#EdBookNZ

In September of 2014 I had been turning a few phrases around as I researched the term Connected Educator.  From there I created a list of current phrases and decided to get some bloggers to unpack and query what these terms meant. Then thought, why not write a book and each blogger contribute their part. Via twitter I out a call out and the following tweeps responded. Each author literally had to take a term that they used and critique why it needed to change. My other stipulation was that they needed a critically friend who would give them feedback before their post went live.

#EdBookNZ 14

Read the Digital Copy- you will need to sign in to download.

https://issuu.com/ulimasao/docs/completed_book__2_

Purchase the paper copy

https://www.peecho.com/checkout/issuu/332766/completed-book-2-

The following year, I thought, let’s do this again.

#EDBookNZ15

Read the Digital Copy- you will need to sign in to download.

http://issuu.com/ulimasao/docs/edbooknz_terms_2015

Purchase the paper copy

https://www.peecho.com/checkout/issuu/332989/edbooknz-terms-2015

At the same time I realised that I needed to seriously look at co-construction. So running alongside the book, I set up the wiki and invited educators in to unpack the Practicing Teacher Criteria. I was aiming for a collaborative definition of each of the criteria. However as is usual I learnt the most as understanding Tataiako helped frame the terms of reference.

Here you can check out the wiki of terms. http://edbooknz.wikispaces.com/

Doing this huge collaborative helped me see where I needed to move with TeachMeetNZ, My ideas appeared so big and daunting that I literally freaked out and shelved TeachMeetNZ under the pretence that I was studying. In some ways there was no way I could carry out what I could envisage. That too and just having a year to percolate my thinking.

In 2016 I put out another call in regards to EdBookNZ as I believe in always giving back. So that was my main claim to collaboration. That and tuning communication systems for our ACCoS Community of Learners.

#EdBookNZ16

Read the Digital Copy- you will need to sign in to download.

https://issuu.com/ulimasao/docs/edbooknz_terms_2016

Purchase the paper copy

https://www.peecho.com/checkout/issuu/332988/edbooknz-terms-2016

  • @leonie_hastings
  • @stuartkellynz
  • @jamesanderson
  • @newmarketschool
  • @AKeenReader
  • @mrs_hyde
  • @nikora75
  • @Doctor_Harves
  • @beechEdesignz
  • @kerriattamatea

 

Now this year,

 

#EdBookNZ17 

Purchase the paper copy

http://www.peecho.com/checkout/issuu/458107/edbooknz-terms-2017

 

I put out another call for EdBookNZ and have my complete list of educators. I am really excited because as usual creating an artifact for the education community pushes me into hyperdrive as I also one of the authors.

With EdBookNZ I had a massive disaster on ISSUU when I accidentally deleted all my collaborative books. I was more gutted in losing the history of downloads.

But in saying that, better things happen and now on ISSUU the books can be purchased or the PDFs download free. However you do need to create an account for the downloads. I also am unsure how to make the paper copy link easily accessible but am working on that.

Finally I am really excited about holding a printed book because I have been trying and trying to do something on Amazon, but found the process of publishing too technical.

I used ISSUU because it was the easiest platform for digital publishing. 

A dear friend and mentor said to me recently, holding the completed #EdBooks in your hands is a powerful example of collaboration.

To finish with, I just have to put a shout out for Saturday’s session of #TeachMeetNZ. This session highlights our ACCoS Kahui Ako. If you register on Eventbrite, you will go in the draw to win another example of collaboration. ‘SOLO Taxonomy and English Language Learners.’

 

 

Outliers

Recently I ran a collaborative project with four amazing educators and learnt from them what happens when we provide conditions, and then learning takes over.

Since then I have been reading the work of Tony Wagner and he writes that

‘isolation is the enemy of improvement’.

http://www.tonywagner.com/1191

Over the years I have read around the following labels for teachers such as

  • Teacherpreneur
  • Connected Educator
  • Disobedient Teacher
  • Outlier Teachers

So focusing on Tony Wagner’s term of Outlier Teachers I put on my SOLO Taxonomy hat and made connections with my situation.

