Monday, March 16, 2015

What exactly is 21st century learning?

I've started reading (professionally) again. Our PLG is reading Key Competencies for the Future (Hipkins, Bolstad, Boyd, McDowall).
I thought I'd try to summarise my thinking or understanding of Chapters 2 and then 3, but I've found myself thinking about the title of this post.

Page 29 - "as with many kinds of change, it is often easier for all of us to see what we're moving away from, than to imagine exactly what it is we are moving towards."
This is challenging stuff and offers me a suggestion of why some are reluctant to move away from their current practice. While very few would try to justify that a one size fits all approach has merits, depending on how they're positioned to make change, they may prefer to continue what they're doing, as the alternative is too unclear. To me, this is about personality types. Risk taker, early adopter, whatever you call them, there are those who are happy to embark on something new, not knowing exactly where they're going, and not having an end in mind at any point. They enjoy the journey, the process.
We're not all wired the same way. This is a good thing. It can also be frustrating when it comes to some matters. Especially change. Some need to know the details and won't start the change process until some or all of these details are known, considered, debated, trialled and evaluated. Others simply cannot wait to start.

When considering the "wicked" question in the title of this post, it's not surprising that many of us are feeling excited, agitated, perplexed, exhausted, etc when contemplating what it is we need to do to have future oriented learning happening in our schools.

So, what is it that you are moving towards? What exactly is your definition or understanding of what 21st century learning is?

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Sabbatical visits Day 1

I love hearing from my staff when they've come back from visiting another school. This is something I actively promote. I love hearing all the new ideas and the about the connection they have made with someone else. So, of course, I was always to include school visits as the core business of my sabbatical. 

I've always regarded visiting another school as a privilege. I think we're really lucky that we continue to give up time to support the learning of others. It's a mutual learning experience really isn't it - in visiting I gain some new insights, for the host they have a chance to talk their work which often adds further clarity.
I felt high tech (for me). Doc open on my phone with my key questions and my tablet open with voice recorder going while we spoke. It's been great listening back to the conversation to help me write up the main points from this visit to Whakarongo School.
This is what I hope to do. 10 schools. Write up a summary for each school and then synthesise what I've seen across the schools for different year levels. I hope to create a report that might support a school just beginning its journey into MLP.
If today is any indicator of what I'm in for then I'm up for it! I was given generous time from the Principal Jaco Broodryck and spoke to teachers as I went around the school.
Indeed it was a privilege today. I'm so fortunate to have this sabbatical and time to reflect on the incredible work we're doing at my own school.
Oh, the point of this post -to encourage you to go and visit other schools, or even other classes. How much do you really know about what's going on right newxt door?
I know that I used to think I knew. I've been lucky in my position as a walking DP and then as Principal to visit many classes and wish I'd done this way way more as a classroom teacher. No-one told me to value it, so I didn't do it. There was nothing to stop me from giving up a little CRT time and sitting in any room and just soaking it up. We can sometimes be quick to make judgements about colleagues, but what's this based on? So, go on, get up, go somewhere and see what's going on. What have you got to lose?

What  a great job this would be full time. Visiting schools and sharing with others what's going on. What a privilege it is to connect with other passionate educators who day in day out provide wonderful learning environments for the learners in their care.  

Is school just preparation for life?