When was the last time you felt nervous about something you had to do? Was it an observation? Was it a tricky conversation to have with a parent? Or a colleague? How do you overcome it? What are your most effective strategies?
There is no better feeling than overcoming that mountain; focusing all of your attention on something, to visualise it, to breathe it in... and then to smash it home.
I can't help but think about next year... I love this time of year when you celebrate all of the amazing things you have achieved with your students. But then you think of all the incredible possibilities that you could do better next year...
So one of the things I'm thinking about is asking my students to create a profile about how they best like to receive feedback. And when I say feedback, I mean feedback and feedforward in their learning, attitude and behaviour. How might this look? An email? A wink of the eye? A private conversation? A public praising? Written feedback from a peer?
As a teacher, you learn about these as you go... but I do wonder how this might influence the culture of your class if we knew it at the get-go?
We had an exciting conversation about timetabling during our last JK session. Specifically, what impact did timetabling have on our learners? Was the output (progress) equivalent to the input (time invested to do it)? Did it make a difference? Was is worth the stress? I don’t know. Those who it worked for it worked! These are the highly organised learners who are able to orchestrate the poly-faceted life of Poutama. Those that it didn’t work for...? Well, you can guess, right? The learners who need high levels of structure and routine. For these learners, the mere act of planning for their own learning was too big. Yes, with time they could have got there, but at what cost? What other learning programs do they miss out on as a result of completing their timetable. I am kind of seeing these learners as impulsive: however, not in a bad way. This is how I also “tick” - we have the “jump in head first” and “learn as you go” mentality. So I believe that time for reflection for these types of learners is crucial. “You don’t learn from experience, you learn from reflecting on experience” ― Ken Bain.
Experience. Creating a matrix for innovation fund is kind of like this. We have set out to create a matrix but we have come to the realisation that a matrix for Learner Agency doesn’t work. What we have come away with, is a deep understanding of Agentic mindsets. We have identified that we have a high number of students operating at self-directed. It is up to us to create the conditions for which learner agency, creativity and excellence can flourish.
I found this wee gem when tidying up my google drive folders recently... We wrote parodies, recorded them, created music videos for them and entered them into the Digi Awards where we won 1st place! It was awesome!
Am I the only one who feels excited at this opportunity? Imagine being a part of a conversation where, for the first time ever!, ECE, primary, intermediate, secondary and tertiary educators are "working together" to achieve a common goal? I am hugely excited about this. So why the scowly faces around my table? Am I missing something?
Here I am. Nic Mason. I grew up living in state houses with a solo mother on a benefit... Spending nights and weekends in tiny backrooms of restaurants and hairdresser's salons so that we could have a little bit extra for the week. We struggled. Mum's experience of her own schooling terrified her to the extent that she could barely set foot within a school, let alone ask any questions about my learning. She did what she could...
"How was your day at school Nic?"
"Good" I would reply.
I do need to acknowledge here how Terrace End School engaged my mum and awhi'd her through this phobia. As a result, I flourished. What was it they did, to engage her? Anyways, after a wonderful experience at Terrace End School, I began to disengage at intermediate and even more so at high school. I became rebellious and obnoxious (probably not too dissimilar from any teenaged boy). But my desire to carve my own way into adulthood by far outweighed complying at school. Why is this important? Why is this pointless anecdote important to Communities of Learning you say! Because I believe that far too many students are disengaged by the current system. The right-brained, academic, formal way of measuring learning. Testing. Writing essays. More testing...
Eventually, I turned out fine, yes. The influential people in my life steered me to take the leap into "Teacher's College" (College of Education) and the rest is history. But my experience at high school could have been quite different.
So here are the Top 10 Skills identified in order to thrive in today and the future. Do you notice the word exam here? I just googled "the purpose of education" and was flooded with inspiring quotes that had nothing to do with the teaching of tests but the preparation of life.
I couldn't help but wonder what my learning experience would have been like under these conditions? How could I have focused on my curiosities about the world and create something using my passions? Music, art, media studies, photography?
So this is why I feel incredibly excited about Communities of Learning. Being involved in something that could truly change the course for all learners (not just learners like me) all around New Zealand.