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.
This title completely sums up the provocative presentation Sarah Te One (Core Education) presented to WSLs and other interested educators last Thursday. After a brief outline of current thinking about children’s rights, Sarah focused on the word ‘agency,’ “Agency is often thought about one-dimensionally as only being about the child’s voice but it means much more than that. Agency is really about whether or not the child/learner can influence what is going on around them. Unless the child is able to exercise choice, then there is no agency.”
New Zealand has been a signatory to the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child for 27 years. The Convention is a balance between three potentially conflicting ideas - children as autonomous; the role of the family to raise children in their own ways; and the State’s responsibilities to ensure that children can access social services, like health and education and justice too, so that they experience a good quality life growing up to feel a sense of belonging and responsibility to society.
The major points we took from Sarah’s presentation are that when we are working with children they need to be included from the beginning to the middle, to the end. Voice is not enough. Our job is to help children understand that they have rights. The Lundy model shows how we can spread students voice so they have influence:
Sarah has challenged the WSLs and teachers in our Kāhui Ako to revisit the way we engage students in our inquiries. She reminded us that the way we inquire into students’ needs could be far more reciprocal. The design of an inclusive local curriculum that is a key feature of our collective work is an ideal space for us to exercise our thinking around the ideas Sarah shared.
You can view Sarah’s slideshow here and please contact us if you’d like to know more.
Develop and implement our own Learning Support Delivery Model