Friday, July 24, 2015

The Mind Lab - Session 1 ( for me) of another post-grad experience

Today was my first session at newly opened Mind Lab. I've started a 32 week Post Grad Diploma in Collaborative and Digital Applications! 

Due to school holiday sports' tournaments I missed week 1 - which focussed on what knowledge is today and what that means for the classroom. As all readings and media notes are well sorted on the Unitec MindLab Moodle, it was easy to get an overview of the session. 

So Week 2 is my first week. Committing to weekly 4 hourly sessions for 16 weeks seemed daunting at 8am this morning when I left home. But the 4 hours went incredibly fast! 

This weeks session focussed on -.what skills do 21st century learners need to thrive and how does leadership create these possibilities.
theorist mentioned in the brief 'lecture' part of the session was Gert Biests's and his domains of purpose - qualification, socialisation , autonomous - elements of truth in all of these 
Which theory dominates is up to the individual? What are my view on this ? I will be following this up later.

What are the main skills needed in the 21st - in an age of hyper change? Many of our reflections on the Today's Meet discussion mentioned adaptability, flexibility, ability to change. 

Another theorist to look into is George Siemens - connectivism - knowledge resides in networks - human and non human - how does this impact on our practice?

What do we actually mean by 21st century skills? Is it a relevant term? Microsoft partners in learning - provides rubrics to assess all of these skills required for students to survive in the future - and for education to be relevant 
- collaboration
- knowledge construction
- self - regulation
- real world problems
- ICT for learning
- skilled communication 

Collaborative and co-operative learning task - Film Making - the 3 Act Structure 
The task for us today was to create a short film using three act structure - a basic film paradigm - a common way of telling a narrative
Why is this relevant to us today in this course? A key part of the course is based around narrative. 
We had to create a short film about a problem that we planned to solve by using 21st century skills 

Set up - the context of our school - 
Confrontation - what is the conflict - what is the issue in pedagogical terms 
Resolution - the introduction of a 21st C skills- in terms of the problem we are going to introduce this skill to help resolve the problem 

Our groups 21st century skill is 'skilled communication' - and this was our group's plan 

There were very specific timed time-frames for the task (good modelling I thought!). None of us were particularly enthusiastic about being in front of the camera - not sure you can see how final product here - - sorry you need a password, so I'll figure out how to download and post. 

How do the 21st century skills connect to the KCs? This of course is what we are aiming at!

21stC skills and KeyCompetencies - fit naturally together

Leadership is about change - not management.

Educational systems are complex ecosystems can- classes are nested in schools, schools are nested in communities and countries and connects with other systems. These systems are always adapting. 
What skills do students need to operate in this system and world.

Change agents and agents of technological change - how do the key competencies underpin what we as leaders do? Mary Ann Murphy's EdTalk on TKI - expands on this -

Some  key messages from this focus thinking on - thinking outside the 'box', building relational trust, keeping ourselves as leaders 'in the flow' and building out professional communities. 
We need to think about how we 'vision' the key competencies. 

The online survey provided interesting data in terms of the group 200 - the highest competencies - thinking and relating to others - but the KC that featured highly for improvement was also thinking. 

Last part of the session was discussion around the first assessment/s
- identify and briefly justify the need to implement a digital and collaborative learning innovation
- provide a justification for a digital and/or collaborative learning innovation 
Scarily due quite soon. 
Initial thoughts are around the educational issue of innovative learning spaces - what is the need in our school? The digital or collaborative learning innovation could collaborative planning and co-teaching.
Or a class based need / issue - improving critical analysis - metacognition. 

So, Week 2 done:  class mates met, group tasks completed, readings and viewings done for the week, supportive and engaging tutors and staff connected with, collaborative and co-operative tasks modelled. Ka pai! 

Thanks to the NEXT Foundation - - for the fees scholarship that got me here! 

Saturday, July 11, 2015

Capital Letters - Keynote 4 - Dr Karlo Mila

Karlo Mila's presentation was a fabulous 'bookend' to Glenn Colquhoun's opening keynote. To open and end with such personal and richly constructed presentations, that focussed on the spoken word and cultural identity, was fantastic. Unfortunately I deleted my original draft of this post while awaiting for a delayed flight in Welly, so this will be a poor comparison to what I had written during Karlo's performance!

