Thursday, August 28, 2008

Life without a coach

Fred Dagg named his 1st XV in his anthology all those many years ago. E Hillary, D Dobbyn, K Te Kanawa, S Neil, A Curnow, R Hotere, P Jackson, L Tamahere, B Finn, N Finn, K Hume, M Mahy, J Frame.
Interesting that Fred should use rugby as a vehicle to hold up some of the true greats of New Zealand. Perhaps he was making a point about how important All Blacks are and how little we value our true heroes. Following on from my George Nepia theory perhaps we could take this a little further.
At a recent tribute to my uncle Boris, Marty Lee spoke how Boris used rugby as a vehicle to mould and teach boys the life skills, life lessons.
I've always run with the theory that you get life replicated within a tight team framework, and I know Marty was bang on the money when he suggested this.
Leadership in education is so closely replicated in a rugby coaching scenario. 

The Staff want everything handed on a plate
A staff member treats their peers with no respect.
A staff member wants to do what they want to do.
Staff members operate in clicks
Some staff are lazy.
The Principal has all the say.
The Principal dictates what everyone will do.
The principal runs and controls all self improvement.
The principal delegates everything and does nothing.
The Principal has a poor relationship with his teachers.
The Principal is a dip shit.

Now replace Staff Member with "player" and The Principal with "coach". What are the chances of this team winning a game. And the answers to the problems are easy if you look at them from a sporting perspective. If you cant find the answers, or your "coach" is a lemon either make lemonade or get a new coach.

Rugby is one of those games where you prepare as a team, you laugh, love, cry, bitch, argue, invent, reinvent, study, apply, analyse, reapply, sing, win, lose, laugh again, and to play with your very best friends is an amazing buzz.
Where I think Fred Dagg has missed the boat is that my very best 1stXV will play as a team, and they would have an awesome coach, one who can action all of those verbs above, uncle Boris Srhoj.

So Fred give us your coach or I will loan you uncle Boris and he will turn your team of champions into a champion team.

fred dagg from Luke Sumich on Vimeo.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

National Testing or Labour Beat Up ?

Ive been told by local MP Paula Bennett that there is no intention of having National testing in our Primary Schools. BUT they will insist that schools report to parents about where children are at nationally.

I think that national testing is an absolute load of shit and wont achieve anything. Any wanker who thinks that it is a goer in Primary schools has their head up their arse. There i said it. 

Lets be honest here I don't trust my fellow schoolies to test correctly and I know of schools testing incorrectly as well as bumping their grades so they look good. Some of it is deliberate and some just incompetence. We know how pathetic it gets overseas where schools results are published and in America where funding is withheld from poor performing schools. This results in "testing practice" and a complete "shutdown of learning" while children are asked to remember stuff, which we all know is the lowest form of thinking.

Ok now that I have given a quick argument for how much national testing sux lets look at the real issue. Is this a beat up from labour who want national to lose a few thousand votes from the teaching sector. I get a press release from Paddy Ford who is a fish head from NZPF that says and i quote -

The New Zealand Principals’ Federation (NZPF) is very disappointed with National’s proposed education policy, which is looking to introduce compulsory national testing.
“National testing is such an old-fashioned idea,” says NZPF President Paddy Ford. “What’s more, it is ineffective. In every country where national testing has been imposed, learning outcomes have not increased. National testing is, quite simply, a backward step.”
it goes on to say - The NZPF is disappointed that the National Party is taking this approach to education policy. “This policy shows a lack of understanding of what is already happening in our schools,” says Ford. “We have some of the best systems in the world, and with adequate resourcing we could become number one. National needs to concentrate on improving resourcing for programmes such as special needs and reading recovery. They also need to fund appropriate administration time, which will allow principals to focus on teaching and learning. That’s how we will improve educational outcomes for pupils.”

So i have sent the following email to Paula Bennett 
Hi Paula
You told me there would be no national testing of primary school kids, I get this email from the NZPF president, I presume that it is Labour propaganda being played out by the NZ education Unions ie: NZEI and NZPF who often attack National, Im surprised they havent brought up Bulk Funding again...!!!!
But I would like you to tell me again the National testing is not going to happen so that I can tell Paddy Ford to stop spreading this nonsense..
I'm annoyed and agitated that they would get stuck in to this if its not true.