If you used our National standard Data to access us as a school you will quickly see that out the 11 schools in our Kāhui Ako, we appear to fall short. However if you dig deeper into our school’s data, you will see that many of our children have scores that stand up straight as they head towards the national norms. Therefore our children have exponential learning. If you look at our attendance data, we are above the national norms for attendance for our decile rating and for our major ethnic group. Our current ethnic data reveals that our dominant group is 65.1% Asia.

Data.jpg

In addition we have currently surveyed our students using ‘Me and my school’ survey and can see that our children love coming to school, that they know where they are with their learning and that they feel safe and valued as learners. By doing this we listen carefully to our students to better understand their classroom and school experiences.

Most of our learners at our school need time. They need time to learn in their second language of English and they need time to collaborate.

 

Collaboration

Collaboration is essential for professional educator innovation. As an across school leader for our Kāhui Ako, how do we create opportunities for collaboration? Research identifies that the greatest variance happens within a school. Therefore I wonder what our principals and school leaders do to support and create opportunities for collaboration within their own schools. I believe that part of our ACCoS work is to forge across school collaboration yet still be aware of what happens within school.

 

In our school

In our own school we value transparency and communication. Our teams of teachers work together to collaboratively gather data about learning, set goals and plan learning. All data and planning is open across the school. Teams plan learning sessions to develop children’s curiosity and imagination, teaching them the skills and dispositions that matter most. Learners passions often evolve through perseverance, respect and self discipline.

 

One team has been experimenting with developing genuine interests through group projects. When we see this in action there is a genuine love of learning and excitement. Experiences are created that excite the learners both intellectually and emotionally. These teachers  have the courage and sense of urgency needed to make a radical break from the old ways of learning and have encouragement from our senior management  to innovate their practice.  As students undertake new ways of learning they must provide evidence of what has been learnt such as the creating of something useful. One strategy I really like is the peer review that happens. Children give each other feedback on work completed and failure is celebrated if the process has been documented. They are known to take calculated risks and sometimes this has resulted in incredible learning. Problem solving happens across disciplinary boundaries and we can see other curriculum areas as well as key competencies come into the learning. These sessions are noisy and can appear chaotic to an outsider however real learning is happening as passion and purpose develops through this discovery-based learning. The children are intrinsically motivated.

 

Over time the other teams in our school are now beginning to trial and experiment with similar ideas.

 

Placing an arm around the shoulder of disobedient teachers- Digby Wells.

Often when I see teachers experimenting outside normal phenomena I am aware that they can be under constant scrutiny and ongoing questioning. An arm of support that I have given some of these teachers is to share their narrative using #TeachMeetNZ or reflecting via #EdBlogNZ. Often within their own school they fly under the radar but via social media they use technologies to learn from other outliers, connect with them, collaborate with them, and create stunning learning for their learners. They understand the importance of authentic, performance-based forms of learning and show their own learning via their educator digital portfolios. They leave breadcrumbs of learning for other educators to follow. They have a strong sense of service to the education community and often I hear the words justice and citizenship in their discussions. If I dig further I can hear the importance of sustainability and looking after our planet voiced strongly in the work they do. There is also a commitment to diversity and ensuring that all voices are heard. They understand and embed cultural competencies in their pedagogy. Therefore generally out of the norm these teachers have sets of qualities strongly in common with each other. What these qualities are? I am not sure of yet but I am working on my understanding.

 

Leading from the middle

Through the work of Michael Fullan we understand the importance of leading from the middle and that great ideas about education come from all levels and not just at the top. We are currently unpacking the need to work collaboratively and not in isolation. However within our CoL we are still unpacking what this looks like. Pockets of collaboration are happening at teacher level as some professional Innovation surface.

Data2.jpg

Adapted from My NingBo Principals Presentation

 

Where to next?

  • How do we instill the Importance of service and giving back as a driving sense of purpose?
  • How do we develop the In School Leaders (ISL)  that we work with to develop their own sense of purpose?
  • How do we engage all educators within our CoL?
  • Ultimately how do we get our teachers and students working together across our schools?

