Saturday, July 26, 2014

Anchoring the Abstract - what great school leadership looks like - Luke Fenwick

Just had a quick read of this recent research article - which adds a new 'lens' to leadership theories - that of trust:

"Our last section provides a different lens through which we can look at effective leadership—trust. 
A climate of trust is essential for organisational success. A school’s leadership is pivotal in developing a culture based on trusting relationships. 
Following one expert, we frame the relationship between leadership practices and trust like this: practices are the “what” of leadership, while trust plays a major part in the “how” of leadership. 
Trusting relationships are often characterised by reliability, honesty, benevolence, openness and competence. 
These are clearly evident within Highfields’ two learning communities:
1. The staffroom, where leadership has an direct influence
2. The classroom, where leadership often has an indirect influence
And also in those learning communities beyond school doors:
3. The home (in the context of home-school relationships)
4. The school cluster"

Lots of thoughts around this statement - "According to Megan Tschannen-Moran, trust within the staffroom correlates with trust in the classroom and even trust between teachers and parents."
This is of particular interest to me, as at a recent staff PD day, a staff member stated in a group forum that they had never worked in such a low trust model, as the NZ education system. Some mismatch between accountability and trust perhaps?

Teacher Dashboard and Google World

This year, our school, Rangiora High School bought into the Hapara product Teacher Dashboard -  I was one of those who trialled this last year with two English classes - and I was won over by the ease by which I could access student work.It interfaces with Google Drive and other GAFE. More importantly it fishtailed beautifully with senior writing portfolios - which was great. I could  see what they were working on and when they are working on it. I could even check their work while I was on a break at a PL conference - that caused some consternation and amusement.

This year my Yr 12 English class are currently working on their Connections Reports and/or Writing Portfolios. I feel a little guilty that I am able to talk to them about their writing while I am looking at their pieces using the Drive app on my iPhone - I seem to be constantly explaining to other teachers (and students) who come into the library, where we are working, that I am not just pfaffing around on my phone!! My students find this quite amusing!

The down side - it costs!

So I needless to say, I am looking forward to investigating the launch of Google Classroom in August. I've signed up for the trial, but have just read that due to demand trials will be offered to selected requestees - here's hoping!

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Intelligence is not fixed...

This article has proved to be popular with both staff and students at RHS - Intelligence is not fixed  - building a growth mindset; high expectations :

"The more you practice or study the more you learn. Your brain has neurons inside that grow whenever you learn something new. Even though you may struggle in a certain subject the neurons in your brain are making new connections and your brain is getting stronger and smarter. … Struggling in school is absolutely normal and we may feel and call ourselves ‘dumb’ during these times. If you practice using better ways to study and learn you will get smarter and might struggle less"

Back to blogging....PISA and Innovation seems like a long time since I was a full-on blogger! I think that in the last few years, I have been more used to using an e-portfolio to reflect on things educational. This has been useful, but at the moment these are linked to the school that I was and am in.

So....back to blogging.

In my present role of DP Teaching and Learning I naturally spend a lot of time reading around pedagogy and practice. These two articles today - Measuring Innovation and Shanghai may abandon PISA - create some interesting paradox. The #1 innovation in organisational policy and practice is : (1) More public posting of secondary achievement data…followed by (2) More peer evaluation of teachers in primary and secondary education…and then (3) More external evaluation of primary and secondary school classrooms… 
The range of 'innovations' as listed in the chapter headings below is interesting-
  • Chapter 5: Innovation in teaching style
  • Chapter 6: Innovation in instructional practices
  • Chapter 7: Innovation in class organisation
  • Chapter 8: Innovation in the use of textbooks in classrooms
  • Chapter 9: Innovation in the methods of assessment used in classrooms
  • Chapter 10: Innovation in the availability of computers and the internet in the classroom
  • Chapter 11: Innovation in the use of computers in the classroom
  • Chapter 12: Innovation in the provision of special education in schools
  • Chapter 13: Innovation in the extent of teacher collaboration in schools
  • Chapter 14: Innovation in feedback mechanisms in schools
  • Chapter 15: Innovation in evaluation and hiring in schools
  • Chapter 16: Innovation in schools’ external relations
  • Chapter 17: Composite indices of innovation in classrooms and schools
Shanghai to abandon PISA - "but it is clear that Shanghai officals have acknowledged that PISA does not give them waht they want. Its narrow defintion of education quality as test scores obscures other aspects of ec=ducations that are much more important". They will develop a new "so called green evaluation' which will de-emphasize the significance of test scores. "Instead of being the sole measure of educational quality, test scores will become one of 10 indicators....motivation and engagement, student-teacher relationships and physical fitness..."

I'll look forward to following that evaluation process with interest.