Thursday, April 28, 2016

Interpreting and Using Evidence (Week 23)

Researched and Community Informed Practice (R&C) - Interpreting and Using Evidence

This week we are examining how we can interpret the data or evidence  collected during the inquiry project and use it to inform, direct and improve our practice.

Some Learning Outcomes are:

  • Recognise different techniques for interpreting evidence and understand how these can be employed in your practice.
  • Understand how you can use the evidence you collect to inform, direct and improve your practice.

Jonathan Gray wrote a very useful piece for The Guardian newspaper on the limits of data. It is well worth a read and is available from:

Gray offers the following pieces of advice about data:

  • Data is not a force unto itself. It is what individuals (or groups) do with data that brings meaning and power.
  • Data is not a perfect reflection of the world. The choices we make about data, including what we choose to collect, how we collect it, how we analyse it and how we interpret our analysis all influence the findings and conclusions we can make.
  • Data does not speak for itself. It requires interpretation and analysis (hopefully by knowledgeable individuals). In education especially, it needs to be understood within its particular context. This might be in relation to a particular class, school, community etc.
  • Interpreting data is not easy. Really understanding what the data is telling us can be very tricky.

Supporting Resources:

Some interesting reads and advice as I continue to work on my Teaching as Inquiry project plan.

~ “Evidence-based education means integrating individual teaching and learning expertise with the best available external evidence from systematic research. Indeed, a central feature of evidence-based education must be the two-way process of broadening the basis of individuals’ experience and judgement by locating it within the available evidence, and generating research studies and evidence which explore and test the professional experience of teachers, students and other constituents of learning communities.”
- Davies, P. (1999). What is Evidence-based Education? British Journal of Educational Studies, 47(2), 108-121. ~

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Collecting Evidence or Data (Week 22)

Researched and Community Informed Practice (R&C) - Collecting Evidence or Data

This week we have to focus on the different methods that can be used to collect evidence (or data) during an inquiry project.
The Learning Objectives are:

  • Understand the importance of collecting evidence during an inquiry project
  • Become familiar with the different types of evidence you could collect
  • Decide on the types of evidence / collection methods you will use in your inquiry project

It is noted that the success of an inquiry project relies on the ability to collect evidence or data in order to determine the impact or influence the project is having. Data and evidence can take many forms, however, one of the defining features of collecting evidence in an inquiry project is that data collection is planned and systematic. Earl and Timperley (2014) suggest that evidence must be ‘fit-for-purpose, of sufficient quality to form an accurate representation of the situation being evaluated and be available when decisions are being made’ (p. 17).

Some helpful online resources:

Now to think about the methods that will best enable me to collect the evidence needed for my inquiry project...

~ “Imagine that Newton’s third law worked well in both the northern and southern hemispheres - except of course in Italy or New Zealand - and that the explanatory basis for that law was different in the two hemispheres. Such complexity would drive a physicist crazy, but it is a part of the day-to-day world of the educational researcher.”
- Berliner, D.C. (2002). Educational Research:The Hardest Science of All. Educational Researcher, 31(8), 18–20. ~

Saturday, April 16, 2016

Literature Review - Synthesis

We have been busy following the process of looking at what is known already, as well as those for and against our literature review topic [question(s) not clearly defined yet].

I found reading through the academic publications and research on our particular topic to be quite interesting.

Some key points [in short] from the literature are:
  • “...Students’ pride in themselves and motivation increased when their parents, whānau and families were involved in celebration of their learning.” (ERO, June 2008 p.18)
  • “The School may affect home environments  in positive ways with it’s intentional, consistent interaction with parents” (Redding, Langdon, Meyer & Sheley pg1)
  • “An ongoing conversation between parents and teachers about the role of each in children’s learning is key to building the relationship and understanding that enhances school performance” (Redding, Langdon, Meyer & Sheley p.7)
  • “Successful engagement requires strong and committed leadership by the school, as well as opportunities for different members of each school’s community to take on leadership roles” (ERO, June 2008 p.45)
  • “Knowledge of one’s self and intentions, having trusted relationships with Māori, and accepting the “unknowingness” of cross-cultural research all influenced how these Pākehā orientated themselves in kaupapa Māori research. Everyone discussed the individual and collective challenges and benefits they experienced as a result of involvement in kaupapa Māori educational research. For example, Christine reflected that in her experience “there are an increasing number of places where Māori are in control of decision-making, and Pākehā have something to contribute. It’s exciting and I don’t have to worry as much as I have in the past when Māori were advisors but not decisionmakers.” (NZCER - Alex Barnes, Oct 2013 p.23)

Now to start looking at what is relevant to our review...

~ "The more you know about your topic, the more effectively you can tackle your own research problem. It all starts with the literature review." - Unknown ~

Friday, April 15, 2016

Reflection on Term 1, 2016

Whilst some students were known to me, our environment welcomed a couple of new students and I enjoyed making new connections and re-connecting with everyone. As I am not involved in Reading Recovery this year, I enjoyed being in class for the whole day and it was great for us getting to know one other.

