EdchatNZ meme

1. How did you attend the #edchatnz conference (face 2 face, followed online or didn’t)?

As a staff member at HPSS I was fortunate to be in the school on Friday taking my Hub and having an opportunity to share what is happening. On Saturday I came back into school with my family for a day of awesomeness

2. How many others attended from your school or organisation?

All! on Friday and there were a large portion on the Saturday as well

3. How many #edchatnz challenges did you complete?

A woeful 3

4. Who are 3 people that you connected with and what did you learn from them?

@tjbigge – An old friend from High School whom I have not seen for about 8 years. Awesome to chat about what they are doing at his school at the moment and trying to take an educational plunge that will allow more student voice and control over their own learning.

@Melmoore – I had the opportunity to go to Mel’s session on cross curricula planning and teaching with an NCEA focus. As I am already lucky enough to be working in a school that operates heavily within a collaborative framework it was nice to have some discussions about what this might look like at a senior level. It was also nice to hear how a member of SLT from another school was looking to take risks and some of the issues that their school is dealing with regarding trying to establish this practice within a non MLE school. I appreciated her openness and her honesty about these issues.

@mrsmeganpete – Had a session with Megan after Mel’s on NCEA and again blown away to have conversations and ideas with someone that I sit next to on a day to day basis. This was another of those situations that reminds you of the awesomeness your teaching peers often hold onto and only let out for situations such as the #edchatNZ conference. I felt that this was the perfect partnership presentation to to the prior session and also enjoyed that it took a new and fresh look at the way we assess and provide meaningful feedback to our students to promote positive learning.

5. What session are you gutted that you missed?

– I would have loved to have been able to attend the political debate that @claireamos chaired. I would have also liked to have sat through the session run by Pam Hook on SOLO.

6. Who is one person that you would like to have taken to Edchatnz and what thing would they have learnt?

The one person that I really wanted to take did come with me and she is still talking about it so awesome to be able to share what I do and to see a budding teacher passionately excited about her future and the future of education

7. Is there a person you didn’t get to meet/chat with (F2F/online) that you wished you had? Why?

I wish that I had more opportunities to connect with some of the other PE teachers that were at conference to sit down and discuss/share practice and ideas about what is happening in other schools.

8. What’s the next book you are going to read and why?

I am keen to read the Falconer and am hoping to acquire this from one of my community teachers soon.

9. What is one thing you plan to do to continue the Education Revolution you learnt about at #EdchatNZ?

I have set a challenge to get my critical buddy onto twitter by the end of this term and I am planning a presentation to our staff about the benefits of twitter as a PD tool. As a teacher who was so apposed to social networking I have been truly reformed in my thinking

10. Will you take a risk and hand your students a blank canvas?

Yes!!

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What do 21st Century teachers Value

I have the privilege of working in an amazing school surrounded by some of the most amazing educators in NZ. My position as a founding teacher at Hobsonville Point Secondary School has exposed me to a world of forward thinking individuals who have moved beyond speculation of what education could look like and are immersed in making that change happen.

One of these colleagues @MissDtheTeacher has just pulled off an almighty and impressive accomplishment that has been the first edchatnz conference hosted within HPSS. The opportunity to meet with and share ideas with what ended up being around 300+ members of the wider educational community has been mind blowing and surreal. As part of this conference the school opened its doors and gave full access to all, as teachers roamed the central passageway of the school lessons continued and students carried on with their learning. I was nervous initially at the extreme vulnerability that this situation created regarding my own practice, but once I started with my Hub the ongoing stream of visitors were soon as natural as any day within the school. I was amazed by our students, at their resilience in the face of what could have been an extremely daunting situation. As the masses streamed through our school grilling our students about their learning and asking questions that would send most year 9 students into stunned paralysis, they stood their ground and answered each and every question with certainty and confidence. For these educators it was an amazing opportunity to see inside a working modern learning environment, an opportunity to see how modern learning could be, where cross curricular planning and teaching is the norm and learning is soundly centered around the learner not the teacher.

However it was at this time that the sad reality sank in for me during two conversations I was asked two questions that after a period of reflection initially shocked me, then confused me and finally angered me. If you had this opportunity what would you ask? If you could go into NZ’s newest school and had access to some of the most innovative curriculum changes occurring in NZ what would you ask to take away and inspire your own practice or to improve the learning of your own students?

So what was I asked, Question 1 was, “So what is the story with the uniform”? and question 2 “how are you going to assess NCEA”? I answered both of these questions at the time with fairly generic answers based on what I believe are the underpinning strengths of our school. In short We have a uniform as a school, really what more is there to say, assessment, well I hope that our students will do any required assessments as needed and when they the students are ready for that assessment. I hope that these assessments will occur as a result of learning that has occurred and that they will not drive learning to occur.
Following my initial encounter two days of educational magic unfolded the conference enabled conversations to ignite and spread throughout the school and for two days the school was filled with an amazing energy.

In reflecting on what has occurred over the past two days these initial comments have been significantly cleansed by some powerful and inspiring collaboration. However it has further cemented my belief that if we are going to engage, inspire and educate the leaders of our futures we must move past historic notions of superficial requirements for learning. While I am grateful that I work in a brand new school where everything is shiny and new this is not what makes it amazing. If we are to become 21st century educators we need to base our practice around a student centered curriculum where student voice is respected and valued, and as teachers we need to spend more time on learning who are learners are instead of learning redundant and prohibitive rules. A student wearing a pair of boardies and a singlet who is valued and respected by a teacher wearing a kilt and a floral shirt will be successful is a school that has old chairs and faded paint. The reason this student will be successful is because their teachers knows them they have built a culture that values meaningful relationships and partnerships with that learner. That teacher who is wearing a floral shirt does not tell the student what they have to do but instead takes the time to listen to what that student wants to do. That student is passionate about learning because the teacher in the floral shirt knows what the student is passionate about and has incorporated that into their learning.

I believe that the biggest constraint that is prohibiting deep and meaningful progression in education today is not the attitudes of our youth but the attitudes of their teachers. I am thankful for the opportunities that I have been given and that I am surrounded by people that won’t allow themselves or their students to be constrained by these historic ideals around what teaching must be. Mostly I am thankful that NZ teachers care enough to join a revolutionary movement such as edchatnz, which has thrust education into the public domain.

I have come away from the edchatnz conference excited and inspired, I hope that others feel the same way and that they will continue to fight those who have stagnated educational growth with excuses and fixed mindsets. If the teachers who I have met and worked with at this conference are the face of our future then I am assured that we can achieve a future where student success is always valued the most.

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