Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Don't Feed Our Kids

So stoked the National Party decided not to feed kids at all low decile schools. Help only the kids that need it- a blanket hand out of food is just DUMB there are hundreds of Decile 1 schools with kids who are always are well fed. Schools arent social welfare agencies, those who cant afford to feed their kids need to seek help from the agencies, not their teachers.

At Punaruku School where we spent 5yrs, not one kid was short of a feed. Now they get fed breakfast! why? because do gooders decided the community didn't feed their kids. Bro don't demean our maori community by feeding everyone, use discretion feed 1 kid quietly if necessary and move on.

Monday, May 6, 2013

m learning progressions

On the back of my fellowship I thought that this might be useful to elearning nerds.
@macash and myself (@sumich) have helped string together this set of progressions based on the ACOT model from 1987 and the normal old inquiry traits that some schools use.
Hope you find it useful

Monday, April 15, 2013

Never say never - Aucklanditis

Its been a while between posts as I review my digital footprint (another story). So I wrote this 6 months ago and never posted. Seems one team has made a culture change. 

I know you’ve never heard of it but Aucklanditis is the reason the Warriors and Auckland Blues will never be achievers again. 
I describe Aucklanditis as a culture of leadership and professionalism that has led to players acting and behaving in a way that they think is professional but actually they are developing bad habits that are being reinforced until they are normalized (bruce tuckman).
So let me make some sweeping uninformed generalisations, get you all nodding and then believing my own hype, move on crushing the dream of potential players and stereotype young athletes without backing up my statements with concrete evidence.

So here we go, the young guys playing 1stXV school rugby clearly play in the best schoolboy rugby competition anywhere in the world. Its the highest level of anything actually, so if you had a great league, aussie rules or soccer player they are better off playing this level than playing their own game. League clubs love this competition and know how good it is for the kids development. It is great stuff, high intensity, a massive collision game, tactics, skill and hours and hours of training, usually 4 nights a week in season and five in the pre season. The kids get selected by league (warriors) and Auckland Rugby as well as other NRL sides and other unions around new zealand. They are snapped up and signed all over the place. Ive seen average kids getting contracts throughout australia including aussie rules. The kids have all left and gone to other teams all over the place. I don’t care, take your kids anywhere you like, do whatever but i recommend you leave Auckland or you'll catch Aucklanditis.

Here is whats wrong, In auckland schools kids are built up at stars of their schools and the Warriors and Blues try to get first choice, the problem is that the culture at these two clubs is rotten. They get these new stars and they want to fit them in their club culture. they look to the current players for inspiration and leadership and they do what they see. A culture of new tattoos, secret handshakes, how much weights you can lift, what car you drive, another new tattoo, look at my new try celebration, they are the most insular / protected bunch of kids ever seen. They look up to guys who went to school with them and few years before, its just repetition of bad culture.
If you want to win you build a culture, change a culture and you don’t normalise bad habits. I’m not saying the players are tossers and the like, Kevin Mealamu is one of the greats, and if he never played for the All Blacks he would still be one of the nicest people you’d ever meet. Surely Kev could spot a problem and deal with it, the thing is that the culture has been set for a number of years, before Pat Lam, at school actually. These kids aren’t that good, Ive coached 1stXV in akld for 10 years, these guys aren’t stars they are kids who got an opportunity, that is all. Read Outliers, you’ll know what I mean. 
I had a few drinks with a former Blues player who had shot off to japan, he said the culture is closed door, hang out with your rugby mates, only talk with your rugby buddies, no resilience, no saying good morning to Alice the cleaning lady or meeting your friends grandmother. Its just me me me and my new arm tattoo. 
They both need a culture change and Bluey wont do it, steve price is gone and I don’t believe the ex players hanging around the warriors are doing them any favours, Wiki (apparently a great guy) and the like are acting like current players and promulgating the handshakes and tattoo mentality. they do what they see, they follow what others do. You think conrad hurrell blew kisses when he scored at 1stXv for grammar, he didn’t, i watched him ten times and never saw it once. Omar Slaimankhel used to be fast now he looks like an over weight over muscled slug. The problem lies with the kids staying in Auckland getting surrounded by their new playing mates and followed by their adoring fans from school, yes they are all still around every saturday night when the lads go out. Go to melbourne and no-one recognises you, go to christchurch and nobody respects you, go to waikato and you better not talk with a big head, stay in auckland and surround yourself with your insular mates and never improve. the thing is the kids can play but they have to get out before they get Aucklanditis.

ps Waikato should not think they are the schizzle - Wayne Smith made the culture change, and they can easily slip back.
pss crusaders have a crap culture too (what school did you go to Tyler?).

