Ulearn 2018

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This Year I attended Ulearn 18 with several colleagues in our ACCoS Kahui Ako. 

Ulearn is CORE Education’s annual professional learning conference.  The conference is suitable for teachers, facilitators and school leaders alike, from early childhood through to tertiary.

CORE set up a space where we have access to plenary speakers Bios and Graphic Sketches that were created during sessions.

This blog post is a summary of those presentations with links if you want to explore these further.

Each conference gives us access to international speakers. Often I hear inspirational plenaries and I am always super excited to see our own educators take the main stage. I believe that here in New Zealand we also have world class stories to share. This year there were three plenaries who were varied and all had the same message about the importance of humans being at the heart of decision making.

On the first day we heard Hana O’Regan from Aotearoa. Hana asked us to tell stories, stories that have not been told. Stories that were not allowed to be told in the past. She questioned the negativity within stories from our cultural legacy that our ākonga are hearing and described their potential impact on young Maori. Let us “be brave” (Hana’s words); we must reflect on the cultural narrative that is shared in our classrooms and positively override the stereotypes by telling the stories that count. Here you can read more.

On the second day we listened to Pasi Sahlberg from Finland and who is now based in Australia. Pasi reminded us about the power of small data: tiny clues through personal observations, collective human judgment, and raw instinct that can lead to big change in schools. In order for big data to work we as educators have to contribute small data to contribute to our school’s big data. Lead and think with small data first, then use in conjunction with the rest of our skillset and Big Data.

Pasi iterated that rather than develop and agree to systems that put even more emphasis on screen learning and can truly mine data for Big Data, we should be pushing for ‘face to face, eye to eye, breath to breath to get a full understanding of who we are working with.’ Here you can read more.

On the final day we had Mike Walsh beam in via hologram. Mike discussed a reality where we cannot avoid ‘big data’, analytics and ‘machine thinking’. We have to prepare our children and students for this digital world, where our services are more and more likely to be run through a digital platforms. The consequences of of big change are arriving in the world. We need to teach the coming generation about being comfortable with uncertainty / ambiguity and to be flexible in the face of change.

Mike sees great potential in digital tools, environments and artificial intelligence that can assist teachers and parents to help learners reach their own potential. In his view it will not be entirely digital or online, it will be a combination, the screens will be less visible but DATA and algorithms will be prevalent in informing decisions. Here you can read more.

The breakout sessions I attended.

There are links to the abstracts and any resources they shared. Also do follow them on twitter.

Removing specific barriers to access learning using assistive technology

 

Evaluating games for learning and teaching mathematics and the Key Competencies

 

Artificial Intelligence – New Zealand opportunities

 

Va‘atele: Creating reciprocal partnerships and digital translanguaging opportunities with Pasifika learners and their whānau

 

How to reclaim professional wisdom in schools by using small data

 

Kāhui Ako: Changing practice at Epsom Girls Grammar School

 

The importance of humans at the heart.

Ulearn conference is also the time when I reconnect with other educators from around New Zealand. I also have the chance to catch up with CORE Education efellows and hear what they have been sharing. If you want to know more, here is a link for the annual efellowship. It is now known as Dr Vince Ham Scholarship. Vince was one of the mentors for the efellows.

efellows

The conference is also time to connect with new twitter buddies via the hashtag #Ulearn18. I have to mention Tim Stevens @MrStevensAGSnz who quickly created shared docs of all the plenaries. It is time too to catch up with old friends such as Ritu Sehji @rsehji

Ritu

This year our Mathematics Team presented our initiative and work across three schools. For them Ulearn was a first time experience. I was super proud of them all and how together we collaborated to share our years work in one hour. To find out more you can check out the Mathematics tag on our ACCoS Blog.

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Auckland central schools use collaboration to drive change in Pāngarau/Mathematics

Overall Ulearn is a time for connections, for collaboration, for sharing and for reflection. A reminder to share back with your schools what you learnt and a reminder to thank your school leaders if they supported your attendance. For us at Newmarket School I am always grateful for the opportunity that our Board of Trustees and principal provide by supporting our attendance at this national conference. They have allowed me to attend every year since I have been at Newmarket school. As we continue with our ACCoS journey I know that more principals within our Kahui Ako will also allow their Across School Leaders and In School Leaders to share our work with educators in and beyond New Zealand.

Big Data & the space between the numbers.

 

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Thanks Laura for the photo.