 

I believe that we can do this through the use of technology to connect, collaborate and cocreate. Face to face connections are a beginning but I believe are not enough. I think we need to push the idea of connections and collaboration  further to include blended connections and blended collaborations through using blended learning spaces.

 

Some ideas for further discussion

Within our school I can see variance between levels. For example our year 3 students have individual google accounts and use these to access their learning. When I look at our junior school there appears to be little preparation for them to move straight into using individual chromes. They use iPads generally as a tool to access apps and the internet. I see little evidence of creating with the apps. Some teachers are beginning to use SeeSaw to share learning and we are in the stage of bringing this into a school account.

When I look at our middle school, I see children using their google accounts for school work but see very little digital collaboration between children. I also do not see much sharing with the outside except via wechat and this is teacher and parent driven. As I look to their future at our school I can see little preparation of what happens at year 5 & 6 where children are expected to plan their day using google calendars. Or when our seniors carry our their critical friends evaluations.

Therefore even within our school transitioning between levels is a huge step up.

Our own ISL have organised our teachers to observe writing at a level above and below of what they teach so that hopefully this begins to address some of the transition gaps. This process has raised some interesting discussion. But as a digitally fluent teacher I wonder why not enough use is made of the technology for learners to see each others work or for them to work together in a visible way. I also wonder why many of our teachers do not show the children their planning via sites.

Sometimes as an observer who sometimes works in class, it is easier to be critical but at the same time as the elearner leader at our school I have worked hard to ensure that all equipment is maintained and working, learning apps are added to iPads that are requested within reason, online learning spaces are available such as Reading Eggs, Edmodo and Wevideo to help with student collaboration, Flat Connections have been used to help raise teacher learning in the use of collaborative learning tools but still there is the usual way of learning that I have observed 5 years and more ago happening. So as a strong digital teacher, if I cannot get our own teachers to move faster how can I get our CoL moving to work across. What I have done is look for my own tribe and that is where twitter has been invaluable. So on twitter I can do heaps more collaboration and co-creation than I can within my own school or across schools.

When I look at the collaboration chart above, I believe that we can move to level 4 where students are working with students across schools with teacher support using the technology. I was asked how did I know that across school collaboration is not already happening. I responded with, ‘If I cannot see evidence of across school collaboration, then it does not exist.’

I know how to get us there but I might loose a few people in the process.  

Show me what you do

  • Can I see your reflections?
  • Can I see your videos?
  • Can I see you chatting with colleagues in a visible way?

Surely by now our own learning portfolios are live and not sitting in a paper folder.

 

#iNZpirED

Today we celebrated #iNZpirED with a difference.

#INZpirED began as a 3 nation collaboration India, Nepal & New Zealand. The main objective is to invite our PLN to chat on various topics.

This week we had four of us work together to create the format for todays session which was live streamed via youtube.

Theme: Wrapping a cloak of support around educators was inspired by the work of Dr Welby Ings. Welby talks about putting an arm around our disobedient thinkers.

Audience participation took place via 

  1. Twitter #iNZpirED share some highlights of where/when  you have felt supported with the NZ Team.
  2. Google Draw- map where you are in the world- Viv

  3. Padlet: upload a photo of a view from your window- Ritu

  4. FlipGrids with -Kerri

    • FlipGrid Disobedient Learning-
    • FlipGrid – Collective Teacher Efficacy

    • Flipgrid – are schools too preoccupied with routine?

Participants were encouraged to comment on each others contribution.

Inzpired

I used https://www.timeanddate.com to identify times for other zones.

I also used CIA Factbook for the different flags. I created this presentation with greetings of languages we have at our school and place them on display. If you want a copy, please help yourself and let me know how you use it.

