Monday, 11 March 2019

Leadership Matrix

As a School Leader, the Teaching As Inquiry emphasis for 2019 is on Leadership. Here are two key readings to kick things off, redefining the school as a Professional Learning Community.

From The Leadership Dimension Matrix - 2017
The Leadership BES 1 identifies five dimensions of leadership that have been synthesized by drawing together bodies of research evidence to explain what works and why to improve valued education outcomes. From this we have constructed a matrix of four stages, progressive for each of the five dimensions that allow leaders to identify their learning needs and to measure progress over time. 
There are three capabilities that are woven through the dimensions, namely, knowledge of effective pedagogy, analyse and solving complex problems and building relational trust. These capabilities are not described in this matrix but are essential elements of good leadership. 
The term ‘leader’ is used in the broader sense of the word. A leader may be the principal, a leader in charge of curriculum, or anyone with leadership responsibility within the school. 
The matrices are designed to measure the kinds of knowledge, skills and dispositions implied by the dimensions of effective leadership.
Looking at Dimension 4, I have self-assessed where I believe I'm at, in terms of Leading learning and development.

I have identified the bottom aspect as my area of Teaching Inquiry for this year: "Understands collective responsibility and accountability and how to foster it.

Wednesday, 5 December 2018

2018 Term 4 Uru Manuka SLAM

My Inquiry focus has been:
“How might explicit teaching of Critical Literacy accelerate writing progress?”

What did I do? By having multi-level groups, akonga were able to discuss their ideas, without being limited by their decoding ability. (This was helped by speech to text, The read write App etc). This meant learners were able to discuss ideas and challenge others thinking, in ways they're often not able to do when limited by colour wheel text ability.

Key Reference
By Aaron Wilson & Rebecca Jesson from The Woolf Fisher Research Centre

  • Why Multiple texts -More reading requires synthesis and comparison
  • It provides a scaffold for developing transferable reading knowledge.

A lot of the groundwork was in the reading aspect of literacy, however due to the synthesis and comparison, they were able to record their discussion ideas in the form of writing.

What’s next? Explicitly Teaching critical thinking and critical literacy. The akonga need to be better at differentiating between fact and bias as well as considering the reliability of the source.

Monday, 13 August 2018

The interdependence of leadership and followership

Enhancing authentic leadership-followership:
Strengthening school relationships To be a leader, you must have followers.
Image result for carolyn crippen uvic
Carolyn Crippen, from the University of Victoria, BC, Canada describes leadership as the act of motivating a group of people to act towards achieving a common goal. She describes the inter-relationship and interdependence between leaders and followers, as each without the other cannot exist.

Kelly (1992) describes seven follower paths:

  • apprentice, 
  • disciple
  • mentee
  • comrade
  • loyalist
  • dreamer
  • lifeway’ 

Within Schools, here are certain ‘rules’ that staff follow related to issues of safety, for example fire drills, bomb threats, earthquakes. These could fall under the follower path category of disciple. Others want to change themselves through personal growth (mentee). Each year, teachers develop a Teaching Inquiry to strengthen their teaching practice in the classroom. New teachers are assigned a mentor to guide them and act as a resource, especially in their first two years in the classroom. There are also interpersonal and intrapersonal goals of staff. Some aspire to lead. Apprenticeship, is directed toward mastery of specific administrative skills. Comrades enjoy bonding together where many talents are needed to accomplish a goal, such as in a curriculum development committee. Some people follow out of personal loyalty to the leader. Dreamers follow their own ideas, their guiding force, not necessarily those of the leader. Such staff are ‘outside the box’ and may ‘do their own thing’. The last path is that of the lifeway. They are convinced this path of service or helping others provides the best or most satisfying way of living.

I tend to agree with Greenleaf (1977) who suggests that as individuals we are all actually on a continuum during our lifetime. At one end of the continuum is leadership and at the other end is followership. We move back and forth along this continuum during our lifetime and neither one nor the other is better. It is only when we stop moving along the continuum we stop growing and learning and remain in the status quo.

The author posed the following questions to individual school staff members within a district. Roles ranged from administrative, support staff, teachers and principals.

  1. What is your greatest strength?
  2. How have you used this strength in your daily life?
  3. What is your greatest area of weakness?
  4. How has the weakness caused you problems in the past?
  5. Describe a situation where you were leader.
  6. Describe a situation where you were follower.
  7. Have you a preference? Leadership or followership? Explain your choice.
  8. Describe a situation where you relied upon your moral and/or ethical leadership to deal with a difficult decision?
  9. How do you prepare to make a decision?
  10. How do you react if the decision turns out to be wrong?

