Posted in Criterion 12, Criterion 4, Criterion 5, Standard 3, Teacher Registration

Leadership evaluation

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Do I ask my faculty to evaluate my leadership or not? This question niggled at me for a week or two before I did anything about it. My reasons for doing included getting some feedback on areas that I was unaware that I needed to work on. I also wanted confirmation that I was doing okay and on the right track but I was a bit scared about the negative feedback that I might receive. However,  I was not expecting that everyone would think that I’m wonderful. So it took a bit of courage for me to finally ask the faculty for their feedback.

I did some research online to find a leadership evaluation that I could adapt. I found the Team Leader Evaluation Survey and adapted the questions into this Google Form. My evaluation consisted of 30 statements which were responded to using multiple choice or a linear scale. Respondents could strongly agree, agree, disagree, or strongly disagree. I avoided having a middle option so that people could not sit on the fence. One member of the department commented that she thought the responses were too black and white so this could have been a weakness in my survey. Perhaps I could have made 3 options to respond to by including ‘slightly agree’ and ‘slightly disagree’.

7 people completed the evaluation and the results were largely positive with people either agreeing or strongly agreeing for the majority of the statements. Some of the questions only one person disagreed so I don’t see those as areas to work on. Two people disagreed with the following statements so I have identified them as areas to improve:

  • Creates a positive team environment
  • Builds trusting relationships
  • Is tactful, helpful and compassionate towards others

Ouch! Ouch! Ouch! These are areas that I thought I was doing okay in! Ah well, I did ask.

Creating a positive team environment

According to www.Good.co, there are 12 ways to create a positive work environment. I got some good ideas from this and also recognised a few things that already happen in our department such as a motivational quote that one member puts up each week and birthday celebrations. Some ideas that I will adopt include sharing something positive that someone is doing at the beginning of our faculty meetings and giving positive reinforcement such as:

  • I appreciate the way you…
  • I’m impressed with…
  • I really enjoy working with you because…
  • Your team couldn’t be successful without your…
  • I admire the way you take the time to…
  • You’re really good at…

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Building trusting relationships

This is something that is very important to me and something that I focussed on a lot last year. I think the people who disagreed with this statement are the ones that I need to further develop relationships with. According to the MindTools website:

Good working relationships give us several other benefits: our work is more enjoyable when we have good relationships with those around us. Also, people are more likely to go along with changes that we want to implement, and we’re more innovative and creative.

This website has a lot of good information with links to quizzes to help work out emotional intelligence strengths, manage boundaries, and assess your people skills. It also has great ideas about developing relationships. One tip that stood out to me was to avoid gossiping. This is a challenge and something that I know most people deal with. After a few Friday after work drinks with colleagues the conversation can often turn to workplace gossip.

Another tip when dealing with a difficult relationship was to “..try not to be too guarded. Ask them about their background, interests and past successes.” This can be difficult as sometimes I don’t even want to engage with my more difficult people! However, I do need to get over this to develop the trust needed.

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Being tactful, helpful and compassionate

I believe that I am usually pretty tactful but sometimes I do say things without thinking and can come across as a bit rude. If I am tired or emotional this is more likely to happen. I do believe that I am helpful and compassionate so I will be aware of the disagreement on this but I don’t see it as an area to work on at this stage.

Once again the MindTools website had some good advice on being tactful. The tips that stood out to me were:

  1. Create the right environment and think before you speak. Listening before speaking and responding with empathy can help to connect with people and see things from their perspective.
  2. Never react emotionally. Understanding and recognising the triggers which make you react emotionally will help to control emotions.

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So I have a few things to work on and have researched and discovered some helpful tips to get me started. Even though I was nervous about asking my faculty to complete the evaluation, I am pleased that I did as it has given me a lot to think about. I am also pleased that, overall, I am doing okay.

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Posted in Criterion 11, Criterion 4, Criterion 5, Standard 2, Teacher Registration, Teaching Standards

2017 Goals

After a very steep learning curve last year, I am feeling much more relaxed about my role as HOL. I now know what is expected and how to complete each task. I am enjoying connecting with the people in my Faculty and helping them to realise their goals.