Initially Ritu approached me to host a session and of course I said yes and we discussed a variety of ideas. The idea of live streaming came up and so we brought in a team to work with us. We prepared for the session by communicating via direct group messaging on twitter. I set up a variety of docs and slides. When we got together for a practice run through, each idea was discussed and modified and that is where Padlet and Flipgrid came in. Because we were broadcasting from New Zealand we thought that it was important to highlight what makes us unique in the world and for us kiwi educators it is our connections with our Te Reo and our environment.
On the morning of the session we were still tweaking and adapting. Ritu accidentally tweeted that we would sing a waiata and so I did a mad scramble to relearn how to play the ukulele because I could not find my guitar. Unfortunately I only know a couple of chords and so I could not transpose the song down. Therefore it was a little on the high side.
Highlights
The exciting part of pulling an event like this together is the learning that we all do. I loved the use of Padlet to make connections and the use FlipGrid to capture thinking. I also really liked the mapping idea and using images to jazz it up a bit.
Breadcrumbs
When we have virtual learning we have the chance to capture digitally what we have done. From the work I have carried out with Julie Lindsay I know the importance of capturing the digital breadcrumbs so that there is a resource for the education community.
Reflecting
From my learning with Pam Hook and SOLO Taxonomy I know the importance of documenting the process and identifying what went well, what was the learning and what needs to happen next time.
The event itself was fabulous and even more so because of the people involved. That Ritu is truly an iNZpirED_udator. Viv brought her facilitator hat to the discussion and helped with the conversation. As for Kerri I really liked the way she kept opening up feeds within the FlipGrid to drive our learning deeper.
The twitter feed was exceptional and we remembered how difficult it is to do both a hangout and tweet at the same time. I give a shoutout to all the tweeps who took part and apologies for not being able to multi task and respond immediately.  I know I did not get to twitter until after the hangout.
When I rewinded the clip, I realised that I had not switched on my camera when sharing the screen so must remember that for next time.
Creating a Hangout is not that difficult. Below are two links on presentation that you might find useful in case you are interested in trying something like this.
Where to next
Soon I will start training any interested teachers in Kahui Ako who would like to take part in a  TeachMeetNZ/ ACCoS session.
Finally
Thanks to all educators who took part today in any of the activities and a special shout out to Dr Welby Ings. Ritu I am holding you to that Flash Mob ukulele idea.

EduCampAKL 2017

educamp

EducampAKL began in 2007 as an unconference and was first held at Epsom Girls College.

I attended my first educamp at Point England School in 2009. My memories from that day was meeting the fabulous Lenva Shearing and being introduced to wikispaces.

Over the years I have generally attended the Auckland venues with a couple of years where I went to Wellington for the WellyEd first one and drove to Rotorua for the Minecraft Educamp.

I have learnt so much from attending educamps and am continually surprised that not enough teachers find the time to attend a session in their own locations. Over the years I have managed to persuade teachers from my school to come with me. Partly because I believe they have much to share with the community. However that is still an ongoing discussion.

When I go I usually try and find ways of contributing however to move to this level has taken time and I must admit that during the first few years I would attend for what I would get out of the sessions. Here you can check out the smack down slides.

I like educamps for networking face to face with other educators. I always learn heaps of important information that could affect me, my school and my learners. I find out what is going on in other schools and I get to visit other schools to see what they are like.

This year EducampAkl was hosted at Papakura High on Saturday 29th July 2017. There were about 40 educators present. This year the smackdown session was live streamed. Not many views happened but I am never worried about that because I know that the benefit of live streaming is what happens after when the clip is available for rewinding. I created slides to explain what I did so if you are interested in having a go, it is quite an easy system to set up.

I attended Gerard’s session on CS unplugged and found what he had to share very interesting and timely for us as a school.  Gerard shared that children do not have to programme on a computer. We can be doing and are already doing a variety of activities that help children with their understanding such as

  • Writing instructions for other students because the demonstrates an understanding of sequencing.
  • Creating videos that show understanding of direction and of location.

He clarified that data representation is what can we do with data

  • How do we collect data?
  • How do we sort data using algorithm?
  • How do we verify data?

Gerard took us through parts of Unplugged 2nd version

He has a fabulous blog that I often visit to read and here you can find some of what he does. http://oneteachersview.blogspot.com/ Some of what he shared went over my head but that is OK because I know what I need to do to help learn more.

Some teachers wanted to know more about live streaming so I took them through youtube and google Hangouts.

