Even shifting is a collaborative process.

nps

Collaboration:  “Kia ngātahi te waihoe” – translated this means rowing together in unison.

This reflection is timely for me as I have been mulling over collaboration in my head for several weeks because we have begun the shift over into our new building. With the physical shift also comes the mental shift. As a school we always address challenges as they surface and develop systems to minimise impact as it happens.

Last week I watched the upheaval in the known as physically furniture and teacher treasures were wheeled between the old space and the new space and wondered about the stress that develops with the unknown.

Maori have a word ‘whanungatanga’. Put simply whanaungatanga is about respectful relationships and at the same time whanaungatanga is much more than that. As we shift let us be mindful of not just our students but also our teachers. I have shared before about relationships and its importance to collaboration.  At the heart of our learning environments we must go beyond the physical space of what we see and focus on the ‘who’ inside.

Recently I was reminded of learning spaces in the new building and how different it looks and the focus of the ‘who’ by one of our students who created a short introduction to our spaces. She said, ‘The space comes to life when the people are inside’. From her narrated video I was reminded about manaakitanga which flows from whanaungatanga and is one of reciprocal care. Manaakitanga is about the care we give to people around us. I stress here that my translations of the Maori words do not do justice to their true meaning but by highlighting them helps us understand the meaning and the strength in their terms. So during the upheaval of shifting, are we practicing manaakitanga and ensuring that we look after each other to minimise the stress of shifting? Yes shifting has to be done. Yes things have to change. Yes some things are non negotiable. And let us keep manaakitanga at the core of what we do.

Keri Facer (2011) talks about ‘Gently rowing into the unknowable future, looking at all the possibilities floating out behind us from our actions in the present.’ I give shout out for my old friend Zita Martel. Zita has a matai title Vaimasenuu and is known for being the first woman to lead a fautasi to victory.  I often see her image online pushing from the front as captain. In Samoa the fautasi rows backwards. Zita standing on her fautasi guiding her team of rowers is the perfect analogy for Keri’s quote.

Wairuatanga is the principle of  integration that hold all things together over time. It is more than being spiritual. I liken wairuatanga to the space between the nodes. The unseen. For example the fish does not see the ocean that it swims in. The space between the nodes can be termed hyperconnectivity or the unseen.

Finally when I think about collaboration. I am reminded of a quote from Chris Lehman  who stated that ‘ Its no longer enough to do powerful work if no one sees it in Couros, G. (2016). With this is I think about the ultimate of collaboration, visible co-creation. So show me collaboration. Show me how you have co-constructed learning with your colleagues. Show me how you are reflecting on your journey.  Show me your videos, blog posts, articles, presentations. Show me examples of how you work in your learning environments. If the link is locked and I cannot see it, then what you have done does not exist. Evidence speaks stronger than words.

So as we continue forward with our shift into our new block, let us practise whanaungatanga, manaakitanga, wairuatanga. Let us reflect on where we have been and use this as a guide to where we are going. Let us find ways of sharing our learning journey and include both the highlights and the challenges.

We are not there yet. The wairuatanga is still turbulent and like a boat on rough waters we know we will eventually come back to calm waters. Meanwhile let us row together in unison.

Reference
Couros, G. (2016). “11 Books To Further an #InnovatorsMindset.” The Principal of Change, 24 July 2016, georgecouros.ca/blog/archives/6522.

Facer, K. (2011). Learning futures: Education, technology and social change. London and New York: Routledge

 

 

 

#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.

Tama’āiga

tupua2
I read a wonderful tribute by Michael Field  to one of the most amazing academics that I met during my teaching career. Reading the tribute brought back a flood of memories.

His name is Tupua Tamasese Tupuola Tufuga Efi 

I knew him as Tupua and that is how I addressed him. As a child growing up in Samoa we knew the Tamasese family name because they lived up the road from us. My younger sister went to school with one of the boys. I also knew his name because he became prime minister of Samoa a few years after we emigrated to New Zealand.

As a young teacher I was so fortunate to get to first get to know  him when he agreed to be the plenary for our 2002 Ulimasao Bilingual Education Conference in Auckland.

I set up his webpage and this is what I wrote about him.

“Tupua studied law at Victoria University, New Zealand, before embarking on a long career in Samoan politics that spanned almost four decades to the present.  

He became prime minister twice, during which he had been an influential voice on issues concerning Samoa and the Pacific region. Part of Tupua’s present profile is his active involvement in scholastic learning, in his enormous capacity as an experienced politician and man of letters. Tupua has published three books, two in the Samoan language. Occasionally, Tupua is a guest lecturer in Victoria and Auckland universities respectively. Always in high demand for his views as a prolific bilingual speaker and scholar.”

He was our conference dinner speaker and the title was,  ‘In search of Meaning, Nuance and Metaphor.  I was the one chosen to introduce him when he spoke at another session. I was determined to do it in Samoan and so I did. I had heard the term tama’āiga to describe him and presumed it meant like an esteemed family member. However later on I realised how much more of a title that is.

