Friday, July 22, 2016

Dr Yong Zhao - entrepreneurial and creative problem based thinking

I was fortunate to hear Dr Yong Zhao in the freezing hall of Christs College on the last day of the hols. 

So Dr Zhao was brought here by the 'Thought Leaders' - Who are thought leaders? I have no idea!!

Focus of the lecture - 21st century schools in age of globalisation 

Recent book to read - Who's afraid of the big bad dragon?

Zhao posed lots of questions:

What's makes a good education?

Are we delivering the right things?

Are we 'Counting what counts?'  

3 big issues in education: 

Interesting that he saw - Curriculum  - continually changing - lots of 'playing' 
What is the best possible curriculum to learn? 

Pedagogy and teachers - trying to prescribe how we teach - 

Assessment - large tests /Pisa  -,the trend to forced high stakes assessments
Patents want scores -bell who's doing a good job ? 

We want to improve education but according to Zhao we need transformation?

What we should be focussing on 'what matters' and this will be different from place to place - different contexts.

In one place you can be useless, in another you can be useful. 

3 problems in education
- disengaged kids 
- post school prospects - youth unemployment - a lot of the kids are 'stuck in the basement' - this generation has had more education than any than any other 'under employment' also an issue - 'the boomerang' generation - they've played the game but the game no longer works 
- equity - the achievement gap is a symptom of the equity gap 

Traditional educational paradigm - education to deliver prescribed outcomes to all  children. We deliver a package delivered the right way! 

Traditionally differences have had no value- but when applied tons specific contexts can it matters / means something. 

Dr Reiss - 16 basic motivations and objects of desire! 
Understanding that people have different motivators leads to reduced frustration! 

How do we decide what kids need to know? 
Historically this has been an homogenous process. 
The current system reinforces mediocrity, shuns excellence and diversity.

We're not delivering a poor education, but the wrong education. 

Transformational revolution - very few of these take place. 

The 4th industrial revolution - smart machines. 
No job is safe! 

What opportunities does this create to celebrate individual differences? 
To solve the 3 main problems in education?
Biggest thing we consume - choice

New paradigm - reverse of homogenised - diversified - creating a jagged profile of success - no one is the same. 

Another text to scan - The end of average. Todd Ross. 

Big data is useless for individual students - based on the average. 

Education needs to be: 
-  student driven and personalised - not compared to others, individual students have talent. Student autonomy. Have we changed teaching from instruction to supporting learning. 
- product driven - know how to problem solve - start with identifying what problems are worth solving ( are you bettering other people's lives) -
- globalised campus -do our students have the capacity to reach the globe 

We can't keep tinkering with education on a small scale. 

NB would have been interesting to be a fly on the wall when he spoke with Ministry and opposition around National Standards and Communities of Learners - neither of which he was in support of! 

Friday, July 15, 2016

Re:generation NZATE16 : Keynote 4 Ben Brown

Writer, teacher, performance poet and sometime. 

Listening to Ben Brown I sort of question why he is not as well known as Witi Ihimaera or Patricia Grace. As powerful a wordsmith. 

He describes himself as 'A storyteller in the world of words'. 

Maori at home, Pakeha at school - the world of his mother. 

Great line - Behind every great writer is the ghost of an English teacher!!!

And another - Human conversation is not a frivolous activity. 

'My father always a book at the table right next to the knife! They were in the workshop and stacked in piles in the house. My mother read Readers Digest condensed -'much to my father's chagrin'. 

Created some great images - my mother's tongue had the quality of hard diamond that cut! Ben has wonderful descriptions of his mother - the heron that fishes, the eel that twists and turns ... She could talk to birds! 
Animals had a natural affinity to her, they knew how to find her kindness. 

Honky the rabbit - named from 'Love thy neighbour' - imagine that show today!!
The teacher 'Miss What ever her name' refused to allow the racist name in the pet show!  'As only a teacher in her room could' 

In Tom Sawyer he could see his own life reflected - scallywag, truant, miscreant ....

