Thursday, 17 April 2014

Kaser - Leadership mindsets

The four foundations of a global education framework include:
-          Learning to live together – when learners develop an understanding of other people, culture and values an appreciation of diverse perspectives and connectedness is created.
-          Learning to be – to counteract the impersonal nature of technology, every student needs opportunities to enjoy the freedom of thought, judgement, a range of feelings and imagination
-           Learning to know – students need to develop skills in learning to know – the acquisition of structured knowledge as well as cognitive learning tools.
-           Learning to do – gaining the competencies needed to deal with a variety of situations – most of which are unforeseeable
-          5th – suggested more recently is Learning to respect the natural world – this is becoming more critical due to the complexity of environmental issues currently in the world
-           Students are more engaged in schools that are more innovative, personalised and use technology.  Reimagining quality requires leaders to reconsider what is valued in their schools.  How do we recognise learners for their contribution to the learning culture?  In a knowledge based society (as opposed to a manufacture/consumer based society) we can no longer use education to sort learners into pass or fail – young people need to develop a sense of belonging, a sense of well-being, and engagement with their community. (Kaser & Halbert, 2009).

Kaser, L., & Halbert, J. (2009). Leadership mindsets: Innovation and learning in the transformation of schools. London: Routledge.

Wednesday, 16 April 2014

Senge - Education for an interdependent world

Students today are aware of the global changes that are taking place.  Education can no longer perpetuate the industrial age values of economic consumerism.  The re-creation of education is dependent of communities that are committed to a future that has a future, not just educators.  Foundational changes include:
  • -          Systems thinking
  • -          Authentic youth engagement
  • -          Rethinking schools as learning communities, and
  • -          Education for sustainability

The process of education needs to be re-contextualised, by teaching children to be more responsible for their own environment, developing awareness of interconnectedness, and tackling complex real-life community issues.   Schools need to re-construct themselves into a learning community, where learning isn’t constricted into an isolated classroom.  This encourages the view that educators are not restricted to the classroom teacher, but to all adults that the child interacts with.  The need for education to evolve is apparent, and that cannot happen alone.  This however is impeded by the demand from society that school remain familiar to their childhood experience.     (Senge, 2010)

Senge, P. (2010). Education for an interdependent world: Developing Systems Citizens. In A. Hargreaves, M. Lieberman, Fullan, & D. Hopkins (Eds.), Second international handbppk of educational change, Part 1 (pp. 131-151). New York: Springer.

Hargreaves - A decade of educational change

Hargreaves (2009) states that as the economic and social constructs of the world are changing, so too must education change.  How education is changing however is of mixed success.  Large scale reform imposed from a top down approach has proven to have mixed results at best, even when based on successful innovations from other areas.  Teachers can only really learn when they are in their own classroom, connecting with other teachers.  The introduction of test based success for schools has shown focus on achieving acceptable scores results in the neglect of curriculum and pedagogy developments to meet the new needs of students.  Over-testing deteriorates child well-being, deters innovation and creativity, and the exploration necessary for child development.  Data should be used as a basis for setting goal, but within reason and in consultation with anecdotal evidence.  The biggest influence on student achievement comes from outside the school.  Supporting children through their families and community, as well as schools could have a bigger effect on student achievement than in school innovation.  Leadership within school needs to change from manager to leaders capable of inspiring innovation and creativity in the classroom. 

Hargreaves, A. (2009). A decade of educational change and a defining moment of opportunity:an introduction. Journal of Educational Change, 10(2/3), 89-100.

The more I read the more the connection with community is an obvious common thread - But I am wondering how to establish this in a community where parents are largely happy with current practice and perhaps are less likely to see the need for changing?  and how to establish this in families that already feel pressured for time and energy  ... A question I should put out there to my community, perhaps my assumptions are not correct.

Tuesday, 15 April 2014

Reggio Emilia Video

This is a video from CNN about the Reggio approach.  While it doesn't cover all aspects that are key to Reggio, it gives a good overview.  It also emphasizes an important point.  In an interview with Howard Gardner, a question is posed regarding the ability to transfer such a programme to another area.  In response, Howard notes that you can't, but you can take the aspects of most importance to your community and develop those.  This is what we are hoping to do at our school.


