In 1877, Newmarket School in Auckland New Zealand was established on the site where 277 is today.
On the weekend I was excited to have our current principal Dr Wendy Kofoed take part in an online discussion about learning with educators from around New Zealand.
This discussion will continue throughout October as part of #CENZ14.
You can read more about that here.
After the discussion I put a call out to Pam Hook to read what we have so far accomplished as I wanted to ensure that the project is framed by SOLO Taxonomy.
Pam flicked me a link to a sceptics log she and a team of creators had made in 2006 and the discussion was the same. In addition she linked me up to Chris Bigum who had been part of that original discussion and he started feeding me readings and video links via twitter.
The outcome of all that weekend learning is this reflection.
One particular idea that I had read about and awoke with was groundhog day.
We are such an old school. I thought of our first school leader, Captain Charles Ross Cholmondely Smith.
in his single classroom with his room full of children.
The stories I have read about how the children learnt is hilarious.
But if we revisit those early days of education, we know that the teacher was basically a coach.
They used the older children to teach the younger children who in turn taught the younger ones than themselves. In addition he would have had a team of children leaders who took care of various activities to help with the running of the school, kind of like our student leadership programme.
If a child needed extra help they would know who to ask for support.
They would only go to the teacher when absolutely necessary because he ruled his classroom in true military style of the time.
Newmarket School on current 277 site of today
As the years passed and the school grew and new teachers came in, the process continued with teachers using each other as support. There was no professional development in those days only personal learning.
They relied totally on the community for everything because there was no local $2.00 shops to stock up or colour photocopying for the walls. They used local resources in their programme kind of like the glocalisation concept. (No, not a spelling mistake.)
The children would have continued to support each other and most had a job to do to help keep the school clean and tidy because there would have been no school cleaners in those days. This is like how we structure our enviro programme.
I was thinking about our current situation with the discussion centred around learning and thought we are moving back to those times not because of circumstances but because it just worked.
Teachers are reminded about the pool of learning amongst their peers. Our current head teacher continues to lead by example in her own learning. She in turn guides and coaches her team in their learning, who guide and coach the teachers in their teams with their learning who guide and coach the children in their classes and between classes as we move back to ”it takes a whole school to teach a child,’ and we move back to the notion of a single building on the site where there are no walls and we learn with and from each other.
We have a variety of interesting developments happening in our school and this is raising teachers to the surface with their learning. Even more exciting is that they are sharing their learning with each other and several have begun the journey of reflecting in a visible way for our global school community via a blog that you can read on the right hand side. If I have missed anyone, please do send me your link.
So in our old grounds, in our old buildings that are being demolished and rebuilt I can hear our head teacher, teachers and children ancestors giggling and watching from the ruins saying, here we go again. And you know what, so what. This teacher with 30 years experience finds it exciting to watch the cycle of education life go around again. Just like I love watching our 100 year old tree go through its cycle of life on a yearly basis, change and grow bigger and better, Just like I love talking with teachers and hearing their learning stories and sharing their learning stories. Even more exciting is the change happening.
Children ancestors of Newmarket School
2 thoughts on “Goundhog Day at Newmarket School”
Hey Chris, thanks for taking the time to respond to my thinkings and to add to my growing list of readings. I love the idea of Cognitive Surplus and look forward to reading more of Daniel's and Clay's work. I also look forward to your continuous input. 🙂
I think it is worth thinking about the purposes of schooling way back then and the circumstances in most homes. In my head there was a kind of complementarity. School provided experiences that could not easily be had elsewhere. Then try adding in this exchange between Daniel Pink and Clay Shirky some years back:
Pink: You say something else about organizations that I found especially compelling—about their instinct for self-perpetuation.
Shirky: Well, organizations that are founded to solve problems end up committed to the preservation of the problems. So Trentway-Wagar, an Ontario-based bus company, sues PickupPal, an online ride-sharing service, because T-W isn’t committed to solving transportation problems. It’s committed to solving transportation problems with buses. In the media world, Britannica is now committed to making reference works that can’t easily be referred to, and the music industry is now distributing music that can’t easily be shared because new ways of distributing music undermine the old business model.
Shirky, C., & Pink, D. (2010). Cognitive Surplus: The Great Spare-Time Revolution. Wired (June), np.