Thursday, November 7, 2019

“It is the kids time use it well!”

School life gets busy, and often we get ground down in the fine detail and testing and forget the big picture of education.

Our vision is for young people:

  • who will be creative, energetic, and enterprising
  • who will seize the opportunities offered by new knowledge and technologies to secure a sustainable social, cultural, economic, and environmental future for our country
  • who will work to create an Aotearoa New Zealand in which Māori and Pākehā recognise each other as full Treaty partners, and in which all cultures are valued for the contributions they bring
  • who, in their school years, will continue to develop the values, knowledge, and competencies that will enable them to live full and satisfying lives
  • who will be confident, connected, actively involved, and lifelong learners.
No matter what technology comes along, oral language, reading and writing are still needed in this world and will remain so into the future. It is an indictment that a large number of adults in NZ do not have the basic literacy needs/knowledge and successfully contribute to society efficiently and productively.

I would argue that in some classrooms, even with all the constant testing, some teachers would not trust their gut to make a call on a child’s progress without access to their data.

For me, the Learning Progression Frameworks provides an opportunity to increase teacher pedagogical content knowledge and support them by removing some of the testing from their workload.

If you as a teacher, don’t trust your judgement, then your students will miss out. Relying on student data from the likes of PAT does not show what a student can do because they are a closed answer test.

Consistency comes from using the same illustrations rather than adapting and making your own. The tool creates reliable information that can be used by everyone.

Using PaCT reports

The tool and framework were created to give an on balance decision that looks at the whole child’s literacy ability.  Link to the tool here. 

Mustard videos are the information videos - useful with schools in staff meetings.
Other videos are examples of an aspect of practice - from educators in schools using tool.
Screencasts are the how to use. Replaces 124 page user manual.

Good video about the tools creation

Looking at the diagram above, making sense of texts is what reading is about. Students then use the components of making sense of texts to read for different purposes.
When thinking about Learn Create Share very simply, students in the Learn are reading to organise ideas and information for learning (there is also some create in there). Students in the Create are using information and ideas in informational texts (would these be the DLO’s?) Smart Learners are also understanding distractions of online text, and need teaching around how to manage self online to make sense and reading deeper rather than scanning. T shaped literacy from Woolf Fisher supports this.

This learning progression framework is not about pedagogy; it is about content knowledge and how reading, writing and maths develop, what do students need to know before they can do the next thing.

Teachers need to be spending their time creating rich tasks and lessons NOT finding evidence for assessment purposes. 

“Having evidence is not going to make you a better teacher” 

“It is the kids time use it well!

Thursday, August 29, 2019

Dare to Lead with Kaila Colbin

Courageous Leading what is it. People struggle to define courage so let's define what it is not

Rumbling with Vulnerability 

  • I will live in the arena and I will fail
  • Vulnerability is our most accurate measure of courage
  • If your not in the arena

Courage is contagious however we need to drop our armour and be vulnerable. Brave work, tough conversations and whole hearts are the normal. Failure is embraced.

  • Embrace the Suck - if it sucks you need to embrace it. 

If you are leading people we ask them to embrace the suck especially in with change management so we need to model.

Vulnerability Myths

  • Venerability is a weakness - venerability requires risk, and requires us to be open to attack and exposure
  • I don’t do vulnerability - personal venerability not systems vulnerability 
  • I can go it alone
  • You can engineer the uncertainty and discomfort out of vulnerability
  • Trust comes before vulnerability - they go side by side
  • Vulnerability  is disclosure - it is not telling people all about your issues with parents etc


A rumble is a discussion conversation or meeting defined by a commitment:

  • To lean into vulnerability
  • To stick with it
  • To take a break and circle back when necessary
  • Being fearless in owning our parts
  • To listen with the same passion with which we want to heard - active listening - this is one of my areas to develop - coaching and mentoring supporting - bring into family life as well

Think about having a Darth Mark (a dark side) - a useful tool in facilitation as allows you to prod and poke by giving licence eg I would like to bring this to the table remember this is just my dark side speaking however …


  • We all have it - everyone has different contexts for shame
  • We are afraid to talk about it
  • The less we talk about it, the more is controls us - for eg - not having those difficult conversations cause shame and issues - impacts wellbeing

Shame Shields

Moving towards

  • Seeking to appease and please

Moving away 

  • Withdrawing
  • Hiding
  • Silencing
  • Keeping secrets

Moving against

  • Trying to gain power over others
  • Being aggressive
  • Using shame to fight shame

Grounded Confidence = rumble skills + curiosity + practice

Living into our values

We investigated our own values from this list and asked to pick 10 in a short time.

Making a difference
Financial stability
Enter your own
Personal fulfilment
Future generations
Giving back
Being the best
Job security

I choose Community, Efficiency, Family, Giving Back, Growth, Independence, Leisure, Vulnerability, Well Being and Accountability.

Then we narrowed then down to five Community, Family, Giving Back, Leisure and Wellbeing
and finally two values that we hold dear - Family and Wellbeing.