Mana Moana - the journey of her post doctoral research formed the basis of her presentation. She began with by explaining a few key ideas - that the ocean does not separate Polynesia, but rather act as as the pathways between the places - it is the space between and as such should be exlpored; that 'urbansesia' is a more relevant term than Polynesia and that polycultural is the cultural capital that we all need to be able to access and tap into. The disaffection of 'urbasnesian' youth is a great concern to her and she spoke at length of the inability of many youth to access the 'cutltural capital' of the dominant culture.

Johnson-Witehira.jpgKarlo's description of the mapping of the langauges, images, proverbs and 'stories' of Oceania was a fascinating tale.

Using a model by Friere focusing on finding generative words that are intrinsic to a culture and a people, I  started to search for our shared Pacific words that exist in the source languages of Protopolynesian, Austronesian and  Oceanic languages. Here certain concepts, metaphors and words might be considered archetypal and integral to who  we are, and how we have viewed the world around us for centuries. Seventy words, found in at least 15 current Pacific languages, were selected.

The next step involved collecting proverbs and stories associated with these constructs. More than 250 proverbs in Tongan, Niue, Cook Islands, Samoan, Maori and Hawaiian provided more information about how these concepts were breathed into life by our ancestors and used to construct the world around them. Many of these concepts have recently been turned into visual images by designer Dr Johnson Witehira (of Maori and Samoan descent).  Karlo Mila
These then became the basis for an intervention that was trialled at Wesley College with a group of urbanesian youth. The Journey (metaphorical) to Motutapu, wellbeing and healiong based in a developing understanding of -

To a large degree it involved teaching and learning about Pacific cultural knowledge, ideas, worldviews and understandings of health and healing, but very much targeted at an English-speaking, highly urbanised population. The focus on va, or relationships, was explicit and the positive relationships with others, in a multidimensional, ecological and spiritual sense was considered integral to wellbeing.

Karlo's passion for both the programme itself and those it was designed for was contagious. Understanding that young urbanesians are doubly fortunate to have poly-cultural capital and this must be viewed as an asset.

She finished with a refined version of the poem below - taking a moment to warn us that we might not have the cultural capital to understand the references - but to imagine how others might feel when confronted with the cultural capital of a Western European canon of literature.

Composed for the Prime Minister’s Youth Awards December 10th 2013, Parliament

Once I wrote
That I was the seed of the migrant dream
The daughter supposed to fill the promise
hope heavy on our shoulders
we stand on the broken back of physical labour
knowing the new dawn, has been raided.
We are the seeds of a much greater dream
Ruia from Rangiatea

A dream still buried in the hands of humble men
buried in humble villages
who chant clear our paths with every lost breath.

Our story reaches back, across oceans of memory.

Do not be satisfied with other people’s stories of us,
That have us beginning sometime in the seventies
with the economic boom and need for migrant labour,
those reserve armies, the oil crisis, the neoliberal reforms
that cut the feet out of the industries we were clustered in,
do not be satiated by those stories of dawn raids,
and the demise of the primary industries, and the unemployed,
do not be seduced by their acronyms of NEETS, not in education, employment or training, 
remember that when we came, 
“Pacific Islanders” were more likely than the general population to be employed. 
Remember that when the industry changed,
in 1986 only half of our people had qualifications
to help them navigate new terrain,
fifteen years later, two-thirds of us had upskilled
with a qualification to navigate a shifting landscape,
last on, first off, 
don’t let them tell you any other story of underachievement,underclass 
or brown tails slowing the upright country down,
let them eat that down-and-brown poly-pancake
that distasteful beast of their own making.

We are the seeds of a much greater dream
Ruia from Rangiatea
That like the niu, the coconut,
has travelled across many oceans
and found its roots,
over and over again.
Replanted, reterritorialised
Growing in new soil
to the sway of a slightly different horizon.

This seed began in Pulotu,
With its life-giving waters and the talking tree, Akau-lea,
Where TangaloaMaui and Hikule’o formed the first pantheon,
Here it was started.
And we think of Manu’a, where Maui travelled
and betrayed Tonga, fisherman of islands,
Who has betrayed me in Manuka? – why Maui of course, trickster,
fisherman of islands, the atolls, where the Tuli, first coloniser, the plover,
stands with its feet wet on new reefs, the messenger of Tangaloa i Lagi,
Maui fished up Tonga with that tiny insignificant hook, tipped off,
And it was there… on the shores of Tonga that we stopped being immortal, 
Moala’s daughter finding fatality, 
far from vaiola, waiora, the eternal springs of lifegiving water, 
there was no turning back, bingo,

