Thursday, 17 November 2016

Haeata - Week Six

Day One

Our first day this week didn't happen due to the large earthquake centered in Culverden. Our buildings needed to be checked before we came to school and so we had a day at home.
It really made me think about the earthquakes and the effect they have on us and our students. I feel for everyone in the affected areas and for people in Christchurch who had all of those memories brought back.

Day Two

We started with a mihi whakatau this morning for the new staff. Our group is growing and it is great to have more staff on board. After kai and mihimihi we had time to talk about the earthquake on Sunday night and how that had affected us and what we needed from our colleagues and for our students. Earthquakes are the weirdest things. There is no warning and you can't run away from them. Unless you have been in the situation of a large quake it is difficult to comprehend the impact on people.
We then broke into small groups and shared a precious momento with each other. This was a good way for our new staff to get to know some of us. We then had two digital korowai from new staff. These have been such a good way to get to know people and are really good for making connections.
After lunch we had a te reo class where we are split into three groups depending on our level of ability. We are so lucky to have such a large number of kaiako who are capable of taking these sessions.
I spent the rest of Mai Time looking at some of the presentations from the Global Education Conference - wishing I had more hours in a day!

Day Three

In our first session today we were given a choice of pictures and asked to relate them to learning. Our
pair had a picture of Hong Kong. We came up with the idea of fluidity - going in different directions, the different clouds showing our different types of learning and learning styles and then the city showing our connection to the world, the global picture, that also needs a strong infrastructure to support growth. It was interesting to see different perspectives on the pictures with some people having totally different takes. This reminds us that our ākonga will also see things differently. One of the other groups had a picture which they saw as a snapshot in time, a place to relax for a bit and not worry about what is around the corner - something we can all take a lesson from.
Using these pictures we then discussed 3 implications for us as educators - what do we need to do to make the picture come true. We decided you need to have strong systems and processes in place to support learning, connections and positive relationships between staff, students and community and you need support no matter where you are going.
Some of the other groups came up with the following after being inspired by their pictures:
Create a safe and supportive environment - be brave
Have learning pathway
Important for ākonga and kaiako to learn together
Individualised learning plans
Expose students to a range of knowledge
Building pathways through challenge
Having the right environment to nurture seeds
Important to have time to reflect
Celebrating success and failures
Constantly evolving - tear down the old for the new

In small groups we had short discussions on some questions, including:
How important are subjects?
What are the basics for 5 yr olds? 10yr olds? 15yr olds?
The NZ curriculum has 8 learning areas - which are the most important?
When we talk about change in education it becomes clear that we can't do this TO our community  - we  need to do this WITH them. It needs to be a collaboration with whanau, ākonga and kaiako having conversations around learning.

We then read an article on constructivist teaching. This was about learners, the environment and how they learn best.  One statement from this that really resonated with me was "If you are truly meeting learner's needs then how can you possibly plan for them 10 weeks in advance". 
Our next question was "What is the purpose of a Haeata education?". After filling a page with ideas we then had to choose one that summed everything up. Our group decided on the whakataukī
E tū ki te kei o te waka, kia pakia koe e ngā ngaru o te wā

Which translated from Māori means "Stand at the stern of the canoe and feel the spray of the future biting at your face" which we translate to a learner to be pushing their personal boundaries to achieve success.
Our Manakura (Principal) is away this week at the Singularity Summit and the statement and question he wanted us to look at, after having a day at the conference, was:
"The gap between school and life has never seemed wider. So much of what we do in school is completely irrelevant. How do we respond to this and how do we bridge the gap?" Our group decided not everything was irrelevant, but there were certainly some parts that we could do without. Lots of ideas were had around what we could do to help bridge that gap and make learning more relevant and forward thinking.
After this we broke into our hapori groups and talked about how we might package learning. This is really the first time we have started to dig deeper into what learning might look like at Haeata for next year, rather than the big picture. Our hapori found it difficult to stay away form the elephant in the room - NCEA. This became the subject of another session after lunch.
At lunchtime I reflected on this style of learning that we carried out this morning. We started out in pairs, then made groups of 4, then 8, then back to pairs. We had time to write on paper and then move around to look at everyone else's work and make comments, then back to discuss the comments made on our sheets. We also have time where we have statements to comment on for 1 minute only, without interruptions and then change groups to keep the information flowing around the room. We are continually working with different people, reflecting on comments and changing things around. It is a safe environment to work in and I really enjoy engaging with different people and hearing new ideas.
After lunch we gathered with the Year 7-10 hapori, Korepo, to discuss our visit to the closing High School for the next day. With the new staff there, it was a large group and it was exciting to have more input and ideas from a wide range of people. Our hapori then met with one of the SLT to discuss how NCEA might look for next year. I think we came up with more questions than answers but this is a work in progress and it was good to get some ideas out for discussion.

Day Four

I read this article "When does profound learning occur?" that we were given and it just reinforced my thinking around making sure learners have choice, are empowered and are involved in creating new things. Changing from teacher-centered to student-centered learning and not sticking to a timetable can be difficult for some staff to get their heads around as we have been immersed in this style of teaching and learning for so long.
We heard some feedback on the kaiarāhi trip to Melbourne where they went to a few schools to have a look at the way they worked.
I really enjoyed listening about their thoughts on these and then exploring the school sites for more information. This is a great way to look at how some of these things might work at Haeata and to see what others are doing in their communities. Some amazing things going on!
Our second session was going into the high school and spending time with students. We had a range of activities for them and rotated them through these. It was great to spend time with them and give them an opportunity to meet us and to ask questions and tell us a bit about themselves.
The afternoon was spent doing our own work and I went to a TeachMeet which you can read about in another blog.

Day Five

We started with a reflection on our time at the high school yesterday and then moved into our hapori groups. Our discussion was centered about NCEA and how this might look for students in our hapori.
The next session started with us in pairs finding a quote about education. We had to say what we felt the quote meant in our eyes. We came up with education not being siloed in a classroom or just at school, but about equipping the community to enable change as well. The implications of this on our day to day actions would be to have authentic, meaningful learning and for students to see that they are the ones that can change the world. This ties in really well to our Values, Principles and Dispositions. We then went on to look at a draft of our Learning Process document. We had a chance to feed back to the SLT around this and have a discussion about how this may look in our kura.
Andy talked about his time at the Singularity Summit this week and once again reinforced his thoughts around the divide between school and the real world. If we take the linear path we will be left behind by the exponential curve of development. He talked about the difference between innovation (incremental and linear) and disruption (changing the game). We used to be able to predict what would happen in the world up to 20 or 30 years ahead, but now it is more like 3-5 years due to technology. He mentioned Moore's Law which I first heard about yesterday at the TeachMeet and also talked about the need for humanness in this technology based world. we need to automate what we can so we can spend time doing the human part of our jobs. A question he was asked, and I think we all need to ask of ourselves is:

What part of your job could be automated so we could do away with you?

Interesting discussion from there about Qualifications and NCEA. Sue Suckling (the Chair of NZQA) said "the era of the qualification has gone". This has huge implications for us as educators and is something that we spent a lot of time discussing in the afternoon. A group of kaiako spent time throwing ideas around as to what success could look like at Haeata and whether NCEA was a part of this and how it could be. It was a robust and fascinating conversation with many viewpoints and many ideas coming through from a wide range of staff, not just those in the Year 11-13 hapori.

Another week gone - time is flying by. Looking forward to the next week with a trip to Auckland and a visit to Tuahiwi.

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