Over the first two days of our end of Term 2 break our whole teaching staff attended the I love teaching 2011 conference at the Ascot Hotel, Invercargill, New Zealand. Usually we have to travel quite a distance (ie the North Island!) for any professional learning of this quality so it is a real credit to the Conference Convenor, (Marlene Campbell) and the committee (Kerry Hawkins, Alison Cook, Peter Forde, Allan Mitchell) that we have an opportunity of this calibre on our doorstep every two years!
There was a wide range of very high calibre speakers but right now I want to share just a few of my 'lightbulb' moments!
I really enjoyed James' presentation - both his keynote and his workshop. One key point was:
Getting the balance right throughout the school day on introducing / discussing concepts that push the student into the pit or conflict or wobble zone (where new learning and understanding is constructed / takes place) and yet gives enough scaffolding so the learner gets the chance to reach that Eureka! moment.
An important part of this process is the use of effort centered praise for what a student is doing - not praise telling them how smart they are or what a good score they got!
As this image shows the problems solved on the third test after different types of praise was given shows the effect on the students results!
I believe the challenge for our school from this is that we have to carefully consider the balance that the structure of our day to day curriculum across our learning environments is giving to the process of Concept, Conflict/Wobble, Construct, Eureka! Getting this right within a schools curriculum framework is a bit like walking a tightrope as we try to balance different teachers passions with learners needs and community wishes. A good inquiry scaffold that is articulated and understood across our school gives our foundation learning areas an enriching concept on which our learners can 'hang their understanding on' along with the chance to 'wobble' before reaching that 'Construct' and 'Eureka!' moment.
An inspiring and highly engaging speaker who is extremely passionate about helping all teachers and learners to chance to change the student, teacher relationship from one based on control and compliance to one based on guidance and self-determination. In his keynote and workshops Wilson worked on introducing and demonstrating with us the words and strategies that empower students to manage their own behaviour, improve their emotional intelligence and increase their chances of success in life. Perhaps the best way to appreciate this initiative is to watch an example of this learning in action!
As a school the potential for this to further enhance the positive culture of our school is huge and I look forward to discussing with staff where to next with this powerful initiative!
Allie Mooney is someone who you will always learn something from. She gives you a reminder about knowing who you are, what you see your strengths as and what you need to understand about appreciating and understanding others!
Our school is richer for the diversity we have around our staff team and it is something that I think is very important for everyone that we appreciate and value all types. There is great strength in diversity and as staff changes happen in the life of the school I believe it is important to keep that balance right!