I believe it was this speech that caught his attention because after that he made a point of making me sit with him and talk when I was serving him tea. As is typical Samoan he asked,  “O ai oe? O ai lou aiga. Fea lou nu’u?” (Who are you? Who are your parents and what is your background?)


When he found out who my mum was, then the stories began. He told me that he did not live far from her in Moto’otua where my mum grew up. We shared names and he told me that he knew my aunty Marina and her family and my cousin Patrick who still lives in Moto’otua. He asked me how come I could speak Samoan and I told him that mum insisted on us speaking le gagana at home even as we grew up in New Zealand. I also shared how I actively look for opportunities to speak and listen to Samoan such as through songs or on the radio. He asked me about church and I said that was more of a challenge because mass was always in palagi. He suggested that I  look for one that has a Samoan mass and even if I attended at least once a month to just listen and so I did.

Whenever I found out he was speaking in Auckland, I would find a way to get a ticket to hear him speak. He is an inspirational orator. I really admire him because of the way he instinctively knew that I wanted to practice my Samoan and would converse with me only in Samoan. My vocabulary exploded every time I heard him speak.

When I was in Samoa for the second Ulimasao conference in 2005, he asked me to introduce him to our travelling New Zealand plenary speaker Professor Stephen May and again it was about making connections. He wanted to learn more about our work with Bilingual Education. My cousin Tanya suggested that we sit in the front bar at Aggie’s Hotel and it was a perfect spot because the two academics had a chance to speak with each other and share their stories and of course I had a chance to just sit and listen.

During the time too of our second conference a group of us were invited to his house. My Aunty Marina schooled me up on etiquette before I went. This visit was where I met his beautiful wife, Filia for the first time. I also found out that she is a writer and orator too. Her work is where I got the inspiration for the header of my blog. (Lookup and you can see it.) From her I learnt all about the importance of service as a leader. Filia put on an incredible spread for us of traditional foods and we sat around talking and sharing stories. Again I was in awe sitting with the academics listening to their stories. However on reflection I can now see the importance of always growing the next generation. Again that is something that I now find myself doing.

What struck me most from that visit was the collection of photos that he had documenting Samoan history and the high balcony around his house.

Soon after that my Grandmother Matala’oa passed away and Tupua wrote a heartwarming tribute for her that we read at her funeral. I was so grateful that he took the time to commemorate our own family treasure. I have included this below.

Matala’oa Thompson    (Tusia e Tuiatua Tupua Tamasese _ Samoa – 16 May 2004)

O le matua o la’u fe’au: o le faiva o le Matala’oa e tiu ma afifi.  Pe atonu o le mafuaaga lea o le suafa o le tama’ita’i;  ona o le muafetalaiga e faasino iā Falealili, o se tasi o nuu o le latou aiga.  Ma e masani ā ona faatūtū i le alofa o le matua e faamaopoopo ma aputi lona faiva aua le fanau ma le aiga, o loo faatali mai i se nuu e mamao i uta.

Sa ou iloa Matala’oa ona e nonofo i ga’uta atu o lo matou aiga.  E masani ona usu mai i le taeao i le Misasa i Mulivai ma toe fo’i i lo latou aiga.  Ae ou te le’i mafuta tele i ai vagana ona ua matua.

O mea nei ou te mātauina.  E tāua iā te ia le gagana Samoa.  E tāua iā te ia, o ia o le Samoa. E ma’eu lana gagana aemaise sa ou manatu, ona e nofo i le papalagi ma e nonofo ā lo latou aiga i Leififi, sa fa’ita e ave le faamuamua i le gagana Peretania. E ola lona mafaufau ma e ma’eu lona taofi o mea sa tutupu, tainane ua matua ona tausaga.

A talanoa mai, e talanoa lava o ia o le tinā faamaoni.  E talanoa fiafia ma sanisani.  O le talanoa a le tinā o loo teu afīfī le faiva e faasoa mai i lana fanau.  E le gata i ē na ifo mai i lona manava, ae soo se tama fanau a Samoa.

Ou te manatua pea ia i lona talanoa mai faale-matua iā te a’u.  Ma ou te manatua fo’i lona igoa ma le muafetalaiga e fai iā Falealili:  O le tiu a le matala’oa, e tiu ma afīfī.  Ou te lagona ma le agaga faafetai, o a’u o se tasi o tama fanau Samoa na ia faasoa mai i ai lona faiva.

Soifua.

When Tupua became Head of States of Samoa in 2007 and Filia his Masiofo. I thought about how appropriate this was because they are keepers of our stories and our history. When you read Michael’s Tribute you can see how far Tupua’s spread is. In keeping with Samoan tradition I also think about Filia because behind every successful man sits a strong woman. I also see their time serving our beautiful island as part of our our Samoan genealogy.

To both Tupua and Filia I wish you all the best in your golden years and I look forward to more of your writing and talks. You have so much to share and we still have a lot to learn from you both.

 

Matariki

 

matariki

Titiro Whakamuri. Kokiri whakamua.

Look back and reflect so that you can move forward.