Off to the parlour for a skull tat

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Out of Ten

At the end of the year we often sit back and see how we went. Assess the year in review, possibly even give ourselves a number. Perhaps a six for teamwork a seven for leadership, maybe a nine for community involvement. I reckon that one certainty is John Key will sit back on December 23, browse over the puffy brown leather chair, past the wood paneled bookshelf and start handing out numbers for the ministers and their portfolios. Only the direct minions will be listening, maybe English, but more likely someone even more trusted, perhaps even just himself. When he gets to education it will be interesting, we all know the noise and hear the rhetoric, but in this beehive office the truth will out, how will it go down? If I was a fly on the wall here is my “what they may say”.

4 out of ten and possibly a 3, she's got a tough job but she hasn’t handled things well. That nonsense with class sizes has clearly cost us. What is happening now is that our flagship policy that parents loved and that we had the unions backpedaling on (national standards) has been dropped to the bottom of a mud heap and is not on any horizon. This Novopay has been a bad one too, how did that happen? I think the whole Christchurch thing may still blow up in our faces, bloody John Campbell is chasing our arse everywhere. Charter schools better be well handled well otherwise we may lose more ground.
I think we may have to have a look at the Secretary for Education, she better be on a warning, one more gaff and she can head for the hills. She gave us the bad information on class sizes that was embarrassing, she signed of this payroll mess, and she bomb-shelled the christchurch people, Hekia was part of that too. Im gonna stay positive and give them a 4 but must do better. 

Give them a number people, John will, so its ok for you to do the same.

Friday, October 26, 2012

What's up in Christchurch

The earthquake has forced some tough decisions for Christchurch schools. Clearly leadership was needed from Wellington and the decisions were never going to be popular. So where has this whole shambles gone wrong and how can it be fixed? It is obvious that the decisions had to be made by the Secretary of Education. She took about 3 months off from her job and presumably locked herself in a room with analysts and worked out how it all would happen. In this time we got mail from the MOE with the title signed "acting secretary of education" and when some colleagues visited the MOE in Welly they were told she was unavailable as she was working on "other projects". No gossip there I'm just adding two and two, plus if you were the boss and this sad scenario happened on your watch you'd want it sorted and you wouldn't be able to pass the buck.
So what happened?
After the scramble for instant safety and emergency repairs, chch sat and waited for action.
This was a time to breathe and work things out, any decision on the future would be one that may impact the next 50 years. A time for Cantabs to try to sort their own homes out, their insurance companies, their parents, grandparents, whanau.

Months passed and buildings were in a state of wait and see and kids had moved to other schools/cities.
The first sign of action was a "share an idea website". Some schools threw some comments that way, others did bigger submissions and proposals.
After the submissions there was one meeting attended by the Principals this was about, big ideas, meeting about an educational future, not replicating what was already there, building partnerships. Schools said "let's make this an opportunity". This meeting was positive, people like the highly respected Cheryl Doig gave input and leadership. CORE were there with their professional support and modern thinking.
There endeth the consultation.

After the only consultation meeting it all went quiet and the peeps in Wellington got to work, analysing buildings, crunching numbers, looking at a plan, and strategising. They haven't done a horrible job of it either. They have just handled it like people who have no cultural capital. People who don't and didn't realise the complexities of the earthquake stress, insurance nightmares, mental health issues - basically there was no apparent empathy and no reality to what seems like a totally logical solution on paper from a distance.
So then they delivered their news, and in terms of delivery they get a 1out of 10. They dropped that ball, we all saw it on the news, and adds to the assumption of there lack of empathy.