Overall the purpose of EducampAkl is to bring educators together in an unconferenced way and the best people for sharing are whoever turns up on the day. Connections are made and some collaborations are set up. Some educators go on to create reflections or resources that are shared across the community. Fiona Grant is the overall organiser and archivist for the wiki. Generally different schools take up the challenge to host and organise the event on the day. Maybe one day our little school might have the space and parking to be a host.

I think that Educamps work well for professional learning and believe that all teachers need to add the annual event to their schedule of learning.

Linked In

tags

I was a little surprised to curate some of the labels that people have tagged me with on Linkedin. I have just over 600 followers in Linkedin and many have attached labels to me of what they believe I have strengths in. I am pleased to see Educational Leadership start to feature strongly as well as blended learning. I am also pleased to see instructional design begin to be acknowledged. However I am surprised to see that ConnectedEducator, ESOL, BilingualEducation, SOLOTaxonomy or Collaboration yet to come through. I would also like to add Citizenship and CyberSafety into that mix.

linkedin

So if you have collaborated with me on any of the following online spaces such as TeachMeetNZ, EdBookNZ, EdBlogNZ, Flat Connections are there any positive labels you think I also need to feature? You might have attended an ESOL session or a SOLOTaxonomy session with me and was inspired from the session and can think of some labels.

Maybe too if you are in the Linkedin space and you would like to write a recommendation on my Educator Profile, I would be really grateful. 

Some of you might be wondering how I created the label. I placed each label into a spreadsheet and populated it the number of time featured on Linkedin. Then I copied and pasted the list into wordle. I did not do all the labels because the numbers were too small.

Hànzì 汉字 simplified Chinese characters.

I have often said that I would never ask a teacher or a student to do something that I was not prepared to do myself. I am a trained ESOL teacher and I also believe that it is important to develop empathy with my learners by learning a language myself as a teacher.

This year is a huge year for me as I undertake my 2017 goal of preparing for and sitting HSK level 2. Those of you who know my language learning journey will know that Chinese is my seventh language. Four of my languages have been learnt over two years. Most of the languages I have learnt I am still very much at basic level except for Samoan. However when I am in the language it does not take long to reactivate vocabulary.

I learnt Maori at teacher’s college and found it similar to Samoan so was able to pick up vocabulary quite easily. 

I learnt Dutch for two years and my best way of learning vocabulary was listening to a Berlize tape on my way to school. The journey took 30 minutes so for an hour each day I listened to the same tape over and over again. By the time I arrived in Holland I could understand basic conversations.

I then hosted Japanese students and so undertook to learn Japanese. My goal was to learn Kanji. I learnt Japanese at night school for two years and could hold a basic conversation. However Kanji just evaded me. Learning to recognise characters was too hard. I could see no patterns in the script and gave up.

Last year I agreed to teach and learn Chinese. Through teaching Chinese my vocabulary exploded. I also attended night school at Unitec and sat HSK level 1 and passed. However the Hànzì 汉字 or simplified Chinese script was again so very difficult. I practiced and practiced and learnt to recognise numbers but again could not make any sense out of the characters. I downloaded a tile app and practiced that with some success but could not seem to commit the character to memory. 

This week something exciting happened to me and again I am so grateful to my student teachers. I have had two girls go over with me my vocabulary and my phrases each week so that I had a booster of what I do in night classes. This week, they showed me how to read simplified Chinese characters.   For example pretty 漂亮 Piàoliang

They said see the pretty leg hanging off, that is how to remember. For 下雨 Xià yǔ, to rain, they said, “See the raindrops in the window, see the slope on the left, it is like water falling down.” Guess what? What they said works because I can now see something. 

Then they both told me that next week they would test me on my character reading. They said that 10 characters is a good start. Maybe that was the push I needed because little do they know how motivated I am and that this weekend I have memorised 30. In addition there are no numbers in my list. I feel so excited because I can now tell which way up the characters should be, I can see little characters in bigger characters and I have had heaps of fun with my 88 year old mother as she has called out the word in Pinyin or English and I recognised the characters. My mum is a shorthand typist and she helped me look for patterns in the words. For example 睡觉 shuìjiào, to sleep. Mum said, “see the man under the blankets.” and I can.

