Monday, 17 July 2017

Leadership

Leadership: Lead by Learning

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L- Loyalty
E- Empathy
A- Accountable
D- Diligent  & Determination
E- Equality, Energiser and Encourager
R-Respect for one and all, Role model
S- Skilled  Communicator- open, approachable
H- Humourous  & humble
I- Integrity & Innovation
P- Pride and passion in their work


Leadership is the ability to lead the group in the desired vision of the institution by making others grow with their presence and ensure the desired goals are being strived for.
Leaders translate the vision into reality by their ability to simplify things for the overall good of the people involved.
Leaders tap into the strengths of their team provide opportunities to grow, delegate, innovate and excel within the parameters of the learning institution.
Communication and open transparent conversations form the key to build trusting relationships.
Leaders need to be the power source of motivation, inclusion and encouragement. They also need to guide and guard the members of their team. Look after their safety and well-being.
Mistakes can happen, leaders need to be open for a clear transparent conversation. Members of the team should be treated fairly with respect.
Opportunities to grow should be given to one and all inclined to take on board. Modern Authentic Learning involves opportunities to trial new ideas, strategies, workshops, where Learning leaders have a choice to contribute and trial new projects strategies to help learners achieve success. Offer opportunities to learn by doing.- promote innovation through workshops.
Leaders should be fair whilst treating their members with equity and nonbiased opinions.
Leaders should be approachable to be able to seek clarifications, share ideas, ask for suggestions, possible avenues in case of issues related to class management, parent conversations etc.
When new staff members are unsure of things they should be able to guide appropriately especially with protocols, bookings, and requests for equipment, help with formatting standards, Digital Markbooks etc.
Leaders need to be willing to listen to the team members and find out if there are any concerns.  Fairness, respect,  working towards common goal.  eg: helping learners achieve success and reach the set school targets by putting programmes in place to help them achieve success.
Leaders should be able to provide and inform team members of upcoming opportunities to grow and excel through regular class observations, ideas, strategies that worked, create a friendly collaborative network with respect to curricular and cross curricular integration.
Mutual respect and accountability are key to enhance the quality of performance of the group. Established clear set of norms should be applicable to one and all for being treated fairly and in a  just manner.
Leadership should be able to motivate, energise its members and allow scope and possibility to explore further if it benefits the learners and the learning situations.
Help should be available for new teachers who need orientation and guidance in respect to accessing resources, booking systems etc.

In summary, Leaders are strong, fair, informed and thorough professionals with high standards of professional etiquette. Leaders set examples of good work ethic, practice, conduct, and efficacy. They are diligent and meticulous in their planning and organisational skills. They look for the growth and development of all the team members. They are good at networking and collaborating - the vital skills for 21st-century teaching and learning. Leadership is cohesive and constructive which demands to learn whilst leading.
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Monday, 13 March 2017

My Interdisciplinary Connections

 My Intedisciplinary Connections Map

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In the light of catering to  a holistic development of the child conglomeration of disciplines is a must as they constantly overlap each other. Humans live in a world of wide interactions and integration of multi disciplines at any given time.
Inquiry learning and Project based learning act as the platforms for interdisciplinary connections.
Eg: Even for a simple task of buying lunch, the student has to think of cost, taste and the avaliablity, buying healthy lunch involves, food, hygiene, cost - value estimates, choice, availability. the child has to evaluae the weight, cost, taste and choice to make a call on his or her lunch. which includes maths, food science, health, language- description, economics- cost,profit or loss and a myriad of other intertwined disciplines of moral, cultures etc


Modern learning is centred on holistic child development.  Knowledge of all disciplines (Jacobs, 2004) (University, 2017) will not only help us achieve our goals of providing for the complete development of the learner. Interdisciplinary connections are vital.  In real world, we do not see disciplines existing in isolation. Hence, the need and relevance to make it more authentic for the learner to feel connected to the real world. Interdisciplinary projects made learning more exciting, real and fun for the learners. Therefore, the change to this authentic learning environment, which would enable the learner to be holistic and be prepared for the real world when they complete school.
With the need to upskill my own learning and practice, embrace cumulative collaboration and interdisciplinary approaches is essential to cater to modern learners.  I have learnt to learn in the process of teaching and became a lifelong learner. This has better prepared me to the changes and new innovative stances in the field of teaching and learning.  This enabled me to see the perspectives of the learner and the teacher, which was brilliant. I can now relate and have more connected conversations with all of my pupils as I try to strike a chord, in one of their favourite subject lines (disciplines) and can relate well and professionally. I do get great response from my learners and I am admired as their favourite teacher. It is indeed a moment to live for as a teacher. I feel blessed to have such honest, trustworthy, professional relationships with my learners.
Having been exposed to various educational settings coupled with teaching learning experiences, have built resilience, perseverance and positive attitude, which made me grow stronger and confident in my own professional practice.
Learners of today need the nourishment of multi-disciplines and cross-curricular learning. Digital and social platforms cater to a wide range of learning opportunities. We need to help our learners achieve their goals by facilitating through the integration of interdisciplinary connections for our learners to be holistic and successful.