KidsedchatNZ had been re-introduced to my Year 1 students as we had Room 3 working with us. Great Tuakana/Teina relationships were displayed when participating in topics such as 'Greatness', 'Digital Citizenship', 'Sport and Learning' and 'Term 1 Reflection'. Our participation has been one way of supporting students with increasing their reading and writing abilities.

After last year's reflection, I've decided to change my maths programme a bit and to start with introducing doubles [first] to my students. I've also included a lot more 'hands-on' maths activities and my students enjoyed learning doubles with hopscotch.

During reading time we worked hard on making their reading sound like talking and we valued our Tuakana/Teina reading time. I [once again] realised how powerful this experience was when one of my 5 year old's told me "I want to read like her."

Students also worked hard on learning the Essential Spelling Lists to help them when writing stories. I really enjoyed seeing them gaining independence and the excitement when they were able to use these words in their writing.

Students were exposed to many opportunities this term: Inquiry, Go4it, Swimming and many more (feel free to view the class blog). I have also introduce an app called Quiver to help them reflect in a fun way on our Cluster Summer Sports day.

Personally, I felt pleased and happy about the session I lead on our Teacher Only day where Easy Blogger Jr was introduced to colleagues. This was a result from our eLearning Plan where one of our key decisions were to have a collaborative environment with a move to GAFE and Junior Blogger to support students' ePortfolios.

I have been extremely busy [since last year], not only with assignments towards my Post Grad in Applied Practice in Digital and Collaborative learning, but also with establishing and finalising a whole school inquiry through the Academy for Collaborative Futures' Voyager Programme.

I feel happy getting slowly back onto twitter and enjoyed the opportunity to participate in and learn from others in chats like #ldrchatnz and #DigitalEdChat recently.

~ “We do not learn from experience... we learn from reflecting on experience.” 
- John Dewey ~

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Planning my Teaching as Inquiry Project (Week 21)

Researched and Community Informed Practice (R&C) - Planning your Teaching as Inquiry Project
As part of Assessment 2 we have to think about how the Teaching as Inquiry project we design will engage various communities in your school (i.e. students, teachers, whānau etc) as well as how it relates to Kaupapa Maori research...

I have started to think about my own inquiry project and community engagement plan that results from the literature review I am compiling. It will focus primarily on the design of my project, but will gradually move into actually implementing the plan in my school context and in my practice.

This inquiry will be relevant when looking at our latest ERO report with our area for development "... community partnerships need to be reviewed in order to sustain school development and improvement."

I will therefore base my inquiry on "How can we use communication/digital technologies to engage parents, as schools are not leveraging communication/digital technologies to improve collaborative learning for all stakeholders."

The following video is quite appropriate for my inquiry as it not only covers the variety of meaningful uses for technology, but also the misconceptions about the role of technology in education.

“I alone cannot change the world, but I can cast a stone across the waters to create many ripples.” - Mother Teresa ~

Friday, April 8, 2016

Teaching and Research in the NZ Context: Teaching as Inquiry (Week 20)

Researched and Community Informed Practice (R&C) - Teaching and Research in the NZ Context: Teaching as Inquiry
As a teacher you are constantly evaluating and reflecting on your teaching practice, making judgements on what to do next. Adopting the stance of teacher researcher formalises these evaluative and reflective processes. 
As Wilson (2013) explains: Researching our practice presents the opportunity to problem-solve more intelligently, through drawing on existing research findings and by using rigorous methods to collect evidence which helps clarify our thinking. Experiences of participating in an informed way, and acting freshly, offer the teacher for whom teaching has become a routine a sense of freedom, of meaning, of worthiness and consequently increased self- esteem. (Wilson, 2013, 5)

Schon (1983) developed the concept of the reflective practitioner, invests teachers with an active role in the procurement and development of the specialised knowledge that they require to become expert teachers. Schon believes that teachers’ personal, practical knowledge is developed only when teachers reflect on their actions: 
He [the teacher] reflects on the phenomenon before him, and on the prior understandings which have been implicit in his behaviour. He carriers out an experiment which serves to generate both a new understanding of the phenomenon and a change in the situation. (Schon, 1983, 68).

Two main themes why teacher research is important
The first relates to the importance of teacher-created knowledge for improvement in teaching and learning, and in particular student outcomes. The second centres on notions of teacher professionalism. Some quotes that represent various reasonings behind the importance of teacher-research or teacher-inquiry.

It is a community of teachers that is needed to work together to ask the questions, evaluate their impact and decide on the optimal next steps … Such passion for evaluating impact is the single most critical lever for instructional excellence – accompanied by understanding this impact, and doing something in light of the evidence and understanding (Hattie, 2012). 

Teacher research has the potential to act as an important source of teacher and academic professional renewal and development because learning standards at the core of this renewal through the production and circulation of new knowledge about practice (Sachs, 2003).

Teaching as Inquiry goes beyond the reflective practices teachers regularly employ to develop a more systematic approach for investigating and evaluating practice.