My goals for this year are:

  • To develop and grow as a leader.
  • To deliver PD and help others grow.
  • To learn how to use assessment information more effectively.
  1. Develop and grow as a leader

I have begun a Master of Educational Leadership and Management to help me to meet this goal. It will take me 3-4 years to complete this but I am looking forward to learning how to become a great leader.

The workshops for this course are in the holidays and over the term there are readings and essays to write. I went to a taster course for this programme at the end of last year and was very inspired. One of the first things we learn is what sort of leader we are before learning about how to connect with others effectively. Good skills to know!

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2. Deliver PD and help others grow

Since joining Whangaparaoa College I have been involved in delivering PD on the SAMR model and using WordPress to reflect on teaching and learning. Blogging is a great way to record evidence by linking to the Practising Teacher Criteria for performance management; this is strongly encouraged at Whangaparaoa.

I will continue to help with PD delivery this year as many teachers still need help setting up their blogs.

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3. Learn how to use assessment information more effectively

For several years now when asked what PD I would like, I have asked for help with AsTTle. Unfortunately, this never happened but, to be fair, I could have been more proactive.

A few weeks ago I received an email about some E-asTTle PD so I immediately signed up. As an HOL it is important that I understand how to use this assessment tool effectively so that I can guide others in the department. I’m looking forward to learning what I can do.

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I’m excited about the year ahead and all the great learning I will be doing. 2017 is going to be awesome!

Posted in Criterion 5, Standard 5, Teacher Registration, Teaching Standards

Presenting to the BOT

On Wednesday 8th March I presented a condensed version of the English Faculty report to the Board of Trustees. I was quite nervous about this when I began my presentation but they quickly made me feel at ease even though a lot of questions were asked. Fortunately, I was able to answer the questions and also had help from James in explaining anything that was not fully understood.

I began by explaining what our department had done in 2016. This included the PD that some people had completed, the developing confidence of using technology to enable our pedagogy and the addition of some Furnware.

After this I explained what the goals for 2017 are. Check out the presentation for a general overview:

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Overall, it was a good experience and I enjoyed showing off about our awesome department and the journey that we are on. Tim, who also presented, and I received a lovely email from James afterwards.

Good morning Christine and Tim

 

I was so very proud to be sitting with the Board last night, enjoying your presentations.

The Board were so impressed with your genuine interest in our learners’ achievement, your honesty, and your willingness to keep looking for ways to engage our learners.  And of course, the obvious hard work and commitment all this takes as you lead your teams.

 

Thank you for your excellent contribution to our learners and the College as a whole.

Have a good day

 

James

 

Posted in Criterion 5, Criterion 7

Innovative Learning Attitude

Written by Christine Wells and Linda Rubens

With all the talk of innovative learning environments it is easy to think, I don’t teach in an ILE so why should I bother? There are many new schools being built which are ILEs and I have been guilty of feeling very envious and wishing that I could knock walls out and have some of what they’re having. Twitter is often full of pictures of beautiful buildings with colourful furniture and learners happily engaged. We have realised that our school will probably never be a total ILE as it would take years and huge expense for this to happen. It is possible to have a change in attitude though. Mark Quigley once said,

“… an innovative learning environment happens between your ears, not just in the physical environment.”

Change of mind is the biggest challenge. So how can we embrace this mindset in an ‘old school’ setting?

1. Create a relaxed and welcoming environment. 

You can have furniture other than the standard old school desks and chairs. Add a few couches to your learning space. They are easier than you think to source. Send out an all staff email and ask if any one has any old couches that they no longer need. You could also contact your learner’s parents or ask your learners. I was driving along one day with a friend and we saw a couple of couches that had been put on the side of the road so we stopped and got them – it took 2 trips as only one at a time fitted into my hatchback. I got a couple of cheap couch covers from The Warehouse to make them look presentable. I ditched my desk and replaced it with an armchair which I placed at the back of the room. When my learners first saw the couches they were really positive about them. There was a bit of a rush to sit on them to begin with but this settled down over time.

There are other ways that you can pimp out your learning space such as having lamps instead of turning on the harsh fluorescent lights. Many learners are more comfortable with low lighting. If you are in a 1:1 environment learners can see their screens better as they often have the brightness turned down to save the battery. Playing music at appropriate times also creates a relaxed vibe which learners enjoy.