So I took all the double characters from HSK level 1 and created groups of them and printed them off in different colours and chunked them in groups of 10. They are blue tacked to my cupboards so before I go to sleep, I can see them and when I wake up I can see them.

I have also recently discovered the HSK vocabulary lists on youtube and speed them up so that I can hear the words and practice memorising the characters.

In all I am feeling quite positive about my language learning. I believe I have gone over a hump that has been holding me back. I can see the way forward for learning script that just was not there before. 

So do you know any other languages with a different script? What strategies do you use to learn vocabulary? In my list above, can you recognise Ni Hao? Just one simple greeting that your Chinese children can read and that you expect to move up in PM levels in English.

 

 

 

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

Global Collaboration

Last year November 3  I joined Julie Lindsay and several other Global Educators as part of K12 Online Conference’s.

I was part of a panel discussion around ideas presented in Julie Lindsay’s opening keynote presentation.

Some of the panelists included

  • Dr. Leigh Zeitz: ISTE Global Collaboration PLN President
  • Lucy Gray: Global Education Conference
  • Anne Mirtschin: global educator from Australia
  • Sonya Van Schaijik: Chinese language teacher from New Zealand

The discussion was hosted on youtube and the audience were invited to comment and ask us questions.

Before the session, Julie sent us questions of what she would raise so I created some notes for the session.

 

Why is online global collaboration important as a pedagogy? as a curriculum?

For me it is glocalisation. Where I have taken what I have learnt with Julie and put a local context on it.

Our classrooms at Newmarket School are already filled with a face to face of the world. I believe that global collaboration is important as a pedagogy because it exposes our teachers to the changing face of our classrooms. Making connections and collaborating supports our teachers and students  as they develop empathies for their new friends. A classic example for us was when we worked with Lincoln School in Nepal with teachers Brian and Sudha. Our children in the project were worried about their new friends affected by the earthquake that they set up a project and raised money to support the earthquake appeal. Another example was using the skills I have learnt on Flat Connection and connected with our sister school in in our sister city of Ningbo China.  

2. Do educators find the concept of global education and/or the practice of online global collaboration challenging? Why? Any suggestions to help them?

Yes because initially I believe our teachers see online global collaboration challenging and as an add on to an already busy curriculum. However as I work with our teachers I support them in the journey to realise that it is should be part of what they do because we are preparing children for the now and future. I believe that if we can teach our children to develop empathy through working with children when they are young then maybe one day as world leaders they can make decisions that support peaceful initiatives in the world.

3. What is required for the design and management of online global collaboration? Can you provide examples?

I have been part of online global collaboration since I was a child and my Canadian teacher set me up with a penpal. Then when I was a younger educator I was part of UNESCO’s peace project. You do not need flash wifi or the latest technology to make connections. Just the determination to make it work. For example whether it is via snailmail, email, skype, wechat and my latest favourite technology, a  bit of bluetack to the television so that the iPad works as a camera. However the work I do and have done with Julie has allowed me to push the way I do things to a new level. One of this is the importance of values when online. The respect we show for others through the handshake, though developing connections like using a digital handshake,  because without establishing connections, collaboration just does not work.

4. Can you share outcomes of global connections and collaborations that have changed or shifted the practice/approach/understanding of you or colleagues or students? Shifted in what way?

My biggest personal shift in thinking is about construction. In 2015 I was approached to judge some of the digiteen co-constructed videos and blown away by the quality of what I saw. It takes longer to do this however the relationship building in the process is what I believe is the true learning. Last year I set up an online system to do the same thing with about 38 educators and I saw first hand that the product was just the tip of the iceberg. The relationship building through making connections and working together was the real learning.

That was my ahhah moment. This year I have just joined a community of learners (CoL) as part of our Auckland Central 11 Schools. Again we have a massive achievement goal that we have set.  I already see that making connections and relationship building across our schools is actually the key learning. Because many of our teachers have never experienced global collaboration as a pedagogy they continue to believe that face to face learning is somehow the only way. They have yet to experience face to face through technology. There appears to be a belief that somehow technology is a barrier to relationship building.