SO LETS SEE WHO IS FULL OF BULLSHIT i will get a reply from Bennett and give Paddy a right of reply and see whether its a beat up or a balls up. 

By the way - this isn't personal, Paula is a good chick and Paddy does an unenviable job, I haven't met him but he'd be a decent bloke.
I just want the truth cause I aint having National Testing.

Stay Tuned
so paula has replied asap
Hi Luke
Paula is out of the office so I called her and asked about your email.
She asked me to tell you that you are right and there will be no national testing. Please see the link below and also the media release, they back up Paula’s statement.
Please feel free to contact us if you need anymore info.
Kind Regards
Jackie Fairweather
Constituency Agent to Paula Bennett MP

Anne Tolley MP
National Party Education Spokeswoman
24 August 2008     National makes no apology for standards policy

National Party Education spokeswoman Anne Tolley is welcoming the opportunity to restate National’s determination to lift educational standards to ensure our children are better equipped for the future.

“National standards will give every child access to the best teaching methods for literacy and numeracy. We want more teachers to be taking advantage of the best practice techniques that many of our most successful schools are already using.”

Mrs Tolley is responding to statements from the New Zealand Principal Federation criticising National’s policy which aims to reduce the number of children who leave school unable to read, write, and do basic maths.

“We have to do more to make sure every child learns the basics required to contribute to the community, the country, and the economy. It’s time for every school to use the best methods.

“I am mystified by the Federation’s references to National testing. We have explained our policy many times to the sector over the past three years and they know we have not proposed national testing.

“Our national standards policy has been well received by school principals and teachers because it is flexible, and builds on the best-practice methods that are already getting good results.”

I sent this to Paddy ford and am awaiting a reply.

hi paddy

i have a question regarding national testing
I have to ask you what your response is to national MP paula Bennett who i emailed asking what the hell is going on, she told me that national testing wont happen,
I'd like an answer as to why you put the press release out when it appears to be untrue.
I am totally against national testing...just like you, and no national party git either, but i do want some transparency.

and here comes Paddy :
I attach here the link to Johns speech and the key points he raised. when you click on the link you can hear John saying what he thinks and some of it is concerning. he states that 90% of schools already do the testing (which is true) but he also states that parents don’t know what the standard is. well if you fill out a report or have an interview and you tell the parent that their child is below average then you are doing exactly that.
Because 10% of your children are naughty you don’t 'require ' them all to be in time out.
90% of schools manage their property effectively yet all are 'required' to have a property manager
Its about compliance to me. If we are required to do something that 90% of us are already doing their will be another layer of compliance, more beauracy and you will be able to publish league tables.
We do not ever ,never need a ‘required’ test. We have an excellent resource in NEMP. Why have more tests. Its just not on.
Some of this might be reds under the bed stuff but I see it as a thinly veiled attempt at National testing.
We don’t need it. We are already doing a great job and using assessment effectively

Johns speech
Clear National Standards: Set national standards in reading, writing and numeracy. The standards will describe all the things children should be able to do by a particular age or year at school. They will be defined by benchmarks in a range of tests.
Effective Assessment: Require primary schools to use assessment programmes that compare the progress of their students with other students across the country. Schools will choose from a range of tests, but there won't be national exams.
Upfront Reporting: Give parents the right to see all assessment information, and to get regular reports about their child's progress towards national standards. Schools will also have to report each year on the whole school's performance against national standards.

So where are we.. who is on the bullshit... me thinks its the unions and the red flag brigade, but hey it might just be me.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

What's Our Kaupapa ?

My mate has gone and at 87 and we may say he had a “good innings” but it still is never easy to say goodbye. The one thing that I’ve always admired about Maori is they know how to say goodbye. It almost amazes me how pakeha NZ, sends their departed to a funeral home and a closed coffin appears at the church and thats it.
Although the Marae can be a daunting place for the pakeha, Maori shouldnt have to make excuses, the whole grieving process and respect for the grieving families is very much an example of the way learning should be. Maybe we should take a leaf from the kaupapa and see if there are linkages we can use.

