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PROFESSIONALLY & PERSONALLY

TeachersMatter The Magazine of Spectrum Education

The psychology of colour pg. 63

The social side of your class pg. 22

From “no” to “yes” pg. 53

The contract for independence pg. 60 NZ$15 / AU$15

Leaders in Developing Teachers

ISSUE 13


EVENT REVIEW BY JO ISSA

2011 Teachers Matter conference Expert speakers remind us to take care of our students – and ourselves.

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ational and international learning experts gathered in Sydney for two days of high-impact presentations and workshops to equip teachers with the tools to activate students’ brains. Understanding the digital generation Ian Jukes’ presentation highlighted the striking differences between digital learners and educators. He explained that, regardless of where you are in the world, today’s kids are completely different than us. Through exposure to the digital world, their brains are wired differently and this affects how they process information. While educators tend to deliver information in a slow and controlled way from a small number of sources, digital learners process information at a fast speed and prefer to receive information from a variety of sources including pictures, sound, colour and video. Digital learners even read information in a different way, favouring an F pattern rather than a traditional Z pattern. Ian warns that if we ignore technology then we’re missing an opportunity to connect with digital learners. The challenge we face is to teach students the skills to use technology effectively.

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21-century fluencies Ian says that one of the dilemmas facing educators is how to prepare students for jobs that don’t yet exist. Today’s generation is expected to have 10 to 17 careers by the time they are 35, compared with our four to seven careers. Students will need ongoing learning to acquire “just in time” skills. Rather than “knowledge,” Ian outlines a set of fluencies required for success. These include an ability to problem solve, use creativity, think analytically – without supervision, collaborate with real and virtual worlds and communicate. While 40 years’ research sets out what works in the classroom, Ian says that little of this is implemented. A solution is to focus on 21st-century fluencies and teach them in the context of problem-solving activities

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where students are active participants and problems are set in context of the real world. The art of conversation Joan Dalton’s keynote speech focused on the importance of talk, as the words we choose send different messages to the brain. She says that if students are to succeed in a networked world where they are required to work collaboratively, then effective communication is crucial. By simply changing the language we use with our students and colleagues, we open up possibilities. To encourage lateral thinking, Joan suggests using invitational language, like “I wonder if we might…,” “ How might we go about that?” or “Take five minutes to think.” Joan cited the work of Rock and Schwartz, who say, “Acts of paying constant attention creates chemical and physical changes in the brain.” Help students find their heroic skills to complete quests Jason Fox advocates an innovative approach to goal setting. He suggests that we can learn a great deal from the way video games are structured because they provide: instant feedback, accountability, acknowledgement of success or failure, exploration of possibilities and progression through levels. Applying elements of gaming to the real world, Jason uses language and structures that the digital generation can identify with. Rather than traditional goal setting, he suggests that students set their personal quests. Using his clever planning tool, they are able to set milestones, record personal attributes and measure progress. Learning with the brain in mind John Joseph’s enlightening insight into the brain’s worlds explains why some students are unable to connect with lear ning experiences as our education system tends to focus on the “indirect world.” By understanding the brain, we can cater for all our students and plan learning experiences that focus on the concrete world – making, repairing and doing. While John emphasised that the brain can be easily damaged, it is also capable of repairing itself and, through learning, it grows interconnections. Plan for powerful interaction Spencer Kagan suggests that when students work collaboratively, they provide continuous feedback. One of the challenges is to structure interactions so all students are actively engaged and make gains. The importance of structuring interaction is reinforced by Sir Michael Barber’s research into class sizes. He found that despite

