KEEPING THINKING FRONT AND CENTRE Students need to think about how they are thinking.
THE ULTIMATE FRAMEWORK FOR LEARNING AND LIFE Identify key areas for an effective, fulfilling and sustainable teaching career.
HAUORA HOMEWORK Breaking patterns of resistance toward homework.
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Past participants enthuse: “It was right on the mark! The speakers were fun but got their message across clearly. They covered everything that has been on my mind during last year – all the issues in teaching that I most wanted to delve into.”
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“The staff came back from the conference excited and ready to try out all of the new ideas that they had picked up during their 2-day experience.” Graeme Lomas, Primary Principal
Conference 2009 Conference 2009 C 2 Days of Inspiration and Focus Sydney 22/23 January 2009
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Marcia L. Tate – Instructional Strategies that Engage the Brain Maggie Dent – Nurturing Kid’s Hearts and Souls Tony Ryan - The Thinkers Keys Karen Boyes - Habits Of Mind Jana Stanfield - Teachers Make the Difference
Marcia L. Tate – Instructional Strategies that Engage the Brain W. Mitchell – Taking Responsibility for Change Rowena Szeszeran-McEvoy – Living An Exceptional Life Karen Boyes – Habits of Mind John Shackleton – Raising Your Game
“Outstanding! Stunning! Wow! I have an incredibly enthused, invigorated team who are going home with a smile on their faces, a laugh in their belly and more wisdom in their heart. Thank you for giving them that opportunity.” Kris Hughes, Primary Teacher
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“ I t ’s t h e o n l y e v e n t I k n o w t h a t concentrates on the reality of teaching and how to look after yourself so you can continue in the profession.” Linda Hardwick, Primary Teacher
In this issue
18 Teachers as Continuous Learners
Event Report: Habits of Mind Bootcamps
Building Resilience in Young People
Keeping Thinking Front and Centre
Simple or Sophisticated? A Look at Picture Books
34 The Four Walls of Wellbeing and Academic 41 Success The Versatility of the 42 Y Chart Appreciative Inquiry
Where is the Soul in Education?
The Ultimate Framework for Learning and Life
Effective Note Taking with 50 MindmappingTM 52 One World One Dream â€“ of Resiliency
Your Most Influential Book Setting Up Listening Systems Throughout Your School
Black-line Masters Photocopyable activities: 21... Thought Starters 26... Hauora Homework
Teachers Matter Magazine Team
To receive your own copy of the next issue. firstname.lastname@example.org
Publisher, Sales and Advertising: Karen Boyes Managing Editor and Production: Stuart Fleming Graphic Design: 2nd Floor Design, Portsmouth, VA, USA Printer Spectrum Print, Christchurch
Subscriptions Toll free (NZ) 0800 373 377 Toll free (Australia) 1800 063 272 Thanks to the educators, speakers and authors who contributed interviews, articles, photographs and letters. Teachers Matter magazine is registered with the National Library:
ISSN 1178-6825 © Spectrum Education 2008 All rights reserved.
I’ll Always Be Fit and Healthy – Or I’ll Die Trying!
Sick, Tired or Grumpy?
Tech Recipes : Stop Motion Animation
Health and Wellbeing for Male Teachers
The opinions expressed in Teachers Matter are those of the contributors and we love them!
Quiz and Puzzle Answers
Creating Visual Materials 74 to Support Learning Parenting the Modern Generation
How to Be a Great Public Speaker
Are You a Blocker?
Teachers as Entrepreneurs in the New Co-Creative World
Motivation and Rewards: Do Stickers, Stamps and Stars Really Work?
Parts of this publication may be reproduced for use within a school environment. To reproduce any part within another publication (or in any other format) permission from the publisher must be obtained.
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Are you an Entrepreneur? Find out on page 56
itting with a blank document on my computer screen does not inspire me to write. The pressure of knowing a deadline is looming and I’ve got to produce something is not my ideal creative process.
This realisation reinforces my relief that I didn’t end up following my Year 13 dream to become a journalist. I know now that even though I love writing, learning and sharing, producing articles to someone else’s schedule shuts down my creative juices. It would be easy for me to see this as a problem. I could simply think to myself “I dislike deadlines, so I’ll never be a writer!” and close my laptop for good. Instead, I’m aware of my thoughts. Just as new Teachers Matter contributors Martin and Patricia Bouncristiani explain on page 12, metacognition is the key. By evaluating the efficiency of my performance (thinking about my thinking), I can see how stepping away from my blank screen and giving my mind time and space to wander is a far more effective way to map out my article. Metacognition stops us falling into the dangerous I’ve-always-done-it-this-way trap. It’s about raising our awareness of our thoughts and making conscious decisions. When was the last time you gave conscious thought to the effectiveness of homework? I am fascinated by Robyn Harawira’s article about Hauora (Wellbeing) Homework. Another first-time contributor, Robyn shares her experience of a model intended to break patterns of resistance toward homework. As you read her words on page 24, monitor your thinking: are you positive or negative, open or closed? Would you be willing to try setting a different style of work for your students? My favourite kind of homework at school was being asked to ‘read anything’. I always had my nose in a book: fiction mainly, some non-fiction and lots of comics. One of my earliest book memories is reading Asterix during car journeys, long before I could get my tongue around (and understand the puns of) the terrific character names like village chief Vitalstatistix, fishmonger Unhygienix and his wife Bacteria.
Which books have influenced you? Glenn Capelli asks this on page 50 and you may be surprised by the author he positions at the top of his all-time-favourite list. Discuss your answer with your friends and colleagues. Who knows, you might end up with some excellent Christmas present ideas!
As this is the last issue of Teachers Matter before the year whizzes to a close, on behalf of the production team, contributors and advertisers, thank you for your support. We look forward to bringing you even more professional and personal tips and techniques next year. Smiles,
WORLD TEACHERS DAY Everywhere
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Thinkers Karen Boyes 4-7pm Hamilton 19 Bully-proof 20 Bully-proof 21 Your Kids Your Kids Howard Small 4-7pm Howard Small 4-7pm Auckland Hamilton
21 22-23 2 Days | Sydney, Australia
28 29-30 Teachers Matter Conference:
Teachers Matter Conference: Linking the Pieces Marcia L. Tate, Maggie Dent, Tony Ryan, Karen Boyes, Jana Stanfield
Linking the Pieces 2 Days | Rotorua
Marcia L. Tate , W. Mitchell, John Shackleton 1 2 Rowena Szeszeran-McEvoy, Karen Boyes
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Schedule your personalised 2009 Professional Development today Book the specialist of your choice from the Spectrum Education team â€“ develop your education expertise.
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Adrian Rennie A successful classroom teacher, Adrian is passionate about excellence in teaching. He combines simple yet effective classroom techniques and Art Costa’s Habits Of Mind to create a culture of thinking.
Allison Mooney Allison is a passionate and endearing speaker who infuses a desire in her audience to significantly increase their performance as educators, through identifying the behaviours and traits of others. Author of Pressing the Right Buttons, Allison has been twice awarded ‘Speaker of the Year’ by the Auckland Chapter of NZ National Speakers Association. www.personalityplus.co.nz
Dr Art Costa Art is co-director of the Institute for Intelligent Behaviour and the creator of ‘Habits of Mind’. Actively concerned that there must be worldwide change in educational systems if they are to meet the needs of a global society, Art compels educators to create classrooms that are thoughtful places to learn. www.habits-of-mind.net
Barbara has been a primary school teacher for 36 years. She has specialised in the teaching of literacy for more that 20 years and recently retired from a position as a Resource Teacher: Literacy, which she had held for the last 16 years.
Despite being in the ‘twilight’ of his career, Barry has been re-energised since becoming involved with Habits of Mind and Thinking Maps. His knowledge, passion and enthusiasm is now being shared with schools wanting to incorporate the Thinking and Behaving benefits these two powerful tools have to offer. www.lindisfarne.school.nz
Gordon is an author, researcher, publisher and broadcaster who has spent many of the last 30 years searching out new methods of learning. With Dr Jeannette Vos, he is co-author of The Learning Revolution and (due to be published later this year) UNLIMITED: The new learning revolution and the seven keys to unlock it. firstname.lastname@example.org
David Koutsoukis David is an award-winning international speaker and author who helps educators build positive and productive classrooms and schools. He is the author of the Values Education Toolkit resources, the Behaviour Management Toolkit resources, the Daily Dose of Fun series and the Six Kinds of Best Values Education programme. www.dkeducation.com.au
Eric Frangenheim Author of Reflections in Classroom Thinking Strategies and The Reconciliation of Goldilocks and the Three Bears, Eric is also a director of ITC Publications Pty Ltd, producers o f t h e Innovative Teacher Companion, a teacher diar y containing hundreds of useful classroom teaching ideas. www.itcpublications.com
Jenny Barrett Jenny is the CEO for Breathe Technology. Her enthusiasm for technology came when thrown in the deep end whilst teaching a t a Ta i w a n h i g h s c h o o l . J e n n y h a s since undertaken a Masters of Education ( E d . Te c h n o l o g y ) a n d h a s s u p p o r t e d classroom teachers to use educational technology in UK and NZ projects. www.breathetechnology.co.nz
Jenny Mosley O v e r t h e p a s t n i n e t e e n years, Jenny has developed her highly successful school and classroom management models. Quality Circle Time encompasses a whole-school approach to enhancing self-esteem and building positive relationships within school communities. www.jennymosley.co.uk
George is a physical education teacher with an interest in how closely the Key Competencies are connected to the Habits of Mind. He believes by infusing the Habits of Mind into his everyday teaching, he will be delivering the Key Competencies in physical education and beyond.
Wi t h a s p o r t p s y c h o l o g y a n d s p o r t s coaching background John now shows international business audiences techniques that exercise and improve the biggest most powerful muscle in the body – the brain. His clients include Coca-Cola, Air New Zealand, IBM, Hewlett Packard, Sony and Renault. www.JohnShack.com
An author, songwriter, radio and television presenter and creator of the Dynamic Thinking course for Leadership, Glenn delivers a message of creativity, innovation and thinking smarter. He teaches people how to be a learner and thinker in today’s fast paced and ever changing world through the use of creative thinking, h u m o u r, e n t h u s i a s m a n d a t t i t u d e . www.glenncapelli.com
Karen Boyes is a leading authority on effective learning and teaching in Australasia and is founder and CEO of Spectrum Education. A highly skilled, enthusiastic and dynamic presenter with over 18 years experience in the education profession, she works with teachers, parents, students and corporate clients internationally, unleashing their peak performance. www.spectrumeducation.com
Dr Marvin Marshall
Kevin works with individuals and families from around the world. As well as working in a private practice Kevin is also the creator and founder of www.kevinmayall.com, which provides online coaching tools for teens, families and individuals around the world. www.kevinmayall.com
Marvin is an international staff developer and the author of the best-selling book Discipline Without Stress® Punishments or Rewards: How Teachers and Parents Promote Responsibility & Learning. His approaches demonstrate how using internal motivation and non-coercion is far more effective and significantly less stressful than using threats, punishments, rewards, and other manipulations aimed at obedience. www.marvinmarshall.com
Sharyn is co-director of Devereux-Blum Training and Development. Emergency management is one area the business focuses on, following her vision of a resilient community in an earthquake or pandemic. Sharyn has passion and enthusiasm for training, facilitation and coaching blended with brain training, thinking skills and resiliency. www.emergencymanagement.co.nz
Lynley Russek Lynley is the CEO of Stepping Stones Education and Resourcing, specialising in creating brain-friendly learning resources full of ideas, strategies and activities that work in classrooms. She is passionate about making a positive difference in the lives of teachers and children around the world. Lynley is currently playing, working and teaching in Ghana. www.stepping-stones.co.nz
Maggie Dent From a background in education, palliative care, radio, the funeral industry and being a transpersonal therapist, Maggie owns Esteem Plus, promoting the value of personal and professional resilience. She is an author, publisher and parenting specialist. www.maggiedent.com
Mary Brake Mary is an expert in graphic recording and facilitation. She has more than 13 years experience working at meetings, trainings and conferences for global corporations, local companies, government agencies and nonprofit groups. Mary combines the skills of gathering and organising information with graphic skills & simple cartoon drawings. www.reflectiongraphics.com
Robyn Harawira Robyn (for merly Robyn Bell-Muir) is passionate about Leading Learning. She has inspired parents, teachers and children alike throughout her career as principal, teacher of the deaf and in gifted education.
Dr Martin and Patricia Bouncristiani
Dr Rodney Ford
Martin is an emeritus professor of physics at Christopher Newport University in the USA. He has been dedicated to science and mathematics education for over forty years. Pat has spent over thirty years as an educator committed to the belief that learning how to think is the foundation for every successful learner. www.ThinkingAndLearningInConcert.org
A paediatric gastroenterologist, allergist and nutrition consultant, Rodney has been Associate Professor of Paediatrics at the Christchurch School of Medicine, University of Otago. He runs a busy children’s gastroenterology and allergy clinic and has written a series of eight books on gluten: why it can make you ill and how to go gluten-free. www.DrRodneyFord.com
Tricia Kenyon Tricia has been involved in the field of Literacy for 17 years, firstly as a Resource Teacher:Reading, then as a Resource Teacher:Literacy. She is passionate about books and reading, and feels privileged to be in a position where she can share that passion with students, their parents, and fellow teachers.
Wendy Sweet Wendy is an expert in corporate health and wellness. She set up the world’s largest Personal Training system for the Les Mills group in the 1990s, has been a nurse in coronary care/intensive care, and worked with many corporate clients as personal trainer/health advisor. email@example.com
Dr. art costa
Teachers as Continuous Learners “The greater our knowledge increases the more our ignorance unfolds.” John F. Kennedy
ntelligent people are in a continuous learning mode. They are invigorated by the quest of life long learning. Their confidence, in combination with their inquisitiveness, allows them to constantly search for new and better ways. People with this habit of mind are always striving for improvement, growing, learning, modifying and improving themselves. They seize problems, situations, tensions, conflicts, and circumstances as valuable opportunities to learn. A great mystery about humans is that we often confront learning opportunities with fear rather than mystery and wonder. We seem to feel better when we know rather than when we learn. We defend our biases, beliefs, and storehouses of knowledge rather than invite the unknown, the creative, and the inspirational. Being certain and closed gives us comfort, while being doubtful and open gives us fear. We have been taught to value certainty rather than doubt, to give answers rather than to inquire, to know which choice is correct rather than to explore alternatives.
Unfortunately, some adults are content with what they already believe and know. Their child-like curiosity has been extinguished. They are reluctant to discover the wisdom of others. They do not know how or when to leverage a love and lust of learning. As a result they follow a path of little value and minimal opportunity.
Teachers who continue to learn throughout their professional careers display the humility of knowing that they don’t know, which is the highest form of thinking they will ever learn. Paradoxically, unless you start off with humility, you will never get anywhere. As the first step, you must already have what eventually will be the crowning glory of all learning: to know – and to admit – that you don’t know and to not be afraid to find out.
Constructive Learning Opportunities It is often said that we learn from experience. A more accurate statement, however, is that we learn by reflecting on our experience. Human beings, as meaning making organisms, reflect upon and sift through our experiences through personal and social filters to form beliefs and ways of knowing. We interact with others and with the surrounding environment to form personal action knowledge and internal guidance systems for our decision-making. An inquirer is not a spectator but a participant within a problematic situation, seeking actively to understand and change it. Inquiry results in a learning outcome when it yields both new insight and action steps and, to a degree, a commitment to implement that action. Argyris and Schon state that inquiry is tested by its success in resolving a problematic situation and by the value inquirers come to attribute to the new problems and intrigues that their resolution creates.
“ A great mystery about humans is that we often confront learning opportunities with fear rather than mystery and wonder.”
According to current brain research, knowledge is a personal and social construction that each learner builds on his or her current reality. Process and content are one in this way. Our knowing is internalised through shared and reflected upon experiences. Thus, we come to trust and believe in what we know as we see it reflected in our own actions and beliefs and those of others. The vicissitudes of day-to-day classroom life and the culture of the school provide fertile arenas of meaning making and knowledge formation for teachers. This rich environment provides numerous opportunities for learning and professional development if we can take the time for reflection and dialogue with others.
Six Domains of Continuous Inquiry Here are six domains in which teachers can continue to learn throughout their professional careers. Sample questions provide invitations to reflect upon the experiences and derive meaning, which can be internalised and applied in future situations. 1. Continuous Learning about Collegial Interaction While teachers may conduct their craft in the ‘privacy’ of their own classroom, they also function as a member of a team. Learning to work interdependently is a necessary professional role that does not develop without mindfulness, training and commitment to self and to others. During staff, department or grade-level interactions, colleagues develop teaching materials together, plan together, seek each other’s help, watch each other teach and reflect together about their students and their teaching.
Dr. art costa
Coaching skills are a vital component in the collegial relationship. In too many settings collegiality is confused with congeniality. Constructive discussion moves beyond idle staffroom conversations to real structured dialogue about student learning and the craft of teaching. Reflection: As a result of each group, team or community meeting, what insights about the collegial interaction have I gained? What did I learn about myself in relation to the group? What new appreciations have I gained about members of my professional learning community? What in my own actions was I aware of that contributed to or distracted from the group’s progress? What will I carry forward to future conversations?
Discussion with others provides an awareness of what goes on in your head when you teach. Surfacing, by talking aloud about our thinking and classroom decisions, energises us and causes us to refine our cognitive maps and opens the possibility of reshaping and reforming our belief systems.
Each content has a logic which is defined by the thinking that produced it: its purposes, problems, information, concepts, assumptions, implications, forms of communication, technology and its interrelationships with other disciplines. What makes a discipline a discipline is a disciplined mode of thinking. The terms: biology, anthropology, psychology, and cosmology, for example, end in ‘...logy’ which comes from the Greek, meaning logic. Thus, bio-logy is the logic of the study of life forms. Psycho-logy is the logic of the study of the mind, etc. Mathematics means being able to figure out a solution to a problem using mathematical reasoning.
“ A teacher’s metacognitive processes may be the most important component in his or her professional portfolio of skills and awareness.”