The process enabled them to learn about each other. They were able to build stronger teams, understanding the strengths within the group. Answering these questions also empowered the group members to better understand themselves and their values. From the beginning, the participants were reminded to only say what they were comfortable expressing and sharing. It's extremely useful for all school staff to become aware of the various ages and stages, strengths, challenges and values of the members of their group. This can only strengthen the connections that bind a school together.

Time is a huge restraint in our job. It's something that we seem to constantly be fighting and prioritising the things that we give attention to in order to fulfil our many roles. Self-reflection often falls to the bottom of the priority list as we check off all the physical tasks n our To-Do Lists. Questions that encourage respondents to ‘consider their individual sense of themselves, but also their sense of themselves as a community of educators, learners, and support staff’ (Starratt, 2011: 67) can promote reflective thought.

A small sample of the feedback from the previous self-discovery questions included:

  •  A good leader must be a good follower and a good listener.
  • Use your strengths to help rectify your weaknesses.
  • Involve students in having leadership-followership roles in the classroom. Talk about them. How did they feel as a leader? How do they feel as a follower?
  • Leaders and followers are both part of the whole puzzle that makes up our school.
  • The importance of self-awareness, listening to others, sharing decision making, valuing dissonance.
  • I can be myself and I have lots to offer my school community.
  • The roles of leaders and followers constantly change.
  • To continually remind myself of students being on a continuum at the same time as I am.

These responses seem to support the use of such activities and the investment of time in each other.

Wheatley (2005) believes that without ‘shared beliefs and desires, people are not motivated to seek out one another and develop relationships. Instead, they inhabit the same organisational and community space without weaving together mutually sustaining relationships’ (p. 102). Some questions in a professional development session that focused participants on understanding each other were suggested by Baron (2010):

When you think of your life’s story and how it unfolded, what people, experiences, or events were critical to your development? (p. 28)
To recall these defining moments, take a walk through the stages of your life, from early childhood, to adolescence, to young adulthood, to the present moment. You could have experienced these defining moments as either strongly positive or difficult, even negative. What thought and memories come to mind? (p. 28)

Issues of listening, persuasion, partner inputs and inclusivity of all school stakeholders with an overall recognition and appreciation for individual voice can nurture the entire school environment. "When we give another person our attention, our time, we actually honour them and value them by this action" (Sergiovanni, 1992).

Schools are all about relationships, and relationships are developed, in part, through caring, listening, trust, honesty and collaboration. They are about reaching out to each other first, by trying to understand and being true to ourselves (authentic) and then by trying to understand and appreciate our colleagues.

Baron, T (2010) The Art of Servant Leadership: Designing Your Organization for the Sake of Others. Tucson, AZ: Wheatmark.

Greenleaf, R (1977) Servant Leadership: A Journey into the Nature of Legitimate Power and Greatness. Mahwah, NJ: Paulist Press.

Kelly, R (1992) The Power of Followership: How to Create Leaders People Want to Follow and Followers Who Lead Themselves. New York, NY: Doubleday Currency Publishers.

Sergiovanni, T (1992) Moral Leadership. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.

Starratt, R (2011) Refocusing School Leadership: Foregrounding Human Development Throughout the Work of the School. New York, NY: Routledge.

Wheatley, M (2005) Finding Our Way: Leading for Uncertain Times. San Francisco. CA: Berrett-Koehler.

Monday, 6 August 2018

Learn Create Share meets Concept Based Curriculum

The goal for the day was to bring clarity to the pedagogical phases of Learn Create Share in a concept based curriculum.
Kate, our concept based curriculum facilitator, worked with Nicole (from our Junior Hub), Hayden (my 3rd Year UC Student) and I for the day to get some cohesion around how these two philosophies could cohabit within framework here at our school.

To begin, we had to ensure everyone in the room had a shared understanding of what "Learn" "Create" and "Share" meant. We did this by watching the video's from the Manaiakalani site.

We looked at the Backstory, to understand the why behind the concept.
We then explored each aspect one by one.

There was a great deal of discussion round what teachers would be doing within each aspect, also what the akonga might be doing. We had a dialogue around what language was used when we were working within the framework, and that I refer to them as phases, but was there a better term? A message was put out to the school leaders to see what others were saying and doing.

We need to begin to use this language. With our older learners, we can be asking which phase of LCS are we operating in.

Math… is it predominantly in the Create phase?