This was an interesting exercise and made me think about a few things, the main one being is that I fully live these values mainly in the school holidays.

Braving Trust

Clear is Kind. Unclear is Unkind.
  • Boundaries - setting boundaries and protecting yourself stops feeling of shame, resentment, failure, etc.
  • Reliability
  • Accountability
  • Vault
  • Integrity
  • None Judgement
  • Generosity 

Learning to Rise

Check the conspiracies and confabulations 

The reckoning - how do you know when you are hooked? knowing yourself eg your body , heart etc
  • Body - temp, vision, stomach, sweat
  • Mind - thoughts that come up, blaming
  • Behaviour
  • Story we begin to tell - they found me out, they hate me etc

  • Chandeliering like the saw that broke the camel's back
  • Stockpiling - building up and then you crash
  • The Umbridge - outside do not match inside- oh I am fine but inside seething.

The Rumble - stepping into the arena and engaging with the difficult conversations and situations - taking agency of how we can write a different version of the story

The Revolution - putting into daily practice

Impact on my Work

This hui has reinforced the importance of not stepping away from the conversations. My default shame shield is definitely moving away from the conflict even though I can normally work through the issues.

Taking a break and circling back is a strategy I am going to use a bit more of however I will need to ensure this is only ever done when I am able to reengage with a short time frame of less than one hour.

Overall I am happy with how I am progressing with my leadership skills and todays session will support my work with schools, as a board member and as a husband and father.

Tuesday, July 9, 2019

Who is Watching Who?

The key point of this model of observation conferencing is that it follows a collaborative approach where the decision-making is co-constructed.The teacher is choosing their goal, the focus of the observation, the means of recording evidence and co-constructs the feedback in the post-observation conference.

Instructional Coaching- teachers identify an area of need that they would like to improve on, related to their practice. This is about making teaching visible and offering a shared platform to facilitate discussions.

Teachers are learners, too, so it’s all about engaging teachers in that learning process.
The outcomes of the Instructional Coaching process are shared rather than reported.
Teachers reflect on what they’ve seen, what they’ve been through, the coaching process, themselves.

Peer Observation - the process whereby a teacher arranges to come in and spend some time in the classroom of another teacher looking at the strategies that are used within the class. There are already strengths within the school, and this process helps to utilise those strengths.

Pre lesson there is a quick chat about what's going to happen in the lesson, what the objective is going to be, and how the lesson is going to flow.

Implementing peer observations are challenging for all parties. Teachers may feel hesitant about having somebody else in their classroom, and there has to be a culture of sharing within the school.

Peer observation encourages teachers to reflect more on their practice.

Videos of Practice - a tool that is not human resource-intensive.

Decide what is wanted to be achieved in the observation, and then video the lesson, the mentor provides some feedback.

The teachers self-reflects on their video, and then come together and talk about how their lesson went and where they can improve with the mentor. Together decide on ""what would you like to work on next?" or "what could you do to make your lessons better"? Decide on a goal or action, and repeat as a cyclical process.

The teacher can see their strengths and also so reflect upon weaknesses in the classroom. Videos mean the teachers can pick
up things that they usually wouldn't have picked up in a self-reflection. So by taking videos
of teachers and observing good practice, the lessons are rewindable and accessible to other teachers.

This is a good set of tools to have in my kete as each school has a different culture and these observation tools give me options. As our kaupapa focus on visibility and connection and growth from within this has been a great section of learning.

I may ask some of my teachers to observe me formally and use one of the observation tools to support this.

Monday, July 8, 2019

What Do You Want? - Effective Questioning

The most powerful coaching question Bryan Franklin, Evercoach can ask his clients is the absolute simplest one it's a it's a question which I call the most dangerous question on
earth and it's simply what do you want.

How much challenge is too much, this needs to be a discussion at the start of each session as to establish the boundaries and expectations of the session.

The visionary questions tie in with Hazel's magical questions of time shift and imagine the results.

These questions could support the Why section of the 4 Mat System leading to more motivation and meaning.

I wonder if powerful questions aid with reflection and support the What if section of the 4 Mat system?

Goal - Long term goal the desired outcome - Short term goals are the steps to get there.
Reality - understand the situation to simulate coachee self evaluation and identify obstacles.
Options - what are the potential options. Prompt the coachee to evaluate the options.
Will - what exactly will the coachee do to reach the goal and when?

Make sure they are SMART Goals


Make sure the goals are achievable? How will you know when you are there?
Make sure there is a good understanding of the current reality, have they starting towards the goal already? Will it conflict with other team goals?
What is and is not possible, what are the obstacles? This is where the coach support is important to help support the coachee to come up with solutions for the hurdles and obstacles.

The coach needs to ask good questions that are open as possible and active listening is very important. Silence is very good thinking time and gives the coachee the time to come up with their own solutions.

Here is a really good example of the GROW Model

Magical Questions
The way they are thinking can become more positive, increasing motivation and boosting self-confidence.
The two types of 'magical questions' that I frequently use are:
Imagine the results, look to the future imagine you are already there. Stops coachees, getting stuck in all the issues and problems that can hamper and dampen the spirits.