2. Becoming More Aware of the Cognitive Processes of Instruction Te a c h i n g i s d e c i s i o n m a k i n g . O u r instructional actions are driven by sometimes invisible, undisclosed and unarticulated mental maps. These maps are the essential planning, in-flight monitoring and reflecting tools that support high performance teaching and continuous professional renewal.
According to Costa and Garmston, a teacher’s metacognitive processes before, during and after teaching may be the most important component in his or her professional portfolio of skills and awareness. Reflection: As a result of teaching this lesson, what were the causal factors that contributed to the lesson’s success? How did student performance compare with the intended outcomes of the lesson? What was I aware of that I did (or I didn’t do) which produced the results I got? What insights will I carry forward to future lessons? 3. Expanding our Knowledge of the Structure of the Discipline(s) To ensure high quality instruction in the academic disciplines, we must continually deepen our knowledge of the structure and organising principles, modes of inquiry and habits of mind that distinguish that discipline.
Any subject must, t h e r e f o r e b e understood as a mode of figuring out correct or reasonable solutions to a certain range of problems. Teacher’s manuals and in-service sessions seldom open up this territory. The critical arenas for exploration here are: What do experts currently believe is the most valid content in a particular field? What are the processes of solving problems peculiar that field? How do they think about this field? What are the pathways from novice to becoming expert thinking and action in this field? Reflection: How much do I know about the content I am teaching? What questions does this knowledge allow me to ask? How do I know that my students have grasped the significant concepts, found their interrelationships and responded to the essential questions? What new questions am I asking? What intrigues me about this content and want or need to learn more?
Dr. art costa
“ We learn by reflecting on our experience.”
4. Learning More about Ourselves : Self Knowledge True professional capacities are rooted in the essential knowledge of self. As we search for clarity about the essence of our professional identity, we uncover our values and beliefs about living, learning and how to be successful. Related to these areas of understanding are the issues of standards for performance and standards for products. These standards apply to our own work and to the expectations we hold for our students and others. Self-knowledge here is not enough; we need to constantly filter for congruence between our inner values and beliefs and our outer actions and communications.
Reflection: In what ways am I modeling what I am professing? (Walk the talk?) Are my actions congruent both in the school and in the larger community? What have I learned about my commitment to my values and beliefs? Do I so deeply believe in what I am doing that I am willing to defend my actions and beliefs publicly? What am I getting better at? What will I do to improve? What am I learning about myself as a continual learner?
5. Enhancing our Repertoire of Teaching Skills Like the queen on a chessboard, the teacher with the most moves has the most options and the greatest degree of influence. There are always alternative instructional strategies. Marzano, Pickering and Pollock believe that as a profession, we must move beyond the folk wisdom that governs discussions about teaching and learning and reach out to the knowledge bases to constantly expand our repertoires. This area of the map interacts dynamically with the other elements. In specific disciplines there are content specific repertoires. The nature of the learners involved also has a major influence on choices and options in this area. How
bright, affluent secondary students learn mathematical constructs is very different to how primary, underprivileged, limited English speaking primary students learn mathematical constructs. Reflection: How clear was I and how clear were my students about the purposes of this learning activity? As I reflect on the rich task with which I challenged my students, how appropriate were the level of difficulty and my expectations of rigor? How engaged and energised were my students with this task? What did I do to provide a safe and challenging environment? How did my management strategies provide seamless transitions and smooth organisation? How do these learnings help students become the kind of people we’d like them to become? Why are these considered essential, enduring, lifespan learnings? How do they enhance our vision of classrooms, schools, communities and a world that are more thoughtful places? 6. Learning More About Students and How They Learn. Students bring their own unique characteristics to the learning process and to the culture of the school and classroom. Who they are to us as individuals and who we are to them matters first and foremost at the human level. In any group of learners we face a variety of learning style differences, requiring multiple approaches to both content and process. Within a typical classroom we also encounter a remarkable range in developmental levels, often spanning a four to six year spread in cognitive age within a grade level cohort. Added to this are the significant variations in cultural beliefs, values and approaches to learning embedded in our changing student population and their families.
Reflection: What have I learned about each student’s unique gifts and qualities? How can I learn more about their differences and their similarities? How might I show greater appreciation for their contributions to the class as a whole and to me individually? How might I experiment with various teaching styles so that I can expand my repertoire to better meet their unique learning needs? How might I organise my students so as to unite and not divide them?
The School as a Community of Continuous Learners Knowledge is socially constructed. Exploration and dialogue with other adults is as much our work as is our time in the classroom. It is not what is keeping us from our work. How we talk together matters as much as that we talk together about important matters. The mutually constructed learning environment is a resource for learning, not the byproduct of learning. Our prior knowledge, complete with misinformation and misconceptions is the starting point for learning. Trust, listening with understanding and empathy and valuing (not just ‘tolerating’) individual differences is essential here. Through dialogue and collegial coaching, teachers reveal and build their knowledge base. Such an environment needs to be safe to not know. Knowing what we don’t know and being able to describe our ignorance is a precious and personal learning gift.
Habits of Mind four book series from ASCD plus The School as a Home for the Mind
$55 plus P&P
or the set of all four Habits of Mind books for
$170 plus P&P
available at www.spectrumeducation.com
Martin and Patricia Buoncristiani
Keeping Thinking Front and Centre Metacognition is the key
he more we learn about the human brain and how it works the more important looms the idea that students need to think about how they are thinking. Art Costa and Bena Kallick describe students lacking these thinking skills as follows: “Students often follow instructions or perform tasks without wondering why they are doing what they are doing. They seldom question themselves about their own learning strategies or evaluate the efficiency of their own performances. They have little or no motivation to do so. “Some children virtually have no idea of what they should do when they confront a problem and are often unable to explain their strategies of decision-making. For these children learning is reduced to episodic rote learning and memorisation, primarily directed at passing tests and getting through school.”
Metacognition or ‘thinking about one’s own thinking’ is recognised as an essential skill, but helping students understand and control
how they think is difficult; after all what goes on in students’ minds is known only to them. When we help students understand how their brains work and give them the strategies to make them work better they are more likely to think effectively and take control of their own learning. To do this we need to use the language of thinking.
reaching or justifying our conclusions – the student asks himself “Should I analyze this data or make a prediction?”
What am I thinking about?
Conduct We also need to think about how we conduct ourselves to support our thinking, by considering such dispositions as persistence, striving for accuracy, gathering data effectively, or thinking flexibly. How we behave while thinking is an important aspect of our thought process. Our behaviour when working alone is different from working as part of a team; it is different when gathering data rather than thinking creatively.
Metacognition is thinking about how we think so we can improve the way we think by understanding, monitoring, evaluating and regulating our thought processes. Basically, there are three objects of metacognition – the content of our thinking, the cognitive skills we are using and our conduct in support of our thinking. Each of these objects has its own language and structure. Content We sometimes need to focus on the content of our thought – what we are thinking about right now. It might be knowledge we already possess as we try to recall some specific information; it might be a concept we are trying to understand; it might be a problem we are trying to solve; it might be plans we are trying to formulate. We think about the content of our thoughts in order to monitor the progress of our understanding, or to check for consistency with other knowledge. The language and structure of the content of our thought is that of the discipline we are thinking within. For example the student asks himself “Do I understand the term ‘inflation’?” Cognition Sometimes we need to think about the cognitive skill being used - the type of thinking we are using to achieve our goal. We do this to ensure that the appropriate thinking skills are brought to bear on our problem and to sharpen these skills for future use. We may also need to seek alternative means of
There are many descriptions of cognitive skills that list different types of thinking. Perhaps the most familiar to educators is Bloom’s Taxonomy and its more recent derivatives. Table 1 lists a modification suggested by Richard Mayer.
Art Costa and Bena Kallick studied the behavior patterns of successful people and distilled them into a set of 16 dispositions or habits. These Habits of Mind provide both a structure and a language for discussing behaviors that promote skillful thinking and are listed in Table 2. Thus, when we think about our own thinking we focus on content, cognition and conduct. The words about the discipline, the words describing the cognitive skills and the words of the Habits of Mind provide a language and a structure to get students talking about metacognition and begin controlling their learning. Table 3 summarises the objectives and intentions of metacognition.
Strategies for the Classroom Teaching about metacognition Both Flavel and Butterfield have shown that even preschoolers have demonstrated the ability to perform simple metacognitive tasks. There is growing evidence that young
Martin and Patricia Buoncristiani
children can learn metacognition and according to Bransford, this ability facilitates learning. Teachers foster this when they give children time to explore the question “How did you work that out?” and are not simply satisfied with the correct answer. Metacognition can be interwoven into every lesson, as developed by Costa, by asking students to do Think Aloud Problem Solving (TAPS). 1) describe their plans and strategies for solving a problem 2) share their thinking as they are implementing their plan
Time must be set aside to teach the thinking skill using the content of the curriculum and at levels appropriate to their stage of development. Teaching the Conduct It is not enough to tell students they should be persistent without also telling them how. Persistence is not about repeatedly banging one’s head against the wall. It requires having a range of different strategies to fall back on when the first one doesn’t work. It involves being able to change your point of view and look at problem from a different angle.
Persistent people are aware of the range of resources available to them and they know how to make use of them. Students need to understand the sub-skills that make persistence and all the other Habits of Mind possible. It’s up to the teacher to make the appropriate behavioral aspects of Habits of Mind clear. For example by saying “As we begin this discussion let’s remember to listen to each other with empathy and understanding.”
3) reflect on/evaluate the effectiveness of their strategy 4) plan the best strategy for the next similar thinking task Costa goes on to describe how Metacognition is engaged and sustained in teaching when the teacher: • encourages students to check for accuracy • creates opportunities for students to clarify their thoughts • provides data – not answers – when students are on the wrong track or confused • resists making judgments • makes sure students stay focused on thinking • encourages persistence Teaching the Cognitive Skills Make the thinking explicit. Instead of saying “Let’s look at these pictures” make the cognitive task explicit by saying “Let’s compare these pictures.” Instead of “What will happen if…” say “Let’s predict what will happen if…” We cannot assume that students know how to carry out these cognitive tasks if we have not taught them how.
“ How we behave while thinking is an important aspect of our thought process.”
Martin and Patricia Buoncristiani
Lesson Planning Make sure that the start of every lesson includes a description of what content, cognition and conduct will be emphasised in the lesson. We always spell out the content of the lesson, “Today we will review two physical characteristics of an object, its mass and volume, and then introduce the concept of density.” It is probably less common practice to describe the cognitive skills and the thinking behaviors or
conduct involved in the lesson. “When we do our work today we will classify various objects by comparing and contrasting their properties and then predict their density.”
Follow this with a description of the conduct that will be useful during the work. “We will be working in teams so working interdependently and thinking and communicating with accuracy and precision will be important”.
“ It is not enough to tell students they should be persistent without also telling them how.”
If we keep thinking front and centre in our classrooms we can be assured that our students will learn more effectively and develop the skills needed to become independent, life-long learners.
Table 1: A Revision of Bloom’s Taxonomy from (Mayer, 2000)
retrieve relevant knowledge from long-term memory
construct meaning, build connections between prior knowledge and new knowledge, integrating new knowledge with existing schemas and cognitive frameworks.
Interpreting Exemplifying Classifying Summarizing Inferring Comparing Explaining
use procedures to perform exercises or solve problems (use procedural knowledge)
breaking information into its constituent parts, determining how the parts are related to each other and to an overall structure.
Differentiating Organizing Attributing
make judgments based on criteria and standards
reorganize elements into a new pattern or structure
Generating Planning Producing
Martin and Patricia Buoncristiani
Table 2. Habits of Mind
Gathering data through all senses
Listening with understanding and empathy
Striving for accuracy
Questioning and posing problems
Remaining open to continuous learning
Response to Thought
Creating, imagining, innovating
Thinking and communicating with clarity and precision
Responding with wonderment and awe
Thinking about thinking (metacognition)
Applying past knowledge to new situations
Taking responsible risks
Table 3. Objects of Metacognition
Objects of Metacognition Content – what one is thinking about
Cognition – type of thinking being used
Conduct – personal behavior supporting thinking
Objectives (reasons to meta-cogitate)
to monitor understanding of concepts or track progress in problem solving or formulating plans
to achieve the objective of one’s thinking and to sharpen thinking skills
Types of thinking
to develop the habits of a successful thinker
Habits of Mind
The Four Walls of Wellbeing and Academic Success “The body is a very efficient machine, if you shine a light into a person’s eyes the pupils will dilate, when you are hot you sweat, if you start running your heart will beat faster. If you give the opportunity for the brain to think intelligently, it will. Thinking, like any skill or ability can be taught. Improved thinking can be learned.” Dick Hubbard
his premise asserts we have the ability to change. The challenge however, is having the ability to recognise what – and when – change is necessary.
Regardless, if you want to change or improve, you have to change how you think. I see a ver y clear link between Habits of Mind, Key Competencies and the relationship with curriculum areas, specifically Physical Education.
The basic essence to your life is maintaining a critical level of enjoyment. I equate enjoyment and happiness as being the same in this context. How you achieve this state of mind is unique to each and every individual, though we all strive for the same outcome: happiness. There are certain common behaviours or personal dispositions which seem to make the chance of achieving happiness greater. In Physical Education, based on the concept of hauora (wellbeing), you can achieve
happiness through one or a combination of the four dimensions – social, spiritual, mental/emotional and physical. When these dimensions are in sync you should experience total wellbeing, which would suggest that ‘total health’ is greater than just the effects of physical conditioning.
The Whare (house) model – adapted from Mason Durie’s Whaiora: Maori Health Development – shows how the four hauora dimensions (the walls) are linked. When one dimension is impacted upon it will almost certainly impact (either positively or negatively) on the other dimensions, and
“ By understanding what Habits of Mind look like, feel like, and when to use (or not use) them will lead to the goal of total wellbeing.”
consequently your happiness/enjoyment. If one wall is weak, it will impact the strength of the entire house.
your life experiences. It is through knowing and actioning the Habits of Mind and Key Competencies that you can achieve this.
(enjoyment) and the Habits (the building blocks) and that every individual should be reflecting and constantly rearranging the building blocks so that the inner core remains in a ‘positive space’. If you were to dissect the Key Competencies you would find that the Habits of Mind are the ‘nuts and bolts’ that, when applied either consciously or subconsciously, will lead to total wellbeing. Following this to its conclusion, the Habits are the life skills, in the form of behaviours, which enable us all to be successful, but also reach the ultimate state of mind. So what is the key? The challenge is to have the ability to recognise when to change, how best to change, and to know whether change is actually necessary. This, over time and through experience, takes persistence. Through continually using Habits of Mind in an authentic, natural and spontaneous manner, you have greater control over your personal success and ultimately your personal happiness. It would be fair to say this is a life long journey!
While the centre or core of your wellbeing is enjoyment and happiness, it is the four dimensions that provide that state of mind. It is the Key Competencies and Habits of Mind however that provide the framework in order to gain the ultimate state of mind. Everything happening on the outside will impact on the core. According to Csikszentmihalyi, human beings (to the best of our knowledge) are the only form of life with the capacity to stand off and examine their own thoughts, while they are engaged in them. Regardless your state of mind, you have the ability to recognise when change needs to occur. The challenge is how? You must ask yourself “What is the most intelligent way to behave right now?” There is a clear link between how you think, behave and the enjoyment you can attain from
The Habits provide the thinking framework and thinking behaviours that enable you to make the necessary changes. By understanding what Habits of Mind look like, feel like, and when to use (or not use) them will lead to the goal of total wellbeing or happiness. The Key Competencies therefore, are the life skills that you want to develop. They enable you to be a valued citizen and also provide the necessary link to total wellbeing. The Competencies have been introduced to provide an avenue for such success in education, which can easily be extended to life. Habits of Mind work effectively by weaving the Habits into all we do, inside or outside of the classroom: marriage, work, play, etc. The model would suggest that there has to be fluidity between the inner core
The Versatility of the Y Chart
The Y Chart Analyser
eachers have been using the Y Chart as an effective tool in the classroom for many years. Essentially it serves as an analytical tool as students and teachers strive to discover more about a topic using the sensate approach of “What does this topic look, sound and feel like (and even taste, smell and move like)?”
Too often students are limited to recording actual sounds related to an event, such as thunder and lightning sounds in a storm. To get more out of your students, ask them to record what was actually said or what they could imagine people saying. Allowing for some artistic license, ask them to imagine what people would say to themselves, i.e. the internal dialogue. Use as many speech marks as possible.
It is usually completed as a pre-product stage or a brainstorm exercise from which one can start creating a product such as a written report, bubble maps, Powerpoint slides, interviews and more. Here are some basic considerations to encourage students to get more out of the Y Chart – the examples are taken from people abandoning a sinking ship torpedoed in a war:
Encourage them to start with the concrete, the obvious, what ever is easy to see or imagine as a visual. Then encourage them to look for ideas and more abstract images. Ask them to imagine what it looks like before, during and after the event being examined or what is behind the issue.
For example, in discussing a rude shop assistant (looks rude), one could also ‘see’ poor management, no training, a monopoly with no concern for customer satisfaction, an unhappy or unwell shop assistant. In other words, ask them to look beyond and below the obvious. In the ‘Abandon Ship’ scenario, examples are: people scrambling desperately, listing ship, lightning, burning oil on water, lifeboats bobbing in sea, desperation on faces, chaos, fear, and flotsam.
Examples could be: cries for help, “Who will save us?”, “We are in trouble”, “Hurry, swim to the life boat”, burning ship, gurgling boilers, hissing steam.
Feels Like This is clearly the zone for tactile and kinesthetic imagination and expression. However, ask your students to be ‘in the zone’, empathetic as if they were there. Ask them to record how people would also feel emotionally. Examples could be: desperation, fear, oily water, freezing cold water, pounding heart, hopelessness, etc.