1: Family is everything in terms of respect : note 1 - how many teachers know their Maori students families?
This may seem a bit silly that a teacher has to know a family to gain their respect.
While in the far north I met some very dysfunctional families, but through my friendship with firstly children, mums, and then through the rugby club, the men, I was able to raise the eyebrows to all the whanau. You wouldn’t want to meet some of these dudes in a dark alley, yet I’m able to pick up wasted hitchhikers ten years after leaving the valley and get treated with a “hey teach”.
2: Values: note 2 - you cant run two sets of values.
The children will respect your values as too will the families if you are constant. I had a community split by a church, you were either in or out. I sat on the fence but never changed my values. I know there were days when the churchies were rolling their eyes, but the bottom line was that the children were treated equally and the wiser church people could always be relied upon to settle the dust.
3: Sharing/Collaboration - being together, working collaboratively, joint success. Note 3 - How often do we as teachers want collaborative success ahead of individual results?
There is a strange feeling of satisfaction in working together to achieve, watching the contribution of everyone for this Tangi was humbling. A list of what the meal was for after the cemetery meant each person had one dish to prepare and they then grabbed the associate workers (anyone close by) to chop, peel and fetch. Meanwhile the programme was being prepared on the worlds oldest PC. Aunty was collecting a few bucks. A young nephew sent to town for supplies. Meanwhile the “never go to church” crowd gave their aroha by doing the hard work at the cemetery. Some of society’s poorest cases still found their way to contribute. Maybe this shows that we should never give up and that success at school is not as important as mana, and building mana to all is essential.
4: Self Esteem - Self Esteem and success is clearly missing in those who are failing yet they continue to come back to the well, they continue to help in the kitchen, fetch, clean, love but in their own way. The team effort of all over the last week shows how family, values, sharing and collaboration will build self esteem.

There are many success stories within our education system and to celebrate these is essential but my friends in the MOE hope that Ka Hikitia can be a start point for so much more.

Now the challenge is for us to learn a bit more, dig a bit deeper, take a big breath, and do it for poppa.
Watene Martin
e noho rä

Monday, August 11, 2008

Kiwi Leadership Principals- whooey - boo

I couldnt sit back and let this go by without comment. (Comments in brackets.)

The final Kiwi Leadership (what makes it specifically Kiwi?) for Principals KLP document was released on 7 August. Two copies of the document have been sent to all schools.
(So you can file one under W for waste of money and use the other to prop up the data projector)

Developed in collaboration with the school sector (who wondered why it was needed)

and underpinned by research evidence contained in the 2008 Educational Leadership BES,(which looked at a longitudinal study of 100 principals of which 1 was a kiwi)

KLP presents a model of leadership that reflects the qualities, knowledge and skills required to lead New Zealand schools from the present to the future. (yeah right - and it reflects no practical knowledge of what we do every day presuming we are all planning for the future of professional leadership)

KLP will be used as a reference point for developing the Professional Leadership Strategy. (how about you pay for this PD, and give us time for it by releasing management)

This strategy will provide a three to five year plan outlining how the Government intends to work with the sector to achieve the goal of strong professional leadership in every New Zealand school by 2012. ( boffins in wellington will now write this plan thus keeping themselves in a cruzy job for three to five years)

Some Thoughts : i wonder how many thousand the circular logo and web design cost ?
any chance of a set of badges saying "principals can achieve" and "leading learner"
It smacks of beaurocrats in wellington coming up with ideas, writing jobs for themselves, to keep themselves employed.

My personal opinion is that the MOE is full of people all ticking boxes and clipping the ticket. They are now working with the benefit of RESEARCH, research which has been interpreted by the experts as confirming their opinions (nothing new there).  With this new found backing the bloated bureaucracy is now out of control. The problem with this so called RESEARCH is that the practicalities of leadership and getting the job done are sacked for theory and stats. These University research types are brilliant people, Dr this, and Dr that, but they are notoriously aloof, mildly strange, difficult to converse with, appalling listeners, and absolutely terrible keynote  presenters.

Maybe its just a personality thing that has me choking on my Lion Red when the MOE issued the KLP stuff, Or is it just me.

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Justice this time

It's possible the catholics had a little bit of help from above but they did get what they deserve in the end.
See the blog below.

