Teachers do not need fixing

Poipoia te kakano kia puawai:

Nurture the seed and it will blossom.

IMG_0705

Our #NPSFab Team in our new meeting room.

Teachers do not need fixing and our students will achieve just by breathing. There is not much we as teacher can do to learners that harm them.

Hattie States: “All you need to enhance achievement is a pulse.”

 

I stumbled on and rewatched John Hattie’s Ted Talk from 2013. ‘Why are so many teachers and schools successful?

As I watched the clip I noticed all the questions John asked which is currently relevant in my situation of leading the Mathematics Initiative in our Auckland Central Community of Schools (ACCoS) Kāhui Ako. Mind you all that Hattie talks about is relevant for all teaching and learning. Below are some of the questions that resonated with me.

Hattie asks

  • So what is impact?
  • How do we know our impact?
  • How do we build the expertise around us?
  • How do we build the coalition of the willing and of the successful to have a major say in our schools?
  • How do we get a ladder of excellence in our business of teaching?
  • How do we get away from the common notion that all teachers are equal?
  • How do we demonstrate the impact we are having on our students?
  • How do we give back to our teaching profession?
  • How do we get our teachers involved in helping each other up the ladder of excellence?

Some of the statements I regularly use with our teachers include:

  • How do you know that your students are achieving?
  • Have you scrutinised their data? Can I see their extrapolated data from our student management system?
  • If you are not prepared to be a learner then why are you still teaching?
  • If I cannot see what you do then it does not exist.
  • How are you sharing your learning with your colleagues?

Hattie has been extremely visible in my recent learning. I have just completed my Hapara Champion Scholar certification and I was delighted to find out that the system designers had created a Student Learning System based around the research of Hattie about what works in education with the greatest impact. This is particularly noticeable in the tool Hapara workspace.

Then I shared at one of our Cluster Schools about using SOLO Taxonomy which Hattie has stated is a sound learning structure because SOLO highlights the gaps in learning.

On Thursday I pressed submit for our Ulearn 2018 abstract. This abstract involves the work we have been carrying out in our three schools with a focus on the learning strategies that have the greatest impact.

Yesterday I took three of my colleagues to Mindlab to share their learning around gaining their Digital Passports in preparation for the Digital Technologies Curriculum that will be taught in schools by 2020.

Then to stumble on Hatties Ted Talk allows me a chance to reflect on my current situation. I continually struggle at his class size data and have often wondered about some of my class sizes. For example as a young teacher one of my first classes had 38 children. I recently uncovered information about my current school where teachers at the beginning of this century had class sizes of just over one hundred students. I am reminded of my own class in Samoa when I was in standard 2 (Year 4) where my teacher had 48 of us in class.

Below  are some of the effect sizes that Hattie highlighted in his 2013 video. This is not all of them but I wanted to highlight the ones that caught my eye. Currently these are the ones that we discuss regularly at our school and within our Kāhui Ako. However Hattie points out that these do not have enough of an effect size to make an impact on teaching and learning.  Remember that .40 is a years effect so anything below that number makes very little difference.

Structural effects

  • Class size .21
  • Ability groupings 0.12
  • Cultural diversity .05 effect

Attributes of the students

  • Diversity of students in the class .11

Deep programmes

  • Inquiry Based Learning .31
  • Problem based learning .15

Technology in Education

  • Computers and mathematics .30
  • Web based learning .18

Basically the distractions we put out there as teachers that affect learning are a big no and have little effect on what we do.

effect.jpg

Interestingly as a Kāhui Ako initiative we have recently created a student survey that focuses on student attitude to maths and their learning in maths. We had high numbers that stated they love learning online with a device and loved learning with their friends. One clear high number showed us that students loved their teachers telling them that they are doing well in maths and that they loved their teachers playing maths games with them. They also love being tested by their teachers. I am still evaluating the data with our In School Leaders.

So Hattie states that the greatest variance that has the greatest impact on student achievement is teachers who work together collectively who evaluate and understand their impact.

teacher.jpg

The teacher’s job is to understand their impact. He talked about expert teachers and reinforced that  teacher expertise is not highly correlated with years of experience.

What is Teacher Impact?

Teacher impact is the importance of knowing where each student is in order to challenge them. With the ongoing debate around National Standards, just be cautious about chucking out all assessments. Because National Standards has a lot to do with assessment. Yet it is really important to know where the students are at with their learning and the only way of doing this is with assessments and understanding our curriculum levels and what this looks like for our students. Personally I know assessments are challenging to complete and have up to date. But if I do not know where my learners are at, then how can I help them? Yes I can provide lots of creative learning experiences yet I must keep my eye on the prize. Keep developing the love of learning and keep moving my learners forward.

Reinvesting in learning for our students.

The starting point is for us to understanding very clearly what the students know already and we do this via assessment or by asking our students about their prior achievement either through a portfolio of learning or what their last score was.Then we need to know what success looks like and we do this via the learning progression framework. We show our learners up front what success looks like and the more we can show what success looks like the more engaged our learners are and the more they love learning.  We can use SOLO Taxonomy to support us in framing what success looks like because SOLO helps us structure feedback and identify next steps information. We provide multiple opportunities for ‘just right’ learning using deliberate feedback to reduce the gap of where they are to where they want to be by using the Goldilock principle of not to hard and not too soft, but just right. Therefore our students are continually targeting or goal setting as they move forwards.

Outcome is increasing the success.

So often the learner does not know what success looks like in the series of lessons of lessons we plan for. So often the learner does not know what the goal of the lesson is. Remember the olden days of stating the learning intention and sharing the success criteria? I often thought that this was more for the teachers than for the students and it was. However we must not lose sight of its relevance. If you don’t know what the goal and outcomes for the lessons are then how the heck will your students?

In my school where we have a sense of urgency for our second language learners aiming to catch a moving target. I believe it is even more important to know where my learners currently are and to identify the target cohort they are catching.