2. Attitude is everything.

Be willing to think outside the box and explore ways to create an ILE. The #Hackyrclass movement created by Claire Amos has heaps of great ideas for ways to do things differently. Ideas explored included Design Thinking and having a growth mindset. Joining a PLN of likeminded educators is inspiring when everyone is sharing ideas or posting photos and videos of what is happening in their learning space. Many of us have joined Twitter for this reason and are continually buzzing with new ideas that we have discovered through our Twitter PLN. Becoming involved in these things does take effort and a positive attitude but it is totally worth it.

3. Get away from the front of the classroom.

Adopting different teaching and learning methods such as Project Based Learning or co-created units of work are effective in helping your learners drive their learning. You may ‘stand and deliver’ at the front while you introduce a unit of work but after that your job will be to roam the class giving feedback where needed. I recently decided to co-create a unit with a year 10 class and they really enjoyed coming up with ideas for how they would learn about the text we are studying. I still gave the parameters such as the aspects to be studied, the levels of thinking required and some compulsory tasks such as essay writing but the rest was created by them.

4. Bringing in Experts

With project based learning, one of the guidelines is to bring experts in from the community. But what about your own school community? I was doing static image with my class, so I invited an art teacher into my class. He gave invaluable support regarding their design and layout of the images. Teaching a film or novel with historical background? I found a science and history teacher who had first hand experience of the historic event that was woven into the film text, so they came and gave my class authentic insight into the event because they had lived through it. Thus giving my students a chance for real empathy. Make it real, call your expert colleagues in.


5. Cross Curricular chatter

Due to the sheer size of our school, cross curricular work can be seen to be too difficult. But when the seniors leave (how often do you hear that phrase?) we plan to do some cross curricular work. Blogs make this so much easier to manage. Art and English could be a starting point with blogs the way we bring the artefact together. Choose a class that you have at the same time as your colleague, team teach your area of expertise, and set the learners off on their project. So while we are not breaking down our walls, we are chipping away at the mental barriers that so often separate us. Smash those silos of learning!

6. Digital portfolios

Also known as blogs. Some people love them and are true advocates, others get put off at the mere mention of the word. I think they are a great way for learners to pull all their learning together, and teachers and parents can have a snapshot of all they have done. This makes cross curricular team-ups viable. One of my senior students, who is slightly, dare I say it, tech challenged, was amazed when he saw my blog. My blog is not amazing, but his naive enthusiasm is worth mentioning. He announced, “Guys, miss has her own website! Look there’s her name! And she’s talking about us!”  So maybe he has something there. For those put off by the word blog, think website. Personal website.

So yes, while we do teach in a traditional building, as many teachers around the world do, we don’t confine ourselves to traditional approaches to teaching. And I’m pleased to say we are not alone in wanting to creep out of our silos and give our learners an integrated and personalised approach to their learning.

Posted in Criterion 1, Criterion 4, Criterion 5

Transformers! Teachers in disguise!

This year, my friend and colleague, Christine Emery, and I presented at uLearn 2016. Our presentation was about how we have helped to begin the transformation of our department’s use of technology.

Christine and I began teaching at Whangaparaoa College this year and had both come from schools that have been BYOD for the past 4-5 years. We have both completed the Mindlab Postgrad certificate in Applied Technology and are fluent in using technology to enable our pedagogy. While completing Mindlab, we discovered the Transformational Leadership style as explained by Bass and Avolio (1990). We were keen to share our knowledge and skills with our department.

Our department is made up of teachers who are at different places with the use of technology. Some have been using it confidently for years and some are not confident at all. Our mission was to transform our department with our 12 Step Programme.


During the year in department meetings we have discussed the SAMR model and how it can be incorporated into teaching practice. We have shared apps and websites and also PBL. Every member of the department has tried something new. I was super surprised when, after sharing this blog, everyone said that they were keen to try blogging themselves. I explained that I used blogging to record reflections and evidence of the PTC for registration purposes and they could see the value in this. During the year we planned what we would do as our department TAI and some reflections have been posted on people’s blogs also.


The transformational leadership style has been useful in promoting change in a non-threatening and encouraging manner. The department have seen 4 different Heads of Learning in the last 4 years so did not need change thrust upon them in an aggressive manner.

