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Showing posts from January, 2015

Graduating Teacher Standards - Are they future-focused enough?

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As you may (or may not) know, one of the many and varied roles of the New Zealand Teachers Council is to approve and review all Initial Teacher Education programmes. It was during my first council meeting where a number of the new Masters ITE programmes were being approved that the question came to me (once again): Are the Graduating Teacher Standards future focused enough?? The reason I asked myself and others this, is that I felt the courses we were looking at could have offered more. It wasn't that they weren't rigorous and well thought out, it was just that they felt lacking, particularly in the 'future-focused skills' area. When I voiced these concerns the response I got was, that we couldn't demand the courses to include anything that wasn't demanded in the graduating teacher standards. On reading the standards more closely I am not so sure. Surely if you take the second point of Standard One "have pedagogical content knowledge appropriate to the le…

Holiday Reading Review - How to Thrive, Lean In and just basically be a #GIRLBOSS

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I have been collecting books to read on my Kindle for some time now. Over the last seven days having time offline and being away from the house meant I finally got around to some much overdue reading. Interestingly there seemed to be a bit of a theme, a theme which could loosely be called "women kicking ass online". Whilst I didn't pick them (consciously) for this reason, it is interesting that the role models I have picked are all in the online tech world - Arianna Huffington being the person who established The Huffington Post, Sophia Amoruso being the women who established Nasty Gal clothing (originally an Ebay shop that is now a $100 million e-commerce store) and Sheryl Sandberg who is the COO of Facebook. What actually drew me to these books were their messages and in particular the messages they had for successful women. 
Arianna Huffington has been on my radar for some time, I have followed The Huffington Post for a while and I really enjoyed her TED Talk 'Ho…

Mindfulness and the Machine

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This is something I have been thinking about for a while, borne mostly out of my own bad habits of being "connected" and "online" for most of my waking hours. I suspect I am not alone. I love technology and I love it's capacity to provide instant information (and gratification) at the click of the button. In many ways technology allows me to be hyper-efficient - emails responded to quick smart, meeting minutes created and shared on the spot, sharing or rather over sharing every magic moment, meal and milestone instantly. In my teaching I was an exuberant early adopter of technology, embracing the way that it allowed me to make learning available 24/7, supported young people to share and publish rather than simply "hand in" work. When I am not teaching I am learning via this hyper connectivity, reading articles, blogposts, watching TED talks and connecting with educators around the globe via Twitter and Google+. When not learning, I am still online, s…

Reflections and Resolutions

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Looking back on the last year it seems hard to comprehend how it all fitted in to 365 days. 2014 was awesome in many senses of the word.

Being part of a team establishing a new school which is genuinely trying to redesign how we approach secondary education in NZ was both a blast and a challenge. As I have often articulated - if it is all easy peasy, we probably aren't doing it properly. 
So how was the the first year at HPSS?? In hindsight it was actually stunning. It is really only on reflection that you get a sense of just how much we all achieved in establishing an innovative, student centred brand spanking new secondary school. Admittedly there were many occasions where I was not feeling quite this positive. For one, the whole notion of "building an airplane while we are flying it" is not something I enjoy. Learning to go with the flow and accept that processes and protocols weren't all in place on Day One (or Day 200 for that matter) was something I genuinely …