Saturday, 28 October 2017

Week 32 - Changes in Practice

I have thoroughly enjoyed my mindlab journey and have learnt so much. I can’t believe 32 weeks is up already. The first 16 weeks were the hardest as it was a huge commitment at the end of a long work day to travel an hour then learn for another 4 hours and then travel an hour home.I found a lot of the innovations had been passed on to us through another staff member who had previously done mindlab. It was good to deepen my understanding of digital and collaborative learning though and I enjoyed looking into evidencing learning and using seesaw which fit in with: Criteria 11: Analyse and appropriately use assessment and information, which has been gathered formally and informally (MoE, n.d.).
I enjoyed the leadership component of the first 16 weeks too as I learnt a lot about leadership. Although I am in the senior leadership team at school I have really never had any PD on leadership so it was great to get this opportunity. I particularly enjoyed looking at leadership styles and theories and analysing a change initiative I had been through. This level of reflection, alongside my new learning allowed me to look at the change in a way I haven’t before. This fits in with: Criteria 5: Show leadership that contributes to effective teaching and learning. Professional knowledge in practice (MoE, n.d.).
The next 16 weeks have been a lot more enjoyable and I feel like through my constant reflection I have learnt a lot more. I have also enjoyed self paced learning and it has fit in with my busy teaching life better too. To me this really aligns with my thoughts of the reflective practice I have been doing over the past 16 weeks; “Reflective practice is viewed as a means by which practitioners can develop a greater level of self-awareness about the nature and impact of their performance, an awareness that creates opportunities for professional growth and development.” (Osterman & Kottkamp, 1993, p.2).
Through my literature review I was able to see the benefit of using evidence to inform my teaching. Before this course I mainly used the NZ teachers facebook page to get evidence for my teaching. However through this review I was able to see that it is worthwhile to read journal articles and find more research based evidence elsewhere. I was then able to transfer this learning into using the spiral of inquiry to come with a whole spiral around using problem based learning to improve children’s self-management skills. I enjoyed doing this assessment as it allowed me to gain a good understanding of how the spiral of inquiry works and then use this in my practice directly. This relates to Criteria 12: Use critical inquiry and problem-solving effectively in their professional practice (MoE, n.d.).
All of this learning has really helped me and will continue to help me in my new role as our CoL across school lead teacher. A lot of my next steps with my professional development will come through this role as this will be a challenge and I have a lot to learn. Later I want to complete my masters too.


References
Osterman, K. & Kottkamp, R.(1993). Reflective Practice for Educators.California.Cornwin Press, Inc. Retrieved on 7th May, 2015 from http://www.itslifejimbutnotasweknowit.org.uk/files.
Ministry of Education (nd). Practising teacher Criteria and e-learning . Retrieved from http://elearning.tki.org.nz/Professional-learning/

Week 31 - Professional Context - Crossing Boundaries

I am a Primary educator so I have a lot of different interdisciplinary connections, a lot of which happen naturally as we tend to integrate well and are accustomed to using this kind of approach. This map shows my connections and some of the possible connections I can have too:

Screenshot - 29_10_2017 , 6_04_38 p_m.png

One of the interdisciplinary connections that is my near future goal is the support agencies that we are involved with or potentially could be involved with. This involves the RTLB, RLit service, psychologists and councillors/mental health mainly. We have an involvement with these agencies but we often walk away not fully satisfied with this connection so I would like to examine how we could make this connection stronger.

In Mulligan & Kuban’s article (2015) they suggest a conceptual model for successful collaboration. The 3 aspects of this are: workplace conditions, qualities/attitudes and common goals. By using this model with these services this would help to make this a successful interdisciplinary connection.

For workplace conditions Mulligan & Kuban (2015) talk about communication, the space of meetings and support. For my connection with these services it is important that we have regular open communication from both sides, I think the first meeting/communication is the most important as it sets the stage for the rest of the work together. The next aspect is qualities/attitudes which I think is the most crucial aspect if you hope to be truly cooperative it is about being vulnerable, being equitable and having trust. I think a lot of this comes the first few times you communicate again as this is when you set up your relationship and clearly share and set goals about what you both want to gain from this connection. The last aspect is common goals which is working to each others strengths, being clear about the goals and both being happy with them too. I personally think with some support agencies we do have the last two aspects in place enough and this is why maybe we come away not happy with this connection.