Christine and I have made ourselves available to help when needed and have consciously been supportive. Our plan was to meet people where they were at and see what they needed help with. At a staff meeting Carol Dweck‘s growth mindset was discussed and this has been something that the school has been learning about over the past year or two. Knowing that we could refer to this and everyone would know what we meant has been helpful in encouraging persistence.


We have also shared our stories of success with apps/websites such as Classcraft, Class Dojo, Kahoot, Google Classroom, Google sites and WordPress. As a PBL fan girl, I shared resources with people and a few have adopted this learning style also. Other members of the department have had turns at sharing apps and websites that they have discovered also. It has been valuable to learn how these technologies are being used to transform learning.

Many of our department now regularly use Kahoot and Google Classroom and the more adventurous have tried Classcraft and Google Sites with their learners. These have been used by learners also as ways of showcasing their learning.

Christine and I are conscious of our roles as leaders in this area and our responsibility to be positive role models. Our goal is to motivate and inspire while being encouraging coaches and mentors. Our department is a work in progress and so are we! We are well on the way to realising our department vision.

Posted in Criterion 12, Criterion 5, Criterion 6, Department TAI, Department TAI, Teacher Registration, Teaching As Inquiry

Motivation, Engagement and Consequences.

When brainstorming ideas for Teaching as Inquiry, our department focus became centred around how we could encourage our learners to complete their learning. This is a challenge that many of us face. We decided that we would link our TAI to some of the Whangaparaoa College school goals which include:

Objective 1: Challenge and support all learners to give of their best and achieve their best in their learning and the other areas that they pursue.

Objective 6: Further integrate eLearning into our curriculum in order to enhance the achievement of learning.

Objective 16: Ensure that self review becomes part of the culture of the College.

What is the current situation/problem?

The current situation is that many learners lose motivation and do not complete their learning. This has happened a couple of times throughout the year, especially if the assessment does not go on reports. It seems that if a piece of learning is not worth credits then learners are not motivated to complete it. We have found that if a senior learner has another subject’s assessment due then they will work on that instead! It’s like they’re cheating on English with another subject!

My intervention will be…

Classcraft

I have written about Classcraft previously in my post on Gamification and Assessment. It’s a game that is more appropriate for junior classes than senior ones. I trialled Classcraft over term 2 with my year 9 class and it has been very effective in helping to modify their behaviour.  Classcraft engages and motivates learners by rewarding specific behaviours with points which learners can use to level up or to buy powers and costume accessories for their avatar. I modified the point system to reward the key competencies and 21st century skills. I also gave points for some work completion so that my learners realised that it wasn’t just about playing the game.



What happened and how do I know?

The class took to Classcraft like the proverbial duck to water. They were excited about getting points and suddenly became very helpful and complimentary about my fashion sense. I’ve never blushed so much! Apart from the fun aspect, my learners’ grades either stayed the same or improved by one grade. Some learners had worse results where they either dropped a grade or did not submit.

  • Same = 6
  • Better = 10
  • Worse = 6 (2 did not submit whereas last time they did).


What does this data tell me, and what should I do next?

This data tells me that Classcraft is worth persevering with as most of the class either had the same results or got a better result than the previous essay. I have developed a very positive relationship with the learners and really look forward to seeing this class now. Previously, I had dreaded them a little as they were quite a challenge both behaviour and learning-wise. The class have really enjoyed playing Classcraft and the stories that I have told about its use have encouraged other people in my department to have a go at using it themselves.  Motivating learners to want to complete their learning is a positive strategy for dealing with this issue.

Discussing the importance of finishing well is also something that I will do with all my classes. The sense of satisfaction for a job well done is something that most of us enjoy and contributes towards living a life of integrity.

While I am in favour of rewarding positive more than punishing negative behaviour, there is a place for a negative consequence. Not all learners in this class have had a change of heart when it comes to their learning. Contacting the whanau when learning is not completed is something that will happen more frequently as, in my experience, it mostly gets good results. We are, however, on the right track towards all learners in this class completing their learning.

Posted in Criterion 2, Criterion 4, Criterion 5, Criterion 7, Mindlab reflections

Changes in my practice

Completing the Mindlab course has been an amazing journey and I have learnt about and been challenged by many new ideas. This has led to some changes in my teaching practice, some of which are the inclusion of gamification and the adoption of transformational leadership.

