This day felt like a significant moment for our Kāhui Ako. Finally, we had everyone in the WHS hall again able to connect, share and build on our collective understanding. The set up of the hall and the day exemplified what we want to achieve as a Kāhui Ako: the beautiful table arrangements were created by Ruth Thomas and her students from Newtown School; the voices of students rang out in the wonderful performance from the Kapa Haka Rōpū from Te Kura o Ngā Puna Waiora, Newtown School and the video created by Andrew Gordon from his interviews with students across our seven schools; and workshops facilitated by teachers from every school. Above all, we all had the opportunity to be physically in the same place to connect and share our ideas.
Many thanks to Dr Melinda Webber for her provocative keynote address about building manaakitanga for our rangatira and to Nathan Crocker from Island Bay School for sharing his teaching journey.
And a huge mihi to our workshop presenters for sharing their knowledge and experience so generously with our Kāhui Ako. Please contact us if you would like to get in touch with any of the presenters.
Amy Burt (Island Bay)
The best of both worlds: Collaborative hub practices in single-cell environments.
Bernie Wills (WHS)
Agency: Just a buzz word or a real thing
Caitlin van Ballekom and Lizzie Waipara (Island Bay)
Beginners’ to drama teaching
Kyle Webb (WHS)
Creating an inquiry process for integrated projects at WHS
Prue MacFarlane (WHS)
Teaching and learning in science
Nicki Read (Newtown)
Effective collaboration: Create excellent teams
Maeve Reid and Nat Bell (WHS)
Connection, belonging and shared values: Co-constructing team culture and class culture
Julie Hanify (Ridgway) and Mary McCallum
Understanding learners on the Autistic Spectrum and those with ADHD
Hannah Paton-Smith, Sophia Barclay (Y12) and Iris Broadley (Y13) (WHS)
Supporting gender diversity and LGBT+ learners in our schools and classrooms
Susie Harcourt (MOE)
The effects of adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) and managing these in schools
Dr Melinda Webber
Kia tū rangatira ai: Learning, succeeding and thriving at school
Melissa Young (Poutama Pounamu)
Working with whānau: As a leader and/or a teacher
Claire O’Fee (Poutama Pounamu)
Deliberate acts of teaching
Kathryn Hutchinson (WHS)
Bringing our local stories of the past to life: How are we teaching NZ history across our schools?
It has been exciting to hear of schools building in opportunities for their staff to share their learning from the day, and we look forward to continued opportunities for sharing and connecting over the rest of the year.
Over the course of this term, SENCOs have been meeting with Across School Lead, Libby Hainsworth, to collate the anonymized learner needs and support for our ākonga, across our cluster of schools. In our recent hui held on 25 March, we came together view the pooled data of our primary schools and intermediate. This hui has begun the process of identifying patterns of strengths and needs across our schools and identifying what other information do we wish to glean in our analysis of the data. In our next hui which will be held early in term 2 we will look deeper into the pooled data, which will include that of our college.
We were pleased to have attendees from five out of seven schools and the participation and contributions of the group strongly set the path for how we can respond to our challenges:
We began by exploring stories of how we foster the competencies of managing self and thinking in the classroom and then created a visual pathway of the stories from year 0 to year 10.
A hexagon exercise offered the opportunity to unpack definitions of our collective understanding of key competencies, capabilities for learning, learning habits, learning dispositions, and values. And a jigsaw reading exercise provoked us further in our quest for common understanding. The slide show from the session has links to the readings for the jigsaw exercise.
We are looking forward to continuing our discussion about the capabilities for learning over the course of the year.
This week, we brought together our WSLs, ASLs and members of their Senior Lead Teams to begin to explore aspects of leadership. Building on feedback from last year, we are strengthening our leaders' ability to effect change with their colleagues through their inquiries and projects. Supported by Evaluation Associates, we began this year with a hui that focused on relational trust as a foundation for leading change.
"Trust is the connective tissue that holds improving schools together"
With this key idea from Bryk and Schneider in mind, and with our own rich experiences and prior knowledge to the fore, we:
“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” Maya Angelou
A big thank you to all of the participants in this session. A big shout out in particular to Ashwini from Capital Montessori Preschool of our ECE community. Great to have everyone together.
To frame up this session, and to put this in the context of future sessions we looked at Stephen R. Covey’s Circles framework.
The complexity of our circle of concern raised questions about the challenges facing schools, and teacher capacity – this is a demanding job with lofty aspirations and can be a heavy load to carry emotionally. Some great questions emerged considering the importance of relational practices within our wider communities, and the challenge of ‘how to build relationships whilst doing the work?’. The tensions between the wellbeing of teachers and students, alongside organisational constraints, are big questions that will be good to explore further in future sessions.