If you are new to all this then my advice to you is you will have some failures. But fail well, reflect and use this information to move forward. As schools we must create a climate of trust that it is OK to make mistakes and errors as professional. However we must provide feedback to our teachers about their impact. Again the best way of gauging our impact is via data. The point of gathering assessment data is for teachers to understand their impact.

NSD

A second language learners reading data over a year.

If we keep failing in shifting our learners forward then we are failing our learners and their families who have placed their utmost trust in us as professionals. At my school this is even more important because of the sense of urgency for our learners. I continually look at data and I love data that stands straight up heading to where it should be. Data that stands like a line is accelerated learning. I especially pay attention to historic data because I know that data gathered over one year is not clear enough to predict learning outcomes.

SOLO Taxonomy

SOLO Taxonomy helps us understand that the students must know the surface details before the shift happens to making connections within their learning to authentic everyday situations. Those of us who love SOLO remember those students who state, “I believe I am good at maths because my teacher says so.” My response is “What is Maths? Show me the strategies you know to tell me that you are good at Maths? Can you show me your result from……..? How have you taught a friend this strategy?”

We must teach our students the effective learning strategies so that they can deliberately practice with us and coaching to reduce the gap from where they are to where they want to be. That is how using SOLO helps us. If you read Pam Hooks site of how to teach with SOLO Taxonomy you will see these three simple statements.

  • What am I learning?
  • How is it going?
  • What am I doing next?

Sharing learning as professionals

Our third code of professional responsibility is to the teaching profession. So how do we encourage our expert teachers who understand their impact to give back to their profession? How do we structure this into their learning and get them involved in helping others up that ladder?

For us involved in the ACCoS Kāhui Ako Mathematics initiative I have encouraged our In School Leaders to join me in sharing their impact at Ulearn 2018. By involving them in the process of sharing in such a public way I believe they will help others within their school share their learning. I also encourage our Across School Leaders to continue their sharing via our ACCoS blog.  

For our In School Leaders at Newmarket School we have created a Hapara Workspace to curate and share our learning from our professional learning groups with a focus on maths. This is visible to everyone and you can check it out here. http://j.mp/2FyK0xU.

Teacher Impact

Overall teacher impact begins with data to show where the learner is at. Then we use the Learning Progression Framework to identify where they need to be and we use SOLO Taxonomy to show how they can get there. Next we use just right goal setting and just in time feedback to propel them towards where they want to be. After that we have our students talk about the process of learning. Finally as educators we share our own journey with our colleagues and include our mistakes and our achievements and our own next steps as educators. We encourage our colleagues to do the same.   

Te Ti Tutahi

Taku rekereke, Taku tūrangawaewae

“Where I plant my heels is where I make my stand”

1017_002

Sir George Grey Special Collections, Auckland Libraries, 1017-2′ 

I have struggled to find a one word for 2018. Over the past few years I have taken a Maori word and spent the year unpacking concepts that underlie what the word means. However this year I have struggled to find another ‘kupu’ that spoke to me. Recently I realised why. Because I had not fully grasp what my 2017 one word, Tūrangawaewae was. I accept that and will continue to spend this year unpacking what it means.

Tūrangawaewae is one of the most well-known and powerful Māori concepts. Literally tūranga (standing place), waewae (feet), it is often translated as ‘a place to stand’. Tūrangawaewae are places where we feel especially empowered and connected. They are our tūranga, our kura, our akonga, our wānanga.

Recently I returned to Samoa for a family funeral. But again it ended up being much more than that. It was a chance to visit the land of my birth and spend time with my eldest son. He and I ended up having lunch with Tupua Tamasese and his Masiofo Filiga. The discussion led me to come back and read some of his latest publications. One that caught my eye was his Keynote Address to the Samoa Law Society & Te Hunga Rōia Māori o Aotearoa Joint Conference in July 2016, Apia, Samoa.

Tupua spoke about ‘Tulaga vae’ in his address.  He spoke about the the concept of “tu” as in “tulaga vae”, meaning the place where one stands and how aga is the concept that alludes to the old ritual of burying one’s pute (umbilical cord) and/or placenta (fanua) in the land of one’s birth. I love how all the connections click into place as I have previously shared how my pute is buried under the pulu tree in front of the house where I grew up. This is literal because again the reference is about the place that shaped me.

Once I read this I realised my understanding about Tūrangawaewae was still shallow and I knew why. I had not made connections using my Samoan language.

On Friday, we were in our new staff room and no our building is still not finished, but we are getting really close. Wendy, our principal pointed out an etching on one of our glass panels. I squealed with delight. It was Te Ti Tutahi. We have a link to our past in our new building. Te Ti Tutahi stands again.

Newmarket is central to all our schools in ACCoS, Auckland Central Community of Schools. So knowing about Te Ti Tutahi, a notable tree of the area, is also important for our Kāhui Ako because Ngāti Whatua are the Maori of the of our area.

map

The historical name for Newmarket is Te Ti Tutahi. Te Ti Tutahi literally means the single Ti or Cabbage tree that stands alone. However Te Ti Tutahi was much more than that. The tree was significant for Ngāti Whatua, Maori of the area. Te Ti Tutahi was the tree where the whenua (placenta) and pito (umbilical cord) of newborn babies were buried. The placenta was placed in a specially prepared receptacle and buried in the roots of Te Ti Tutahi. This practice reinforced the relationship between the newborn child, the land of Aotearoa and the area where they were born. Therefore Te Ti Tutahi te ingoa wahi, means Ti Tutahi is the sacred name of Newmarket. 

I have spent a long time talking with Jane Kaa who was Deputy Principal at our school when I first came to Newmarket School. Jane was the person who first alluded me to our school having a massive history. Over time I have curated and gathered every piece of written records that I can source digitally and placed links to one place.   

One major piece of information was Te Ti Tutahi. Ngāti Whatua call Newmarket,  Te Ti Tutahi. However our school uses the Pohutukawa for our emblem. That is because we are surrounded by these beautiful trees. Our uniform is based around the colours of the Pohutukawa. Even our new building is red. Yet these trees were not there fifty years ago so in reality they are a much more recent addition to the area.