Classcraft
Although I found writing the literature review very challenging, it further developed an interest that I had in gamification and game based learning. On Google+ I came across a post about Classcraft and decided to investigate. I have since implemented the use of Classcraft with my year 9 class and this has helped to improve their motivation and engagement enormously. Their behaviour is also much better and they are developing 21st Century skills as a result. This reflects Criterion 8 which includes the ability to, 

Encourage ākonga/learners to take responsibility for their own learning and behaviour.

Because my learners know that they will earn points for positive behaviours and skills they come into class wanting to help hand out books and get started on their learning. We have been using Classcraft all this term and lately I have tried one or two lessons where we don’t use it to see if the behaviour and motivation is different. I am pleased to report that it is not! Rewarding these skills has helped to make them a consistent and usual way of behaving. Thanks Classcraft!



Transformational Leadership

I have also enjoyed learning about Leadership theory and styles. This has been particularly helpful for me as this is my first year being the head of a department. I identified mostly with the transformational leadership style and have consciously used this style when leading my department. I believe that one of the reasons that I was employed is because of my skills in incorporating technology to enable my pedagogy. I have lots of ideas for changes that I would like to see in my department but am aware that not everyone is as tech savvy as I am and could see a rash of hastily made changes as a challenge. For this reason I have not made huge changes but have discussed ideas for the future and sought opinions on those changes. Some things will be non negotiable such as submitting year 11 moderation digitally next year and adding each year level in subsequent years. But many ideas will be a choice. I am encouraged by the positive attitudes of my people though. I showed them my blog and explained that I used it to record reflections on teaching and learning which were then linked to the PTC and they all are very keen to do this also. So we have begun that journey together. This reflects Criterion 5, the Enabling eLearning website comments:

Effective leadership is crucial for the successful implementation of ICT.

Utilising the transformational leadership style is a non threatening way of leading my department in the adoption of ICT for their own use which will help them become more confident in leading their learners to do the same. As my departments’s confidence in me as a leader increases, more changes will be made but I believe that it is important to first build relationships and earn respect.

The Future…

I would like to keep learning and growing as a leader. I see my department as being leaders in the school in the area of technology enabled pedagogy in the future. To make this happen I would like to develop into a leader that has “the capacity to translate this vision into reality.” (Warren Bennis) I would also like to complete the Masters of Applied Practice offered by Mindlab so that I can continue to learn and think about new ideas and technologies and how they can be applied in teaching and learning.

References

1. Enabling e-Learning, Professional Learning. Retrieved from: http://elearning.tki.org.nz/Professional-learning/Practising-Teacher-Criteria-and-e-learning/Criteria-8

2. Enabling e-Learning, Professional Learning. Retrieved from: http://elearning.tki.org.nz/Professional-learning/Practising-Teacher-Criteria-and-e-learning/Criteria-5

Posted in Criterion 1, Criterion 2, Criterion 4, Criterion 5, Mindlab reflections, Teacher Registration

Interdisciplinary Connections

The interdisciplinary approach is a team-taught enhancement of student performance, an integration of methodology and pedagogy, and a much needed lifelong learning skill. Interdisciplinary approach (2009).

Goals

At Whangaparaoa College each curriculum area has had its own paragraph structure acronym, these have included PEEL, SEXY, and TIE, to name a few. It was decided that we needed a common structure. Heads of learning from 6 curriculum areas met over the course of a term to decide which structure would work best overall. We settled on SEEL: Statement, Explanation, Example, Link. To achieve this goal we shared examples of what it would look like for each of us and then spent time creating resources. We have now introduced the chosen structure to our departments and have also begun using it. Posters are being printed so that the SEEL structure will be displayed around the school. It is hoped that by the end of the year all teachers and learners will have adopted it.

TALL (Teaching and Learning Leaders) is a group representing all curriculum areas that meet twice a term to brainstorm ideas, conduct research, and eat lollies!  A goal of the group is to create short lesson plans and accompanying resources for the staff to easily pick up and use. These lessons can be used in more than one curriculum area. We want staff to be comfortable trying new ideas without having to spend a lot of time planning. These lesson plans consider the SAMR model and aim to encourage more engagement and motivation. Currently I am working with a social science teacher to create a paragraph writing unit which includes a ‘how to’ video resource and a Kahoot to quiz the learners.