When talking about concept based curriculum, validity of information was talked about. Resources which fall into two categories:
  • Primary Resource - the person who was there at the time.
  • Secondary Resource - second-hand information.
From the session, these visuals were created to demonstrate our understanding:

Thursday, 26 July 2018

Murray Gadd Writing

Our Senior team had a fantastic session with Murray Gadd, looking at our writing programme. We talked through what successes we had been having, and what has happened that has had us tearing our hair out.

He helped us pull apart and unpack writing samples from our target learners.

Discussion with group
He then ran a writing workshop with a group of those kids, all year six boys. He spoke to them about how impressed he was with their writing that he had seen. He pulled one of their pieces of writing, a persuasive text about why they should have golden time.
Brainstorm of success criteria on board.
He had a discussion with them around what the purpose of the writing was. (Establishing the topic). What did that mean? What kinds of things would we need to see? (Developing some content).

He worked with them to establish some criteria for what needed to be included. In this case:
  • beginning, middle and ending?
  • make sense?
  • sounds right?
  • best words? (persuasive words)
  • polite? (Spelling and basic punctuation)
He was short on time, but in the time he had, he got the akonga to identify positives in the writing. They then identified improvements. It was a really positive experience for all learners involved. He was drawing the ideas out of them, rather than just giving them (which is so easy to do!).

Tuesday, 5 June 2018

Presenting at Delving deeper 3

It was an absolute pleasure, on May 10th, to collaboratively present at Delving Deeper 3 with my fellow School Leaders: Annabel McCormick (Wigram School) and Sharon Spragg (Yaldhurst Model School) along with out Outreach Co-ordinator, Kelsey Morgan.

The premise of our presentation was:
  • Nature of the learning tasks 
  • Use of digital technology 
  • Feedback given 
  • Time spent on task 
  • Student Agency 
  • Collaboration 

Using the pedagogical framework of Learn, Create, Share to support digital technology, leading to increased accelerated achievement. We have a strong connection to Auckland's Manaiakalani cluster as an outreach school. Learn tools and strategies that come from a research base and are proving to make difference.

The message that we wanted to get across to the educators who came to our presentation was a combination of changing the perception of Hornby Schools and students, as well as giving a glimpse of how and what we do to engage the students.

We had anticipated that our target audience might be some of the schools who have just joined the Manaiakalani Outreach community. We couldn't have been further from the truth. Surprisingly, our audience was predominantly high decile country schools.

We began by introducing ourselves individually, explaining who we are, where we're from and our role within our schools. I was able to add to this by explaining my own unique journey, about rationale behind changing schools but staying within the cluster

Kelsey Morgan explained a bit of background into the Manaiakalani Outreach Programme, from our joining way back in the beginning, through our successes and insight gleaned along the way up until now. She elaborated on our connection with MET and Woolf Fisher Research, which includes researching the data as well as in class observations to provide evidence of what practise is likely to increase student achievement. 
Specifically in class research looks at: 
I spoke about Uru Manuka Cluster evolving, teachers being willing to share, resource banks, open about sharing, visible, connected, ubiquitous, empowered, shared mindset, coherence across the schools in the cluster:

I vividly remember a time, not so long ago... four yeas perhaps, where teachers still guarded resources and ideas like a prized family recipe. When hui's occurred with neighbouring schools, people clustered with their kura, perhaps sparing a chat with the odd familiar face.
Fast forward to now. Uru Manuka Cluster has evolved into a place where we openly mx at gatherings. We default towards sharing DLO's (Digital Learning Objects) and teacher created resources and banks to make them more readily available to the wider Manaiakalani Network.
The School Leaders and Principals work extremely hard to ensure there is a shared mindset and coherence across the schools in our cluster, while still maintaining autonomy for each kura.
Both groups meet regularly, working to a set agenda of goals, effectively in a think tank like manner.
Our learning is visible online, therefore rewindable. It is ubiquitous, allowing student access at anytime and anyplace. We are empowering our akonga through agency.
A number of initiatives have driven the way forward in information sharing. We began with toolkits - small tech how to sessions which teachers were expected to sign up to and attend. These were run by teachers from within the cluster. Often they spawned into fabulous sharing and discussion sessions where ideas bounced around the room.
Teachers would meet to collaborate, building upon ideas and began to develop relationships whereby they spread their network broader to be able to glean ideas from the wider cluster.
The growing connections haven't been limited to our teachers. Among the Uru Manuka initiatives undertaken in recent years, have been a student summit, where akonga from within our cluster led toolkits, teaching digital skills from promoting useful apps and extensions to learning how to use robotics. Year 7/8 students, with support from Sport Canterbury, organised and ran a Ki-o-rahi tournament. Teams consisted of year 5-8 students and it was a fabulous festival atmosphere. Another avenue to develop the relationships between our akonga.