Historically as a school nearing 150 years there have been huge changes. For example we used to be where 277 currently sits. In the early part of the 1900s, the stories go that the principal had the ‘old’ cabbage tree cut down because he was sick of the rubbish the leaves made. I found a reference to the cutting down incident dating 1913, in papers past. However regarding the principal, these are stories passed down. I carried out further investigations and found out that F. J. Ohlson was the principal of that period.  He left Newmarket to be the F. J. OHLSON principal at Maungawhau.

I have taken images from the old buildings and placed them strategically so you can see how it might have looked. These are all my guestimates and I have studied heaps of photos, maps and read so much about the area. If you can visualise Mortimer’s pass as a bullock track, with Te Ti Tutahi at the bottom. When I look now I realise that the building did not take up that much land and was probably more than generous in its dimensions.

old_school

When Te Ti Tutahi was cut, all the remained was a stump.
From Simons (1987: Pg, 43) I found this reference to Te Ti Tutahi. ‘The Buckland family of Highwic carefully preserved a sacred cabbage tree which had the personal name of Te Ti Tutahi. This was wahi tapu, a sacred place, where the umbilical cords of chiefly children of the Waiohua were buried. Many ceremonies were performed there. The real name of Newmarket is Te Ti Tutahi. The tree stood near the school until 1908 when it was cut down “as a danger to children!” Members of the Buckland family rescued the stump which grew in a reserve near Highwic until smothered by weeds. Cabbage trees growing in gardens nearby are from shoots; Te Ti Tutahi still lives.

I also found 1908 was the date referred to o  the back of one old image located in the Auckland Museum Archives.

When you visit Highwic House in Newmarket, you can see some of the descendants of Te Ti Tutahi planted in the gardens by Bucklands children.  This photo of some of our past students taken in the grounds shows one of them in the background.

highwicti(Small).JPG

At Newmarket School, Wendy Kofoed our current principal collected shoots from Highwic house when she was first principal here and planted them around our school.

Unfortunately we had to get rid of two trees for our new carpark. But as you come up the stairs past the pohutukawa tree you will still find a magnificent specimen growing.

titree

Over the years I have paid attention to this tree and observed its cycle. I have watched Tui coming and drinking from the flowers or or sucking the fruit. I watch for the flowers because this turns the tree into something absolutely spectacular and I become excited at the changes that take place, kind of like markers of nature.

DSC00678

Sometimes teachers ask me to come and tell stories about our school and I always talk about Ti Tu Tahi and its significance for the area. I share about how we have Grandbabies growing in our school and how we must take care of them as they are links to our past.

I often take photos of the one by the stairs because it really is just a magnificent tree and wonder about the devastation to Ngāti Whatua when one of our old principals just chopped down the tree with little regard for its significance. But probably more out of ignorance and naivety than anything. At the same time, this story is part of our school’s history just as Captain Cholmondely Smith, our first school principal, used to fight in the Maori wars and heaps of our children died in the first and second world war.

To me Te Ti Tutahi is Tūrangawaewae. At my school of Newmarket I must applaud Wendy for ensuring that the memories live on in our school and with our children. As our children pass through our school, many have come from a different country and have their whenua and pito buried there. Therefore even though they now live here they still consider the land of their birth their Tūrangawaewae and we must not forget that. Just like one cannot ask me to forget Samoa because it is my island home and  my tulaga vae.

We cannot simply change back our current school emblem to reflect Te Ti Tutahi however we can incorporate the memories and stories as we move forward. Just as we must remember and acknowledge our historic motto of ‘Not self, but service’. Just as we must also acknowledge the Tūrangawaewae of all of our learners. Somehow we must embrace and acknowledge the languages of their birth and ensure that all students have strengths in their own cultural identities. We must incorporate both into all that we do at our school. 

Therefore by acknowledging the significance of Tūrangawaewae of all our learners we bring into our teaching and learning an understanding of who they are, their families and whānau, their language, their culture and develop our own empathy about the challenges they face coming into new lands learning a new language and learning new ways of being. Together we learn about Ngāti Whatua, the Tangata Whenua of our area and learn about their Tūrangawaewae so that together we can move forward and grow in our understanding of Tūrangawaewae because after all the next generation have birth places in Aotearoa as their Tūrangawaewae.

 

More about Te Ti Tu Tahi

References

Efi, Tui Atua Tupua Tamasese Ta’isi. “ ‘Where Is Our Island?’ Navigating Language, Vision and Divine Designation in Samoan Law and Jurisprudence.” Samoa Observer, 10 July 2016, www.samoaobserver.ws/en/10_07_2016/local/8480/‘Where-is-our-Island’-Navigating-Language-Vision-and-Divine-Designation-in-Samoan-Law-and-Jurisprudence.htm.

Simmons, D. R., and George Graham. Maori Auckland. Bush Press, 1987.

Numbers

sonya.png http://funny.pho.to/matrix-image-generator/result/#

I am one of those educators who love numbers.

Not quite sure where it came from. However what I have slowly realised is the way numbers can tell stories. Stories I do understand because I love stories.

Numbers from my past

If I go back in my learning to high school. I achieved school certificate maths thanks to Mrs Dodd. However that was as far as my achievement went in mathematics against national standards during the era of sitting one exam to prove learning. Before that I have few memories of numbers except for regurgitating my times table as my teacher kept the rhythm using a ruler against a desk. My dad used my knowledge of times tables to teach me how to tell the time. My mum taught me nursery rhymes and told me stories that included numbers. Mum would also send me down to the local side of the street store with a little bit of money to buy the odd item. 

My dad was an accountant and auditor. Yet I know he often talked about being in a profession he did to make a living rather than doing something he loved. He loved designing and often told me he would have loved to have been an architect. During his lifetime people usually studied for one job. Once in the system they generally stayed there until retirement.