I think of my own journey with Julie. For months I cyberstalked her work and then when an opportunity came to work with her in person, I jumped at the chance. But my real learning developed when I undertook her online course as an educator. Last year I brought in teachers and students to work with me. This year I am doing the same. But even more exciting is having convinced my principal to do this because to really shift a school in thinking we know that it takes a whole school approach. I can already see the results of this happening as we plan for next year.

Some of my takeaways from the online panel discussion

  • Collaboration is collective and is about the group succeeding not the individual. Hattie calls this effective teacher efficaey.
  • We need to set up conditions and systems for collaborations. I am doing this right now with our Auckland Central Community of Schools (ACCoS) group.
  • Opening up to the world we have to admit and anticipate the unexpected. This will go wrong and it is the thinking of how we deal with the challenges.

What is it that we can know that we don’t know. Taking risks and making mistakes is valuable for learning. Perfection gets you nowhere. When I am encouraging teachers to take part in a global project I give them some idea of what they are in for. However that is never enough because they will really learn by doing. 

Being part of Flat Connections Week in the Life bring children and teachers together to work on a common issue. However the learning is really about working together to build wisdom and knowledge.

Sow and create possibilities for future generations. I am speaking here about the generation that is online in the next hour, week, month and so forth.

Create knowledge through relationships. We have been learning coaching skills as an ACCoS Across school leader and embedded in the professional learning is the importance of building relationships and everything we say and act with others must come from the human layer.

I am passionate and curious to how far I can learn online with the teachers I work with. I am not focused on an endpoint because there never is one but I am focused to see how far we can go.

As an aside you can read more about the work I do in Julies Book, The Global Educator. 

Walking in my learner’s shoes.

shoes

Photo ninjaed from Ainslie Whitfield

This year has been an incredible year of personal learning. As I take time to reflect on this year I have much to celebrate.

(Listing is multistructural and I am aware of the ‘I’ however am just dumping information.)

So what does it mean to walk in my learner’s shoes?

This year I learnt a lot about the children I work with. Part of that was due to unpacking the ESOL Data at our school. I understood frustration as I developed foundation proficiency in Mandarin. I struggled to learn to read or even write in my new language. I can recognise just a few characters and celebrate my students who learn to quickly memorise 67 frequency words in English for reading. I understand the embarrassment of being put on the spot to speak in another language and feel my tongue swell up as I struggle to recall basic formulaic sentences. As for the tones, well that is another reflection.

I built strong relationships with my students learning English. Again unpacking their data supported this. I built stronger relationships with parents as I took time to find out more about them and where they came from. Like my learners I pushed myself to the limits of my comfort zone.  I chose to understand China at a greater level and made it a mission to attend events happening in Auckland. I also coordinated a school week focusing on Chinese language and activities.

Challenges?

  • Balancing work, life and family responsibilities.
  • Maintaining my Mandarin.
  • Continue to make connections with people face 2 face.

That work life balance is delicate at the moment.

Soon I will  head out to my place of sanctuary Tiritirimatangi. There my social media choice is instagram. I can practice mindfullness amongst the trees and snorkelling.

Where to next?

In 2017 I have my learning coach and I am excited because I enjoy having learning conversations with her. The last time she worked with me I ended up publishing a book with Pam so I can’t wait to see what happens next. I have chosen my focus word and that is Turangawaewae. This year was whānaungatanga.

 

Intercultural communicative language learning

Part 2 of my reading log for EDPROFST 360 

Course Director and Lecturer: Dr. Constanza Tolosa

Liddicoat, A. & Scarino, A. (2013). Intercultural language teaching and learning. New York, NY: Wiley Blackwell. [Chapter 2: Languages, Cultures, and the Intercultural. pp 11-30]

Key concepts relevant to intercultural communicative language learning

Intercultural language teaching places the need to communicate in the first place and seeks to teach culture in a way which develops intercultural communicative skills at the same time as developing language skills. This is an approach to the teaching of culture which sees language and culture as intimately linked and which recognises that culture is always present when we use language.

