PROFESSIONALLY & PERSONALLY
TeachersMatter The Magazine of Spectrum Education
Exercise Boosts Brainpower Teachers Can Learn From Chefs How to Really Say “Goodnight” Humour and the Habits of Mind
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Activating Brains 2011 Gain Ideas from Top International Presenters Spencer Kagan – Transforming Teaching Laurie Kagan –Motivating the Reluctant Learner Jenny Mosley – Quality Circle Time Ian Jukes – Understanding Digital Kids John Joseph – Learning with the Brain in Mind Joan Dalton – Learning Talk, Build Understandings David Koutsoukis – Creative Tools for Engaging Learners • Whole school team development! • Professional and personal development! • Fun and energetic learning environment! • Be surrounded by hundreds of like-minded teachers! • Ready-to-use strategies in your class! • Motivating start to your new school year!
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Spend a full day learning from Top Professionals! Laurie Kagan translates a deep understanding of theory and methods into practical, teacher-friendly strategies and presentations. Teach Smarter, Not Harder – the Kagan Way! This highly interactive, research-based, user-friendly workshop explores ways to accelerate learning, close achievement gaps and make learning fun! Learn how easy it is to increase student engagement while developing 21st century skills! John Joseph is known internationally as “The Brain Man”. He is the founder of Focus Education Australia, and has worked in over 23 countries. Mind Your Brain Workshop: learning about learning, behaviour, brain care and emotions. Hear how the brain learns and the key elements of brain care: correct nutrition, adequate sleep and good hydration. Understand memory and information processing and explore the links between emotion, behaviour and attitude: managing conflict in healthy ways. Sandra Brace has had a 20 year career in the performing arts and this has driven her focus in education, using performing arts strategies to support learning of the Habits of Mind in the classroom. Teaching Habits of Mind Through the Arts. Learn and experience instruction and strategies for using performance arts activities to not only drive Habits BookofToday! Full Days of Inspiration & Focus! but as active vehicles for learning and internalising the Habits. MindTwo learning across the curriculum, Cheryl Doig Previously a highly successful school principal, Cheryl’s particular areas of passion are organisational leadership, change and relationship management. She builds innovative practice into her Conference work and sees herself as a learning catalyst. Leading by2011 Letting Go. Sydney • 24thChange & 25th January • SMC Centre Explore the role of leaders in building Rotorua • 27th & 28th January 2011 • Energy Events Centre a culture where staff have a say and where the voices of students resonate through everything the school does. 5 Keynote Presentations • 20 Specialist workshops
Activating Brains 2011 BOOK YOUR PLACE TODAY! Gain Ideas from Top International Presenters for more details
Spencer Kagan – Transforming Teaching Laurie Kagan –Motivating the Reluctant Learner Jenny Mosley – Quality Circle Time Ian Jukes – Understanding Digital Kids John Joseph – Learning with the Brain in Mind Joan Dalton – Learning Talk, Build Understandings David Koutsoukis – Creative Tools for Engaging Learners • Whole school team development! • Professional and personal development! • Fun and energetic learning environment! • Be surrounded by hundreds of like-minded teachers! • Ready-to-use strategies in your class! • Motivating start to your new school year!
Time: 10.30am to 4pm. Date: 26th January 2011 Venue: Energy Events Centre Investment: $125 per person for Teachers Matter Conference attendees $145 per person for non-conference attendees Presented by Registration Closes 12th November 2010
Put this easy-to-make smile on someone’s desk and brighten their day.
In this issue
10 “Learning Talk” for a world of possibility
22 It’s never too early to start “bedtime”
36 Helping parents release their young adult
12 Learning walks, learning talks
24 Rethinking group marks
38 One minute and one step at a time
dr cheryl doig
14 More research that supports the Habits of Mind arthur costa and Pat wolfe
27 The evolving concept of success
43 To praise or not to praise, that is the question
28 Providing a classroom culture for thinking and learning
30 Fostering intelligent relationships
46 Ask and you shall receive
16 Today’s adolescents: Possible innovations in education maggie dent 19 The brain and exercise Dr marvin marshalL
20 The Naked Chefs – Master Teaching
45 Teachers: Let’s level up
32 Teaching values for life: Be the achieving kind
48 The power of Stickman and Pitman
51 Jokes 52 Exam techniques
Ngahihi o te ra Bidois
54 Bullies begone janice davies
Teachers Resources & Lessons pages 35,49,50,67
56 Can we really make a difference? john shackleton
57 Living successfully martz witty
cover photo: James Barber
Dr spencer kagan
Subscribe today To receive your own copy of the next issue, send an e-mail to email@example.com
Teachers Matter Magazine Team Publisher, Sales and Advertising: Karen Boyes Managing Editor: Kristen De Deyn Kirk Graphic Design: Mary Hester / 2nd Floor Design 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 2010
58 Recipes to keep you healthy
71 How old should they be to start on social networks?
60 What’s the point of education?
karen tobich kevin mayall
61 What makes you smile? Rowena Szeszeran-McEvoy
62 What’s your financial end game? stuart fleming
64 A colour for more confidence and concentration
Thelma van der Werff
73 Nutrition for youth sports
77 Managing impulsivity in the classroom Karen Boyes 79 Quote
All rights reserved. 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. The opinions expressed in Teachers Matter are those of the contributors and we love them!
65 By-the-book learning
Spectrum Education Ltd
tricia kenyon and barbara griffith
Street Address: 19 Rondane Place, Lower Hutt, New Zealand
68 Who’s doing the “real” work?
69 From the Earth to the moon, Google style simon evans
Postal Address: PO Box 30818, Lower Hutt, New Zealand Phone: (NZ) +64 4 528 9969 (Australia) 1800 063 272 Fax: (NZ) +64 4 528 0969 (Australia) 1800 068 977 firstname.lastname@example.org www.spectrumeducation.com
COLOUR CONFIDENCE Page 64 5
children are 10 and 9, and one of them loves school, and the other loves only lunch and play time. Or so I thought until recently.
My 9-year-old is a typical boy who wants to play and socialise. On the first report this year, his teacher wrote, “Colin has a hard time settling into the classwork in the morning.” “That’s because Colin would rather settle into running around the playground and battling pretend swords with his buddies than do the five math problems he has waiting for him at his desk every morning,” I thought when I read the comment. Of course, however, the teacher was right. He needs to work when it’s work time. I talked with him about this and on the next report card, the teacher wrote that he was doing a much better job of starting the day off right. “Yay!, Progress!,” I rejoiced. His report card marks were mostly above average, too, so I was happy. But his classwork was inconsistent – sometimes failing and other times flawless. I reviewed worksheets that the teacher sent home that were full of errors so that he could learn from his mistakes, quizzed him from study guides for tests and read with him nightly. I was patient when he needed time to work on answers and calm when he made errors, and everything went along pretty smoothly day after day and week after week. I bragged to friends that we were having a “good year,” based on the lack of discipline problems and the earning of good marks. What I didn’t realise was that my son was growing in other ways, thanks to school and maybe me, just a little bit. First, he was assigned an in-class project, which worried me. The at-home projects took quite a bit of work, from me prodding him to choose the type of project to pushing him to gather supplies and begging him to both start and finish the project. How was my little guy going to do this on his own?
It turns out, quite simply: He had a sheet listing the project choices and when I gave him the options, he immediately decided he wanted to make a poster with the life cycle of a frog. And he warned me that we needed to go to the shop for the poster board right away because he had to start working on the project soon.
Who was this short person responsibly passing along deadline information I didn’t even see on the assignment sheet? We got the poster board, and he promptly took it to school. A few days later, while I was in the school for another reason, I walked by his classroom and spotted him in the Thinker’s pose. Seriously, he had his hand on his chin, and he was hunched over. The kid was working hard on that poster – with no help from a classmate, teacher or volunteer. Wow!
He came home and told me how he had one idea but abandoned that for another, and he was happy with his final poster. When he brought it home, I noticed the lettering wasn’t perfect and the life cycle not completely centred (as I would have demanded and caused a fight over!), but the information was correct, and he added some creative flair to the design, which made the board uniquely his own. He was so impressed with himself. The perfect mark he received seemed almost beside the point. (Please read Dr Spencer Kagan’s article in this issue for more on the perils of grading.) Near the end of the year, when all the important, mandatory testing was done, Colin’s class split into small groups and worked as producers, directors and actors on plays. They designed simple scenery and turned donated supplies into costumes and rehearsed their lines diligently. Every day for four days, he spoke of nothing but that play, and when showtime finally came, my usually shy-in-front-of-people-he-barely-knows son spoke his lines clearly and with confidence. “He did really well!,” my husband said, with more than a bit of surprise in his voice. The tears are forming in my eyes again as I think about it: I had been happy with the school year before, based on my son’s report, but I was more grateful for the moments when I had witnessed growth that showed how engaged he was with learning. My son had succeeded in the traditional ways with his marks, and was also becoming independent and enthusiastic. The final event that sold me on his emerging love of learning: He told me how he likes when I take him to the aquarium, the air and space centre, and the zoo. (See Maggie Dent’s articles for more on engaging students in this way.) He looked happy when I took him to these places, but to hear that he enjoyed it (and that he wants to be a pilot, thanks to the flight simulator at the air centre!) was confirmation that he wouldn’t nominate me for the worst-mum award. At least not this year.
Spectrum Education is proud to announce the
NZ Habits of Mind Teacher of the Year Excellence Award A Celebration of Teachers using the Habits of Mind To download your entry form please visit www.spectrumeducation.com If you know someone who would benefit from this award, please feel free to present this idea to them. Entries close September 30th 2010 Award will be presented at the Teachers Matter Conference Jan 2011
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.
Alan Cooper Alan Cooper is an educational consultant based in New Zealand. As a principal, he was known for his leadership role in thinking skills, including Habits of Mind, learning styles and multiple intelligences, information technology, and the development of the school as a learning community.
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
Andrew Churches Andrew is a classroom teacher and staff trainer at an independent school on Auckland’s North Shore and a moderator and workshop leader for the International Baccalaureate Organisation. He developed Bloom’s Digital Taxonomy. Learn more at http://edorigami.wikispaces.com and http:// edorigami.edublogs.org
Dr Arthur Costa
Arthur 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, Arthur compels educators to create classrooms that are thoughtful places to learn. www.instituteforhabitsofmind.com
Barbara Griffith 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.
Dr Cheryl Doig Dr Cheryl Doig is director of Think Beyond. As an educator, her aim is to challenge organisations to think for tomorrow. She can be contacted through www.thinkbeyond.co.nz.
David Koutsoukis David Koutsoukis is an award-winning international speaker and author who helps educators build positive and productive classrooms and schools. He presents at education conferences throughout Australia, New Zealand, South East Asia and the Pacific region, and 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. For bookings, resources and free downloads visit www.dkeducation.com.au
Glenn Capelli 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 fastpaced and ever-changing world through the use of creative thinking, humour, enthusiasm and attitude. Glenn’s new book, Thinking Caps, is available from Spectrum. www.glenncapelli.com
Imogen Warren Originally from England, Imogen worked there in debt recovery for a major bank. In 2006 she travelled to NZ and fell in love with the country. The following year she moved to NZ and completed her teacher training. She now teaches at Tawa Intermediate in Wellington.
Janice Davies Janice Davies is The Attitude Specialist, teaching people to be positive and empower themselves. As a professional speaker, success coach and author, Janice educates people at conferences, workshops and through books. She is the founder of the global movement Selfday - International Self Esteem annual awareness. Janice has online products about attitude, goals, success, relationships and more. Visit www.attitudespecialist.co.nz for other complimentary articles and tips.
Jason Fox By the age of 25, Jason Fox had completed a PhD (on goal getting), written a book (on how to enjoy exams) and lectured at three
universities (on education for change). Having escaped the clutches of academia, Jason now helps clever organisations and individuals implement and execute awesome innovative ideas. He is a multiple award-winning international speaker and consultant based in Australia. In his spare time, Jason helps the next generation of smart students get clever about exams at www.enjoyexams.com
Joan Dalton Internationally respected Australian teacher and educator, Joan Dalton is acknowledged for her expertise in learning and teaching, leadership and facilitation, and has worked by invitation with schools and educational organisations in more than 10 different countries. Joan has authored several internationally successful books. Her current passion and writing is focused on the kinds of skilful language and powerful conversations that move learning forward. www.plotpd.com
John Shackleton With a sports psychology and sports 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
Karen Boyes 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
Karen Tobich Karen is a food stylist who is passionate about living off the land and creating and presenting food. She believes that sharing food connects people and fosters quality relationships in so many ways. She shows you how to transform home and locally grown seasonal foods into delicious healthy and inspiring food to make, to give and to share.
Kevin Mayall 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
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
Martz Witty Martz Witty is a professional speaker, chartered accountant and author. He has successfully raised two sons as a solo-father whilst personally owning and growing 11 companies of his own together with a myriad of clients’ businesses. Martz works nationally and internationally, giving business owners the lifestyle they thought they were going to have when they started out. His down-to-earth, content-driven talks are delivered in a humorous manner, carefully laced with true life examples and anecdotes of people he has helped. www.martz.co.nz
Dr Marvin Marshall Marvin Marshall is the author of Discipline Without Stress, Punishments or Rewards: How Teachers Promote Responsibility & Learning. The book teaches how to live a self-disciplined life, become more responsible, increase effectiveness, and improve relationships. It shares how to teach young people to want to become disciplined — both in behaviour and in putting forth effort in their own learning. The book is now available as an e-book at www.marvinmarshall.com
Mary Willow Mary Willow has worked for over 30 years in the fields of nursing, midwifery, early childhood education and parent education. In January she opened Plum Garden, a parent education centre in Brooklyn, Wellington. From there she operates Plum Parent Support, a service providing education, support and advice for parents on parenting. Please visit the website, www.PlumParentSupport.com.
Ngahihi o te ra Bidois Ngahihi o te ra Bidois is from Te Arawa and is an International Leadership Consultant and Speaker. Book him for your conference or seminar by phoning 021482281 or through his website at www.ngahibidois.com
Robyn Pearce Robyn Pearce, Certified Speaking Professional, is the Time Queen, (plus mother of six and
grandmother of 12). She mastered her own time challenges and now helps people around the world overcome theirs, including teachers in several countries. She can show you how to transform your time challenges into high productivity and the life balance you desire. Learn more at www.gettingagrip.com
Rowena Szeszeran-McEvoy Rowena Szeszeran-McEvoy has a 23-year career in the fitness industry and is now serious about the business of education. She is the director of the Australian Institute of Massage and the National College of Business, after having served as the head lecturer in both the business and fitness colleges.
Sandra Brace Sandra has had a 20 year career in the performing arts which has driven her focus in education; using performing arts strategies to support learning of the Habits of Mind in the classroom.
Simon Evans Originally from the UK, Simon Evans has been teaching in New Zealand for the last six years. He is an avid supporter of incorporating technologies into the learning environment and the positive result it has on student motivation and achievement. www.breathetechnology.co.nz
Dr Spencer Kagan Dr Spencer Kagan is an internationally acclaimed researcher, presenter and author of over 100 books, chapters, and scientific journal articles. He is the principal author of comprehensive books in four fields: cooperative learning, multiple intelligences, classroom discipline, and classroom energizers. www.kaganonline.com
Stuart Fleming This year Stuart Fleming is on a not-sosecret mission: to move 50 families to their strongest ever financial position. A financial services consultant, Stuart coaches people to achieve their goals and, as creator of the Money Mindset Mob, encourages families to talk about money. www.MoneyMindsetMob.com
Terry Hawkins Terry has established herself as one of the leading presenters in human performance she is the MIND LANGUAGE expert. With 20 years of experience as a trainer and speaker in a myriad of industries, Terry draws on a vast foundation of knowledge, techniques and experience. www.peopleinprogress.com.au
Thelma van der Werff As a colour therapist, people often mistake Thelma for an image consultant. This has led her to develop colour therapy for the mainstream, using the clothing colours to influence emotions and behaviour. Learn more at www.colourcomfort.com.
Therese Hoyle Therese Hoyle is author of 101 Playground Games and runs Positive Playtime and whole school social, emotional and behavioural skills programmes nationally and internationally. Therese Hoyle’s new book and CD Rom, 101 Wet Playtime Games and Activities, is filled with exciting ideas and activity worksheets to brighten up any wet play day. It was released in September 2009. To order your copy, contact Spectrum Education. www.successpartnership.co.nz
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 With over 25 years in the fitness industry, Wendy’s expertise in health, wellbeing and fitness is undisputed. She brought personal training into mainstream NZ by design and developing the Les Mills Personal Training programme in the early 1990s. She lectures at the University of Waikato and delivers workplace training. Her master’s thesis focused on successful personal trainers’ strategies in changing their client’s exercise and nutrition behaviour. Reach her at email@example.com.
Yvonne Godfrey Yvonne Godfrey is a speaker and author with a passion for people. Over the last 30 years she and her husband Simon have built a successful business, motivated by a desire to find financial freedom for herself and others. After three decades of success, Yvonne continues to build her organisation, developing leaders in business around the world. Sharing her wisdom is her greatest passion and to date, more than 100,000 people in 20 countries have benefited from her wealth of experience. www.yvonnegodfrey.com
“Learning Talk” for a world of possibility
New Zealand and beyond, I am passionately writing a series of practical Learning Talk books to help educators and students do this. The first book, Learning Talk: Build Understandings, is designed to build a team’s understanding and collective commitment. Below are two short extracts, for your In today's shifting landscape, our past world of 'fixity', characterised by certainty, segmentation, All educators need to know how to navigate reading pleasure: positional power, and 'either-or' thinking, is rapidly giving skillful, robust, learning-focused conversations; Having seen the transformative impact of way to a world of possibility and unknowns where collaboration, collective intelligence, 'both-and' thinking and78 innovation critical we call this Learning Talk. If you can’t have Learning Talk in David Anderson’s work (see page for more infoare on the book) for learning and how we thrive as a global society. these conversations, nothing changes. and my own work in schools in Australia, today’s shifting landscape, our schools’ work has never been more complex and challenging. Collaboration and teamwork are vital, and conversation is our core technology for Extract one: transforming learning.
Yet while times have changed along with our understanding of learning, many of the ways we talk and some of the words we use are still caught up in past paradigms. We shifting need to unlearnlandscape old habits, acquire new A ones, and develop skills that make powerful Learning Talk possible.
Learn Talk: build understandings
One: A shifting landscape In today’s shifting landscape, our past world of ‘fixity’, characterised by certainty, segmentation, positional power, and ‘either-or’ thinking, is rapidly giving way to a world of possibility and unknowns where collaboration, collective intelligence, ‘both-and’ thinking and innovation are critical for learning and how we thrive as a global society.
Extract two: Unlearning old habits While our world, and our understandings of learning and knowledge may have changed, many of the Two: Unlearning old habits ways we talk together and the language we use is still caught up in old paradigms and past ways of While our world, Take and our understandings of and learning and knowledge thinking. a look at this small powerful example:may have changed, many of the ways we talk together and the language we use is still caught up in old paradigms and past ways of thinking. Take a look at this small and powerful example:
dr cheryl doig
Learning walks, learning talks With proper planning and communication, you can walk your way to a better school.
chool leaders are part of the fabric of a school. They should be present where the learning happens on a regular basis. This presence is as a coach, learner, inquirer and pedagogical leader. They work with staff as part of a team to inquire into teacher and student learning and to consider the wider implications for the future of learning. One tool that schools are using to inquire into their practices is the learning walk.
Learning walks involve one or more people visiting learning areas regularly, with a particular focus, and then spending time reflecting back on findings. The Future Learning Walk process (FLeW) is one approach that can be used to provide focused visits to learning areas. This process is outlined in Walking the Talk: Talking the Walk - An Introduction to learning walks. The learning walk process does not need to focus on the classroom alone. Futurefocused schools recognise that learning can happen anywhere, hence the generic use of “learning area” in the FLeW process. The challenge is to be future focused, otherwise it is easy for a walk to reinforce mediocre visions of education for a bygone era.
The FLeW is based on the underlying principles of learning talk, observation, support and challenge. Learning talk involves development in the skills of discussion, dialogue and listening rather than telling. At the same time, learning talk focuses on increasingly rigorous conversations that move learning forward. These conversations should underpin the organisation’s vision and direction and be linked to other school initiatives, rather than an add-on diversion. If your school or team determines it is ready to undertake the learning walk process, there are some easy ways to move forward. The diagram here shows the FLeW process. The five stages of the learning walk process are: Form, Focus, Footwork, Follow up and
Future. A brief description of each stage is as follows:
focus down to be specific rather than global. The dialogue that accompanies the identification of the focus allows staff to develop a shared understanding of language and direction.
Before considering the FLeW process, critically review your organisation and determine its readiness. Learning walks are built on a strong base of professional learning community and relational trust. Given that relational trust has such an impact on learning and teaching, time needs to be spent building the organisation’s culture if learning walks are to be most effective.
The purpose of the FLeW is on pushing learning forward and that is why developing a focus that stretches your thinking is important. It is possible to focus on lower level or traditional ideas of teaching practice in a learning walk. The challenge is to move beyond a “lesson” and whether it is meeting all the objectives, to be deeper in approach and more focused on meeting the students’ needs for the future.
