Tag Archives: Values

5 Characteristics of 21st Century Learning

17 May

This week I have been preparing work for the Catholic Convention next month. I have been thinking a great deal about schools in this century. The following take on 21st century learning is notable because of the absence of technology. This is ironic as my presentation is about Technology in Catholic schools.

In my mind in these characteristic there is very little about iPads, social media laptops, or any other app. In my mind it should be all about good pedagogy complemented by good tools.

  1. Learner-centered

Or to be more specific student centred. We as schools should be a learning network.

  1. Personalized

All students should have a personalised learning plan picking from the best achievement standards to create a Vocational Pathway.

  1. Data-Rich

The school should be driven by goals that are support by data. A good hunch will be backed up by goals.

  1. Values Driven

At the heart of the school should be the values that drive it.

  1. Diverse and Inclusive

This is giving learners a wide range of learning experiences that includes all students.

What do you think?


It’s about the process…

19 Feb

Reading my blog you would have picked up my passion for training and my journey to do a marathon and half ironman in the last few years. I write tonight injured with my marathon goals this year in tatters. Tonight’s episode is not a wow is me piece. I am a great believer in process. This is the focus.

Should we not take this same approach with our students in school? Should we not be more focused on caring about them and teaching them to be confident, respectful, thoughtful, and passionate about what they do? Should we not try to encourage an educational balance? Should we not focus on process rather than outcome? The results will come. When you are so focused on a few things, what essential human nutrients are we cutting out of the diet? Music? Art? Physical Education? I know one of my Heads of Faculty is constantly on her soapbox regarding this as we all sing the praises of our eLearning tools.

My belief, is that if you can help a student develop these healthy types of habits, their results will inevitably increase as well. However, I also believe that if they don’t hit the measure that someone else has determined to be “acceptable”, we will have still helped them develop tools for them to be successful in what they believe is important to them. Schools in New Zealand need to be the place where this spark needs to be sparked or kindled or ignited. That is because of school, not in spite of.

Mindful Reflection

31 May


It was a very wet and cold weekend here in New Plymouth and it provided me with a great opportunity to catch up on some professional reading. It was relevant to my current position and my NAPP experiences which I am frequently thinking about.

I came across the work noted below on “Mindful Leadership.” It was a term I have never come across. The book explains “Mindfulness is simply noticing the way things are. By being mindful you can transform your life, your organization, and even your community. The first step is to transform yourself.”

In summary this is what the author had to say:

1. Mindful school leaders are present. Simply put, it means they exist in the now, in the present. They do not engage in undue worry about the past or the future. Their energies are directed toward the current moment. That does not mean school leaders do not plan. It means they do not obsess with those plans, and they are not so attached to those plans that nothing else matters.

2. Mindful school leaders are aware. They are aware of their own inner life. In other words, they are skillful in the art and science of emotional intelligence. They know themselves. They never feel themselves overtaken and blindsided by their own emotions. Mindful school leaders know who they are, inside and out, and are not deluded into thinking more of themselves than they should.

3. Mindful school leaders are calm. They don’t panic. They face trying circumstances with control. Mindful school leaders act with centeredness and authenticity at all times. Their calmness is a natural part of who they are.

4. Mindful school leaders are focused. They “channel resources to accomplish priorities.” They concentrate on what’s important. Mindful school leaders know what’s important and they zero in on that.

5. Mindful school leaders are clear. It is this clarity of mind that makes it possible to make the best decisions. They understand their own motivations and why they do what they do. They, as Gonazales aptly points out, “know what is important.” Mindful school leaders exhibit a clarity of mind that fosters quality decision-making.

6. Mindful school leaders are equanimous. This is the ability to accept things as they are, not in the spirit of resignation, but simply to be at peace with reality. They do not spend time fighting fruitless battles. They do not engage in unrealistic expectations. Mindful school leaders are at peace with their reality.

7. Mindful school leaders are positive. They are a “positive force” in their schools or school districts. They understand leadership means serving others. Because of their positivity and service to others, they inspire those around them. Mindful school leaders act and live in affirmation and are an inspiration to those they serve.

8. Mindful school leaders are compassionate. They deeply care those around them. They know and understand and engage in self-compassion too, because taking care of self is important too. Mindful school leaders act with compassion, not in self-service and self-promotion.

9. Mindful school leaders are impeccable. As Gonzales points out, they aren’t perfect, but mindful leaders act with integrity, honesty, and courage. They accept responsibility for what they do and do not blame others for honest mistakes. Mindful school leaders always act with integrity, honesty and courage when leading their schools or districts.

Maria Gonzalez, Mindful Leadership: The 9 Ways to Self-Awareness, Transforming Yourself, and Inspiring Others

Building a Popular Culture at School

24 May



As I progress through my NAPP year I am continually thinking about school culture. For school leaders, defining a school’s culture – the core values, practices and organizational structures – is a necessity. In fact, a school’s ability to improve performance depends on it. But fostering a performance-based culture is not something that can be completed and checked off a single to-do list; it is an ongoing. It is a process like so many thing I am reflecting on currently.

How do schools accomplish this? It’s all about objectives. High-performing schools intentionally create culture by introducing clear cultural expectations, and holding staff and students accountable to these core values. When clear expectations for behavior are established and reinforced – while allowing room for reflection and adjustments to these standards – a growth-minded, results-driven environment can be achieved

When setting expectations, clear communication is key. This is an issue that comes up constantly in my blogs recently. High-performing school leaders are effective in messaging that school is a place with specific standards that enable both staff and students to thrive. I often share the following example with school leaders and find that it resonates – unlike an elevator or a place of worship, where there are unspoken norms for behavior, new schools and existing schools that aim to rebuild their culture need expectations to be stated explicitly.

These values are upheld through established cultural elements that are consistent and visible from classroom to classroom. Such elements often include instituting a identifying one positive behaviors or mega-cognitive skill per month to highlight across the school, drafting guidelines on issuing rewards and consequences for student behavior and establishing school routines and rituals.

The Thinker…

1 Feb


This week I have been doing some work with our new school leaders for the year. We did a lot of thinking and talking about values. Although these were based on gospel values this discussion was pertinent to any group.

Leaders embrace values, values in turn influence you as a leader.  The stronger the value system the more strongly leaders can be empowered and the more deeply leaders can empower followers. The transformational dynamic that mutually empowers leaders and followers involves, wants and needs, motivation and creativity, conflict and power. But at its heart lie values.

Values strengthen the whole fabric of leadership by helping sustain the mobilization and deepen the empowerment of followers during competition and conflict. It is during this time that our true values rise to the top

Values strengthen the leaders capacity to reach out to wider audiences and to gain support for broader arrays of values and for value systems and ultimately empower leaders by giving them a foundation to lead.


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