In 2012 as a core education efellow I  researched Hyperconnectivity with the initial thinking that it was important to travel on the journey with our children to be as connected as we could possibly connect them. My thinking was that the more devices we could plug the learners into a variety of devices,  the better they would be in learning. However by the end of the year I realised how much more I needed to learn and found my thinking had shifted hugely thanks to several disruptive thinkers in education. These were names like Larry Cuban, Mark Pesce, Ulises Mejias, Sherry Turkle and of course our own Pam Hook who just kept asking the hard questions.

Search for them and you will find readings and videos that have a bit of a cautious educators edge to them. Here you can listen to my reflection as an efellow. From my learning I realised that what was not seen or could not be measured was just as important as the numbers. I changed my thinking to the human approach or as in samoa we would say Va Fealofani. In Maori they say Whanaungatanga. My twitter buddy Tahu wrote a fabulous definition here about whanaugatanga and included Me hui kanohi ki te kanohi kia rongo i te mauri o te tangata!’ It is important to meet face to face, eye to eye, breath to breath to get a full understanding of the people we are working with.’

Since I have been an Across School Leader for the Auckland Central Community of Schools I have been the person with the big data focus. I love data so when I knew Pasi would be talking about data I was intrigued. Last year I had been invited to be part of the Ministry of Educations initiative, Student Information Sharing Initiative (SISI)  and I wrote a post cautioning about how we gather data as educators which has continued to guide me and my thinking around data.

We often need educators who force us to pause what is happening and zoom in a little closer and say hey, remember that the machines are fabulous however just a reminder “whose voice can we not hear?” During Ulearn I attended 2 sessions with Professor Pasi Sahlberg with a focus on data.

Those of you who know Pasi’s work will remember his works around GERM, Global Education Reform Movement. Pasi introduced me to fabulous educators in Finland when I decided I wanted to visit the country that was highlighting extraordinary Big Data results via PISA. You can read my journey here when I visited Juväskylä- the Centre of Finnish Education.

Next: What I took away from Pasi’s sessions.

Education Data in general is run by big big data educators.  Big data does things like data mining. But does big data really make education smarter?

How does big data help schools?  There are those that think that the more we rely on big data concludes the better our education will be.

However big data often fails educators. In order for that big data to work we as educators have to contribute small data. But is small data, smart learning?

Big data often uses schools as small data and schools use teachers and their data as their small data. So as teachers we collect small data to contribute to our school’s big data. But more importantly we should be looking at the best way of using that small data to improve our practice.

We have already identified the strategies that help shift learning. But is learning all about the data? Pasi say’s ‘As educators we should trust our raw instincts of what works. Be amongst what is happening- not just observing and monitoring.’

Alongside our learning data we should be focussing on the space between the nodes. The elements that cannot be seen or measured. These are relationships. Relationships with our students and family, relationships with our colleagues both in and beyond our schools, relationships with our communities both locally and globally.

Ethically, rather than develop and agree to systems that put even more emphasis on screen learning and can truly mine data for Big Data, we should be pushing for ‘face to face, eye to eye, breath to breath to get a full understanding of who we are working with.’

To finish with (Excuse the pun 🙂

Pasi leads by example and always shares his work freely. Here you can have access to his slides.

Thanks Pasi for the reminder about the space we cannot see but yet is just as important as the data gathering.

 

The murmurings of an across school leader.

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Starling Murmation By Kate Taussig taken in Nelson

“There is no such thing as a neutral education process. Education either functions as an instrument which is used to facilitate the integration of generations into the logic of the present system and bring about conformity to it, or it becomes the ‘practice of freedom’, the means by which men and women deal critically with reality and discover how to participate in the transformation of their world.” Paulo Freire

 

Background

Several years ago, I began blogging and in my earlier writing days I wrote a piece about learning and used Mangroves and how they adapt and evolve depending on what is happening within their growing environment to make a comparison about learning Several years later I wrote about Distributive Leadership and used flying geese as an analogy for leadership. Earlier last year I joined a global webinar and spoke about the learning and networking I do as a Global Educator.  Then I worked with other Across School Leaders in different Kāhui Ako as I ran a webinar for #INZpirED.

More recently I shared about learning at a local school and spoke about networked leadership and again compared this to Mangroves.

 

This week I reread the article on “Discussion Leadership for Communities of Learning” and thought about starlings when they murmur or fish when they shoal and believe that this is how Across School Leaders look like as Networked Leaders. When I began in the role two years ago, I felt like the starlings moving as a murmur with little understanding of direction but instinctively knew that this was the future of leadership. If you watch videos of murmurs you will understand what I mean. If you are new or not so new to the role, you will also understand what I mean. The discussion article referenced “Five Think Pieces” and after rereading this second article I thought I would unpack my understanding of what leadership looks like as an Across School Leader.

So below is what I have written and if you have any feedback, ideas or suggestions I would love to open up discussion via twitter and use the hashtag #EdBlogNZ.