During the Form stage of the process, time is spent setting the scene by providing learning walk information to staff. This allows them to be fully engaged in the development process, to ask questions and allay fears. The learning walk process should not be used for appraisal or accountability purposes. It is a teacher inquiry process, a continual conversation focused on growing individual and collective professional practice. It is important to co-construct a learning walk process with staff since any process that is “done to” staff is doomed to failure. The forming stage of the FLeW process is also where protocols for learning walks are established. This includes the development of clear understandings regarding the purpose of the walks, how the walks will be undertaken, and how the results of the walks will be used. It is worth spending time on this planning phase as it provides a strong base from which to move into the walk process.
Focus Having a clear and succinct focus is crucial to the success of the FLeW. Determine what is most important for your school or team to work on at this time. Talk together about why this is important. Narrow the
Footwork The footwork stage of the FLeW process is a time to practise collecting data, not judgments. Be aware of the voice of assumption and judgment sitting on your shoulder and focus on evidence. Look, ask, and listen. It takes practice to observe and collect data. Don’t expect perfection the first time; debrief the process afterwards and keep building skills. Whether it is the principal or others that do the walking, the footwork is regular and for a short period of time. The aim is to collect the data in perhaps five minutes, then move on to another learning area. The actual time and ways of collecting the data may vary; think about your context and what will work.
Follow up The follow up stage involves looking for trends and patterns in depth and reflecting on what it might mean. Can we move on to the “so what?” or do we need to go back to our processes for more information? Collated data is fed back to staff, as decided prior to the walks. Some of the ways in which feedback can be given are:
dr cheryl doig
• Results collated across the school, team or department and fed back to the team for their own interpretation. When teachers analyse data, it is most useful because they are making sense of it for themselves. • Leaders collating the data in the follow up stage and giving this back to team leaders Mary Hester for further discussion.
Future The Future focus explores how the information will be used and a setting of new goals. The future component of a learning walk asks two questions: Now what?
What are the next steps we need to take to Karen Boyes [firstname.lastname@example.org] From: move learning forward? We have collected • Leaders giving one-on-one feedback to Wednesday, June 09, 2010 4:15 AM Sent: data, sifted and sorted and given feedback. teachers, To: using feedback methodologies Mary Hester If nopicture actionattached is taken, and/or coaching questions. Re: cheryl doig :-) there is no point in Subject: collecting the data.
Are we pushing our vision? If we believe we should be moving education forward and we have a vision for doing so, are we on track? How can we use what we have learnt to build learning for the future? This is the stretch part of the FLeW process that focuses on next practice rather than best practice. If used, learning walks should be part of the organisation’s professional learning methodologies, linking into other aspects of professional learning – all focused on what will impact positively on teacher learning, student learning and the future needs of education. Let’s move on in our thinking. (see page 78 for more info on Walking The Talk)
Rainbows and sunshine Karen
arthur costa and Pat wolfe
More research that supports the Habits of Mind Making instruction better is possible with the newest findings
Applying past knowledge to new situations When confronted with a new problem, human beings will often draw forth experience from their past. They can be heard to say, “This reminds me of....” or “This is just like the time when I...” At any time, the human brain is being bombarded with sensory stimuli. Paying conscious attention to all this information is impossible. Fortunately, the brain has a system to unconsciously filter this mass of information and keep that which it considers relevant. The primary purpose of this filtering system is survival; therefore our brains pay attention to novelty, loud noises, unusual movements and social cues that signal danger. For survival, our brains must continually scan the environment to determine what is meaningful. Our species has not survived by taking in meaningless information. Unfortunately, much of what we ask students’ brains to attend to is not considered by their brains to be meaningful or relevant. Before we throw up our hands and say all is lost, we need to consider another aspect of brain functioning — how information is stored. It appears that the brain is the ultimate organizer, and to keep track of everything it has stored, it uses a sort of filing system. Think of a semantic map or web, and you have a metaphor for the way our brains store information in networks or maps of neural connections. When new information arrives, the brain attempts to find the appropriate network in which it will fit. Here’s where teachers’ understanding of the brain comes into play. Because the new information (such as when to use a comma
or determine the causes of a conflict) must make sense to the students, the teacher needs to help the students see where it fits, what they already have stored that can assist them in the understanding and storage of the concept. What the students already know is probably the prime determiner of whether or not the new information will make sense and therefore be stored. Finding Humour Another unique attribute of being human is our sense of humour. The positive effects of laughter on psychological functions include a drop in the pulse rate, the secretion of endorphins, and increased oxygen in the blood. It has been found to liberate creativity and provoke higher-level thinking skills such as anticipation, finding novel relationships, visual imagery, and making analogies. People who engage in the mystery of humour have the ability to perceive situations from an original and often interesting vantage point. They tend to initiate humour more often, to place greater value on having a sense of humour, to appreciate and understand others’ humour and to be verbally playful when interacting with others. Having a whimsical frame of mind, they thrive on finding discontinuities and incongruity, perceiving absurdities, ironies and satire, and being able to laugh at both situations and themselves. The typical behavioural response to humour is laughter, but why do we laugh? What is its purpose? As a species, humans have had a better chance of survival if they are a member of a group than if they go it alone. Scientists believe that humour is one important way to promote social bonding. Laughter helps us to establish and maintain our relationships and make our groups more cohesive. Given its value, it is not surprising to find that our brain has built-in mechanisms to reward us for laughing. Three major brain components are involved in laughter and humour. First, the frontal
lobes help us “get” the joke or perceive the humour in a situation. Second, the motor pathways in the brain move the muscles of the face that allow us to smile and laugh. The third component, the emotional pathway, is the most complex and requires a bit of background.
issue 8, we linked some of the Habits of Mind, dispositions that intelligent, successful people mindfully employ when confronted with problems that do not immediately have apparent solutions, with the newest research and explained how they work. We’d now like to introduce more research:
Deep within the brain is a group of structures commonly known as the reward pathway or the pleasure centre. Composed of the nucleus accumbens and the ventral tegmental area, this pathway releases “feel good” brain chemicals (dopamine and endorphins) when we engage in activities that increase our chances of survival, such as eating or sex. Along with the emotional centre of the brain, especially the amygdala, these structures serve the purpose of making us feel good and encouraging us to repeat whatever activity brought us such pleasure. Using brain-imaging techniques, scientists have discovered that these structures are explicitly involved in the perception of humour and that is why it gives us pleasure. Not only does humour give us feelings of pleasure and happiness, it also has significant ramifications for our psychological and physical health. Humour appears to be a universal coping mechanism we use when faced with stress. Cortisol, a rather caustic brain and body chemical released during highly stressful situations, is reduced when you laugh. The endorphins released during laughter have been shown to reduce feelings of pain. In addition, some early studies suggest that humour may
arthur costa and Pat wolfe
boost the immune system. While much more research needs to be done in this area (called psychoneuroimmunlogy), if laughter could actually help us fight off infections, we’d have one more reason to help our students find humour in their lives. Responding with wonderment and awe Humans share the capacity for personal intensity. Nobody is born without it. But many of us never learn to tap into the source of our intensity because we fail to discover what inspires it. Passion refers to the force for intensity in all of us. One’s passions might be writing, gardening, acting, sports, and working with children, business, competition, and personal improvement. Young children are naturally curious. They commune with the world around them; they reflect on the changing formations of a cloud; feel charmed by the opening of a bud; sense the logical simplicity of mathematical order. They find beauty in a sunset, intrigue in the geometrics of a spider web, and exhilaration at the iridescence of a hummingbird’s wings. They see the congruity and intricacies in the derivation
“ Cells in your brain allow you to read another person’s mind. Humans not only have the ability to judge others’ intentions and feelings, they often know what another person is thinking. This ability is called empathy.”
of a mathematical formula, recognize the orderliness and adroitness of a chemical change, and commune with the serenity of a distant constellation. Efficacious people have not only an “I CAN” attitude, but also an “I ENJOY” feeling. They seek problems to solve for themselves and to submit to others. They delight in making up problems to solve on their own and request enigmas from others. They enjoy figuring things out by themselves and continue to learn throughout their lifetimes. Every thought and action is accompanied by emotions. The centre for emotions in the brain is the amygdala. It is deeply involved with threat, fear, and emotions of any kind. It engages many areas of the brain with chemicals and other physical interactions. Emotions have a huge impact on learning as the chemical secretions pass the information from cell to cell in the circuit. When the secretions are positive, like serotonin, self-esteem rises and learning flourishes. These positive secretions tend to be short lived in their emotional impact. On the other hand, where the secretions are negative, like cortisol, self-esteem dives and learning withers. Moreover, the negatives like cortisol linger sometimes for a long time — days rather than minutes. We have become curious about the question of what is the connection between survival and the human sense of wonderment. Most brain functions can be explained by the human organism’s need and drive for basic survival needs; this Habit of Mind, however, eludes this rationale and remains a mystery. Listening with understanding and empathy Highly effective people spend an inordinate amount of time and energy listening. Some psychologists believe that the ability to listen, empathize and understand another person is one of the highest forms of intelligent behaviour. Being able to paraphrase another person’s ideas, detecting indicators (cues) of their feelings or emotional states in their oral and body language (empathy), and accurately expressing another person’s concepts, emotions and problems are indications of listening behavior. (Piaget called it “overcoming ego-centrism”). To
listen fully means to pay close attention to what is being said beneath the words. You listen not only to the “music,” but also to the essence of the person speaking. You listen not only for what someone knows, but also for what he or she is trying to represent. Ears operate at the speed of sound, which is far slower than the speed of light the eyes take in. Generative listening is the art of developing deeper silences in yourself, so you can slow your mind’s hearing to your ears’ natural speed and hear beneath the words to their meaning. Cells in your brain allow you to read another person’s mind. Humans not only have the ability to judge others’ intentions and feelings, they often know what another person is thinking. This ability is called empathy. Empathy is both a cognitive process (the ability to understand another’s emotional state) and an affective capacity (the ability to share another’s emotional state). These abilities do not appear to be a learned trait, rather they appear to be “hard-wired” in the brain. Why would this be? What would be its purpose? According to some neuroscientists, empathy serves two evolutionary functions: to create attachment and bonding between mother and child and later in life to create attachments between mates. Empathy could be considered to be part of the glue that holds relationships and societies together. Psychologists and neuroscientists have been baffled by our ability to anticipate other’s behaviours and empathize with their feelings. A team of researchers in Italy discovered what might be a key to solve this mystery. They identified a new type of neuron that fires when you perform a manual action and also fires when you watch someone else perform these actions. They have labelled “mirror neurons.” Mirror neurons are what allow us to understand another’s intentions and feelings. Studies suggest that the degree of toddlers’ empathy depends in part on how sensitive their parents are to others. This would make sense given the theory on mirror neurons. Children learn a great deal by imitating what they see others do.
Today’s adolescents: Possible innovations in education Think novel, active and relevant when you want to engage a teenager.
is completely inaccurate to focus on the scores and marks of the best students in our high school because about 30 percent of students will do well enough to qualify for university. But what’s happening to the other 70 percent? Perhaps we are failing these students. Students are quite universal in the qualities they value in teachers. In a large study in the USA, thousands of students determined that the three most important attributes they value: Mandy Godbehear
Fairness. Sense of humour. Passion and competence for subject. The schools that are doing well are those that have staff with the above attributes. Some schools have massive youth engagement, and adolescents, even those who are not academically capable, are attending school. There is nothing more important. Disengaged students who are wagging school are at high risk of walking pathways that lead to drug addiction and criminality. We must create school environments where adolescents want to attend and offer education for life as well as for work.
Dr Sheryl Feinstein connects adolescents’ need for safety and a sense of belonging with the need to capture student attention, my first step to being an exceptional teacher.
According to Feinstein, the three best braincompatible ways to attract and keep a teenager’s attention are to introduce novelty, tap into emotion and present a meaningful curriculum. The second key concern in teaching adolescents is finding a balance between paying attention and processing information because the brain can only do one thing at a time. The brain processes information unconsciously for much longer than we are aware. Some processing activities include:
• Encourage students to keep a journal. • Have students pick the most important thing they learned. • Have class discussions. • Have a think-pair-share for two to three minutes. • Design a concept-web or a mind-map. • Have one to two minutes of reflection time. • Individually find examples to show learning. • Create some key questions for a mini quiz activity. • Role-play a situation that will use the information. • Use circle work Jenny Mosley has some excellent techniques to build trust with adolescents that allow the circle process to become a powerful tool. Students can learn to listen, think and speak with concern and compassion – and they can then learn to problem solve with the help of others their age. This also gives them a voice— and that is important to them.
Trying something new In March 2008, Education Review published an excellent story about Redcliffe Primary School. It’s an example of an approach that met the needs of at-risk students with high levels of disengagement. Although it is a primary school, we know that adolescence is starting earlier. This was a “tired, little inner-city school” in Perth with a high truancy rate and massive student disengagement. The first step to change is to decide to change; so the school decided to do a survey of what the kids, parents and staff wanted to have happen. At that time a teacher and 10 children started a catering course with the canteen. Serendipitously, at the same time, a student won a competition where the prize was for a Melbourne boy band to come to the school. The band asked the students to put on a dance performance for them before they played. The two events ignited the school community and attendance and participation improved radically. So, the next step had to happen: The school community worked together to give students a voice, as well as parents and staff, and a new curriculum began with regular classes in the morning followed by diverse,
interesting programmes in the afternoon. Programmes include drama, catering, horticulture, art, specialised sport, specialised sciences, history, dance, computing, music, storybook workshop, Japanese and Italian. Students choose their own after noon programme. This innovative, integrated curriculum-driven school has created an environment that engages learning and cooperation. In my Year 9 class in a country government high school, a savvy principal identified our class as being disengaged. He created a “history of our town” project. The class spent a term visiting elderly citizens, conducting interviews and researching in the library. When they discovered the town was named after a spring, they located it and helped build a rock wall around the original site of the spring to honour its importance. It made history come alive, and they all became passionate about the project. Keeping teenagers engaged Adolescence is a time of significant brain development, even for adolescents who have had challenging childhoods, and adults or lighthouses who are positively involved in a teen’s life hold the keys to their future success. The lighthouses in our high schools need to be aware of this potential to take advantage of the plasticity of the brain, especially during early adolescence. Eric Jensen writes about the following factors that contribute to brain enrichment:
Dr J. J. Ratey and E. Hagerman discovered that exercise not only increases the important neurotransmitters serotonin, norepinephrine and dopamine, it also creates brain cells. As Zientarski, a PE teacher at Naperville High says, “In our department we create brain cells; it’s up to the other teachers to fill them.” Studies found that rats that run massively increase neurogenesis; in other words, they grow more brain cells. Dr Ratey has a video on his web site, www.johnratey. com, that shows struggling and disengaged
“ A soulful education embraces diverse ways to satisfy the spiritual hunger of today’s youth. When guided to find constructive ways to express their spiritual longings, young people can find purpose in life, do better in school, strengthen ties to family and friends, and approach adult life with vitality and vision. – R. Kessler”
• Physical activity versus passivity. • Novel, challenging and meaningful learning versus doing what is already known. • Coherent complexity versus boredom or chaos. • Managed stress levels versus stressful conditions. • Social support versus isolation. • Good nutrition versus poor quality food. • S u f f i c i e n t t i m e v e r s u s o n e - s h o t experiences. Physical activity versus passivity The physical passivity of many adolescents is negatively impacting their brain development. Mind-numbing inactivity that often takes place in rooms with peeling paint and vomitcoloured carpet has a lot to do with adolescent disengagement and disillusionment.
students not only getting fitter after exercise but improving their grades, too. Because students can get the required physical activity by playing games that build human connectedness, emotional and social competence and improve grades, high schools need to rethink their physical education programmes. Another study involving 163 overweight children found that the cognitive and academic benefits of exercise seemed to increase with the amount of exercise. For this study, a cross-disciplinary research team randomly assigned children to one of three groups. One group received 20 minutes of physical activity every day after school. Another group got a 40-minute daily workout, and the third group got no special exercise sessions. After 14 weeks, the children who made the greatest improvement, as measured by both a standardised academic test and a test that measured their level of executive function (thinking processes) involving planning, organising, abstract
maggie dent thought, or self control, were those who spent 40 minutes a day playing tag and taking part in other active games. The cognitive and academic gains for the 20 minutes a day group were half as large. One Dr Rately’s key findings was that vigorous exercise appeared to prepare normally disengaged students for learning. He believed exercise stimulated the growth of cells in the pre-frontal cortex that controlled impulses. For normally engaged students, it helped grow more brain cells, so everyone was a winner. (For adults who do the same, it will delay mental decay and could prevent dementia). Dr Rately also found that learning improved faster the closer it occurred to the exercise. Students needed to exercise immediately before they put focused attention into learning. A huge motivator in the programme was the use of heart monitors so that students were able to gauge their own fitness improvement and were not in competition with anyone else but themselves. One of the classes in Rately’s study worked with Canadian students who were performing poorly. The class brought treadmills into the classroom to ensure the students were combining exercise and learning with immediacy. The increase in reading ages, behaviour and school performance was significant. Novel, challenging and meaningful learning versus doing what is already known The brain can only change with focused attention, and I believe that classrooms with too many bells and whistles can be too distracting for many students. Yes, they will be entertained, but positive brain changes can only occur when there is learning that has a high degree of relevance (WIIFM), is novel and interesting, and engages focused attention followed by a sense of reward or encouragement. Too much stress or tension will shut the brain down into survival mode; safe, calm environments are crucial to supporting brain growth. Today’s students still need what they are biologically programmed to experience: • Human connectedness. • O p p o r t u n i t i e s f o r a u t o n o m y a n d independence. • Novel hands-on, real experiences that build competences across a range of areas. continued on page 75
Dr marvin marshall
The brain and exercise Exercise boosts brainpower and longevity.
The brain represents only about two percent of most people’s body weight, yet it accounts for about 20 percent of the body’s total energy usage. In addition to its reliance on energy, the brain relies on oxygen, and exercise provides the body greater access to oxygen. When you understand the biology of exercise, your chances of influencing yourself and your students toward this direction will be enhanced. One of the greatest predictors of successful living, working, and aging — both mentally and physically —is the absence of a sedentary lifestyle. Exercise improves brainpower and cardiovascular fitness, which in turn reduces the risk of diseases such as heart attacks, stroke, and diabetes. Exercise helps regulate appetite, reduces risk of many types of cancer, improves the immune system, and buffers against the toxic effects of stress. The reason is that exercise regulates the release of the three neotransmitters most commonly associated with the maintenance of mental health: serotonin, dopamine, and norepinephrine. Exercise improves children’s ability to learn. Physically fit children identify visual stimuli much faster than sedentary children. They concentrate better. Brain-activation studies show that children and adolescents who are fit allocate more cognitive resources to a task and do so for longer periods of time. They are also less likely to be disruptive in terms of classroom behaviour when they are active. They have higher self-esteem, less depression, and less anxiety — all of which affect academic performance and attentiveness. When you exercise, you increase blood flow across the tissues of your body because exercise stimulates blood vessels to create a powerful, flow-regulating molecule called nitric axide. As the flow improves, the body
makes new blood vessels, which penetrate deeper and deeper into the body’s tissues. This allows more access to the bloodstream’s goods and services, which include food distribution and waste disposal. The more you exercise, the more tissues you can feed and the more toxic waste you can remove. This happens all over the body. That’s the reason exercise improves the performance of most human functions. Exercise also encourages neurogenesis, the formation of new cells in the brain. The benefits of exercise seem nearly endless because it impacts most physiological systems. Exercise makes muscles and bones stronger while improving strength and balance. Reducing exercise to promote improved test scores is like trying to gain weight by starving. The point is that not only should we teachers establish procedures to exercise regularly, we should provide active exercise and movement periodically in our classes. Even though it may take class time away from academics, it is well known (except by “leaders” concerned more with politics than learning) that physical exercise contributes to increased mental effectiveness. The more you prompt your students to move, the more you create their potential for improved learning.
mprovement in learning can come from three sources: diet, sleep and exercise, the subject of this article.
“ One of the greatest predictors of successful living, working, and aging — both mentally and physically — is the absence of a sedentary lifestyle.”
The Naked Chefs – Master Teaching Celebrity chefs remind us that we all have different ways of being great.
here will be some who will doubt me, and others who will boo and hiss, but I need to get something off my chest: let me write it out loud, I prefer Jamie Oliver to Nigella Lawson. Nigella may be the Domestic Cooking Goddess, but Chef Jamie is my Kitchen Commando. Nigella may have breasts to die for, but Jamie sears chicken breasts to live for.
• H e t o o k o n r e g i o n a l I t a l i a n c o o k s broadening their taste buds and lost
There are many reasons to love Jamie:
Now, I am well aware that a lot of my reasons for loving Jamie will be the same reasons why others do not like him. One person’s puree is another person’s pure pain in the “A.”
