How will our teaching look?

After putting together the statements that are the roots of our learning environment we next had to look at how teaching and learning will look practically.

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We needed to clarify which learning takes place in which time for ourselves. For our students to understand, it needs to be absolutely crystal clear for us. We had some really good discussion when developing this and came up with some hypothetical situations which had some real value in them.

I think i widely held concern is that if we put too much emphasis on student interest driven work, we may miss the intricacies that a traditional education model offers. I’ve considered this multiple times over the process of the last few weeks of 2016 but I have confidence we can wrap a broad curriculum around anything a student wants to engage with.

This is something we will need to work hard at, and constantly remind ourselves of though as we want to empower student learning by giving them choice but still expose them to broader learning within that choice.

We will need to look at how we:
-Deliver
-Assess

And look at how students:
-present
-set & reach goals
-work toward their goals

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Foundations of Puna Ako

Over the past two days we’ve done a couple of sessions looking at constructing a statement from which we will build how our puna ako time will look. Schools and institutions often have these ‘vision statement’ type sentences which I have seen but never really operated from.

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This is the first time I have actually been involved in the creation of a fundamental statement and its a real eye opener to the power that these types of sentences really have. If we are really careful to choose our key words then it is something that we can legitimately look back on when we are in our working model to ensure we are sticking to our values.

There are two key elements to this:

Choosing the right words – If we choose elegant and simplistic words which cover exactly what we need them to cover, no more and no less, then we can simply look back and see if we are covering what we believe is necessary. (Ako for example is so important).

What reinforces what – in the above statements, our whanaungatanga and ako are the foundations which drive the reflective and aspirational qualities we will aim to encourage in ākonga (teachers and students represented in ākonga).

First Reflection, What is Haeata?

After accepting the position at Haeata, I knew that this was my ideal job, but while explaining to friends and family I realized that i didn’t know how exactly the school would function. The last two weeks have clarified some things, and provoked my thinking in other areas.

Haeata’s literal translation, ‘dawn’ or ‘a beam of light’, is a great representation of how our school model should look. It’s a new day/approach/dawn in how education looks. We are not looking to just take one step in the right direction, rather make up for some lost time and reconsider every aspect of education that is necessary to reconsider.

After my first week I was very excited, I met with Kōrepo a few times during the week and what I immediately saw is opportunity for genuine collaboration. I pushed for collaboration in as much as I could in my old school but all I could get was some surface stuff but any legitimate cross curricular work was put together by me within my own class and using my own knowledge.

But our hapori is a genuine mix of skill sets and personalities which are dedicated to helping the wider group and not just allowing themselves to be bound within their subject. Our varied personalities will also give our ākonga an excellent range of guidance, If we can retain strong team work I am extremely confident we can offer very well rounded educational and social opportunities.

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Meeting some of our ākonga for the first time at Aranui high school was a really good experience. We had a good range of activities for the students and I feel there was a relatively high rate of engagement. I spotted some great opportunities to build relationships across many area’s of mutual interests.

This is a major part Haeata to me, we are contributing to a community of learning and strong relationships between Kaiako – ākonga, kaiako – kaiako & ākonga – ākonga. These relationships are the foundations of our learning community. Without the trust within our community we will not open up the opportunities to diversify our teaching and learning.

Our trip to Auckland further clarified my thoughts about Haeata. We saw some interesting things happen and some really cool looking learning environments but they were missing some of the essence I believe will be at the heart of Haeata.

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The underlying philosophy at the schools were really  cool, its just where this went into practice that things differed to how I picture things should be. I’m not being over critical though as I have never seen my ideals operating schoolwide and in practice so how they can look practically may differ to whats practical/possible.

My main issue was that even though there were some innovative and partially collaborative teaching practice’s happening there was nothing (that i personally saw) which teachers could not put together in a traditional school situation.

There was collaboration between teachers, yes, but to attain true ako, the collaboration needs to be between Kaiako & ākonga too. There were surface examples of this for sure. But not in curriculum construction.

I’m excited for and confident for the process we are going to create in Haeata, I’m almost more unsure of how it will look now than before I had started but I think this is a good way to challenge any existing ‘routine’ thinking that I may already have. It’s fine to ‘think’ I have a great education philosophy but unless my views are constantly challenged, I would be stagnant and thats when your in danger of not just getting things wrong, but not identifying and improving from those mistakes.