Sunday, May 4, 2014

Setting Your Mind To It


This visual was how I finished off last term with staff at our final day kitchen table. The challenge was set to identify some aspect of fixed vs growth mindset as described by Carol Dweck to have as a personal focus for each of us. I shared this visual and encouraged all to set a goal in relation to it as I feel we are at one of many key stages in our journey to truly personalise learning and to create a truly student-centred school.

We have had a great first term. Our model of Learning Hubs, Big Projects, MyTime, and Big, Small and SPIN Modules seems to be hitting the mark in acknowledging natural links between learning areas, developing skills of collaborative planning and teaching, keeping students engaged and excited about their learning and allowing for innovative sharing of evidence of learning.

Seemed like a good idea at the time!

Making things work out so well has been hard work for staff. Our normal ways of teaching and planning have had to be closely questioned and other ways tried. Normal secondary school teacher groups and teams and leadership structures have been wanting and we have had to create those that fit our kaupapa. Because we have wanted to be responsive to student need many 'rules' and structures were not, and in some cases still not, in place. There has been a certain thrill of hanging on tight with the wind in your hair as we truly build this airplane as we fly it!

Because so much of what we considered normal is not in place we have all had wobbly moments as we question our kaupapa and our own role in it.We are so conscious of the difficulty of remaining true to an innovative vision when confronted with the many realities of schooling. In recognition of this we started this year calling upon each other to become staunch guardians of our kaupapa.
These are the reasons why I set the challenge re mindset. It would be so easy to sit back, claim that we had nailed it and then set everything in stone.

All of us have to keep embracing the many challenges in front of us, persist in the face of difficulties and obstacles, believe that effort will bring reward, be open to learning from criticism and, in my opinion most importantly, find lessons and inspiration from the successes of others.

I have decided, as a result of the respectful critique I have received, to work hard at getting the right balance between being warm AND demanding in my leadership role. I owe it to all involved in the creation of this school to maintain very high expectations of myself and our staff to stay true to our vision and ensure all of us realise the potential we brought to this school. We were all identified as possessing the dispositions necessary to turn things on their heads and establish a relevant school for our learners and we must work hard at keeping this to the fore.

Over the holidays we participated in our community's ANZAC Commemoration:
Maia and Mack representing our schools
 and we hosted a neat BYOD Conference where many of our staff featured:

Claire telling our story

Danielle supporting use of e-tools

Cindy emphasising student voice
This blog post has been a bit of a funny ramble. I started out with the intention of posting something about future-focused leadership, but I don't know what happened! Next time maybe.
Next time a post on serious leadership