also reveals other possible options. Recognizing these possible choices being available arises from the awareness of different practices. Yet, if participating or reading doesn’t transfer to the everyday work and life, one could rightfully ask whether it was time well spent.  Reflecting extends the benefits of any professional development. The best and worst of reflective practice deals with emotions. This I must remember at this time of year. What has been your experience?

 

 

My Goals in 2014

1 Jul

My NAPP experience in 2013 has taught me that a great leaders set goals and I find those easy as I have always been a prolific list maker. This list of five goals will be on my desk as a daily reminder of what I am pointing to achieve. It sits alongside my daily ten which I try to stick to every day.

1) – I will have high expectations for students, staff and myself. I will help to empower others to take control of their own learning and development by establishing an environment built on accountability and I will support and encourage those with whom I work. I will work to embrace a sharing and collaborative school culture that takes risks in an effort to do great things.

2) – I will listen more than I talk. I will use my two ears more than I use my one mouth, and I will try to learn as much as I can from others. I will make it a priority to get into classrooms to observe on a daily basis, and I will learn by listening and observing.

3) – I will communicate with and involve parents and community stakeholders as often as possible. I will work with teachers and staff to keep parents informed and up-to-date with what is going on in our school through the use of weekly newsletters, our school website and social media outlets.

4) – I will base every decision I make on what is best for students. It is difficult to not get caught up in everything that is going on, but I will make every effort to put students and their needs first.

5) – I will have a healthy balance between my professional and personal life. Though I anticipate the high level of time commitment required for this job, I do not want my job to consume my entire life. My family, friends and colleagues will all benefit from this healthy balance.
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