Graeme Aitken’s background paper 'The inquiring teacher'
TKI has some useful readings and inks on Teaching as Inquiry
Graeme Aitken’s a video on Teaching as Inquiry

This video shows an expert opinion on enhancing children’s curiosity with technologies.

“My role, as teacher, is to evaluate the effect I have on my students.” 
- John Hattie ~

Monday, April 4, 2016

Auditory Processing Disorder

I was lucky enough to be part of a workshop presentation by Angela Alexander, Doctor of Audiology, from the Auditory Processing Network. She shared with us information on APD and some quick tips and tricks to enhance life and learning for students with an auditory processing disorder. Students with this condition can't process what they hear in the same way other kids do because their ears and brain don't fully coordinate.

There are two basic functions of hearing that are extremely important: sensitivity and processing. Sensitivity refers to the softest sound an ear can hear.

There are four levels of auditory skills:
  • Awareness to sound (hearing sensitivity/basic hearing function)
  • Discrimination of sound (being able to not only hear a sound, but be able to process it. Able to hear difference between 'n' and 'm' sound)
  • Identification of sound (the ability to hear the difference in one sound from another and to hear that sound in isolation. eg. know that we refer to the sound' 'm' with the letter 'm')
  • Comprehension (understanding a spoken message)
When the first three is not happening students can have a problem with comprehension as the brain might process sounds differently.

10 ideas to support a child with hearing problems
  • Memory: short term to long term and echoic (making it fun/ weird to remember)
  • The importance of repetition and consonant production
  • Simplify instructions
  • Breaks are important
  • Remove this sentence from your language ("I am just going to say it once")
  • Be positive
  • Decrease your distance & 'yacker tracker'
  • Allow preview/review at home
  • You are an amazing referral source
  • And most importantly... The greatest factor in success for a person with auditory processing disorder is the attitude and understanding of their teachers, caretakers and health professionals.

~ "Remember: everyone in the classroom has a story that leads to misbehavior or defiance. 9 times out of 10, the story behind the misbehavior won't make you angry. It will break your heart." - Annette Breaux ~

Friday, April 1, 2016

NPeW Education Conference

The Ngā Pūmanawa e Waru Team

Ngā Pūmanawa e Waru hosted its inaugural education conference yesterday. The programme for the day was divided into four sessions.

Session 1
'Iwi involvement in Education' with guest speaker Sir Mason Durie. The panelists were Professor Angus MacFarlane, Lady Aroha Durie and Mere Berryman.
Sir Mason Durie summed up the session on iwi involvement in education saying that our loyalty has to be to the students.

Session 2
'Leadership and a Future Mindset' (video) with Dr Vikram Murthy as presenter. He touched on the following:
  • Each one of us is an expert at something. Are we changing as fast as the world around us? The problem is to "let go"
  • The uncertainty & the leadership challenge. We live in challenging times...
  • What we pay attention to,  and how we pay attention, determines the content & quality of life
  • Attacking a problem with diversity & collaboration yields more powerful results. #CollectiveWisdom #CollaborativeInquiry
  • Learning is the process of enhancing our capacity for effective action. Learning contributes to adaptiveness.
  • The identification and engagement of an individual's competencies - "the areas of his or her greatest strength"

Leadership and a Future Mindset discussion panel with Nicky Brell as facilitator.

Session 3:
'Covey's Seven Habits' with presenter Kerryanne Knox. In the session she discussed the 7 Habits of Highly Effective People.

The First Three Habits surround moving from dependence to independence (self-mastery).

1. Be Proactive: Work from the centre of your influence and constantly work to expand it. 
2. Begin with the End in Mind: Envision what you want in the future so you can work and plan towards it.
Here she challenged us with "What are you doing to ensure that you are going to achieve what you have identified as your end in mind?"
3. Put First Things First: This is about the difference between Leadership and Management. Leadership in the outside world begins with personal vision and personal leadership. Think about what is important and what is urgent.

The next three habits talk about Interdependence (e.g. working with others).

4. Think Win-Win: Value and respect people by understanding a "win" for all is ultimately a better long-term resolution than if only one person in the situation had gotten his way.
5. Seek First to Understand, Then to be Understood: Use empathic listening to genuinely understand a person, which compels them to reciprocate the listening and take an open mind to being influenced by you. This creates an atmosphere of caring, and positive problem solving.
6. Synergize: Combine the strengths of people through positive teamwork, so as to achieve goals that no one could have done alone.

The final habit is that of continuous improvement in both the personal and interpersonal spheres of influence.

7. Sharpen the Saw: Balance and renew your resources, energy, and health to create a sustainable, long-term, effective lifestyle. 

Session 4:
'Future-focused Learning' with keynote Brett O'Riley. The panelists were Frances Valintine, Laurence Zwimpfer and Dr Niki Davis.

Listening to the presenters and realizing what we're achieving [already] was a mind-blowing experience.
The conference was a huge success and I felt honoured to be part of the Ngā Pūmanawa e Waru Team. We worked together as a team and manaakitanga was the winner on the day.  

~ "Celebrate what you've accomplished, but raise the bar a little higher each time you succeed." - Mia Hamm ~