The Y Chart is far more versatile than a simple analytical tool. By expanding its breadth and depth it can also be used for evaluation and design-type activities. One value-adding idea is to examine the completed Y Chart on the white-board and ask students to use a Think/Pair/Share (Think on your own for a set time – let’s say one minute – then Pair up with the person next to you in order to swap notes and see if you can generate more ideas or insights. Each pair then Shares this with the teacher) in order to detect categories of responses. For example, if this was a Y Chart dealing with an examination of the recent school camp, students are likely to detect categories such as: team work, physical activities, self-esteem, environmental issues, organisational matters, transport, etc. Once these categories have been established, students can then be asked to classify the numerous entries on the Y Chart under each of the categories. The result is that students have reorganised the myriad entries into a manageable structure. For a Y Chart on the camp’s physical activities, you might find: ropes course, canoeing, crosscountry running, and many more. Once the categories have had the various entries assigned to them, students are in a much better position to write their reports.
“ The Y Chart is far more versatile than a simple analytical tool.”
However, the danger is that the reports simply become a list. Though the analysis has more breadth, there is no real depth. This now offers an opportunity for more in-depth analysis before starting on the final product. Another way to add value to the Y Chart is by asking students to examine each category in turn and to use a Pros and Cons T Chart for each entry in that category.
Let’s say that the Pros and Cons examination reveals that most of the events were seen as very positive (Pros) with few negatives (Cons). The students would now be in a position to offer a more in-depth paragraph or chapter on that category. This can now be repeated for each category, allowing students to offer a far more substantive report or product.
“ The result is that students have reorganised the myriad entries into a manageable structure.”
School Camp Physical Activities
Great coaches, fun, every day, greater challenges, safe
Plenty of canoes, good training, learnt new skills, good competition, exciting water
Sometimes a bit cold
Realistic, great scenery, different tracks
Great fun, learnt new skills, team work
Not enough compasses at times
High Fairly High Medium Fairly Low Low The Y Chart Evaluator The Y Chart can also be used as an evaluation or assessment tool as per Bloom’s Taxonomy of the Cognitive Domain. The students can look at each entry in the Pros and Cons T Chart and then employ the Extent Barometer. (see Fig. 1) If all or most of the entries in Physical Activity are positive, it is likely that the result would be Very High. This can be marked as a horizontal line on that Extent Barometer. This exercise can be repeated for each category. If all or most of the categories reflect a High rating, then it is clear that the student can conclude that this was indeed an excellent school camp.
The Y Chart Designer
To further display the versatility of the Y Chart, it can also be used as a design tool in that the student could ask: “What could a wonderful school camp Look Like, Sound Like and Feel Like?”
Fig. 1 In this case, we would use the Y Chart to plan an even better camp next time, especially if we have the material from the analytical Y Chart Analyser and the Y Chart Evaluator. We would be looking at the Cons and deciding how we could remove or minimise the Cons in this year’s school camp to ensure greater success in the future.
The Split Y Chart To add even more value to the Y Chart, we have developed the Split Y Chart which gives greater substance to the analysis, evaluation or design. In the example, the split used is Possible Success and Possible Failure when thinking more deeply about a Personal Health Plan. It is clear that the students have decided which ideas deal with Possible Failure (the [–] sign) and Possible Success (the [+] sign). The result is a far more balanced analysis. (See Fig. 2)
From this point students can discer n categories and classify the information, employ the Pros and Cons T Chart and then the Extent Barometer to determine their possible chances of succeeding in the quest for a personal health plan. Other splits could be safe/unsafe, healthy/ unhealthy, sustainable/unsustainable, fair/unfair, ethical/unethical, legal/illegal, practical/impractical, fact/opinion, and so on. If you haven’t used the Y Chart for a while, it may be time to pick it up again, dust it off and try some of these ideas with your class. It is student-centred and simple, leading to student product and hopefully a sense of ownership and greater motivation.
Thought Starters Use them for class discussions, story starters, pair discussions… however you wish!
What historical sporting event would you like to witness?
Is space exploration important?
If you could have any view from your back porch, what would it be?
If you could rename yourself, what name would you choose?
What are the positives and negatives of being competitive?
What do you think is the hardest part of being a kid and about being a parent?
What’s your favourite story about an ancestor?
Would you rather fly or be invisible?
What would you like to learn how to cook?
What family or school rule would you most like to change?
When is it OK to lie?
What would be the best and worst thing about having a twin?
What’s the perfect age?
Would you rather be a caravan or a cabin?
What would be a really good flavour for toothpaste?
ppreciative Inquiry searches for the best of what already exists. It is based on the principal that whatever we put our attention toward, grows. David Cooperrider and Suresh Srivastra developed Appreciative Inquiry (AI) in the 1980s and their research and practice has shown that “organisations change in the direction in which they inquire.” When the school is humming, your class is buzzing and children are learning – what specifically is going on? It means a shift from focusing on what doesn’t work, deficits or obstacles to focusing on what already does work, and taking forward the best from the past.
AI is a way of seeing, thinking and acting for powerful, purposeful change in our schools and classrooms. It does not exempt the questions such as “What would make it even better?” or “What else needs to be happening?” However, AI-based schools focus on their strengths and life-giving properties and build on these. What can we do as educators?
“ It means a shift from focusing on what doesn’t work, to focusing on what already does work, and taking forward the best from the past.”
What already works well? As Liz Kinley states “It (AI) discovers and highlights the life-giving properties of people and organisations. The art of appreciation is the art of discovering and valuing those factors that give life, energy and spirit to an organisation, team, group or workplace.”
T h r o u g h conversations, telling your stories and strategic questions, find out w h a t ’s w o r k i n g well. Ask your class, individuals, staff and parents. E n g a g e i n conversations that value the best of ‘what works well’: What is it that you are doing? Describe what it’s like when (a particular student) does enjoy learning and is on task. When the class is buzzing, what is it you are doing? What things are happening? How is the learning environment operating? For the child who is seen as ‘at risk/under achieving/a behavior issue’ ask (when they work well): What things are in place and happening?
You will remember times as a teacher when you are in the zone and magic is happening in the classroom. What is happening for you in those times? What is your behaviour, your intuition, your emphasis, your strategy? When we work with actual experiences (noticing the physical happenings, feelings, behaviours, actions, values and ideas) of being at our best it is naturally compelling – it will attract people’s energy and mobilise their intentions. We can still acknowledge what is hard, disappointing and painful. We can still (and must) bring conflicts out from the dark where they like to grow, however our ability to acknowledge, empathise and recognise does mean that our focus must stay there. Rather we then choose to focus on what does work and on moving forward. Research by Sue Annis Hammond, Joe Hall and colleagues has shown that when we do more of what works, the stuff that doesn’t goes away.
From the discovery phase comes:
2. Dream/Envision phase This phase is based on the wisdom gleaned from the ‘best of the past.’ What is possible? Bring in passionate thinking and imagining from your discoveries. Adopt a philosophy of ‘Anything is possible’ and be brave enough to consider ‘The answer is yes we can do that – what was the question?’ when looking to take your school and children’s learning to another level.
3. The Design phase The structures, systems, rituals and behaviour which will best support the dream.
4. The Destiny phase ‘Just do it’: implement more of what works and what will sustain it.
Some of the assumptions around Appreciative Inquiry are that: 2. What you focus on becomes your reality. 3. The art of asking questions and the language you use influences you and creates your reality. 4. People have more confidence and comfort to journey into the future (the unknown) when they carry forward positive parts of the past (the known).
Now What? 1. What best parts of your teaching and relationships would you like to carr y forward even more? Where is your energy and inquiry focused? What do you remember about some of your most favorite teaching moments/ adventures?
Further questions for discovery as a school:
3. When you are ‘at your best’, what’s happening in your life? What are you doing? Discover it and do it more!
2. What do you do about what you know that works? 3. As a school where do you spend most of your energy and focus? 4. How can you use the Appreciative Inquiry process in every part of your review and reflection? How do you involve everyone, including children, in the process?
Attention towards appreciation, validation and strengths will ensure that the life-giving properties and spirit of the school grow.
1. In every school/class many things already work well.
Appreciative Inquiry is powerful for a teacher’s self-reflective process, a child’s reflective process, as well as a whole-school approach. Not only does it utilise strengths, it identifies clearly what the strengths are, what already works and why.
1. How do you focus on your excellence, inquire about it, build on it and show it?
great feedback on where your attention is!
2. What is making a positive difference to the quality of life in your classroom? How do you know this?
Appreciative Inquiry does not put on rose tinted glasses regarding issues or problems. These will always be around; it is part of the condition called ‘being human’! Rather it’s a process that is couched in working from a strengths base and knowing that whatever you put your attention toward, grows. Think about where you are putting your attention, your focus, how your communication is structured, your body language, your beliefs. Your behaviour with peers, parents and children will give you
Hauora Homework is intended to break patterns of resistance toward homework, to increase family interaction and to support schooling.
t is an evolving process which relies on feedback and feed-forward in a home and school partnership.
It is based around five broad areas of wellbeing (Hauora). • Social wellbeing (Whanau) • Intellectual wellbeing (Hinengaro) • Spiritual wellbeing (Wairua) • Physical wellbeing (Tinana ) • Environmental wellbeing (Whenua - of the land) It complements the new curriculum’s Key Competencies. Hauora can be adapted to suit particular age groups. I have seen it used from new entrants to senior students with equal impact. Parents report an improvement in health habits, attitudes to schoolwork and an increased social awareness. Some students have continued various activities long after the due date of the homework.
A survey was taken with a Year Six class to collate general attitudes and work habits pre- and post-Hauora Homework. One child’s response changed from “I hate homework” to “Its fun, get it done, and you’ll be on the run…” Another stated “It makes us have healthy habits that we wouldn’t have otherwise.”
A third student described the homework as ‘a kind of kinesthetic learning style where you could use your hands,’ compared to the pen and paper tasks in traditional homework exercises. It allows children ample opportunities to have choices in their homework, and share their experiences with the rest of the class. One parent’s response to the original (and more traditional) homework of reading and topic was “It’s a battlefield at homework time”. The same parent commented after a term of Hauora Homework “I’ve been
amazed at the interest in homework, from someone who used to resist the whole idea of doing more work at home.”
How it works Each child has two homework books, so that at any one time the teacher has a book and the child has a book. Homework is given out midweek, e.g. on a Wednesday, and due back the following Wednesday. This allows a week for completion, ensuring that they have a weekend to complete the tasks. When one book is handed in, the alternate book is handed out. This also allows the teacher time to give feedback on the work submitted.
Once a term students can reselect their favourites and/or make up their own homework sheets (to be checked and submitted). As the weeks go by they will be able to build up a bank of suggested activities. There will be positive ‘peer pressure’ happening, which encourages homework – not something we see in every classroom!
This kind of homework:
When all homework activities have been signed off there is an opportunity for sharing. Children can share their responses to the activities. There is no ceiling to the amount or variety of responses.
• covers all learning styles
I remember when one student said he loved the Tinana task of ‘exercising for ten minutes, in a way you could not do at school.’ He shared that he ran around with his lamb and jumped off things. Another student shared that he went all around his section without touching the ground. This was an exciting response from someone who would otherwise have been playing Playstation all afternoon until Dad came home.
• allows for the differing learning environments at home
For the first few weeks of Hauora Homework the specific activities within each area of wellbeing are given. Establish each week the pattern of students sharing their favourites, their successes, and their barriers. Ask them each week to justify their response, and record new ideas on a class homework sheet. Build up a homework bank visible for all to see and discuss throughout the term.
• allows for the struggling learners • allows for the gifted and talented to extend their thinking
• includes all the children
Examples for the five areas of Hauora Tinana
(Physical wellbeing) • Drink a glass of water (parents initialled this when observed). • Eat 3 different colours for dinner. • Build your upper body strength for ten minutes, e.g. handstands, hanging, climbing. • Increase your heart rate by five beats in ten seconds.
“ Parents report an improvement in health habits, attitudes to schoolwork and an increased social awareness.”
(You can explain this one as ‘the way we keep our spirits up.’ It’s a chance to reflect and have thinking time.) • Find a quiet place where you can be alone and think. • Pick randomly a Virtue card and share how this looks in your week. • Think of five ways you could acknowledge yourself this week. (What did you like about yourself this week?)
(Social wellbeing, and includes family.) • Do a chore for your parent. • Help a brother or sister. • Ask a person with grey hair how you could help them and then do it.
(This area was the most difficult to put a label on, and eventually ended up being Environmental wellbeing: who we are and what we stand for; remembering those who have gone before us and the sustainability we desire.) • Plant something in your garden.
• Send an email or letter to someone. • Leave a room better than when you walked in.
• Help someone to recycle. • Write a letter to the editor of the local newspaper.
• Do a random act of kindness. • Describe a flower.
(Intellectual/academic section: can include tasks linked to class-work school themes.)
• If you were a tree, which one would you be and why?
• Read for ten minutes. • Research the most interesting topic you have seen at school this week. • Design/draw/debate the best workspace for you at home. • Memorise the spelling words for the week.
An example of one week Hauora Homework TINANA
Do ten minutes exercise each day
Make a meal for someone your family
Design a classroom in the future
Have 3 glasses of water each day
Make a flag that represents your family
Have 2 pieces of fruit a day
Write a letter to someone
Do an outside chore
Make a picture frame for yourself
Help someone in your family
Sit down and THINK for 10 minutes
Wash your face twice a day
For answers turn to Page 61
1. Who was the first runner to break the 4-minute mile? ................................................................................................................................................................................................................................ 2. What is New Zealand’s fifth largest island? ................................................................................................................................................................................................................................ 3. Which bird is featured on the NZ$100 note? ................................................................................................................................................................................................................................ 4. What is the main ingredient of air? ................................................................................................................................................................................................................................ 5. What is a group of ants called? ................................................................................................................................................................................................................................ 6. What is a group of bees called? ................................................................................................................................................................................................................................ 7. What is a group of caterpillars called? ................................................................................................................................................................................................................................ 8. What is a group of cows called? ................................................................................................................................................................................................................................ 9. What is a group of dogs called? ................................................................................................................................................................................................................................ 10. What is a group of giraffe called? ................................................................................................................................................................................................................................ 11. What is a group of jellyfish called? ................................................................................................................................................................................................................................ 12. What is a group of baboons called? ................................................................................................................................................................................................................................ 13. What is a group of fish called? ................................................................................................................................................................................................................................ 14. What is a group of geese called? ................................................................................................................................................................................................................................ 15. What is the currency in Mexico? ................................................................................................................................................................................................................................ 16. What is the capital city of Australia? ................................................................................................................................................................................................................................ 17. Where is the next summer Olympic Games? ................................................................................................................................................................................................................................ 18. On which side of the road do they drive in America? ................................................................................................................................................................................................................................ 19. Who wrote ‘Oliver Twist’? ................................................................................................................................................................................................................................
Where is the Soul in Education? “The spirit of learning is about developing practical approaches towards the integration of life enhancing attitudes, universal values, and creative, holistic techniques across the curriculum and into all learning domains.” Dawn Griggs: ‘The Spirit of Learning.’
ithout ‘soul’ education is bland, disconnected and can create students that appear ‘dead’ in our classrooms. Essentially holistic education recognises that the whole child needs to be encouraged to grow through learning in caring and supportive environments.
The global movement towards studentcentred learning and cooperative, collaborative classrooms is recognising this need – philosophically we are heading in the right direction. Educators the world over recognise we all learn differently and have different ways of processing infor mation and transferring it into knowledge or wisdom. Integrated learning allows the curriculum to flow just as life and living does. All learning is now known to be influenced by emotions and happy, calm kids learn best. With all this educational knowledge why are things in the classrooms so different? The over-emphasis on assessment and reaching benchmarks is a drive that often shuts down authentic learning for life. It sucks the creativity, student directedness and enthusiasm for the cooperative collaborative unfolding of curiosity and intuitive learning.
Accountability and results are seldom able to measure the social, emotional or moral growth of students and yet surely these are equally as important. The giving of awards for academic and sporting success does likewise – it creates a sense of failure for the 99% of the school community who never receive that public accolade.
The year-after-year progress of students who are graded according to these two main yardsticks does much to crush the spirit of our emerging generation. Is it any wonder we have such huge issues in the Western world around illicit alcohol and drug abuse, violence, obesity, teenage depression and youth suicide figures that are simply outrageous? Essentially classroom teachers know what can improve schooling and yet politicians continue to make the decisions based on intellectual and fiscal directives. “The body of a child will not grow if it is not fed; the mind will not flourish unless it is stimulated and guided. And the spirit will suffer if it is not nurtured.” Rachael Kessler: ‘The Soul of Education.’ So what does ‘soul of education’ mean? How does it work? Where is it happening? Essentially soul attends to those areas just mentioned – the recognising, valuing, encouraging and nurturing of the nonacademic or the non-competitive qualities in education.
“ The over-emphasis on assessment and reaching benchmarks is a drive that often shuts down authentic learning for life.”
This means the commitment to being respectful of diversity in our schools –colour, age, gender or culture. This means building connectedness between and within all those who attend a school through the building of genuine relationships between and among all who share in this amazing journey called education. This means celebrating the ancient ways of actualisation or personal growth through songs, dance, art, storytelling, poetry and ritual. This means the equal valuing of the vocational programs and academic programs where ‘craftsmen and women’ are seen to be valuable and incredibly worthwhile in the fabric of our communities. It also means having balance between the individual and group activities showing that self and unity and cooperation both have value. It means making learning fun and valuing the role of laughter and lightness in building emotional competency, safety and interpersonal bonds in groups. It means helping children learn how to think, how to use their own minds to interpret the world and to find that elusive thing we all search for: meaning. It means teaching children life skills and values that will help them form effective loving relationships and to be able to contribute positively to our world. It means developing students’ understanding of our ecological footprints and how they play a huge part in the shaping of tomorrow’s world. It means we care deeply about our role in the development of every child who comes to us. Finally it means that parents and teachers work together with the same agendas, the same intentions and the same positive commitment to “bring forth the greatness within each child.”
“ There are days when many of our students have lived a lifetime before they come to our door.”
We m u s t a c k n o w ledge and really listen to our young – to the students in our schools. They all have a voice that yearns to be heard respectfully, and that voice can positively shape what really happens positively in our schools. Education is not the only way to become wise – life experience has always been an excellent teacher. There are days when many of our students have lived a lifetime before they come to our door. We need to listen to them more. In our educated pursuit of academic results are we nurturing the development of character in our students? Do we squeeze values education in between the English and the maths or are we embodying it deeply into all school activities? The soul is deeply shaped by significant adult allies who demonstrate trust, respect, passion and a deep and enthusiastic love of learning to all students regardless of their academic capability. Thomas Moore in ‘The Care of the Soul’ wrote: “Politicians and educators consider more school days in a year, more science, more maths, the use of computers and other technology in the classroom, more exams, more tests, more certifications for teachers and less money for art. On all these counts soul is neglected.”
