Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Emma Woods I salute you

In one of the saddest stories ever written, a great New Zealander has touched everyone who heard or saw her reaction. This is something that brought a tear to the eye of thousands of people as we shook our heads in disbelief of a truly amazing woman. Picture your two children run over by an alleged boy racer, killing one and injuring another and the grieving mum coming out with statements like these:

"We don't want this to be his defining moment in his life," Emma Woods said yesterday of Ash Austin's actions that killed her son Nayan, 4, and injured her and her other son Jacob, 6.

"He's young ... and he's got his whole life ahead of him. And we hope he will use it to do good things, and to be good with people. And maybe eventually to be a good father.

"We know that at some stage with the grieving process, there will be anger. But at this stage, we're not angry. It's just a tragic accident."

"He was just a kid coming home from work and the road was slippery.

"He made a mistake maybe driving, I don't know, that's not for me to decide. I know that sometimes when I'm with the kids, I've maybe driven a bit too fast. Everybody makes mistakes when they're driving."

Read for yourself unbelievable this and this.

Emma Woods your are truly amazing. I know every kiwi sends you and your family their love. If we could take some of the strength and empathy you have shown, and action that daily, this country would be an even better place. I am extremely proud to know such a great Kiwi, mum, family exists in NZ. arohanui

Monday, May 24, 2010

This isn't tiddlyewinks

I cant sit back and take it for one more minute.
I need to know what is going on at half back in NZ rugby. We are trying to win a world cup here, this isn’t tiddlywinks. It’s time for the harsh realities. When Will Genia is developing into a top test player you have to ask what happened to the development of our halfbacks. Our guys are just doing the same as they always did. All of you people who think steady is good are not facing the crisis that is impending if we vote for the incumbents. Its like continuing to pick Rokocoko again, we know that just isn’t acceptable.

Is the guy you are picking going to be a match winning halfback for us in the rugby world cup? When I say match winning I mean the game breaker, the guy who makes the difference, the guy with the edge, the guy who is hungry and adds actions to that hunger.
So lets have a look who is around.
A: Quentin James Cowan
B: Andrew Ellis
C: Piri Weepu
D: Khan Fotualii
E: Alby Matthewson
F: Brendan Leonard

1: does my halfback piss around at the ruck waiting endlessly to pass to a runner who is being marked. Cowan: can piss around a bit 5. Ellis: endless pissing around 4. Weepu: shocking at snails pace from rucks (fitness related though) 2. Fotualii: the most decisive, arrives quickly and sends it (easily the fittest halfback) 8. Matthewson: big failing just endless waiting for him (his worst fault) 4. Leonard: should know better 5.

2: does my half back defend like a forward, are they an aggressive or passive tackler. Cowan: great defender more behind the ruck though 8. Ellis: poorest defender (head and concussion issues) 4. Weepu: lazy defender, but smart, can step up but often doesnt 6. Futualii: wins here too, best defender by miles, aggressive tackler can use no arms occasionally but importantly can turn ball over with his hits, appears to love defending 9. Matthewson: gritty and determined but small and very obviously is knackered by the 60 minute mark when his size has taken its toll, often replaced late in games when he is buggered 6. Leonard: makes good tackles but often in the box/cover defence roll not in an attacking tackle 7.

3: is my halfback a player who always needs defending, are they a decisive runner who could be dangerous at any time. Cowan: yip you gotta defend him, he can and will snipe, not sensationally dangerous but must be watched 7. Ellis: dont bother defending him just run to carter and smash him 2. Weepu: only very close to the line is he worth defending, again he is smart/cunning but not a particularly dangerous halfback 6. Fotualii: can run and likes to have a go, has speed and can beat a man, not afraid to run, can improve but is as good as the rest 7. Matthewson: good sniper and can burst is easily put away though due to size, still this is his best asset 7. Leonard offers what Ellis offers steady predictable and at an average pace 3.

4: is my halfback always improving judge them from 06 -07 -08 and in 2009 are they going to be a better player, in 2010 will they be even better. Cowan: hasnt improved his aggression or arrogance cause he has them in spades, technically no improvement in pass or attack 6. Ellis: no improvement in any areas apart from minor experience cause he keeps getting picked 4. Weepu: has gone backwards is unfit and falling of the pace in attitude, aggression and interest 2. Fotualii: was lucky to be a crusader 3 years ago, his rise has been more growth, he is 28, he played 1st5 for Tasman last year, they won everything until he got hurt. Blackadder stuck by Fotualii when under pressure to take local Cantab Tyson Keats, great call Todd. He is the massive improver 10. Matthewson: big improver by being given a chance elsewhere, there is no question he will continue to improve, the question here does he have the attributes to match the improvement of Foutalii 9. Leonard: going backwards 2.

5: does my players hunger reflect in their actions on the field. Cowan always shows the hunger 9. Ellis hungry but the actions don’t talk 6. Weepu: his brain is always sharp and actions fluctuate, but not often enough 6. Foutalii hungrier than an alligator with actions that reflect that, equal to Cowan 9. Matthewson: hungry too up there with the other two 9. Leonard hungry but the actions don’t match the heart 6.

