Emerging Leaders' Symposium 2011

Nga mihi,
Some of you have seen the article in this month's Interface magazine about the 2011 Emerging Leaders' Symposium, but here is more information. It's an 'unconference' for emerging leaders in education; please consider either registering yourself or passing it on to the young guns in your school. It promises to be quite an exciting and inspiring event.

Did you know?
  • 10,000 of New Zealand's 50,000 teachers are nearing retirement age.
  • 50% of newly-qualified teachers leave the profession within the first 5 years.
We need to foster emerging leaders in education. We need to give them a voice and support them to develop a vision for the future of education, because soon that future will be in their hands. To this end, a group of emerging leaders have convened a two-day symposium in Auckland on 28th and 29th April 2011. Emerging leaders are invited to attend this 'unconference' to prepare a vision for the future of education in New Zealand-Aotearoa. This vision will be presented to Karen Sewell on the second day of the symposium.

Useful Links:
Emerging Leaders' on Facebook page

Thanks Mark for the info.

Introducing myself

As part of the Core Education staff meeting I have been asked to create a short introduction to I to share a little about myself and my work so far.

Shaking the Stick

As the Wanganui schoolgirl beaten until she fell unconscious has not yet returned to school, nearly a month after the vicious attack which was caught on film the head of New Zealand's Secondary Principals Association is calling for filming of bullying to be made a criminal offence, as more and more videos go viral.
With two recent video incidents in the southern hemisphere involving the violent altercations being filmed  and ‘youtubed’ perhaps it is time to look into the possibility of making the recording and sharing of bullying and violence a criminal offence.
The offences need to be defined. There is the physical recording of an incident and there is the ‘sharing’ on youtube, or wherever . We can liken these to possession of narcotics and distribution. But then there is the problem of proving the intent to distribute. With Narcotics it is the volume of product but that magical formula that police and judges know won’t help here.
Charging offenders will be the enacting of a policy ‘after the horse has bolted. Here’s hoping it will prove to be the deterrent we are looking for.
Once material has already been uploaded the control of that material and ‘jurisdication’ would play a role especially with companies based overseas with servers throughout the globe. Can a court order ‘taking down’ of such material? Will the process be swift enough to prevent the video going viral?
A ‘big stick’ approach is what is required but there are far reaching implications in the practical outworking of such a ‘simple’ idea.

Stopping the bullying

When Casey Heynes’ video when viral the issue of Bullying hit the headlines. But even with video evidence it appears that the issue as to ‘who started it’ comes down to:
He started it, I’m the victim  NO! He started, I’m a victim, too.
Many have an opinion with Facebook support for Casey passing 211,000 ‘likes’.
But to ‘LIKE’ seems a misnomer. Nobody likes the fact that Casey was getting bullied in the first place. Nobody likes that it came down to this. Nobody likes the circumstances, social-pressure or head-space Richard was in to make him think it was ok.  But EVERYBODY likes the fact that ‘the bullied stood up for himself’.

Bullying has been going on long before school ever existed. Some might even argue that it's Darwinian. But that is not to say that we shouldn’t try to address the problem.
Beginning anti-bullying programmes in primary school are a positive step.
Having those values reinforced through intermediate and into high school is a further step in the right direction.

Bullying can be prevented if students, parents, teachers, and school administrators are proactive. Strategies to prevent or stop bullying include: raising awareness about bullying, improving student-to-student relations, getting involved to stop intimidation, developing clear rules against bully¬ing behavior, and supporting and protecting victims of bullying. One of the most powerful messages teachers can send students is to always model respectful interactions through their actions, tone of voice, words and non verbal gestures.

The hardest thing in the world for the bullied to do is tell someone that it is happening. Schools and parents need not only promote positive relationships between students but also provide an enviroment that is supportive and open. Only with strong positive messages and a caring environment where bullying is taken seriously and dealt with will a school or other environment become 'bully-free'. Far too often teachers and senior managment prefer the perception that 'bullying doesn't happen here' rather than working actively towards it actually becoming the case. 
Useful Links:
Resources on TKI website

How can we combat bullying at school (pdf, 4 pages)

What Parents Can Do About It (pdf, 340KB) 

What to do if you are being bullied- video

Raising achievement rates of Maori and Pacific Islanders

Credit to Kieran Meredith, 16 as he takes matters into his own hands to deal with the achievement rates of Maori and Pacific Islanders, whom he said the current school system was failing. Some pass rates are as low as a quarter of the national average.
It is good to hear that the scheme has been identified and seems to be gaining traction through enthusiasm from different colleges and schools. Perhaps this ‘grassroots’ initiatives is the way to address this issue rather than Government dealing with it from the top down.
But how do you turn a single school success story into a national drive toward success?