So now they have clustered schools, and backed down a little bit and said the mergers and closures aren't concrete and you now have 50 days to come back to the MOE with new plans and ideas, they then withheld information of the numbers and buildings and why they made their decisions! Since the Campbell live thrashing of the MOE they have released most stuff to schools, and so they now have 40 days to make decisions on schools in each others communities that will last for the next 50 years. Add in the fact that some people/schools arent in any position to think in the yellow quadrant this is still a monumental stuff up. BTW secondary schools opted out of the MOE chosen clusters.

So how do we fix it? Listen up Wellington.
Send Lesley Longstone to Christchurch she needs to spend time talking with Principals. She needs to be there, she should spend the next ten weeks there, this is bloody important. Her presence will help build a functional relationship, and take away the perception of distance.
Minister to be true to her word and renegotiate timelines so that these clusters can make informed decisions within a period of time that honours true consultation, and allows good decisions.
Make every piece of information available to schools and clusters, make it transparent, its wasting everyones time and everyone looks silly.
Money: provide realistic funding for consultation and facilitation, the amount offered is pittance.

Its fixable but as always its about people: He tangata He tangata He tangata

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Still on Tour - Unmanaged Devices

While in the big apple I visited a school that was super familiar with laptop 1to1 but were now in full swing with iPads.Tucked away in this hidden gem was an Irishman with a word for the wise. He said we need to unmanage these devices, stop making them all alike, stop trying to sync and control and let the teacher be responsible.They had ruled out the carts and just stuck them in every room, gave the teachers the volume lisencing stuff and a bunch of iTunes cards. He said he wanted teachers and children to use them for their needs not some school administrator purchasing and vetoing apps. He wanted teachers and to some extent students take control. Sharp guy who was also into 3D printing and stuff #anotherday #isthatasquirrelupthattree #easilydistracted 

What are your thoughts?

Monday, July 23, 2012

Once in your life give 10%

After just two days and a few hours with some Chch Principals I went home to Akld feeling sad, disappointed and quite frankly pissed off. The people of Christchurch are getting ripped off, progress on fixing things is unbelievably frustrating and the rest of New Zealand carries on without knowing the disruption. Lots of people were annoyed with the progress happening but these are Cantabs, hardy stock. They never want to be seen as moaning, they are too proud for that. They don't want to throw stones, they have lived through a lot and they know this will take time. Evereyone is very accepting of "the way it is" this is, i suppose, the best mentality to take from this horrible situation. What grinds my gears is that we just carry on thinking the earthquake commission, the insurance companies, the task force and Gerry Brownlie have it in hand and the hardship is over. Nothing could be further from the truth. Its tough going, the suburbs are doing it tough, the schools are $200,000 to $300,000 down on their annual budgets, try losing that much cash and keep your school going. Housing sucks and hundreds of houses stand rotting with weeds 6 foot tall, and rain pouring in. School buildings are compromised and the decisions are hard to make. Principals have big ideas and hopes for rebuilds but their cash situation is dire and they are all looking at losing staff. Bugger that!

I ask -how can we really help? I suppose I'm now thinking of schooling issues. Schools across New Zealand gave generously to the CPPA and this was gratefully received. However the schools are still involved in messy meetings. Property money (5ya) has been frozen. There is still no decisions on which if any schools close and the wheels may be moving slow. However these are not criticisms of those in charge of decisions, there are complex issues and opportunities are rising from the devastation.
My issue is that while Christchurch schools wait and teachers are uncertain of their futures, other schools can do something, our leadership needs to think creatively and with empathy.

I believe that all schools in New Zealand should make a commitment to re building the school infrastructure in Chch. Why can't every school in New Zealand have 10% of their  5ya property money frozen. This would allow the money to be available for Christchurch schools when the decisions on infrastructure have been made. While chch suffers other NZ schools are building new libraries, admin blocks, gyms, meanwhile they wait for fulton hogan to pour some tar-seal on their damaged courts!
I want every child in New Zealand to get a free and fair education. Its not about our Ivory Towers its about being a Kiwi. I believe we all have to give up a bit of our hopes and dreams of our schools for those who have been hit the hardest.

So its time for the Ministry of Education to get this ball rolling. Get STA PPTA NZPF NZEI and any other group of fish heads together and talk sensibly about our friends in red and black country.
Put me down for %10, but its a team effort.