References:


Excellence, C. f. (2017, March 14). Interdisciplinary Connections. Retrieved from BuildingCommunity, Enhancing Learning, Fostering Innovation: http://cte.virginia.edu/resources/interdisciplinary-connections/
Jacobs, H. H. (2004). Workshop: Interdisciplinary learning in your classroom. Retrieved from Educational Broadcasting Corporation- Concept to Classroom: http://www.thirteen.org/edonline/concept2class/interdisciplinary/
University, L. M. (2017, March 14). Interdisciplinary Connections. Retrieved from Loyola Marymount University: http://academics.lmu.edu/cte/resources/corecurriculum/interdisciplinaryconnections/




Changes in my Teaching Practice

Changes in my  Teaching Practice
Activity 8
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I have embraced teaching as my career in nineties. It has been an amazing journey since then. I was raised by doting parents and a stable schooling and had magnificent teachers during my own primary, secondary and tertiary education. My parents set the pathway of lifelong learning, which was instilled in me with great ease. I guess this paved way for me to embrace teaching as a profession, which has satisfied my inner urge and tryst for knowledge.
Just after completion of B.Sc, B.Ed I have started with Year one as a beginning teacher, I leapt and learnt went an extra mile with my enthusiasm and catered to all 45 learners within my class. My relationships with them were professional strong and fair disciplinarian. Later I moved to Year 4 and later moved to high school. I was a very satisfied teacher with regard to relationships and achievements of my learners at every stage. The society has set norms and expectations hence there were no behavioural issues and disruptions in class. All students were catered to and given extra support if needed. Parents could call in and send notes of concerns and issues regarding their children. Communication was open. Teacher were given undue respect and authority, which has to be consciously exercised with fairness, and transparent measures. Assessments were more of grading and invited competition. Moral study was compulsory to in still values into youngsters and were well integrated into all core curricular areas especially languages.
Gradually I upskilled myself to M.A in Literature and M.Ed  which also enabled me to pursue high school children as  I felt it was more rewarding teaching teenagers and catering to a higher standards of curriculum. The down side of it I had to tailor my teaching to one subject and one language following the British norms established in India, which was somewhat similar in New Zealand.
On migration to New Zealand, I undertook volunteer work in the schools that my children attended and also retrained myself to equip with the skills and knowledge of teaching to cater to the western world. The world also simultaneously went through a significant change in educational philosophies and practices with the invention of Internet and various digital platforms. I had to embark on the journey to equip myself to be able to cater to the modern generation of learners where learning is more personalised and individual educational plans and goals need to be co constructed and achieved. In the modern era of education Values are chosen and worked but there seems to be no cohesion of practice around it amongst teachers and the society on the whole has been experienced diminished values and respect for each other, name calling, stereotypes, being judgemental etc.
The modern digital era brings in scope for project-based learning  (Sarah Maughan, 2012), where the disciplines can cross credit and coordinate the learning to propel in the favour and accentuating learning by the learner.
 In short the panoramic view of teaching has undergone a tumultuous changes within these three decades. I started my career with no internet and currently teaching in a digital classroom where all work is done, compiled and shared on digital tools. Videos, interviews, chat and text forums have become the norm where learners aren’t shy anymore, it gives them participation, ownership and enjoyment of owning their learning. The personalised learning I reckon in currently in a transition stage, once it starts to blossom then we will be able reap the benefits of this personalised learning. Learners will be more selective and accountable of their choices. Change is the norm of human life and being adaptable and accommodative of change in order to prepare for the future. Catering to students diversity through differentiation (UNESCO, 2004) has gained more relevance and  is more accommodative  of curriculum to suit the needs of the pupils at large.
The transition from no internet to total internet based digital learning with a wide audience and global citizenship has created a wide spectrum of change in my own practice.