Friday, 4 April 2014

Modern learning in Edtalks

Our school is developing similar pedagogy - it is great to see another school moving in the same direction.  It is also great to see how this can work in a larger school.

Modern-learning-practice from EDtalks on Vimeo.

Learning to Learn

Learning to Learn: by Guy Claxton

I found this video while looking for some supporting papers for my assignments.  I thought it encapsulated all the leadership and curriculum learning I am currently focusing on very effectively.

Click here for video - the code for embedding was incorrect :(

Sunday, 23 February 2014

634 - Catching the knowledge wave? (reading 1)

Gilbert, J. (2005). Catching the knowledge wave? The knowledge society and the future of education. Wellington, NZ: NZCER Press

This article discusses the changing meaning of knowledge from that of a product to that of a process that can create economic value.  It considers this in relation to the development of state education to support economic and industry needs.  The change from industrial based education to a knowledge based one is slow. 
Knowledge was a product, it is now a process – it is now considered to be knowledge when it can be used to produce something new…. Not produced in the minds of individuals, but in the interactions between people.

Focus question
o    To what extent do you think recent reforms and changes are meeting the requirements of the knowledge age?

I believe that recent reforms are encouraging development towards meeting the needs within the knowledge age.  However there are many barriers to these developments such as parental fear of an unknown / unfamiliar education system, limited resources within schools, and a reluctance to move away from teaching practice that has been seen as successful.

In implementing changes to teaching practice at my school, I have been questioned by the BOT to ensure that the changes are not too far from traditional practice, or what would be seen in other schools which may not be embracing reforms.

Sunday, 16 February 2014

639 Knowledgeable and supportive school leadership

Bishop, R., O’Sullivan, D., & Berryman, M. (2010). Scaling up education reform. Addressing the politics of disparity. Wellington: NZCER Press.

This chapter highlights 6 key attributes to effective leadership.  
  • The use of measureable goals that enable progress to be monitored. 
  • Leaders must support the development and implementation of new pedagogic practice and interactions within the classroom.  
  • The implementation of changes in the organisational structure and 
  • spreading the reform to include staff, parents and community.  
  • Developing the capacity of people and systems that use data to improve student achievement.  
  • Promoting ownership of the reform within the school.

639 Reading Key challenges for educational leaders

Key challenges for educational leaders

Duignan, P. (2006). Educational leadership. Key challenges and ethical tensions. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

This text considers some of the difficulties educational leaders face, such as dealing with underperforming staff, implementing change, work/life balance, and dealing with confrontational student behaviour. 

It notes that successful leaders develop and communicate a clear, purposeful vision and develop strong relationships with their staff to support the permeation of the values.  Dealing with issues and difficult tasks in a timely manner supports the building of trust and ensures the strategic sense of development can progress.  Ensuring there is time to reflect, relax and regroup is important to all levels of leadership and this must be considered and planned for. 

My thoughts –

-          In a teaching principal position many of the relationship/communication issues highlighted in this text seem to be more manageable.  Perhaps because of the small number of staff to develop relationships with, and also the closeness within which we work.  Dealing with difficult issues quickly is difficult, but if the students are kept as the priority in the situation it is easier to make necessary decisions.

Sunday, 9 February 2014

638 - Reading 1 Understanding the Curriculum by Clive McGee

McGee, C. (2008). Understanding curriculum. In C.McGee & D. Fraser (eds.). The Professional Practice of Teaching. 3rd edition (pp. 65-78). South Melbourne, VIC: Cengage Learning.

Discussion questions
  1. What is meant by curriculum and how might teacher be involved in curriculum development?

The course of study – learning and teaching plans (intended curriculum) – activities that happen in the classroom lead by the teacher (operational curriculum)
Teachers influence the curriculum at a ‘hands on’ level.  Creating and delivering an effective programme for their students.  Involvement in shared planning.  Students may also have input in this level

    2.   How much decision making autonomy do teachers have?

Teachers are able to build their ‘in class’ curriculum based on the National Curriculum, and school curriculum to create goals and aims – choice in content to focus on, learning and teaching activities, style of evaluation, and student interest/needs - - I believe the level of autonomy varies from school to school depending on the prescriptiveness of the school curriculum and the leadership model in place.