Myself I love the way things work and kind of like my passion for science my strength with numbers developed later in life. I cannot yet see numbers like I can see language but I can definitely see the relationship in building my thinking.

Numbers so far this year

During my current work I am working more and more with data and I believe this is because of my skills with spreadsheets. Over time I have learnt these skills as a need to know basis. Yet one of the skills of being a classroom teacher is knowing how to extrapolate data from a student management system. This is definitely a skill that did not come as part of my professional training but developed with experience. Since the start of this year I have had my head filled with numbers as I have supported our teachers look at their student’s data from last year. I also collated data for our ELL application and matched this against ELLP forms. Then I have identified who our new students are and have tested them for funding criteria. This year we have seen greater numbers of migrant learners at the upper part of our school. Several are recent arrivals.  Finally this week I will finalise all the numbers for ministry application. 

When I work with numbers I use technology to help me check that what I am doing is correct and that is where my developing skills with formulas comes into play.

Many years ago I learnt to use spread sheet formulas to balance my class paper role because my maths was not that accurate. Now we use a database and balancing a paper role is an artefact from the past. I like to go into our school’s attendance register and look at patterns emerging with attendance.

Numbers and Pedagogy

Numbers have a history and numbers can be used to reflect on pedagogy.

In Samoa we are often asked, O ai oe? O ai lou aiga? O fea lou nu’u? Who are you and your family and where do you come from? I believe in knowing my own Faalupega so that I can answer these questions. In my Palagi world this translates to knowing your genealogy.

In my school I believe that we need to know our history so we know who we are and how we have evolved. One way of doing this is knowing our pepeha and knowing our own historical stories. I have tracked our ethnic data since I have started at Newmarket and find this area fascinating. Then when I delve into our historic data I believe we tell the story of migration from the photographic faces of our children.

Each year teachers build a class description about their children. As a young teacher I needed to locate student cards and manually sift for medical and personal details. During those times the numbers included how many in my class, year level, gender and birthdates and each one had to be sighted on individual cards. I kept a hand written paper copy of phone numbers and first names of parents so that I could quickly locate these if I needed to walk across to the office to use the one school phone to contact them. This copy was pasted into the front of my hand made teacher planning book that was drawn up and filled in weekly by hand because this was the period of education before photocopiers.

When I returned to teaching after a break I was excited to see that my principal produced board reports and this is when I saw the first tracking of school ethnicity. I was just starting out in my National Diploma of TESSOL and those numbers fascinated me.

Currently in in New Zealand we have had a change of government and there have been changes in the way we assess our learners. Already I have spotted the broom sweeping clean. For example I can no longer see our schools National Standard data being shared so openly as it was. Parts of our online teaching resource site is evolving and shifting and often I click on broken links which can be frustrating.  We used to highlight just priority learners but that has now changed back to a focus on our total class. Yes we used to do that in the olden days.

Our student management system will probably evolve to reflect current policies. Therefore the way of gathering numbers will change.

Numbers and online learner portfolios 

We are playing with online learning spaces to curate our children’s learning and to share this with our families. As we move towards our learners monitoring their own learning, tools continue to develop to support us in our work. I can already see the numbers and patterns emerging from these spaces that help tell the learning story.

As we replace our national standard data with tracking against the progressions new tools will emerge to do this so our systems will evolve and adapt. As our teachers and learners use the tools to track learning I believe the digital portfolio will gain in momentum. How can our students build digital portfolios if our teachers do not have them? How can we support our students to curate and track if we do not curate and track our own learning? That is where appraisals come in. I especially like how I can use the hashtags from my registered teacher’s criteria to support me in tracking my own learning for my digital portfolio. The ongoing challenge I find myself in is using those tags. When I use them, the numbers show me the areas in my profession that I am strong and the areas that I need to continually work on. 

Numbers and blogging

I have always been fascinated with #EdBlogNZ where New Zealand Teachers’ blogs have been curated and as they blog the most recent posts bounce to the top. Even these numbers tell a story. Writing from experience I know how challenging it is to blog regularly and how challenging it is to curate my own learning. Blogging is a numbers game and inside the system a blogger can track visitors, numbers of posts and regularity of posts as well as using tag clouds to identify the sorts of writing that happens.

For example the numbers from my blog show that I have been blogging for 9 years. I have published 184 posts. I have a regular readership of over 3,500 and yet I take that with a grain of salt. I can talk about the total number of visitors that visit and know from experience that even that is not accurate as the system makes out. I can tell you my most popular posts and I am never sure why because the posts that I spend ages on and reference accurately often do not get the traffic that I would expect. The posts that I flick off often end up getting the traffic.

Numbers, devices and online spaces

So far this term I have ensured that all of our new learners have started with a school device, have been placed on the learning management systems, have access to the online learning spaces and have supported teachers to identify who requires extra in class support.

Numbers and ELLP

This week I will finalise numbers for our English Language Learners application and I have embraced the process of finding out all I can about our new learners including their learning history as well as who they are.

Numbers and you

In your work have you wondered about the growing need to understanding numbers?

 

Numbers and Gunsyou have to read this blog post by USA teacher Mark Grundel.

 

 

Gaualofa: A trip back down memory lane.

E LEAI SE GAUMATA’U, NA O LE GAUALOFA

IMG_0069.JPG

What you do out of love will live forever.

gaualofa

Gaualofa in Okahu Bay. I ❤️ this this photo which includes the self made buoys from left over Jandal material and bound in netting. Effective use and repurposing of rubber.

An old school friend Maselina from St Mary’s Savalalo, Samoa tagged me on facebook and said did I know that the Gaualofa was back in Auckland. She suggested I take some time to come down to Okahu Bay and show my support.

I was super excited.  In April 2011 I had been privileged to catch a ride on the Gaualofa. You can read that story here.

The Gaualofa is  an example of Samoa’s double-hulled voyaging canoe. To this day I still have fond memories of the excitement I had sailing on this traditional Va’atele and remembered stories of my great grandmother sailing between islands. You can learn more about the Gaualofa by reading this description.

