It has been a massive week here at school with one thing and another. As I walked away on Friday I ticked over 54 hours in school for the week. No violins please it is the job and I love it. I thought about meetings though as I was driving home. Here are some pieces of GOLD.
PIECE OF GOLD #1: Never have a meeting run more than an hour.
Research tells us that adults need to switch up activities every 5-20 minutes to stay engaged. This will give you at least four different topics to discuss during your meeting. Your audience will not be able to mentally digest any more than this.
PIECE OF GOLD #2: Turn your meetings into work sessions.
If you ask educators what they need more of, often they will say time. Teachers need time to grade, plan, and analyse assessment data. SLT need time work on strategic plans, balance budgets, and analyse formative and summative assessments, among other tasks. Turning your meetings into work sessions to complete these essential tasks will benefit everyone. Plus, it will make everyone more productive, and more collaborative. It will also make them happier.
PIECE OF GOLD #3: Try flipping your meeting.
The flipped classroom concept has been around for years. Teachers preparing content online and letting their students work on it at their own pace instead of needless lecturing has shown to be very effective. Why not run your meetings the same way? After all, educational leaders should be modelling research-based strategies. Bringing in instructional technology will create excitement and intrigue.
PIECE OF GOLD #4: Cancel your meeting if it is not needed.
If you have nothing to meet about, please do everyone a favour and cancel the meeting. There is nothing wrong with sending out information via email.
PIECE OF GOLD #5: Prioritize Mentoring or Coaching Meetings.
These are vital for go forward.
Engaging akonga and staff effectively as partners in learning and teaching is arguably one of the most important issues facing higher education in the 21st century. Akonga as partners is a concept which interweaves through many other debates, including assessment and feedback, employability, flexible pedagogies, internationalisation, linking teaching and research, and retention and success. Interest in the idea has proliferated in policy and practice in our nation and internationally, particularly in the last few years. The following research got me thinking about Equitable Access.
Wider economic factors are influencing a contemporary environment in which akonga are often positioned as passive consumers of, rather than active participants in, their own higher education. It is timely to take stock and distil the current context, underlying principles and directions for future work on akonga as partners in learning and teaching.
Some of the issues that I think that need to be considered are:
- offer a pedagogical case for partnership in learning and teaching;
- propose a conceptual model for exploring the ways in which akonga act as partners in learning and teaching;
- outline how the development of partnership learning communities or whanau may guide and sustain practice;
- map the territory of strategic and sustainable practices of engaging akonga as partners in learning and teaching across diverse contexts;
- identify tensions and challenges inherent to partnership in learning and teaching, and offer suggestions to individuals and institutions for addressing them;
- identify priorities for further work.
Partnership is framed as a process of student engagement, understood as staff and akonga learning and working together to foster engaged student learning and engaging learning and teaching enhancement. In this sense partnership is a relationship in which all participants are actively engaged in and stand to gain from the process of learning and working together. This approach recognises that engaged student learning is positively linked with learning gain and achievement, and argues that partnership represents a sophisticated and effective approach to student engagement because it offers the potential for a more authentic engagement with the nature of learning itself and the possibility for genuinely transformative learning experiences for all involved. Hence, we speak of engagement through partnership. Partnership as a process of engagement uniquely foregrounds qualities that put reciprocal learning at the heart of the relationship, such as trust, risk, inter-dependence and agency. In its difference to other, perhaps more traditional, forms of learning and working in the academy, partnership raises awareness of implicit assumptions, encourages critical reflection and opens new ways of thinking, learning and working in contemporary higher education. Partnership is essentially a process of engagement, not a product. It is a way of doing things, rather than an outcome. All partnership is student engagement, but not all student engagement is partnership.
I think I wondered off the topic but again challenging thoughts.
Teaching multi-level classes is an issue which is becoming more common in our ever-changing environment. Differentiating instruction may mean teaching the same material to all students using a variety of instructional strategies, or it may require the teacher to deliver lessons at varying levels of difficulty based on the ability of each student. Formative assessment is an essential ingredient of this method.
Teachers who practice differentiation in the classroom may:
- Design lessons based on students’ learning styles.
- Group students by shared interest, topic or ability for assignments.
- Assess students’ learning using formative assessment.
- Manage the classroom to create a safe and supportive environment.
- Continually assess and adjust lesson content to meet students’ needs
Do you have any tips or strategies that have worked for you?
When it comes to the psychology of leadership and creativity there are few people who I find more insightful and inspiring than Simon Sinek. He gained fame after his ‘Start with Why‘ TED talk that went viral and has really reshaped the conversation around creativity at pretty much every level of the agency and corporate world. I recently came across a new video of his called ‘Millennials in the Workplace.’
The statistics he uses are generally accurate, although they may show more correlation than causation.
– Desire to be “liked” in social media
– Texting while at dinner/meeting shows addiction/impatience
– We can be impatient when it comes to job fulfillment
– Entitlement- more for those from upper class families?
– How many of the older generations- baby boomers, Gen X- love/are satisfied with their jobs?
– Hard to leave phone at home when expectation is to be “on call” 24/7
– Social media can help spark innovation because it provides one with knowledge of what’s “out there,” but agree that innovation can’t happen if we don’t let our minds wander
– Anxiety from other sources playing a factor? E.g. college debt, health care costs, etc.
