About Thinks

Sometimes good thinks happen and sometimes bad thinks happen. Sometimes it's hard to distinguish between the two.

Some thinks need immediate action and some thinks may remain as thinks forever. Thinks can be angry and heated. Thinks can be joyful. Thinks should never be cold.

These thinks are linked to many other wonderful thinks and I like to attribute these.

These thinks do not necessary reflect those thinks of my employer.

Think long, think on.

Friday, October 14, 2016

Post #ULearn16 Newsetter rant

The teachers and I have returned from uLearn which is an intensive 4 day education conference. We rubbed shoulders with Global Leaders in education. This included Larry Rosenstock, John Couch, Michael Fullan, Mark Treadwell and Karen Spencer.

Hon Hekia Parata also spoke about the changes to the Education Act and reiterated the message from the key-note speakers.

The key message was around the future of students and a huge emphasis was placed on the rapid change that is taking place globally. Within the next 20 years, 47-81% of jobs as we currently understand them will be under threat from technology. This includes jobs that have always been considered ‘safe’ from automation. We also learned that we need to challenge the way that we teach so that we can provide the best education for our children.

Today’s successful learners are not the ones that can memorise and recall facts. It is those who are creative and those who can collaborate with others so that they can solve authentic problems as individuals or in teams. Successful students need to be digitally and technologically fluent and be active and ethical decision makers. They need to be the Kaitiaki of our environment.

This means that our story-tellers need to be original, thought provoking and creative - not just good spellers and handwriters. Our mathematicians need to find, and creatively solve authentic problems - not just rote learn basic facts.

We need to equip our students with critical literacy so that they can predict important things (like environmental impacts). They need to be able to create and share environmental solutions so that their future world is secure.

Learners and schools need to be inclusive. Our early learners need to have time to develop their identity so that they can then think about, question, and collaborate in the world that they live in.

We learned more about national standards achievement data and how this data is no longer a relevant predictor of a successful citizen. Hekia Parata agreed and said that National Standards were never intended to be ‘taught to’. They need only be used as occasional checkpoints (twice yearly). This is good news given that current brain research proves that most children under 7 (especially boys) need to develop learning dispositions. If these dispositions are not fully developed before cognitive learning (reading, writing, and maths) student achievement is likely to plateau (and in most cases drop) by the time the children hit year 4 and 5.

As we embark on our future learning needs, our teachers need permission to explore these concepts. We learnt from many other schools who are embracing this with initiatives such as multi-level classroom, collaborative (team) teaching and creative educational spaces. We have also learned to ‘hold our ideas lightly’ and to be ready to adapt and change for the needs of our learners.

Andrew, Matt, Cat and myself were humbled by the opportunity to celebrate Pukerua Bay School. At our presentation we showcased the School Museum, the Rest home visits, Play Based learning and our Pallet constructions. Needless to say we have had many schools wanting to come and visit so that they can take some of our ideas back to their own schools.

Sunday, July 17, 2016

Cross industry sharing

I was at a deck party yesterday and got talking to a health professional. I was surprised that she shared the same concerns for her line of work that I do for mine.

"Everything we do must be evidence based, the problem with this is that what works for one person may not for another. We work with humans. Every one of them is different." (That was the medical person... Not me!)

Jo shared the story of how her mother had polio in the 1930s and how her mother's doctor did not believe in the evidence based bed-rest polio treatment. Instead the doctor insisted that her mother had to swim everyday. This hunch paid off and she led a limp-free life.

Such hunches would not be tolerated in today's health system (without an evidence-based backing). 

I am afraid of an extreme evidence based education system where hunches can no longer be tried.

I'd always thought (and have probably actually said out loud) that the science evidence based stuff is better in sectors such as medicine because, you know, they have pills and medicine and stuff. 

However after this conversation and all the discourse around hemp, medicinal marijuana etc at the mo (not to mention the situation that one of our beautiful students is in with a bizarre case of fighting both medical bureaucracy and lymes) I am starting to wonder...

Saturday, June 25, 2016