Maybe the education of our children will continue to rely on those amazing teachers who turn up everyday with passion for their career, their students and the schooling system? They have a genuine affection and commitment to students of all ages and cultures, and
they love their job. There are thousands of teachers out there who are doing all of the things that build ‘soul’ in their schools, maybe without even knowing it. Daily they give hope to kids and their parents that what matters most is the gift of life. They make a positive difference every day and thankfully, they make our world better. Please remember education is so much more than teaching, and every student comes to school with a mind, a body, a heart and a soul. Are we nurturing all these layers – or just concerned with those features that can be assessed and measured? Be brave: be an educator with the courage and passion to do what we are called to do. “Bring forth that which lies hidden within” so that our students can find a pathway that allows them to realise their full potential. Then let us celebrate those that realise a potential that failed to be measured or even identified while they were at school. Help every student become the best they are meant to be – using their unique gifts and talents to make our world a better place.
Don’t Stop Thinking : the Habits of Mind Bootcamps 1
he Habits of Mind are some of the essential tools that will take students into the future. It was appropriate then that the recent Habits of Mind Bootcamp theme song was Fleetwood Mac’s Don’t Stop Thinking About Tomorrow. Not a typical four-day seminar, the Hamilton and Sydney Bootcamps were a hands-on experience of teaching and learning in action. Bootcamp mentors Karen Boyes, Graham Watts, Trudy Francis, Georgette Jenson and Adrian Rennie lead the participants through a series of learning opportunities including:
“The Bootcamp is an innovative concept – it challenges teachers to activate the Habits of Mind in their own lives. The programme deliberately moves away from a passive and cognitive approach to exploring the Habits of Mind in more holistic ways.” Trudy Francis: Bootcamp Mentor “What a contrast from when we arrived (to the pumping theme song) to four days later – leaving a little exhausted, reflective, elated, and with another dimension of the Habits of Mind.”
“The teams had to draw upon one another’s knowledge, encouragement and humour to climb walls, think flexibly, metacogitate strategically, be resourceful with few resources, and work late at night.”
• Exploring the Habits • Thinking Maps • Lesson planning • Signs in the environment • Links with curriculum • Development of the Habits • Learning Stories • Rubrics • 21st century learning • Practical ideas from the classroom Teachers worked in teams to complete the 2008 Habits of Mind Challenge – using many of the habits and intelligent behaviours to successfully complete the camp. For many it stretched them both professionally and personally. Look out for the 2009 dates: Christchurch in March or April and Sydney in June.
“Creativity excelled, empathetic laughter reigned, team members collaborated and met their challenges, as a whole and as individuals, rising above their own expectations.” Georgette Jenson : Bootcamp Mentor “The content was useful and practical. I could see a progression as to how I can implement this into my classroom.” Justine Krynen: Hutt Intermediate
3 1. Weaving the new N.Z. Key Competencies with the Habits of Mind. 2. You can’t have a Bootcamp without gumboot throwing! Busy Bees won the Sydney contest: Leigh Williams, Jenny Hart, Fleur Roachock, Linda Denman-Francis, Rose Werder, Nicole Daniels. 3. Lesson planning for a wide age-range of students. 4/5. Resources were created and designed to take back to the classroom.
“Well organised. It enabled us to link with the curriculum and introduced new ideas clearly.” Robbie McGougan: Waihi East Primary “I really, really got a lot from the journey - personally and professionally. It was provoking and challenging, Daunting but at the end uplifting.” Judy McFadyen: Murrumburrah Public School
Immaculate Perception There is no such thing as immaculate perception. What you see is what you thought before you looked.
ur beliefs and theories direct our thoughts, and these thoughts mould our perceptions. These perceptions then direct our actions. In 1960, Douglas McGregor published The Human Side of Enterprise. This book was a major influence in promoting the application of behavioral sciences in organisations. McGregor studied various approaches to managing people, and concluded that managerial approaches could be understood from the assumptions managers made about people. McGregor concluded that the thinking and activity of people in authority is based on two very different sets of assumptions. He referred to these assumptions as Theory X and Theory Y.
McGregor labeled the assumptions upon which the top-down, authoritarian style is based as ‘Theory X’. He concluded that this style is inadequate for full development of human potential. Theory X is based on the following beliefs:
1. The average person has an inherent dislike for work and will avoid it if possible.
3 . The average p e r s o n prefers to be directed, wishes to avoid responsibility, has relatively little ambition, and wants security above all. These assumptions can be seen as goals that are imposed and decisions that are made without involving the participants. Rewards are contingent upon conforming to the system. Punishments are the consequence of deviation from the rules. Theory X styles vary from ‘hard’ to ‘soft’. A drill instructor uses a ‘hard’ approach. A ‘soft’ approach is used in less coercive strategies, such as coaxing and rewarding.
“ The average person does not inherently dislike work.”
2. Because of this human characteristic of dislike for work, most people must be coerced, controlled, directed, or threatened with punishment to get them to put forth adequate effort toward the achievement of goals.
Theory Y Theory Y assumptions are more consistent with current research and knowledge, and they lead to higher motivation and greater success. The central principle of Theory Y is to create conditions whereby participants are self-directed in their efforts at the organisation’s success. This approach is most effectively achieved using collaboration, rather than through coercion. Some assumptions of Theory Y are: 1. The expenditure of physical and mental effort is as natural in work as it is in play. The average person does not inherently dislike work. Depending upon controllable conditions, work may be a source of satisfaction and will be voluntarily performed, or it can be a source of punishment and will be avoided. 2. People will exercise self-direction and selfcontrol toward objectives to which they are committed. 3. Commitment to objectives depends on the rewards associated with achieving them. The most significant of such rewards is the internal reward of self-satisfaction.
Theory Y encourages growth and development. Above all, Theory Y points to the fact that the limits of human collaboration are not limits of human nature but of the authority figures’ ingenuity and skill in discovering how to realise the potential of the people with whom they work. Theory Y is not a soft approach to managing. It can be a very demanding style. It sets up realistic expectations and expects people to achieve them. It is more challenging to the participants—the teacher, the student, and the administrator. While a growing number of people in education use a Theory Y approach, many schools still tend toward Theor y X in attempts to change behavior, especially when disciplining. Theory Y can be threatening to teachers who are accustomed to using the power of their position. People who use Theory X rely on external motivators to influence, manipulate, and change others.
In contrast, the Theor y Y person uses collaboration and realises that improvement comes through desire, rather than by control. In using Theory Y, for example, errors are viewed as feedback because this is the key characteristic for promoting growth and continual improvement. An old story dramatises the effects of Theory X. An expedition of scientists went on a mission to capture a Tonkin snub-nosed monkey. Only an estimated 100-200 of this
“ We cling to the very things that hold us back, remaining captive through sheer unwillingness to let go.”
particular species exists, and they reside only in the jungles of Vietnam. The objective was to capture one of the monkeys alive and unharmed. Using their knowledge of monkeys, the scientists devised a trap consisting of a small bottle with a long narrow neck. A handful of nuts was placed in it, and the bottle was staked out and secured by a thin wire attached to a tree. Sure enough, one of the desired monkeys scented the nuts in the bottle, thrust an arm into the long neck, and grabbed a fistful. But when the monkey tried to withdraw the prize, his fist, now made larger by its contents, would not pass through the narrow neck of the bottle. He was trapped, anchored in the bottle, unable to escape with his booty, and yet unwilling to let go. The monkey was easily captured.
We may smile at such foolishness, but in some respects we operate in the same manner. We cling to the very things that hold us back, remaining captive through sheer unwillingness to let go. So often people fail because of what they will not give up. They cling to what has always worked, clearly after it has stopped working. The person who holds on to coercion, in all its various forms, will remain captive like the monkey. In a sense, the person loses freedom. A person becomes liberated when willing to let go of the coercion and manipulation of Theory X with its stress, resistance, and poor relationships. The use of the collaboration and empowerment of Theory Y reduces stress, improves relationships, and is much more powerful in effecting change in others.
Application to the Classroom How a person attempts to motivate others depends upon how the person views others. If the teacher views a student’s irresponsible behavior to be deliberatively disruptive, then the coercive approaches of Theory X will most probably be employed. Poor relationships and stress are natural outcomes of this approach. In contrast, if the teacher perceives that the behavior is the youngster’s best attempt to solve a frustration or problem, then the adult views the situation as an opportunity to help and uses the approaches of Theory Y. In the process, resistance and resentment are reduced, and effectiveness is increased.
The Ultimate Framework for Learning and Life
n the course of my work I have had the opportunity to visit hundreds of schools across four continents. It has been a fascinating experience to observe and analyse the behaviour of educators in order to isolate just what it is that successful teachers do. The best teachers I have seen are not only skilled classroom practitioners, but are also skilled in the game of life. They recognise the need to live a balanced, fulfilling life as well as being effective in the classroom. I have seen many great teachers become frustrated, burnt out or disillusioned because of a lack of balance. The Ultimate Framework for Learning and Life will help you identify key areas that need to be considered in order to have an effective, fulfilling and sustainable teaching career. Of course, the ultimate aim of the framework is to produce great outcomes for students. The Framework outlines three key focus areas which will determine the quality of student outcomes. Your Values. These impact your life success. What is really important to you?
Your Life Strategy. Your life success impacts your educational success. Develop a life philosophy, set personal goals and obtain fulfillment in each of the four success zones.
Yo u r E d u c a t i o n a l S t r a t e g y. Yo u r educational success determines the quality of outcomes for your students. Develop an educational philosophy, set educational goals and address the seven dimensions for effective and fulfilling teaching and learning.
“ The best teachers are not only skilled classroom practitioners, but are also skilled in the game of life.”
1. Your Values
2. Your Life Strategy
Be clear about what’s important to you, and make sure you keep on track.
Decide what your brilliant, balanced life looks like, and plan to live it.
As an educator, you are well aware of the need to encourage good values in your students. But how many of us actually take the time to consider our own personal values? Your values clarify what’s important to you. They drive the way you live your life.
Teachers understand that trying to achieve work/life balance is a great challenge. The first step is to accept that sometimes your life will be out of balance. You oscillate between times of pressure and relaxation. The answer lies in knowing how to recognise the state you are in at any given time and make a conscious decision to either maintain or change that state - do you need to relax or push it?
Successful teachers know what their own personal values are and make sure they live their life by them. However, in the hustle and bustle and busyness of school life, personal values can sometimes be neglected. For example, if one of your values is ‘family’ and you are not spending enough time with them because of work commitments, your life will soon be out of balance – feelings of guilt and frustration will start to set in. A technique that works very well is to list what you consider to be your top ten personal values in order of priority. You then ‘connect’ with these values once a week to ensure that the way you are living your life is in fact aligned with your values. My top ten true values are love, esteem, connection/ fun, achievement, recognition, l e a r n i n g , contribution, security, health, calmness. I know that if any of these values are being neglected I need to realign my actions so that they are not. What are your top ten values? When do you reflect upon them? Are you living by them?
The Life Success Wheel provides a model to assess how balanced your life is, and gives you some direction to live the life you want to live. It encourages you to develop your own personal philosophy and set personal goals in each of the four success zones. The Life Success Matrix indicates what is likely to happen if you do not spend enough time in each of the four zones.
Do you know what your brilliant, balanced life looks like? Are you living it? How can you make it better?
3. Your Educational Strategy Decide on your educational philosophy, determine what your educational goals are and plan to achieve them. Teaching is a very complex profession. There are so many variables that can affect the effectiveness of any lesson such as the classroom environment, the students, resources available, lesson content, time of the day, or even what happened in the playground just before the lesson.
There are, however certain measures you can take to ensure that your lessons are as effective as possible on any given day. The Educational Success Wheel reflects the characteristics of teachers who are effective in the classroom, and encourages you to develop an educational philosophy. This philosophy contains your opinions on how you think students will learn best in your classroom. It might start with something like “I believe my students will learn best when…” or “My role and responsibility as a teacher is to…” and may also include references to models such as Multiple Intelligences or Habits of Mind. Addressing each of the seven key dimensions will help you develop
balanced, effective and sustainable learning programmes. The Educational Success Matrix indicates what may happen if any of these dimensions is missing. Do you have an educational philosophy? Have you set yourself educational goals? Do you address each of the seven dimensions? The Japanese have a word, ‘Kaizen’, which means ‘an attitude of continuous improvement’. Not necessarily improvement in quantum leaps, but in small, sometimes barely observable pieces of progress. How might you ‘Kaizen’ what you do, so that you have an effective, fulfilling, and sustainable teaching career?
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karen boyes of a book. Print them on branches coming out from the central image. The branches are always curved – the lines on MindmapsTM are curved because there are no straight lines in nature; this is more ‘organic’ or ‘brain friendly’. The theme branches start of thick and get thinner so the eye naturally follows the branch. Write these key words clearly in capital letters so they’re easy to read and stand out. Make the words the same length as the thick lines, and place the words on top of the line. (Imitate the shape of the example.)
Effective Note Taking with MindmappingTM MindmappingTM is a simple and essential skill for learning faster and retaining information.
t’s a more creative, brain-friendly way of taking notes. It uses both your left (logical) side and your right (creative) side of the brain. This technique of note-taking was developed in the early 1970’s by Tony Buzan and is based on research on how your brain actually works. Follow these simple steps to make your first MindmapTM. Step One First, close your eyes and see the TV screen of your mind. What shape is it? Tall (portrait) or wide (landscape)? Yes, it’s landscape. Take a piece of blank A4 paper and turn it sideways. The paper is now imitating or copying the way your mind is set out. Even
if you take your notes in the traditional way in class, it’s more brain-friendly to use blank paper and turn it sideways than to take notes on ordinary lined paper. Step Two Close your eyes again. Picture a red car on your mental TV screen. Where have you put it? Picture an ice cream. Where is it placed? Most people will position these images in the centre, which is where your brain naturally starts. The centre is where you start your Mindmap TM. Using at least three colours, start with a picture or visual image that is about 5cm in size in the centre of your page. Step Three Add the main themes like chapter headings
This shape mirrors the shape of a brain cell. Write each separate branch in the same colour, so the theme and the words are all one colour. Make the lines the same colour as the words. Step Four Add a second level of thought like subheadings in a book. These words should link to the main branch and trigger more information. Avoid using sentences. MindmapsTM are about using key words that will act as triggers for more information when you recall your map. Step Five Keep adding information. Use pictures and images where you can. Allow your thoughts to come freely so that you hop between ideas and themes. Step Six Add dimension to your map. Highlight words, use arrows, codes and pictures. Make your MindmapTM beautiful, colourful, artistic and imaginative. One of the useful things about using MindmapsTM is that you can add to them at any time. Unlike taking normal notes, you can squash in extra bits and pieces of information if and where you want.
25 vibrant colours suitable for writing, sketching or drawing. The set of 25 comes complete in a roll up carry case.
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One World One Dream – of Resiliency
mentor once said to me “that playing sport is like a microcosm of life.” I couldn’t help but reflect on his wise words when watching the recent 29th Olympiad.
He used that energy to spur himself into action, do the early training sessions for the next four years and represent New Zealand in China. Nathan achieved a bronze medal in the rowing finals.
We can learn so much from playing – or even watching – sport. The ingredients of resiliency are demonstrated by the athletes superbly. The smashing of world records and countries achieving medals for the first time was wonderful to watch as we celebrated their wins and acknowledged their efforts.
Optimism : a positive view of your future.
The resiliency ingredients are transferrable in all areas of our lives, so what have you seen in these Olympics that inspire you and can inspire your students to achieve their dreams?
Love of learning : the capacity to want to learn and go that extra step to find the information needed. Nathan Twaddle set himself the goal of going to the Olympics many years ago. He didn’t make it to the Athens Olympics as an athlete, so he went as a spectator. That gave him a tremendous feel for the event and the desire to attend the next Olympics at Beijing.
Valerie Vili expected a shot put gold medal and showed such complete focus in her goal that she only needed two throws to reach her goal. She made it look effortless yet she acknowledged the hard work that she and her coach had put into their shared vision over the last four years and in particular the last six months where it was their sole focus.
His interviews were positive and uplifting. Creativity : draw on the imagination. Michael Phelps won seven gold medals. He said in an interview that he had dreamed big since the first time he got in the water. “Use your imagination,” Phelps replied when asked what advice he could give to children grabbing their goggles and taking to the water for the first time. “Never give up on the dream.” The media said “He knows how to win!” The Olympics opening and closing ceremonies stretched creativity to the full. Both events were a wonderful spectacle of imagination, colour and fireworks.
Self worth : your belief in yourself as a person.
Intuition/ Spirituality : personal faith in something/ someone greater.
Mahe Drysdale participated in the rowing and worked hard in the selection process to represent New Zealand. He came into the Olympics completely prepared.
Whether it was a ritual at the start of the race or at the end, athletes showed their inner belief in a range of ways such as prayer and small gestures. One gold medalwinning weight-lifter dedicated his medal to his wife who died a year before in a car accident. His raw energy when he realised he had won was humbling to watch.
At the Olympics however he picked up a stomach bug which not only hampered his health but his achievements on the water. He showed such courage but his self worth never faltered. He came away proud of his efforts and said he “gave it everything.” Photos of him after the event reinforced this.
Flexibility : like water you can adjust and adapt to change and deter mine positive outcomes.
Caroline and Georgina Evers-Swindell came into the Olympics as underdogs. Failing to do well in an event prior to the Olympics meant they had to adjust and stay out of the media limelight. They quietly persisted and won their final by one-hundredth of a second to achieve the gold medal. Twice in a row was a wonderful achievement - they are only the fourth New Zealanders to achieve this.
The close relationships between the athletes and their coaches were very evident in all disciplines. Family members also came to support the athletes. Nick Willis said it was okay when he was training but when he was back at the accommodation his doubts and fears appeared. His wife (who was not a runner) provided him emotional support and kept him grounded. He won a bronze medal in the 1500 metre track race.