 

Definition of an Across School Leader

An Across School Leader (ASL) is an educational leader and is different from leadership in schools because their focus is to operate as a networked leader within a Kāhui Ako.  Therefore an ASL is also part of the wider community of Kāhui Ako so they are a part of Government’s Investing in Educational Success initiative.

 

They have different facets to their role description. The primary focus of ASL leadership within Kāhui Ako focuses on actions that will shape the culture of learning more powerfully and develop the professional capital of teachers as a group.

An important ASL skill is awareness. Awareness that they are part of a larger networked system and so they seek ways  for the collaborative development of their leadership. An ASL identifies conditions required to enable them to work with each other, across sectors and with related agencies regionally, nationally and globally in ways that enable learning and development. They identify responsibilities that they  have to the Kāhui Ako beyond their own schools and own school leaders. An ASL helps provides access to people, information, and resources. They develop and use networks in ways that builds relationships and strengthens alliances in service of Kāhui Ako work and goals.

 

Systems

An ASL has confidence in their own knowledge and strengths. They have identified gaps in what they know and have the skills to network with others who can support the work they do. They have an understanding of complex adaptive systems because they know they are system leaders and it is important for them to identify what those systems are in order to strengthen their work. Complex adaptive system opens up new ways to work, with ideas advocated in complexity theory which is the study of complex and chaotic systems and how order, pattern, and structure can arise from them.

An ASL helps establish the systems and structure on how the Kāhui Ako will report and track on student and process outcomes each year. Some of these include transparency of record keeping and communication. ASLs work transparently because the more public they are, the more order develops in their work, the more easier they are found, the more opportunities come up for networked learning. Another part of their work is about being data informed and learning from failure. Knowing and working with data helps the ASL identify patterns in learning and track how successful the Kāhui Ako is towards their goals.

 

Coaching

An ASL understands that they are partners in leadership and learning and that they are partners in the Treaty of Waitangi. Therefore as leaders they work in learning partnerships and in collegial team coaching groups with a focus on learning and development.  They are project leaders and can network relationships across developments within and across Kāhui Ako. They are coaching leaders and understand about changing their own practice in order to coach others to do the same.

The ASL operates within the networked paradigm, promoting high levels of collaborative inquiry and activity, activated by strong mentoring and coaching relationships.

 

Community

An ASL needs to be aware of community learning needs in order to target a particular type of learning that is not yet already available. They lead project initiatives within the Kāhui Ako and foster community relationships. Their role is critical for achieving the standards of education leaders in education. Their leadership is inclusive, strategic, and above all collaborative. ASLs are distinguished by not just being leaders for the schools that they work in but also be part of the wider network of community leaders and have a clear obligation to the Kāhui Ako community. Their focus is on the development of a leadership community of practice, and to advocate for the kind of professional learning required by network leaders. At the same time success as an ASL requires individualised commitment to their own Kāhui Ako goal.

 

Networked Leaders

Overall  Across School Leaders must operate as Networked Leaders. They look for ways to maximise interaction between themselves, the In School Leaders that they work with and the senior leadership teams of the schools they work with and their community. In addition they go beyond themselves and cross sectors and identify related agencies regionally, nationally and globally in ways that enable learning and development.

 

ASL must develop their own leadership in order to be effective in terms of developing professional leadership and any form of leadership development programme should operate within the network. They must develop their knowledge of social media in order to tap into Kāhui Ako regionally and nationally and to connect with other learning communities globally to learn with and from them. They seek opportunities to share learning and regularly reflect in a transparent way. Some of these ways these can be via social media, through blogging and presenting. They hear all voices in their community and actively seek ways to create dialogue. They keep transforming and know that they are evolving and changing with the needs of the communities that they work with. The work they do is based on changing their own practice and to develop networked system leaders for New Zealand schools.

 

To finish with I believe that to be a successful ASL I must move from making connections, to collaborating, to coconstructing, to copresenting, to coreflecting.

Reference:

Education Council (Ed.). (2015, November 17). Leadership for Communities of Learning. Retrieved September 8, 2018, from https://educationcouncil.org.nz/sites/default/files/Discussion paper_leadership_web.pdf

Bendikson, L., Robertson, J., Dr, Wenmoth, D., Durie, M., & Gilbert, J. (2015, November 17). Five Think pieces. Retrieved September 8, 2018, from https://educationcouncil.org.nz/sites/default/files/Five Think pieces.pdf

Teachers do not need fixing

Poipoia te kakano kia puawai:

Nurture the seed and it will blossom.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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”

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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

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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

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What you do out of love will live forever.

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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.

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          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.