From this reflection I can really see that I need to work harder on qualities/attitudes and common goals and ensure that the agency realises the importance of these two aspects too.

I can definitely see the importance and benefits from interdisciplinary practice as it really helps to bring other people in to help us, as we are not experts in all fields. It opens our eyes to new pedagogy and new ideas. Some of the challenges are that we definitely have to be open minded and open to it ourselves and feel like we need the support otherwise we will get nothing from it. We also need to be able to be open for suggestions and if all 3 of Mulligan & Kuban’s (2015) aspects are well set up this should happen. This is my goal to not let these challenges get in my way and be more open to the things I can learn from these support agencies as I am not an expert in these areas.


References

Mulligan, L. M., & Kuban, A. J. . (2015). A Conceptual Model for Interdisciplinary Collaboration. Retrieved from http://acrlog.org/2015/05/14/a-conceptual-model-for-interdisciplinary-collaboration

ThomasMcDonaghGroup. ( 2011, May 13). Interdisciplinarity and Innovation Education.[video file]. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kDdNzftkIpA

Saturday, 7 October 2017

Week 30 - Professional Online Social Networks

How has social media been used in my teaching?
I have used mainly blogs as a form of social media in my teaching. The children have used individual blogs and have shared their work, reflections, photos and anything else of interest. The children commented on each others blogs too. I have also had a class blog for the last few years that is mainly for parents to see photos of things that have been going on at school, links to the children’s blogs and pieces of work that the children have done. I have also started to use seesaw as a form of social media this year too. The children have really enjoyed this as it is based on a more instagram and facebook interface that they are more used to. We have used it for sharing evidence of their learning against the school progressions. I haven’t used twitter before as it is not an interface I am used to but can definitely see its benefit.


In what ways has social media been beneficial to student learning?
It allows the students to be connected across the world, they have access to a wide audience for their work. This also means their learning is transparent for their parents and they can clearly see what is going on at school and see how their child is progressing through the year. It also allows the children to see their own progression of learning in one place too. They are also quite engaged when using social media and enjoy receiving digital feedback especially from family or other classes. As Sharples et al. said social media supports “creativity, collaboration, communication and sharing of resources” (Sharples et al., 2016, p.12) I think this is very true and highlights the benefits for the children’s learning.


What are the challenges that arise when you use social media in your teaching?
Accessibility is a big challenge and we are lucky to have one to one chromebooks which has made blogging and using seesaw a lot more of a smooth process. Sometimes it can be hard with videos and photos with chromebooks and this is where ipads are a lot better. Also the issue of digital citizenship and digital footprint is important. This involves educating the children and making them aware of these issues. Also some children are lacking basic digital skills which can hold them back using the media as effectively. Another big challenge is the children get off task and often don’t use their time wisely and get distracted on social media. Age restrictions on sites like facebook stop use from using a wider range of social media too.


How are you going to address the challenges?
I would like to ask for a few more ipads for the intermediate department or just borrow the other classes ipads if that can’t happen. For digital citizenship and digital skills it is a matter of at the beginning of the year and when needed educating the children on these things. This can also happen through other children as they collaborate when they use social media. With getting off task it is really about the key competencies and really teaching these, also having more limited time for some tasks so there is no time to get off task when it is a really focused task. There are also programs like linewize that we trialled where you can monitor the sites the children use, this wasn’t 100% right for our system so it may be a matter of finding something else that might be better for this too.