Kelsey Morgan explained Learn Create Share from a Manaiakalani Perspective.
What it actually is, along with how it is used to support digital technology in classes through blogging.
Affordances of technology - engagement, cognitive challenge, scaffolding, visibility.
I reiterated my SLAM, from the Uru Manuka Mini-conference at the beginning of the year.

Annabel shared her SLAM, from the Uru Manuka Cluster.

Sharon Spragg shared a glimpse of what a typical students day might look like. A student starts their day by checking out their class site for their work. Work is directed to areas, they read / watch and follow the instructions.

Teachers pull out groups and work with them - sometimes on a device and sometimes not.
The independent work is about collaboration, rewindable learning, engagement in whatever it is they are learning.
(Students that are high flyers - can fly high, those that have areas of struggle have the scaffolding that they need to be successful with their work.)
  • Commenting on blogs
  • Blog posts
  • Learning
Links you may find useful:

Uru Mānuka website -
Manaiakalani website -

“Creative skills help students become better problem solvers, communicators and collaborators.”
Everyone Can Create Apple 2018

Tuesday, 22 May 2018

Delving Deeper - Keynote Eruera Tarena

The day began with an inspirational keynote presentation from Eruera Tarena, titled:
"Wayfinding Maori Futures: jumping on the waka to a brighter future."
Image result for Eruera Tarena
Here's a few key things that struck a chord with me:

The pace of change is increasing and as a society we have a lessening amount of control over being pre-organisation for things. As individuals, we need to get used to being in a state of being without control over what is happening. This is a huge challenge for us as educators, where we like to preplan and know exactly where we are headed and anticipate what we may need to head off.

Maori traditions always have layers of meaning. - I'd never really considered this, but if you take a moment to think about many of the legends and myths, they are often adapted slightly to fit with the story they are telling at the time.
Maori success as Maori... it's a destination point. Early voyagers knew where they were going. Although they had never been to their destination, they used a term called "seeing the island", which meant imagining what that destination might look like in their minds. You won't see that destination until the last 10% of the journey, so it was important for Navigators to use "star points" or "way finding" to use as markers or indicators of progress along the journey. - The correlation for us, as educators, can be seen in our TAI's. We make a hypothesis as to what the destination point might look like... We then use data and anecdotal observations along the way as indicators of progress towards that.
Modelling equity and equity and equality for Maori. What happens if we continue to do the status quo? What happens if we do something different? - Even if the status quo is "working" it's our duty to be on the look out for ways to improve, both our practice and our achievement outcomes for our akonga. We need to reject the status quo. It's not good enough to continue to perpetuate them, morally etc

Things that require shifts in attitudes, values, the way we view the world

When we're thinking innovation, it's often about creating something to help us not have to change. We all like change until it happens... then we often find excuses to delay adopting it.

It seems ludicrous that we are still talking about cultural responsiveness 30 years on, rather than cultural sustainability. Gone is the time to respond. 

Te Waipounamu pipeline.

Equity is just being ordinary, the same as everyone else.
The Browner you are, the more likely you are to be replaced by a robot in future. Many young Maori are flatlining in terms of income in their early 20's.
Statistics are showing that they are more likely to be in unskilled jobs, due to leaving education earlier. Maori are always the last ones on and the first ones off in terms of opportunity.

The statistics of Maori students not completing university is extremely high. An audience member recounted a story of her daughters journey through university. One by one, her Maori peers dropped out. It became quite challenging and isolating to continue without that peer support, staying focused on the long term destination. It was a very emotional recount and resonated with all in the room.
What is the opportunity? And how do you frame that?" Moving beyond good intentions. There is an unconscious biased system as teachers. We all have a contribution to make.

We all like projects or programmes, but they only Create a bubble of change. We need to be thinking bigger picture and long term.
We inhabit that ship that's a shared future, with our treaty partnership. Our narrative has been driven by grievance loss and hardship, but we need to turn it around.
    • We need to come together; 
    • Change isn't 'out there' but 'in here'; 
    • Know what you bring to the table; 
    • identify your champions; 
    • be the change - join our collective.
What is the future together we want to inhabit.

More information on the data can be found at