In 2012 Gaualofa was gifted to the Samoa Voyaging Society by Okeanos Foundation for the Sea founder by Dieter Paulmann and his wife Hanna.

I got the chance to speak with Schannel Fanene van Dijken, President of the Samoan Voyaging Society and who works for Conservation International Samoa. He explained, The Samoan Voyaging Society (SVS) is a non-profit Samoan organisation that is reviving the heritage of traditional ocean voyaging/navigation and environmental stewardship with new generations of Samoans and other Pacific Islanders. The Society is the caretaker of the Gaualofa, a 22-meter Samoan traditional Va’a or Vaka (Ocean sailing double hulled voyaging canoe) which is used as a platform to deliver traditional navigation/way-finding and ocean and environmental education programming around Samoa and surrounding Islands. The Va’s is our floating classroom with our main goal to enhance the environmental knowledge and importance of caring for our environment amongst our Pacific people, provided by our 14 – 16 trained crew onboard. Since 2009, the Vaʻa Gaualofa has sailed more than 40,000 nautical miles. The Society’s work has been recognised and supported by the Samoan Government, the United States, Chinese and NZ Embassies in Samoa, Okeanos Foundation, Disney, and Conservation International.”

Schannel  stressed that “the New Zealand voyage is an important one. Not only does this allow us to honor and celebrate our shared ancestral bonds with our Maori aiga, but also highlight to our Samoan based aiga who we are and what we represent.”

Via Conservation International

The theme of aiga is an important one to the crew and to the wider Aiga Folau because the not-for-profit organisation works not only to revive Samoa’s traditional sailing and navigation skills but also our past stewardship responsibilities that promoted sustainable land and ocean resource use amongst communities.

  • Read Samoa Planets article: Aiga Folau o Samoa bring the Gaualofa to Aotearoa to get an insight into Aiga Folau President Schannel Fanene van Dijken and Vice President of Aiga Folau, and Tulafale for the Gaualofa, Lauaki Lavata’i Afifi Mailagi sharing about the hopes to strengthen bonds with their Maori whanau.
  • Maori TV ran an excerpt on the journey to Aotearoa and the  Samoan Observer followed the conversation of the SVS and the work they to raise awareness about the environment.

The Gaualofa event is also a reminder for us at Newmarket School to continue our enviro work. Our children completed a beach clean up at Okahu Bay a few years ago and it is a timely reminder to keep revisiting our schools goals of being sustainable. I know my recent visit to Tiritirimatangi was a bit of a shock because I was there soon after a storm and spent a few hours collecting plastic off my favourite beach. But not just the soil and water sustainability but also the air because we need clear skies to read the stars. So the sustainable work I have done with my students in regards to clean air all helps.

The crew will spend the next month preparing their vessel and participate at the Auckland Anniversary weekend Tāmaki Herenga Waka Festival.

They will then set sail north to the Bay of Islands for Waitangi Day celebrations on the 6th of February. After that they will sail alongside Haunui and Ngahiraka mai Tawhitithe down the west coast to participate at the Pacific Climate Change conference and the New Zealand Festival in Wellington as they are part of the central participants at the ‘Waka Odyssey in February’. 

The Gaualofa will be in Wellington until 28th Feb then sail up west coast again to Porirua for another set of community events, going into early March. Finally they plan to leave New Zealand from Kawhia mid March and make the 2000 mile voyage home to Samoa in April.

The crew will be engaging with the public and schools during these sails and events. There will be many public sails, school visits with the goal of promoting culture and environment.

Maselina and I spent a few hours down at Okahu Bay catching up.  I have not her seen face to face for forty five years.  But because of social media time is not that important. In addition I met several members of the 2018 custodians of the Gaualofa such as Trevor who comes from the same district of Falealili as my family, Jamal who is from the Tamasese family and Xavier. I found out later that Xavier has one daughter called Nafanua after the Goddess of War. Nafanua’s weapon of choice was known as Ulimasao and that is also my online name.

Later I was also able to meet several of the other crew members. I was super excited to catch up with Fealofani Brunn who now captains the Gaualofa and also Kalolo Steffany who is now the navigator for the Gaualofa.

IMG_0075.JPGIMG_0078

          Some of the crew enjoying some lunch.                                                  Myself, Maselina and Fealofani.

The current crew of Gaualofa.

Anna Bertram Secretary
Sa’oleititi Caroline Duffy cultural affairs and protocols
Fealofani Brunn Captain
Jamal Tamasese Crew, Recipient of 2017 Environmental Heroes Leadership Programme
Kalolo Steffany Navigator
Kevin Samia
Leo
Lauaki Lavata’i Afifi Mailagi Vice President and Tulafale
Maoluma Onesemo Crew Representative on SVS so executive committee.
Roman Waterhouse Crew
Sai Crew
Schannel Fanene van Dijken Conservation International Samoa –

President of the Samoan Voyaging Society

Semo Crew
Seniu Crew
Sose Crew
Trevor Crew
Xavier Lui Membership and outreach officer on SVS executive

To give you an idea of the sort of activities  SVS are doing with the Gaualofa, check out the following links to see the pilot community program carried out earlier in 2017 with taking the Disney movie “Moana” around Samoa.

For more information


To support The Aiga Folau o Samoa and their journey to raise awareness about our ocean 

you can contribute via their website and head along to one of two upcoming fundraising events in January to raise funds for the general maintenance of the Gaualofa and provisioning of the crew.

South Auckland

WHERE: St Mary’s Parish Hall Papakura

WHEN: Friday 20 January 2018

Central West Auckland

ticket

Other ways you can help.

http://gaualofa.com/support-svs/

Below are some of what I saw that you could help with.

$1000.00 help us replace one of our beams. We have 12 beams that need some loving.
$200.00 helps us buy our weather jackets. We have 16 crew members.
$100 helps us waterproof the storage boxes. We have 4 of those.

Anyone have access to a communications provider that can help them with mobile DATA access?