• He is a bash and belt kind of chef who cooks in handfuls • Every recipe of Jamie’s that I’ve cooked has come up trumps • He helped transform 15 (and then many more) down and out young folk with his 15 restaurant concept • He took on unhealthy English school dinners and won
• He is tackling unhealthy USA school lunches and it may kill him • He is the pin up boy for kinaesthetic learners – people who love to learn by moving, bashing, belting, doing and getting their hands dirty
In fact, the second favourite on my list of the top 10,000 Celebrity Chefs on the Planet is someone who is a virtual opposite to Jamie – Delia Smith. Where as Jamie is “a handful of this and a splash of that” kind of cook, Delia is all precision and perfection. Jamie’s favourite subjects at school probably would have been playtime, home time and
“ M y f i r s t e v e r principal when teaching, Glyn Watkins, told me to “fall in love with the tigers” and explained that a ‘tiger’ was a student who would stretch you as a teacher.”
home economics, where as Delia most likely excelled at mathematics and chemistry. These are the very reasons why I love her, too: • Her recipes are exact • She doesn’t talk down to you when describing how to boil an egg • What you see is what you get Compare that with British Celebrity Chef Gary Rhodes. Gary is magic to watch. His creations are more architectural delights than plates of food. His desserts emerge as Arc De Triumphs or Eiffel Towers, and they are beautiful. Yet what I see with Gary is not what I get when I attempt his recipes. Suddenly the Arc De Triumph is the Fart De Triumph and the Eiffel Tower of Caramel is a Woeful Brown Lump. Maybe the mistake is that I do not have the light, cool hands of Celeb Chef Rhodes or maybe it is because of my hair. You see; Gary Rhodes has a haircut that resembles his desserts; all lacquer, spike and gelatine. I am sure he practices the styling on his head before transferring it to the plate, where as the hair I have left is a buzz cut. Need I say more?
“ Just as every chef has a unique style, unique preference for flavours and individual cooking processes, so does every student have unique preferences for how they learn any content.” If there was a cooking style for Gary Rhodes it could be: • Visual splendour • Elaborate • Crockenbush like For Delia Smith: • Precise • Perfect • The ideal poached egg For Jamie Oliver: • Hands On
Before Gary Rhodes hair, prior to Gordon Ramsey’s vocabular y, pre Masterchef Television, before Jamie Oliver, or predating even my grandmother’s cooking, the most famous cookery writer in British History was Mrs Beeton. Mrs Beetons’s Book of Household Management is often referred to as “Mrs Beeton’s cookbook,” given that 900 of its 1,112 pages contained recipes.
These days Mrs Beeton’s legacy lives on and has become a celebrity brand. Most people who have heard of Mrs Beeton probably picture her as a grandmotherly type woman. However, the sad truth is that Isabella Mary Beeton died in 1865, age 26, after the birth of her fourth child.
• A foul-mouthed Gordon Ramsey in the back corner (trying to crack onto Nigella)
If there was a cooking style for Mrs Beeton it may have been:
• Young Kylie Kwong preferring more spice
• Practical • Loving • Scone like
• Everything all in one bowl Now, with all that diversity, imagine yourself teaching a class of these celebrity chefs: • Two Fat Ladies in the front row • An affable Bill Granger next to them
• Peter Gordon in the middle mixing everything together • Peta Mathias wanting you to be far quirkier and
Meanwhile, class comedian Jamie can’t respond to anything in print and needs every lesson to have hands–on learning as the major component.
Just as every chef has a unique style, unique preference for flavours and individual cooking processes, so does every student have unique preferences for how they learn any content, especially if content is a NAC New and Challenging –task. To teach well is to reach well. We as teachers need to have diverse strategies that engage learners through their strengths. Then we need to have each learner use their strengths as a starting point to develop some of the areas that are holding them back. You can reach a Jamie-like student through using a hands-on physical modality of learning and then utilise this mode to help him approach some of the things he doesn’t like – his reading and writing. (Jamie Oliver has often stated that his dyslexia makes him a virtual non-reader. If I had a young Jamie in my class I would grab exciting bits of cooking magazines and help him learn the print by mastering the recipe, then guiding him to stories about chefs and cooking. Think BIG and build small – one kaizen at a time.) Personally I would have loved teaching a young Jamie. My first ever principal when teaching, Glyn Watkins, told me to “fall in love with the tigers” and explained that a “tiger” was a student who would stretch you as a teacher and get you to find other ways of engaging learning. Jamie was a Tiger. So, there it is: Learning styles emphasise that we have different strokes for different folks, different starting styles for different apprentices; different leanings for different tastes. Teaching really is the work of the Master Chef.
It’s never too early to start “bedtime” What you do hours before your children’s official bedtime will make sleep much easier.
Sleep is a bodily process, and all bodily processes have a rhythm. Just as we need to teach the children healthy toileting and eating behaviours, we also need to teach them to go happily to sleep. A good bedtime begins many hours beforehand, so here are some tips:
Children absorb information via their sensor y-motor systems, digesting that information and integrating it with all they have learned. For this process to go well, they need to be able to observe, pay attention, interact and experiment. Receptivity needs to be in their sensory-motor systems and in their dispositions.
Morning time: Wake the children up at the same time every day. Choose a waking time that is closest to their average waking time, but inch it slowly back if you need more time for an unhurried morning. Once a rhythm is established, most children will naturally wake at this new time every day.
When children are tired, the energy for this receptiveness is instead directed to the reactive “fight or flight” centre in the hind brain, focusing on self and self-protection. When they are in this mode, learning is impaired. In childhood it is not only intellectual and sensory-motor learning that is developing but also social and emotional learning. The child who is chronically tired tends to unconsciously put out less favourable emotions and actions and in turn receives negative feedback. Repeated negative experiences can have serious and longlasting effects on the child’s comprehension, self-esteem, social skills and relationships. The first step in setting children up for success is to avoid overtiredness. This requires calm, regular, adequate and parent-determined sleep times. Why parentdetermined? All children have an inborn, unstoppable drive to explore the world and push the limits. They do not self-regulate and have little comprehension of safety and the “big picture.” When children determine their own bedtimes, the result is often a lack of rhythm and chronic overtiredness (manifesting as hyperactivity so that the parents say “he/she is just not tired!”).
Daytime: Make sure the children have a balance to their day: time for breathing in (activities requiring focus, effort and selfcontrol) and breathing out (activities of spontaneous, free movement and play, and “downtime” quiet time with no agenda). For children at home after lunch, a daily rest at the same time (even if the child no longer naps) restores their energy and helps to establish the sleeping-waking rhythm.
Coming home time: Give the children time and space to make the transition from school, daycare or outings to home. Avoid lingering too long at pick-up time. Children need to jump from the bubble of school or daycare back into the family bubble. They need clarity about who is in charge and relief from the high stimulation of being in a group. If you are with them on the way home, give them a chance to talk or not talk. Silence is fine. On arrival home, your priority needs to be food and drink. Sitting down together for afternoon tea can be a delightful “chat and reconnect” time during which the children gradually make the adjustment to being at home. Playtime: Ensure time for free play. It is essential for the brain and sensory-motor systems’ maturation and the integration of the day’s learning. Children who have started school at five years should have as much free play as possible as a balance to intellectual instruction, on their own, with siblings and neighbours. Friends can come for playtimes on the weekends. Limit or avoid after-school
rom the moment children awaken to the moment they fall asleep, they are growing and learning at a breathtaking rate. It is not necessary to “accelerate” their development (in fact doing so can be detrimental), but it is vital that we set them up for success every day.
visitors during the week. If they do come, make it early and short. The first half hour at home might need to be quieter, each child on their own, so they can “come back to themselves.” During this time you may need to distract a younger sibling who has been dying for big brother or sister to come home until the older child has breathed out a bit. If you cannot easily separate siblings, engineer a less-intense activity for them. Remember the school child has to “digest” the day and may need to replay some of the day’s events and try out newly learned behaviours on any “guinea pigs” at hand. Walk time: Make a time for fresh air and exercise. A wonderful activity after the period of free play could be an afternoon walk. The walk can also be done after dinner as a family. When children are in nature, they are fully processing what went into their heads at school. This integrates the learning of “head, heart and hands” and is vital to healthy brain development. The walk is also a time to run free, to stimulate the circulation, increase oxygen to the organs and burn off excess energy and tension as a preparation for healthy sleep. The children can observe the changes in the seasons. They can bring home things they find and decorate the house, the dinner table or a home “nature table.” Children love this activity. Tired time and dinner-prep time: As the afternoon rolls on you will find that the children (and parents) are getting tired. Tempers are more likely to fray. This is the time when most parents try to cook dinner, but it is precisely when it is best for parents to focus on the children. If your household is particularly prone to tantrums at this point, you may, for a few months, have to do some or all of the cooking at another time of the day (or night!) and simply pack them off for a walk. Then when you come home, you can go straight to dinner. The more tired the children are and the later in the day it gets, the more “hands-on” you need to be. Prune whatever you can from this time period: Keep things simple. Remember that children do best with just one parent dealing with them at a time. If two parents can’t agree on the form of the evening or a particular situation, then have only one parent on the children or each “do” a child or a task. Perhaps a relative, friend or teenaged neighbour could come and help for an hour at the most critical time? When you need to prepare dinner, you could bring some or all of the children to the kitchen to help. Helping with meaningful tasks is a cornerstone to healthy childhood. If that is difficult to achieve harmoniously, it is best to separate the children. One could
be in the bath, another having a quiet play on his own, another could be helping you or underfoot. This gives them space from each other and avoids huge meltdowns. Bath time: Bathing together can be a fun weekend activity but on a weekday when you need to stay on task to achieve an early bedtime, it is best to cycle the children one by one through the bath so they each get some “breathing out” space at this time of the day when their resilience and blood sugars are lowest. A quiet bath, playing alone, is deeply soothing to children and a perfect way to “melt away” the day’s troubles. After a bath, try dressing the children in the bathroom before releasing them to the living area. This avoids all the procrastination and chasing games that can turn bedtime into a fiasco. Although it looks like fun, children roaring around naked are using up the last of their energy needed for a healthy bedtime. Their reserve tanks are now on empty and things can go downhill very quickly. Overtired children wake frequently at night. Parents come home time: When you return to your children, it goes best if your mind and body are fully ready to be available. Look at the possibility of taking 10 minutes or more to yourself (e.g. stop the car and read the paper or take a quick walk; look out the window of the train or bus rather than read a report). This avoids the classic scenario of “full-on kids and grumpy parents” that sets the children up for a poor bedtime. It is detrimental for young children to be deliberately kept up so that a lateworking parent may have some time with them. The relationship with that parent can take on a certain hysteria if there is wild excitement, or negativity if it tends to end in tears. Even if the time with that parent goes smoothly, the child’s interactions and learning the next day are damaged due to tiredness. It is far more beneficial for the child to have some rich, quality time with the working parent on the weekends. Dinner time: If dinner can be a happy, nurturing affair with the whole family then that is the ideal. Babies and toddlers, however, are usually too tired to handle this and may need to be fed first and put to bed. Parents who prefer to have a quiet meal after the children are in bed still need to sit down with their children and eat something. The children are learning via imitation and a sense of belonging. If parents are not at the table or are distracted, the eating process can deteriorate and poor eating habits are set up. The adults then tend to fall into a role of confrontation and anxiety, and the resulting tension only serves to worsen the child’s eating behaviour. Parents will have best results by staying focused but relaxed,
mary willow leaving adult conversation till later and concentrating on being great role models. Avoid coming to the table with your own blood sugar levels too low or the first sign of trouble may cause you to make some poor responses. Children eat poorly when they are eating too late or have snacked all afternoon. It is important to have periods of eating and not eating to digest. A good appetite is healthy. Observe your children and try to get the time for dinner just right, ideally no later than 5.30 p.m. Late dinners result in poor behaviour and tension. Bedtime: Ideally children under 7 who are getting up early should be asleep by 7 to 7:30 p.m. (6 to 6:30 if under 3 years). If your family culturally stays up later and children are able to sleep in until they have had 11 to12 hours sleep, it is still critically important to maintain a rhythmic, harmonious bedtime. It helps if parents are calm and steady, reducing stimulation and slowing down the children’s sensory-motor systems. Try to focus on the movements required for bedtime and less on verbal interaction and instruction. Patience and persistence are like magic wands. Simple statements such as “teeth time” are all that is required to signal the next step. By gradually diminishing light and sound, we signal the brain that it is soon time to sleep. The repetition of happy bedtimes turns into a healthy habit. Try having two parts to the bedtime: first, preferably in the living-room (because the bedroom should be associated with sleep), a story and last snack and/or drink by lamplight, followed by teeth, toilet, etc. This completes all the potentially stimulating activities. Then a second, quieter story (a dreamy oral story made up by a parent is excellent) and /or songs, last rituals particular to the family, and last of all a cuddle (all this in a quiet bed, with low light such as a candle, dimmed light or night light). If you let the children persuade you into one more story, this allows them to take control of when they go to sleep. Successful bedtimes depend on the parents being fully in charge, calmly, lovingly and matter-of-factly. When the lights go out, wait for five minutes until the children’s eyes have adjusted to the dark before you leave. If you have any need to return to the room, try to avoid turning lights on, having eye contact or talking. Try to be as mentally detached as possible from the children while still being able to hear them or check on them occasionally. This helps the children let go of your attention and fall asleep peacefully.
dr spencer kagan
Rethinking group marks Look carefully at your thinking before using marks for group projects.
lthough we are enriched by variety, some teaching methods are not good for students and not good for education. Group marks is one such method which should be abandoned. With them, two students with identical ability, work, motivation, and learning end up with quite different final marks. Much of the argument against group marks is provided by a simple thought experiment. For purposes of this experiment, we will imagine two students who are identical with regard to ability, motivation, the work they perform, and the learning they achieve (although we know this is not realistic to this extreme). Now we place these two imaginary identical students in different groups in a class which uses group marks. Both students work hard and contribute the same amount to their respective groups. One of these two identical students happens to end up in a group with motivated students whose skills complement each other well. They function well together as a group. Naturally, their group project is excellent and they all receive a top mark. The other student happens to end up on a group with unmotivated students, or teammates who dislike each other, or students who are in a power conflict, or students whose abilities or styles simply don’t mesh well. Their group project naturally suffers, and they all receive a much lower mark.
Unfairness: Students and their parents know that situations like the one in our thought experiment actually occur. They know group marks are often unfair.
well they get along, how motivated the other students are. When we know that our outcomes to some extent are independent of our efforts, our motivation goes down.
Resistance: Group marks create resistance to cooperative learning among students and their parents. Parents of high achieving students do not want their student to receive a lower mark because a member of their child’s team failed to perform well. Hundreds of parents — many of them teachers — have complained to me about group marks. They tell horror stories that their son or daughter has had to do most or even all of the work for the group because the group had members
I l l e g a l : To t h e e x t e n t m a r k s h e l p determine who gets into the University of their choice and who does not, we cannot defend a grading system that gives students with identical learning and performance different marks. If taken to court, I would hope the judge would declare any such marking system illegal. Why? Because it is a system in which a student’s mark, to a large extent, is not a function of what they have learned or produced.
“ The next time you do a group project, tell the students that their group will receive feedback on the project, but all individual marks will be based on what students have learned or created.”
The final mark of an individual student is no longer a function of the student’s individual ability, motivation, and performance. Group marks make individual marks a function of chance factors, factors out of the control of the student. This leads to:
who were putting their energy elsewhere. Undermining motivation: Group marks undermine many low-achieving students’ motivation and learning: They know they can get a mark even if they do nothing at all. Motivation of high achievers is undermined as well because they do not want to give their fullest effort to a project when others are taking a free ride. Learned Helplessness: When group marks are in place students are, to some extent, in a situation of learned helplessness. What they get is not a function just of what they do, but rather chance forces — who they happen to be on a team with, how
Why Do Group Marks Persist?
Inertia: If teachers have long used a practise, are comfortable with it, built lessons around it, include it as an element of lesson planning, naturally they will not readily agree with someone saying the practise is a bad idea. If you are practised and comfortable with an educational method and it works well for you, you are not predisposed to give it up. Consider my comments here and then ask yourself why you really need group marks. Ask if group marks are the best way for you to reach your objectives as an educator. Perhaps, take the next step. The next time you do a group project, tell the students that their group will receive feedback on the project, but all individual marks will be based on what students have learned or created. After all, why are we having students do projects? Is it
dr spencer kagan
not for learning? How can we know and how can they know if the learning has occurred if we do not assess them individually? False Assumptions: Almost 30 years ago, I developed Co-op Co-op. It is a cooperative learning method in which each student team has a different topic related to the class unit, and each student on each team has a unique “mini-topic” — a part of the team topic. Each student researches his/her mini-topic, returns to the team to present, and then the team synthesizes the material for a presentation to the class. When I first developed Co-op Co-op, I included three sources of marks. An individual mark based on each student’s write-up of his/her individual mini-topic, a group mark based on the quality of the team presentation as determined by the class, and a teammate mark based on the contribution of the team member, as determined by his/her teammates. Co-op Co-op worked well in my upper-division university classes and many students said it was the best learning experience of their university careers. Coop Co-op was later adopted successfully at all class levels across the range of content areas. In my university classes I did not get complaints about the group marks or the teammate marks, and I used the method in that form for a number of years, with many classes.
But something was bothering me. I knew that if teammates really liked an individual they were likely to give them a better mark, regardless of what the student had learned. I knew also that some unmotivated and low-achieving students were getting a boost, however slight, from the group mark. So with some trepidation, I changed what had been a successful course. The next time I offered the course I announced that at the end of the projects there would be structured feedback to each student from their teammates regarding their contributions to the team, but that the teammate feedback would not be figured into the course mark. I announced also that there would be a formal evaluation of each project by the class along several dimensions, but that the group evaluation also would not figure into the course marks for individual students. Evaluation would be based only on individual performances (mini-topic writeups, and other individual assessments of what students had learned). I was worried about the shift in the structure of Co-op Co-op because I knew that individual students could decide not to contribute at all to their group’s project and still get an excellent mark. Given that many upperdivision undergraduate students have a heavy course load, I thought some might reason that if the group project was not to get a good mark, they would put their efforts elsewhere. To my surprise and pleasure, the group projects that year were better than ever. I had been operating on a false assumption. I had assumed that the great projects I had
been seeing each quarter in my classes were partially a result of group marks — that students were motivated by the mark. In fact, students were more motivated without the mark. They made comments like, “I wanted to do the best job I could for my teammates,” “We wanted to really show the class how well we could teach.” “It was a relief to know we were all working together to learn rather than for just for a mark.” The students showed me they were more motivated by being valuable to others; learning; accomplishing a challenging task; knowing one is working to realise one’s own goals, not for an external reward; and feeling pride in one’s ability. When students see themselves as working for a mark, they do not develop as much intrinsic motivation as when they see themselves as working to learn or to be of service to others. Unanalysed Assumptions: When I hear people talk about “sharing the mark,” the image that comes to my mind is of sharing the rewards for hard or clever work. The embedded assumptions seems to be, first, that the mark is the payoff for what we have produced together and second, that there should be a mark. But if we want to create learning communities, learning, not marks, is what we should be sharing. The reward for group work should be enhanced knowledge and skills, not a good mark. I want to see students more proud of what they have learned than what mark they received. If the focus is on marks, our learning community is off base. If we have a true learning community, adding a group mark to a successful project is pointless, excess unnecessary baggage. Why focus students on an external source of evaluation if our aim is to have them self-evaluate and celebrate their own learnings?
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The evolving concept of success
With teachers’ help, we can change our focus from what we have to what we are.
Until that point, I had considered success in education in a rather typically American way: “more.” More content, more learning, more awards and recognition, and, of course, higher test scores. The take home message: the more you have, the more successful you are. Now I had students that couldn’t retain information, couldn’t decode or recode language, n a v i g a t e c o m p l e x directives or tasks, and, in some cases, were barely able to cope with sitting in the same place for more than a
minute. All the skills the other students could demonstrate with ease were either difficult or, as in the case of my daughter who cannot process symbols and struggles with a kind of concept dyslexia, seemingly impossible. I found that in the special education arena that, although we were recognising learning challenges, and providing labels and differentiated instruction, we were still assessing them with the same tools used for the general population. Already challenged by their differences, these students would have been hard pressed to feel successful in the classroom. But fortunately for these students, they had an opportunity every day to feel success working the Habits of Mind. The HOMs levelled the field, and these students were able to shine alongside the general population, without differentiated assessment. They could be masters of the Habits of Mind despite their academic challenges. As a special education community, we looked at the meaning of success together. What did success mean to these students? What did they really want from life? What would a successful life look like to them? I was amazed and humbled by their responses. Success to them meant being able to do things for themselves. What they r e a l l y wanted
from life was to be happy with themselves and others, and to be understood. A successful life meant helping others and taking care of the planet, and having a happy family. Although some students added a nice house and car (and in one case a horse), these were not on the top of their list. I believe that we as educators have a responsibility to our students to examine the continually evolving definition of success. We have seen how our past notions have failed us as people and as stewards of our world’s resources. I believe that our children are the planet’s most important resource — and that their definition of success will shape the direction of our future. I look forward to a future in which we return to the notion that it is who we are and what we do for others that reflects the value of our lives — not what we have. I believe that the Habits of Mind are powerful tools toward this end, and have the power to again redefine the definition of success.
daughter, Madi, was diagnosed at age 2 with pervasive developmental delay, and at 7 with mental retardation. At this time, I went through the process of re-licensure as a special education teacher. My thinking was that I should know as much as I could about what she needed. Becoming a special education teacher (and indeed falling in love with the SpEd population) transformed my concept of “success in education.”
