Saturday, November 29, 2008

Learning Matters

My mate, Terry, who runs the Teltales Blog on the link to the left is not a great blogger as he doesn't keep it up to date so give him a bit of a hassle. One thing he does is post his regular newspaper columns on his blog for us to read. This seems like a good idea which I am adopting, especially since my articles are more interesting than his!

Every fortnight I will post my Opotiki News Learning Matters column and the frist of the postings is here!

Learning Matters

4 December 2008

The recent election result and the economic crisis sweeping the world are both likely to result in a wave of change in the education area. There are some exciting possibilities, but also some fearful prospects.

I am really angry about the economic crisis as its very existence, which will have a huge impact on the ordinary citizens of our community and the world, is a direct result of the behaviours of those people who will not experience the same level of pain.

Uncontrolled financial institutions who have been driven by corporate and individual greed and who have rejected the idea of state-imposed controls on their activities have led the ordinary citizen to accept their media-driven campaigns to accept more and more credit until it has become unsustainable.

The response of various governments has been to bail these corporations out of trouble, most probably so that they can continue to carry on the same way. In the meantime, citizens face unemployment and, in many cases, the loss of their assets such as their homes.

Many economists and politicians are arguing that they way out of this situation is to spend more to keep economic growth moving forward. Examples of increased spending they have been talking about are largely what they call ‘infrastructure’, such as roads, buildings etc.

I agree that spending must be maintained, but that the investment must be in the ‘social infrastructure’. We must make sure that the most vulnerable are not left to pay the price and that our social and community organisations are strengthened so that people and communities can be supported.

However, the main area of social infrastructure that requires the most investment to get us through these troubled times is education. We are no longer in an industrial age, but we are in the knowledge age. We must invest in the creation and sharing of knowledge so that we have strengthened capacity to solve not only the economic problems that we are facing, but also the myriad of other problems we will experience in the 21st Century. An obvious problem includes sustainability of our planet, but the truth is that the 21st Century will produce problems that we don’t even know are problems yet.

Don’t let our politicians concentrate on spending on industrial age infrastructure; make them invest heavily in knowledge infrastructure so that every citizen learns, increases their capacity to learn and contributes to the learning of others and the whole community, because, even more so now, learning matters!

Sunday, November 23, 2008

All Blacks and Blue Mountains

After watching the might All Blacks take out the Welsh (Hedley the Welshman was there with us!) Hedly, Teleri and I headed off from Tirohanga into the Blue Mountains. We picked up Grant, Hilton, Amy and Bruno (the dog) on the way.
We did the Valley Station Rd/Mangakirikiri Stream loop. Ther's a bit of good climbing and some great downhill with the fun stream crossings.

The highlights were Grant's delight at the MTB experience, Hilton's whoop with joy on one neat downhill, Teleri's dive into the creek because Bruno was too slow and Amy's determimation to crack the hill climbs.

I was the only one to get up the other side of the neat downhiill and uphill swoop about 2/3 away around without pedalling, but then again I was the only one who knew we were playing that game!

This was agreat 3 hours ride in good company.

We didn't go with the road bike ponies to Te Kaha and back because they implied we were too slow for them and they weren't gonna wait for anyone on the hills because they wanted to get back before dark.

The SOBs are real mates and we can accommodate anyone with us on our awesome rides!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

New Wiki

Check out the link on the side to Innovation Curriculum at Opotiki College. Andrew, from our staff, has just created a wiki to outline our progress towards implementing an innovative curriculum. It's still new and needs things added to it so get on board and comment.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Post Cycle Revelations

We had a great ride at Otara tonight. I went along determined to sit back in the group and let others push the pace. But of course that didn't happen. A small group of us tried to push the pace and sometimes opened up a small gap, but we didn't work as a team enough to break away entirely. It was interesting to note that 3-4 of the top 7 finishers in our grade were noticeably absent from doing much or any of the work early on.

That's the way it goes unfortunately and is the nature of cycling. But it was still cool with us averaging over 33kph and hitting 43kph along the Otara on the way home.

The best bit was a couple of beers at George's after the event. I learnt so much; Nicola and Jarrod don't argue, he just listens; Rosalie is the latest Teddy centrefold (Endurance Magazine) and also made the front page of Women's Day; Destry started biking to the race and then realised he might be forced to have a few beers afterwards so decided to bail out before the start; Simon, Ross and Colin almost biked past the beer option but after the cogs turned slower than the cadence they turned around and joined in.

Cycling is great fun.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Hectic Week

Shirley and Leigh in time for coffee.

