Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Henare O'Keefe a great New Zealander

So is it true that we learn by association?
Do we need to change the habits of a school or community in order to create opportunities for learning?

In the holidays a watched a brilliant documentary on maori TV about one of NZ's most amazing men. Take 51 minutes of your life to watch this doco (not sure how long the link will work) and challenge yourself to make changes.
One of the points he makes is about learning by association. If you look at soldiers and the way they associate and the way they learn, compare this to gang members, babies at a pre-school and children in your class (no matter what age) you probably see that they behave in a way that "fits in" rather than "stands out".

As a Principal or teacher I reckon we have a responsibility to our children and our school to ensure that the associative behavior outside of your classroom meets the expectations of what happens inside your room. I have a saying that goes something like this, "judge our students not when an adult is present but when they think no-one else is looking". It can be quite harsh and often we are let down but it is still a great leveler and a goal to aim for. kids will let us down and their differences need to be sorted, but doing nothing all result in more of the same.

I love the way Henare is saving his suburb "one sausage at a time".
Metaphorically we have to look at our children, families and community and identify those who can cook the sausages, and those who can eat them, and as a school we may have to be the barbeque.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Why do we go to school ?

Why do we come to school?
This was a Q we were asking ourselves at our most recent team leader meeting.
We were told that to increase student achievement was a given.
Our task was to think beyond student achievement.
I then had to draw a picture and explain what I had drawn, it had to depict - Why do I come to school?

If I asked you why you came to school (genuinely) what would your answer be?

I could just leave it open and ask your opinion, but I know ones reluctance to comment usually amounts in zero feedback, so I am happy to share my views in the hope that I don't get shot down too much for sharing.

My very poor sketch is about filling hearts and minds. As a Principal we are responsible directly for staff and indirectly for students in a general sence. This means that we have to keep those who work for us and with kids in an environment that fosters learning. We must have warm hearts and a healthy minds to get the success. I reckon we all have to try really hard to fill the hearts and minds of those we work with directly or indirectly to make our schools the best they can be.
Sounds a little warm and fuzzy sorry for those who want a sachet of "harden up" that comes only when a clean out is needed and even then a warm heart will always win through.

Why do you come to school?


People know I am a gadget freak and run a fairly decent school from particularly (not solely) an elearning perspective.
However, I want to help those out there who are not sure where to go with the devices/laptops.
I also want to get a really good grasp of the big picture around where we are headed as schools with learning.

I have this worry that the clamor for devices and BYOD and 1 to 1 everything is lost in the need to keep up with the Joneses and not about sound educational decisions. Many of you know that I like to call a spade a shovel and lots of people will disagree with me that their school's elearning is set up on sound educational decisions. I'm not attacking you guys, I am just saying that if you look around there are the "haves" and "have nots" and the gaps are noticeable and when i see schools trialling iPads and iPods i kind of want to see the pedagogy and the planning and the big picture understanding. (i'm sure there is a big word for that, Ando?)

So I have been lucky enough to get this APPA travelling fellowship. A chance to travel the world over two school terms and capture best practice using devices. I have a great chance to visit those guys out there leading the charge.

I am coming to Australia, USA and lots of good old NZ. I have lined up many schools and districts, however, I need to find good people, My ADE network is hard at work and I'd love to get a few/tips/offers/places to go from the experts.
Comment on the blog or hit me up on twitter @sumich
Possibles on the list thus far in the USA, LA, San D, San F, Portland, Des Moine, Wisc, Florida, NYC, Maine.
Cheers and Im back!
I have had my tail between my legs worried about big brother after last years battle with NS (standardized stuff). So we have a new leaf and new ideas and new beginnings.