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Fast and furious

I started this blog midway through 2013 – and to read my first post again is slightly embarrassing as i was determined back then to post regularly. And here I am 18 months later finally writing post number 2!

We have had a fast and furious start to the year and I am sometimes overwhelmed with the amount of new thinking that constantly challenges us as educators. The new initiative of introducing 1:1 devices at OLA has been such a positive one and the staff are delighted with the energy and enthusiasm shown by the students.

I think we need to be careful we don’t attribute this energy and enthusiasm from the students to just having a device in front of them – but it is in fact more about the changes in the way the curriculum is being delivered. The Chromebook is just a tool to enable the learner to access learning in a different way. To access their learning in different way enables our students to become globally connected, it enables our students to share their work with a wider audience and most of all it enables our students to have a say in how they learn, have some choice, and learn to manage their learning. Our students are engaged in their learning! We have blogged about this and you can read more about this on Good… Great…Innovate..

Growth mindsets

So to move on … A few weeks ago I ran a parent information morning about a reading and spelling programme we run at our school. This is an individualised programme where the students work through the lists at their own pace. We are increasingly seeing students under pressure to ‘pass’. Some of the children put this pressure on themselves and some react to the pressure from their parents. No matter what we say to parents and some students we don’t seem to be able to change the culture that has developed around this programme.

I have been mulling this over for awhile, and happened across a youtube clip of Carol Dweck talking about ‘The Power of Yet’. This video really resonated with me – it was exactly what I needed – and exactly what our parents needed to listen to. Carol talks about her research into this word ‘yet’. If we could change the way our parents talk and our students self-talk about this programme – If we could change the message that our students are getting when they are tested we could really begin to change make some progress on changing this fixed mindset culture. We need to show the students that they are on a learning curve and that they will achieve skills over time and that it is not the end of the world when they need to spend more time learning a skill. Using the simple word ‘yet’ really helps with this.

Carol Dweck uses these examples – If a child says “I’m not good at Maths” – we should respond “yet” – or to relate it to our FRoGS programme – I didn’t pass ….yet – it shows that child that these are skills achieved over time and that they are on a learning curve and there is more learning to be done. It helps them move from a fixed mindset to a growth mindset.

I need to do more reading about this and am excited to be going to hear Carol Dweck speak on Wednesday in Christchurch and will be excited to blog about my new learning in this area after that conference.


First Post

I have been going to start a blog for a really long time. Well, when I say that , I have been talking about it and thinking about it for some time – and lurking around the internet reading many other educators reflections on their blogs and have never really got started. I’m not sure if I ever really intended to.

A few things have happened over the last month that have really challenged me to get on with it! I need to connect. I have been keeping my head down and really working hard to do my job as Principal of a Catholic Full Primary School, Christchurch, New Zealand, really well. Trying to keep up with best and current practice and thinking that I just don’t have the time to fit anything else in.

A month ago in an appraisal meeting – the person facilitating my appraisal said to me that I should start sharing some of my ideas online. I’m going to be honest and say my response initially was I’m not sure I have anything worth sharing, and that of when would I have time to do this but I would think about it.

That night I read a post on a blog that really challenged me and made me sit up and take stock of where to from here. I couldn’t believe what I was reading after being challenged during the day to then be reading this blog that night. It was as if it was a conspiracy.

The post was entitled “The Prophets in Your Land”  posted by George Couros

Never again will I say I don’t think I have anything of value to share!! There is also a link to a video clip about underestimating your value! Thank you George Couros, this post was what I needed and just at the right time. I have been reading your blog for a long time but this was the post that spurred me on. Love the question that you ask you ask new teaching candidates too!

Over the next couple of weeks after reading this I read more and more blogs – the references to PLN’s,  Twitter,  and getting connected felt as they were all directed at me.

My next step was to join twitter @JoEarl2 – didn’t think I would ever do that, didn’t understand the value, within a week I was a total convert. I cannot believe the connections, I cannot believe the wealth of information I now have access to, I cannot believe just how willing everyone is to share their wisdom.

So this is my first post. I am also very new to Twitter and am looking to connect. Please follow.

Before all of this I didn’t think I had time for all this – now I think I haven’t got time not to…