References:
References
Sarah Maughan, D. T. (2012, July). What leads to positive change. Retrieved from The NFER Research Programme: https://www.nfer.ac.uk/publications/RCTL01/RCTL01.pdf
UNESCO. (2004). Changing Teaching Practices-using curriculum differentiation to respond to students' diversity. Retrieved from http://unesdoc.unesco.org/images/0013/001365/136583e.pdf: http://unesdoc.unesco.org/images/0013/001365/136583e.pdf



Using social online networks in teaching and professional development.


Activity 6

Using social online networks in teaching and professional development?

Digital tools have revamped our teaching practice on many fronts. They have made it visible and a virtual reality where everyone involved students, colleagues, management, external stakeholders, parents and community are all connected. Digital media enabled network plausible and accessible for sharing information at all times.
Online platforms especially social platforms like Linked in, Facebook, twitter, Instagram and snapchat, messenger have opened up myriad of ways to communicate visually, orally and  in written formats.
These digital tools created a manifold of tools for educational purposes. I have always been able to ask questions and seek ideas to tailor my lessons. I find the true meaning of sharing with no borders.

I feel belated in gratitude and awe for this being made possible. I am indebted to biology corner for their magnificent contributions.



Common sharing of resources through emails, attachments and google docs.  Planning document of Whainga Link: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1rvota1FEAqQGqbqQ3-2aPDFqMc2LpNTsq1xf3Wqlfyo/edit

Another popular digital tool is twitter where you can follow people of your choice for the work and make them your professional gurus. They share and I have been following Ramsey  for his amazing lesson ideas and concepts



I find taking ideas and using for my lessons helps me to create innovative and latest updates, which engages students and I also, enjoy learning more and love being informed.
Ours is a whanau based learning classroom where all curricular areas are integrated and facilitated. This provides many opportunities to co-construct, and make projects inclusive by taking learners opinions and choices to build into such relevant projects.
Taking ownership for my own professional learning- there are many platforms to upskill and be part of the innovative new tech cult.
Intra school networks where resources are shared between teachers



Whilst there are many opportunities and platforms to form networks and be on board with professional development (Kelly, 2013) in the desired field of teacher practice. I try to register interest with the free online forums and take time off to attend PD, which is an avenue to learn from the experts.  I also am a member of the teachers in industry and like to go for visits and updates to help and enhance my own knowledge and learn new applications and opportunities for my students to participate. Eg: Greenhouse growing of vegetable for export purposes- NZ Gourmet,
It was interesting to know that bees are produced for sale to enhance pollination tomato fields.
Social online networking, (Melhuish, 2017) certainly does help me in my professional networking where I can share and source resources and ideas. The down side is there is so much information available and very appealing and eye catchy resources and opportunities for professional development. Time is a huge constraint, where in the modern world we spend more time on the computers that any other gadgets.

In class, I follow the respective school policies on digital sharing.  In my practice, I have facilitated Class blogs, Websites, Google classrooms, Hapara, Google docs, slides and sites for sharing with my pupils and vice versa. Student interaction and open channels of communication are vital to help personalise and let learners take ownership of their learning to suit their space and pace in their own preferred time.

Online skyping and tools are very interesting, engaging, interactive and lovely, yet we need to commit and keep the old practice in direct participation, which will give the feel, depth and the actual wisdom of learning. The practice of direct professional development might vanish in future if the digital world takes over as it would be cost effective and reach out to huge numbers. I am glad I have been part of this transformative process and progress.


References:
http://www.ascilite.org/conferences/sydney13/program/papers/Maher.pdf retrieved on 13 th March 2017 , 2.35pm.