Challenges

Although the paragraph group have only focussed on one skill in an interdisciplinary manner we found that the paragraph structure needed to be general and not specific or it would not fit all curriculum areas. In English, the SEEL structure will be fine for our junior classes but we will need to add to it for our seniors so that learners record all the information needed. Other curriculum areas will do the same.

Benefits

The benefit of the interdisciplinary approach is huge for learners. They are able to apply principles across curriculum areas which makes them easier to remember and understand. This also cuts down on the time spent in teaching these principles so more time is available to help wih understanding specific content.

“Their cognitive development allows them to see relationships among content areas and understand principles that cross curricular lines. Interdisciplinary approach (2009).

According to Mathison,S.. & Freeman, M.(1997), there are many other benefits including increased engagement and motivation, more ability in critical thinking, synthesis and making decisions, and also in the promotion of collaborative learning. Basing learning on a theme across curriculum areas and incorporating project based learning could make school a very cool place to come to. For teachers, it would promote “…better collegiality and support between teachers and wider comprehension of the connections between disciplines.” (Mathison and Freeman, 1997).

Our paragraph structure group and the TALL group are only small steps in the journey of interdisciplinary learning. I would love to take larger, bolder steps in this area and truly become interdisciplinary in our school. I found the video below very inspiring.

References

1. Jones, C.(2009). Interdisciplinary approach – Advantages, disadvantages, and the future benefits of interdisciplinary studies. ESSAI, 7(26), 76-81. Retrieved from http://dc.cod.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1121&context=essai

2. Mathison,S.. & Freeman, M.(1997). The logic of interdisciplinary studies. Presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Educational Research Association, Chicago, 1997. Retrieved from http://www.albany.edu/cela/reports/mathisonlogic12004.pd

3. Lacoe Edu (2014, Oct 24) Interdisciplinary Learning . Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cA564RIlhME

 

 

 


Posted in Demonstrate commitment to promote the well-being of all ākonga, Mindlab reflections, Professional Development, Show leadership that contributes to effective teaching and learning., Teacher Registration

Blogging for Professional Development


The social media platform that best supports my engagement with professional development is WordPress. Blogging is beneficial to me as it allows regular reflection on teaching and learning. Many posts discuss challenges and solutions based upon discussion with colleagues. This is a great way of being a reflective practitioner and processing information and thoughts.

The act of regularly expressing your thoughts in written form can help sharpen your intellect, organize your ideas and prep you to lead lessons in the classroom more effectively. (Teach.com, 2015)

The Reader on WordPress is a stream of bloggers that I follow and is an interesting way of staying up to date other educators with similar interests.

Putting your ideas into the world is a great way to attract like-minded people to argue with, network with, or get advice from. As we’ve learned from other discussions on personal learning networks (PLN), talking with other educators is a wonderful way to learn and grow as a teacher. (Teach.com, 2015)

I like WordPress because I can include photos, video, slideshows, and hyperlinks. It is a visually interesting digital portfolio that can be commented on and modified when needed. Many posts create a discussion which gives me other things to think about.

Positive or negative, getting reactions from other people in your community is a great way to test out your ideas. It can also be a great motivational tool. (Teach.com, 2015)

I use WordPress to enhance my professional development to record reflections and evidence linked to the Practising Teacher Criteria. Categories for each criterion can be created and each post linked to the relevant criteria. Before my last re-registration interview with my principal, I emailed her my blog address. At the interview we discussed a selection of blog posts. As I had been writing posts for the 3 years leading up to re-registration I did not need to write a lot to make sure that I had provided evidence for all of the criteria.

Many employers these days will check out a prospective employer’s online prescence to find out about who they are as a person and how they represent themselves. A blog will help an employer to understand the values and attitudes of a teacher. It will also give insight into how they teach and reflect on their pedagogy.

A media-rich teaching portfolio will give employers a deeper insight into your teaching practices while signaling that you’re a 21st century teacher. Having a teaching portfolio can be a decisive element at the interview stage of the hiring process (Mosely, 2005).