Far from the kulokula source-land of redtraded feathers, that disappeared,
sunk into the sea, or makes itself invisible at will, or is VitiVanua, it depends who is telling the story… gone are those cannibal dogs, and giant lizards,
fossils now in somebody else’s version of the story…
From Tongamamao, to Tokelau in the North, Tahiti in the East, Pulotu – signalling death on return, 
from Samoa, the sacred centre, to every corner of the four winds, all the way to Taputapuatea, 
nga hau e aha, in search of Vatea, space, and new beginnings, 
Tangaloa reborn again, Tu’i TongaTu’i Tokelau,
same old story, slightly different spin, 
enter RongoTuVatea, many new atua emerging, 
men and women following stars, 
escaping kaitangata, escaping the misfortune of the rainbow, 
Uenuku, fleeing, multiple migrations, and of course, the flood, the flood, 
remembered as the eyes of Mata’aho
all of these stories buried deep with our dead,
and part of our thread, that connects us today,
in all of that dark and light days,
Tapukitea, shining like an omen, Oea raOea ra
and here is Aitutaki, here is Lalotonga, here is Aotearoa,
and so the seeds of the niu spread,
we retell the same stories, some forgotten,
Some relocated, some spoken in new tongues,
some shifting along, like Tangaloa here,
losing primacy,
in a landmass full of forest,
enter Tane Mahuta, he breathes still amongus,
we havebuilt a fence around him to protect him.

Tane  Mahuta  reminds us all,
To return to the roots of us,
To dig deeper for the taproot, the puutake,
To source the essence of who we are.

Your job is to navigate
and expand the pathways you find at your feet.
We are told clearly,  le gase ‘o ala lalavao.
The paths in the bush are never obliterated.
the shade of high trees won’t allow
overgrowth to come up,
(inferring ancestors).

Tane Mahuta knows this,
Even as he is fenced.

It is your job to find this pathway,
To remember who you are,
Walk what you were born to be,
Ancestors at your shoulders,
Clearing your pathways
with every lost breath.
The vines, and scrub at your feet,
barriers that are insignificant in the minds
of those who have been before.

They set out in the largest ocean in the world,
Navigated those waves,
And if there is a mala,
let it fall to shore.
and if we make mistakes,
let us rectify this in the deep ocean.
Holo or stand, you are ultimate end music
Hold on,because a wave will break.
be ready for it when it comes...
Tei a koe rai te rapa I to oe
You have the blade of your paddle,
I have the blade of mine.

They will choose on the high seas
who ought to pilot the boat
who can keep us dry in wet weather
who will navigate us through the storms
He ho’okele wa’a no ka la ino.
Let us be more

Let us be the canoe steersman for the hurricanes ahead.
And, La lafo’ia’ i le fogava’a tele.
Let us weigh anchor and set sail,
Should burdens be too great to bear,
Don’t stop,
Let us cast them on the big deck,
able to carry heavy loads,
Let us be those big decks to you,
you bright young things!
Shining like the morning and evening star
offering hope for a new generation.
Dare to shine,
Dare to be all you can be,
Illuminate the darkness around you
and have no fear, and no shame, about burning too brightly
cloaking yourself in clouds serves none of us,
It does not serve your family
It does not serve our communities
It does not serve our suburbs
It does not serve our nation.
It does not serve Oceania.
It does not serve the world.
heed the words of our ancestors, let them help you find your feet,
For the matau, the hooks in your hands,
that you use to cast your dreams
are made from the jawbone of your ancestors,
and as you cast your intent,
think of what they want you to catch in this lifetime
and as you cast your matau,
think of what you want your mokopuna to catch in theirs.
You are the thin thread between what has been before
and what will come, as long as you have breath.
Not nice to know that the sea surrounded ,
Engari anoo a uta.  Do not bait your hook in the deep,
bait your hook on the shore. Be prepared,
for you stand on the shores of your lives now,
and we honour you,
you stand on the shoulders of giants,

Go forth, the pathways have been cleared,
bushwack them wider,
clear them consciously
so that we can move as a collective,
so that no one is left behind.

Remember who you are,
Remember where you came from,
Locate your stars,
There is no freedom in blowing with the wind
as seductive as it seems,
true freedom is,
knowing where you are going.
Image result for mmap diagram of OceaniaAnd getting there.
Le fogava’a e tasi
There is only one deck.

Reminding us again, that the waterways of the largest ocean on Earth do not separate us, they  are the pathways that connect us - and I love that 'view' of our world.

