Wednesday, 4 November 2015

MindLab - Week 1 - The Purpose of Education/Epistemology

This session we focussed on getting to know each other and get on to the Unitec MindLab portal. 

We started with three post its about why we were here:
- I want to learn something new.
- Push my thinking and challenge my growth mindset
- Encourage and meet other teachers from Rotorua and help continue to build #ConnectedRotorua

On the post it note that I wrote about the one thing that no-one would know about me was, "I used to hate the idea of Twiter!" Very much far away from that thought now haha.

I'm feeling a little bit selfish at the moment and am waiting to fill my brain up with ideas, learning and challenges to my own thoughts and thinking. I'm feeling selfish because normally I'd be super fast to go and help others like when I'm at Educamps or Connected Rotorua sessions. Selfish because I want to learn more for me. It's not often I get that chance to develop myself because I'm always trying to awhi everyone else.

How to lead change? How to get others onboard and as excited as I am? - Great questions. 

Wonder whether I should speak up about the importance of blogging since we just ran that session on blogging at ULearn...I didn't. Marnel did though so that's good. Still feeling selfish and a bit frustrated because there's lots of down time at the moment. Have to remember to be patient. Not everyone is on the same page or at the same level. Everyone is on their own learning journey.

Are you a thought leader? 

Found this interesting. Milla asked the question about whether we were leaders. I put my hand up. She asked another question - whether we had roles of leadership responsibility at school. Others put their hands up. Not me... not yet anyway. Love that YET. The power of YET. I wonder though why there are more people with positions of leadership who put their hands up but didn't when the first question was around being a leader. Are they different things?

"Thought leaders are the informed opinion leaders and the go-to people in their field of expertise. They are trusted sources who move and inspire with innovative ideas; turn ideas into reality, and know and show how to replicate their success."

I'd say I am this. I try to be. I try to awhi and help as many people as I can along their edu journeys. It's a difficult process because not everyone is aware that they're on a journey or that they need to make a shift. Those that are ready are of course more receptive and thankful for help. Those who are receptive have a stronger growth mindset because they aren't so nervous about other's success.

Epistemology - what is knowledge? Esoteric and exoteric - the knowledge held by tohunga whakapapa compared to how easily it has become to access whakapapa lines online... 

To Google is to know? Do you need to know everything anymore? Is it acceptable to learn as you need it? Okay to Google for exams even? ;)

Being a critical thinker is critical. Thinking about what knowledge is needed and what you need to know to find out what you might want to know more about.

Google is just a means to an end. To be used to find and locate information. To explore and share and develop. 

Ontology? Epistemology? Axiology?

Really love the slide with the 15 minute countdown youtube clip on it. Clever!

The knowledge is in the room! Some really cool thinking and pulling out ideas. Growth mindsets and some quiet people too. Wish I could have recorded those discussions when we walked around the room and checked out each other's playdough models of what knowledge is to us. Some people seem more talktative than others. Hopefully everyone will share as time goes on. Really enjoying having my thoughts being pulled, stretched, kneaded and elongated from Milla. Awesome session.

Cultural intelligence, emotional intelligence and intelligence. The value of social intelligence with the value of cultural intelligence. How some may have one side but not always both. 

One of the tasks we've had to think about is:

"Reflect on how your understanding of the purpose of education is visible in your classroom. Think about also how you would like to record and perhaps share your learning with a wider community?"

Do our classrooms really ever visibly show the purpose of education?

When my class was full of students work - perhaps. Or when we had the SOLO posters up in the class. But the class is now stripped of it's beauty or what we could do to make the space physically inviting. Exam time. 

If my classes were to be asked about PB4L and how we use Class Dojo then perhaps. 

I suppose it comes down to what does a visible purpose of education look like. 

Is it students focused on their studies, creating new ideas and new questions? Is it building on knowledge and learning from each other? Is it tuakana/teina or reciprocal learning and teaching? Is it the aim of the day on the board? 

I think that would be different everywhere... hmmm. Something to think about anyway!

Required reading: 'Towards Reconceptualising Leadership: The Implications of the Revised NZC for School Leaders

Link here:

I woke up early on Friday morning to read this one. I didn't purposefully wake up to read it - the dog woke me up and then couldn't get back to sleep regardless of how much I tried. Began thinking about school and NPeW and my role in what I'd like to do to give back...

Anyway- began this mother of a reading. Will need to read it again and again I think. Some really cool takeaways in it. Kinda wish there was an easier way to read it through the media library though because I was squinting to read it off of my phone as the pdf wasn't resizeable - like the books I read off of my Google Books app are...Also would like to be able to write notes and highlight sections within the media library like I do on Books...

Main thoughts:

- Leadership should be distributed. Not hierarchical. 
- The NZC is a beautiful document but it has been twisted. The KCs are absolutely critical and we don't use them enough at school. I used to have them visually available and connected with the learning we were doing when I was a BT but have dropped the ball and need to sort it. 
- There are some awesome leaders in schools but they aren't always given the roles of 'leadership' - that conversation last year with a cynical (my age) guy still irks me - "Do you have any responsibilities at school?"  "ME: Yep I take the ...... etc etc etc" "Doesn't matter if you're not getting paid for it."
- I really enjoyed the statements and quotes from the different school leaders he'd interviewed. I felt that they resonated more than the indepth discussion around what is knowledge (though perhaps that's because I read it so early??)
- Particularly liked the inclusion of Table 2 and 3 where I found myself able to distinguish between knowledge as a noun vs verb easily. However when I came to Table 3 it saddened me that my own thinking and aspirations in teaching and learning are the verb style - whereas our school is stuck in the noun side. 

I think overall a lot of this connects with the reading I've been doing from Grant Lictman's '#EdJourney: A Roadmap to the Future of Education' where he's also talked alot about collaboration, the need to break from traditional modes of teaching and learning so that we can prepare our students for an ambiguous future. 

Our leaders need to be up with the play on the changing role of education and leading from the front and more importantly, allowing us the chance to improve our own learning through relevant professional development. 

We as teachers need to be aware of the changing nature too so that we can easily adapt to new situations and teach our students that risk is fine - actually brilliant - because through risk, we learn. We develop. We never stay stagnant. Because as Lichtman says, "we're trying to be better". 

Since ULearn I've easily become a new Grant Lichtman fangirl. He is honestly brilliant. Am only on to chapter 3 so far... but wow. Loving it. Also looking forward to Danielle Myburgh and Jane Gilberts MOOC through EdChatNZ and AUT. 

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