Tuesday, 7 February 2017

I am a voyagers and research helps me on my journey!

Today we gathered as a cluster in the Tamaki College hall to listen to the findings and future focused ideas presented by the researchers.

Before starting the presentation Russell Burt announced that Manaiakalani is now a COL (Community of learning) however while this official COL recognition is great it made me think that since I arrived last year I have already been part of an amazing community of learning and that while this would change in some ways the role people have it will not change my feeling of being part of something bigger than myself.

It is together that we innovate, learn and do more for the future.

Sitting in the hall I was reminded of something that has come up a lot for me in the weeks leading up to this presentation. A simple statement with a real and lasting meaning that is backed by the story and Movie Moana. The ideas is that We are voyagers, who need to know where we have been and where we are chart and plan where they are going.

Today's discussion started with Aaron Wilson talking about where we have been.
He took us through the data. My big take way was that we have done a lot in the past especially to improve writing in which we are getting accelerated shift against the norm however there is still much to be done and our progress must be maintained as we venture on with the aim of seeing the same accelerated shift in reading and maths.

This discussion was followed by Stuart McNaughton discussing with us the interpersonal skills and key competencies our learners need. He discussed critical literacy and suggest that we see low rate of achievement in critical literacy. The best place to teach critical literacy in the act of being literate.

We should also encourage learners to be critical of their action and reaction. Ask them to think why is it that my actions had a negative effect on my group? We should be thinking critically about our social skills as well. We need to think about how we build arguing and critical thinking skills in groups.

Another area Stuart discussed was self control. He suggested that children are much more aware of needing to be self controlled online however we need to give the learners strategies for building self control.

He also talked about the interpersonal skills of empathy and compassion. He said that
children who read more books tend to be empathetic. this is because well written narrative text help learners to consider others views. It seems that many of our learners have strengthens in this area.

We do however need to consider how we help learner to put themselves in others shoes when online. To make digital personal again so that learners learn to tell when someone is upset online and think would I like it if.....How is the best way to interact and react to others online.

Lastly he suggested that teaching of these skills needs to be part of teaching other curriculum areas.

I have to admit it all seems like a huge challenge one that I am ready to take on but first I need to decide on a starting point. Listening to expert researchers present challenges reminds me how very privileged I am to be in an innovative school and community. A community that is not afraid to look at itself and say that failed lets try something different. A community that invites others to give input, to be critical and to challenge us. It is because of these researchers along with many others that I feel challenged to alway do better, try harder and keep going on my voyage no matter how rough the sea is.

So thank to all those who are part of the Manaiakalani community setting expectation high for both learners and teachers!

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