Providing a classroom culture for thinking and learning Change the way you ask questions, have fun and get to know your students and everyone will grow.
he school is the sea. The students are the fish. If the sea is not kept at the right temperature, the fish will die. The right culture sees the fish flourish; the right culture means establishing relationships, communicating, building trust, and learning a sense of well being. Culture is a term often bandied about, but seldom clearly defined. At a simplistic level, it is merely the way things are done around here. However, the way things are done round here will be both complex and even contradictory. It is not one complete entity.
Fish Philosophy The Fish Philosophy, based on the practises of the Seattle Fish Market, provides a fourcylinder resource engine to not only provide the right culture but also to give that culture the needed coherence. This is done by focusing on attitude, play, “making their day” and “being there.”
Attitude If the school is to be the nurturing culture needed for the students (the fish) to flourish, the teacher’s role must be a mentoring one. To do this with students is not just necessary, it is crucial. Therefore, teachers need to develop positive expectations and a determination to have classroom rituals that empower both the students and themselves.
Students not being called on to answer questions all too often develop a low level of confidence, believing that you, the teacher, does not believe they are capable of answering, or that you believe others will have a better answer. They may even believe that the problem is that you, the teacher, do not like them. All this negative
An example of this is the questioning ritual that is in vogue. This can neutralise or empower.
““The children are responding to my change of the word ‘work’ during class time. I am now using the phrase ‘you have learning to do’ instead, and I can see their reactions.” expectancy too easily becomes an alibi for inattention and beyond that ill discipline. Paige Alison’s research at the University of Florida stresses the advantages of random selection when calling on students to answer questions. Not only did she find that students attended classes better prepared but also that they tended to stay on task and attend consistently. They knew that their turn would come. The negatives in not being asked disappeared. Fifteen months after introducing both the wait time and random selection of students into a school as the school-wide ritual for questions and answers, a teacher volunteered that the quieter boys are now stirred to answer with a quality response. Another teacher stated, “I now have a class of keen ‘answerers’, they tell me by their eyes.” The everyday vocabulary that is used is another example. Words are metaphors, giving subtly complicated emotional meaning that is constantly being framed by our experiences. Pat Morrisey from a school in Westchester County, New York, observed the changed student attitude to her change in vocabulary use: “The children are responding to my change of the word ‘work’ during class time. I am now using the phrase ‘you have learning to do’ instead, and I can see their reactions. It’s interesting to think of the shift in their attitude, but not surprising. ‘You have work to do’ sounds so heavy and dismal; ‘you have learning to do’ sounds interesting, engaging and fun.” This is a tiny change in language but a huge mind shift in attitude. Important too are little courtesies like please and thank you modelled and practised by both teachers and students.
Play Play is all about having fun while seriously learning. The brain is biologically programmed to attend first to information that has strong emotional content. When used thoughtfully, the emotion inherent in play drives attention and attention drives learning.
Georgette’s chocolate cake maths is an example of this. She wanted to break down built- up emotional barriers to maths, specifically fractions, and decided to use chocolate as the catalyst. It was a visual, tactile, and tastebud way (using the senses) of teaching fractional numbers through play starting with a cake (bar) of chocolate. When she opened it up, the kids were glued. The serious business was that she was discussing fractional numbers and began with the naming of parts in the space on a number line between zero and one. The visual hook was one bar of chocolate, yet it was divided up equally into 80 pieces. The bar was then broken in half and she looked for the vocabulary relating to fractional numbers: 50 percent, ½, and 0.5 of one whole. She then looked at other common fractions relating it back to numbers being less than one. Making their day is all about creating energy and good will. It is amazing how these now grown kids still remember those lessons. Role play is also play; we used this a lot when I was in the New Zealand regular a r m y, o f t e n m a k i n g p o i n t s t h r o u g h humour. When soldiers came up on charges in a commanding officer’s orderly room, the conventional court procedures applied: The soldier was to be considered innocent until proven guilty. Thus a role play in which the officer stated to his sergeant to “March the guilty bastard in!” invariably brought laughter, but the juxtaposition with what should happen also made sure the point was well made.
Make their day This is all about creating energy and good will. Rapport between teacher and student generates emotional energy which is then applied to the teaching and learning. After three boys, my wife and I produced a daughter. At the time I was teaching a class of very lively 14-year-old girls. After the daughter’s birth, I walked into the classroom to find that almost every girl had written congratulations and initialed it on the chalkboard. In a square in the middle
some bright spark had written, “Is this the start of three girls?” Quietly I picked up a piece of yellow chalk and wrote in large letters NO. Before I could turn back to the class, a loud voice said, “Of course not; he’s far too old,” and much laughter followed. Eventually I got her back when it came to report writing time and I wrote: “She lacks mature judgement i.e. she thinks I’m a geriatric!” and hoped her parents had a sense of humour, too. An understanding of Daniel Goleman’s emotional intelligence or EQ is an important ingredient, too. The twin thrusts of managing relations with others, and managing our emotional selves, the essence of emotional intelligence, are crucial elements in collegial relationships. Thinking first and therefore decreasing impulsivity to decrease the danger of putting one’s foot in it will ring a bell with many. Likewise having an empathetic understanding of how others feel and matching actions to that is also part of collegiality. Here role play is a superior way of getting this emotional understanding across. Something simple like acting out the first meeting after you have been chosen in the sports team and your friend has not is all that is required.
Being there Being there is all about taking an individual interest in each student. Recently I conducted a qualitative survey asking a group of 5- to 17-year-olds to state the one thing that they thought made a good teacher. Heading the list was that the good teacher was interested in them as individuals, or a variation on that that the good teacher was interested in students as people. Two other important aspects also appeared – that the teacher engaged them, and that there was interaction or doing with not doing, too. I also asked what characteristics of a bad teacher were and not surprisingly the opposites of the above appeared. One heartfelt comment being, “After two weeks of a lesson a day he still didn’t know my name – maybe trivial but to me infuriating and almost insulting.”
Fostering intelligent relationships If you reach me, you can teach me
he Precise student is the one school was designed for in the first place. He or she knows what projects and assignments are and when they are due, and they put great energy into doing them efficiently and on time. They are not hard to identify.
When there was a session in class on “poverty in the developing countries,” compassion rose in her heart and lingered for several days. Her mother found her weeping into her sheets at night. They are very sensitive children and feel deeper than most.
Their strengths: *The most deeply creative and genius prone (Some parents/teachers may actually feel threatened by the innate mental capabilities of such a child.)
They are the quieter child and tend to internalise their deep need for understanding rather than openly seeking it. They feel if you really understood them as a teacher, you would be sensitive to their needs and they wouldn’t have to tell you.
• Deliberate and neat. • Reliable • Conscientious • On task • Scheduled • Well-mannered
It’s a paradox really. Whilst they are the most responsive to learning of all the four personality types, they can also be the most intense in the classroom. They seem to have a memory for all the things you as a teacher have said, and when you don’t deliver, they will be the first to tell you. They are the most “time” aware, and have a habit of pulling at the teacher’s hem to let the teacher know it is time to move onto the next activity.
Jemma was clearly a Precise child. Her writing was so neat that she had a tendency to get behind as she scripted her letters, rubbing them out and re-writing them, wanting to get it done perfectly. Justice and fair play was top of mind for Jemma and so when she saw an injustice in the playground, she would let the duty teacher know about it, and would go on about it until she saw some action around it.
It’s hard for the Precise child to grasp why no one else seems to experience such depth of emotions and understanding, why no one else seems to care. It is important that you teach the Precise child that both success and failure are a part of life. This child is terrified of failure and has a difficult time trying anything unless success is guaranteed. They will often spend excess time on preparation to perform a doubtful project. Explain to them that each setback in life gives us compassion for others who are hurting.
“ It is important that you teach the Precise child that both success and failure are a part of life.”
They don’t cope well with: • The timetable being changed without warning • Projects that are not clearly defined • Having to attempt things that they can’t do with excellence • Overloading them with responsibilities. • Expressing their feelings In a nutshell, these are Precise needs: • Sensitivity • Satisfaction from quality achievement • Space to call their own • Security and stability • Separation from noise; they love working alone. • Supportive teachers that say “I believe in you!” Provide these things, and you will be amazed at their responsiveness.
â€œ Whilst they are the most responsive to learning of all the four personality ty pes, they can also be the most intense in the classroom.â€?
Teaching values for life: Be the achieving kind Encourage your students to think positively and achieve their potential.
hen my eldest son started reading, like most parents, I was proud of his efforts. I recall having a discussion at the time with my dad about how thrilled I was that he was reading. I vividly remember Dad saying “and now it’s your great responsibility to help him to continue to achieve his potential.” Those words resonated deeply with me, and made me think about the fact that most successful people I knew, both personally and by reputation, had a strong support base to encourage them and help them achieve their potential. These “significant others” include parents, family, teachers, sports coaches and other caring people. We especially have a great responsibility as parents and teachers to help our children and students achieve their potential. That’s our job.
“ If your thoughts and feelings are positive, your actions are more likely to be positive, therefore you are much more likely to attract positive circumstances.”
Achievement with balance When I say we need to help our kids achieve their potential, I’m not talking about pushing kids to become “superstars” in whatever field they may show talent. I’m talking about developing well-rounded individuals who make the most of their talents and abilities which will in turn build self esteem and enhance their
connections with others. When I think back, it was probably Dad’s comment that was to become the catalyst for the development of the Six Kinds of Best concept. I was determined that I wanted to
“ Help your students achieve their goals by getting them to focus on them. They should write them down, create pictures of them and refer to them often. ” leave a positive legacy for my children, so that if anyone asked them “what have you learned from your Dad?,” they would say “Be kind to yourself, be kind to others, be kind to the environment, be the learning kind, be the achieving kind and be the community kind.” So, the first lesson about encouraging our students to be the “achieving kind” is that their achievement should not be to the detriment of the other five kinds of best. The Law of Attraction One of my favourite concepts that helps people think positively and achieve their goals is the Law of Attraction. The Law of Attraction says that whatever you are thinking and feeling plus your actions is creating your future. If your thoughts and feelings are positive, your actions are more likely to be positive, therefore you are much more likely to attract positive circumstances. You are “making your own luck.” Conversely, negative thinking will have the opposite effect. So, the question is, “how can we change negative thinking to positive thinking?” In the book The Law of Attraction, Michael Losier suggests a simple but powerful technique for changing negative thoughts into positive ones. He calls it the “Magic Question.” When you have negative thoughts, you should ask yourself the Magic Question, which is: “Well, what do I want?” For example, if you are concerned about behaviour in your classroom, instead of going to class expecting bad behaviour (and probably getting it), ask yourself “Well, what do I want?” The answer is “good behaviour.” You will then focus on what good behaviour looks, sounds and feels like, such as students entering the class properly, not annoying others and working well in class. By doing this you are: 1. Expecting good behaviour and more likely to get it through the self fulfilling prophecy, and 2. Clarifying in your mind what you need to do to “get what you want.” For example, you might get to class early so that students will be more orderly when you arrive, or split up students who
might annoy each o t h e r, o r s i m p l y make your lessons more exciting so that your kids won’t get bored.
So, when could you apply the “Magic Question” yourself, and how could you get your students to use it? Goal setting Setting goals is an important part of being the achieving kind. As the old saying goes, “How will you get there if you don’t know where you’re going?” Many disengaged students I have come across in schools have no sense of purpose or direction; they have “nowhere to go.” Having goals and a sense of purpose is a key component of a healthy self esteem. The Law of Attraction also works for achieving goals. The more we focus on what we really want, the more opportunities will arise that will help us get it. So, help your students achieve their goals by getting them to focus on them. They should write them down, create pictures of them and refer to them often. Brian Tracy, a goal-setting expert, suggests that we read and write down our goals in a notebook every day. Remember that we not only need to think about and feel our positive future, we also have to take action. So, what can you do to help your students set, focus upon, and take action towards achieving their goals? Developing persistence and self discipline Persistence and self discipline are key attributes needed to be the achieving kind; however, they are perhaps two of the most difficult things to instill in our students (and ourselves!) A practical tool to help develop self discipline and persistence is what I call an “energising quote.” These are mantras you say to yourself to motivate yourself into action, and to give yourself a mental boost when your resolve starts to fade. Some examples of energising quotes include “If it’s to be, it’s up to me,” “What you see is who’ll you’ll be,” “What goes around, comes around” and so on. My favourite is “Winners do what losers don’t.” I often use this when I have a task to do that I don’t really feel like doing, but I have promised
someone that I would get it done. I don’t want people (or myself) to think I’m a loser, so I just get on with it. What simple energising quotes could your students use? Being the achieving kind is of course much more than just positive thinking, goal setting and persistence and self-discipline, but if you can get your students to develop these skills and attributes they will be well on their way to becoming the achieving kind. Check out the key pointers and ten tips included in this article for other strategies, and remember the words of Napolean Hill who once said, “Whatever the mind of man can perceive and believe, it can achieve.”
Key pointers How to encourage your students to think positively and achieve their potential. Encourage your students to: 5.1
Have a go!
Try lots of different things
Discover what they’re good at and enjoy doing
Do things to the best of their ability
Pursue quality and personal excellence
Use their talents
Develop a sense of purpose
Manage time effectively
Manage money wisely
Set worthwhile goals and make plans to achieve them
Show persistence and self discipline to achieve goals
Look at different ways of doing things – think creatively
Develop good communication skills
Seek good role models
Download free “Be the achieving kind” lesson plans at www.sixkindsofbest.com
Ten simple things you can do to encourage your students to be positive and achieve their potential
Seven ways to teach children to “be the achieving kind”
1 . Te a c h y o u r s t u d e n t s t h e “ M a g i c Question” to use when they are feeling negative: “So, what do I want?”
1. Teach children the “Six kinds of best” affirmation so they internalize the core values. 2. Articulate what “being the achieving kind” means. See the key pointers. Put up a poster to remind students. 3. Teach lessons on the key pointers from the Values Education Toolkit books. Free downloads available at www.sixkindsofbest.com 4. Use “Six kinds of best” language. For example; if someone is being positive or achieving their potential, say things like, “Fantastic effort Kym, that’s being the achieving kind.” 5. Catch children achieving well. Give them an “I am the achieving kind” sticker or certificate. Better still, get children to praise each other when they see examples of other children being the achieving kind. 6. Use an individual or class progress chart to reinforce positive examples of achievement. 7. Create a “Be the achieving kind” class display.
2. Have a goal-setting and review session in your class every week. 3. Get your students to create a goals poster or collage – drawings or pictures of their goals. 4. Develop whole class goals and create a record of progress such as a chart, ladder or jar of marbles. 5. Teach energising quotes like “If it’s to be, it’s up to me.” 6. Praise students when they show persistence and self discipline. 7. Get students to create a “Have a go!” journal or chart – listing each time they have tried something new. 8. Create “This is a positive thinking zone” signs for your classroom. 9. Teach your students a repertoire of positive words such as “fantastic,” “wow” and “brilliant.”
Give your children “Six kinds of best” This article is the fifth in a series of six articles based on the “Six kinds of best” concept. The concept provides a simple framework to help teachers and parents articulate what good values are, and gives students sign posts to point them in the right direction when they get to “crossroad” moments in their lives, times when they need to make important decisions. By teaching the “Six kinds of best,” we are giving our children a simple, consistent and meaningful message that will help them remember what they need to do in order to become happy and successful individuals.
The “Six kinds of best” are: 1. Be kind to yourself 2. Be kind to others 3. Be kind to the environment 4. Be the learning kind 5. Be the achieving kind 6. Be the community kind
10. Create a hall of fame with pictures of students who have been the achieving kind.
Values education toolkit resources By David Koutsoukis
Book 1: ages 4 -6yrs Book 2: ages 6 -8yrs Book 3: ages 8 -10yrs Book 4: ages 10-12yrs Book 5: ages 13-15yrs -
RIC-2773 - ISBN 9781741263565 RIC-2774 - ISBN 9781741263749 RIC-2775 - ISBN 9781741263756 RIC-2776 - ISBN 9781741263763 RIC-2777 - ISBN 9781741263770
Teacher resource books including values framework, explanatory notes, lesson plans, blackline masters, certificates and many other great ideas for teaching values. RIC-7065 ISBN 9321862008074 (set of six posters) $49.95
Available from Spectrum Education www.spectrumeducation.com
Teachers Resources & Lessons
from Powerful Thinking by Adrian Rennie
Helping parents release their young adult Look at the reasons behind your need to hold onto your child, and start changing now.
ust imagine the day your young adult (YA) packs her back and leaves home for good. Not that false alarm stuff where she leaves for six months, gets into horrible debt then comes back home for you to nurse her wounds until she can handle that big and nasty world again. Unfortunately, many parents are “a soft touch:” they can’t seem to let their YA fend for himself or herself and make it on their own. In this article, I share some common stumbling blocks for parents in letting their YA leave home and stay left! The goal of adulthood (or transitioning there) is for the YA to become independent whilst maintaining a healthy and loving the relationship with his/her parents.
When YAs feel the need to become more independent, they may consciously or subconsciously create friction in order to become a separate identity from their parents. This process of separation begins as a very small child and continues until adulthood. During this time, we discover who we are as an individual while maintaining our need to be socially tethered to others. The “we,” as in the family relationship, gives way to a need for “I,” to establish a separate identity. For the YA, this is the first step in preparing to find a mate and begin his or her “own” family.
Parents who clip their YA wings Instead of recognizing that this is a healthy state just needing a plan of action, many parents are threatened as the YA stretches his wings. They may try to smooth the waters and make things irresistible at home so the YA won’t leave; such as not charging board or offering to convert the downstairs into “your own lovely little flat.” While sometimes the flat idea works quite well (the no board routine never does), the parents have overlooked the YA’s need to create his own space. Your home is still your home and with that comes a myriad of unspoken
expectations. Your YA simply wants to call the shots and come and go as he pleases. Please Mum & Dad – Let me go! Like Pharaoh who wouldn’t let the Israelites leave Egypt, some parents make it very difficult for Johnnie to leave home. And so Johnnie, just like in the story of Exodus, ends up bringing plagues on the family until eventually Mum and Dad can’t wait to get rid of him. Sadly, this tearing away causes a loss of relationship and it needn’t be that way. It’s much better to release Johnnie. Even if he doesn’t leave right away – help him develop a plan of action and make it an event to look forward to with your blessing. Do the maths and let him work out if he can afford to move out. And let’s face it, your YA is prepared to live in a flat. Why can’t some parents let go? Mums are the primary nurturer, and women feel hardest hit when their baby wants to fly the coop. Following are some reasons specific to mums, followed by parents in general. • Her identity is wrapped up in caring for her children Just as many men are validated by their job, as the key nurturers of their children, women can equate their personal value with their mothering. • Mum can’t bear for her child to suffer pain Mum sees the fall coming and she intervenes in the growth process by catching all the stray balls in life that might hit her children. Unfortunately, Mum creates a weak YA who eventually blames her for creating the co-dependency they both love to hate. Perhaps she suffered badly as a child, and she doesn’t want the same for her child. Whilst admirable and understandable, this thinking still doesn’t work.
• Mum’s marriage / relationship is unfulfilling A woman may substitute her children for an unfulfilling relationship. If the child leaves, who will she talk to while preparing dinner? Who will she show her new outfit to? • Parents don’t recognise their own transition time If parents lives are centred around their children, they become background to their YA and they fail to recognise that it’s time to set new goals of their own. Parents should not live vicariously through their children (or grandchildren – that one’s for me!) • Parents don’t trust their YA’S ability to go flatting This could be a well-founded fear. If you have not equipped your YA to be self sufficient, someone else will need to. I recommend he board with one of your tough friends for six months. Your friendship will probably die but at least your YA is then equipped to go flatting. • Mum & Dad have made life too good When there is no shortage of money, Johnnie becomes a bonsai in his journey to becoming independent. Life goes on; Johnnie is living like a king and sees absolutely no need to leave home. Mum is still ironing his shirts and making yummy meals. He can still borrow her car so long as he keeps up the flattery, and everyone is happy. Except when Johnnie gets married, now he has two women who love and depend on him, and it gets hard to choose. Let’s face it: It is inevitable that your kids will leave home sometime. Release them; don’t cause them to tear away. You made mistakes and so will they. Support them, but don’t spoon-feed them and you will be proud of how your YA manages without you. Final comment: Do it right the first time – so once they have left they won’t come back! I feel another article coming on this subject.
Ngahihi o te ra Bidois
One minute and one step at a time Focusing on what needs to be done now can keep you on the track of success.
activities were occurring, he would withdraw and quickly ask himself one question:
“ He replied that in the midst of the battle when tensions were high and life threatening activities were occurring, he would withdraw and quickly ask himself one question: “What is my most important one thing to do right now?””
achieve in the future, but he said the future would be difficult because of the pain he was experiencing. Trying to comfort him I said, “Well, I guess it just has to be one day at a time, aye.” To which he replied, “Bro, sometimes it is one minute at a time.”