Perseverance : the determination to keep going despite the challenges.
Independence : the ability to distance yourself from unhealthy people and situations.
The commitment to a four year goal is an inspiration for our students. Many youth need to understand that goals take time to seed, germinate and grow.
This is your ability to stand on your own two feet and consider a range of options that will enhance your life. Distractions for athletes at the Olympics for the first time were varied. New Zealand athletes were coached on how to stay focussed. Sarah Ulmer took this lead in the last Olympics and was there this time to support others.
“ The commitment to a four year goal is an inspiration for our students.”
Hayden Roulston was working towards his goal of competing in the Olympics when he was diagnosed with a heart condition that stopped him completely in his tracks. Determined to keep going he found a solution. Using Reiki as an alternative medicine he returned to training. His next challenge occurred several months before the Olympics when he lost all his savings in a finance company collapse. Five people stepped in to keep him going financially. His incredible commitment won him a silver medal and a lucrative deal in Europe. He is only the third New Zealander to achieve this feat in cycling. Competence : utilise a range of thinking skills, strengths and abilities. The athletes showed skill and ability throughout the event. One high jumper had broken the world record 24 times! Perceptiveness : the ability to focus on a situation, see what is happening and, like a laser beam, gain insights from the situation.
Different sports require different tactics. Gaining a first place versus a second placing in the heats determined certain lanes. Pacing of energy depended on when the next race was and whether a sportsperson wanted to ‘show all their cards’ to their competitors. Athletes need to think and plan ahead to maximise their strengths and the opportunities available. Relationships : the ability to develop positive relationships and make fulfilling connections with people. Insights from the New Zealand camp demonstrated the amazing support they gave each other throughout the Olympics. The welcome given to sportspeople returning to the camp with a haka acknowledging their efforts was wonderful.
Sport is a small scale model of the universe. We celebrated the successes. We shared the tears of defeat and the anguish of athletes forced to withdrawal due to injury. We observed how close the gold medal time can be to fourth place. As the flame was extinguished in Beijing we can look to the next Olympics – which New Zealanders will be resilient enough to continue their sporting journey to London? Which athletes were watching Beijing on TV, determined to pull on their silver fern in four year’s time? A well-respected judge in the New Zealand Youth Court, Judge Andrew Becroft, stated in an interview that he has never had any youth who played sport appear in his court. Resiliency and sport go hand in hand. Athletes utilise a wide range of resiliency ‘ingredients’ to maximise their strengths and abilities. London 2012 – I can’t wait.
Building Resilience in Young People
ne way to describe stress is: when the situations facing a person outstrip the resources they have with which to cope.
When the resources of children and young people fail to cope with life then they will often revert to destructive behaviours and attitudes such as… S w e a r i n g , r u n n i n g a w a y, s t e a l i n g , experimenting with harmful substances, poor standards of work, opting out, bullying, aggression and fighting, promiscuity in teenage students, recklessness, fatalism. These are the kids we would describe as ‘off the rails’. How do many schools cope with these ‘tough kids’? We shake our heads, blame the parents, apply the right consequences and get on with surviving the experience of having that child in the class, until they become someone else’s problem next year. There often seems to be a larger proportion of these students in lower decile schools. I believe that emotionally fragile students exist in similar numbers in all schools, regardless of the socio-economic status of the school community. The symptoms of that fragility just manifest themselves in different ways and at different times.
Anecdotal evidence would suggest that young people from more financially secure backgrounds remain controlled until they achieve a level of independence or come out from under the wing of their parents. How many horror stories can you recall of people crashing or failing at university?
There are many, truly sincere teachers all over the world who genuinely care for the well-being of troubled, at risk students. They do what they can for them. Usually the student will respond well to the input and effort from that teacher. A strong, positive relationship is developed and, at least for a while, the student finds some success. The problem is when that success is not habitualised, internalised or ‘built in’ to the
student, thus failing to make a long-term or life-long change. If we take a step back and think carefully about this problem then it is possible for us to approach it more thoughtfully and successfully. Guy Claxton stated it clearly in the opening keynote address of the British Educational Research Association’s annual conference in 2006: “The fundamental purpose of education is precisely to increase young people’s level of resources to cope with life. Education is the response to increased demand that focuses on reducing stress by expanding capability.” So how can teachers and parents help kids to cope? How can we expand their capability? The answer is to help them to build up their coping power; their resilience to stress. It is to instil in them enough emotional toughness and/or emotional calm that they will naturally respond to hard social situations and life challenges in a thoughtful way rather than an emotional way. Team that with a proven way to develop thinking skills, such as the Habits of Mind, and you have an effective combination. Traditionally we do a lot of good work with kids at school to build their self esteem and self worth. That’s a good start. But what should that kind of teaching look like in our classes? My school – Northcote School in Christchurch – is now beginning to develop a number of strategies that aim to build coping power.
1. Change the language that adults use with students and then write it down for everyone to see. We have developed a range of attractive posters that we use to teach our students when opportunities arise.
2. Thinking Wall Our Year 6 students put up an imaginary T h i n k i n g Wa l l w h e n t h e y a r e f a c e d with stressful situations. Any bad words, disappointment or anger aimed at them bounces off their Thinking Wall and gives them time to think of a successful, thoughtful way to respond. This one resource and the obvious teaching that has gone with it have had a major impact on the well-being of children in our senior Year 6 class. There were at least four boys who used to regularly ‘lose it’ and display antisocial, destructive behaviour. Not any more!
The ability to speak to yourself using your internal voice is vital. The You’re a Legend poster is a starting point for teaching students how to engage in an internal conversation with themselves. The chances of a young person responding successfully to tough problems increases significantly when their natural, habitualised reaction is to start talking and discussing options with themselves inside their heads.
I believe that modern schools and teachers have moved away from, and begun to largely ignore, one of the most effective for ms of education in the histor y of humankind. Over the years, and as you move from region to region, the design of school curriculum changes to reflect the needs, values and standards of the community. However, throughout history there has always been one feature that has remained constant across cultures:
3. Story Telling We need to tell our kids more stories. They learn so much from them, especially when they are able to relate the story back to their own experiences. Telling stories encourages positive connections between teacher and students. In my Unit Plans I actually plan to deliver certain stories at key times to support learning. The kids think that we get off the topic and just chat, when in actual fact the stories are a calculated method of instruction that are engaging and motivating. Developing in children the ability to respond to stress, attack and personal disappointment does not happen overnight. As teachers we should be developing a system or series of resources that is effective, manageable and sustainable with our students. I once spoke with a teacher who had tried the Habits of Mind in his classroom. He commented that they didn’t work so he gave it up. With further questioning I found out that his definition of “trying the Habits” was sticking a couple of posters on the wall for a week and telling kids he wanted them to be persistent! Of course such an approach is doomed to failure. Students need repetition and consistent, sustained instruction over three to four years to develop and imbed new thinking. In our senior teaching team we start working on kids when they are Year 3/4 students and build their skills all the way through to Year 6. It’s a cumulative process that involves good communication between teachers as students move up the school. We all care for every child. We all use the same language and approaches. It works.
Tricia Kenyon and Barbara Griffith
Simple or Sophisticated? A Look at Picture Books Picture books often have more depth of learning and teaching than first meets the eye. Here is one of our favourites: Title: Snow White in New York Author/Illustrator: Fiona French Publisher: Oxford University Press ISBN: 0 19 279808
t first glance this book appears very simple, but don’t be fooled.
This storyline may be familiar, but the setting and characters are different. Set in New York City’s 1920 jazz era, it tells the story of the ‘Belle of New York City’, Snow White. Her problems begin when her father marries, unwittingly, the Queen of the Underworld, who resents Snow White’s popularity. Snow White is left by one of the Queen’s henchmen to die on the dark, lonely streets of New York, but she stumbles into a late night club where seven jazzmen make her their singer. She’s an instant hit, as reported in the Daily Mirror.
The Queen throws a grand party for her to celebrate her success. She uses this opportunity to spike Snow White’s drink with a poison cherry. All of New York’s finest turn out for the funeral but when her coffin is jolted, Snow White wakes up – the cherry was merely lodged in her throat.
The text in this book appears to be short and simple, and a larger font has been used, but when the text and the illustrations are read together, a more complex storyline emerges.
Visual Language Characters The use of colour and line in the illustrations gives an ideal opportunity to compare and contrast the two main female characters. Some examples might be;
The Wicked Stepmother
Pink, gold = warmth Soft Blended colour Soft blue eyes
Black, white = cold Red = danger Sharp contrast Green eyes = jealousy
Shape / Line
Rounded, soft curves = wholeness, love, warmth
Sharp, angular, straight = aloofness, tension, conflict, rigidity.
Tricia Kenyon and Barbara Griffith
Contrasts in Imagery *Examples
Snow White Impressions Purity Wholesomeness Innocence
The Stepmother Impressions
Bathed in light
“On the dark side.” Evil, Sly cunning
Surrounded by shadow
Clean short fingernails
Blood-red elongated fingernails
Bold, Fox fur
Soft dewy makeup
Skull ring Dagger earrings
Comprehension Storyline Comparison and Creation The original version of this well-known storyline can be compared to this picture book. A further challenge would be for your students to create their own version in another setting, e.g. The Pacific Islands. * Examples
Snow White in New York
King’s castle Forest
Snow White Stepmother Father Huntsman 7 dwarves Prince
Snow White Stepmother Father Henchman 7 jazzmen Reporter
Glass mirror tells Stepmother Snow White is the fairest of them all
Newspaper ‘New York Mirror’ tells Stepmother Snow White is “Belle of New York”
Kill Snow White with a poison apple
Kill Snow White with a poison cherry
Apple dislodged Snow White marries hero Stepmother?
Cherry dislodged Snow White marries hero Stepmother arrested
The Legal Battle Stage a mock trial for the Stepmother, including lawyers, etc. Find out what the legal names are for the crimes she commits in the story, and determine what her punishment would be in the real world.
Panel Discussion Children are given name labels to wear around their necks and each assumes the role of a character from the story. They are asked questions by the audience, to be answered in character. (The questions for each character could be created in advance)
Tricia Kenyon and Barbara Griffith
Character Analysis Name The Stepmother Age 30s
Elegant, chic, classy, slim, co-ordinated, fashionable
Haughty, vain, jealous, cruel, ambitious, determined, manipulative
Power, money, looking good, high society
Competition, not being in the spotlight
Fears / Weaknesses
Determination, power (Underworld Queen) devious, ambitious
Losing her status, not being classified the “classiest dame in New York”
(What the character wanted to achieve.) To be: The classiest dame in New York Queen of High Society
Think about the character and the goal. What obstacles stood in the character’s way of achieving the goal?
Snow White’s increasing social profile so she tried to get rid of her by having her shot and trying to poison her.
We have just touched on the possibilities of this sophisticated book. Have fun with it! We would love to hear of any new activities you have used that have worked well.
For answers turn to Page 61
1. Agatha spent several days in hospital. She wasn’t injured, and she wasn’t sick, but she did have to be carried out when she left. Why was she in the hospital? .....................................................................................................................................................
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Your Most Influential Book
Recently English literature scholar Martin Seymour-Smith listed the top 100 influential books in history. Glenn Capelli asks you to consider what would make your list of influential books and reveals his number one!
here is no doubt that the most influential books of all time would include a few minor sellers like the Bible, the Kabbalah and the Koran. Maybe even the Karma Sutra. You might then add to this influential list The Oxford Dictionary, The Encyclopaedia Britannica and the complete writings of one William Shakespeare. If you wanted to toss in some nifty novels you could add any of the BBC/ABC series type and name names like Jane Eyre, Wuthering Heights, Pride and Prejudice or David Copperfield. However, I asked a mate of mine if any of the above books made the top of his influential list. In a fit of instant honesty he replied “No, the top of my list is Playboy”. Obviously he considered Playboy a book because he spent so much time reading the articles rather than looking at the pictures. (Pictures? What pictures?)
In the same vein my Dad Jack might say that Flash Gordon comics were the books that shaped his young mind. My Uncle Terry would simply sum his list up in one word: Hemmingway.
Yet none of these make the list of Martin Seymour-Smith (you gotta love a man with Seymour in his name) who has written a bit of a tome titled The 100 Most Influential Books Ever Written: The History of Thought from Ancient Times to Today. His list includes Plato, Vigil, Cervantes, Darwin, Freud, Marx (Karl not Groucho), Thomas Khun, Mao Tsetung and even B.F. Skinner and his pigeons get a mention. But I think he has missed the big one. I think his academic eyes have done a Manfred Mann and been blinded by the light - he has missed the obvious.
Where is Enid Blyton on his list? If you measure influence in personal terms then I raise my pen as a sword and argue the worth of Enid.
So let’s start by asking ourselves what ‘influential’ means? Sometimes we can read a book at a pivotal moment in our lives – for me Doris Lessing’s Memoirs of a Survivor was such a book. Sometimes we can read books that touch us as we are forming our life ethos – for me anything by Herman Hesse, Jack Kerouac or George Orwell. Sometimes it can be something that stretches our mind or senses beyond where they have been before – Henry Miller’s Sexus, Plexus and Nexus can still erect memories, Sylvia Plath can still evoke gas oven tears and parts of Gulliver’s Travels can still excite a “Yahoo!” from me. However, if I were to dig deep into the mysticism of my life and bare my naked vulnerability to you, I would have to say that the biggest imprint of printed influence in my brain rests with Enid Blyton. Yes, I was a lover of the Famous Five, more so a lover of the Secret Seven – to this day secrets are more exciting to me than the illusion of fame – but the biggest influence goes beyond both these bands of youngsters and rests up a tree: a magic far away tree in an enchanted forest.
“ A mate of mine… in a fit of instant honesty replied ‘No, the top of my list is Playboy’.”
Imagine living on the outskirts of a forest knowing it was enchanted. Gosh. As I type her words now, my spine tingles, the hairs on my neck stand to pay attention, my curiosity is alive. A simple sentence filled with some of the greatest words a mind can behold – imagine, enchanted, outskirts (any skirts for that matter), forest. Oh, I am all a tingle. I feel like a Normy Rowe song: “‘Shivers down my backbone, shaking all over.” Then I read on and the Enid Blyton trees are sighing “wisha wisha” in the breeze. Wisha wisha – it is classic. It beats any old “To be or not to be” or “Romeo, Romeo, where for art thou Romeo?”
“ Sometimes we can read a book at a pivotal moment in our lives.” In the beginning of my imagination, there was the word and the word was Enid. From Golliwogs to Noddy. Why do Elephants have Big Ears? Because Noddy wouldn’t pay the ransom! From the Adventurous Four who were never quite as big as the Famous Five but were bigger than her Barney Mystery series to the Lutterworth Family series. From characters like Fatty (from the Mystery series detective books) through to the mad dog Loony
(from the Barney series): I loved them all, but not as much as I loved the folk of the Faraway Tree. You cannot go past Jo, Bessie, Moonface, Silky the Elf, Saucepan Man and Mr Whatzisname. They influenced my life by putting a stamp of magic inside me. What terrible dangers would threaten them? And more importantly in my mind, what land would be circling above the Faraway Tree? From the land of Dame Slap to the Land of Topsy-Turvy, from the Land of Treats to the Land of Tempers – I was ignited, excited and transformed. I think this happened for others too. I think the influence of the Enchanted Forest ripples out to The Wiggles and onto Harry Potter. Where would we be if Enid Blyton’s ability to spell bind had not existed? I know my life would not be so rich, my imagination not as spirited and my childhood not as bright. For some – the censors of this world – Enid Blyton’s Golliwogs and Noddy have fallen into scandal and ill repute. Maybe next they will even try to cut down her Enchanted Forest and Faraway Tree. Enid Blyton has been accused of old fashioned stereotyping and even damaging a child’s perception of the world but for me she is magic and there never was, or will be, a blight on Enid! May her influence continue to radiate.
Setting up Listening Systems Throughout Your School
t is well known that academic success needs more than a well-planned curriculum. High levels of skill are also involved. Quality Circle Time identifies and teaches the five essential learning skills:
Circle Time A highly structured group listening system, enabling children to practise and participate in relationship education. This is essential because moral values cannot be ‘taught’ – children must experience them.
A one-to-one listening system called Bubble Time (in primary school) and Talk Time (in secondary school). Children request a few minutes speaking and listening with their teacher at the side of the classroom on their own. A symbol indicates that a special session is taking place discussing issues that are not appropriate for group listening systems.
Quality Circle Time sessions include activities to enhance the development of these five skills. Of particular note within this set is listening. Due to its importance, the model advocates setting up three school listening systems.
“I really like it when all the class is sitting down, and we’re listening to each other. It is very nice.” “I like being able to talk without any interruptions.”
Bubble Time or Talk Time
“We were able to talk without shouting at each other.”
“ This introduces a concept of shared experience and individual differences at a basic level.”
A non-verbal listening system. Children are encouraged to write reflections in a journal and hand it to a teacher who will read it and write something appropriate for the child. The model also requires a commitment from adults to work on their personal and professional development, including engaging in their own regular Circle Times. In this way, listening systems are at the heart of school activities. Firm structures and ground rules are also always in place to maintain emotional ‘safety’, so that relationship skills are regularly promoted and everyone within school can have a voice and be heard. Some feedback from children about Circle Time and listening skills: “I feel good because Circle Time is all about listening, and learning, and having fun.” “Everyone was very respectful. They listened and we all had a great time.” “My class has been helped because they listen better.”
Here is a sample session plan to practice and acknowledge listening skills: We Know How to Use Good Listening Skills Resources: Two blindfolds Meeting Up: Begin with a game of ‘Hunter and Hunted’. This game ensures a kind, cooperative atmosphere and also relies upon pin-dropping silence in the circle. The two blindfolded players have to totally concentrate on listening skills. The children all sit in a circle; two are chosen and blindfolded. The first is the
hunter, the other the hunted. Within the circle, the hunter attempts to capture the quarry. The rest of the group sits in a circle and guides them away from the edge of the circle with very gentle contact, using palms of hands only.