Intercultural Language Learning Learners engage in developing cultural competence from the beginning of their language learning. Learners engage in understanding their own languages and cultures in relation to the additional language and culture. iCLT is more than just learning the culture and compare to one’s own. Learners must make choices when engaging in meaningful communication in another language

Intercultural competence involves at least the following key concepts:

  • accepting that one’s practices are influenced by the cultures in which one participates and so are those of one’s interlocutors;
  • accepting that there is no one right way to do things;
  • valuing one’s own culture and other cultures;
  • using language to explore culture;
  • finding personal ways of engaging in intercultural interaction;
  • using one’s existing knowledge of cultures as a resource for learning about new cultures;
  • finding a personal intercultural style and identity.

Ideas about iCLT that are new to me

In taking an intercultural perspective in language teaching and learning, the term is new to me but the ideas are not.  Such as the central focus for culture learning involves more than developing knowledge of other people and places.

Or, iCLT is about raising an awareness of the pervasive presence of culture in language. Even,  iCLT uses learning processes such as interacting, exploring, comparing, and experiencing languages and cultures to develop in learners the competencies that allow them to communicate effectively across cultural boundaries; that is, to display intercultural communicative competence. Therefore iCLT reflects a social and dialogic perspective on learning. These ideas are already in my schema. However to activate them I need to unpack them further.

  • Learners involves purposeful engagement in interpreting  in interaction with others.
  • Learners continually make connections between language and culture and learning.
  • They continually make connections between first language and target language.
  • The learners continuously learn and build from interacting experience.
  • The learners continuously reflect on how we think, know and learn about language, culture, and their relationships.
  • Learners learning depends on learners’ attitudes, dispositions and values.

The ability to learn beyond the classroom is probably more important than any particular information that students may learn about another culture during their school year.

My personal response and reaction

The goal of iCLT learning is to develop an intercultural identity as a result of an engagement with an additional culture.

  • The move from static to dynamic
  • The nature of content: artefact-practice
  • The nature of learning: fact- process
  • The nature of the educational effect: cultural – intercultural

In approaching language education from an intercultural perspective, it is important that the view of intercultural Language Teaching and Learning culture be broad but also that it be seen as directly centered in the lived experiences of people.

The aim of intercultural language teaching and learning is not to displace language as the core focus of language education but to ensure that language is integrated with culture in conceptualizing language learning.

Learning another language can be like placing a mirror up to one’s culture and to one’s assumptions about how communication happens, what particular messages mean, and what assumptions one makes in daily life.

Intercultural Language Teaching and Learning culture can be broad but also that it be seen as directly centered in the lived experiences of people.

To sum it up I believe intercultural communicative language learning is whanaungatanga in Maori and va fealofani in Samoan.  iCLT is about building relationships with others so it is more than just language learning and more than learning about culture. iCLT is about people learning and the space that happens between that cannot be seen. I really like the use of the mirror analogy to help me as a learner understand my own culture.

Applying what I read to my language classroom

When I teach iCLT in my Mandarin language classroom the focus needs to shift from language to include culture. The focus needs to be on my learners making connections with the target language and culture.

The learners are:

  • actively involved in constructing knowledge through exploring cultural practices
  • making connections between cultures, and between existing knowledge of culture and language, and new learning
  • involved in social interactions that involve communicating across cultural boundaries
  • reflecting ‘critically and constructively on linguistic and cultural differences and similarities
  • taking responsibility for their intercultural growth, assisted by teachers who, for example, foster engagement with difference and awareness of stereotypes.

Opportunities need to happen for my learners to  participate in social exchanges and the most effective for iCLT is role playing by seeking explicit comparisons between the two cultures to develop empathy. Activities that develop noticing of cultural similarities and differences are also suggested for iCLT.

The following are examples of this:

  • Comparing what one has noticed about another language and culture with one already knows
  • Reflecting on what one’s experience of linguistic and cultural diversity means for oneself
  • Interacting on the basis of one’s learning and experiences of diversity in order to create personal meanings about one’s experiences

Overall iCLT is more than just learning the culture and compare to one’s own. It is more than a body of knowledge but rather a framework in which people live their lives and communicate shared meanings with each other. Learners must make choices when engaging in meaningful communication in another language through activities rather than just discussion.