Unknown to me that would be the last time I would see him alive as he passed in the early hours of the next morning. Since that conversation I have often reflected on his wise reply, and it has encouraged me to make the most of the minutes in my life. There are times when I have found myself aimlessly going along in my day, and I have stopped and asked, “What will I do with my next minute?” I have found that if I focus back on the minutes, then the hours, days and weeks take care of themselves. An American soldier who had received many bravery awards was asked how he accomplished his many feats of bravery. He replied that in the midst of the battle when tensions were high and life threatening
“What is my most important one thing to do right now?” He would then re-engage and do that one thing, which led to a series of successful outcomes for him, and the people he was leading. Poutama, one of our Maori tukutuku patterns, is known as the steps to heaven or the steps to success – one step at a time. It teaches us about taking one step at a time, one minute at a time. Poutama also teaches us to focus on our one most important thing to do in that minute. Another interesting feature of Poutama is whether we find ourselves at the top of the design as a principal or at the bottom of the design as a cleaner (or perhaps the other way around), we all have steps of success to make, one at a time.
was visiting a friend in hospital who was very ill. He told me how painful the sickness was and how much he relied on the painkilling drugs he was receiving. We talked about his life and what he wanted to
So, how are your minutes going? When was the last time you reflected and asked yourself, “What is my most important one thing I need to do in the next minute?” What is my next step to success? Leaders spend time reflecting and asking themselves important questions, because they know that reflecting on important questions often leads to outstanding answers and results. The minutes leaders spend reflecting often result in hours gained for them and those they lead. My final conversation with my friend reminded me that minutes are important, because we sometimes do not know how many remain. My work with leaders has shown me that they carefully look after the minutes – one step at a time and the hours, days and weeks look after themselves. I encourage you to do the same.
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To praise or not to praise, that is the question Keep your words focused on the specifics, and you’ll see how it helps students.
was spring 1997 and I was running a behaviour support group with Year 2 children, in an inner city London Primary school. We were approaching SAT’s summer tests, and my role was to advance these children’s writing skills. Paul had spent the last five minutes out of his seat, distracting others and was having difficulty settling. As he returned to his desk, he put pen to paper and like a mad woman, I leaped across the room and stuck a sticker on his shirt, saying “well done for starting your story!” That single episode of praise turned the rest of our lesson around and as he was lining up, he commented, “Mrs Hoyle, didn’t I do well today, look I’ve written a whole page.” As he showed me his work, another child commented how well he had done and how interesting his story was. What a wonderful end to our session and proof that catching that one small moment can lead to a real shift in a child’s attitude and ability to engage and learn; what’s more, what followed was self praise and peer praise, which, as you know, is far more powerful than any praise a teacher could give. The advantages Whilst some believe that praise can be manipulative, which of course it can, largely it can be seen to have a dramatic positive impact on relationships and can be extremely enabling and supportive. It is also contagious and many schools and organisations that adopt such a culture improve morale and relationships, increase wellbeing and self esteem, enhance kindness and cooperation, improve productivity and in general, achieve better results and that’s not just with the students. Creating a culture of affirmation also helps build trust; if you have looked for the good first and have built a positive relationship with a student, when a mistake occurs or a child proves particularly challenging, you can redirect the energy for a more positive outcome, as the song by Johnny Mercer goes “accentuate the positive, eliminate the negative.”
The Disadvantages The disadvantages, of course, include over use of praise — inconsistent, non genuine, insincere and manipulative praise. Some believe that praise is usually only given to a child when a task or deed is completed or is well done and prefer to use the term encouragement, which refers to a positive acknowledgment response that focuses on the student’s effort or specific attributes of work completed. They worry that praise, such as “Terrific job,” or “You draw beautifully,” places judgement on a student’s work or gives information regarding its value or implications of student status. In Po Bronson and Ashley Merryman’s latest book, Nurtureshock, they look at many of modern society’s strategies for raising children, including the way we praise our children and point out that how and what we are praising children for can, at times, be detrimental to their wellbeing. Bronson cites the work of Carol Dweck, a Stanford professor, who has proven, in a growing body of work dating back 15 years, that praising a child for their intelligence can cause the opposite result. It didn’t prevent underperforming: It could actually cause it. So what can we conclude from this? Obviously how we praise our child is essential to their emotional wellbeing and success. Below are seven steps to support you with this: Effectively and powerfully praise your children 1. Keep your praise specific and genuine Considered use of genuine and specific praise is a key theme in the programme I run in schools: The Turn a Round Programme. A child needs to know exactly what he/she did to earn that praise (and then can get more). For example, “You have consistently used full stops and capital letters in your story; you must be pleased with yourself.” “You are always so cheerful in the morning.”
Don’t use generalised praise: Well done, great, terrific, awesome. 2. Use “you” not “I” and engage in discussion When you praise, remember that the encouragement you are giving is for the child. When you say “I” love your work, the focus is on you and what you think, as opposed to the child. Try to use “you” statements such as “you have worked so hard; tell me what you have done…….. You must be very proud of yourself.” This statement also engages the child in discussion and rather than using evaluative praise and having a brief interaction, you are more able to spend some quality time listening to that child. 3. YOU – Your Own Uniqueness Praise them for who they are being as well as their accomplishments. We all need to know that who we are is OK, that we are good enough, liked and loved enough for just being ourselves. Praise that acknowledges us as individuals and for our strengths and personal qualities is the most powerful. For example: “You are so kind, Amira, I saw you letting others in to play your game at playtime.” 4. Be realistic, sincere and honest Children have an uncanny knack for knowing if they have truly earned your acclaim or if you are manipulating them. Unrealistic praise can also create self doubt and disappointment. Carol Dweck’s research proves that it’s important to praise children for their effort, just not their intelligence. 5. Rewards and encouragers for specific pieces of work, positive behaviours and achievements I love rewards that are specific. Stickers and certificates and great, as long as they tell the child and anyone reading them exactly what they have done to earn them. I often make my own, though there are a lot of excellent ones on the market. • I am a great speller • I was a good friend in the playground • I was kind today • I can recognise numbers to 20
The Kindness Tree
therese hoyle Don’t: Use the generalised stickers and certificates that just say well done, terrific, etc. When a child wears a sticker which is specific, everywhere they go people often make positive comments and are curious to know what they did to earn it. For instance if a teacher gives Jodie a sticker for being a kind friend in the playground, when she walks up the corridor a teaching assistant may make a positive comment about her behaviour as a result of the sticker. Likewise when Mum picks her up she may say, “wow, you’ve been a kind friend today.” They then could stop off at the corner shop and the man behind the counter also comments on her sticker. They go to see Grandma and she comments. By the end of the day that child could have had 10 people comment on her kindness, thus reinforcing a positive behaviour. I would encourage schools to have a baseline and ceiling for incentives that all teachers and teaching assistants can give out. For instance everyone could have 10 stickers that need to be given out over the week. Difficulties and inconsistencies arrive when some teachers give out lots of encouragement and some give out none. Children then learn who to go to to get them. 6. Look for the GOOD - How to redirect the energy for a more productive outcome As I travel around the country working in schools I see amazing teachers looking for the good in their students. Assemblies are a classic time when principals, faced with 300 children in a hall, regularly spot those who are sitting quietly and use them as examples, only to find how contagious and effective the praise of one child can be.
I regularly use proximity praise when I am teaching and especially when I am working with challenging students.
A few years ago I was running a Circle Time training day in Ireland. In the afternoon I was to model a circle time with a group of challenging Year 7 boys. As the boys arrived in the room, some headed for the circle of chairs and sat down as I had asked, then a small group started to dance in the centre and run round wildly. It is every teacher and trainer’s dread – complete mayhem and it was also an opportunity to see if I could practise what I preach. As one boy sat down, I grabbed the opportunity to say, “well done for sitting down and looking at me, you have a lovely listening body.” (I can be nauseatingly positive!). Luckily another sat down, I continued praising the few children I could and slowly but surely
The Compliments Game I ended up with the whole class seated. To this day I still think it was a miracle; however it just confirmed to me, yet again, that praise works. Additionally when redirecting negative behaviour or correcting children’s work, tell children what you want them to do as opposed to telling them what not to do. For instance, “can you please come and sit down on the chairs” as opposed to “don’t run in the classroom.” 7. Encourage children to praise themselves and each other Smiley faces During the week, encourage children to put smiley faces on work that they are proud of. I suggest that children can give themselves five smiley faces a week for work or behaviours they are proud of. On Friday they can select one piece of work or behaviour and in a short circle time they can say: “I am pleased with myself because…” and show their picture or piece of work. Circle Times – Affirmation and Celebration At the end of a circle time I encourage children to genuinely praise and affirm one another and develop a vocabulary of encouragement and acknowledgement. As a teacher I say “Is there anyone in this class you are pleased with today.” I am then specific, for instance I might say “for being a good friend, for working hard and concentrating,” etc. Children then raise their hands. If they are chosen, they cross the circle and stand in front of a peer and say such things as: • Thank you • You are someone who…… • I’m pleased with you because The child receiving the praise then says “thank you.” The delight on the receiver’s and the giver’s face is always heart warming. Children have an intrinsic desire to learn, and all children want to do well. Effective praise, which encourages students, creates an environment where children can thrive and achieve their full potential.
Taken from 101 Wet Playtime Games and Activities by Therese Hoyle, available through www.spectrumeducation.com
Age Range: 5-11 Ideal Number of Players: 10+ Equipment Needed: None
What to Do The children sit in a circle and the teacher asks the class the question, ‘Who wants to be complimented today?’ The children can show by raising their hands. The teacher must ensure that each child has a turn over the year. The teacher will select one child and ask him/her to leave the classroom. The teacher then asks the rest of the class to say something positive about the child who has left. For example, ‘Esther is very kind, has lovely eyes and is a good athlete.’ The teacher makes a list of all the compliments and the names of the students who said them. The child is then called back to the classroom. The teacher reads all the compliments to the child with the names of the authors. The class gives the child a round of applause. The teacher types up all the positive comments and this is given to the student. This game builds positive self esteem, enhances kindness and is a good team building activity.
Rules Keep a record of who has had a compliment paid to them to ensure that all children are selected.
Teachers: Let’s level up
How the psychological elements of character progression in video games can enhance learning and engagement.
h, video games. They’re the thing many students play when they probably ought to be doing their homework. According to recent research from Carnegie Mellon University, the average young person will have spent at least 10,000 hours playing online video games by age 21. Many parents and teachers would be positively aghast by this statistic. Why? Because video games are bad. Right? Well, probably not. What we should be asking is: “Why do online video games keep people more engaged than almost any other form of media?” and, for teachers: “How can we learn from this to enhance our students’ engagement with their learning?” When I wrote my book on exam skills, I considered ways that I could frame the process to help students learn to enjoy exams. At the time, the natural choice for me was to use the analogy of adventure gaming, whereby in this case the student becomes an EDventurer on a quest to master exams. I got right into the analogies of things, exploring core motivators and how character progression (levelling up) could translate into real-world development. However, it quickly escalated beyond novelty; I started to discover many amazing synergies between gaming psychology and my PhD research on goal getting. You see, there are three things that almost all video games are good at doing: (1) challenging players, (2) providing ongoing stimulation, and (3) giving them some form of reward. One key step to unlocking the power of engagement within your classroom is to ensure you have a good overlap of the following:
1. Challenge From centuries of research on goal setting, we know that challenging goals are more effective than easy goals. If you challenge your muscles at the gym, they grow stronger. When we challenge our assumptions, we grow wiser. In gaming, the player is incrementally challenged, and their skills grow. This growth is often measured in “experience points,” a nifty way of quantifying experience. The more you challenge yourself, the more experience points you get. And the more experience points you get, the sooner you’ll reach the next level - aka “level up!” (which, in itself is a powerful form of acknowledgement). For you, as a teacher, this means that you’ll be hoping to have a challenging student in your next class - you’ll grow because of it! And for your students, this framing can be useful in the context of their academic challenges. Challenges are good. If we aren’t challenging ourselves, we aren’t getting any better. Try developing a weekly routine, whereby each student shares their current challenges and learnings in small groups. Join in this process by sharing your own quests. 2. Stimulation Modern games are ridiculously good at keeping people engaged. There are always new things to discover - be it a new power, an exciting new level or a new piece of a story. It’s what helps to keep a player persevering through the challenges. An essential skill for any teacher is the ability to make learning engaging and enjoyable. One idea for achieving this is to regularly disrupt patterns. I often advise my students that it is their responsibility to make their study exciting - converting the perceived mundane and dull subject content into something magical and dramatic. However, it would help if you can do this, too! Spring learning surprises amongst students! Hint at undiscovered possibilities, and draw real world characters and elements into the learning mix.
Work on your own spontaneity. Do some acting and get your students role-playing, hold game-show style quizzes, or encourage the students to develop their own rap-piece for a particular equation or concept. 3. Reward Players are constantly awarded and acknowledged within games, for every little thing they do that brings about progress. Jane McGonagall, in her recent presentation at the 2010 TED conference, refers to this phenomenon as “Blissful Productivity.” Modern games have a way of building momentum through constant acknowledgement and character rewards. It reminds me of one of my favourite chapters from Glenn Capelli’s 2010 book, Thinking Caps. In the chapter, Capelli discusses application of “Kaizen,” a Japanese word that means “small, seemingly insignificant, continuous, on-going and never ending improvements.” Capelli explains a kaizen approach to marking a spelling error: Instead of crossing the whole word out, he suggests that the kaizen approach would be to “count and tick all the correct letters in the word.” Most modern games take a similar approach, constantly acknowledging positive steps a player makes towards their goals. Develop an acuity for positive acknowledgement. Emphasise the little steps towards progress as well as the big ones. The three keys to engagement It’s important to get an overlap of all three components for true engagement, and this extends beyond the class room. If just one element is missing, you get the following: a) Challenge + Stimulation - without reward, you get dissatisfaction. b) Stimulation + Reward - without challenge, you get stagnation. c) Reward + Challenge - without stimulation, you get boredom. Modern online games keep players engaged in a number of ways, and we’ve explored just one - the overlap of challenge, stimulation and reward. The question now is: “What do you need to do to help your students reach the next level?”
Ask and you shall receive
Want to know what kind of teacher you are? Ask your students.
I Teachers Matter
was asked to write something about my teaching journey recently, and I was stumped. I am a second-year teacher approaching registration, and I just about feel I know what I am doing, but how does that help to describe my learning and teaching journey? Do I write about my pedagogy, my development or pass along ideas that work for me? I rapidly decided I could not do any of these for fear of sounding patronising and uninspiring. So I did what I always do: I asked my class for help.
I gave my students 10 minutes to answer some questions we came up with together about what I do (or do not) teach well, what they enjoy (or do not enjoy) and what they would like to see me do differently. After persuading them that they did not need to disguise their handwriting and discussing the difference between constructive criticism and telling me my bottom is the size of a hippo’s, they enthusiastically wrote their lists.
I don’t think I am arrogant. In fact I have struggled with my confidence from my first day as a teacher, but I did think I knew what they would tell me. Maybe that I am mean sometimes to certain kids, confuse them with fractions, am funny and definitely cannot draw. Was I in for a surprise. They liked that I ensure we have fun with either team building games or hands-on activities. I am, however, a little bossy and sometimes too loud. I could live with those comments. But then there were the shockers, both good and bad: I could accept the comment about how I don’t make much sense with decimals (although I did give a small “Ouch!”). One of the most negative, hard-to-help students said I was kind and always help them when they are stuck (aah), and then there was the student who said I was wonderful at everything, but so bad at drawing he listed it twice. They were all complimentary about my
“ I gave my students 10 minutes to answer some questions we came up with together about what I do (or do not) teach well, what they enjoy (or do not enjoy) and what they would like to see me do differently.”
German lessons, which was a big surprise as the task of engaging students in activities where they have to really think before they speak and take huge risks has kept me awake at night. But then the bomb dropped: Several of them said I don’t control the class very well. Dumbstruck, disheartened and devastated, I thought that was my strength. I thought we had built this amazing class culture where everyone was equal, and we worked as a team. Suddenly all the positive comments were lost, and I felt like a failure. So I did the only thing I know to do: I asked the class to help me. I asked for volunteers and chose all of those who were brave enough, even the two boys I thought were too silly to be able to contribute effectively. They went away for an hour and with only one request to stop singing Lady Gaga’s latest, they worked so, so hard. In fact when they returned, they were quite emotional. I sat with them, and we worked through their lengthy list of issues. Some were easy (how to schedule regular game time), some were harder (giving more choice in literacy activities) and some were again pretty devastating. You’d think I would have learned by now. The biggest issue the students wanted me to address was how I treat different students differently. I make assumptions about their actions (both good and bad) and judge them without finding out the facts. I did present a defence in that if certain people are off task nine times in a row then the chances are that they will be again on the tenth time I see them wandering about the class. To my mixed feeling of horror and amusement, they did not accept this as a good enough explanation. Furthermore they pointed out that at times I will call them on this behaviour in front of the whole class and that is really not OK. I couldn’t really argue with that. I had flashbacks to teacher’s college and lectures
about not reprimanding kids in front of others and keeping an open mind. Am I really that mean? Well, we decided that no, I am not. I am human and while I understand their points, I asked them to put themselves in my shoes and see things from my perspective. And they did. And they (as ever) amazed me with their ability to cut through to the
So, we took our findings to the whole class, and the Student Parliament (self named) presented our agreed-on actions and asked for further input into others. We have agreed that students will have a regular opportunity to raise issues like these, and we can discuss actions and changes we need to take to improve our class. I will not humiliate students, and they will tell me (or
“ We have agreed that students will have a regular opportunity to raise issues like these, and we can discuss actions and changes we need to take to improve our class.”
core issue. The bravest boy in my class told me he knows he is in my face because he doesn’t get enough attention at home. He reminded me of some needs theory I’ve seen in my school. If kids are attention seeking, it’s because they need attention. To put him down about it in front of his peers had obviously hurt him. Not only that, but he understood that I have 28 other kids’ needs to think about, and they suffer if I am tied up with him all the time. And even further he could see how his behaviour was annoying and not helping his learning. Neither of us are sure if all these revelations will change his behaviour (or mine for that matter), but goodness me what an epiphany. And all before morning tea!
send a Member of Parliament to tell me) if I make them feel uncomfortable because, as I reminded them, when I try to alter my behaviour patterns I am bound to make mistakes. There’s another flashback to teacher’s college and the modelling lecture. In total we have agreed on 13 changes to how we run our classroom. I don’t suppose it will be plain sailing, but for me the joy is that my relationship with my students can only be strengthened. They are willing to try to see my point of view and my difficulties, and I am going to continue to try to be the best teacher I can be.
The power of Stickman and Pitman No matter what your circumstances, you can choose your attitude.
lobal business trainer, speaker and author Terry Hawkins has nearly 30 years experience in business training and motivation. Having recently been acknowledged as the 2010 Educator Award for Excellence winner by the National Speaker’s Association of Australia, Terry is one of those rare people who can capture people’s hearts and minds regardless of age.
This series of children’s books will enthrall younger readers and give them the tools to make healthy life choices concerning self esteem, health, family conflict and issues at school. The first four books, Let’s Do Happy!, Let’s Do Love! Let’s Do Ability! and Let’s Do Healthy!, are beautifully illustrated and have a free audio download available at TerryHawkins.com.
As an author of the self-help books Now and Too Late!, Terry has recently released her Stickman Rules! series for children. The engaging and wonderfully inspiring series guides children through some of the more challenging moments in life, with the help of a couple of endearing characters named Stickman and Pitman.
“As a mother, my own children have grown up with Stickman and Pitman. They know that every day they have a choice; that they are responsible for their reactions to situations and people. It just became any easy metaphor for me to be able to start a conversation around difficult topics. To this day we still talk about the choosing a Stickman or a Pitman, and they are 11 and 15. These characters really are universal!,” says Terry.
“My audiences kept asking me if I wrote children’s book so they could share the wonders of Stickman and Pitman with their own children. I didn’t at the time (and had no intention of doing so; children’s books can be so difficult to write and I didn’t think I had it in me), but when a man stood before me with tears in his eyes explaining the bullying his daughter received because of her weight issues, I knew I had to find a way,” Terry explains.
Let’s meet the characters Have you ever asked yourself “Why do some people achieve great success, regardless of the hardships they face, while others fall into a heap at the slightest sign of negativity? In an extremely clever and hilarious way, Terry Hawkins created two characters that play a powerful part in our everyday life – Pitman and Stickman.
Pitman takes on the role of our negative persona, the part that is critical of self and others, can’t see the positive in anything, can be cruel, sarcastic, miserable and loathing. He tells us we can’t do anything, we’ll fail, no-one likes us and we’re hopeless! Through Terry’s brilliant language skills, she shows us how debilitating being a Pit Dweller can be, not just for us, but those around us. We all know a Pit person, don’t we? If Pitman could be called the villain, then Stickman is the superhero. Terr y educates us about the powerful tool we have in our brilliant minds and uses Stickman as a metaphor for this explanation. Stickman lies within us all, and Terry’s renowned simplicity and powerful message helps us to see that we all have choices regardless of our situation or past. Stickman is about teaching us to be accountable for the life we want to live.