D9 Teacher Newsletter Term1

From the Editor,
Here is the Term 1 2011 newsletter. I hope you will find some useful links to resources and materials to assist you in the classroom. Many thanks to those of you who have provided relieving days to D9 Teacher, your ongoing support is greatly appreciated.

Partner School
image from http://www.teachingjobs.eu.com/gallery/Fgallery1-1.jpgSt Matthew’s School sits in the heart of Hastings. It’s 130+ pupils range from Year 0 to 8. The noise and disruption of renovations to the church are coming to an end and the buildings are looking fantastic. Their motto is "teach our children to use the right path, and when they are older they will remain on it" Proverbs 22:6 and achieve this by offering high quality values and curriculum based education within a special character context.

Google ChromeSparklebox 1000s of FREE teaching resources for Early Years Foundation Stage and Key Stage One Primary School teachers.
Essential Resources: Reading Comprehension with Attitude!
Capture their attention. This high-interest reading programme is the result of a teacher's search for comprehension activities that have real meaning for students and link strongly with higher order thinking skills.

image from http://www.teachingjobs.eu.com/gallery/Fgallery1-1.jpgTe Mata Primary School (3 positions) – New Entrants- Applications close 8 April 2011
Taradale Intermediate - Fixed-term Scale A maternity leave - Applications close 15 April 2011
Eskdale School - Y4–5 class LTR maternity leave - Applications close TBC
St Patrick's School - Senior teacher Y3–4 1PMU + 1FTU - Applications close Monday 4 April

Useful Links
Education News: Educating the Dragon this blog offers opinions and discussion around the educational issues of the day.
Google Chrome
New Zealand Curriculum Update 6 - Illustrations supporting the National Standards(PDF, 4 MB) This Update focuses on the illustrations that support the National Standards for reading, writing, and mathematics and how teachers can use them.

Mummy? ... Mummy?... Mummmmmmy!!!!!

Apparently, it takes Children's Commissioner John Angus a full investigation to determine that under one’s are best cared for at home. I could have saved a lot of time and money and just given him my Gran’s telephone number, she’d have told him.
Also the report stated that the ratio of staff member to child should be lowered. Again another thing my Gran may mention, only two arms per staff member and so much sobbing/ crying/ comforting to be done.
Sure, wouldn’t it be nice if all mum’s could stay at home, look after bubs full time and not have another care in the world. For that matter, wouldn’t it be nice if Dad could do that instead, oh, I mean ‘as well’.
There are about 32,000 children under the age of two in formal early childhood education.
Reality is that many parents need to go back to work, some even prefer to go back to work. Parents who return to work full-time and good parents are two groups that are not necessarily mutually exclusive. Options need to given. Government does not need to provide full-funding for one or the other but some funding offering some choice may be appreciated.
Angus said there was "room for government policy" to better support parents who make a choice to stay at home to care for their child.

There needs to be some fairness to the system. Its no good a mother on one toddler having to go back to work where another of 3 or 4 teenagers can afford to stay home.
“...stop paying parents while thier kids are at school 30 hours per week, they can work .”  

Rewriting New Zealand history

"You know they have suffered as a result of New Zealand's ignorance of who they are, where they came from and their history."
It seems that a correction has been made in the School Journal regarding the origins and characteristics of the Moriori people. And long it has been in coming.
The version of events surrounding this issue appears to still be divided. Long it has been used as an apologists argument to support  ‘natural selection’ process within New Zealand. Argument going something like this: “Don’t witter on the injustice of European occupation of New Zealand over the Maori when you did exactly the same, and worse, to the Moriori centuries before.”
Obviously, using one genocide to argue and debate another is nonsense.
What is past is passed. To be ashamed of, or defend, the decisions and culture of our ancestors is counter-productive. So says I:
  • A member of the British Empire, whose people slaughtered ‘ savage natives’ across every continent in the world.
  • An Englishman whose people drove the Scots and Irish into famine of the mid 1800’s.
  • Whose fore-fathers shed French blood for 100 years through the use of the longbow of the 13th and 14th centuries.
  • Of Saxon decent, trampling Picts, Celts and Britons in our bid to reach the ‘western sea’.
  • Of Roman decent, whose ancestors conquered the known world and tried desperately to destroy the Christian faith in blood sports of the arena. 
  • I am of Homosapien decent, whose descendants out thought, out fought, and out lived the Neanderthal people.
My history, all our history, is riddled with pain, bloodshed, injustice and war. All of it is despicable and incomprehensible against our 21st century sensibilities and ‘political-correctness’. Just let me know in which century I am permitted to cease guilt-ing over the decisions and direction my forbearers took. 
Let us move forward together, having taken the greatest gift our history has to offer...

