Friday, June 26, 2015

CADAP - Building capacity of Middle Leaders

Christina Thornley - Principal's Advisor, Teachers' Council - was the keynote speaker at the term's CADAP professional learning session. She presented a seminar on effective and valuable appraisal processes. What was encouraging was that our school's PPL (partnership for professional learning) inquiry and appraisal cycle, does a lot of what Christine says, 'is good practice'. 

The aims of the day were to create a  'Better understanding through the professional workshops of what appraisal should be - valuable and manageable ' and to reinforce that 'buildng the capacity of Middle Leaders is a key job of SL - and that includes a clear vision and focus for professional learning and appraisal.' 

Any appraisal system/process should have - 

These need a conceptual framework and a scaffold - in order to have a robust appraisal framework. The 'appraisal conceptual framework' devised for this.
Our teacher inquiry model is our framework šŸ˜

There is a need  to sit the Professional Standards next to Registered Teacher Criteria - 

Essential to have a process for the 'difficult conversations' - open to learning conversations 
- respectful
- focussed on the issue 
- sense of agreement to move forward 

Responsibility - have a clear and transparent model for staff - at all levels - who is responsible for what in the process - everyone has the right to grow - growth framing. Multi layered purpose to the system. Through the inquiry  system, evidence for appraisal is created, inquiry for the teacher NOT just for appraisal.
I think this is something that we have not 'nailed' yet - enabling teachers to see and understand that inquiry is about continually reflecting on practice in order to improve, not to generate data and evidence! 

What is good when we look for evidence for the RTC? Teachers take an inquiry mindset to our teaching already - we have just not formalised or organised this into an inquiry cycle. How are our students doing and how do we know - is what we as teachers do - it's what keeps us going! This is the evaluative capability. 

Akonga - is any learner - teachers in schools are the akonga of middle leaders, middle leaders are the akonga of the senior leadership team.....

What does good look like? 
Mediocrity is not enough - good is the baseline hurdle!! This is the bottom line. If you cannot get over the hurdle, then it needs to be addressed. Teachers can be in different places for each criteria - this is what sets the goal.

 Tātaiako a lens to look through the criteria - not a separate set. 
Knowing what good looks like us really important - especially for Middle Leaders ? Need to develop a rubric for showing what good likes. These may look different in different settings.
We need to define what effective practice look like in 'our place' - has not been done for awhile. 

Defining what good looks like through - PEP, KEP, Tātaiako, NCEA - where does this place us nationwide.  This may look different across different roles in the school - faculties, pastoral etc.

Organising evidence - holistic approaches to evidence enable teachers to link planning to outcomes for students - a central organising construct eg 

Tātaiako competencies
- goal for inquiry 

A holistic approach needs the teachers to have the criteria in the forefront of teachers thinking 

Good practice would come a range of sources. Probably 2 observations and discussions around this. My actions are not just based on my own view - Tātaiako affirms this -we are only one voice.

Appraisal evidence should come from the  'harvest of everyday practice' !! So much! Choose something that stands out  - something that matters in an inquiry! 

Might have lots of evidence, but does that reflect what 'good looks like' ?

# Gathering evidence is not the PURPOSE of an inquiry, it's what falls out of an inquiry! - a key point to remember. 

Questions and thoughts - questions to ask ourselves back at school 
What's working well in our model? 
What professional learning are we doing for Middle Leaders  around this process? 
What are the pros and cons of our current model?


Sunday, June 7, 2015

Just reading - Creative Schools by Sir Ken

Reading books by leading educational researcher and thinker Sir Ken Robinson, is almost as good as listening to him speak in the flesh! He writes as he talks - in a voice that is engaging, passionate, humorous. A voice  which offers the  definitive reasons for why there needs to be a revolution in the way we deliver education - NOW.

I'm halfway through his latest tome - Creative Schools - revolutionizing education from the ground up - but it would be fair to say, that in me he's preaching to the converted, but I wanted to share two sections here.

'Opportunities for change exist within every school, even where the emphasis on high stakes testing has become extreme. Schools often do things simply because they've always done them. The culture of any school includes the habits and systems that the people in it act out every day. Many of these habits are voluntary rather than mandated - teaching by age groups for example, or making every period the same length, using belss to signal the beginning and end of periods, having every students facing the same direction with the teacher at the front of the room, teaching math only in math class and history in history class and so on.' pg57

My current school is grappling with a number of these 'habits and systems'  (which as Sir Ken, so rightly states are voluntary) right now, as we try to work through a process of change management - curriculum, pedagogy and spaces are on the agenda. We are lucky enough to have contact with NZ educators  who are leading the revolution in their schools - because it's what is best for the learners. I hope we are brave enough to learn from them.

Sir Ken's teachings around 'personalisation' are straightforward - in every aspect of life, personalisation is apparent. But as he says  -

' has yet to take root in education. This is ironic, because it is in education that personalisation is most urgently needed. So what does that mean? It means: 

  • recognising that intelligence is diverse and multifaceted
  • enabling students to pursue their particular interests and strengths
  • adapting a schedule to different rates at which students learn
  • assessing students in ways that support their personal progress and achievement ' pg 83

I believe we need to be brave and follow what we know is our moral purpose - and make the revolution happen.