Give young readers the tools to make healthy life choices! Teachers Matter
$82 4-book series
Order all 4 books and receive a Stickman FREE
Available at SpectrumEducation.com
By Terry Hawkins
Teachers Resources & Lessons
from Powerful Thinking by Adrian Rennie
Teachers Resources & Lessons
from Powerful Thinking by Adrian Rennie
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Exam techniques Prepare and picture a good outcome, and you’ll pass that exam.
he first thing I recommend you do when you are allowed to start is to quickly read through the entire exam paper. Scan it quickly, looking at the questions to see what will be required to pass this exam.
Once you have an overview of what you are dealing with, start with the easy questions first. This will help calm you and build your confidence. Allow your subconscious to work on the harder questions while you are doing the easier ones. By the time you get to the harder questions, your subconscious mind will have come up with some ideas and answers. Plus, some of the easy questions and answers may have triggered information for the harder questions. When writing your answers, make it easy for the examiner to understand your thought process. Examiners look for concise, readable, well-presented work that
answers the question. Short sentences are best. Use simple words. Using long words inappropriately or words that you don’t fully understand will not impress the marker. It will give the impression you are trying to
bluff your way through. Marks will be lost accordingly. Go for simplicity of wording and shorter sentences. Make sure your handwriting is easy to read.
Before the exam • Get a great night’s sleep and remember cramming isn’t a smart option. • Eat a healthy breakfast and/or lunch if it is an afternoon exam. • Relax and quietly review the key points an hour before your exam. • Ensure you have all your pens, rulers, calculator and spare batteries, etc. • Get to your exam 15 to 20 minutes early. • Keep yourself positive by telling yourself to relax and visualising a successful exam. • Avoid people who are stressing out and speaking negatively about the exam.
What those words mean Here is a list of words you may find in an exam paper and what they mean: • Analyse Examine something by breaking it down into its parts and determining how each part relates to the whole. • Compare Liken one thing with another. What are the similarities or differences. • Contrast What are the differences between them, including the degree of difference if any. • Define
In the exam • Once you find your seat, get organised by spreading out your pens, pencils etc. • Read the instructions carefully. • Divide your time according to the marks. If it’s a three-hour exam and there are three sections, each section should take 50 to 55mins, allowing time for reviewing at the end. If there are 40 multi-choice questions in a section, you have just over one minute per question. • Ensure your answer the compulsory questions. • Remember to answer every question. • If you are running out of time, make sure you get down the main points. • Space out answers so it is easy for the marker to read. A good rule is to start each new question on a new page. Label each question clearly. Number the pages to avoid any confusion.
Give the exact meaning and describe the essential qualities.
• If you make a mistake, clearly cross it out and start again.
• At the end, if you have time, proof read your answers, check mathematical answers and working.
Explain the features, qualities or properties in detail. • Discuss Share ideas that involve both the positive and negative perspectives • Evaluate Explain the meaning and analyse (take apart the whole), then put the important points together and comment or make judgement on it. • Explain
• For numerical questions, you should show your working steps. Marks are often allocated for each step so that if you make an error along the way, you may still be able to get good marks • For questions requiring descriptive answers, use the mark allocation as a guide to the number of points required. For example, to answer a two-mark question fully, you are likely to be required to give two distinctly different points. • Include, where possible, an equation or sketch wherever relevant.
What to do when you can’t think of an answer
Clarify and make clear your explanation with a description, examples and/or diagrams.
Take a deep breath, stretch and look up to recall the information. If you can’t recall a date, leave a space and come back to it later. If you are not sure about the answer, jot down a couple of points on the exam paper and tell yourself you will come back to the question after you have completed the next two. If you have forgotten some of your material, ask yourself these questions:
• Where was I when studying this?
Prove or show to be just or right by providing evidence
• What was I thinking?
• What letter of the alphabet did it start with?
Make plain and clear and give the meaning of the process and outcomes. • Illustrate
• What did I say?
Arranging items in a sequential pattern. • Outline Give the main features and ideas, facts or principles. • State Formally set out the facts clearly. • Summarise Give a clear account of the main points.
Exam Stress If you are feeling stressed before an exam, it is likely that you are seeing a negative or bad result inside your head. Make sure you are using positive self talk, affirmations, and are seeing a positive result. Visualise yourself going into the exam calm and relaxed. See yourself scanning through the paper and starting with the easy questions first. Feel yourself calmly writing the answers and the information flowing out of the end of your pen. See yourself successfully completing the paper with time to spare for a check of all questions. Imagine yourself walking out of the exam feeling confident and knowing you have completed the paper to the best of your ability.
Why bullying at school is creating problems with our economy and how to fix it.
ullied at high school, it took me 20 years to realise its impact and get back on track in life. Both my daughters were bullied at high school as well. One received text death threats, and this was solved with taking the telephone to the police. The other was the recipient of physical abuse from a group of girls, and this was solved with changing schools. Whilst both daughters are now qualified and working in their dream careers, bullying at school can have a longer term impact on people’s lives and the success of New Zealand as a world economy.
How bullying impacts our economy A recent report published by Massey University reveals that New Zealand has some of the highest rates of workplace
bullying in the world; in the health, education, travel and hospitality sectors 18 percent of those surveyed had been bullied at work. The cost on the victim is immense and, in my case, cost me 20 years of my life, but there is also a cost on the organisation which permits the bullying behaviour. For the organisations, bullying leads to employee disengagement, which research shows means higher absenteeism, higher staff turnover costs and lower sales (estimated by the Best Places to Work Survey as being 60 percent less than a fully engaged workplace). For the bully, failing to deal adequately with their behaviour denies them the opportunity to grow into great leaders. It should come as no surprise that these problems start at a young age when the bully is at school. It’s vital to cull the bullying so victims like my daughters are not wagging school to be safe.
School bullying and how to fix it It is easy to think of school bullying as occurring between pupils only, but let’s not forget that teachers can be victims, too, whether that arises from being bullied by another teacher or even one of their students. Therefore, different strategies need to be adopted to deal with each situation. One primary school principal, who completed his masters in the UK focussing on bullying, used his research to solve the school’s problem of bullying between pupils. He introduced compulsory sport in the last half hour of lunch breaks, which research proved was the time most bullying occurred. Not every student likes maths, or reading, but it was still part of the curriculum, so he introduced compulsory lunchtime sport. Students are kept busy and have no energy to bully others.
That strategy tackles one cause of the problem – boredom by pupils. However, in the workplace boredom is unlikely to be the issue and rather, the Massey report suggests, a lack of leadership skills within an organisational culture. So if there is a problem of bullying in the workplace (including between teachers), then a different approach needs to be taken.
• Teaching and boosting self esteem with genuine compliments (start a give a compliment day) • Rotate students’ seating and include group work to constantly create new teams • Start a new set of positive classroom rules with input by teachers and students • Including books, DVDs and posters for further education.
the awareness of self-esteem, hence the annual mid-year Selfday – International Self Esteem day. Free tips, downloads, Eposters are available for download on www. internationselfesteem.com. Visit the bully page for additional information. Another concept is a Friday afternoon or Monday morning session in the classroom designed to re-enforce self-esteem, achievements, goals and steps for present and future successes. It includes encouraging pupils to use phrases such as: I am great because …
“ A person who grew up in a school environment that allowed him or her to engage in bullying behaviour is more likely to carry that trait forward into adulthood and into the workplace. ” Start with the culture In any organisation, the starting point is to look at the culture to see whether it tacitly encourages or actively discourages bullying behaviour. Let’s not forget that our teachers of today were our pupils of yesterday. Similarly our current business leaders, managers and employers also were the pupils of yesterday. A person who grew up in a school environment that allowed him or her to engage in bullying behaviour is more likely to carry that trait forward into adulthood and into the workplace. Schools therefore must adopt a zerotolerance bullying culture that encourages pupils to work in teams, not cliques, creates respect amongst students and most important, builds confidence and self esteem within individuals. Some classroom strategies include: • Creating anti bullying zone in class and school • Art class – making anti-bullying posters, creating dream (goals) posters • Education about good, bad, happy, angry, scared, fearful, exciting, sad feelings and their appropriate actions • Educating about feeling good by positive actions (create rewards and certificates)
With that culture in place, the school then needs to have systems and processes in place for dealing with bullying complaints which allow victims to reach out for help without making the situation worse for them. Such processes shouldn’t focus solely on relationships between students but incorporate the relationships of student and teacher and teacher and teacher, anticipating that there may be situations where it is the teacher that is being bullied by the student. As this problem increases, a teacher needs to revert to use assertive phrases, such as “I can understand how you are feeling,” or similar ones, to let the student understand they are being listened to and valued and continue communicating with follow up discussions. However, keep step two in mind: If your “intuition” or “gut reaction” is that physical danger is imminent, remove yourself with phrases like “I will go and find someone else we can discuss this with.” If personal safety factors are a major concern, rearrange the room so your desk is close to an exit.
Next, fix the people The key strategy when dealing with the victim and the bully is raising their level of self-esteem. After its impact on myself and family, it’s my life mission to improve
Today I achieved … I felt good because … Next week I will try … I wish that … These have been compiled into a one page Success Journal you can download and copy weekly from http://www.attitudespecialist. co.nz/school-coaching.htm. For both bully and victim, lessons in leadership are vitally important. Study great leaders and encourage pupils to identify different leadership styles and whether each style is effective in bringing the best out of the team and the individual. It is a sad fact that many people entering industry today are ill equipped to take leadership roles and when promoted into those positions leave a trail of destruction behind them.
Education goes further than the curriculum Te a c h e r s h a v e l o n g k n o w n t h a t b y educating our children through the school curriculum, we create adults who have the intellectual minds to tackle the problems of the future. However, the Massey report identifies that where New Zealand is falling short amongst its global counterparts is in the area of emotional intelligence and effective leadership that are the antitheses to bullying. Development of those skills starts at school. After working in education systems from pre-school to tertiary and understanding some of its complexities, it’s vital that bullying is addressed. Students are failing because of its impact.
Can we really make a difference? Yes, we can, and even short conversations can lead to surprisingly big changes.
A few years ago, a successful friend wanted a new car. On his day off, dressed in his jeans and T-shirt, he went into his local Mercedes garage. After looking around, he approached one of the salesmen and asked “Could you help me; I’d like to test drive the new CLK.” The salesman didn’t even look up from his paperwork, but said, “You and everyone else, mate!” My friend left immediately and wrote to the MD of the garage to complain, but he didn’t even get a reply, so he bought a BMW instead. Now my friend just happens to be a conference speaker as well, and his subject is customer care. He gives three or four talks every week to groups of all backgrounds and speaks to about 5,000 people a year. Since the incident he has told that story at every possible opportunity, naming both the garage and the individual concerned.
I wonder how much of a negative difference those five words from one salesman have made to the company he works for? I’m sure he didn’t intentionally upset my friend; perhaps he was having a bad day; maybe his boss had just chewed him out; perhaps he’d had an argument with his wife or he ran over a cat that morning. What I do know is that a two-second burst of his negative attitude not only lost the sale but also created 5,000 pieces of negative publicity a year.
More than 20 years ago when I was coaching a group of swimmers, I noticed one of the parents reading a book, and I stopped to talk to him. The book turned out to be The Magic of Thinking Big by David Schwartz, and the parent explained that “It’s about how our thinking controls our successes.” As we talked more, I realised how it could help me and my swimmers. Reading that book led me to read hundreds of self-development titles and got me interested in sports psychology. The work I did in that field led me to become coach to the British triathlon team, start my own training company and eventually become a conference speaker. That 30-second conversation totally changed my life and is directly responsible for me communicating to thousands of people
about how they can make a difference in their live and others’. I’ve thanked that parent on many occasions, but he insists that he can’t even remember our conversation. As teachers, you are in constant contact with a large number of young people who are finding their path. Can you make a difference? I think those two stories illustrate that we are constantly doing just that, often without even knowing it. The real question is: Are you making a positive difference? And to answer that, we need to closely inspect our attitude. These days if something someone says or does has a strong effect on me, I make a special effort to thank him or her for the input, because otherwise they’ll never know that their words or actions have changed another person’s life.
or the last 30 years I’ve made my living talking to people. Over the years I’ve questioned if it’s been worthwhile, and I’ve grown to realise that many of you sometimes feel the same way. After a particularly tough day, when someone who you have faith in has let you down or when you’ve given 100 percent and someone questions your integrity, you may ask yourself “Why do I do this? Does anyone listen to what I’m saying? Can I ever really make a difference?” Nowadays when these ideas come in my head I force myself to stay positive and remember the incidents that have occurred that illustrate how easy it is to make a difference in someone else’s life.
Living successfully Be honest with yourself and others, and you’ll be closer to realising your dreams.
a business developer and professional facilitator, I spend many hours in front of many individuals coaching them to achieve successful lives. The chasm that spans what different people perceive as “successful” is as enormous as it is intriguing. Some say, “making money;” others, “leaving a legacy;” still others, “making a positive difference.” They range from specific and measurable to far-reaching and intangible. It can be hugely rewarding to take a deep, contemplative moment and stop to think just what would “Living Successfully” mean to you, today, right now. Once the goal is set, the achieving can begin. Whatever we can measure, we can manage and the person at the helm of achieving is you. The only person that you truly have control over is yourself. It is you who decides how to respond to someone else, whether that be happy, aggressive or indifferent. Back in the ‘50s, a band called the Platters sang a song titled “Only You.” How appropriate that it is you and only you who decides how to interpret a message and what to do about it. Conversely all you can do is give another person information. You cannot make them change how they think or feel. Only they can do that. You cannot make them make better choices. It’s up to them. Many clients say they will be more successful if they enjoy a special relationship with a significant other. Always pay attention to how you treat significant others. In a Dale Carnegie course years ago, I was taught not to “condemn, criticise or complain.” That was a tall order for where I was at in my life at that time. Criticising, condemning and complaining are relationship-destroying behaviours. If you want to have a more successful life with significant others, try using the following behaviours instead: actively listening, being supportive, encouraging, respecting, trusting, accepting
and compromising. Warning – it is easier said than done. In addition to significant o t h e r s , l e t ’s t u r n o u r m i n d s t o o t h e r relationships (work, friends, children, neighbours). If you are partaking in relationship-destroying behaviours (as above), then it’s time to stop and decide what changes you need to make things better and follow through. There is no gain in feeling upset with yourself, so skip the self pity party. Just make the changes! Here’s a possible paradigm shift. Look to resolve conflicts, instead of trying to win them. Leave winning for games and competition. Remember that there is no room for “winning” in relationships unless you both win. This applies to all relationships (work colleagues, family, friends, lovers, strangers). Let’s (hypothetically) say you have an issue with someone: Always look to attack the problem, not the person. This avoids it becoming a personal attack, and lets the other person maintain face and their dignity. Tell the person what you want, not what you don’t want. Remember that you, and only you, are in true control, so take responsibility for all of your behaviours – the good, the bad, and the ugly. That gives you the power of choice. My mother taught me you are who you hang out with, so avoid socialising and communicating with negative people. If your friends are the kind of people who like to criticise, condemn and complain, then here’s an invaluable piece of advice: find new friends. Choose your friends carefully, and only hang around with people who have a positive influence in your life. Create your own affirmations, and use them constantly. An effective affirmation is positive, attainable, believable to you and stated in present tense. For example: “I am
filthy rich” will be rejected because it isn’t true. Yet, whereas “Every day I am getting closer and closer to becoming financially independent” will work better. “I easily attract money” is a good one about wealth, or “I am always working towards having the best relationship with ______” works well for relationships. Say what you mean and mean what you say. If you don’t want to do something, then the word to use is “no.” It’s not that hard! Now whilst it is true some may be disappointed or even angry that you have chosen to say “no,” you remain in control and it is fundamental to living successfully that you stay true to yourself. When my children were little tikes (they’re 21 and 19 now), I always kept an “annoyance list.” I would jot down all the things that bothered me. I kept a list of work issues and a list of private issues. Then I would prioritise them and then leave in an envelope at the door. Work annoyances were left outside my home, home annoyances were left outside of work, big issues to be tackled would be left outside of either space so that the harmonious running of day-today life could continue. The kids knew what I was doing, and they had to do the same for themselves. The next day I would review the items on the list, and cross out the ones I was willing to let go. For the bigger ones they stayed for the next review or until they were adequately dealt with. They were dealt with coolly and calmly. This simple yet effective technique stopped me from nagging and getting myself all in a lather. It worked great guns. Who would have thought that living successfully could have been so simple!
stuarttobich karen fleming
Recipes to keep you healthy
All you need are lots of vegetables and fruits — and one kitchen Rainbow Vegetable Tart This dish is packed with antioxidants and goodness. Easy and fast to make, this will be a welcomed and nourishing dish for home and for the lunch box. You will need: Carrots Butternut Kumara Potatoes Beetroot Silver Beet or Spinach Mushroom Garlic Feta Cheese Grated Cheese 4-6 Eggs a little Milk Preheat oven at 180º First you will need carrots, butternut, kumara, potatoes and beetroot. If your beetroot comes with tops on, do not discard them; add them to your spinach. Cut all your vegetables into slices (about ½ cm). I use a mandolin slicer
and it only takes a few minutes. Chop Silver Beet or Spinach (and if you have them, your Beetroot tops) roughly and wilt for two or three minutes in a saucepan. Now sauté the Mushrooms with some Garlic in a little butter or oil. Take a deep casserole dish, oil it and then start layering your vegetables. It does not really matter in which order (and you can substitute any of the suggested vegetables with whatever is in your fridge). Sprinkle some salt and a bit of crumbled Feta Cheese on every layer. [Grated cheese can be substituted for the Feta Cheese]. Sprinkle your top layer with some Cheese. To avoid a mess in your oven, make sure that your top layer reaches no higher than 2cm from the top of your dish. Whisk Eggs with a little Milk and pour mixture over your vegetable layers. You will need about 4-6 eggs when you use a 20x20cm casserole dish. Bake in a preheated oven at 180º for a good 40-50 minutes or until vegetables are tender and the cheese is golden and bubbly.
Pumpkin and Mushroom Risotto Risotto is one of those winter comfort foods that everyone likes. If you are expecting guests, serve it in small Buttercup Pumpkins. Make sure to leave a portion aside that you can take to work the following day. Yummy! And if you want to be organised and love coming home to a cooked meal, just cook it in a slow cooker. You will need:
2 Cups of Chicken Stock 100g Arborio Rice 1 diced Onions Mushrooms as many as you like ½ can of Corn Kernels 100-200g of Diced Pumpkin 2/3 cup of Grated Cheese 2 small Buttercup Pumpkins for serving (optional)
You will need 2 cups of chicken stock for every 100g of Arborio Rice [this is enough for 2 servings) double or triple this recipe if you like. Saute the rice in butter or oil until the rice appears translucent. Add a diced onion, the diced mushrooms. [if you love mushrooms – add as many as you like], half a can of corn kernels and the diced pumpkin [about 100-200g]. Slowly add 1/3rd of the chicken stock at a time and simmer until the rice absorbs all the stock before adding the next lot. Stir constantly until all stock is absorbed and the rice has a creamy yet firm texture. Remove from heat add seasoning and 2/3 cup of grated parmesan cheese. Serve hot If you want to cook your risotto in the slow cooker, add everything into the slow cooker after the sautéing stage and cook on low for 3-4 hours. If you wish to serve your risotto in small buttercup pumpkins, prepare these before you start cooking your risotto. You can even prepare and cook the pumpkins a day ahead and store them in the refrigerator. Just reheat them before you fill them with your risotto. Cut the top of each pumpkin. Scoop out the pumpkin seeds and some of the pumpkin flesh – which you can use in your risotto. Bake your hollow pumpkins in a preheated oven at 180º for about 40 minutes or until just tender. Fill with hot risotto and serve immediately.
stuart karenfleming tobich
Spinach & Feta Cheese Muffins Great for the lunchbox! Make an extra batch and share them around in the staff room – you will be very popular! You will need: 2 Bunches of Silver Beet or Spinach 3 Eggs 2 tablespoons of Olive Oil 1 cup of Flour 1 teaspoon of Baking Powder 1 cup of Grated Cheese 1 crushed clove of Garlic 200g Feta Cheese Preheat oven at 180º
Nutty Apple Rhubarb Crumble You can use this crumble as a dessert or as a breakfast or take it to school for a snack. It is healthy and packed with goodness. Preheat oven at 180º You will need: 1 cup of Oats ½ cup of Almond Meal ¼ cup of sliced Almonds ¼ cup of Brown Sugar 3 Tablespoons of softened Butter 4-5 stalks of Rhubarb ¼ cup of Orange Juice or Port 3-4 Granny Smith Apples 2 Tablespoons of Sugar
Chop 2 bunches of Silver Beet or Spinach and wilt slightly in a saucepan for 2 minutes. (if you are in a real rush just chop the Spinach and omit the wilting stage) Whisk 3 eggs with 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Fold in 1 cup of Flour (you can use Spelt Flour or Wholemeal Flour for extra goodness) 1 teaspoon of Baking Powder, 1 cup of Grated Cheese, 1 crushed clove of Garlic and 200g of Feta Cheese cut into chunks and the wilted spinach. Do not over mix your mixture and spoon the mixture into Muffin Tins. Bake for 20-30 minutes in a pre-heated oven at 180º. Easy! Easy! Easy!