Calming down: Sit quietly with eyes closed and hands in laps. Read the following script slowly, allowing silence for the appropriate pauses:
Warming up: Ask each child to complete the following sentence using the speaking object:
“You are going to imagine that you are riding on a magic carpet which will take you to exciting, interesting places. Think of yourself lying on the carpet. What is it like? Imagine the colours, patterns and texture of your carpet.
“My favourite sound is…”
Opening up Everybody mingles inside the circle – they have two minutes to shake each other’s hands, swap names and tell a fact that they think everybody knows about them, e.g. “I like jelly sandwiches”. Then children return to their seats.
It lifts up into the air. You feel the wind on your face as the carpet glides through the sky. Below you is the sea twinkling and glistening in the sunlight. You can see things on the water…
Ask if they can remember any of the facts. Ask for volunteers to stand up and introduce a classmate like this: “This is Kayleigh and she likes to dance to loud music in the kitchen.” Kayleigh then introduces another person until the whole group is standing up. Ask another child to walk around the group labelling each child A or B (“A-BA-B-A-B…”) around the circle. All the ‘A’ children now move their chairs to face the ‘B’ children so that an inner and outer circle is formed. These pairs of children now have to discover three things that they both like and three things that they both dislike. When you re-form the larger circle, ‘A’ children can introduce their partner and recount what that they both like. ‘B’ children introduce their partner and recount the things they both dislike. This introduces a concept of shared experience and individual differences at a basic level.
(Pause) Now the carpet is soaring higher as you approach mountains. Look down and see the snow-covered peaks, crisp and white. Feel the cold air – it makes you shiver… (Pause) You see a group of skiers on a snowy slope. Imagine them sliding smoothly down, twisting this way and that. You can hear the swish of their skis as they move… (Pause) You are past the mountains now and the carpet drops down lower. You feel the air getting warmer and enjoy the sun on your back… (Pause) It is now time to travel home. You lie on your back and feel the gentle swaying of the carpet, thinking of all the things you have seen on your journey.”
Allow the children a few minutes to ‘come back’ to the classroom and then guide them quietly to the next lesson.
Cheering up: Ask the children to nominate other children who have worked well during the session and suggest that they receive a clap from the group.
Are You A Blocker?
xperience tells me when you want to teach teachers something new, or initiate change for improvement, you get at least three different reactions: # 1 : Te a c h e r s w h o a r e o p e n - m i n d e d , enthusiastic, inspiring, flexible and are passionate risk takers. They make things happen by having a ‘can do’ approach. #2: This set can be convinced and will change if they see the benefit for their learners (often the biggest group). #3: The cynics, sceptics, and even saboteurs. They focus on prob l e m s r a t h e r t h a n solutions. Deep down they feel threatened by any form of change or improvement which requires them to move out of their comfort zone. This group tend to think of change or improvement in terms of “What’s in it for me?” rather than the advantages for their students. I call this third group Blockers, and although they are usually small in number they can have a disproportionate influence and effect on the thinking and actions of other staff.
My bottom line on Blockers is that no teacher has the right to deny students access to ideas, tools, strategies and behaviours which will benefit them – this is what Blockers intentionally (or unintentionally) do.
Why do Blockers block? Here are 13 reasons, in no particular order and clearly some are interrelated: • because they feel forced to change or improve. They feel affronted, digging their toes in and refusing to change or see the need to improve. • because they have a fixation, believing that their job is to stuff student’s heads full of content knowledge to be regurgitated in internals and externals (rather than teaching kids how to think and learn new material so they can be effective producers of knowledge).
“ Deep down they feel threatened by any form of change or improvement which requires them to move out of their comfort zone.” • because their thinking is rooted in the past and flexibility is not seen as a necessary asset. • because they are tired teachers killing time and going through the motions. • because they lack vision and have closed minds. They limit themselves to doing only what they know. • because they like to play the devil’s advocate – they like to be picky and pedantic. These Blockers will not move in their thinking or actions unless there is 100% watertight evidence. They continually question but never action anything of consequence, defending their resistance by arguing that it’s unproven. • because they always ask “Why should I change or seek to improve? Look at my results! They are already good enough!”
• because they have failed to be convinced b y t h e ( o f t e n a d - h o c ) profe ssio nal development and leadership, which jumps on every bandwagon or gimmick.
• because they are not given the opportunity to access effective professional development which has ongoing support and development. The pace of change is too great. • because they are too busy and overworked. They are overwhelmed and overburdened by the demands of assessment and the unrelenting need to be accountable. They have simply run out of energy.
• because they have never had their talents and strengths as teachers acknowledged, praised or appreciated. • because those initiating or leading the change fail to recognise or appreciate that Blockers have skills and knowledge, failing to build on their existing good practice. The Blocker feels undervalued and pressured. • because the Blockers fail to understand that any new tool, technique or strategy doesn’t render their existing skill sets redundant but adds to their current skills to benefit students. Most Blockers wouldn’t see themselves as blocking progress, let alone admit to doing it intentionally. In reality there will be no single reason or excuse why Blockers block, rather a combination of factors. Teachers need to reflect honestly about these because how they think will determine how they act. I have sympathy for some of the reasons listed, but none for the excuses. To be honest, during my career I have been guilty of a number of actions and thoughts of a Blocker.
Why I am so concerned about the effect of Blockers? Because schools now have the ‘new’ New Zealand Curriculum. This is a document of real significance and vision. Its writers and creators are to be congratulated. It is forward thinking and really does provide a framework to benefit young New Zealanders – the adults of tomorrow. Yet the lack of professional development being provided for schools and teachers is scandalous.
to a level where this can happen is grossly inadequate. It will take a lot of time to embed the curriculum because there is a significant paradigm shift required. I’m not sure this has been widely grasped, judging by what has been done to introduce it so far. Imagine buying a brand new car, only to find when you get it home that it has no engine to power it. If we want to powerup the ideas, principles, vision and key competencies in the curriculum – and not just pay lip service to it with fancy Education Review Office approved documentation – then we must resource it with money and time. Otherwise it will simply become another Ministry of Education document sitting on shelves gathering dust. It is a fantastic blueprint to shape future schooling in New Zealand. It must however, become a working document and an action plan which teachers understand, buy in to and value if it is to deliver benefits to New Zealand students. To complement the NZ Curriculum are a series of books published by Secondary Futures. They are outstanding and will inspire readers who read them and reflect on their ideas. I recommend these materials
be widely read, understood and actioned in schools – they are very thought provoking. We cannot allow Blockers in our schools to delay, divert or sidetrack the implementation of the NZ Curriculum, or to dilute the enormous benefits it will have on the next generation of students. School leaders must become inspirational, knowledgeable and proactive, able to articulate (and action) the vision and intent of the document. They must be prepared to handle Blockers who choose unjustifiable and unacceptable excuses to resist and stifle the improvements which will enormously benefit learners. I am not one of the young guns in teaching. I’m nearing the end of my career and see in many ways we have over-complicated the job of teaching. The NZ Curriculum is a great opportunity to simplify things again and make them better for everyone. Please don’t be a Blocker.
“ We cannot allow Blockers to delay, divert or sidetrack the implementation of the NZ Curriculum.”
We have a world class document to take us forward as a nation, and teachers have to deliver on its purpose and intent. However the opportunity to be informed and trained
Teachers as Entrepreneurs in the New Co-Creative World
eachers seldom think of themselves as business entrepreneurs, but the world’s best teachers should.
Business Week magazine predicts lifelong learning – most of it online – as the world’s major new growth industry.
Cisco Systems’ astute CEO John Chambers is even more specific: “The next big killer application for the Internet is going to be education. Education over the Internet is going to be so big it is going to make email usage look like a rounding error in terms of the Internet capacity it is going to consume.”
A Cisco advertising headline is even more succinct: “One day, training for every job on earth will be available on the Internet. Are you ready?” To Nicholas Negroponte, co-founder and Director of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s MediaLab, that message is so obvious that “I’m convinced our greatgrandchildren will look back and wonder why we didn’t get it.”
The Harvard Business School’s leading expert on industrial innovation, Dr. Clayton M. Christensen, predicts that on present trends, 25 percent of all high school courses will be available online for everyone, of all ages, no later than 2014. By 2019, he says, it will be 50 per cent. Hundreds of new hi-tech skills courses will be among them. Significantly, his just-published new book, Disrupting Class, is subtitled: How disruptive innovation will change the way the world learns. If the world’s best teachers don’t prepare those billions of dollars worth of new learning programs, who will?
In solely statistical terms, the logic is obvious. The world currently has about 59 million K-12 teachers. In the growing world of digital economies, Silicon Valley experts agree that only around 2% of adults are innovators. Another 13% are ‘early adopters’. Around 70% are the slower-moving majority. The final 10% are laggards – who still haven’t caught up with colour television. So Silicon Valley venture-capital experts are always looking for those bright new ideas that are so simple they can easily spread from the early 15 percent to that vast majority.
“ Education over the Internet is going to be so big it is going to make email usage look like a rounding error in terms of the Internet capacity it is going to consume.”
So look at the arithmetic… 2% of 59 million equals 1,180,000 highly innovative school teachers: the ones who regularly go to seminars looking for new ideas; who regularly read magazines like this one. They are also the innovators always trying out great new lesson plans and teaching methods. They are also the ones who write textbooks. What will be the ‘textbooks’ of the twentyfirst century? Simple: the kind of highquality interactive digital learning tools that are already revolutionising so many aspects of society. Now do some more basic arithmetic. The average student spends only 20% of his or her waking hours inside a school classroom. The other four-fifths of time is spent in a different world: the world of Nintendo, Playstation, YouTube, Facebook and Google – and the soaring new world of high-quality, advanced interactive learning games. Not the first-generation games like the early-childhood fill-in-the-blanks Math Blaster and Reading Blaster, but the new generation-two games like Sim City and, by the end of this year, Spoor – by Sims creator Will Wright. Sim City has already sold 100 million copies. With it, instead of studying the history of ancient Rome or the San Francisco earthquake, students can actually recreate ancient Rome or remodel the impact of earthquakes. With Spoor, anyone will be able to create a new universe. Students, of course, already ‘get it’. They live every day in the new interactive world. Only when they go into most classrooms around the world each day do they enter yesterday’s world: the world of blackboards, chalk and lectures - only the blackboard is now green.
Most adults over forty don’t get it, because they grew up in a different world. Most classrooms have changed little since Comenius invented the ‘modern school’ around 350 years ago.
It’s only a short further step to ‘personalise’ such learning-games so that any player can also insert one’s own preferred learning style—and have the game tailored to your own needs.
But thousands of brilliant teachers – in particular, ‘subject specialists’ – do get it. They have played a leading part, since 2001, in creating the biggest encyclopedia in history, Wikipedia. So far they have co-created well over 10 million articles – about 2.5 million in English alone. All are available instantly online for free.
That’s where Harvard’s Christensen sees the big future in educational games for the life-long adding of new skills at any age: the mass personalisation of every lesson.
So far, Wikipedia is mainly in traditional encyclopediaformat, but inside a very simple software platform that enables any passionate person, with detailed knowledge, to keep adding to its impact. It’s only a very short step from that to cocreating interactive online learning material, both for free distribution and for income.
If you think that won’t affect teaching, think again. As a long-time bridge player, I have yet to meet a bridge master who is a good teacher. Why?
“ Instead of studying the history of ancient Rome or the San Francisco earthquake, students can actually recreate ancient Rome or remodel the impact of earthquakes.”
Take popular games as an example, like bridge and chess. In chess, the most popular CD-ROMs and online games enable any user to dial into one’s own level – from beginner to world master – and to play against the computer. In bridge, fans can select a game by a world master and seek sensible tips throughout from the same master. They can even replay each game to see what should have been done.
Because bridge masters think in mathematical symbols. When ‘teaching’ they scribble those shorthand symbols on a blackboard or flip chart, and wonder why their new learners don’t ‘get it’. They cannot see the coloured playing cards: the master’s mathematical teaching style is completely different to most new player’s learning style.
The answer for teaching bridge and any other subject? Marry up the world’s best teachers with the world’s best experts in interactive technology. Often they will be your brightest students.
Integrating Educational Technologies into Your Classroom
n each issue we profile a simple but powerful activity designed to help integrate technology into your classroom.
Here are some examples of what teachers from Gisborne Intermediate did after just a couple of hours of professional development: http://www.teachertube.com/search_result. php?search_id=breathetechnology
Stop Motion Animation – turn your students into animators
There are three different types of animation you can do:
Following on from time lapse animation in Teachers Matter Issue 2, this time we look at stop motion animation, the ultimate tool for stimulating creativity in the classroom. What is stop motion animation? Stop motion is made by taking lots of individual pictures of a scene and running them together so fast that it appears that inanimate objects are moving. It sounds simple and technically it is pretty straightforward but the learning involved is huge. Students can make animations to:
1. Pen and ink animation involves drawing a sketch, taking a photo or three, editing the drawing slightly and taking another shot or three. A Geometrical example: http://www. youtube.com/watch?v=6_Gf8SevJss 2. Cut out animation means creating the characters and scenery from paper. Thus you take a photo or three of the scene, move a character slightly and take another photo or three. Example on the theme of Africa: http:// www.youtube.com/watch?v=QN9-RhL8pDE
• explain processes • act out stories they have created or books they have been studying
• show how they should handle different situations such as bullying or saying no to drugs
• bring anything that you have been focusing on in class to life
“ This kind of activity will appeal to all learning styles and cater for multiple intelligences.”
3. Object animation, with claymation being the most popular (you make the characters and set from clay). Examples of getting your message across: http://www.youtube. com/profile_ videos?user=claymot
Embedded in all these activities will be creativity and problem solving as they work collaboratively on their projects. This kind of activity will appeal to all learning styles and cater for multiple intelligences.
Whatever the nature of the project, it will also make children more aware of audience and purpose. The students will need to learn to focus on the important details and ensure clarity in order to get their information, message or story across.
Ingredients • Webcam with built-in mike or a digital video camera • Tripod to stop the video camera shaking (or I have my camera gaffer-taped onto a lamp!) • One computer • Speakers • Software to capture the animation: There are a number available to download for free – two common ones are Anasazi StopMotion Animator (PC) or SingleFramer 2.4 (Mac) For purchase: Animator DV or Stop Motion Pro (PC) or iStopMotion (Mac) • Software to edit your final movie: Movie Maker (PC) or iMovieHD (Mac) • Pen and ink: pen(s) and whiteboard – easier to edit the drawings using a whiteboard. Mini whiteboards from stationery stores are perfect. • Cut out: lots of different coloured paper and glue • Object animation: plasticine
Step by step Whole class: practice As with much educational technology, it is recommended that you have a test run as a whole class first. This way you can iron out any technical difficulties before you hand the project over to the students.
Group work: the making of In their groups they plan their animation. A presentation of their storyboard to the class is always a good idea to spot any areas where the message or storyline blurs and to see if their classmates have any other good ideas that they could incorporate. The next step is to build the set (or draw the set for pen and ink), make characters and any props they might require. Then they film their project, edit the movie and finally show to their audience.
Students edit their stop motion animated movie.
You can demonstrate what happens if the lighting isnâ€™t right or if the tripod moves, as well as exactly how many shots you need to take to make a decent length animation. You need a minimum of 12 frames per second, with 24 frames per second being nearer the norm to produce a smooth animation. So thereâ€™s your numeracy: for a one minute animation, how many frames will you need? Choose something quite straightforward that does not involve a lot of planning. The geometrical shapes example is a good one. Then follow these steps: 1. Set up your tripod so it is in front of, or overlooking, your whiteboard. You can use your big class whiteboard for the whole class animation so that everyone can see. 2. Check lighting. 3. On the whiteboard have a student draw the first shape, e.g. a circle. 4. Capture the first picture. It may be worth taking three or four shots to make editing easier. 5. Get another student to come up and change the drawing e.g. divide the circle
into halves. Take another picture or four. 6. Have one student operate the computer and take the frames whilst the other students line up and quickly edit the picture in turn. Continue until every student has had a go. 7. Import the movie into Movie Maker or iMovie and add credits, titles and music. Whole class: preparation and planning Now the students have an idea of what can be achieved. Supplement this by giving them some time on Teacher Tube to look at other animations or where this website is restricted, choose some examples to show them. Explain the stages they have to go through to develop their animation. They will need to chose a theme, create a story or message and then storyboard their animation.
In the same vein as the time lapse recipe, the more genuine the audience, the more motivated the students to produce something high quality. Before The secret to being a successful cook is preparation! 1. Software installation Downloading the software and connecting the video device is the most complicated part of the above process but there is lots of help online and donâ€™t forget the twenty-odd wonderful resources you have sitting in your classroom! If you have purchased software simply follow the instructions. Alternatively, for to access free downloadable software try these weblinks: PC Users: Download the software from http://www.clayanimator.com/english/ stop_motion_animator.html. Plug in your video capture device (webcam or digital video) and then open the software. You should see a video capture window and a control panel titled Animator.
You may want to use a rubric for the storyboarding process and you could use or adapt the one on http://rubistar.4teachers. org/index.php. This is probably the most important part of the learning and is vital to the success of the project. It can be a very visual plan so will usually appeal to all learners.
When you have finished press <Done>. Save your clip where you will find it again. Do not click <Cancel> at this point or you will lose your clip. Import your movie into Movie Maker for editing. More detailed instructions (and a link to the newer download) can be found here: http://www.brickfilms.com/wiki/ index.php?title=Using_Anasazi_Stop_ Motion_Animator Mac users: Download Single Framer 2.4 from http://www.versiontracker.com/ dyn/moreinfo/macosx/28460. This is the same software featured in Issue 2 for the time lapse recipe. (This is a slightly older version of the software but seems to be the most stable on my PC)
Click <Start>, capture three or four frames and then move or edit your star of the show. Take some more shots and repeat as required.
All the different types of animation software give you the option of ‘onion skinning’. This term describes a process used by animators to overlay a translucent version of the previous frame over the top of the next shot to improve precision. The term originally described the thin paper that traditional animators used so that
“ T h e r e ’s y o u r numeracy: for a one minute animation, how many frames will you need?”
they could overlay the different frames over a light source to achieve the same effect. 2. Once you have the software installed and your video device connected, you are in business. Every student in your class can try their hand at being an animator. Warning: it is addictive!
by Educators for Educators Become a more effective educator by embracing technology in your learning environment. Web 2.0, Video, IWBs, Eportfolios and much more!