Every year I try and learn something new about Matariki and this year was no different. I also noted the fog that rolled in several times in June so can now add this to the signs around Newmarket of Matariki. Next year I hope to climb Maungawhau early enough in June to catch a sight of the seven sisters just before dawn.

Last year I was surprised to see that I was not using as much Reo as I thought I was. So I made it a goal to include it wherever I could. For example I included a whakatauki every time I presented. 

This week at school as part of celebrating Matariki we had TuRongo collective for our students lead by Matua Karena, Matua Puriri and Whaea Millie.

They shared with us Pakiaka, Mau rakau and haka and spiritual learnings within waiata.

​Puriri led the students in Pakiaki where they learnt games such as Poutahi, Pourua and Poutoru. I heard expressions such as step into the spaces with feet like a horse not a bunny. Side step like a crab.

We then rotated to Mau rakau with Karena where our students learnt about Maui and Matau or left and right. They had fun learning how to trust their friends with the Mau rakau.

Finally the students learnt about spiritual learnings within waiata. I liked the analogies that whaea Millie used with the Tuatara and the birds. The way she explained about wiri and pukana. How she incorporated stories in the learning. Finally the students learnt the Matariki song that told about the sisters and again she painted a picture using words so that the children could see the song.

What I liked about the sessions was the simplicity of delivery yet the learning was deep.

 

We finished celebrating Matariki at our school with our annual Matariki disco. To borrow a quote from Katie, one of my student writers. “Overall I think the Matariki disco is important because it was the Maori new year and a chance for everyone to get together.”

 

Afakasi

afakasi

Mum,  me-2 years old, dad and my older sisters.

“E iloa e le tagata lona tulaga i upu e te tautala ai.” quote from Matalaoa. 

I was born and bred in Samoa. My mum is Samoan and my dad is Palagi. That means I am afakasi or half caste, literal translation. I am super proud of being Samoan so much so that I received my Malu 10 years ago and yes I am a fluent speaker. 

Tūrangawaewae has been part of my life for most of the week as I have learnt about some distant cousins. I believe that the more I find out about my family’s past and heritage, the more my own identity changes and evolves. These holidays I have been learning more about my Samoan family. Those of you who know me, know that I am actually more than afakasi and know what an incredible mixture I have in my genealogical makeup. For me there is no Samoan term to describe my blood except it is fabulous. This is one question I should have asked Aiono Fanaafi Le Tagaloa when she was still alive. She used to always provide me with historical terms to describe modern day developments. My favourite was ‘Fau o le Upegatafaailelagi’ – webmaster. (Builder of the net in the sky.)

I have been super excited from my recent Facebook family connections. I always believe that each social media has its place and to find the purpose for it will encourage use. Well this past fortnight I have lived and breathed it as I have connected with relatives of my generation, the last of my mother’s generation through their children and starting to know the next generation. I have learnt more about the term ‘usugagafa‘.  I have managed to piece together so many gaps of our puzzle. I have retrawled Papers Past and again have uncovered a treasure trove of information. Everytime I go on the archives get better and better. Those of you with Samoan Ancestry will find heaps of information. It is still very Eurocentric yet I have managed to find many of my Samoan ancestors mentioned.  

I created shared Google Draw documents and invited branches to add their information. This has worked superbly well. The flood of photos has given me extra excitement and pleasure as mum and I have poured over faces and had some amazing bonding moments. Through her I have learnt a little more as well about her. 

Milestones.

This year my dad turns 90 and this year it is my parents 60th wedding anniversary. I have been working on my dad’s biography for a few years now and this milestone will give me the incentive to pull everything together. 

 

The specialness of 3

three

In my family, I am one of fours daughters. Here in Auckland three of us we look after mum and dad. In my house we have three people living. They are mum, dad and myself.

In the past my house had three people living. They were my two sons and me.

This Christmas my sons spent Christmas with their dad. However circumstances change and my youngest arrived on boxing day.

I have a new set of ‘kids’ to look after and this year I put up the Christmas tree for them.

Mum helped me decorate the tree and then likes to sit in her chair and watch the lights. On Christmas eve I took her to mass and as usual the best part was singing the carols. That and her coming out to claim kisses from the parish priest. He was so sweet and teased her right back and even responded to her in Samoan.

On Christmas day we celebrated at my older sister’s house. She had her three children with her as they have all been traveling the world.

Also there with mum and dad was my my other sister. So again this Christmas us three sisters were together.

There is no way I can look after mum and dad myself so with their help we are able to have them with us. Yes there are challenges and there is also a lot of laughs and special times. This post is really about my sisters because they do a lot for me and I often need to remind myself that I have come this far through their ongoing support and help.

As soon as school finished I took off to my island of sanctuary Tiritirimatangi while my two sisters took over the evening care of our parents. I usually spend three nights there and this always allows me to feel like I have had a break so I came back refreshed.

Last night I had family arrive from overseas and again the number three popped up as they greeted each of us with three kisses.

I finished the night skyping with my cousin and aunty and took a screen shot of the three of us talking.

This morning mum and dad and I will have breakfast. Just the three of us. Then later on, us three sisters will be together again.

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.