First make the crumble mixture. Mix 1 cup of Oats, ½ cup of almond meal, ¼ cup of sliced almonds and ¼ cup of sugar into a bowl. Rub in 3 tablespoons of soft butter until mixture becomes very crumbly. Set aside. Stew 4-5 stalks of Rhubarb in ¼ cup Orange juice (or in port) with the 2 tablespoons of Sugar until soft. Place Rhubarb mixture into a large ovenproof dish (or into several single serve dishes) and top with diced Apple (3-4 Apples) and then with the nutty oat mixture. Bake in a preheated oven at 180º for 10-15 minutes or until the crumble is golden brown. Serve with a dollop of thick creamy Yoghurt. Delicious!
What’s the point of education? Gen Y can teach us what’s important, and we need to teach them how to make it happen.
eople have described the education system to me as “expensive babysitting” and “just a place to go so parents can take a break from their kids.” These are certainly cynical view points, but I believe it’s important to re-evaluate what and how we teach so that school remains relevant for a changing world.
great cost, we justify this by calling it Retail Therapy. If we were already happy, would we need to buy all of that “stuff”? That being the case, where in the education system are we teaching our kids how to be happy, about living a complete holistic and purposeful lives? Why do our kids have to wait till they are older to find this out?
The point of education is to teach our kids how to lead purposeful lives, to equip them with the tools needed to change the world for the better. And GenY wants to change the world. They want so much more from the world and life and have their own ideas of how the world should be. For the sake of our planet, economically and socially, our kids need to learn the tools and strategies that will equip them to take on this challenge.
In my Tweenology Teenology Adultology programmes, I encourage students to take a holistic view of life, how each decision affects the other areas of life. Some areas of life have strengths; you love doing things in that area of your life. Identifying strengths in one segment gives the teen the ability to create a repeatable winning formula that he or she can now apply to other areas of life. It helps a teen identify who he is and what he is good at, with the added bonus of lifting his self esteem.
They are resourceful (because they have had to be) and continue to inhale new technology. Today’s students have a completely different outlook of the world amplified by connectedness at the speed of light. World events are beamed in instantaneously, and Facebook pages are filled with social causes that won’t accept what’s happening in the world.
Yet our education system is still designed by Baby Boomers and implemented by GenX for GenY, who sees previous generations as the cause of the world’s problems. GenY sees us as miserable and time poor with never enough money and trying to teach them all of the same things that got previous generations in that miserable place. And it’s OK to keep passing on our model of the world?
Instead of blocking GenY with our view of the world, why not take their good aspects and enhance them? Surely then it’s our responsibility to provide GenY with an education system they need to change the world. Why are we still teaching kids “get good grades so you can get a good job”? What part of getting a job so that we trade away our time for money is still acceptable? Our generation buys stuff to be happy; at
GenY is all about connectedness, and that’s the point of having a holistic model. Every area of life is connected. Let’s enhance those skills. Kids love technology, especially texting, with Facebook a close second. GenY wants to be connected. Instead of discouraging texting, why not enhance it instead? Get kids to make and use connections in a resourceful manner. In class, it starts with “Who can you connect with to find that answer?” How will you connect to get the answer you need? Then have a race to see who can make the connection the fastest. Speed up the process, not slow it down. These are precisely the skills needed outside of the education system. Teaching resourcefulness and a “can do” attitude is a highly valuable tool that can be used in all areas of life. Financial freedom is an important aspect of life. How to create money, not just financial literacy. Teach entrepreneurial skills, encourage creative thinking, discuss impossible things. Why can’t we have young multimillionaireinventors-entrepreneurs-writers-musicians? We want our economy to grow, right? Here’s a resource untapped right under our collective noses. Teens are bursting with “impossible
“We want our economy to grow, r i g h t ? H e r e ’s a resource untapped right under our collective noses. Teens are bursting with ‘impossible ideas.’ ideas.” I might remind readers of the TV series the Jetsons from the ‘70s with its telephone video links and talking to people on a screen. As kids we said “that will never happen.” The point being it did happen, so why not encourage other impossible ideas now. We also have to consider “community.” We all understand “what goes around comes around.” It’s “karma.” This is an important aspect of life. Teens need to learn the art of helping your fellow man and giving back to the global community. Use Facebook, it’s a great tool to connect with global causes. Get the kids involved. Very soon the kids will see that you can’t help the poor by being poor. Being rich alone is not being rich. Being rich and giving back is one of the most amazing and satisfying things a person can do in life. What’s the point of being successful in financial freedom and community if our bodies are sick? It’s all connected. Here’s a good place to start. McDonald’s advertise “family” meals. They have a massive marketing budget to make themselves the good guys so you want to buy their burgers. What part of McDonald’s is healthy? Why are we allowing McDonald’s to socially condition us to believe they are a wholesome company looking out for our best interests? Is it acceptable that our society allows a company to make a profit at the expense of our health and wellbeing? Of course the simple answer is to encourage kids to recognise how businesses pay big money to socially condition us. Get the kids to come up with the solution to turn off the TV and not follow social conditioning. This generation has something valuable to teach our generation on connectedness. Are we listening?
stuart fleming Rowena Szeszeran-McEvoy
What makes you smile? Find out what is that makes you happy, and bring it into your life.
big piece of chocolate mud-cake, dripping in warm, chocolate sauce and covered in the creamiest of ice creams? Would that make you smile? Or would you smile in a big, warm bath full of bubbles? It smells yummy, and it makes your skin soft, smooth and tingly. Maybe you smile most after a successful day. You did it all, accomplished everything, achieved more than was expected and nobody needs to notice for you to feel “WOW!” How about after your best exercise sessions ever? You are hot, sweaty, exhausted and fulfilled. Do you smile widely then? If the person you care most about in the whole world tells you how gorgeous you are, how much he loves you and how desperately he would like to massage your body, from top to toe, would that make you smile? Would you smile if you saw a fluffy, bouncy puppy with a pink tongue, floppy ears and feet too big for his body? You might smile when you see the look on the face of a complete stranger after you offer your place in a queue, when you buy a complete stranger a coffee or pay for their movie ticket or if you give up your car space or pay the toll for the car behind you on the freeway. Would a big, warm house full of love, delicious food and happy memories make you smile? Or maybe smiling comes easy to you: Being alive, making someone laugh, giving of yourself, just being you, making other people happy, doing your best or just being able to give your smile to somebody who hasn’t got one.
A smile, it costs nothing, and it is priceless. It takes a tiny effort, and it can make the hugest difference. It comes from one person, and it can be given to everyone. A smile is a sign of happiness, and happiness is the universal definition of success.
What’s your financial end game?
Balancing today’s needs with the future is possible with some planning.
ages. Rent or mortgage payments. Phone bills. Electricity accounts. Credit card statements. Fuel and vehicle expenses. Education fees. Groceries. Spending money. There’s a lot for us to consider and keep track of when it comes to our money.
Some of the folks I ask this question to drop their head, despondent in the belief they can’t afford to stop working at 65, unsure if they will ever be able to stop. They certainly don’t subscribe to Maurice Chevalier’s conviction that “Old age is not so bad when you consider the alternatives.”
Many of us focus solely on today, or just a week or two ahead. “Have I enough cash to pay all my bills and still go out tonight and have some fun?”
The second school of thought about retirement has nothing to do with age; it’s all about financial position. Imagine reaching a point where you can consciously choose whether or not to work in your current role: You aren’t dependent on the income it brings.
Some of us squirrel our money away, vowing not to touch it. We love the feeling of security that a growing bank balance provides. Whatever you do with your money, answer me this: What’s your end game? Yes, you work to earn money, but what are you working towards? Lift you head from your day-to-day earning efforts for a moment and gaze into the future. What is there waiting for you? In my financial services work, I ask a lot of people this very question. The most common answer is “retirement.” Then I delve a little deeper and ask them to describe what that “R” word means to them. That’s when two distinct schools of thought emerge.
For most people, retirement means reaching the age of 65 so they can stop working. They are counting on being employable until that time, and banking on a government pension still being available to support them once they stop the “9-to-5.”
If they have signed up for KiwiSaver (the NZ ‘saving for retirement’ scheme), they aren’t too sure how much extra that will put in their pocket each week. In some cases, they are convinced that the pension and their (usually meagre) voluntary contributions will continue to afford them the lifestyle they have grown used to whilst working full time.
Whether it’s by saving up a nest egg of cash, investing in property or shares, or building their own business, these people have a target to aim toward, a particular level of income that fills their pocket (from interest or rent or dividends or profits) whether they are “at their desk” or not. A lot of people believe that’s too much to hope for. They work on the assumption it will take a bank balance of millions, or a property portfolio of dozens of rentals to replace their full-time income. It’s in their “too hard basket” until they sit down and crunch some realistic numbers and the complexity of their ideal “end game” is broken down to manageable chunks. “I can’t imagine not working – I love what I do!” is an indignant response made by some to my question of retirement. I applaud the fact they enjoy their efforts; however, what happens if they physically can’t work? How would their financial plan (including their home, family and future milestones) be affected if the option of working was taken away from them? Here’s what the Money Mindset Mob thought about their (long way off) retirement… “I know I’ll have lots of cash stashed away for when I’m old, but I’m not sure how I’ll feel having to spend it to live on once I stop working. That will be opposite of everything I’ve done as I get older.” Ashley Stasher
“Retirement? Jeez, that’s ages away. I’ve got plenty of time to get it sorted – I’m still paying off my car.” Splurger Spike “I don’t want to think about affording to retire. What will I do to prepare? Who can I trust to advise me what’s best for my money? Like, I really want to live well when I’m old, but I could actually make do with very little… what will people think if I’m poor?” Scaredy-cat Pat “It’s a bit of a juggle at the moment. There are things I want to buy right now and I want to avoid stupid debt to do so. Couple that with building my ‘wealth fund’ and things can be a bit tight some weeks. It’s a challenge to balance enjoying today and preparing for tomorrow, but I’m working at it.” Streetwise Mike How about your students? What do they b e l i e v e a b o u t r e t i r e m e n t? Have they considered that the option to ‘finish’ work could be a financial decision? In April 2008, Ben Bernanke, Chairman of the US Federal Reser ve, stated “In light of the problems that have arisen in the subprime-mortgage market, we are reminded of how critically important it is for individuals to become financially literate at an early age. Choosing a credit card, saving for retirement or for a child’s education, or buying a home now requires more financial savvy than ever before.” We’re lucky in New Zealand to have a forward-thinking Retirement Commission (www.sorted.org.nz) helping us think about our futures. Let’s get started today, though. It’s as simple as asking, “What is your end game?”
“ W h e t h e r i t ’s by saving up a nest egg of cash, investing in property or shares, or building their own business, these people have a target to aim toward, a particular level of income that fills their pocket.” 63 63
Thelma van der Werff
A colour for more confidence and concentration Think bright and sunny when you want to feel strong.
Our life, without a focus or clarity of direction, (street map!) can give us that same feeling of insecurity. Not knowing where we are going in our life is the same feeling of not knowing where we are in a strange city. If you have a focus or clarity of direction in your life, you have one of the main ingredients for confidence. To know where you are at the moment, what your talents and strengths are and where you want to go in life will result in focus, purpose and clarity of direction. Have you noticed that those with a clear focus and purpose are confident and determined to achieve their goal? They do not always know how they will reach their goal, but they are focussed and have a clarity of direction, and this makes them confident.
Naturally, there is a colour that specifically increases clarity of mind, focus, concentration and attention. As with all light /colour it enters our eyes and goes to the centre of our brain, to the hypothalamus. This small organ is the socalled CEO of the brain, and every colour or frequency of light gives the hypothalamus a different signal, which in turn passes the message to other body parts. Every colour has different properties and stimulates different emotions. To achieve the emotions mentioned above we can use the colour yellow. Yellow is a colour that demands attention, alertness and concentration or focus. Why do you think that traffic signs,
sticky notes, highlighters or school buses are often yellow? The colour is shouting: “Pay attention! Be alert!” So, how can you become more confident? Start integrating yellow into your life! Not only by eating yellow fruit and vegetables or using yellow accessories in your home, but also wearing this colour. Are you thinking: “Oh no, I can wear all colours but not yellow! It does not look good with my skin tone”? As with all colours, find the right hue or tone of the colour, and you will be fine.
top half of your body, closest to the skin, will influence your own emotions and also the message you are giving to others around you. This colour will support you in being more focussed and clear minded. Remember, the colour yellow demands attention. If you want your audience to pay attention and concentrate on your message, just use some yellow, like a tie, scarf, necklace or shirt/blouse. It takes confidence to wear this colour because you will be noticed.
Yellow is one of the least worn colours, but is one that is needed so much. It is the colour of joy, happiness, fun, optimism, enthusiasm and confidence. It is the colour of the sun, our source of life, energy and light. You can gradually start your journey with yellow by walking outdoors, enjoying the sun and yellow flowers. When you have found the right hue, start wearing this colour as a blouse, t-shirt, top or shirt. To wear a colour on the
“ Yellow is a colour that demands attention, alertness and concentration or focus.”
an you imagine the scenario of being placed in a city where nothing is familiar, neither the buildings nor people? You do not have a street map or tourist guide to help you through this experience. The majority of people would feel scared and extremely insecure. This feeling changes, however, if you have some direction through a street map that gives you the confidence to at least identify where you are, where you want to go, and which attractions you want to see.
tricia kenyon and barbara griffith
Title: The Race Authors: Christobel Mattingley & Anne Spudviolas
Publisher: Scholastic ISBN 1 86388 225 1 (pbk)
Read, analyse and grow with this exceptional book.
reg suffers from an undiagnosed hearing loss, which causes issues and makes him feel misunderstood by his teachers and fellow students. A new teacher arrives who realises that Greg is experiencing problems and helps him to understand and cope with his disability. This picture book highlights the difficulties for hard of hearing children, when their impairment may not be extremely obvious to others.
persistent Previous Teachers
good at maths
Prediction a. After reading the first page, ask the children to predict why they think that he could never win a race despite being physically able. b. Encourage the children to search for the ‘clues’ to identify his problem as the story progresses, keeping their predictions to themselves so as to allow others the opportunity to discover the clues.
Characters a. Compare and contrast using a Double Bubble Map. (diagram1) What differences are there in how his new teacher and his previous teachers perceived him? Select and use some of the information to write about: a. Things all the teachers noticed and thought about Greg. b. Things Greg’s previous teachers noticed and/or thought about Greg.
New Teacher tried hard
b. Character Analysis Name: Greg Age: 9 Description Physical Slim, athletic, brown hair, brown eyes, right handed
Personality Persistent, observant, watching, quiet, shy
Analysis Likes Sports, belonging, participating
Dislikes Being on the outside, being thought of as careless and stupid
Strengths Determination, adaptable, perseverance, friendly
Fears / Weaknesses Misunderstood, never win a race, never feel a part of the class
Character’s Goal (What the character wanted to achieve.) Win a race Obstacles Think about the character and the goal. What obstacles stood in the character’s way of achieving the goal? Deafness, lack of understanding by teachers.
c. Things Greg’s new teacher discovered about him.
tricia kenyon and barbara griffith c. Strategies used by Greg and new teacher. Greg’s coping strategies New teacher’s strategies to help Greg Copying the others watching
Clap for attention Drop hand to start race
a. Similes and metaphors.
a. Identify and discuss the style of illustration
Identify the similes and metaphors in the book and explain and/or model them.
b. Discuss the use of shadow and light as a way of showing Greg’s feelings.
E.g. …“Greg was so excited that he was jumping like a kangaroo. He had eyes like an eagles. He could see that signal even if the teacher were a dot on the horizon. He had long legs, strong legs too. He could run like an emu.”…. ...“Greg was like a piece of jigsaw that did not quite fit no matter which way it was turned. He was a puzzle because he did not quite belong.”.. b. The author chose the following words to describe the difficulty Greg had in hearing words. Discuss the author’s choice of words. “… a murmur, a fur of words, a blur of words…” “…. a stir of words, a whirr of words…” c. Making mistakes
d. Why do the illustrations only show part of a person, such as the teacher? e. Why is there very little background detail?
Theme What is the theme of this story? What is the story really about?
The disability Why do you think that Greg’s hearing disability was not identified earlier? Was Greg’s only problem that he was not able to win a race? How do you think his disability affected his school work, and his relationships with others? How would you treat Greg if he was in your class?
Greg often misheard words.
If you have a disability, does that mean that you can’t join in most things at school? What about in life generally?
E.g. carrot/parrot, seven/eleven, cheer/chair.
Discuss changes that may occur in Greg’s life at school after he wins the race.
Make your own list of words that Greg could have used and confused.
c. Identify and discuss how the position of Greg’s head helps to show his feelings.
What Greg might hear
Extension a. Investigate the use of different strategies to help the deaf communicate effectively in society. b. Explore New Zealand sign language and the signed alphabet and learn some basic signs so you can introduce yourself to a hearing impaired person.
Teachers Resources & Lessons
from Powerful Thinking by Adrian Rennie
So what are the virtues of manual work? Crawford’s written a whole book about how manual work shapes us and our society, but let’s take just a few examples.
Who’s doing the “real” work? Intelligent, resourceful and determined people are needed for every kind of job.
swear my shoes have a bookshop homing device. Especially in airports. On my way through Los Angeles recently I found myself standing at a book display rack. The title filling the strategically-positioned doorway rack sported a classic motorbike on the front cover. As a pillion rider chick with many miles under my butt (mostly on a vintage motorcycle with no rear springing, so believe me, I had intimate experience of all those miles), I stopped to check it out – and got hooked on the message. If you’re at all concerned about the trend to educate society into passive consumers rather than engaged participants (think food, music, entertainment, transport and clothing just for starters), Shop Class As Soulcraft: an inquiry into the value of work by Matthew B. Crawford will be worth your inspection. Just to whet your appetite, here are just a few extracts from the many prestigious endorsements. “… knowing how to build and fix things … is often more rewarding than becoming another ‘knowledge worker’ with no practical skills.”
“… a vague sense of dissatisfaction with the demands and rewards of the modern economy is coalescing into something like a movement…”
“… millions of unemployed … struggle to find work, any kind of work, let alone work that suits their skills and talents and offers…a tighter connection between life and livelihood.” “… a philosophical case for choosing the trades over college … a formidable attack on the way our culture has come to devalue manual labour. … defiantly rejects received wisdom about the meaning of work in America today.”
Promising academic Matthew B. Crawford gained a doctorate in political philosophy but threw it out to start a motorcycle repair shop. Not your normal pathway to a career in mechanics, I’m sure you’ll agree. Which makes him the perfect person to produce this philosophical yet practical plea to reconsider what we’re doing to ourselves and our society. Who’s doing the “real work”? And what is “real” work? It’s no secret that in many societies, our brightest young minds are encouraged to be knowledge workers. They hive off to colleges and universities, leaving the manual work to those who either won’t or can’t gain higher qualifications. But how often do we stop to consider whether this is the right path for our bright young minds? What will they do, once armed with their expensive bits of paper? So who’s doing the less prestigious work? Some has been outsourced (off-shored) to countries with cheaper wage economies. (For an interesting overview of this trend, Thomas Friedman’s The World Is Flat is a great read.) However, many trades can’t be off-shored. For instance, who’s going to replace your spouting, wire your house, repair your car? You can’t ring Indonesia to repair your tyre or unblock your toilet. And who will teach your child music, milk the cows on the nearby farms, shear the nation’s sheep, grow the really fresh great-tasting food? In most Western societies, trades and industries are screaming for workers with good work habits to take up apprenticeships and learn practical skills. And in those same societies, especially since our economic woes of the last couple of years, unemployed knowledge workers are screaming for work. Isn’t something out of whack here? Are educators looking?
Learning to diagnose the ills of an engine or nut out a technical building issue takes high concentration, tenacity, adaptability and resilience. Crawford calls it forensic skills. Having spent a bit of time over the years watching both mechanics and builders of various objects investigate complex issues, I “get” that label. The challenges they deal with, sometimes on a minute-by-minute basis, can be every bit as challenging as any scientific or mathematical conundrum a university graduate might handle. There’s a different quality about anyone who restores or rebuilds things, a can-do attitude that takes a problem and refuses to accept that there is no answer. Sometimes, however, you don’t win. An engine or a building is neutral: It can’t be bullied and so we learn patience and acceptance. This moulds our attitudes, our character and our behaviour. Crawford says, “Fixing things may be a cure for narcissism.” It’s a waste of time having a tantrum; the machine/ equipment/structure will not fight back. There’s always something to improve, practise, tinker with. Inner resourcefulness and mental stimulation are the result. Boredom? Don’t know the meaning of the word. Such people aren’t reliant on what other people produce: They are the makers and fixers. And joy and a sense of pride in workmanship is just one more outcome. I’m an enthusiastic crew member with the NZ Classic Yacht Association. Some of the vessels in the fleet are well over 100 years old. Are they easy to restore? Are they convenient and easy to sail? Absolutely not. No fancy winches to raise and lower the sails of these beautiful old ladies. Instead they’re labour intensive, relying on willing hands, heavy block and tackle, belaying pins, and a barrage of other obscure nautical terms. The men and women who restore, maintain and sail them have huge respect for their vessels. There’s no room for shoddy workmanship or shoddy sailing skills, either could get you killed. But probably what I love the most is the mindset of the people. They’re can-do people, resourceful, will give anything a go, with interests in many other diverse topics and fun to be around. These are the kind of people Crawford is talking about. We need both hands and brain engaged to be well-rounded people and to live in a richly diverse, vibrant and healthy society.