The groups discussed the relationship between our own behaviours (what we have control over) and intrinsic influences. How teachers and students manage themselves relationally within the classroom are influenced by a variety of factors. Hidden values and personal belief systems, emotional states and thoughts all influence behaviours.
Teachers (and students) are also often triggered emotionally by the behaviours of others. The group looked at Nathanson’s (1992) ‘Compass of Shame’ and how the behaviours we exhibit, or see in students, are often ‘the acting out’ of responses to feelings of ‘shame’. With a greater awareness of some of the ‘warning signs’ we can be better placed to navigate these challenges with increased skills, kindness, and compassion.
We rounded out the session by considering the shift from ‘Circle of Control’ to ‘Circle of Influence’ – a shift from teacher centred relationships to relationships between students. This has provided us with considerations to build into the next sessions around issues of exclusivity vs open inclusivity, creating opportunities for social connectedness, and some of the factors affecting individual students and their social isolation.
The next session will offer an exciting opportunity to continue our journey towards building relational capabilities both for teachers and students.
Titiro Whakamuri, Kōkiri Whakamua
Looking back to reflect, in order to move forward
Thank you to everyone who attended the session - we appreciate your willingness to share ideas and to think critically about both our histories and our responses to them. For those who would like to dig a little deeper into the Doctrine of Discovery, or the documents we looked at - the link to the Presentation is here. We are looking forward to the ongoing journey of this Community of Practice and sharing our learnings with you all.
Popoia te kākano, kia puawai.
Nurture the seed and it will blossom.
Browse our summary of all the different workstreams and projects that have been underway this year below...enjoy!
“There needs to be constructive alignment between the methods of the teacher and the opportunities and potential offered by these new spaces. You start with the teaching, you train people how to teach differently, and then move into the new spaces.”
Thank you so much to Newtown School for your generous welcoming of Kāhui Ako teachers to explore your modern learning environments and talk to the teachers who use the spaces.
We began with some provocations, led by Nicki Read (DP at Newtown School). She challenged us to place ourselves on a continuum based on some of the myths of collaborative learning spaces (that they are too noisy, that they only meet the needs of some students etc). Nicki finished her introduction by asking us to think of the collaborative space as an extra teacher. How would we plan for this specialised extra teacher?
The conversations Nicki’s provocations initiated were then carried through into the exploration of the spaces themselves. Participants were free to explore the modern learning environment at Newtown and had the opportunity to ask Newtown staff questions as we wandered around. It was great to connect to other teachers and share Newtown’s learning, such as room organisation and self-directed learning.
“Peel everything back to see the "why", so options for change become clear. The "why" is important – there can be many versions of "what" you build. There has to be a clear purpose for each learning space – a general purpose space ends up being everything and nothing. Plan for deep understanding of the rationale behind your space – this takes time.” Waimairi School case study
Resource links that we shared:
The morning session on cultural responsiveness led by Lynette, Claire and Mitch challenged participants to consider how they can create a curriculum that actively acknowledges Māori. Beginning with ‘A call to action for Aotearoa/New Zealand schools’, we were introduced to the https://putatara.education.govt.nz website, a resource to support schools and teachers to develop learning opportunities for sustainability and global citizenship that are place-based, inquiry-led, and focused on participation for change.
“The stories and histories relating to your school’s geographic location will assist you to instill a deeper sense of personal identity and belonging for every student. Focusing history learning in a familiar place allows assumptions to be challenged and new perspectives to be explored. While you may choose to show the links between local, national, and global history, place-based history also acknowledges the different experiences of Māori across Aotearoa and allows students to explore local tikanga and the events that have shaped their own community.”
Professor Wally Penetito, Ngāti Hauā, describes place-based education as having three strands:
We were all encouraged to think about how we can incorporate Māori culture and identity into our teaching practice.
In the afternoon session on Inclusive Student-Led Learning, Chrissie explicitly made the connection between Universal Design for Learning and student agency. When teachers actively embrace the UDL principles and planning cycle, they will be helping students to be purposeful and motivated, resourceful, and knowledgeable, strategic and goal-oriented - all aspects of student agency and all vital themes in the key competencies.
The overlap with our wellbeing work is becoming clear. Knowing our students and putting them at the centre of our planning is the first step for any planning.
The discussions and sharing of practice at both of these sessions have been both rewarding and challenging. We look forward to continuing our communities of practice next year.