Arrrhhh a happy ending.
Marist win.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

George Nepia and the NZ Curriculum

The revised Curriculum has tickled my fancy for where it can lead us. After several deep discussions with mrs bob and mumbleboy we kept coming back to those values listed in the document. I couldnt help but split them into life values and educational values until mrs bob connected George Nepia to both of them.
I was watching a documentary on Maori television (as you do) reading the subtitles in english. For an hour they portrayed the most honest, hard working family man. On the farm he preferred to walk and carry rather than using the horse or tractor. He went to England for nearly three years to play League during the depression so his family could keep their land (turangawaewae). He coached, captained and led men through actions, he truly was a great humble man.
In 1982 in his late seventies he went to Wales and was at an All Black game. The last time he had been in Wales was in 1924 with the "invincibles". Before the game Keith Quinn walked with George down the sideline to a seat. Keith tells the story of how the crowd started to whisper "theres George Nepia" after walking ten meters the applause started and whistled around the ground at "mexican wave" speed. Keith spoke of how some 50 years after being in wales, that a crowd could hold a man in such high regard. The ground announcer then said "ladies and gentleman we have a very special guest, please welcome George Nepia" the crowd erupted into a five minute ovation. George quietly walked to the 25 and tipped his hat. Keith says one of the great moments of sport.

Values are listed in the document as deeply held beliefs. Three listed values included are excellence, ecological sustainability and innovation. Well they are important but deeply held ?? Not for me.
Of course in our Curriculum discussion on values I chose diversity and respect as ones that I feel strongly about, enough to call them deeply held beliefs. There are other values, integrity, equity, community. All very very important.

Then mrs bob made the connection - Did George Nepia achieve:
Excellence by aiming high and persevering in the face of difficulty.
Innovation, by thinking critically, creatively and reflectively.
Ecological Sustainability which includes care for the environment.

The answer is yes to all and without going too deep, it shows that those dudes at the MOE did get a few things right. It shows to me that the NZ Curriculum should reflect excellence, innovation and ecological sustainability. Well done Wellington and thanks barb for making connections.
Please read the link to George Nepia above, a great man, Kia Ora Maori TV.

Saturday, August 2, 2008

You get what you deserve. But you may have to wait a while.

You get what you deserve. 
It's something that has been my saying for many years. I often use the analogy in Rugby terms. I had a friend who grew up in NZ age grade rugby and played NZ schools. He went on to play for Tonga in Rugby World Cup in 03. He played against the All Blacks and Tonga lost by 90 odd points. After the game he went to the All Black changing room for a beer and laugh with some of his old schoolboy mates. He got an empty stare, a filthy look from the coach, and was sent packing without a smile, handshake or even a raise of an eyebrow. 2 weeks later New Zealand were home not even making the final. Karma.

For the last 3 months I've been working with the Under 21 boys at the local rugby club and we have built a good team with a tonne of guts, and were knocked out today in the semi final. A good season and we certainly got what we deserved.
Marist who beat us, have won every game, only one draw (with us) and have now qualified for the final. Pakuranga who they will play in the final have gone through the season playing well but the attitude of the coach, sideline, and players has been very disappointing. Try this: Laughing at a broken neck (and the boy is still in a wheelchair) and threatening to do it to other players next time. Telling other coaches to bait the Marist team when you play them. Referee abuse and more. I hope they get a dorking next week in the final, but I have a funny feeling. Karma ?

I had a first XV a few years back and we lost every game and were relegated to the 2nd division. Yet they were a brilliant bunch of kids, they worked hard and played with courage. At our last game we nearly beat the top team. Captain Eugene Mulipola stood up and said that he had been in the team for three years and had some great wins but this was the best TEAM he had ever been in. So where was our Karma, surely we should have one one game?
I think the lessons of loosing and teamwork stuck with these boys for life. After loosing one of our boys Sam Raeina in a tragic accident, these men came out of the woodwork and I got a chance to see my team some 7 years later.
The money came from the pockets, the haka came from within, and the friendships ran deep with these men. Guys who came to school to eat their lunch are policeman and electricians. These guys a dads, workers, men, kiwis. Karma - yip.

This too relates to the way I work and make decisions. I think if you are prepared to give and give and give then things will happen. Givers make the world go round. Think of all those people you know who give time, effort, encouragement. 
I've met some awesome teachers, i've got some awesome teachers, but those who give are something special. It's a motto I try to live by and work by. Sometimes at home I'm probably guilty of not giving, and for that I apologise. Karma for me, I don't really give a shit about, having such a great job, awesome family, people who care, is Karma enough, I get my fair share.

But Marist ? I hope their Karma comes next week, they deserve it.