6: speed of pass. Cowan 7. Ellis 6. Weepu 6. Fotualii 7 Matthewson 7. Leonard 6.

Here are my totals out of 60
Cowan 42 Ellis 26 Weepu 28 Fotualii 50 Matthewson 42 Leonard 29
Summary: we might have to bite the bullet and let the halfbacks get experience (Fotualii and maybe Matthewson) and use Cowan when we need to. Otherwise more of the same will result in more of the same.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Which came first - and who cares - it's true

From Values & Beliefs about Learning to Principles and Practice
Julia Atkin published the above paper in 1996. Her circles about values and beliefs are a great tool for schools to align their values and beliefs with their Principles and Practice. Below is an abstract from the article. The TED video is talking about business but the similarities with educational leadership are too good to be ignored. Thanks to @alanalach for this tweet, I just joined the dots.
So now I ask who wants to hear Julia talking about the NZ curriculum, get hands on and work with her. Get to NZConnectED

ABSTRACT : For example, there are many practices congruent with the belief that students can and do learn from each other. A teacher who holds that belief would develop approaches that, in principle, give opportunities for students to learn from each other. So a teacher who holds this belief is likely, in practice, to arrange the room so that students can work together readily, to give opportunities to work together on tasks in small groups and to employ strategies and approaches such as peer modeling, peer evaluation and peer tutoring. The relationship between these particular learning-teaching practices and the teacher’s core values and beliefs is shown in below.
Not only would practices be developed to give opportunities for students to learn from each other but also feedback loops would be introduced to evaluate whether in fact collaborative learning was actually occurring.

A useful exercise to develop the habit of this approach and thinking is set out bleow. As a reflection exercise, work it through individually or in collaboration with a colleague.

1. Each identify one of your strongly held values or beliefs about learning.
2. If you believe this, how in principle do you respond? How, in principle, do you work towards this belief?
3. Give three examples of different practices which are congruent with this principle and its underlying belief.
4. Identify barriers (or potential barriers) to this belief being lived out in practice.
5. Identify a practice which is not congruent with your belief.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

What is your schools priority ?

I'm getting a bit sick of meeting teachers and principals who are focussing on the national standards. I can read Nag 2. We know what is expected. I recently met with my friends at Learning Network who said that the meetings and information stuff about National Standards have had huge attendance. The scary thing is that 90% of schools are making national standards their PD. Wake up you plonkers, show me your local curriculum, show me what you are doing with the NZC, show your communities how creative and hard working you are, show your kids the innovation and creativity you have as teachers.
What are people thinking making an election slogan their professional development emphasis??
Schools need to look at their values and make sure their priorities aren't compromised by competition and perceived success.
People need to get their priorities straight and a good start would be real Professional Development, not some made up rubbish from the peddlers who have sold their soul to the Ministers wallet.


Follow Learning Network on twitter, retweet the NZConnectED conference, we owe it to the kids/classrooms of NZ who will soon be inundated with seen texts at 90%.

Tony Ryan: 'Zest practice' in the key competencies
The key competencies are not merely a slight reworking of curriculum documentation. They are a framework and an inquiry-based exploration for a life fully lived. This keynote will clarify the innovative nature of 'Zest Practice' for the key competencies in everyday classrooms.
Tony will also deliver the conference closing: "Now What?"

Julia Atkin: Picking up the gauntlet - doing justice to the spirit of the NZC
The NZ Curriculum has been warmly welcomed by NZ educators, but the apparent freedom if offers comes with significant responsibilities. What are these responsibilities and what are the key elements of the development and review process that will ensure your school does justice to the spirit of the NZ Curriculum?

Graham Watts: The class of 2023
In 2023 the children starting school this year will leave school. What is the future of teaching? How are we going about preparing our youngsters for unknown jobs and a future that is ever-changing? We need to develop the skilful thinkers with transferable learning skills.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

1 in 5

Ando truly nailed the 1 in 5 nonsense being brandished about by the minister, but what is the reality of a bell curve, what does it actually mean.

To me you can look at it from another viewpoint. A bell curve indicates that there is always someone struggling or failing. So I ask the question, is it me or you? It isn't plausible that we are so far down in the intelligence scale that we are failing because of intellect. BUT it is probable that teachers/principals are failing in the actual skills and delivery to work in the classroom and staffroom. I reckon 1 in 10 might be a decent guesstimate. Look around your colleagues the next time you meet, 1 in ten eh? But before pre judging anyone look at yourself.
I found the last four days at Masterclass Paramatta one of the best reflective opportunities. It had nothing to do with the format, more the people, surroundings and time. I was able to look at my own performance and realize that confidence can lead to a false sense of accomplishment and a dip in knowledge. When you are totally confident in where you are going without always looking to improve and learn more you can build up a false sense of achievement.

When you apply this to teachers think about the things you don't know, think about your blindspot in the Johari window. What do others know about you that you don't know? What do you know about your performance that no one else knows?
Sometimes this is the wake up call you need to give yourself. I'm not talking about those rubbish teachers, or those who destroy your school culture (they have to go) I'm talking about good people just looking to keep pressing the envelope.
Pull out the Johari window, trial it with your friends, look from another person point of view, it works.