 

Kelly, F. (2013, February 7). Online communities are transforming professional development for teachers. Retrieved from The guardian: https://www.theguardian.com/teacher-network/teacher-blog/2013/feb/07/online-communities-transforming-professional-development-teaching
Melhuish, K. A. (2017, March 13). Online social networking and its impact on New Zealand educators’ professional learning. Retrieved from researchcommons.waikato.ac.nz: http://researchcommons.waikato.ac.nz/handle/10289/8482






Wednesday, 8 March 2017

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 Ethics are values that guide and govern the teaching practice. The education council governs all teachers with a set of guidelines, which guide, guard promote uniformity of values and law to prevail across teaching practice.
In the day of democracy, digitalisation and social media platforms, the nature of teaching practice is constantly changing and evolving. Teachers have been exceptionally good in practicing and in upkeep of the moral and professional standards.Having exposed to various educational settings and environments I had the privilege to learn and discern amongst various effective methods of teaching practices. With age and experience, my love teaching and learning has deepened. My zest for learning has been an integral part of my life. Being part of this profession had offered opportunity to learn from teachers who hold high levels of respect, mutual trust, are optimistic, and encourage all learners’ rich and poor, able or not able to learn and succeed.
Knowing personal and professional boundaries is so crucial in the modern world. Being a woman and a mum made my life easier, which may not be for many others.  I have taught in the high decile and low decile schools, which again determine different moral, professional expectations from and by the teacher practitioners.
In a co-teaching collaborative atmosphere, there is a need and demand to abide by professional ethics.but unfortunately not everyone is on the same page. It is an expectation that all planning is shared, people are not willing to share their ideas and few others actually don’t make enough effort steal others ideas, change and chop and make it their own? Who is responsible and how can this be averted?
Collaboration is a great tool, to share, increase ideas manifold and knowledge in a limited amount of time. With various digital platforms, spreadsheets, google docs, slides, sites etc the common tool for planning, sharing and reflecting. Not all the teachers in the syndicate or Learning Area are willing to do. In fact the Head of the Learning Area and the Team leaders should be able to share and model who often aren’t ready to share.
Digital tools have paved ways to connect learners and teacher across the globe, but there are few hurdles where the greater good is sacrificed for personal interests in power-vested positions. As practitioners if we cannot practice what we teach, then its application by the learners is neither going to be exceptional as they see the loop holes and wouldn’t want to participate.
In a global context these digital tools are a boon, they provide opportunities to interact, skype with an expert and seek solutions to their problems. Today digital world provides immediate answers to which our 21st century learners are prepared. Teacher conferencing can be taken to another level, which can extend personal learning with no borders. All these can be achieved only if we have set moral standards to abide by.
Integrated, collaborative tools will enhance and emancipate our practice provided all practitioners are willing to be honest, open and transparent. Probably teachers also should be subjected to an oath, which might in still morals and common code ethics to guide, guard and contribute to the growth of professional communities.
Image result for the code of ethics for professional teachers
References:
http://www.janinelim.com/avlnconf03/files/ethics.pdf
http://cbl.digitalpromise.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/02/mc_ethicalbehavior.pdf

http://ethicsandtechnologyuseineducation.blogspot.co.nz/

Sunday, 5 March 2017

Cultural uniformity for balance and better achievement

Indigenous knowledge and cultural responsiveness to promote universality in values and a common platform of learning.



Indigenous people are the primitive people or natives of the land. Preserving their thoughts, values, culture and traditions is crucial to the communities they live in. This brings in ownership, pride and upkeep of the mana.  Culture creates uniqueness and builds the individual’s identity.
New Zealand is a multicultural society, where all cultures are treated with respect and valued. Diversity is appreciated and encouraged to enhance deeper understanding and build relationships amongst students and the wider community they live in. Maori are the indigenous people, we embrace their language, cultural values imbibe their customs and practices like Powhiri, Haka into our regular teaching learning contexts. 
The Ministry has identified the need to prevent the deficiencies of achievement based on cultural identification mainly the Maori and Pacifica learners who were not performing well in schools. Preventive measures have been developed to enable these struggling learners to achieve and taste success. The communities are involved in decision-making through Hui and protocols followed, which is a fantastic tradition we can assure our learners and their cultural communities. It is fabulous that we acknowledge all cultures within our schools and celebrate various days/weeks. Learners represent their culture and participate in cultural programmes, organise socials and community involved productions.
While all this celebration, acknowledgment and participations are all great, we need to find a common ground to unify our learners, capture their thinking, and help them broaden their vision with common values, which are across all cultures- the human values- respect, care, kindness, peace, loyalty, justice and honesty. Whilst it lovely to learn few greetings, share food and sing songs, we are still viewing the surface features of cultural integration. Some students tend to live in their own cultural groups, which results pockets of cultural segments within the wider school. This at times stifles up disagreements, which could get violent and physical. I as a teacher think that we must enhance our understanding, now begin to connect, communicate at a deeper level of human values bring all cultures to the common core platform to feel, connect, relate, impact and change our thinking and achieve better results for our students to feel the uniformity and rational all along to abide by one and all.
Therefore as teachers, we need to build in a common ground of values that are valued and acceptable by us as human society. A uniform goal setting is crucial to help our learners see and perceive that unity is strength, rather than be divisive about guarding their own cultural values and live in isolation and stereotypical environments. Then learners will see purpose, reason that is standard across all human norms, and will not lead to drop out and finding other avenues. They would rather be serious about their future and build in desired goals and they would reap more with everyone being on the same understanding of human values, the need for universal acceptance of values is crucial to sustain our learning for future. We as teachers need to evoke this conscious effort to unify children from all cultures on a common platform where justice and loyalty prevails and help provided not labelled. Then we can build a sustainable future for learning for all of our learners irrespective of their cultures.
In a classroom situation, I believe that teachers should help collate and create common cultural values to embed unification and build in on the strength of the diversity, a united front of common values and needs of all cultures.  This will build and develop a universal values based army of learners who will lead the world to a better tomorrow.
Hence, it is vital for us as teachers in the community ensure democracy prevails with respect and adherence of universal human values across various cultures to guide and enable our youngsters to a poised well-built world of tomorrow through trust and strength. This is likely to be achieved by building knowledge through integration, inclusion and assimilation cultural awareness on a universal values platform.
References:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cultural_universal