Another great line - 'The constant mining if the human story. The seam is rich' 

Final thoughts - Be the artist. Dream ridiculously. Don't live in the grind of someone else's machine.  Poets are hopeless romantics - they believe in everything. 
Be an artist. Be the maker of something real. 
Make it complete and give it a name or else it will not exist. 

Final line:
Mana is the man who does without saying 
'He Kingi' 

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Re:generation NZATE16: Workshop 4 NZQA

What are markers looking for:
- no more than 3 pages - a concise response - Level 1; 5 pages - Level 2/3 
- open ended - 3 pages 
- quality more important than length 

Teachers need to promote and encourage this - kids write a lot of stuff - can be quite tedious - is it necessary - in English they should be able to write a concise essay 

Supporting evidence - does not mean 10 quotes - often they are saying too much 

Nothing in standards, or curriculum that specifies a word count.
Better to write two pages of good stuff! 
Should be able to complete all 3 standards in 3 hours. 

Are students disadvantaged if they do 3 - NZQA research shows not. 

We need 15-16 year olds to be able to respond to a question, in exam conditions. We do not expect a polished piece. 

Discussion over the key words in exam questions! Should be the key words from the standard - not synonyms. 

- looking for - stating an argument - build an argument 
- show an interest in the text 
- have a personal response 
- choose texts that the kids can relate to, can see the purpose of 
- original response often hard to see for some texts 

- don't tell the kids what to write 

OMG - quote from workshop about the exemplars ' if my kids wrote this I wouldn't give them Excellence!!"'

Re:generation NZATE16: Keynote 3 Michele A'Court - Small Town Girl

According to Steve, Michele writes 'real'comedy!

We get caught up with the 'minutiae' of our lives! 

How come my house earns more than I do in a year??!! 

Fundamental philosophy is that life is chaos. We spend our lives writing narratives to explain that chaos. 
'I look at my life as a book' 

Teachers who mattered to me: 
40 or more kids in my primary class - you just got moved through the system - always young in the class. Escaped into books. The librarian who led me to the young adult section of the library - was s key influence. 

My Yr9 teacher who told that you could make a living from writing - this was revelation. 

Mr Marsh - who made the 5 of us who chose drama to do Chekhov. In his own time, his own money, his own enthusiasm....

Last year she wrote an open apology on 'social media' to the teachers she had harassed through school - such as Dr Iles who did Economics without the knowledge he needed! 

Memories of SC English - writing on 'not' set texts - my teachers taught me HOW to read, not hoe to regurgitate! 

Two teachers who believe in you; no teachers who crush your dreams and few teachers who are faking it! 

I live the life I dreamed I wanted! If you can't recommend the job you do to others, why are you doing it? Find the 
place where you feel the 'most you'. 

Still keep grounded in the 16 year old in Levin. 

Three things needed in life: 
Something to look forward to
Someone to love 
Something to fight for 

Talking about fear: performing creates anxiety. 
Do something one degree scarier than the thing you have to do, it makes the thing you have to do less scarier. 

We tend to remember the shitty things that people say, not the good things - we need to hold onto those! 

Key quotes : Alice Walker ' I have the right to be this self' 

Final words - the fight for feminism belong to all !!


Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Regeneration NZATE16: Keynote 2 Rose Hipkins - Capabilities: an idea to regenerate interest in the NZC

Rose posed a number of thought provoking and highly academic questions:

Why did we out key competencies into the curriculum back in 2007? 

The background for them came from the OECD. 

The minor path is to see them as ideas that ask the 'so what' - using them to actually drive what the teaching and learning actually looks like. 

The 4 words that drive the key competencies - capabilities for living and lifelong learning 

What does that actually mean for whatever do? 

What are people actually capable of and how do you frame that capability? What happens in society where there is no social justice? 

What are all students actually capable of?
Are they then having the opportunities to develop these capabilities? 

What do students actual need in order to be capable of living a decent life? 

Our system gives us the freedom to do a whole lot around these capabilities? But few of us actually do! 

Rose referenced - 'The party in the car' resource - LTSA. The capability that they are tapping into 'thinking'. What is it about this verbal and visual text that enables it to get under the skin of the reader. 