Timeshift, helps coachee look into the future and imagine what it would be like for them. Gets them to reflect on their action plan and more motivated to jump back into their 'to do' list and action plan.

Remember to ask questions because you are curious, rather than because you feel that the question is useful, it keeps the conversation real and open.

Monday, July 1, 2019

Conceptual Models for Mentors - Learning 1 - Learning from Experience

This is another good starting point to start looking at how I am connecting with the colleagues I am supporting. 

The ones I have not made such a connection with is it because I have not identified how they learn?

Looking at the four areas above, I think I am comfortable with identifying reflectors and theorists; however, possibly I need to develop my ability to identify and support the Activist and Pragmatist. Are these teachers that seemed to stand off and not be involved as much? How do I identify these traits? In my role as the facilitator, the number of teachers I work with creates a challenge however as with a classroom knowing your learning is crucial, and this could add another string to my bow for those teachers that are not getting the support they require from my role.

My role within the teachers class for one year is the perfect opportunity to utilise the 4 Mat System and support the implementation of a digital classroom. Looking at the model, I need to ensure I allow ten minutes with each teacher to help them make meaning, discuss and motivate them. The understanding of the type of learner, e.g. Activist etc. will help me to support them to make meaning and increase motivation.

In the why I need to break the lesson of the day down into why we are doing it beforehand with the teacher, they will observe and reflect on the experience thinking about the Cybersmart concepts and information and the way it is being taught and use these to develop new ideas and principles. I have not done this well to date as this can be seen in the classes that I worked with last year that are not continuing with the Cybersmart Curriculum.

The skills that I have developed and continue to grow with this Coaching and Mentoring course will hopefully support teachers with the development of new ideas and principles. I am thinking that the adaptation, self-discovery and evaluation occur over the week and begin the discussion when I am back in class the following week.

Reflection - In one of my reflective sessions I have realised I have very little connection with the mentor, I have not listened for their linguistic style and as a result have not been able to connect back as quickly. I have noticed that the conversations can be very autobiographical, and I am reflecting is this due to the personal style or my lack of contribution to the discussion. As a mentee is it appropriate to connect with the mentor's linguistic style and then use that for example "I hear what you are saying" to bring the conversation back to focus on the mentees?

Sunday, April 7, 2019

Using my Ears Twice as Much as my Mouth

On reflecting on my own listening skills and completing this Interactive Listening Self-assessment Tool, it is fair to say I have a few things to work on in the area of listening.

At the moment I would classify myself as a poor listener, as you can see from the list below I have highlighted some actions I am guilty of during conversations.

The poor listener will often;
  • Look away 
  • Interrupt
  • Finishes other's sentences
  • Offer solutions without asking
  • Look bored or fidget
  • Looks at their watch
  • Ask too many questions
  • Do most of the talking
  • Give their opinion without asking
A focus for me will be to turn off my inner dialogue, so I am focussed on the speaker. By not having this dialogue running should also reduce the desire for me to interrupt or finish sentences, This will occur as I will not be biasing the conversation with my own thoughts.  I think increasing the use of questioning will stop me offering solutions or opinions. These questions need to be effective and not too numerous, and this will evolve as I work my way through this module especially looking at Joan Dalton's work again. I already have some critical questions from my previous blog post to use in upcoming work.

There are three different layers of listening:
  • surface listening
  • directed listening
  • listening for learning. 

The key skills of listening for learning are:
Switching off your own inner dialogue
Sending out the right signals through non-verbal signals
Suspending your own judgment
Showing empathy

A key for me to work towards listening for learning is working on summarising and paraphrasing, this is a focus from the last blog post as well.

How to Listen: Autobiographical Listening

Autobiographical Listening is where you ask a question to start a conversation that is in an area where you want to share something of your own. I am guilty of this at times and think I do it to build relationships with others by sharing my personal experiences to create connections with them. This enables me to then build trust and supports my work with them professionally.

Listening to the video and reflecting on its content I can see how this really shuts quiet people down and possibly creates a barrier to forming relationships and engagement in the work I do with teachers.

The suggestion form the video was to attempt to enter the other person's space and explore with their experiences with them. 

For example, when someone responds to the question of “how are you?” with "I am busy, rushed off my feet.", instead of saying "me too" and start telling them all about it, try asking a question, “What's keeping you busy?” and enter their world.

Asking an appropriate question opens up the possibility for discussion, and then listening creates the opportunity for dialogue and builds better relationships.

The importance of Non-Verbal Communication

Non-verbals communicate 90% of understanding of the message
Facial Expression
Eye contact
Physical appearance
Spatial Behaviour
Paralinguistics - Pitch and tone
Kinesics - posture and gestures

Reflecting on non-verbal communication, I think I read these well in other people, however possibly due to my poor listening skills I get mixed messages from the verbal message and the non-verbal cues not always matching up. Focussing on my listening should really support my practice. I will also take more note of non-verbal cues of others and try subtly reflecting these gestures.