From the Earth to the moon, Google style Upgraded features make exploring our world even more exciting.
ith the advent of Google Earth 5 comes new and exciting features. In my mind, Google Earth was great before, but now, the possibilities are practically limitless. Google has worked collaboratively with many agencies to bring an array of data into the public domain in an accessible and useful format. Let us scratch the surface of the limitless boundaries of Google Earth (before downloading it, check with your staff; some school firewalls may interfere with the running of this application):
Google Earth Border and Labels In the layers toolbar on the left side, there is a check box for borders and labels. Select it and no others. Once you see all the yellow lines marking the countries’ borders, you can “fly” to other parts of the world. I would suggest Europe or South East Asia; both of these areas have a large number of countries in close proximity. These images present
an opportunity to discuss the creating and shifting of borders. You might also want to search for “Jumna & Kashmir” and have your students investigate the reason why the border is coloured red rather than yellow. Panoramic photo & Wikipedia Have the students select only these two check boxes and then use the search function to find and investigate a location. Wellington, Samoa, and Kuala Lumpur offer good opportunities to compare and contrast population, demographics and quantity of photographic evidence and text resources. Greenpeace & Fair Trade Certified Clear the checks except for the Greenpeace and Fair Trade Certified. Explore either Greenpeace’s efforts within a certain area or the types of businesses involved in fair trade and how their work impacts communities. Street view & 360 cities These two checks reveal the positions of high-resolution panoramic pictures throughout the world, appearing first as icons and then morphing into spherical objects. Students can view these images as if they are really there. They can zoom in and out, exploring the environment, making observations, hypothesizing and questioning. The transparency tool allows the student to go between photograph and 3D Google representation.
Google Mars Google Mars is not merely an overlay of Mars satellite imagery but a full version with similar features to Google Earth.
Historic Maps From Nathaniel Green in 1877 to the United States Air Force in 1962, there have been several mappings of Mars. With a convenient transparency slider, students are able to compare each map with the underlying satellite imagery. Rovers and landers have been venturing onto Mars since 1971. One of the better rovers to have students investigate is the Opportunity Rover, which landed in 2004 and is still running. Guided tours are available, which offer students informative and engaging information and commentary as well as providing the motivation to analyse and evaluate material and the stimulation to create their own digital projects.
Google Sky It is well worth clicking on the left “Layer” tab. Follow the icons around the universe to learn how Sky in Google Earth works. It is worthwhile to have students search for their current position before clicking into Sky mode because it shows the view of the stars from that location.
simon evans there is much to engage the students and get them discovering for themselves. Celestron SkyScout Audio is also a good guide to the skies as it provides short commentary on planets, constellations and stars. These seconds-long commentaries are peppered throughout the universe.
footage from the archives and 3D digital imagery. Theyâ€™re well worth watching by way of introduction and as a stimulus for students to create their own. There are many more lesson ideas and resources available for teachers at Software for Learning, http://softwareforlearning.tki. org.nz/Products/Google-Earth/(language)/ eng-NZ.
Although the Moon in Google Earth is made up of a series of satellite images, there are many options for inquisitive students to look more closely at this natural satellite.
Current Sky Events Have students click on these tabs. They are a mix of Hubblecast videos, sky and earth podcasts and stardate information. Just letting the students find out, at their own pace, what is going on above their heads is a great way to begin. Having done that exact thing, I can tell you a little about Canis Major, Carina Nebular, a black hole found in Omega Centaur, and about the discovery of the first known double pulsar system, all happening right above my head. Our Solar System Have the students select this tab, and they can navigate to our planets with the mere double click of the mouse. With the Education Center selected,
Featured Satellite Images are a mix of video footage, hosted by Youtube, and material provided by NASA and other space agencies. Students could use their note-taking/note-making skills as they skim and scan text, listen to audio and video commentary, building up their understanding of the moonâ€™s surface. Moon Gallery - Apollo missions are all identified on Google Moon. With supporting material linked to the location, students have video footage, audio material and text to access as they investigate, analyse and evaluate the topic. Guided Tours includes missions by Apollo11 and Apollo17. These are fully narrated digital stories incorporating
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How old should they be to start on social networks?
If we look at the popular social networks they have a common age of 13 years old for membership: Site
Of these sites only Hi Five is aimed at a younger audience, with the first four targeting either an adult or teen audience. This age of membership is frequently ignored by students who want to participate in a social network. In these media, particularly Facebook, the students are mixing and interacting with people of a variety of ages. This, as we know, can have unfortunate consequences. So this brings us back to the question of “How old should they be to start on social networks?” I think I would preface my answer with a couple of statements. The first caveat is that I believe the use of social media is only going to increase, and as it does it will become less a feature and more a constant. We won’t say I am going onto Facebook or (insert name of social network here), it will just be “I am talking, chatting.” The growth of Facebook, which has over 400 million members people, 1 million in New Zealand, (about 25 percent of our population), shows the growth of social networks. Twitter, with its 50 million updates per day is another example.
My second caveat relates to development and relationships. You never hear a parent say “my child can’t talk/play/interact with you because they are too young.” In fact, we encourage our children, no matter what age they are, to interact with others. There is huge importance with them learning how to interact with people their own age and with those who are younger or older. Our little ones are supervised, of course, and instructed on what is or isn’t acceptable. We provide them with direction on relationships, guidance on dealing with enthusiastic playmates, inappropriate activities like fighting and biting. They are also provided with environments that are suitable: We take them to playgroups and parks. With these two caveats in place, my thoughts on social networking and age are straight forward: I don’t believe there is a minimum age, as long as there is a suitable environment and suitable supervision. I believe there is a huge benefit in starting young, establishing good standards of behaviour, of expectations and outcomes. If in safe environments we teach our children how to deal with conflict and inappropriate behaviour, while encouraging communication and participation, then a lot of the issues with unacceptable behaviour will disappear. The same should apply to social networks – they can attend some with suitable guidance and supervision; however we do encourage them to have their own suitable gatherings in a suitable and appropriate medium. With my own children, the use of Club penguin and mushi monsters, as well as the educationally focused mathletics, is establishing appropriate etiquette and
standards of behaviour for life in the social networking media. I do actively supervise them; they ask permission and they can only have access in supervised areas, not hidden in their bedroom. I don’t think there is too young of an age that we say “no” but some limitations exist simply because of the development of the child. Consider the level of text involved in even the simplest and most straight forward of childorientated social sites.
ow old should they be to start on social networks?” This was a question that a colleague asked me the other day. It’s an interesting question and one that I suspect will bring a wide range of responses.
Social networking sites provide age guidelines, but parents must decide for themselves.
Social networks are, and increasingly will be, an extension of the playgrounds our kids race around in. Our kids need rules for the playground and rules for the social networks. Playgrounds are often arranged in schools by ages with the larger apparatus for large children, the same should apply for social networks: They must be age specific. The students have to learn and develop behaviours for how to interact with their peers, younger students and adults. These skills are just as vital in our virtual playgrounds, too. We don’t develop these skills innately; they are born out of rough and tumble play, out of bumps and scratches, out of embarrassment and failure, success and praise. So how young is too young? With proper supervision and a suitable environment, the limit becomes the cognitive ability of the person.
Teachers Matter wendy sweet OPEN
Nutrition for youth sports Eat like a champion on race day.
ood race-day nutrition always starts the day before:
Carbs – fuel for energy and recovery
Carbohydrate is the fuel that your muscles store (as glycogen) and use up first when you are training or competing, so including carbs in your meal plan the day before your competition is crucial for success. Depletion of muscle glycogen (energy) is associated with fatigue in your muscles during and after training or competition. This is why it’s important to make sure that your intake of carbohydrates should be equivalent to that used during exercise and training. Muscle glycogen depletion (your muscle’s energy stores) occurs after: • 2-3 hours of continuous low-intensity training • 15-30 minutes of high-intensity training When liver and muscle glycogen stores are used up, blood glucose levels cannot be kept at normal levels. When these levels drop, there is not enough glucose for your brain to work. You may then start to feel uncoordinated, light-headed, weak and even lacking concentration – not so good when your team or your coach is relying on you to perform. Eating immediately after exercise will speed up re-fuelling. Try to consume 1g CHO/kg within 30 minutes following completion of your competition. Glycogen storage is enhanced during the first two hours of recovery. This is when the muscle is more sensitive to taking up and storing glycogen. Therefore, unless or until carbs are eaten, muscle re-fuelling is slow.
Whatever sport you compete in, try the following: The night before you compete, have some extra carbs before you go to bed, e.g. fruit and/or fruit yoghurt; crackers and cheese; muffin; rice pudding; fruit and instant pudding; hot chocolate/milo. Also, prepare snacks and drinks for the next day of competing…put drinks in the fridge so they are cold. You will absorb them into your system better!
Competition or race day nutrition Breakfast: The key to competition day nutrition is to “graze” throughout the day. If you have to get to the venue or race location early, eat some toast or cereal before you leave home. Once you have warmed up and, if time allows, you can eat lightly. Ideal foods pre-competition are – baked beans on toast; porridge; cereal e.g. cornflakes; rice-bubbles; toast and banana. If you are too nervous to eat, then try a breakfast supplement such as “Up and Go.” Try to have simple, fast absorbing foods on race day. Eat at least 1.5 hours before competing and then, depending on the type of sport you are competing in, eat up to 30 minutes before the event. If the event requires running or sprinting, then you will not feel like putting too much food into your stomach, so drink instead. Good pre-competition water intake requires you to have at least 250mls in the hour before competing. Remember that any race or event longer than one hour and 15 to 30 minutes will mean that you need to re-fuel with carbohydrate and water. This is when a banana will be handy or dried apricots or a manufactured re-fuel substance. Some rapidly absorbed lollies are OK here, too. The most important factor
“ The night before you compete, have some extra carbs before you go to bed” to remember when re-fueling during your competition is that you should have practised it in training. Race-day is not the day to try out new forms of nutritional supplements or food.
Nutrition plan after competing As soon as your race is over, it’s time to replace your energy (glycogen) and recover. Sometimes athletes have more than one race or event on the same day. If this is you, then recovery between races is critical. How much you eat depends on how much time you have between races or games, but here are some ideas: • Water comes first – ALWAYS! Drink sips of water, followed by small sips of Powerade/ Gatorade. If you’ve had a hard previous game or race, then the carbohydrate drink supplement will help to replace sugar (glycogen) in your muscles as well as some salts (electrolytes) which you will have lost through sweating. Choose a carbohydrate drink that gives you 6-8gm of carbohydrate per 100mls of fluid. • Eat two to four soft jelly lollies (e.g. jetplanes; wine gums; gummy bears) which are easily absorbed immediately after a hard race. • Within 30 minutes, if you are not competing again immediately, have a small amount of easily digested carbohydrate, ideally in combination with some protein. Everyone
Recommended Guidelines ~ Nutrition for Competition ~ is different between events as to what their stomach can tolerate, so eat foods that you are used to…e.g. fruit; crackers/cheese; small muffin; low-fat yoghurt; small smoothie; Mother Earth muesli bar or half a One Square Meal bar. • Avoid too much fatty food between races. Although teens need some fats in their diet leading up to race day, try to avoid high-fat foods until competing is over for the day, as these take a while to digest. If you are having a long break between morning and afternoon races (heats and finals perhaps), then try to have foods such as wraps; rice/ pasta/ noodle dishes; baked beans or spaghetti on toast; small pizza; toasted sandwich; Subway sandwich; filled rolls.
Pre-competition: Aims: • To have muscles stored with fuel ready for racing • Ensure hydration • Prevent feelings of hunger and upset stomachs Examples: cereal, muffins, creamed rice and fruit, pasta with tomato-based sauce, toast, sandwiches, fruit salad and yoghurt
During Competiton: Aim:
Prevent depletion of energy and salts
“ Remember that any race or event longer than one hour and 15 to 30 minutes will mean that you need to re-fuel with carbohydrate and water.”
Build up depleted energy (glycogen) stores
Provide protein and nutrients to help repair muscle damage
How? Start drinking as soon as you finish competing: ½ - 1 hour
Athletes should eat 1g carb/kg body weight and eat some protein (15-20gms)
Have high carbohydrate meal
Regular meals and snacks and drinks for the rest of the day
Always trial any drinks during training.
Read the label to ensure that these are providing 6-8g of carbohydrate per 100 mls. For example, both Powerade and Gatorade contain sodium (salt) which is not harmful during competition, especially if the day is hot and/or humid. You only need sips of supplement drinks and if you are only competing in one race or event then one bottle should last the entire competition day. Because these drinks are high in sugars and are acidic, rinse your mouth with water or brush your teeth well when you get home.
Energy Drinks and Coke Drinks such as Coke, V, and Mountain Dew have caffeine. Youth athletes don’t need the high amounts of sugars and caffeine in these drinks, except if they are doing long races or events lasting over two hours. In these longer races, the caffeine may help to mobilize fats from the fat stores and provide another source of energy when stored muscle glycogen has run out.
Maggie Dent: con’t. from pg. 17 • Plenty of physical movement. • P o s i t i v e i n v o l v e m e n t t h a t c r e a t e s neurotransmitters that create feelings of well-being. • Building a sense of belonging. • Plenty of time with adults who can act as mentors and coaches. • Environments that are conducive to feeling safe and valued. Between 13 and 15 years of age is when most students become disillusioned with traditional classroom learning; it is not meeting Jensen’s description for meaningful learning that allows for enrichment of brains. Much of what is in the curriculum has already been covered in primary school. High school is the place where the greatest change needs to take place, because it’s where the hunger for meaningful life skills can be met. Students need to experience more time outside the classroom. Suggested opportunities for learning include: • Going to the local fire station to learn about different types of fire, and what to do if caught in a house fire or a bushfire. • Going to the local ambulance centre and learning how to do CPR, what to do if you come across a car accident and what to do if a friend passes out from excessive alcohol.
photographers run mini classes. • Doing a local history of community by interviewing elderly members. • Creating a DVD promoting the local community. • Helping at the tourist bureau.
• Having special arts programmes where students are coached by professionals acting, dancing and set design. • Having opportunities for students to do martial arts, yoga classes and meditation classes during school hours.
• Creating a school mosaic or mural that celebrates diversity.
• Creating a T-towel or T-shirt design that celebrates youth week or raises money for a specific charity.
• Volunteering at the local wildlife rescue.
• Having a medieval festival or other festival.
• Creating a school beautification project like a sensory playground for preschool, new seating for high school students and putting up shade areas.
These activities allow students to get out of the classroom to actively participate in projects that build their competence and knowledge in a variety of areas. Exposing students to a variety of activities gives them a taste of many possible life pathways and careers. These special learning opportunities can occur in an integrated curriculum where the morning is for core subjects and afternoons are for students to choose other options.
• Creating a school play/performance evening to showcase the artistic talent in the school and raise money for a worthwhile project. • Having a sleepover during the school week to study astronomy. • Creating a school vegetable garden. • Creating a school café where students learn to cook, serve, design menus and manage a small business. • Designing and creating picture books for children that teach important messages. • H a v i n g s p e e d r e a d i n g o r m e m o r y improvement programmes.
Using this model, students can combine physical activities that have an element of risk, ensuring that another driver for adolescence — particularly boys — would be met. Skateboarding, rollerblading, kayaking, mountain bike riding, water polo, martial arts and personal training provide students with fun, risk and massive engagement.
• Visiting a local mechanic to learn about how to take care of your car, including how to change tyres, oil and water. • Experiencing law courts to see due process of the law. • Dropping in to the police station to check out the cells and what processes take place if you are arrested. • Visiting preschool and primary schools to help with classroom activities. • Helping maintain gardens at local elderly homes. • Helping with community programmes like Meals on Wheels, soup kitchens, hospital visitations, op’ shops and fund raising for local causes. • Volunteering at the SES and learning about rescue and emergency procedures. • Adopting a community park or garden to maintain and keep clean. • Adopting a playground to help keep free of rubbish and things dangerous to children, like syringes and broken glass. • Volunteering in the local library. • Having professional artists, potters and
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the last word: Karen Boyes
Managing impulsivity in the classroom Choose your words carefully and slow down and you’ll help your students do the same thing.
Intelligent people have a deliberateness about what they do. They stop and plan rather than rush head first into a task. Effective problem solvers are purposeful and consider alternatives and consequences. They make sure they understand the instructions and will take time to collect relevant information. These students are also able to listen to different points of view. Give students clear guidelines, goals and outcomes and time to plan step by step how they might approach a task. When students are being impulsive, they haven’t had time to consider possibilities and consequences of actions before beginning a task. After giving an instruction, ask, “what would you be doing if you were following the instructions correctly?” Have them either share with the class or simply to a partner to ensure they have had time to process what they are about to do. Another phrase that is extremely effective to manage impulsivity is to say “in a moment but not quite yet...” before you give an instruction. Here is the difference. “Please find a partner and decide who will go first.” Or “In a moment, but not quite yet, please find a partner and decide who will go first.” Often with the first statement, students are already looking for a partner and do not hear the second part. The second statement tends to stop students before they rush off and they will be more likely to hear the rest of the instruction.
Using wait time is also a powerful strategy to manage impulsivity. M.B Rowe’s study, reported in the Journal of Research in Science Teaching, shows after having asked a question, the average teacher waits one second before either calling on a student, asking another question or answering the question him/herself. This gives students no thinking time. It is unrealistic to expect anyone to be able to give an informed answer in one second. Wait at least seven to 10 seconds before calling on a student to ensure think time. Another study reported students often raised their hands when the teacher asked a question in order to trick teachers into thinking that they had the answer and were thinking. However when called upon to answer the question the students often said, “I forgot.” The raised hand may be a strategy to not to have to think. A fabulous analogy I heard at a primary school was children describing managing impulsivity as the difference between being a frog or an owl. A six-year-old girl explained; “A frog blurts and an owl thinks.” Another school uses the traffic light: Stop Think Go. I came across a great way to introduce this concept in a grammar school in Brisbane. The teacher placed small bowls of M&M chocolate lollies on each student’s desk and did not mention or draw attention to them for the afternoon. Fifteen minutes before school finished she invited students to get their M&M’s for an activity. Of course most students had eaten them. The teacher, disappointed and shocked, explained that the lollies had been soaked in a laxative. The teacher reported she had to explain the effect of laxatives, and the students were mortified, especially the boy who realised he would be on the bus when the effects would hit. A memorable lesson on managing impulsivity.
is normal for children to be impulsive. Have you ever had students blurt out the answer? Or wave their hand in the air calling “pick me” before you have finished asking the question? This is impulsivity. Impulsive people often blurt out answers and make immediate value judgements.
Talking the Walk: Walking the Talk Cheryl Doig
An introduction to Learning Walks “A learning walk is a regular, focused walk in and around learning areas for a brief period of time - observing and gathering data followed by reflection, feedback and setting of future goals,” says Cheryl Doig. This book explains the process of future learning walks - the process of walking through learning environments in ways that encourage deep thinking about learning and teaching. If you want to develop your school’s conversations about learning then this book is for you. $32 Book
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Cheryl is passionate about growing leaders for the future. She combines an extensive background in education, experience in business and a healthy dose of reality to challenge leaders to do things differently. Cheryl is the recipient of a number of prestigious awards including the Woolf Fisher Fellowship. She speaks internationally on leadership and change.
Learning Talk: build understandings A landmark publication from internationally acclaimed educator Joan Dalton
“Conversation is your core technology for improving and transforming learning,” says Joan Dalton “All educators need to know how to skillfully navigate important, learning focused conversations. If you can’t have the conversations, nothing changes, “ says coauthor David Anderson
The first in a ground breaking series on Learning Talk, this book shows you how to use: √ practical, step by step strategies √ leading-edge professional learning material √ concrete examples and tools to build collective understanding and commitment to Learning Talk for the collaborative, learningfocused world in which we live.
Develop your own and others’ skills in Learning Talk with this comprehensive series, to be progressively released during 2010: Learning Talk Book series 1. Introduce Learning Talk: build understandings 2. Build the culture for Learning Talk 3. Assess existing skills: build a plan 4. Develop foundational skills 5. Develop more complex capabilities 6. Practise the skills: embed the learning 7. Use feedback effectively
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True teachers are those who use themselves as bridges over which they invite their students to cross; then, having facilitated their crossing, joyfully collapse, encouraging them to create their own.
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Published on Nov 16, 2011
Published on Nov 16, 2011
The Teachers Matter Quarterly magazine has been created as a ‘booster shot’ for educators of pre-school, primary and secondary students. It...