Request professional development with Breathe Technology today. Phone: 07 927 2260 Fax: 07 927 2264 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Answers Quiz Questions
Agatha is a new-born baby
The word ‘wholesome’
‘Fluoridation’ has 12 letters. Did you find one longer?
Creating Visual Materials to Support Learning
How purposeful are you about the learning outcomes you want when producing visual material for the classroom? How do you support and encourage learning with visual material? Graphic elements (including images, icons, colour, shapes, etc.) are often used as decoration or as a way of adding interest and vibrancy, which does contribute to an engaging learning environment. Another approach is to look at graphic elements as information, not just decoration. This is the information that helps the student understand and remember learning content clearly and quickly. It can help them make connections, see a big picture and even extend their thinking. When incorporating graphic elements with text in a way that supports learning (understanding, retention and recall), here are four principles to keep in mind with some tips as to how the principles may be applied.
Present information in chunks
We all learn best when information is presented in smaller units or blocks of information.
Instead of having an ongoing flow of text or list of words, look at how information can be grouped. When using a whiteboard, see if text can be written in blocks of three or four words, rather than a longer line. When appropriate, use a different colour for different blocks of text.
Highlight the essence of the chunk Select the key word or phrase as the essence of a chunk of information. According to Prof. J. Graham Beaumont, “Recalling something begins with remembering part of what you want to recall.” Notice how the essence of these four principles are highlighted, rather than the whole sentence.
Maintain a consistent and logical framework Consistency in a single piece or series of visuals will greatly contribute towards clarity and speed of understanding. The learner is not wasting time sorting the information.
Highlighting can be by making text bold, using a colour code, underlining, or incorporating a border.
It is important to have a consistent approach to the essence you highlight. For instance, select all nouns or all verbs – depending on the information you want to reinforce.
Select what you want to anchor with an image.
If you have introduced a coding system (for instance colour, type of bullets, style of headings or sub-headings, etc.), then maintain that throughout a series of visuals.
Information is easier to understand and remember when it is presented in both words and images. People will tend to look at images first then the detail.
Have I selected the really important text?
As more attention is given to images than words, be selective about what images you use. For instance, choose an image to reinforce desired behaviour, not one that the learner is to avoid. Make sure that the selected image reinforces the information you want the learner to retain.
In reviewing your material ask yourself:
How can break the infor mation into chunks? What is the essence to highlight? What learning do I want to anchor with an image? Have I maintained consistency throughout my material? Am I applying a logical framework? Is it simple and clear?
“ Look at graphic elements as information, not just decoration.”
Simplicity Resist the temptation to overload visual material with graphic elements. Busyness caused by such things as too many and competing colours, mixing a variety of icons or graphics styles, and unnecessary highlighting can create too much information for the learner to grasp. The eyes glaze over and the learning opportunity is lost.
So what is the aim? It is selective simplicity â€“ choosing the elements to communicate important messages effectively and improve learning outcomes.
â€œRecalling something begins with remembering part of what you want to recall.â€?
Parenting the Modern Generation
um challenged: “It’s time to make some decisions. What are you going to do with your life?”
Dad offered: “When I was your age, I at least had some ideas!”
Does this sound familiar? As good parents, we want the answers for our kids, and of course we want the best for them. But if we only have our own experiences to draw on, there are some unique challenges facing our kids today that we may be unprepared for.
With the fast pace and constant change of life today, many families are barely surviving. Parents cope with life/work balance and financial pressures, plus the need to play an inspiring role as ‘the parent’ as well as managing their ‘own life’. As the teenage years approach, it feels as though the treadmill gets faster, day-to-day issues become magnified and coping skills become outdated. So what can you do as a parent to encourage your young adult to share themselves with you – just like they did when they were two, seven or as recently as last year?
Secure your own oxygen mask first Just as they instruct during the safety demonstration for air travel, you must fit your own oxygen mask first. Otherwise you will run out of air long before you’ve finished helping your children with their mask. Stop for a moment and look at your life. Is it as good as you want it to be? Are you fulfilled? Is it completely chaotic? Be the parent your kids choose to look up to. Your kids will watch you. They will see you laugh and enjoy life. Whatever you do will become ‘normal’ and that’s what they will create in their lives in their own way. If they observe you having good loving relationships, then this will become normal for them.
You have to live the great life first. Disharmony is most likely to threaten your family unity when you are so immersed in your own daily grind that you can’t hear what is happening in the lives of your children.
Stop telling them what to do Don’t tell your young adult what to do. The hardest part in the teen/parent relationship is the breaking away point when your teen wants to be their own person. At this time, you can no longer simply tell them what to do. I don’t mean stop providing boundaries; instead guide them to make their own resourceful choices. Enforce the idea of consequences for actions taken – for both good and bad decisions.
“ There are some unique challenges facing our kids today that we may be unprepared for.”
Use questions and let them come up with the answers. For example, instead of saying “You should do this course,” try asking “If you do that course, where will that take you?” They already know what they want, it just might not be as easy for them to verbalise it. They might even be scared that you will laugh at them or disapprove.
Learn to speak to them in their own language I know one mother who refers to her son’s way of communicating, including his use of body language, moods, expressions as ‘Nicholas-ology’. Another parent refers to her daughter’s funny ways as ‘Susan-isms’. How we see the world can be very different from the way our parents did. We shape our personalities and communication methods to suit our unique lives, so it’s only natural that we develop our individual ‘-ism’ or ‘-ology’, which parenting skills are always going to be a generation behind understanding. If the way to harmony and best results in the business world is through better recognition of each other’s strengths, weaknesses, work styles and habits, then surely the same should be true for families. In my coaching practice working with families in conflict, the best place to start is nearly always determining why a ‘square’ (detail oriented) parent is constantly in conflict with a ‘squiggle’ (creative) child. This is not to say that opposing personality types can’t learn to share space, time and valuable family lives together. In fact, many long-term and happy couples are directly opposite each other on the personality board. They just need to learn how to manage each other’s quirks within their own worlds. When was the last time you truly considered all the things you actually love and respect about your young adult?
“ Be the parent your kids choose to look up to.” Listen to their dreams
having good work habits, and the concept of life-long learning.
The dreams of your children’s generation will shape the world’s future. It’s in our interest for them to dream big. It’s our responsibility to foster those dreams and do what we can for them to become real. Just because we can’t see something or don’t understand it, doesn’t mean it’s not real. Every new idea starts with a dream.
Where would you like to have more time, freedom, better relationships and balance in your life? How much do your beliefs, habits, values and lifestyle currently contribute to ‘what you have’ versus ‘what you want’? If there is room for change, take charge of that change!
Repay the belief. Believe in them as much as they believed in you when they were first born and you were all they knew.
What did we learn at school?
Consider what you are passing onto your kids, and see if they could benefit from the changes you make in your own life. At the very least, they will see that change is possible and that options are unlimited. If you want your kids to have a great life, it starts with you.
Common old beliefs have brought us to this point, where record numbers of adults and children are relying on prescription medicine for depression; people totally change their career on average every decade; and high school drop-outs continue to head the rich lists in every Western nation. Did it really work for us to learn that we should ‘Get good marks at school so we could get a good job’? This is no longer true. The academic system is only working for academically minded people. Another adage we were taught is that ‘The road to financial success is through hard work’. And yet the biggest issue not being addressed by schools now is teaching young adults about financial literacy. ‘You can’t have your cake and eat it too’. Who said so? We should be telling our kids they can have it all. All that holds them back is a belief in their ability to achieve what they really want, plus the skills they’re not learning in school: goal setting, persistence,
I’ll Always Be Fit and Healthy - Or I’ll Die Trying! I’ve decided how I want to die: I’ll be having a rest just after I’ve swum a world record, eaten a lovely meal and made love to my wonderful wife.
hen I emigrated to New Zealand in 2003 I thought I’d retire and take things easy. Our UK businesses had been very stressful and I vowed never to run a business again. The plan was that we would relax, dabble in a few investments and just enjoy ourselves. Well, retirement lasted about 3 weeks when I discovered how easy it is to get bored.
I got involved in the booming property market and started speaking again. I discovered that it wasn’t business itself that was stressful, it was the way I’d been running the businesses. These days I work just as hard as I did back in the UK but I operate my business in a less stressful way. I’m glad I went through that process because it has taught me a great lesson. Like a lot of people I never want to retire - I’ll just become more choosey as to when and where I work and what I do with my time.
I think we need to take on the same approach to our health and fitness. One of the problems many people have with exercise programmes and diets is they think they are a temporary change to their life, so as soon as they have achieved their weight
“ What strain do you think, having 25% of the population over 65, will be placed on the health system?”
loss and fitness goals they’ll be able to go back to their old lifestyle again. Let’s examine the facts: The lifestyle you’ve been leading up to now has brought you what results? If you’re being honest you might say that your current results are that you are overweight and unfit. Why will changing that lifestyle for just a few months have any long term effect on the results you’re getting? Do you really think that once you’ve lost the weight you’ll be able to go back to eating the doughnuts and drinking the beer the way you used to? Once you’ve achieved your fitness goals will you be able to stop exercising and take things easy for the rest of your life but stay fit and healthy? What we are looking at here is a permanent lifestyle change and for some people that’s really scary. Some people get quite motivated, very often around New Year, so they start to exercise and change their eating habits. Things go well for a few
“ Suddenly their language changes and you can tell that they are a different person: they’ve become a non-smoker.” days or even weeks. They enjoy the novelty of this new approach but then they wake up a bit late one morning and give training a miss or they feel a bit hungry and buy a pie and a chocolate bar at the local dairy. At this stage, if you’re anything like me you’ll be saying to yourself something like:
of stress. I’ve noticed that their language at this stage is always tentative, they say things like: I’m going to try to give up next week.
Missing one training session won’t hurt, I’ll catch up tomorrow.
I’m taking things one day at a time and I’ll see how I get on.
One pie will be fine, I’ll just make sure I don’t have a big dinner tonight.
I’m doing OK so far, I’ve not had a cigarette in 3 days.
Unfortunately if we aren’t careful that one missed training session or that one pie is the start of the end. I’m sure you agree that this is an attitude rather than an activity problem. If, the day you start a health and fitness programme, you make a decision that your life is going to permanently change from this moment onwards, then missing a training session or buying a pie are no longer options.
They almost always fail using this ‘trying’ approach. One day something amazing happens: they make a big decision, a permanent decision that they will never smoke again. Suddenly their language changes and you can tell that they are a different person: they’ve become a non-smoker.
I’m not talking about ‘trying a new diet’ or ‘giving an exercise programme your best shot’. I’m referring to making a decision to change for ever. I’m talking about complete and total commitment to a new lifestyle. I’m sure you’ll modify what you do as you get fitter and healthier but I’m referring to stepping over a line and never stepping back. If you make this decision correctly you’ll find that the changes won’t be anywhere near as difficult as they have been when you’ve tried before. Sure you’ll still get the cravings for the unhealthy food and the desire to stay in bed instead of exercising but the decision you made to permanently change your life will rule your thinking. I’m sure you’ve noticed this difference with people who have given up smoking. A number of friends of mine have ‘tried’ to give up on numerous occasions but have always gone back to the old habit in times
Very often that decision is brought about by some soul searching or an external experience but once they’ve made it they have changed as a person. They have drawn a line in the sand, stepped over it and you know they’ll never step back. You can always tell when people make this sort of decision, they say different things: I’ve quit that filthy habit for ever. Don’t smoke anywhere near me, I hate it. I love the feeling in my lungs from being smoke free. If you want to achieve your health and fitness goals then I believe you’re going to need to make this type of decision yourself. It’s not the sort of thing you can enter into lightly so I suggest you give this some deep thought and really look at the changes you will need to make to your lifestyle. This decision will affect just about every part of your life, where and when you eat, who you spend your time with, how you behave at work, what you do in your spare time, how you dress, maybe even where you go on holiday. You’ll need to consider how this decision will impact on your family and friends and whose support you may need to enlist. You should also consider how much this lifestyle change will cost you; how much money will your exercising programme require? What new clothes and shoes will you need to buy? What’s the cost of the new types of food going to be? What’s the cost of vitamin and mineral supplementation? If you are feeling a little pressured at this point thinking that this decision is something that you might like to postpone then perhaps it’s time to give your self some external motivation. Let’s consider some of the outcomes and costs of not making this decision to change your lifestyle.
In 2007 just under 12% of the population in New Zealand was over 65 years of age and the government has stated that within 40 years that figure will be over 25%. Today the average man is living to the ripe old age of 84 and the average women will reach 88, but as we all know we are living longer and longer. What age will you be in 40 years time and if you don’t start to take care of yourself right now, how much will you be relying on the national health system? What strain do you think, having 25% of the population over 65, will be placed on the health system by then? Obviously health care isn’t going to get any cheaper and if you can’t afford to go private, when you reach your 80’s and 90’s you’ll be competing with a quarter of the population for the care and attention you’ll need. What sort of service do you think you might expect to get by then? Watching what’s been happening to the pensions system operating in other countries and with our rising population numbers you have to ask yourself the question:
“ I never want to retire - I’ll just become more choosey as to when and where I work and what I do with my time.” When you reach retirement will state pensions still be available to you? If there are no state pensions and you’ve not made other provisions does that mean that you’ll have to remain working? How fit and healthy will you need to be in order to work into your 70’s and 80’s? I’ve heard so many old people talk about ensuring that when they die they can leave some money for their children and grandchildren. Although that’s very magnanimous I very much doubt if the vast majority of our generation will be able to do it. It’s great to know that the health system is constantly finding more ways to help us stay healthy and live longer but unfortunately this will put huge strain on individual financial situations and on governments to provide health care for the elderly.
Cambridge University professor, Aubrey de Grey, has recently made an amazing prediction. In his opinion the first human to live to be more than 1000 years old has already been born. Now that sounds a little far fetched to me but as a professor at one of the most prestigious universities in the world I’ve got to give him some credibility. Let’s say that he’s only half right and that medicine will advance so much over the next few years that people will start living to the age of 500. What age will you reach and how fit and healthy will you need to be? When do you think it might be a good idea to start getting in shape? Do you fell a little more motivated to make that decision now? Because… if you can’t find a little time now for some exercise, make sure you put aside a lot of time later in your life for illness.
If you think 70 is too old to climb Everest, 83 is too old to complete an Ironman triathlon or you think getting fat is what happens to us as we get older, then it’s time to throw those beliefs away and read LIFE IS FOR LIVING by John Shackleton.
You’ll discover: How to set achievable health and ﬁtness goals whatever your age. Why you get fat at the supermarket. How to prioritise your own health needs to ﬁt around your family and work commitments. John Shackleton is an author and speaker with a Sports Psychology background who teaches audiences how to use their brain more effectively to achieve whatever they want. He practices what he preaches too, achieving personal best times in his own sport, swimming, at the age of 50.
Available from www.spectrumeducation.com
Professor Rodney Ford
Sick, Tired or Grumpy? Do you, your child or student have ongoing health or behaviour problems?
ate was suffering from excessive tiredness, putting it down to her youngest child not sleeping through the night. She also felt bloated a lot of the time, and had bouts of terrible indigestion. Her oldest son (aged 7) was very tired and grumpy. He frequently complained of a sore tummy and wasn’t doing that well at school. His moody and cranky brother (aged 3) was troubled with eczema, poor sleeping and food allergies. Feeling too tired to manage and knowing she wasn’t coping well, Kate searched desperately for help with the behaviour issues of her boys. She was surprised when I suggested the symptoms were probably linked together, and caused by sensitivity to gluten. Kate agreed to blood tests for the children, and looked skeptical when I suggested she get tested too! With nothing to lose, she agreed and found all three of them had very high levels of anti-gliadin antibodies. Since changing their diets to gluten-free they have more energy and are enjoying life more. As a consultant paediatrician and allergy specialist, I commonly see exhausted parents with tired children from grumpy families. These grumpy children are difficult to deal with, are often run-down (catching everything that is going around) and may have a distended tummy. Their parents attribute their own constant tiredness to being hassled by their children. Why is that such a common problem?
“ Parents attribute their own constant tiredness to being hassled by their children.”
Clinical data now shows that the most common explanation for these grumpy families is an adverse reaction to gluten. This is called ‘gluten-sensitivity’, or ‘The Gluten Syndrome’. From my research, it is a very common problem – affecting about one in every ten people – but those affected believe their chronic symptoms are
‘normal’. They do not recognise they have a problem. In susceptible people, gluten-sensitivity is caused by eating gluten foods such as bread, pasta, cookies, pizza and other wheat-based items. The symptoms caused by gluten are far-ranging and can develop at any age: recurrent abdominal bloating and pain, gastric reflux, chronic diarrhoea, constipation, weight loss, bone or joint pain, fatigue, depression and irritability, seizures, tingling or numbness in the hands or legs, itchy skin rashes and eczema. Nearly everyone who gets sick from gluten experiences a degree of tiredness and irritability. The challenge in diagnosing glutensensitivity (and coeliac disease) is that it affects people in a number of different ways. Also, the symptoms can be similar to those of other diseases. My contention that gluten causes a huge amount of ill health is not embraced by all of my medical colleagues. The teachings of the medical profession have only concentrated on the condition coeliac disease, but new data that is currently being presented around the world. One of the leading gluten/coeliac researchers in the USA – Professor Alessio Fasano – says, “Reactions to gluten are not always because of celiac disease. Many patients report that their symptoms resolve once they embrace a gluten-free diet even when celiac disease has been ruled out. Growing clinical evidence suggests that these cases may be related to gluten sensitivity, a new form of food reaction.” A simple blood test (the IgG-gliadin antibody test) can make the diagnosis. If positive, a three month trial on a gluten-free diet can make an amazing difference.
Health and Wellbeing for Male Teachers Health issues for men are multi-faceted
any male teachers will be fully aware that year-round good health and endless daily energy are your most critical ‘teaching tools’.
obesity; occupational stress; family history of coronary heart disease, hypertension or other cardiac events; high cholesterol levels and high alcohol consumption.
Although nothing beats having a ‘Warrant of Fitness’ from your local GP, there are a number of risk-identification alerts and solution-strategies for men to think about in the quest to stay healthy.