$100 helps us buy a week’s worth of food provision per member.  Again we have 16 members and we are in Aotearoa for 14 weeks.

 

Lessons learned from an Across School Leader in a Kāhui Ako

cbfcbefcf7110f4bbb3561bbf6729a8f1b5ae8c4ba9d5ae3aa3ed07a1c1e80c9

I have written before about the importance of making connections before collaboration can happen.

Campbel.png

(@edu_sparks took the photo)

Just as an update this is a reflection about this year’s uLearn. Sometime I meet educators who say ‘I hear the same stuff and I haven’t picked up anything new.’ My response usually is, ‘Are you presenting? If not then it is time to give back to the community.

Co-Creating lifts the game of collaboration.

IMG_9833.JPG

This October several collaborations happened. As an Across School Leader in the  ACCoS Kahui Ako, I ran a TeachMeetNZ with a focus on ACCoS. You can read all about that collaboration here with principals, ASL, ISL and classroom teachers involved. We even had a facilitator take part too. Then following that I attended uLearn with 3 Across School Leaders in our CoL who presented with me and we shared our narrative. You can read all about that here. We can talk about collaboration but when we co-create evidence of what we do then that is even more amazing. Here is a link to the abstract.

Links of resources from uLearn17

uLearn17a

(@coreeducation took the photo)

Core EduCation have just updated their page of resources for uLearn. This helps with curating the experience. So from there I managed to locate some images to help with this blog on their flickr site.

During uLearn plenaries, I uploaded my own notes of Eric Mazur’s session and also of Brad Waid. I did not take any notes of Anne Milne’s session and cannot stress enough to teachers that they must listen to her plenary as she speaks openly about her experience being a principal and how she addressed the marginalisation of her learners. Anne wrote a great article here that also included what she spoke about in her plenary.

During the breakout sessions I attended the following

  • Using the Seesaw App to enhance learning and connect with families
    • Presenter: Renee Morgan, Sarah Corkill, Casey Frew
        • Takeaways: My query why student’s work would need downloading as PDF? I then reflected on wondering if this was the pathway we need to be taking.
  • The exponential future of education
    • Presenter: Kaila Colbin
      • Takeaways: How fast things can change.
  • Augmented Reality, emerging technology and the future of learning
    • Presenter: Brad Waid
      • Takeaways: update own knowledge of VR and keep tracking what is happening in this area.
  • Night at the Movies ‘The heART of the matter’ movie screening
    • Presenter: Alex Hotere-Barnes
      • Takeaways: the importance of story-telling
  • Raising the bar – with Abdul Chohan
    • Presenter: Abdul Chohan, James Petronelli
      • Takeaways: With the right people and tools magic happens.
  • Building a collaborative culture – everyone with us – 2
    • Presenter: Jo Robson, Jo Wilson
      • Takeaways: Ideas for getting our ASL and ISL working together. I really liked how they structured their session to have us talking together.

Highlights for me

    • Presenting with three ASL from our ACCoS cluster. I felt really proud of how we managed to work together and pull the session together. A great discussion and a great sharing. I believe that the padlet we shared allowed us to see how far we have travelled on our journey.
    • Meeting Chad for the first time face to face. I met Chad several years ago via twitter and I was part of one of his google hangouts.
    • Celebrating my birthday at the uLearn annual dinner. I usually celebrate my birthday at uLearn but this year somehow the word got out. I attended the dinner with Sue from Epsom Girls Grammar School. As usual I took many selfies. I caught up face to face with several educators I talk to via twitter and I met some of the Core #efellows17.Pete.png

(@SteelOtter took the photo)

Chris.png

(Rachel took our photo)

Takeaways for me

  • Continue to push for documenting and sharing of what we do in our ASL roles.
  • Work towards collaborative inquiry across our ACCoS Schools.
  • I would love to run an ISL session like we do for Flat Connections and give teachers a taste of using the tools to collaborate digitally across our schools.

Special thanks to Newmarket School Board of Trustees and my principal Dr Wendy Kofoed who supported my journey to present at uLearn.

Extra special mention of the following ASL who presented with me

  • Catherine Palmer from Kohia Terrace School – Across School Leader in ACCoS Kāhui Āko
  • Erin Hooper from Cornwall Park District School – Across School Leader in ACCoS Kāhui Āko
  • Sue Spencer from Epsom Girls Grammar School – Across School Leader in ACCoS Kāhui Āko

EPS -Educational Positioning System

eps

Tē tōia, tē haumatia

Nothing can be achieved without a plan

The ACCoS CoL have achievement challenges which act as a roadmap to identify where we have come from and where we are going. Our Achievement Challenges set realistic goals by supporting learners as they move through their learning using the national curriculum.

The core purpose of CoL is to know learning is happening and how to capture it. Over the past few weeks I have been comparing results from previous years by tracking historical data at our school. It is powerful to know that learning is taking place by observing the progress constantly. I have been aligning the reading with the writing data and have been looking at trends. When I lay the English Language Learning data alongside then interesting trends begin to surface and I think back to the graph of Thomas and Collier who describe the length of time to gain academic proficiency in a second language. I have been reading up on attendance and how much of a gauge that year 7 attendance has for achieving NCEA levels. The national data shows that higher decile schools have stronger attendance than lower decile schools and that Asian learners have the strongest attendance data of all groups.

Learning on the job, with senior staff, mentors and coaches is the way to go and our ACCoS planned for Across School Leaders to be trained in coaching skills. At our school our management team found the training invaluable so much so that we have focussed on coaching skills for all our teachers for this year.  We know that sharing best practices is where real change happens. As educators we have to be  accountable to our learners and reduce the levels of mediocrity in our education system.

Being strategic is knowing what to achieve, and then finding the best ways to get there” (Kaufman,1992).

2016 is the third year year for ACCoS and this year I can already see a change happening as our Across School Leaders swing into greater action with a greater focus on empowering all students for success. There is a stronger direction of data and a revisit of our achievement challenges. As an ASL team we are in the process of completing our first yearly report. We have begun meeting with our in school leaders (ISL) and the minutes coming through highlight the following :

  • Drilling down to find more specific information on each achievement challenge.
  • Comparing results from previous years by tracking historic data.

