Wow, far too long between blog posts. Back into it for now 2011.
I am all fired up and enthused by an afternoon watching two of our teachers presenting a workshop to other educators on their use of the NZTA resources (an earlier post talks about how cool this work is) and then a day with our whole school teaching staff led by Julie Mills of Hooked On Thinking.
Two years ago, almost to the day, I asked our school staff to come along on a ride to enhance our school learning culture and develop a true 'learning community'. Not because there was anything wrong with the school but simply because there was a new national curriculum to implement and that was what was required in all schools for a successful roll-out of the NZ Curriculum (lots of stuff on that in this earlier post).
At the time I told our team that the 'ride' would last three to five years. Why so long? Because at the same time that we are busy re-thinking and re-skilling we have a school to run. No children or year groups of children can be used as guinea pigs with experimental educational ideas used on them in the name of change. If we were opening a new school we would have time before-hand to think about how we wanted to work and get it clear before we had children in front of us. We don't have that luxury. We are building a new plane in the air.
This is why we are taking three to five years to fully implement the NZ Curriculum - keeping up the quality while adding value.
The last two days were milestones in this process for two reasons:
1. Our staff (rather than me) ventured out to share with others what is going on in the school (see photo at top). Nothing consolidates understanding of what you do than having to explain it to others.
2. Our whole staff had a professional re-look (as opposed to a new-look) at SOLO taxonomy. We all need time playing in the sandpit with the new toys before we get really serious about new uses for them.
We have gone into the pit of new knowledge and can now spend a few years consolidating and making connections as we rise up to a higher level. At our staff retreat this year the pleasure for me was seeing connections emerge in the minds of our whole staff- Bruce Hammonds has aspects of thinking which relate to Sir Ken Robinson, which relate to aspects of thinking of Kath Murdoch, which relate to aspects of thinking of John Edwards which relate to aspects of thinking of all of our canons....
From now on it is reviewing and re-engaging rather than cramming more in.
Bring it on....
...until of course we get to the point just before a peak and need to start the whole process over again - see the sigmoid curve. If not the organisation that is Waimairi School would start to fade. But perhaps that is the next principal's job.