Kate arriving at Boss'

Resting after ride with Jinx

It all started with the Leavers' Dinner on Monday night at Rostcards. This was a great night, but at 11.00pm I was back at school with the police as a result of a major tagging of the school. However, my careful sleuthing had the suspects nailed by 9.00 the next morning. Local community dropouts! Home at 1.30am!

This was followed by two solid days of report writing.

Thursday night saw our senior prizegiving which was a great occasion. Hemi and Paula came back to be farewelled and Karen and Linda from the Human Rights Commission were there as guests. It was great to see Karen as she is ex Principal Gisborne Girl's High. I will post photos soon. Had a few wines at Lea's so a bit tired the next day.

Despite feeling buggered went the next night to a Blues performance at the Art Society Hall. The Mike Garner Trio from Rotorua were outstanding! See them if you can. I bought their CD, Cad's Alley (www.southbound

Saturday night is described in the previous post.

On Sunday we had a good road bike ride from the Boss' after watching a great All Black's win. Leigh, Boss, I, Kate, Destry and Rachel left and cycled up McCarthy's Rd where we found Dennis and Dad and on way back we picked up Brian. We then headed up Hukutaia where we picked up Zac. On the way down we came across Shirley biking up and she tagged on to Leigh and Kate. We headed out to Tablelands and rode like a pack of mad bastards hitting 75k down the hill! We then headed out Otara where I pretended I needed a pee. The group carried on and I headed back to Boss' where we had coffee and muffins. Buggared.

Kai From The Coast are Winners

Left-to-right: Stephanie, Rita, Chad, Kayla, Quintin, Marcelle, Bryce, Marion, Garry.
On Saturday night I travelled with our Young Enterprise Scheme Company, Kai From The Coast, to the Whakatane AAA Awards where they were announced as winners of the Emerging Business section.

This put them into the major final against companies such as Julian's Berry Farm and The Bean. This was won by Julian's.

As you can see from the photo the students looked stunning and Rita gave the best acceptance speech of the night. All of us, myself, Marion, Stepahanie and Garry were very proud of them.

Buy their cookbook as a Xmas present.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

School Update

Had a busy shortened week (Labour Day) last week. Tuesday was spent preparing for BOT meeting which was that night. It was a great meeting with lots of discussion around issues to do with curriculum and teaching programmes and property.

The hassle was that after that I had to drive to Hamilton (arriving just after midnight) as I attended a Michael Fullan seminar starting at 8.30am. He was a great presenter who discussed his six secrets for leading change. He really needed two days but he has given me some good insight because if there is certainly one thing that we can guarantee in this line of work it is change!

Had a nice dinner and catch up with Peter from Tauhara that night and the following day we attended a Student Engagement Initiative reference group meeting with the Ministry of Education. There was some robust discussion about the direction of this initiative but I do feel that the principals involved are listened to.

I got back Thursday night and had to do final preparations for a morning staff meeting where we were to have the first full discussion around curriculum direction for our school since my return from sabbatical. Despite most of the thoughts being out there via the wiki and Professional Reading Groups I was a little uncertain as to what staff response would be.

I reckon the meeting was very positive with some good questions being asked. Hopefully some comments will be posted to confirm or deny my view.

Bought a New Car

I've bitten the bullet and accept the Mighty Mitsi V3000 needs to retire (see my Trademe auction for a great buy!).

While in Hamilton on Thursday I splashed out and spent $4250 on a 2000 1.6L Hyundai Lantra Station Wagon. Youngest car I have ever bought! Woohoo!

I spent Saturday afternoon cleaning it because it was caked in a mouldy cowshit/dust stuff. Looks good now!

Ohiwa Ride

Today we leapt on our roaD BIKES SO THAT WE COULD PRETEND WE MIGHT BE READY TO RIDE TWICE AROUND lAKE rOTORUA NEXT sUNDAY. Lucy, Leigh and I left from the Boss' and joined Lea, Kurt, Roger, Shirley and Teleri at the bridge. From there we took off towards Waiotahi Beach and Lea and Roger promptly dropped us.

We went up Paerata, down Verrals, around Ohiwa (up and over that big hill), out of Ruatuna, down Toones Rd, onto the Main Rd via Waiotahi Valley Road, up Verrals, down Paerata for coffee and muffins at Marg's (who had gone to Bryan's Beach and back with Kate) and then back to Boss'. Just uner 60k with a few good climbs.

Bit shattered for the rest of the day so went to movies in Whakas to watch Pineapple Express. Great for a laugh and some stupid slapstick action.

Yesterday I was a celebrity(!) in the Celebrity Race for the Opotiki Trolley Derby. Riding Eastern Bay Motors ELF I hurtled into the lead down Crooked RD soon to be overtaken by 3 of the larger competitiors who had gravity on their side only to finish a bone shaking 4th out of five!