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.