Tuesday, September 29, 2015

On Change, Fear, Risks and Trust - #CENZ15 launch event

A connected educator interview with Grant Lichtman on helping school teams to develop a capacity for change in a rapidly changing world.

What is the book '#EdJourney' about?
It is a story about many schools, what innovation means and how to overcome problems. There are conversations around education change, but the system [around education] has not. 

My 'take-away':

The biggest barrier for change and innovation is the fear of taking a risk. Gaining comfort with change is hard. Asking to do things that we are not sure about is uncomfortable. It's about having conversations, about what we want to do and to look at what is holding us back.

It is necessary to talk about risk in education and to step out of the comfort zone. Educators should take risks to grow professionally and being able to challenge each other. This might help with doing things different in the future.

Ways to overcome 'fear'?
People connecting, reaching out to each other for ideas and help. Get a shift from discomfort [with observations] to wondering why other teachers hasn't come and visit me in my class. Make teaching goals public with each other, give and receive feedback and get comfortable with that.

What if every teacher is part of a "cognitosphere"
We fundamentally changed how we learn and knowledge evolves. Schools are creating learners for the future. Look at what takes place in the classroom - teachers and students are co-learners. What flows through is knowledge and we are in the business of knowledge.

You are not a group of one, when connecting with others on twitter and through other on-line communities. No one is on an island anymore. Educators are willing to be contacted and talk about issues. Most educators want to see change take place, encourage people to start trying things. 

It is 'difficult' getting people to commit, as they are good at thinking, but posses a fear of taking the first step.

The most common risk is to allow ourselves to very simply ask the question of what constitutes great learning. Once this has been identified, make a promise to find what is best for our students. The resources in schools are not many, but powerful. Resources are time, space, money, people and knowledge. Aligning the resources with the vision is important.

When looking to next year, remember that there is no cook book recipe that works for all schools. School that are successfully changing how they 'do' learning for their students, creates value. Support the vision by using the five resources (as mentioned above). Articulate and communicate your unique individual aspects. Always think 'How is what we are doing powerful, how are we helping our students our place'?

Define what you want for learning outcomes, it is not just ticking boxes for a strategic plan. It is important to get on the pathway; look first at what great learning looks like. 

Feedback requires a culture of trust. How do we build trust?

We build trust by being in the room together (parents, students, community, teachers) by asking questions and solving and tackling problems together, rather than doing it in our silos. It's about going on the journey together!

~ "Change can be scary, but you know what's scarier? Allowing fear to stop you from Growing, Evolving and Progressing." - Mandy Hale ~

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

A new voyage - 'Being in Touch'

My learning in the 'Voyager Cross-School Collaborative Inquiry & Collective Wisdom Programme' with Dr. Vikram Murthy, Director of the Academy for Collaborate Futures as Lecturer continued with session 2 in which we learnt more about team learning styles, emotional intelligence and the importance of empathy. 

Compelling evidence was shared, which showed the intersection of neuroscience that underline the importance of empathy and connection at work and play.

I learnt that good leadership begins with emotional intelligence and that empathy finishes with fine-tuning the balance between self and other.

We scored ourselves on 'the sacrifice syndrome' check list and learnt that to counter the sacrifice syndrome one must make renewal a way of life. Be mindful and in tune with yourself, never lose faith and have a clear understanding of your reality.

We were then introduced to multiple-loop problem solving and learnt how to use it to improve our personal and organisation's adaptive learning capabilities. One should always ask “What is the real problem?” and then examine your big choices.

By this time my head was spinning and I really felt challenged in my thinking. However, one aspect that stood out in the end for me was that the key to better performance is better communication.

~ "You learn something every day if you pay attention". - Ray LeBlond ~

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Where to next?

"Where to next?" is a question I often ask myself...

At this stage in my career, I feel that I am almost constantly looking for a new challenge or development opportunity to help keep my 'calling' (the way I see my teaching role to be and not as a 'job') fresh. 

I got to a stage where I want an opportunity to try a new type of work, share my knowledge and experience for a defined period and learn new skills as part of my career development, without having to change my role completely.

After some careful consideration, I decided to apply for a part-time position within the project team of the Ngā Pūmanawa  e Waru initiative under the Excel Rotorua Education Trust. Following my application I was offered a secondment as a Learning Facilitator in the schools and kura of our district. A position that I am very much looking forward to!

I would also like to thank my Principal for supporting me in this new position.

~ "Opportunity knocks at the strangest times, It's not the time that matters But how you answer the door." - Steve/Gray ~ 

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Workshop on Student Voice

When students express their understanding of their learning process, we use the term 'student voice'. This term can also describes how students give their input to what happens within their learning environment and school.

We brainstormed ideas around 'quality' teacher, students and environment and looked at the benefits for students, for teachers and school:

Factors that influence student engagement:
  1. Relationships with teachers and peers
  2. Relational learning
  3. Dispositions to be a learner
  4. Motivation and interest
  5. Personal agency
  6. Self-efficacy
  7. Goal orientation
  8. Academic self-regulated learning

So what should we do?
  • Listen to students
  • Build a culture of inclusion
  • Encourage student to student and student to teacher conversations
  • Expect students to engage in dialogue
  • Use IT to assist in the gathering of of voice
  • Be open to change

Further resources:

    ~ "Student voice is the road to change" - Unknown ~