Friday, 3 March 2017

Localisation, Nationalisation and Globalisation

Localisation, Nationalisation and Globalisation

In today’s world, every learner plays a part, which influences in his or her role in the local contexts, which has a ripple effect into the national and global contexts too.
My own practice has evolved and been through a myriad of adaptions over the years. During the course of my twenty years of teaching, ranging from two diverse countries, communities and cultures. All of which has significantly influenced and opened up avenues to broaden, deepen values in my classrooms. Each school caters to its community needs and thrives on the local resources.
At the local level students get to learn by facing real world contextual problems in their lives and within their communities. This knowledge of their environment, where they can learn and feed of each other proves to be the best practice for learning. Effective sharing of resources within the community,  accessibity of best practice, experts etc and more opportunities for integration within the local surroundings paves way for better use of resources, understanding, knowledge, skills and inter school competitions.
At the national level the standards govern the curriculum. The students especially in primary are tested and reported to parents. This may vary according to the region, decile of the school and their respective funding. The ministry oversees the financial support of infrastructure and resources for the schools based on their socio-economic structure. I have found that achievement of students varies depending on socio- economic status. The lower often include Pasifika and Maori-which are found to have difficulties to meet national standards. Preventive measures and interventions are in place, where more work needs to be done for equity to prevail. There is a huge variance between the achievement of the haves and the have-nots, which in fact is fast widening. With the change in the policies of the governments, that affects the education sector. Of recent funding has been changed for various programmes especially the Special education and Gifted education. Curtailment of running programmes and finding other avenues to cater to these students is a huge mission for the schools.
These have created widened gap between the high and low socio economic communities. The number of students wanting to go to universities over the last few years has dropped. (J Gerritsen.2016)

At the international level according to BBC, the tests, run by the OECD  are taken every three years, have become increasingly influential on politicians who see their countries and their policies being measured against these global school league tables where new Zealand stands 17th in the world.
However, we as a nation need to make changes and flexible opportunities through our current policies and practice to be on par with other countries in the world. We teachers have to upfront and improve our practice and upskill our practice through regular Professional Development (PD) and implementation of best practice. With the digital, collaborative practices, we should improve our global citizenships, net workings, where students can interact with children of other countries to be able to understand and learn better of their culture, geographic locations, weather, climate etc.
In summary, I personally think that the education portfolio should be the role of the policy makers who can offer scope and opportunities to deliver innovative programmes to be on par with the world at large. This will also enable us to fulfil our responsibility as a digital global citizen. Children in the 21st century have opportunities to go on various student exchange programmes seeking higher education various classroom experiences. School improvement and equity across student achievement NZ fares 17th in 2015 in the world scenario which is a vivid indication that though we are doing well we could do better by implementing few changes and enhancing our wealth of teacher potential.




http://www.radionz.co.nz/news/national/295697/tertiary-institutions-face-big-enrolment-drop (Gerritsen, 2016)