Knowledge of text features - personal experiences and values. In using this text students have to use all the key competencies in a meaningful way. 

Another example was a systems thinking model - consider an issue and fully resists the urge to come to a quick conclusion. 
The English rich task would be to reframe the model from formal language to a more accessible language. 
A text to  review - Triple Focus - Daniel Goldman and Peter Senge.
Any school curriculum should focus on - systems thinking, managing self and the ability to work collaboratively. 

I see 
I think 
I wonder 

What is the difference between inference in English and Science? 
Science searches for evidence in the world. English searches for evidence in the world of experience. 

We need to put meaning making on the outside - so that students can create meaning across the curriculum areas. 

If we hold social justice and equity dear - them we have to have a close look at the lack of equity in NCEA external preparation. Low SES classes not likely to be exposed to the contexts needed in order to do well in for example 'Unfamiliar Text'. 

Questions to take away - 
- how do we prioritise and manage complexity 
- what basic capabilities across the curriculum should exist? 
- can we define expectation? 

Critical Thinking - not just cognitive - dispositional/emotional as well as empathy 
Persepective- taking 
Disciplinary (meaning making) 

If the task is rich and interesting these things will be there. 

Re:generation NZATE 16: Workshop 2 Marama Salsano - decolonising the English classroom

Teacher, writer and student ....

Boy, we had to think is this workshop! 

Lots of conversation around post-colonial theory of literature in Yr13 - which was interesting! 

Decolonizing the English classroom - normal use Te Ao Maori in the space. 

Whakapapa as literary analysis - more than genealogy, layers of meaning. Relationships beyond the blood types. Everything whakapapas back to Ranginui and Papatuanuku. 

Papatuanuku - a model of sustainability, the human connection to the natural world. We all live here - this is a unique way to see the world - links really well to the NZC - especially Level 8.

The woven universe - written post WW2 - Maramaosed some challenging questions - for explain how would you explain the whakapapa of an atom bomb? 
Think back of smart phone / computer / bomb etc - they all whakapapa back to Papatuanuku and Ranginui. What happens when you dispose of a smart phone?  The idea of recycling and sustainability - most students can actually do this. 

The whakapapa of a 
- what components make up a watch? 
- what happens when it comes to the end of its life? 

The hat - 
A very useful and interesting activity 3 different 'readings' - Marxist, feminist, whakapapa 

Zines - 
Non commercial magazines - DIY - print excretion of 'punk rock' 
Indigenous zines - alternative world view - students speak back 
Created for and by young people of colour - see Starling, L.(2016) source - how they can be used to validate world views - as well as fostering creative freedom. 

However - we need to create that safe space for students to create. Also there needs to be an awareness of intellectual property - and exploitation of indigenous knowledge. 

Re:generation NZATE16: Workshop 1 - Rowan Taigel - Design Thinking for Effective Teams and Collaboration in English

CORE - future focussed inquiry and learning with digital technology

Focused on - curriculum innovation; design thinking; teaching as inquiry and modern learning pedagogy

Collaboration (common cause) vs Cooperation - what's the difference? 
- a power difference
- everyone's input is crucial to get the task done 
- cooperation more of a social skill 
- product focussed 
- can you have one without the other? 
- choir ( from the same pre arranged sheet) vs jazz band (evolves  during the process, everyone has solo, different every time)

Collaboration - common journey together at the start, the journey may evolve

Why collaborate? 
- new perspectives - which may raise new questions
- cross disciplinary skills 
- diffused responsibility and pressures, distributed workload 
- comaraderie - humans are social beings - designed to work together 

How can we change thinking and processes in order to achieve what we want to achieve? You know something can be better - eg how can our team work better as a team? How can we change, innovate or move forward? 

What is design thinking
A mindset, we know there is a framework to work through.