References:

Sharples, M., de Roock , R., Ferguson, R., Gaved, M., Herodotou, C., Koh, E., Kukulska-Hulme, A., Looi,C-K, McAndrew, P., Rienties, B., Weller, M., Wong, L. H. (2016). Innovating Pedagogy 2016: Open University Innovation Report 5. Milton Keynes: The Open University. Retrieved from http://proxima.iet.open.ac.uk/public/innovating_pedagogy_2016.pdf

Education Council.(2012). Establishing safeguards.[video file]. Retrieved from https://vimeo.com/49216520

Week 29 - Influence of Law and Ethics

An ethical dilemma I have been faced with related to online interactions is to do with how accessible we are as teachers through emails by children, parents, and colleagues. These days we can email any of these people/groups at any time and they can do the same to us which causes some ethical issues and makes it hard for when to draw the line for communication. I will analyse the situation through Hall’s (2001) guiding questions.

Which stakeholders should be given priority? Why?
The stakeholders are the people receiving and sending the emails and I suppose a lot of this depends on the specific situation. The main reasons this is an issue is what should be the expected time to respond to an email and the reasons for emails and how we word them. So really it needs to be a balance between both people’s needs and there should be respect and understanding about the other person and the life they lead. In our code of conduct (Education Council, n.d.) we have a commitment to professional relationships with colleagues, children and families so this is important to consider when communicating with these different groups too.

What restrictions are there to your actions?
Some emails require pretty immediate responses even though you may otherwise be occupied. Also some emails may challenge you professionally so you need to seek help for another colleague on how to respond to the email. Also sometimes the tone of the email may be misinterpreted. Also with children they are less experienced with sending emails so their emails may seem less respectful or at inappropriate times or they want an instant response and will re email if they don’t get a response.

What courses of action are possible?
For the students - teaching them how to respectfully email people, setting up a class agreement about emailing and teacher student email relations and what are the restrictions on this.
For parents - there may need to be a contract drawn up about respectful communication, timing etc…, I think it would be important that parents sign this so we have something to fall back on too. Maybe we ring parents about issues or call meetings so there is less misinterpreting tone and they might see teachers as more human too.
For colleagues - an agreement drawn up to about responding time. Talk to people in person.
The main objective is to make the guidelines very clear so there is no confusion and people are allowed to have a life and are talked to respectfully.

How should the course of action be implemented?
Teaching the children how to be digital citizens and email etiquette at the beginning of the year and at the age they get their own school email so it is consistently reinforced and everyone is on the same page; teachers are consistent too.
For contracts with parents and colleagues, this would be consolidation with all parties involved and then draw up a draft agreement, review it again and then get all parties to agree to the contract. I think it would be important to review this each year and get it re-signed/agreed each year so it is up to date and includes the most important ethical issues in this complex communication.

So overall this is a complex ethical issue and one that often breaks the code of ethics for teachers so I think it is important that more actions are put in place to protect teachers and allow us to follow our code ethics while using email to communicate.



References

Connecticut’s Teacher Education and Mentoring Program.(2012) Ethical and Professional Dilemmas for Educator: Facilitator’s Guide. Retrieved from http://www.ctteam.org/df/resources/Module5_Manual.pdf

Hall, A. (2001). What ought I to do, all things considered? An approach to the exploration of ethical problems by teachers. Paper presented at the IIPE Conference, Brisbane. Retrieved from http://www.educationalleaders.govt.nz/Culture/Developing-leaders/What-Ought-I-to-Do-All-Things-Considered-An-Approach-to-the-Exploration-of-Ethical-Problems-by-Teachers

Education Council. (n.d). The Education Council Code of Ethics for Certificated Teachers. Retrieved from https://educationcouncil.org.nz/content/code-of-et...

Week 28 - Cultural responsiveness

To me culturally responsive pedagogy is understanding that we all have a unique culture that affects how we learn and the experiences we have had. As it is explained in ‘teaching tolerance’ (2010) the most important part is understanding what culture is. To me culture is about a person’s worldviews, language, values, how they make sense of things, perspectives and assumptions. As an educator it is important to be aware of each child’s culture and respect their culture. As apart of this it is important that we are being a learner, as we don’t necessarily know a lot about their culture, it is about being willing to be the learner (Cowie et al., 2011). This is the tuakana teina relationship and often involves creating a partnership with the whānau too. We need to think about the unique background each person comes from, the knowledge they bring and the diverse ways they learn best. We have to then use this understanding of culture in how we teach, creating a program that provides opportunities for everyone's cultures to be recognised and the types of learning that are happening work for the children’s cultures. This about the link between what is known and what is being taught. This is good practice for every child so the culturally responsive practices we might use for some children will also benefit other children.

