For a long time I've been meaning to talk about Te Kotahitanga and the way in which it opened my mind and heart to the way I knew was right as a teacher, gave names to the ways of teaching that I was already doing and helped me focus on areas that I needee to improve. The best part of Te Kotahitanga was the way we co-constructed and shared about what worked for us with our shared students and what we did to improve the learning.
Now that Kia Eke Panuku has begun to roll out to the staff at WHHS I feel that same feeling I had at Massey when I was introduced to Te Kotahitanga.
It's a feeling of rightness. Tika. Just at this point in time everything is as it should be. Because we're working together to change it. To stop that growing gap between Maori and Pakeha in achievement data. To enable our students to feel comfortable succeeding as Maori. Being Maori and knowing that it's okay to be Maori.
Our Kia Eke Panuku hui yesterday was awesome. We discussed the culturally responsive principles:
We learnt how to unpack the Kia Eke Panuku observation tool and how we would use it to observe other teachers and their pedagogy.
We observed our first teacher - writing down only what we heard and saw. No judgements. No perspectives.
We discussed the issues we had - not hearing everything clearly, needing to move around and listen in on conversations.
We delved deeper into unpacking the ob tool and the grey tickbox column and the far right white columns too - dialogic, cultural toolkit, co-construction, ...., culturally responsive principles.
We observed our second teacher of the day and again - that moment of tika. Watching my friend move around the room, helping her students, being herself, absolutely in that moment in time, comfortable with her students and relaxing with them.
We observed the interactions, the dialogues that were taking place. We assessed students cognitive focus and ... focus.
We shared our thoughts when we got back before lunch.
Over lunch we talked more about the need to have this done and the issues around it not having done so already. We agreed that this had been really good for us all.
In the last session we discussed shadow coaching and how we'd go about discussing those gnarly questions or queries through the use of a time out.
One of our DPs, who is Kia Eke Panuku trained, was observed by the other group in our session and was used as an example for shadow coaching also. We watched as our colleague and mate D discuss the issues and bring them up in a cool, reflective manner and allowed the observed kaiako talk us through the issues, the strategies and what might be done next time. There were plenty of time outs used to bring up other issues and the shadow coaching continued. If only all conversations could go as smoothly. Unfortunately there is a kneejerk reaction to become defensive of oneself as we are so used to being in our single cell classrooms. We need to become more used to having someone in class observing us.
I welcome obs. I'm so excited. I want to be a better teacher and the only way that can happen is with regular observations, student voice and hard work to believe I can be a better teacher and make some serious changes.
The discussion around a critical lens is still floating in my mind too.
Having a lens that is critically looking at certain areas - not being critical - but critically looking to identify areas with what is happening in the classroom using a snapshot in time of an observation.
The whakatauki used at the end was likewise beautiful.