The good news though is that aerobic exercise, weight loss and healthy nutrition make a huge difference! If you do have high blood pressure (higher than 140/80) and you have medical clearance to do some aerobic exercise you can lower systolic blood pressure (the top figure) by at least 10mmHg and diastolic blood pressure (the bottom figure) by around 6-8mmHg over about a 12 week period of regular exercise.
In terms of risk-identification, it’s important to recognise the ‘big three’ killers for males in New Zealand: • cardiovascular disease (which includes coronary heart disease and stroke) • colo-rectal cancer • prostate cancer Overall, approximately 12,000 deaths (about 40%) in New Zealand are due to cardiovascular disease in both males and females. There are also approximately 14,000 hospital discharges each year for cardiovascular disease: 10,000 from patients with coronary heart disease and 4,000 from patients with stroke.
Prostate cancer has developed as a significant public health issue in New Zealand. It is the most commonly diagnosed cancer in New Zealand men and the third most common cause of male cancer deaths. It accounts for 3.8% of all male deaths in New Zealand, with about two-thirds of these occurring in men aged 75 years and older.
So with these ‘big three’ killers in mind, you need to be aware of the following ‘red alerts’, especially if you have let your fitness and health decline over the years:
Hypertension Risk Commonly known ‘triggers’ for hypertension or high blood pressure include past and present smoking; abdominal adiposity (fat around the abdominal region) and/or
As well, aerobic exercise and a healthy, highfibre eating plan can boost the ‘good’ HDL cholesterol and lower the ‘bad’ LDL cholesterol by around 20%, reducing cardiovascular risk by as much as 25% over 5 years.
Cholesterol Risk Detection of hyper-lipidemia (high levels of harmful fats in the blood) requires blood tests which should include total and HDL (good) cholesterol. Ideally, HDL (good) cholesterol needs to be higher than 1.0mm/l and the total cholesterol should be no higher than 5.0mm/l. Male teachers, especially those who are over 35 years old, have put on abdominal weight and are at risk of ‘burn-out’ from stress, should regularly undergo cholesterol testing in order to ascertain their coronary heart disease health status and risk.
Abdominal Adiposity Fat distribution has become more prominent as a measurement of coronary heart disease risk for males. Research suggests that abdominal fat may be more important with respect to predicting heart disease risk than overall obesity. Middle-aged men who are carrying excess fat around their waistline are known to be at increased risk of having a heart attack compared to those with fat elsewhere on the body. A new study measured 1,346 Finnish men aged 42 to 60 years and found that men with
the highest waist-to-hip ratio had a nearly threefold risk of coronary events compared to men with lower waist-to-hip ratios. Waistto-hip ratios are calculated by measuring the circumference of the waist and dividing it by the circumference of the hips. During the 10-year study, the researchers found that abdominal obesity was more strongly associated with heart attack and chest pain than obesity in general or waist circumference. Many exercise specialists training male clients are now routinely measuring waist and hip girths to assess the cardiac risk in their clients.
Physical Inactivity We all know that physical inactivity has become a health risk, but the struggle comes with having the time and energy to do something about it. Regular physical activity is associated with a decreased risk of colon cancer as well as prostate cancer. So get moving and keep moving! And it’s not just walking around the play-ground: more and more health research supports the need to get at least 20-30 minutes of more ‘vigorous activity’ into our weekly schedules on at least two days.
Health-Related Quality of Life The term ‘health-related quality of life’ includes the following dimensions: cognitive, social, physical and emotional functioning. The most direct effects of physical activity on quality of life are related to psychological well-being and include improvements in self-esteem, mood, perceived ability to perform daily activities, perceived physical state and perceived symptoms such as dyspepsia, pain, fatigue and energy, and to a limited extent, cognitive function.
The strength of these relationships has been found to be directly related to the length of time that participants are involved in physical activity programmes.
Your Personal Healthy Checklist It’s never too late to think about your health, especially if workloads are creeping up and you ‘never find the time’ to put into you.
Explore lifestyle related weight gain – if your weight has been creeping up over time, then you need to change your nutrition (reduce the total Kilojoules) and increase your energy expenditure (exercise). A busy week and perceived stress increase your weight as you often eat more and sleep less – your body may be overproducing a hormone called ‘cortisol’. This is often the culprit in life-style related weight gain.
Identify and justify indications and risk for hypertension (high blood pressure) and hypercholesterolemia (high cholesterol). See your GP – don’t put it off!
fitness matters! Endorphin release is a priority for stress management. If you don’t require medical clearance, then cardio workouts are the key to releasing your ‘feel-good’ hormones. Build up the intensity of your workouts over a period of 4-6 weeks and this more moderate-vigorous cardio zone will stimulate the endorphin response and enhance your mood.
Prioritise your core (abdominal) strength and seek treatment for any low back pain. Improving posture and strengthening your core, abdominal and back muscles will greatly enhance your health, performance and energy. Learn the exercises to do from a qualified trainer or physio.
Stay strong. It’s essential to preserve and develop lean muscle, especially for men who sit in classrooms or offices for most of the day. By gaining some muscle your metabolism is greatly increased at rest – this means you have more energy and burn more calories whilst resting!
Incorporate relaxation and flexibility strategies into your weekly goals. You’re going to say “I don’t have time”, however simple yoga stretches, tai-chi, Pilates or better still, a massage, will enhance your week-to-week recovery.
Increase your high-energy (but low fat) and high-nutrient (vitamins and minerals) foods. Increase your fibre, add essential fatty acids (such as flax-seed oil or Fish-oils) and vital anti-oxidants to your daily eating and feel your energy increase!
Hydration is critical. 6-8 glasses of water daily is still a good guideline. Most importantly, take time out and plan your year so that in school holidays you focus on the simple things – adequate rest, fresh-air, regular exercise (at differing intensities) and healthy nutrition.
How to Be a Great Public Speaker
“ You can learn facts and figures, but you cannot learn passion.”
have heard teachers comment that they don’t mind being in front of the classroom teaching, but to speak in front of a crowd – even at school assembly – stresses them. If you can relate to that feeling of apprehension, the following principles may help quell your nervousness. They were given to me when I started public speaking 17 years ago, and have served me well as I developed my craft (even winning ‘Speaker of the Year’ awards!).
Passion People can think being a professional speaker looks glamorous and fun, with an attractive lifestyle. So they ask “How can I become a speaker?”
Becoming a speaker is an evolution. You don’t wake up one day, decide to be a speaker and then read books, learn funny stories, and regurgitate other people’s material.
Some great actors may be able to pull this off, but for most people their message is empty. You can tell when you’re in the audience – their message doesn’t ring true. You can learn facts and figures, but you cannot learn passion. It comes from within. Examine your life to find your passion. Ask yourself what gets you up in the morning, and what gets you so excited you simply can’t keep quiet. Your passion is fed from your purpose, and your purpose should be
larger than your speaking career. Speaking is just one way to fulfil your purpose. Every time you give a presentation, ask yourself “Is this coming from my purpose?” If the answer is yes, you will be unforgettable on the platform.
Instead, try this: it’s a method that allows you to have everything you need in front of you, in case your mind goes blank. The PIER © system (devised by Florence Littauer) allows for flexibility in timing, group size, etc and means you do not write your speech out word for word.
Speakers become more natural and animated as they tell stories from their own lives.
Personal examples add energy to your presentation. They tell the audience you know what you are talking about, that you have ‘been there’. Be sure to use these liberally throughout your speech.
Preparation Passion and personal examples are valuable tools, but if you don’t prepare, you may gush on enthusiastically with no real point or purpose. The key to preparation is to know your subject well. Florence Littauer, a wellrespected speaker and motivator believes you should have ten hours of information in our head for every one hour that you speak. This may sound extreme, but it does ensure you know your topic well. Novice speakers fear their mind will go blank so write out their speeches word for word. The audience can feel offended by this – the speech simply could have been emailed to them!
Example Reference Imagine looking at your audience and they are looking back at you like a sea of faces. The goal is to make your presentation stick out (in the minds) like a pier sticks out into the ocean from the beach. By remembering the PIER© acronym you can be assured that all the ingredients needed for an effective presentation are at your fingertips, arranged to allow for flexibility.
P = Point As you prepare your speech, start with the main ideas you wish to convey to your audience. When collected together, these individual points become the main points of your outline. Ask yourself, “What are the key things I want the audience to remember?” Say you answer with three ideas. Take three separate pieces of paper and write one idea
across the top of each sheet. At this place in your preparation, your single ideas may come to you in the form of a question, a single word, a thought, or complete sentence. All these become your Points. About 4cm down the page from each point write ‘I’ in the margin 4cm below the I, write ‘E’
E = Example If you give your audience a Point and Instruct them how to do it but quit there, you may come across as someone hard to relate to. To show the audience that you know what you’re talking about – that you’ve been there – include a personal story that exemplifies the principle. Share your own struggles and how you overcame them. People remember stories much better than plain points. Jot down a few key words to remind you which story you intend to tell with each point.
4 cm down from the E, write ‘R’
I = Instruction How are the listeners going to make your concept a part of their lives? These answers become your instructions. Write down the main techniques you want the audience to learn. Since these ideas are from your head and should be something you have studied or experienced, they will be concepts you know well. Therefore you don’t have to write them down. Just having the key steps, you can glance at your notes and be reminded of the things you intend to communicate.
R = Reference So far all we have discussed are your own ideas. Reference allows you to back up what you are saying and give it more authority. Use magazine articles, resource books, etc.
Make your points easier to remember. You could give your presentation with one point being a question, another as a single word, and another being a thought. However when there is no continuity between your points they are not as clear for your listeners to catch or as easy for them to remember. Once you have found the subject area of your passion, peppered it with the vitality of personal examples, prepared your message, and crafted the presentation together, you are ready to practice. When you prepare your speech using the PIER© system you can be confident that you have included everything you need for a strong presentation, with the freedom and flexibility that is the sign of a professional.
Have the actual article in your hand and read from it. The visual stimulation adds variety for the audience and affirms your source.
Are your children reaching their Literacy Potential? Letterland is the most child-friendly, multi-sensory way of teaching children alphabet knowledge, reading and writing Find out why hundreds of New Zealand schools are now using this resource Contact us now for a FREE coloured catalogue or check out our website:
www.letterland.co.nz Wakelin Education Services, email@example.com, phone 03 307 7473
the last word
Motivation and Rewards: Do Stickers, Stamps and Stars Really Work? Karen Boyes
o external and internal rewards really work? How does the brain like to be rewarded? Is motivation permanent?
frontal lobe of the brain and triggers the release of pleasure chemicals like dopamine and endorphins. This self-reward reinforces the desired behaviour.
A world leader in Accelerated Learning and Brain Based Research, Eric Jensen suggests motivation – or lack of it – in our classrooms is often only temporar y. “Students who make it to school each day already have some degree of motivation,” Jensen states. “Truly unmotivated students are still in bed or any place other than school.”
Dean Wittick, head of the Division of Educational Psychology at the University of California - Los Angeles, suggests that today’s classroom teaching is based on a flawed theory.
WAY TO GO
Even if your students don’t look like they want to be in your classroom, at least they have made it there. Most likely they are temporarily unmotivated. There are three primary reasons for this:
Students often bring negative associations and experiences from the past to new learning situations. Memories of negative experiences are stored in the mid-brain area and when triggered can release chemicals such as adrenaline. A teacher’s voice, gestures or tonality may remind students of a teacher they disliked, triggering anxiety of the past.
The second reason for temporary lack of motivation is often environmental. Learning styles of students may not be met, especially the auditory and kinesthetic learners: those who need to talk and move around to learn best. Other demotivating factors include room temperature, lighting, hunger, lack of resources, lack of respect (both students and teachers), bad seating, language barriers, fear of failure and irrelevant lesson content. The third factor is the student’s relationship with the future. Students require clear, well defined, meaningful goals that they set and strive towards, as well as a positive attitude and belief about themselves and learning. The latter is critical for motivation and success. Positive thinking engages the left
“For a long time, we’ve assumed that children should get an immediate reward when they do something right,” he said. “But the brain is much more complicated than most of our instruction; it has many systems operating on parallel.” The brain is perfectly satisfied to pursue novelty and curiosity, embrace relevance, and bathe in feedback from successes. Wittick suggests extended applications of projects and problem solving where the process is more important than the answer. “That’s the real reward,” he said. As teachers our understanding of motivation has changed. Stickers, stamps, stars, coupons and gimmicks may no longer make sense when compared to the alternatives. Neuroscientists have a different perspective on rewards: the brain makes its own rewards. Called opiates, they are used to regulate stress and pain. The reward centre is based in the brain’s centre, and the pleasureproducing system lets you enjoy behaviour like affection, sex, entertainment, caring or achievement. It’s a long-term survival mechanism, as if the brain says to itself “That was good, let’s remember it and do it again!” Students who succeed usually feel good, and that’s reward enough for most of them.
reward system varies between students. Most teachers have found that the same external reward can be received completely differently by two students. How students respond can depend on genetics, life experiences and individual brain chemicals. Students who are under tremendous stress and pressure will have developed high levels of survival skills within the brain. For these students, their brains are not always rewarded by the satisfaction of completing their homework. According to Jensen, an effective reward needs to have two elements: predictability and market value. If students are unaware of the reward and receive it after the event, it’s not a reward but a celebration. If given the option of ‘Do it well, then you’ll get pizza’ before the event, then it is a reward. Pizza, lollies, stickers, stars, privileges and certificates all have market value. However research suggests that students will want them each time the behaviour is required, they’ll want an increasingly valuable reward, and rewards provide little or no lasting pleasure. In 1989 Amabile documented extensively how the use of rewards damages intrinsic motivation. Promoting intrinsic motivation is one of the keys for teachers, suggests Jensen. He states “Most students are already intrinsically motivated. It’s just the motivation is very content dependent.” A student who is unmotivated in a traditional maths class can become excited and energetic when working out how to budget and spend their f i r s t pay cheque.
D GOOOB J
So are external rewards also good for the brain? Neuroscientists don’t believe so. The brain’s internal
There are five key strategies to encourage students to uncover their intrinsic motivation: 1. Eliminate threat. It takes time and a strong intent, but it’s worth it. Ask students about the factors that inhibit their learning and correct them.
the last word
SUPER KID 2. Goal setting, with student choice, on a daily basis can provide a more focused attitude. Prepare students for a topic with ‘teasers’ or personal stories to spark their interest. 3. Influence positively in everything you do and say. Make your number one motive in teaching to make every student feel good about themselves. This includes using affir mations, acknowledging success, positive posters and teamwork. 4 Manage student emotions through the productive use of rituals, drama, movement and celebration. Teach students how to manage their emotions, too. 5. Feedback is one of the greatest sources of intrinsic motivation. Set up learning so students get endless, self-managed feedback. Ideas include computers, group work, checklists and peer editing.
Practical suggestions for developing motivation Create opening and closing rituals in your classes. When students know exactly what to expect at the beginning and end of a class they feel safer and more comfortable about new learning. Be aware of and teach to the different learning and thinking styles. Provide students with greater choice within the classroom. Eliminate any kind of embarrassment or use of sarcasm. Provide real life applications of curriculum content. Relate new learning to student current knowledge. Provide more quantity, variety and quality of feedback. Encourage better nutrition so the brain has all it needs to maximise the learning potential.
Habits Of Mind DVD’s Discovering & Exploring the 16 Habits of Mind
VD Each D &H P $195 +
3 hour introduction showing practical ways to foster and implement the Habits of Mind in the classroom
Enhancing Thought Full Classroom Dialogue 3 hour look at using the language of thinking, the power of wait time to increase dialogue and thoughtfulness and practical ways to teach and reinforce listening skills
Available from www.spectrumeducation.com
â€œ â€? Education is an admirable thing,
but it is well to remember from time to time that nothing that is worth knowing can be taught.
Make Your Next Teacher-Only Day or Conference Stunning!
Habits Of Mind Effective Learning Strategies Learning Styles Thinking Skills Communication Skills Creativity Team Building Speed Reading Student Study Skills Motivation and Goal Setting Resilience Train the Trainer Workshop Design and Deliver On the Job Training Skills
Not only do we show educators how to bridge the gap between teaching and learning, we make it easy for Principals and PD Co-ordinators to plan their year. With an enormous range of specialists on hand to work with your team, cluster or conference, we can easily personalise a professional development event or extended programme to suit your needs. Adrian Rennie Allison Mooney Dr Art Costa David Koutsoukis Eric Frangenheim Eric Jensen Georgette Jenson Glenn Capelli Gordon Dryden Howard Small Ian Jukes Jana Stanfield Jenny Barrett Jenny Mosley John Shackleton Karen Boyes Maggie Dent Marion Miller Dr Marvin Marshall Rich Allen Sharyn Devereux-Blum Tony Ryan Trudy Francis
Contact the Spectrum Team today to arrange your individual PD Assessment! firstname.lastname@example.org (NZ) ph +64 4 528 9969 (Australia) ph 1800 063 272
Conference for Kids Conference for Shine2009
Shine like the star that you are… Kids can do, be and create anything… Kids are our future and they matter too – so we are running Kids Matter parallel with Teachers Matter in Janurary. A student enrichment 2 days with powerful learning. Any students 8-12 years old are welcome to join Kids Matter. A conference for kids. They get to listen to outstanding keynote sessions presented by fun & relevant communicators. They will learn about how their brain learns, learning to learn strategies, ways to make learning more effective and participate in goal setting activities. Throughout the 2 days, kids will hear from experts on thinking, technology, leadership, success and heaps more!
What a great opportunity to give your own kids.
For more info and to register your child... phone 0800 37 33 77 or email us at email@example.com
Drop Them Off:
Drop them off before you come to
Dates: 29/30th January 2009
Teachers Matter and pick them up
Where: Rotorua Energy Events Centre
For Teachers Matter Attendees Children: $349 for the first child and $295 for second, third and fourth child
Times: Day 1: 8.30am - 5.20pm with an optional evening event Day 2: 8.30am – 4.45pm
Non Conference Attendees Children: $449 for the first child and $395 for second, third and fourth child
afterwards – we promise to feed them, entertain them and inspire them…