Monday, February 29, 2016

Others' Voices

I had a topic I was going to post about tonight which was going to try to capture some early-forming thoughts on the differences and tensions between the two principles of excellence and equity and some thinking on good practice in relation to having a better chance of lifting achievement for targeted students. My thoughts on both of these areas are still developing so it risked being a bit of a ramble.

Fortunately before I began the post I clicked on the updated posts from my staff and after an hour of reading and posting brief comments I thought there was nothing better I could do but highlight their posts and encourage you to read them because this is where the truth lies.

I started with Trace's post which highlighted her commitment to carry out the same blogging habit that she was expecting from her students. This was neat to see but the real gold for me was following the links from this post to the blogs of her Hub students. Please view (and comment!) on some of these blogs. I was so proud of this small sample of our students who were making their academic and Habit goals visible to all who wished to see - and they were setting goals that showed they had reflected well on where they needed to focus. The stuff I have read tonight will be influencing my own goal setting in our Professional Learning this Friday.

I then viewed Vanna's blog which is a lovely mix of nervousness, courage and optimism which typifies that thing called 'mindset' which is often difficult to define but is clear and obvious when you  see it in action.

Somehow I had missed Andrea's post from last week which perfectly captures the why and how of our connected learning model. Having someone come from the 'real world' to teaching confirm that what we aspire to in our model and for our learners is what this real world needs. Andrea's observations of how naturally our students assume this way of learning to be was a true tears-in-the-eye moment for me.

The power of blogging was also brought home to me via Ros's post which captured Monique's (our Guidance Counsellor) presentation to staff last Friday on mindfulness and resilience. Monique had made a neat link to our mantra of Warm and Demanding and our underpinning principles of Restorative Practice but the SLT had to leave early to look after the Learning Communities as our professional learning time needed to run over time. Ros's post included the key points, links to resources and some important commentary which filled in the gaps for me.

Gerard's reflections in his post of how he is supporting habits in his Hub not only show the great work he is doing with them but shows how he is on his own journey in exploring these dispositions and how best to inspire his students to develop in each of them.

I then went back and re-read one of our new staff members' blog (Mic). What I loved here was a new staff member who, after only 2 weeks of being involved in the Big Project element of curriculum was able to produce a coherent explanation (and justification) of this important piece of curriculum framework.

And then from 2 weeks ago is Heemi's outstanding post on the work he is doing to track growth in the elements of our dispositional curriculum and Sally's post on our school's recent and wonderful focus on whanaungatanga and the building of relationships: the cornerstone of all effective learning.

This collection of student and teacher voice is where the truth lies.

Thank you to all, staff and students, for making our story visible, authentic and the truth.

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