Posts

The kids are alright... and they'll be even better if we actually start planning for a new normal.

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Yesterday I read Maurie's blogpost ' Time to Calm The Farm - Schools are not in chaos ' which provided a much needed reminder about the power we have to make to decisions in how we lead our schools and lead the narrative about education during a pandemic. It was a reminder also, that for many schools, teachers and learners that continuing to learn online was not the end of the world, nor was mandatory vaccinations, it was simply something we could, and for the most part, are managing just fine. It did however make me ponder what feels like a undercurrent of much of the push back and clickbait media headlines and stories, this idea that we are living through this massive and shocking disruption and that all of it is getting in the way of our much loved and lauded normality, which many still seem to think we may be returning to at some point. Even those of us who realise, in our most rational moments, the chances of returning to life as it was at the beginning of 2020 is real

Why need to close the digital divide in our schools - now!

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The "learning pack" sent to one family this week Link to the related article on RNZ  August 2021 marks 18 months since the arrival of COVID-19 in New Zealand and since then the country and regions has experienced a number of lockdowns. New Zealand's response has in many ways been phenomenal - articulate and calm leadership informed by science and research and supported by a compliant and committed "team of five million".   So why then do we let a digital divide persist? In a country with a government and leadership that prides itself on kindness and care I am confused and frustrated that we let a gaping digital divide mean that learning and connectedness during lockdown continues to be a school, decile and postcode lottery. Last year about 23,000 digital devices were purchased or leased by the government to supply to families that did not have one, the minister stating at the time that more than 100,000 children (about 80,000 households) did not have access to a

SPANZ - in a land of plenty (men) and an opportunity for women

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Source Today marks the first full day at the Secondary Principals of Aotearoa New Zealand (SPANZ) conference.  Today we get to sit through the first three of five keynotes, all of which are men.  To put this into context, Principalship in New Zealand is dominated by men. In 2019 37% of secondary school leaders were female, this is in contrast to the secondary teacher workforce where 63% are women. Whilst we have made progress over the last thirty years going from 19%  to 37% female leaders, we are still very much under-represented.  Considering the influence and reach secondary leaders have and the important responsibility they fulfil in leading our young people what is the price we pay for this under representation?? Source: NZCER Above are the stats that are laid out in NZCER's Women becoming secondary school leaders: Barriers, supports, and enablers Report written by Cathy Wylie, Jo MacDonald, and Renee Tuifagalele and published in 2020.  In the report, Wylie, MacDonald, and Tui

Education in Post-Anthropocene Aotearoa

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With “the enviro-reckoning” taking place at the close of the 21st Century the world in which people live has radically changed. Humans finally recognising that how we co-exist with the planet had to do things differently if we were to have a planet to live on at all. 2100 marked the beginning of what was to be recognised as “c age” where humans attempted to actively undo the devastating impact they had on Planet Earth. This also marked the beginnings of “global decolonisation” as humankind recognised the need to move from globalisation and controlling other countries to localisation and leaving others be. In Aotearoa, established values and ways of being in Te Ao Māori flourished. Humans stopped travelling, exporting and importing and instead turned to technology to connect, to experience the world and to produce what was needed locally. Humans endeavoured to consume less, living smaller lives, in smaller spaces. Economic growth was recognised as a damaging concept and linear economi

Upholding education: Why we need unions AND the council

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It has been disappointing to see over the last couple of weeks that the education sector has become increasingly divided, with the unions and the associations coming out (for the most part) as adversaries against the Teaching Council and the fees increase announcement. I totally get teachers being upset about having to pay more, but the vitriol being thrown around online is massively disappointing from a sector who wears their professional status with pride. I think the thing that makes it most disappointing is that it simply doesn’t make sense. In order to uphold the sanctity and the status of the education sector in New Zealand we actually need both - we need the unions and we need the council and we need both to be independent and independently funded so as to ensure they function effectively. Both the unions and the council have an important part to play in ensuring that we have safe classrooms with competent teachers and teachers who are well protected, well supported and

Introducing PPSTACK and what I believe it takes to implement effective change and enable learner agency!

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Introducing PPSTACK! The last few days (and weeks) has had me reflecting on many things: what did it expose in terms of social and digital divides; what did it expose in terms of school systems and leaders and their agility and agency; what have we learned from teaching and learning over lockdown, and what do we need to change moving forward so as to harness the opportunities and how do we ensure change we introduce is effective? Time and time again I found myself wondering what our recent experiences would have been like had the government of the day taken up the recommendations of Nikki Kaye's 21st Century Learning Reference Group? This was a group I was lucky to be part of back in 2013-2014 and as a group we came up with the report Future-Focused Learning Connected Communities which recommended the following: Commit to meeting the needs of 21st century learners Achieve equitable access to digital devices for every learner Invest in people and innovation Create fu

High School 2.0 - It’s time to prepare for a new normal

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Imagining a brighter future in our new normal The last week or so has been an interesting one for school leaders. One week we were planning for when and if we might have to close, come Monday, it was all on - schools closing the next day for most students and closed for all students by the end of Wednesday. Schools across the country were to go “full remote mode” by Thursday morning. So how did our schools fare? It is safe to say that schools around the country sat somewhere on a long continuum ranging from “we got this” to “sh#t, we better start planning”. The reality is that, for the most part, schools and educators have rallied together and have managed to patch together an okay plan for the time being. And therein lies the problem - a) It was, for many, patched together and b) nearly universally, it is a plan that will suffice for the time being. Over the last week it feels like our understanding of what we are dealing with and going to be dealing with is becoming increas