At my new school we are beginning to investigate blogging for the same purpose and many teachers have already begun to set up their blogs. It is preferable to filling in lots of paperwork. I have also been involved in facillitating professional development in both schools to help people set up their blogs. Blogging to reflect on teaching and learning naturally links to many of the PTC so one blog post can cover many areas.

I have enjoyed blogging about my experiences and journey of teaching and learning over the last few years. It is interesting to look at older posts to see how I have grown and developed as an educator. Sharing this journey with other educators from around the world has given me new perspectives on issues and I have learnt a great deal. Blogging is a great social media tool that is also valuable for our learners to use, but that’s a story for another post.


References
1. 10 Reasons to Blog as Professional Development (2015). Retrieved from http://teach.com/teach100-mentor/blogging-as-pd

2. Do I need a digital teaching portfolio?(2014).  Retrieved from http://www.edutopia.org/blog/digital-teaching-portfolio-edwige-simon

Posted in Criterion 1, Criterion 2, Criterion 5, Criterion 7, Mindlab reflections

Current Issues in my Professional Context

Organisational Culture

Whangaparaoa College caters for years 7-13 and has been in operation for 10 years. As part of their job application, our principals completed a Myers-Briggs personality test to ensure there was a balance of personality styles and skills. Recommendations from the Curriculum Stocktake (2002) were also considered, in particular, the review and refining of outcomes in essential learning areas. The principal at the time told everyone planning the curriculum to ‘chuck everything in the bin,’ metaphorically, and then plan based around themes. Once all the curriculum skills were chosen, they then asked what was crucial that was missing, added it in and ditched the rest.

Hattie’s research was influential in the planning of the school. His identification of the teacher as one of the most important factors in successful learning guided the teacher selection. However, many did not want to teach junior classes only so it was a challenge to find the right staff.

Academic Counselling is a key value. Learners spend one hour on a Wednesday with their Academic Counsellor. The focus for Term 1 was goal setting and in Term 2 the focus has been planning for the Learner Led Conferences happening in Week 10. Learners are asked to reflect on each subject with the guidance of the AC. They are then coached on how they will present this information to their family.

The school motto Together, Believe, Achieve reflects the importance of relationships and learner achievement. Our principal, James Thomas, believes in encouraging an Atmosphere of expectation. Boundaries are important: the teacher/coach sets firm boundaries but is not an authoritarian, or a teacher with a laissez-faire style. Communication is valued in the sense that a message is not truly communicated until it has been received. Hattie (2003) found that principals “…who create a climate of psychological safety to learn, who create a focus of discussion on student learning have the influence.”

 

My goal is to foster a positive, professional environment by role modelling the ABC and encouraging others to do the same. As I am a new HOL and new to the school, my priority is to build positive relationships with my department members. I have a vision for my department to be the leaders of the school in technology-enabled pedagogy but I am mindful of earning trust before mandating too much change.

Changes in the Profession

In the last few years Whangaparaoa College has been introducing BYOD to successive year levels. This has encouraged many teachers to reflect on their pedagogy and think about how they might incorporate the use of technology. The Teaching And Lead Learning group has been formed to address this challenge. I joined the TALL group this year and we have interviewed learners to find out what teachers are doing well and what could be improved. The results were then shared with staff by the learners. We are currently working collaboratively to create resources that will help teachers incorporate technology into their teaching practice.

In the English department and we are addressing these changes by sharing ideas. Each meeting, someone will share an app or website and show how they have been using it. We have learnt about School A to Z, Zaption, Google Sites, LitCharts, WordPress and MindMups. My department members seem to be enjoying this and we have all tried something new this year.



References

1. Hattie, J., 2003. Teachers Make a Difference: What is the research evidence? Retrieved from http://www.educationalleaders.govt.nz/content/download/501/3926/john_hattie.pdf

2. Recommendations from the curriculum stocktake. Retrieved from http://nzcurriculum.tki.org.nz/Archives/Curriculum-project-archives/Developing-the-draft/Recommendations-from-the-curriculum-stocktake

3. What Is Laissez-Faire Leadership? Retrieved from https://www.verywell.com/what-is-laissez-faire-leadership-2795316

4. Thanks to James Thomas, Lisa White and Jason Pocock for answering my questions and providing useful information for this post.