We have been using the Education review office indicators at our school (Education Review Office, 2016). These are  manaakitanga, whanaungatanga, ako and mahi tahi. These work well for the cultures in our school and this is what we base our culturally responsive practice around.
I believe our school is the Mauri Ora state for communication methods for our main cultures, we are actively engaged and communicating effectively. We have regular meetings where cultural groups come together with our ELL coordinator and some teachers and discuss their children’s learning and how the school is working for them. This is fed back to the board and changes are made where needed. We also have a Pasifika teacher and she is very good at communicating with families too. Our ELL coordinator really helps us to be at the Mauri Ora state as she coordinates this effective communication. We also as teachers have good relationships with our families and regularly are in contact with them. At times some of the teachers are Mauri Oho stage as they are not as actively communicating with their families the same as the school systems are communicating.
I believe our school is at Mauri Moe sleep level to the Mauri Oho level for learning activities. I feel like we have a good understanding of culturally responsive practice as a staff but often our understanding isn’t implemented in the classroom through the learning activities. We need to work harder at being more proactive when we are planning to ensure we are using cultural contexts, enhancing vocabulary and encouraging oral language for our learners. We are currently having some culturally responsive maths professional development which I feel is helping people to see how easy it can be and how a lot of what we do already is actually culturally responsive but if we want to be Mauri Ora we have got a way to go to actually embed this cultural practice in our learning activities.

References
Teaching Tolerance.( 2010, Jun 17).Introduction to Culturally Relevant Pedagogy.[video file]. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nGTVjJuRaZ8
Edtalks.(2012, September 23). A culturally responsive pedagogy of relations. [video file].Retrieved from https://vimeo.com/49992994
Cowie, B., Otrel-Cass, K., Glynn, T., & Kara, H., et al.(2011).Culturally responsive pedagogy and assessment in primary science classrooms: Whakamana tamariki. Wellington: Teaching Learning Research Initiative. Retrieved from http://www.tlri.org.nz/sites/default/files/projects/9268_cowie-summaryreport.pdf

Potahu, T. W. (2011). Mauri - Rethinking Human Wellbeing. MAI Review, 3, 1-12. Retrieved from http://www.review.mai.ac.nz/index.php/MR/article/v...

Tuesday, 3 October 2017

Week 27 - The broader professional context

The trend from US National Intelligence Council’s (2017) Global trends that sounds out for me and my practice is ‘Technology is accelerating progress but causing discontinuities’. This is relevant to my practice as we run a manly digital program and focus on 21st Century skills and use the ITL rubrics (2012) to guide how we implement these skills. The importance of this trend is the children we are teaching will be living in a very technologically based society and a lot of their careers will be based around it. So this should be what we are preparing the children for.

Technological change is happening very rapidly which means there will be a lot of new opportunities but it as The US National Intelligence Council (2017) says this will cause will cause economies to not be able to adjust fast enough, a bigger division between rich and poor and biotechnology will influence medicine and other fields but there may be some moral issues for people around these developments.

As OECD (2016) says the impact of technology is less predictable due to the rapid rate of change. It has changed the way we communicate and we notice that with the children we teach, we need to tap into how they communicate and use this medium to help educate them and engage them in their norm. The advances that are being made in biotechnology will impact the future and we need to make sure we educate the children about areas like this so they can see how technology is impacting the world in a wider sense too.

OECD (2016) also talks about the risks associated with technology like cyber fraud, cyber bullying and hacking. This is very important for education as we need to educate the children of these risks and how to avoid them. This is digital citizenship and is becoming more and more important with the technological change that is happening and will continue to happen.

