Day OneOur first discussion today was around another Essential Agreement, Communication Fluency, which
looks at a combination of literacies digital literacy, traditional literacy, visual literacy, media literacy, information literacy, and mathematical literacy. We looked at what Communication Fluency meant to us and then read these two articles: One on New Literacies in the Classroom and one on Is fluent speech the same a good communication? I found this second one particularly interesting as it talks about someone who stammers and how they still communicate effectively. We then worked together on creating some statements on what Communication Fluency means. Our next step was to identify some skills that we wanted to work on to improve our own Communication Fluency. Mine included learning about Snapchat, Coding, Podcasting and more on Dyslexia. I really liked one idea by another staff member around learning about interpreting moko and carvings.
This week we are having more engagement with the closing schools and we had some time to plan what we might do. Korepo (Yr 7-10 hapori) and Ihutai (Yr 11-13 hapori) are going to the closing high school this week and it was good to have time to put ideas together as to how we would engage with our prospective students.
After lunch we had some students from the primary school come in and take us for a session on learning the Samoan language. This has been a passion of mine for a while and I was very excited to get some basic phrases under my belt.
Day TwoWe had some more time this morning to work on our plan for engaging with schools and then we looked at our Communication Fluency Essential Agreement. Today was around learning more on something we wanted to learn about in relation to communication literacy. I finally downloaded Snapchat, created my account - suemcl1, and sent my first selfie. Very scary! I read quite a few articles around using Snapchat in education and found this awesome blog by Ai Zhang @aiaddysonzhang - Dinosaur to Digital Savvy: How Social Media transformed my career. From there I went to 5 tips on how to use Snapchat in an educational setting and then I followed Karen Freberg @kfreberg on Twitter so I can learn more through some of her tweets.
Talking of social media - here is a great blog about how Twitter works and looks great for those just starting out. Thanks to James for finding this while he was learning about Twitter. I also showed a few people how to use Tweetdeck - a great place to keep everything ordered and join chats.
I spent a bit of time today working on some flash cards to help with my learning of both Māori and Samoan language. I am currently working through the Māori Made Easy book and as well as using the online help, I have made some flash cards through Anki which is an app you can download onto your computer or phone. It keeps track of your progress, giving you more practise on the words you don't know and I find flashcards awesome as I am a visual learner. If anyone would like to use my deck for practise, you are welcome. You can download Anki by downloading the app on your computer or phone and then you can download decks in whatever language you like, or make your own. I am really enjoying the learning and flash cards make it easier for me.
Day ThreeWe started today with a session on our Intrapersonal Essential Agreement. After writing what Intrapersonal skills meant to us, we did some research on them. I found it interesting to look at the difference between Interpersonal and Intrapersonal and I found this website that has information about awareness and competencies. Then we looked at the traits of people with high Intrapersonal skills. This site had a great list and had I found it very easy to read. We completed a quick quiz on how we rated on the Intrapersonal Intelligence scale. and we reflected on where we were on this. I do think age has something to do with it as we learn skills over time and we become more comfortable with ourselves. Learning about ourselves and others is hugely important. Setting goals, being empathetic, building identity, being secure in who you are and learning what you believe in all help with learning. All of these things are unpacked in our Intrapersonal Essential Agreement and it places the emphasis on supporting the learner in becoming self aware which I think is hugely important. This led onto a discussion about personality types and we did some research around Introverts and Extroverts and how we can cater for both in the classroom. There was discussion about the difference between being introverted and being shy and I found this article, along with other information on this website, helped define this quite well.
A lot of the conversation was about knowing yourself, so we then all completed the DISC Personality test. (Dominant, Influence, Steadiness, Compliance) I always wonder about these sorts of tests and although I agree in general about the answers I get, I wonder about the accuracy. For this test you have to mark what is the most like you and the least like you for a range of statements. This was often very difficult as all of them were like me sometimes so it was pure chance to what I put. I did the test twice to see if it came out differently but it was similar the second time. Interestingly, I decided to try again on a different site and although they called the factors different things (Dominant, Inducement, Supportive, Cautious) I once again came out reasonably similar being a mix of D, S and C. Interesting though that they call them different things and I am not sure that Compliant and Cautious have the same meaning for me. I was interested to see what happened when someone else did the test for me so I got my daughter to do it as she saw me. Interestingly she had the Dominance and Compliance swapped over, and a much higher Influence score for me. I then went home and did a test based on the Myers-Briggs personality test which I hadn't done for many years. I found this a more accurate way of working out my personality as I could rate each statement rather than having to choose the best of four. Reading the information about my type, I was sure they had it right. Scary!
In the afternoon I took a session with some staff around using Garageband which was fun. For all staff to have some knowledge of using loops would be great so they can make backing tracks and use music in class without having to be hugely technical about it.
Day FourToday we read an article The Nature of Learning - Using Research to Inspire Practice From the Centre for Educational Research and Innovation. The underlying theme was that if we have an understanding of how we learn it helps us to work out the conditions in which successful learning can occur. I like the term Gatekeepers of learning which covers emotions and motivation. These two things have a huge effect on our learners and are something we have to take into account when we teach. Many students have had bad experiences and this can impact on their motivation. Teacher expectations have to be positive but realistic and often in small steps. by using re-appraisal - reframing a situation in a more positive way, and de-personalisation - teaching ākonga to be more objective and not take things personally.
"If student experiences have been negative, the teacher may fruitfully provide incremental successful experiences in order to compensate for the impact on motivation from that negative experience"
7 Principles of Learning
- Learners at the centre
- Social nature of learning
- Emotions are integral
- Recognising differences
- Stretching all students
- Assessment for learning
- Building horizontal connections
"All of these should be present in a learning environment for it to be judged truly effective"
I found these aligned perfectly with our Principles and Dispositions at Haeata and I could easily relate them to what we are trying to achieve.
Building blocks for Innovative Learning Environments
- Cooperative learning
- Service learning
- Home-school partnerships
- Learning with technology
- Formative assessment - where are they in their learning? Where are they going and what need to be done to get there?
- Inquiry based
After this session our hapori went to one of the closing schools and spent some time with the students. We played games, answered questions and showed them the plans for the school as well as some of the uniform items. Most of the students were very excited but understandably nervous about coming to Haeata. It was good to be able to answer some of their concerns, but also be honest that many things are still being formulated and we took away more questions to discuss.
It was great to be around students again. I felt the energy level rise in all of our staff as we connected to, and were inspired by, our prospective ākonga.