But the question he posed at the very beginning was “Why are Millennials tough to manage?” The question itself implies that the issue here is with the Millennials, not with the Baby Boomer or Gen X managers. Most of my frustrations regarding my job stems from (what I perceive to be) inefficiencies. They’re partly because of the frustrations from the “old-school mindset” that is resistant to change- i.e. “we’ve always done it this way,” “don’t question me, I’m senior to you,” etc. So it’s not just millienials.
My Ako Goal this year was to lead student-centred, innovative and collaborative pedagogical practices. Things I had in mind at the start of the year were to reject the deficit thinking. Caring for the learner – building a relationship with our students. Having high expectations which must be voiced and demonstrated through the dispositions of Manawa Mission. Manage a classroom for learning not behavior and creating a culture for learning. I wanted to deepen my own content knowledge.
Did I do this in 2017? To a degree. It was my mahi. I developed a new strategy or rediscovered one. Student voice is always a powerful tool – it allows the teachers to check in with what is happening in the class with 3 simple questions: What are you learning? How can you show me your successful at learning? What happens next?
I tried to keep things fresh. As students have access to any information possible, there certainly is no need to “spoon-feed” the knowledge or teach “one-size fits all” content. I recognized through my learning plans as students have different personalities, goals, and needs, offering personalized instructions is not just possible but also desirable. When students are allowed to make their own choices, they own their learning, increase intrinsic motivation, and put in more effort — an ideal recipe for better learning outcomes.
I deepened my knowledge by reading some wonderful pieces of literature and attending some great courses. Perhaps I need to work on the fact the students must be aware the environment is student centred not teacher centred. My students were often passive.
My Next Steps
- Keep getting teachers to share their learning.
- Continue to have disruptive conversations.
- Work on creating a collaborative teaching environment.
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.
Establishing a culture of inquiry is a necessary prerequisite to achieving deeper student learning. The art of thinking flourishes within an emotionally, intellectually and physically safe learning environment that is carefully constructed by the classroom teacher. The development of philosophical dispositions must be fostered within both students and educators, because deep thinking is supported by deep teaching.
I wrote recent in my summarty to the Board of Trustees regarding NCEA results that one of the keys was Professional Development and relevance to real life.
I believe the development of formal thinking and logical reasoning skills is necessary to achieving deeper learning. Teachers should first immerse themselves in professional development focused on building inquiry skills, possibly within the field of philosophy. Learning to think deeply is a prerequisite to planning lessons with flexibility and creativity, both of which are critical aspects to achieving deeper student learning.
Prior to students becoming skilled at inquiry-based discussions, teachers must verbally model thinking skills for students by thinking aloud and making unlikely connections. Deeper learning necessitates deeper teaching. The is best done in professional learning groups as part of a professional learning network.
As teachers it is important we make learning relevant, meaningful, and tied to the generational characteristics of students. I find when reviewing documents, students rewrite the document with current jargon, allowing for a deeper understanding of its meaning. This also develops creative ways of thinking about the information, so that they can make connections and think outside of the box.
Deeper learning is the key to deeper understanding. How are you approaching ths in your school?
Technology can be incredibly overwhelming. There is an abundance of information and I can understand that teachers find it easier just to not use it at all, or continue simply using what they know.
The issue is often where do I start. Well perhaps here could be an answer in this reflection.
1. Talk. This seems so simple, yet it is so underutilized. Professional conversations in the staff room are the best form of professional development. Find a colleague and go ask questions about what they are doing in their classrooms. The one thing I love about teachers is how willing and excited they are to share what they know. Find a few new ideas, observe them in class. This works in not only with eLearning.
2. Try new things . The benefits of technology and the flipped classroom are just endless. Commit to trying one new tool every term and don’t just use technology for presenting information. Think how is this enhancing my teaching? Use it as a teaching tool. If you run meetings think how you can use it . I use padlet to great effect.
I would love to know some of you favourite tools. Let me know how you get on.
What should schools teach, and how? And how do we know if we’re doing it well? These are important questions–ones that must be answered with social needs, teacher gifts, and technology access in mind. Now, we take the opposite approach. Here’s what all students should know, now let’s figure out how we can use what we have to teach it. If we don’t see the issue in its full context, we’re settling for glimpses.
How schools are designed and what students learn–and why–must be reviewed, scrutinized, and refined as closely and with as much enthusiasm as we do the gas mileage of our cars, the downloads speeds of our phones and tablets, or the operating systems of our watches. Most modern academic standards take a body-of-knowledge approach to education. This, to me, seems to be a dated approach to learning that continues to hamper our attempts to innovate.
Why can’t education, as a system, refashion itself as aggressively as the digital technology that is causing it so much angst? The fluidity of a given curriculum should at least match the fluidity of relevant modern knowledge demands. Maybe a first step in pursuit of an innovative and modern approach to teaching and learning might be to rethink the idea of curriculum as the core of learning models?
If I had one tip for you it would be…create an account on pinterest full of fun lesson ideas, technology integration suggestions or a board of inspiration for days when you are down. Want to learn more about digital citizenship? Start searching and pinning! Want to gamify your classroom or building? Interested in leadership? There’s a pin for that!
Pinterest tip: The more detailed and specific you keep your boards, the more likely you are to use them because of how easy it will be to find what you’re looking for! We have even got one going for our new house!!