          3.   What are some recent developments in NZ curriculum and what are the implications for teachers and schools?

Development of seven essential learning areas in 1993 National Curriculum -  8 learning levels to cover learning from year 1 -13, curriculum statements for each learning area – 2007 curriculum document –
2007 version encourages local development based on needs – connection between learning areas within activities – better links with school stages (ECE – primary – post-school) – encourages teachers to be decision makers for their students & include the students in the decision making.

The current curriculum encourages teachers and schools to base what they teach and how they teach on their community and student needs/values.  This allows teachers to develop programmes that could engage learners more effectively.  

Saturday, 8 February 2014

Curriculum Presentation

Course 638 focuses on Curriculum Leadership.  Task 1 is to develop a powerpoint presentation focusing on an aspect of Curriculum Development.

While it is early days, and I am sure my thinking will evolve as I complete some readings etc.  there are 3 aspects which pop into my head as possible focus areas.

  1. Learning area focus - Technology - This is a learning area that we have not focused on much in the last three years so it is our priority this year. This presentation would be for the benefit of the staff.
  2. Pedagogy focus - We have been exploring/dabbling with a Reggio Emelia inspired teaching model and it would be great to delve into that further and introduce it further to new staff and BOT members.
  3. ICT focus - another development in our pedagogy is the development of learning through e-Learning strategies. This presentation would be for the benefit of BOT and staff, and possibly for the parents.
I am not sure which aspect would be the best yet - in part it will depend on the resources I can find to support my presentation - perhaps a place to find help with the most valuable will be in the staff room - the area my staff feel they need the most support to develop is perhaps the best area to focus on...

Thursday, 6 February 2014

10 claims about successful school leadership

10 claims about successful school leadership

Day, C., Sammons, P., Hopkins, D., Harris, A., Leithwood, K., Gu, Q., & Brown, E. (2010). 10 Strong Claims about successful school leadership. Nottingham: National College for Leadership of Schools and Children’s Services

This article outlines the findings from a three year study in the UK.  It follows on from a previous study.  It concludes that there is no one set model for successful leadership within a school.  However successful leaders use the same set of skills and actions within a flexible structure to meet the needs of their institution.  Key elements of leadership within this study include; having a strong ethical and moral purpose; building layers on leadership within the school; flexibility based on the needs of the school; and having trust and trustworthiness with the staff, students and community.

"Successful leaders:

  • – define their values and vision to raise expectations, set direction and build trust
  • – reshape the conditions for teaching and learning
  • – restructure parts of the organisation and redesign leadership roles and responsibilities
  • – enrich the curriculum
  • – enhance teacher quality
  • – enhance the quality of teaching and learning
  • – build collaboration internally
  • – build strong relationships outside the school community "

Sunday, 2 February 2014

2014's learning journey

A new year a new challenge

This year brings a great change of pace.  Study leave!  This year I will be working away at 4 courses.  This will complete my Master's of Education - endorsed in Leadership.  While the courses will challenge me, I am hoping the time frame won't.  Having completed 3 courses last year while working, I am hoping I will be able to use this year as a re-charger year as well.

So this year's courses:
  1. EDEM634 - leadership of learning
  2. EDEM637 - Distributing leadership for learning
  3. EDEM638 - Curriculum Leadership
  4. EDEM639 - Leadership for School and Centre Improvement
What I hope to gain from this is a refinement of my skills as a leader, strategies to improve outcomes for my school, or any school I am fortunate enough to work with, and some new knowledge that I didn't know I didn't know :)


Yippee!  All 2013 courses were successful (very) and I have completed my postgrad, endorsed in e-Learning, with distinction!!!
I am very keen to keep using my new skills, however 2014 won't give me too many opportunities as I ave been awarded study leave so will only be in the classroom for 8 weeks, which with my release days etc adds up to a total of 20 teaching days... can't wait!