Those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it”  George Santayana

PPTA: No secondhand car purchase.

The PPTA are close to reaching a settlement with the Ministry of Education. Is this really still dragging on? I am clearly not one to speak to delicate negotiations, I am more of the "How much do you want for your car? How MUCH? I'll give you half that. Three Quarters? Done!".

"With the situation the country is in at present, it would be good to achieve a settlement and return to some sense of normality" PPTA president Robin Duff said.

You think?
The time for fighting is over and the time has now come to lay side petty, see the big picture... be the better person and agree to a settlement before the whole economic situation changes and negotiations begin for a new pay deal for 2012.
I just hope that the ratification process is merely a formality and we can all return to the business of educating the next generation.

What's the plan... Len?

"Never thought about it before. Should have, didn't."
The words of Len Brown, Mayor of Auckland ,as he calls for a "preparedness day" in the light of the Christchurch quake.
Schools, colleges, and other institutuions could take a leaf from Len’s book and use the opportunity to educate students and parents. Everyone needs to get ready for a natural disaster in New Zealand and this is the opportunity that we can all take to put ‘the plan’ together. As the civil defence ad says ‘You could be anywhere.”
Including school so every family needs to know what to do.
  • What do we take with us?
  • Where to shelter in an earthquake, flood, volcanic eruption or storm?
  • How to evacuate and where to meet?
  • Who is responsible for getting the kids?
  • Where survival items and first aid kits are located, and who is responsible for checking essential items.

Educators also need to take a lead here. What’s the Plan Stan? is an initiative which aims to support teachers to develop their students’ knowledge, skills and attitudes to respond to and prepare for an emergency.

Facebook and Twitter - FINALLY!!!

Educating the Dragon now has links on the sidebar for:
“Friending us on Facebook”
“Follow us on Twitter”
Admittedly, the twitter is just me, but people tell me that others would rather follow a real person rather than a company or brand.

We’ll see, I guess.
Anyway, go ahead and follow us... whichever you use for you’re PLN we’re here for you.

Schools returning - is normality?

The Ministry has set up nine learning hubs around the city in school halls, managed by experienced principals and teachers. Year 1-8 students can attend, during normal school hours, and parents can also pick up learning resources for use at home.
After I documented Maths buddies offer of assistance in a previous post it seems that the idea of learning hubs has been established and the Correspondence School has also made all of its resources available online to Christchurch students, without the need to enrol.
It continues to surprise me as to how people have opened their hearts and their properties to supplying accommodation for our most vulnerable. 
With school now returning after so many weeks there is a sense of normality returning. ‘The School Run’ is the daily routine and often grind now comes as a welcome relief.
Normality is still far from the minds of many in Christchurch as the world’s attention shifts north to Japan

Financial illiteracy

''The system is very devolved. It is up to teachers and principals in local schools to decide what is taught. We have very well written financial literacy materials but we don't know how much they are used,''

Financial literacy is perhaps one of the areas of a child’s education which really should be ‘out-sourced’. The last generation were not taught financial literacy well, for a variety of reasons, and to say that parents alone should be solely responsible would lead to a spiralling downwards of understanding of money.
As the article identifies there are many worthy programmes out there that schools and educators could, and should adopt.
That is not to say that parents should not take a lead in this area. It is just that there needs to be a more solid foundation to financial understanding than ‘treating your kid on every visit to the Warehouse’.

Safety Online: Are we making a difference?

Brett Lee, Closing Keynote for Learning at Schools conference says “Yes, we are.”
No longer will you see children jumping around on the backseat of the car but sitting, buckled up. The reason being is that if ‘dad’ were to have an accident then you could be seriously injured or killed. The other reason being that it is the law that everyone wear their seatbelt and ‘dad’ could get into a lot of trouble if you’re caught by police without a seatbelt on.
Two very good reasons; and so it is with Internet safety. Brett believes that students simply need the reasons spelt out.
From Brett’s  keynote he identified that:
  • we can never under estimate the power of the screen in young people’s lives
  • the technology will change over time but our protective practises, responsibilities and beliefs should remain
  • we as teachers and parents only line of defence for our kids against the World-Wild Web.
  • we can instil quality online behaviours in our children
  • we must always believe we are making a difference to how our students interact socially within the internet. 
 Brett also identified the need for students to aware of the issue of cyber-bullying he share the video below and talked about the reality of the screen for young people.Interacting in an online space and/or through text messaging allows our students to create in minds a construct of reality that is not accurate but merely a projection of what others desire us to perceive.

Upper Coomera State College

Caught In The Crowd | Myspace Video

Useful Links: