Monday, 4 December 2017

December, and I really feel like putting the seesaw graphic in there again. -I won't because I'm sure you're all really bored with that one already!
Our emerging end of year data shows the need to:

  • focus on language acquisition
  • focus on mathematics
  • focus on learner and staff wellbeing
  • focus on the environment
Any one of these would normally be at least year's work. As I commented in an earlier post this year, I think the only way ahead is integration.
So.....we have to find a really smart way of putting all these things together so that teachers don't feel as though there are more and more "bolt ons" that nobody can do justice to.

We're fortunate to have scored 600 hrs of centrally funded PLD, which we can use to apply to the Manaiakalani and Language challenges and equally fortunate to have been offered the opportunity to participate in DMC Mathematics PLD.
So we have the money, ...but do we have the time and capability?
Fortunately Jannie Van Hees has some exciting ideas about how we could use environmental themes to carry the language development and develop maths and science at the same time.
Lets see how this plays out!

Friday, 27 October 2017

Weaving the Mat

I can't believe its October already!

We now have the culmination of our Welcome To School Research along with the combo of in and across schools Teacher Inquiries.
The Manaiakalani Hui is always an annual watershed of class observational data from WFRC and the Inquiries of our own gifted and dedicated teaching staff. Hard on the heels of this event comes the Manaiakalani Wananga where we get to hear back from the Manaiakalani Outreach clusters in the North, Auckland, Christchurch and the West Coast.

This produces a compelling collection of information which has prompted my thinking beyond the last past back in June.
As is frequent for me, I've collected the ideas together into a presentation which I've discussed with staff, providers, Trustees and other audiences.

This only serves to strengthen the determination to make Language Acquisition, Development, Sustaining and Transfer the main focus for Inquiry in 2018

Friday, 30 June 2017

Pulling the Threads Together

At this time of year, its always important to learn from one's staff. That's actually really important all the time, but at mid-year in a New Zealand Primary School the best data is formative data that comes from the people working directly with the learners.

The source of information for me, along with kids' blogs are the Inquiry Blogs of Pt England teachers and those of the Manaiakalani Kahui Ako. The blogs create a really rich tapestry of threads that are beginning to show some really strong and colourful themes.

The theme that I am finding the most urgent and that is commanding my attention more than any other, is that of the acquisition of language of our learners. Its abundantly clear from Teacher Inquiries across schools, levels and subjects that this single but large and complex factor is most significant impactor on whether our learners are doing well or not.

The problem with "noticing and knowing" in education is that it immediately produces a moral imperative. -"So what are we going to do about it?"
What I'm going to do about it, is starting talking, asking and inquiring myself into:

  • who could help us with this problem
  • understanding the problem more fully
  • how we would design a strategy to deal with it (this will take all of the 2nd semester)
  • appropriating resource to apply to it
  • having something "ready to roll" for Term 1, 2018
Watch this space!

Monday, 3 April 2017

Balance through Integration (sharpening the focus)

As I've pursued and had repeatedly brought to my attention, this need for balance and a nationally expressed concern for teacher workload, I've been reading and teasing some ideas out for myself.

When you're working with the nation's more fragile families, it's not OK to stop questing for improvement. Equally, if quality, high performing staff are "the goose that lays the golden egg" we don't want to kill the goose by our continual quest for improvement or the improvement certainly will not happen.

I notice that in lots of the conversation about these and related challenges the issues or elements rapidly become dichotomous, i.e. this or that; -or this versus that.
I kept wondering if our teachers and team leaders as first researchers, were looking for the affordances of "this with that" and how we would balance, plan for and resource that, what that combo might look like and how achievable it might be.

So I began the year, thinking about how to do what we do really well and have it sustainable. What we are discussing here, emerges as a key sustainability issue and brought about a sharpening focus, from looking into the affordances and balance of digital learning and teaching, to how we might integrate well to enhance the balance and reduce the tension in the system.

I also continue to think about what we can safely get rid of in the environment of an ever expanding curriculum.



Tuesday, 24 January 2017

2017 Inquiry

We had a tremendously positive end to 2016.
I've been asked by many people, "what are you going to do next? -What's the next big thing?"
My answer to all of them is the same. "We've done an enormous thing, -now we need to learn to do it as well as we can"
Doing it as well as we can includes these sorts of challenges:

  • how do we balance creativity and joy  with the need to push for improvement in the "3R's"
  • how do we balance time and teacher work load with improvement in outcomes
  • how do we manage high quality teaching as inquiry without overloading high quality teachers?
It seems entirely appropriate to me that as we continue to inquire into "the affordances of digital learning and teaching, that we focus on consolidating what we have and learning to do it really well.

Obviously we will not get the best bang for buck out of all this investment, if "teachers as first researchers" are not able to tease these questions out and be the frontline of discovery for how Learn, Create, Share works.

Below  is my usual "start of the year summary" and "big ideas for 2017". Sadly this time there is no dog barking in the background, as at the time this was made our faithful friend (who added song in dog speak to many of my voice-overs), was buried in our back garden.
So here you go; -a dog free screen record.


Monday, 12 December 2016

Summarising 2016

What an AMAZING year!
-A Woolf Fisher Travelling Fellowship, with so many highlights I can't recount them here, the birth of Felix George, our 2nd grandchild, and a really successful year of Pt England School, Manaiakalani and Manaiakalani Outreach.

With respect to Pt England School, it first should be noted that the Management Team did an absolutely outstanding job with me absent for 3 months, and Toni Nua, who acted as principal, was just magnificent. There was not one single deficit for me to address on return, but conversely the school had continued to pump ahead as well or better than always!
Congratulations Team!

With respect to Manaiakalani, Woolf Fisher, our Research Team from Auckland University, gave us the most concretely encouraging news we've ever had in this long journey of improving school. Their confirmation of the "Manaiakalani Dosage Effect", which you will hear more of in this report, was the most heartening thing we've heard in ages.

We also received our first research reports on the Manaiakalani Outreach and they also, were more encouraging than I would have expected when we first sat down to plan the Outreach. Once again, most heartening indeed!

I am immensely grateful for the support and encouragement of so many people they can't be named. Just a few though, have to get a mention:
From Pt England, the Management and Support Team of Juanita, Garth, Toni, Donna, Leigh and Charlotte have just got to know that they are up there with any winning representative side this country has.
From Manaiakalani, the "Business End" of Pat, Jenny, Dorothy, Fiona, Anne, Lenva and Dave are also right there with all of the country's finest and best.

Results like these, across a very broad front of activity do not happen by chance, are the results of really hard work, but also require the blessing of Providence to be achieved and sustained. As always, we humbly express our sincere and deep gratitude to Someone much higher than us. God, who makes all this work possible.

As usual, I've provided a "voiced over" version of my 2016 report to our community and Board of Trustees.

Monday, 21 November 2016

Changing Teacher Practice to get Kids Employed

Once again I'm bringing you a summarised version of something I've had to present to others in this school term. On this occasion I was speaking to a group of Deputy Secretaries from the NZ Ministry of Education. Afterward they asked for a copy of my presentation, so I thought I would keep the record straight by posting it on my blog.

The short story is: -If we want our lowest SES Maori and Pasifika kids employed, we need to change the way we do school. Improved practice = Kids @ Work!