Back into learning for 2010
The pupils came back to school this week but the staff were already well and truly into the new year at that stage.
At the end of January the Waimairi staff (teaching and support staff) spent two days at a school development retreat at Wainui, Banks Peninsular.
The first day of the retreat was facilitated by Tony Ryan. Tony is one of Australasia's leading thinkers on building a culture of thinking and well-being in schools.
There were two main themes of the day. The first was maintaining the 'zest' for teaching. If we are to deliver the best education to our kids then we have to be in the best physical and mental health possible.
The second was the need to approach 'thinking' as the overarching key competency as we implement the revised NZ Curriculum. Thinking really is the key and it is in this way we are approaching how we develop the key competencies at Waimairi this year. The good news is that it is not rocket science. Everyone left with ways to develop our children's thinking abilities which are not taught on top of content but part of our curriculum content.
We also learnt about how to keep our adult brains fit and functioning into old age. The key is engaging in demanding mental activity, learning genuinely new things. So with that in mind the evening was spent learning to juggle, a very new experience for almost everyone in the room. Waimairi parents should watch out for the staff trying lots of new things things year, we are all going to step out of our squares and learn new things. For me it will be a musical instrument. Keep me honest by asking me how it is going as the year progresses.
If we teachers force ourselves into new learning it reminds us of the sort of feelings we induce in our students day in and day out. Frustration, anxiety, not wanting to be seen to be getting it wrong and developing a realistic understanding of our own strengths and limits.