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.

 

 

#eTwion

etwion.png

My ongoing personal inquiry is teachers and how they share their learning. I was really excited to  join Arjana and Bart @abfromz @BartVerswijvel and six other global educators on Tuesday 26th of April for a global networking seminar as part of their programme for European teachers called The Networked Teacher. When Shelly opened the session, we had both Arjana and Bart on screen and I was reminded about our history of connections through the TeachMeetINT virtual sessions that we took part in a few years ago. Bart had this cow bell that he used as a timer. That bell was an awesome timekeeper and we tried hard not to hear it.

I shared parts of my ongoing personal inquiry but from my perspective of how I built my professional learning network. I was asked to focus on my New Zealand connections so was extra excited to share about our part of the world to European educators in the eTwinning programme. The hashtag they use is #etwion. The session took place at 5.00am in our New Zealand time zone. You can check out the hashtag and see what the attendees are learning.

I built the slides over a few days. An event like this allows me to reflect on where I am as a learner and from listening to other global educator stories inspires me to set new digital learning goals. I was interested in hearing their stories from their parts of the world. Happening in the chat window was a lot of questions. I am not the best at multitasking so quickly captured the questions asked of me so I could respond to them later. The ones that caught my attention involved teachers of heritage languages wanting to make contact with our Te Reo teachers. So I suggested contacting me via social media and I hope to help them make connections here. I learnt the splot trick from @MissSpeir. So sprinkled purple splots as hyperlinked breadcrumbs throughout my presentation.

I have to mention here how Arjana was an inspiration for the #TeachMeetNZ project which is where New Zealand teachers share their passions and learning in 3 minute video clips. In a way too she plays a part in #Edblognz because it was by tagging me in a #Meme that the list of New Zealand educator blogs was curated by @HelenOfTroy01. I took that over and expanded that to include all other New Zealand blogs which was then added to the #EdblogNZ curated site of New Zealand educator blogs which I now help curate with @nlouwrens and @ariaporo22.

Thank you Arjana and Bart for inviting me to share our New Zealand teachers learning. To Joe from Canada @Joe_Sheik, Fiona from South Africa @fibeal, Shelly from Texas, USA  @ShellTerrell, Karina from Israel @karinam60, Marie-Leet from Belgium @BensBel, and Annamaria from Brazil @anamariacult, fabulous to meet you all. Hearing your stories was inspirational. To all the attendees of the webinair great to meet you all and I look forward to adding you on twitter.