In our local community and in the NZ education system we need to be responding to this change and educating the children alongside the ITL rubrics (2012) and 21st Century skills as both of these prepare the children for this change that is occurring. We do not just need to use technology but we need to use it in a transformative way, allowing the children to discover and make their own meaning. Skills like coding and robotics are really important too and there should be some more pd about these things for teachers to help them to facilitate activities like these. Problem solving is a key skill with technology too so this needs to be a key aspect in the NZ education system and internationally too. We need to be fostering technological skills, ensuring the children are digital citizens and making them aware of the advances in areas such as biotechnology. I personally think that I do this well as I grew up in the beginning of key technological changes and I love technology but I think there are a lot of teachers that are still resistant to using technology in a transformative way. There needs to be a big change in curriculums around the world to really highlight the importance of educating our children for this rapid change.

References:
National Intelligence Council. (2017). Global trends: The Paradox of Progress. National Intelligence Council: US. Retrieved from https://www.dni.gov/files/images/globalTrends/documents/GT-Main-Report.pdf

Karataş, S., et al. (2016). A Trend Analysis of Mobile Learning. In D. Parsons (Ed.) Mobile and Blended Learning Innovations for Improved Learning Outcomes(pp. 248-276). Hershey, PA: IGI Global.

ITL Research. (2012). 21CLD Learning Activity Rubrics. Retrieved from Microsoft in Education: https://education.microsoft.com/GetTrained/ITL-Research

Week 26 - My Professional Context

We are a decile 6 school with just over 50% of the school that are not Pakeha. We have a large Tongan and Filipino community within our school. We have families from a range of different backgrounds, different socioeconomic groups and a range of values. We have a very varied community. We also have a lot of children come and leave us which changes the needs within the school. We have meetings with our different cultures and do a lot of consultation to ensure everything is working for everyone. We are transparent and an open environment which helps different people to communicate with us in different ways. These trends we are seeing in our school are similar to other schools of the same socioeconomic spread as us in our area. Through our COL we are able to address some of the issues that come from this wide range of backgrounds and work together to support our community.

We are a Catholic school so this is the core of our school and we want our children to ‘Reach for the stars as lifelong learners in the Catholic faith’. We foster this through weaving the key special character of our school through everything we do and modelling how Jesus would act in all of our lives. However a lot of our community are not actually Catholic and we are currently in the process of cutting down of non-preference children to return our school to the Catholic culture that we want to be central to the school. We have noticed from this decline in Catholic families our school's culture has been changing and we have been noticing some behaviour differences and a different feel to the school. We want parents to bring their children to our school for the special character not just because ‘Catholic schools are good schools’.

We are a high performing school and like to be very up to date with the latest pedagogy, this makes it a forward thinking professional environment. We have had large changes in staff which has changed our professional environment over time. This has been hard to keep the school culture the same through these changes. From this high performing status and always being reflective it can put pressure on staff and people are often stressed due to high expectations and high workload, especially when big changes are made to how we do things as a school. Senior leadership are understanding of this and extra release can be asked for when needed, also timelines for achieving certain things are flexible to allow time for those who need it. We are also very collaborative and communicate well which helps us to all get through times of change.

Looking at Stoll’s (1998) 10 influencing cultural norms of school improvement I feel like we do shared goals, continuous improvement, lifelong learning, support, celebration and humour well. I think because of our change in staff some of the norms take longer to develop and I feel like we are definitely working on responsibility for success, collegiality, risk taking, mutual respect and openness.

After watching Mark Wilson’s talk (2013) his three key aspects of vision, unity and empowerment for creating a culture of success are definitely a part of our school's culture and as we work towards keeping staff and developing our culture I definitely think all three would be very evident in our school.


References:

Stoll. (1998). School Culture. School Improvement Network’s Bulletin 9. Institute of Education, University of London. Retrieved from http://www.educationalleaders.govt.nz/Culture/Understanding-school-cultures/School-Culture
TEdEd(2013, Jun 21). Building a culture of success- Mark Wilson. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n_8Bjz-OCD8