- human centred
- collaborative - as many perspectives as possible 
- optimistic - we are going to make a change
- its experimental, risk taking, be prepared to change 

One model  
- empathise - observe the problem, take notes, watch, what is it like. Ask and listen. Research, dig deep, what is like? 
- define - look at your 'data' - synthesise, focus
- ideate - brainstorm 
- prototype - analyse and choose one to try, incorporate feedback
- test - seek feedback, try again 

Our challenge - work through the process
- hold off from jumping to solutions too soon - stick to the process 

Empathy phase - deep understanding of the challenge - can be huge or small 
Underlying issue - what are the links or themes? Is there a thread ? If what you believe, affects what you understand, and what you know..... Digging deeper, agree within the team that this is where are going to start 
Ideate: how might we action what for whom in order to change something ......
How might be change or improve the perception of English for boys in order to increase engagement? 
Ideate: Brainstorm - Don't reject anything at this stage - post its, share round the room, add as many 
Refining - safe, favourite, moon-shot and collaborate on choosing these 
Prototype - Sketch the idea - visualise this - if there are many ideas rank them, and work through the list 
Test - seek feedback - good stuff and what won't work - rosebud, flower, thorn - refine and try again 

What is English? - big question, not often addressed but essential 

Re:generation 16 - Keynote 1 - Nathan Mikaere Wallis

The regenerating brain: 

(The brainwave trust:

The 1990s saw the change in what we knew about the brain - due to brain scans. But the 2000s saw the change in what we knew about brain development. 

The most important learning is done in early childhood teaching. No evidence that genes relate to intelligent growth. 

The first 1000 days are crucial. The environment is crucial. How well you do at high school is decided by the 1000 days not which high school you go to! Culturally informed as opposed to research informed. 

In NZ we do not value early childhood teachers. Cultural capital of the hierarchy of teaching. Compare us to Scandanavian countries and where we spend money on children. Our biggest bucks go to 17-19 year olds - worldwide research tells us that this is not money well spent - NZ behind the ball here. 

We know the frontal cortex is not developed in teenage brain - it gets in the road of risk-taking. In adolescent years it 'regenerates'. No single age for this -as late as late 20s - new research pushes the finishing line out later and later! Individual cases - gender based! 
In fact the age is being pushed out with more and more research! 

Women - 18-24. 
Men - 22-32

100 different things that define end to adolescence:
Gender; birth order (first born or not first born - biggest differences - too complex too compare!) - and that's only two points of comparison! First born gets the most attention in the first 1000 days. More words spoken to the first born - therefore more likely to develop capacity of intelligent development. 

Most of our brain grows outside the womb - allows us to nurture the emotional brain. 

Body mass and height impact on how early the frontal cortex begins regenerate. It needs to shut down in order to regenerate and renovate. Some frontal cortex still works - teenagers still speak! So 10% of the time it does actually function fabulously well. You need to whakamama that part when you see it. Try to ignore the other 90% of the brain. You want to nurture the decision making, the empathy, the consequences etc. That's why restorative practices are so essential for supporting frontal cortex growth. 

Sometimes is better for others than parents to act as the 'handbrake' and the  voice of reason. 10% of the time even adults don't use the frontal cortex - otherwise we'd be ' Spock-like'! 

No use asking teenagers 'what were you thinong' better to ask 'what were you feeling'! Thinking involves consequences! And analysing risk factor. It might be dangerous but it's fun! 

As teachers we need to speak to the 'emotional brain' - speaking to the cortex is 'nagging'! Why do some teachers 'get' this! They talk to the emotional brain. 

Cognitive training - tell the kid what to do - not what not to do. Train with what they should do - social training - teach them the skill. Teach the behaviour that you do like (PB4L). 

Hence the growth of 'mindfulness'! You need to calm the brain stem I order to engage the cortex! This is different for each student! 

Validate the emotions coming from the emotional brain ( the limbic system) - this involves listening to the 90% not just the 10% we want to hear! Listen to what they want us to hear. Try not to 'invalidate' what they want us to hear. If we want kids to listen, we have to listen to them. Children do as you do, not as you say! Validate doesn't mean agreeing - we don't have to agree! According to Nathan, husbands do this all the time! 

Listening to listen!