I have learnt to look for what cannot be seen and look for whose voice is not being heard.

Where to next for us

  • Data

This year a greater part of our work will be looking closer at our data. Research in assessment indicates that assessment information should be drawn from a comprehensive range of diverse sources including at least one norm-referenced or externally-referenced tool. We have it stated in our achievement challenge under evaluation that is an ACCoS expectation and it is now a matter of ensuring that all schools and teachers have this same message. The ministry have made our task so much easier by including all our data in one space. We will share this with our In School Leaders at our next across schools meeting. We have asked for all In Schools Leaders to bring their 2016 school data and we will begin the task of data discussion. I believe that we will all need training on data analysis. Many of our primary school teachers are just beginning to use spreadsheets and that is why working across schools is so exciting because we can call on our secondary colleagues who have been doing this for many years. As we dig deeper with our data there will be dips and that helps identify what still needs to be done. If we consistently focus on Hattie’s Effect Size and look at ways of measuring interventions then there is less chance of ‘plucking the baubles on the Christmas tree.’

 

  • Parent Engagement and Participation

 

Our fifth achievement challenge is Parent Engagement and Participation. We have also highlighted this achievement challenge as an area for greater focus this year.

There are pockets of excellence across our schools and it is timely to share these. So again this will be another area of focus for our in school leaders. This achievement challenge will be another reflection from me.

This week we will be meeting again as an Across School Leadership team and I look forward to the discussion with my colleagues.

Those of you who are part of CoLs what is your focus for this year?

Endnote

As an analogy I was searching for something in education that was similar to ‘GPS’. So I searched for Educational Positional System and this link turned up. I felt deflated because I thought I had thought of it first. But not to matter because this is a fabulous read.

http://eps.core-ed.org/eps-difference

Reference

Kaufman, R. (1992) Mapping Educational success: Strategic thinking and planning for school administrators. Newbury Park, CA: Corwin Press

Other links of Interest

ACCoS

bot_sonya

Thanks Nelson for the photo.

Tūrangawaewae – a place to stand (Adapted from Te ara)

Tūrangawaewae is one of the most well-known and powerful Māori concepts. Literally tūranga (standing place), waewae (feet), it is often translated as ‘a place to stand’. Tūrangawaewae are places where we feel especially empowered and connected. They are our tūranga, our kura, our akonga, our wānanga.

Key facts about ACCoS

ACCoS stands for the Auckland central community of schools. We are one of several Communities of Learning from around New Zealand. We are made up of 11 schools ranging from several primary schools up to year 6, some full primary schools year 8, two intermediates and one secondary school. We also have one kindergarten in our cluster. We are funded for 9 across school teachers and 43 in school teachers. We have a lead school and lead principal. In addition we have two other sub lead principals and one external facilitator. Together we serve 8, 145 students and their whānau. When we look over our data our ethnic mix highlights that we have a strong Asian student group and a growing number of learners who are ESOL funded.

Before ACCoS

Before ACCoS was formed our local principals met on a regular basis as part of various local principals’ networks.  These networks varied in their work, some focusing on what was happening in their schools at a reasonably surface level, others, like the Learning and Change Networks, Mutukaroa, and ICT Clusters, focused on student learning.  Most of our school leaders had positive experiences of working with each other and had developed strong professional connections.

Since ACCoS

However since ACCoS was launched, our principals are now meeting much more regularly and sharing more than just ‘stories.’ They are learning much more together with and from each other. The connections appear stronger and there seems to be a greater sense of supporting each other. I witnessed this with the arrival of two new principals to the group and the support that they received.  There are stronger links forming between the schools as was recently evidence between our school and a nearby school coming together to share strategic planning.  Other schools in the Community have had a shared parent hui.  And, members of boards from all schools recently met together to gain a greater understanding of the working of ACCoS. Relationships appear to be developing between our schools at a much deeper level.

In addition synergies are happening across the network as our intermediate school and college begin to share ways of providing more relevant and diverse transition information. Primary schools are looking at more effective and consistent ways of passing information to our intermediates, in particular, utilising technology.  We are also fortunate to have a kindergarten in ACCoS as the transition to school is another area of focus.

Why was ACCoS formed?

Our lead principal called a meeting for local principals after the call for community of learning were publicised as part of Improving Education Success (IES). All of the local principals were asked, however a few were against the concept for a variety of reasons. Myself I cannot understand why because of the exciting pathway of where this collective inquiry could lead.

Joining Auckland Central Community of Schools

Recently I presented at Ulearn and my topic was Community of Learners. I have always had a fascination with communities both digital and face to face. I have built several just because I believe sharing and working across schools is important and rather than just talk about learning, I have always created my own. For my current position as an across school teacher in the Auckland Central Community of Schools, I applied for the specific role of building the ACCoS community digitally` and ensuring that learning taking place in our CoL is transparent.

Across School Teachers

The current challenge I experience with our ACCoS Community is the varying levels of experience and skills of our across school teachers.  We have all been chosen for a variety of reasons and as with other new groups we must learn to work together collaboratively and be inclusive of the strengths of all members.  Currently we are settling into our roles, and any rub is positive.  I find it useful to work with others who think quite differently from me as this helps drive my own thinking deeper. I was selected several terms after the initial teachers were selected because of my      recognised and proven ability to utilise technology to build professional learning communities. As well, I have proven ability to use technology to strengthen data analysis and have an online record of building capacity in others through collaboration.

Leading from the middle.

The key message coming through our ACCoS is influenced by the work of Michael Fullan who speaks about leading from the middle. My understanding of leading from the middle rests with the principals within the cluster, and also the lateral leadership of the in school and across school leaders. Principals are in the middle with education policy, which influences the work we do at one end, and learners and community whom we serve at the other end. As across school teachers we support the principals as together we implement our cluster’s vision.  In my new role I have to keep reminding myself of the focus of what I was brought in to do.  As with any new network our work seems messy as we we act, probe and reflect on our actions, iterating ways of working.  Cynefin link.