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Power and Voice in the English Classroom - Capital Letters Workshop

Nigel Mitchell posed some interesting questions in this workshop and referenced some interesting sounding research to look at - including Gay Geneva - Culturally  responsive teaching

The ability to be expressive us at the heart of what we do in English - getting that voice is essential. Culturally expressive voice is fundamental to what we do. 

Spectrum - Continuum of student voice
- expression (English provides many opportunities) 
- consultation
- participation
- partnership
- activism (identifying problems, generating solutions) 
- leadership 

Heretaunga College -  check out their English programmes - Maori voices in English  - but check out the list of English courses that run multi-level.

The 'Maori' voices are in the heads of the Maori students - not just in Patricia Grace or Witi Ihimaera

What do the parents of your akonga want from an English classroom and how do you know? 
How can whanaungatanga characterise the environment of your classroom? 
- what did the kids say in response? 
        - work  together  - writing and discussing - sharing 
        - laugh with us - share your life - share food 
        - use music 
Wananga - what we actually do as teachers. Who decides what's worth teaching and learning? 

Question to leave with - Where's the balance between teacher and student decision making and power? 

Capital Letters - Keynote 3 - Bernard Beckett

Have just read his latest book, Lullaby, so interested in hearing this. 

Follows on nicely from the 'Connected Curriculum' workshop this morning! 

Beckett challenged us with quite a few questions - Why do we  teach our subject? What is our idea of the specialisation of English? 

His humour resonated with many - and there were lots of nodding heads with the very funny comments on the list of jobs we do - and how we  prioritise them! 
Marking the roll - in the first 10mins - most probably not ? Priority list depends on how scary the end user is!!

Two reasons we shouldn't have for why we teach : 
The agendas of people above us - govern what we do! 
He looked at the  task of getting good grades - how this filters down from BOT to Principal to HOF to staff  - and the impact of this on Level 2.
The myth that 85% Level 2 will make a better society - our economy is structured around casual part-time labour.
This is not why we teach. What you respond to 'what have contributed to these kids lives?' 
If this is what you think - shift your thinking! 
Effective pedagogy and modern thinking drive teaching - but modern educational research is poor! Most educational researchers are not strong Mathematicians - as shown by Hattie's research. Always ask 'who gains from this research?'

Not everything important is measurable (Einstein)
He had very little positive to say about educational research - mostly educational research is on narrow measurable fields - reading, literacy. 
Hawthorn effect - that any change creates improvement-and 'cos kids are growing then they are learning - so therefrom there will naturally be growth and development. Biggest shift at primary level - naturally less shift at top secondary level. 

Variance in teacher quality - will show teacher quality is variable - not what you would do to change this.

As an economist he was pretty scathing of the push for IT integration - Look at IT providers - if the big companies can show that the technology  improves educational outcomes, then 700,000 kids will want it!! What can you not buy in your school because the money's been spent on IT.

So why do we go there? To the English class each day? 
You know the lesson that works - the discussion that had impact  -  in the classroom - kids are trying out their lives. 

Nice thought re defining the power of literature and its place in our world 'Literature is the moment when we know we're not alone.' 

Blended Courses - Expanding English - Workshop 3, Capital LettersConference (to be edited)

Really looking forward to this presentation, as we are looking to connect our curriculum more next year. As a classicist and an art historian, this really appeals to me. 

Wellington High 'students very comfortable in their own liberalism!' 

Rationale: from the NZC - coherence within and across learning areas - thus begins with sone pockets of the junior school before heading into the senior school.

Aims: not all students are into 'literature' like we are!! ; some of our skills are transferable

Concerns: compromise required but richness gained - well blended courses make what is being learned explicit 
              : fear that numbers might be reduced - but the opposite has happened - blended and pure English classes 
              : too many credits offered - internals double up for assessment 

COURSE 1 - Painted word - English and Art History- L2 and 3
- planning and co teaching 
- inquiry 
- content rich 
- students as teachers 
- lots of choice - assessment programmes student selected
- Art History and English studs offered 
- applies analytical skills in a different context 
- art and literature a natural connection - often part of a movement 
- subject and theme / context / composition and structure / 
- Art History internals can contribute to writing portfolio; seminars on Art History - need to be very explicit about what assessment criteria are - that's the trick - tasks are quite long and complex 

- Neo-Historicism approach - how do the literature and art represent the social context of the time 

- use texts to enhance understanding of context - Moulin Rouge / Marie Antoinette 
- use texts to understand  the role of art in society - Lives of others 

Types of writing 
- ekphrastic poetry
- reviews

COURSE 2 - English for Scientists (for many a 6th subject)
The Science of poetry, the poetry of Science - both depend on metaphor 
Science communication is a growing field - including Science writing degree at Vic Uni 

- lost many students in Yr 13 
- 2hrs a week -English uses Science ideas and Science texts - 1/2 
- students familiar with process
- course relies on flexibility, indivualised conference, lots of conferencing 

- choice of texts play to scientific interests - personal choice 
- opportunity for connections, language, reading of visual texts, language of Science

Robert Boyle - father of Science writing 
I must not step into too spruce a style for serious matters; and yet I approve not the dull insipid way of writing practised by many chemists.

 - writing again plays to student strengths - articles/ reports/ personal pieces 

The year begins with researching an 'old' scientists - pre 19th century - they then write the article based on this - has created a huge range of knowledge.

COURSE - 3 English for Classicists
- 4hrs a week
- begins at Yr 11- mostly Classical Studies contexts with English skills
- combined assessment opportunities - time to figure out 
- cross over of skills and content for both AS
- heavily internal - that's what the kids want - student want the course to carry on

 Representation of Heroes across time 
- Odyssey 
- Greek vase painting - 'read' the vases to keep the stories alive - the narrative structure 
- Modern US film (post 9/11) Heroic Myth - Troy/ Clash of the Titans  

- skills - close reading, connections, responding to literature, analysing social values, comparing ideas and perspectives

English with Philosophy (next project) 
- linked with religious studies standards 
- philosophical questions that are relevant for students today 
- the human condition 

Great Science jokes!!

When I heard that oxygen and magnesium had hooked up, I was like OMg!!!

Fabulous presentation - Caitlin, Trudy, Jane - thanks so much! 

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Capital Letters - Karen Melhuish - Keynote #2

I was looking forward to Karen's presentation - she is always entertaining, engaging and usually delivers a thought provoking presentation! 

I loved the opening hook- best new words of 2015 - 
VAPE - Oxford word of 2015  - particularly of interest as we have had a rise of e-cigarettes at school this year. 

However more interesting was what the Kids chose-  # 
This pretty much sums up what is happening to language - symbols and emoticons are the rage. 

Karen challenged us to question - Why are we, as English teachers, still relevant?How do we connect with our learners? 

So much is happening world wide - leads us to pose questions - especially around what does it mean to be a citizen today? The cost of technology had been a main driver of education worldwide. 

This creates its own challenges around cybersafety - scams, bullying - we have the technology in our hands but have still not learnt how to manage that technology safely and respectfully - this is major challenge for schools and teachers. 

Digital technology enables every person to have a chance to speak out! The rise of citizen journalism - anyone can report anything, anytime, anywhere. This is  empowering and emancipating - a phone, a camera - anywhere anytime!

Karen introduced the idea of the  metaphor of the 'commons' - in days gone by a public land - shared. She challenged us to think about the Internet as a 'commons' a place that is shared and respected so that we can all benefit from their use.

A nice quote from Kerry Facer - the future is an ongoing process 'in which we can intervene'.

Ministry of Education - acknowlege the following 
- change in the nature of work
- change in how knowledge is viewed
How do we manage this? 

For years we have been trying to get kids to contort themselves into education systems that does not fit them!!
There is an increasing call to do things differently!  Just look at the data around the well being of our students at school - this is increasingly worrying - ERO's recent report acknowledges this. 

Cells and Bells - where are the cells and bells in English?
- single text choice
- teach by standard
- streaming 
- no connection to other areas 
- limited reference to best practice 

7 principles of learning -

All of these lead to the 'unbundling' of thinking. 
How do we unbundle structure? content? 

How different is English from when you you at school?
They should be looking different - and if they are not, what do you need to change? 

We may not always agree with what creators of texts say, but we need to be able to assist them to be able say what they want in a way that makes a contribution in a meaningful way. 

Edutronic - UK English Dept website - 

What does making meaning look like in 2015 and beyond? How do we make Emhlish relevant ? 
-how do we navigate the personal and digital world?
- how go we connect the dots between what we do in English and what the kids do in their world? 
- what does literature look like ? 
- what does poetry look like? 
- can game be literature? (Gone Home)

What does creating meaning look like 2015 and beyond? 
What should English look like? 

Find out what will connect the students to our programmes??
Our can we connect ourselves? 
Make your visible learning!

Take away point - if it's good enough for the kids in our class them it's good enough to share !! Great 'mantra' for moving forward.

Kia kaha Karen