Build Capacity

Our across school teachers have expertise at capacity building and that is why we were chosen. We are beginning to identify what our roles look like. I am a ‘fix it kind of a gal’ who loves solving problems and streamlining systems and have built a name for myself for building communities in the digital world. For me to hold back and build capacity through listening  is an enormous challenge. I sit in the meetings and try really hard to just listen. I find that challenging because I believe I already know instinctively why we are together and what we need to do. Therefore I have taken to blogging my thoughts to try and make sense of it all.

Achievement Goals

Our across school role is about collaborative inquiry and in order to carry that out, what we do is promote best practice. These best practices have been highlighted  in our national goals as cultural competency, transition support, community engagement, pedagogy and teaching practice. Our ACCoS group is guided by our achievement challenges set in 2014 which have been taken from our National Standards Data. When we unpack these goals they are underpinned by the low performance we have with our Maori and Pasifika learners. As an ESOL trained teacher who has recently published a book about writing and second language learners, being part of ACCoS is like the stars are aligning. It is like acknowledging what we have done has only worked to an extent but we can do better. By going into something different we want to make a greater difference. What we have always done is no longer good enough.  One of the first things I did in my ‘fix it mode’ was to collate all the schools national standards data in one place and make these transparent across the schools. I then asked for all the ESOL data to be added because I had already predicted that the numbers would impact our longitudinal data. Our achievement goals have been predicted for the next three years, however I know from the research of Thomas and Collier that we really won’t see much change in the data until at least 7 years have passed because it takes 6-8 years for academic proficiency to happen in our children’s second language.

I have often wondered how my learners have achieved after they leave us. For the first time in my teaching career I will have the opportunity to find out. I can also find out if my predictions for the children I taught came true and that they surpassed their peers at secondary school. I always told them that they were race horses and they begin at the rear against first language learners but by the time they get to secondary school they will be up at the front. I always wondered if the grounding we give our primary school learners, the sense of urgency we instill in our teachers about our learners and the close monitoring of data really does pay off by secondary school.

Our in school teachers

The in school teachers are at the coal face, and are a key part of our large community of learners. Our in school teachers are scattered across the community and come together to discuss and identify strategies for learning that will make a difference.  One group I have been involved in has been Year 3-4 writing. Together we have learnt that across the schools our systems at identifying levels are not yet aligned and we are working on that. I recently collated our historic ethnicity data and this shows the fast changing face of our Auckland Central Community of Schools.

We have recently surveyed our in school teachers about how the first ACCoS year has gone for them and one of the ways I have in unpacking written narratives is to wordle what is written and identify any key words that spring out. Straight away I can see that as a cluster we have yet to acknowledge the pivotal role and effects on learning  that families and communities have on our learners. Particularly when making sense of the fact that our learners get 1000 hours with us in school and 5000 with their families and communities.

Pedagogy and Teaching Practice

Because we are working with one of our local secondary schools, this also influences who and what we do. For example their teaching inquiries focuses on strategies that impact on learning.  These include Learning Maps, English Language Learners, G&T, SOLO Taxonomy, scholarship, Wellbeing, Mindfulness and Agency. At the primary level our inquiry is centred around writing as we have noted writing as an area for improvement. Therefore the connections we are making across sectors enable us to see ourselves in a mirror as we see ourselves how they see us. The extra exciting advantage of being an across school teacher allows me to hear the schools narrative from the in school teachers themselves as they share their learning.

Learner Agency

Agency features strongly in our Achievement Goals. The central diagram of our document features Parent Agency, Teacher Agency and Student Agency. The document looks at agency that underpins ownership of learning and has still to address agency as citizenship especially citizenship which focuses on contributing to society and making a difference. But that element of agency is beginning to surface as schools look carefully at experiences for learning for our second year.

Elements of Community

So as my focus is on the digital forms of communications that support our ACCoS again I wonder how I can foster the elements that build our community of learners in a positive way. Here are some of my thoughts:

  • sharing and owning the data builds community;
  • face to face events build community;
  • digital curation of our narrative builds community;
  • transparency builds community;
  • fostering and building connections builds community;
  • blogging builds community;
  • presenting builds community;
  • sharing builds community;
  • sharing photos and videos as highlights builds community;
  • learning who are our members are builds community;
  • broadcasting our FAILs improves community;
  • Celebrating our successes builds community.

Some of the wonders I have in regards to our CoL are:

  • How many of us in our ACCoS schools have second language training? Dip Tessol, TDPL. Even something as basic as CELTA?
  • How many of us are trained in transition between year levels and sectors?
  • How many of us speak an Asian language which are the dominant languages of our learners?
  • How many of us are skilled at utilising communications technology in our pedagogy?
  • How many of us have Google Certification, even at stage 1?

Digital Systems

In ACCoS we have utilised Google Docs, Google+ and Google Calendar to ensure that our systems are transparent.  Not all schools have the same Learning Management System and Google was able to be utilised by all ACCoS members. Not all our schools had Google domains, so that came with some challenges. Some schools have KARAZY wifi systems but somehow or other the schools want things to work and work hard at making it all work. We have now moved fully into online communication because email does not curate information as successfully. This concept comes with mindset challenges as our teachers rethink the way they have usually carried out sharing.

Other exciting developments

Our lead principals have formed connections with other groups of COLs and recently shared some of our success and FAILs. I continually remind them about collecting visual artefacts from these meetings, for example, where are the photos of the recent sharing for our narrative? In the scheme of IES we were one of the original 14 CoLs and therefore we are in a position to share some of our hurdles and some of our highlights.

Overall in our community of learners, the sense of tūrangawaewae is broadened into the Auckland Central Community of Schools and located within Improving Education Success.

To find out more about our journey you can check out our ACCoS across school teacher’s blog. Our blog is a window and lets you have a view of some of what we are doing.