lowering class sizes in the U.S., there was no improvement in academic achievement. Instead, high-performing teachers had a significant influence on achievement. Traditional teaching methods rely on teachers asking a question and students taking turns to answer one at a time. This calls on high achievers and accentuates the gap between high and low achievers. Spencer has developed a number of structures to address this gap, including timed pair share, which gives each partner a set time to share. Mind your language Rowena Szeszeran-McEvoy offers practical tips to manage stress and boost energy levels. As teachers we have the capacity to inspire students to succeed but often stress inhibits our ability to teach effectively. By controlling the message we send to our bodies, we can deflect stress. So rather than describe a situation as stressful, Rowena suggests replacing the word “stress” with “fascinated.” By staying strong, fit and healthy, we increase our ability to remain calm under pressure and overcome barriers we face each day. To manage daily exercise. Rowena recommends doing exercise for the same time we brush our teeth to increase our heart rates. It’s that simple! Be well Jenny Mosley closed the conference with a keynote speech on keeping our spirits high. Jenny suggests that by keeping physical and emotionally strong, we are better able to deal with situations when we are ambushed. Jenny emphasised the importance of keeping our wells full and making time for daily golden moments. As teachers we often neglect our wells during term time, only to frantically top them up during the holidays. Instead, Jenny suggests that we make time to keep our wells topped up during term time by, for example, engaging in debate, reading philosophy or finding opportunities to be creative. Summing up, Master of Ceremonies David Koutsoukis offered a poignant reminder to find things that give us Kefi, a word used by the Greeks to describe a zest for life, as it infuses through our personal and professional lives and makes us fun colleagues and teachers.

EVENT REVIEW Finally, Ian Jukes offers some astute advice: while iPads and mobile phones may be commonplace in 21st-century classrooms, the best app for students is a great teacher. Be sure to check out the Kids Conference review on page 64.

1. Jenny and Jess - the Spectrum girls. 2 Joan Dalton and Karen Boyes. 3. Participants listening and learning. 4. Participating in the Think Pair Share. 5. John Joseph explaining the brain. 6. Jenny Mosley Quality Circle Time. 7. Adrian Rennie - Classroom Culture.

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The Teachers Matter conference has once again proven to be a powerful tool for school teams. Whether it was standing around the water cooler or at lunch breaks, teachers and leaders chatted about workshops and conser vation revolved around possibilities: “How can we get this in place in our school?”

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CONTENTS

In this issue

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31 22

Classroom relationships and sociograms

Effective teachers are made – not born

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Personal anthems

ELLIOTT SEIF, BENA KALLICK, AND DR ARTHUR COSTA

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Transform student negativity into motivation

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2011 Teachers Matter Conference review

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30

Boosting teacher morale Bullying in our schools: A different perspective MAGGIE DENT

The creative classroom

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34

45

Lessons from India DR CHERYL DOIG

Reward programmes can work

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KATE SOUTHCOMBE

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Tuning up our teaching MARGARET MACLEAN

Walking the talk KEVIN MAYALL

Joy in learning DR MARVIN MARSHALL

Reliever, substitute or supply to the rescue SIMON EVANS

PATTI DRAPEAU

STEVE FRANCIS

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43

JANICE DAVIES

It’s all about engagement!

Great key words and phrases for teaching values DAVID KOUTSOUKIS

ALLISON MOONEY

DR SPENCER KAGAN

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Patience with patients Boosting self esteem in schools

Twenty fun quotes and observations on life DAVID KOUTSOUKIS

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GLENN CAPELLI

DR JUDY WILLIS

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36

ALAN COOPER

JO ISSA

10

45

53

Why do kids seem to learn the word “no” before “yes”?

Teachers Matter

JOHN SHACKLETON

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55

TEACHERS RESOURCES AND LESSONS pages 68-69

A winning strategy to ensure student success CHRISTINE KERR

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Reader’s Theatre and achieving fluency MERYL-LYNN PLUCK


MAGAZINE CONTACTS

Teachers Matter Magazine Team

Subscribe today

Publisher, Sales and Advertising: Karen Boyes

To receive your own copy of the next issue, send an e-mail to magazine@spectrumeducation.com

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 249 727 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 2011 All rights reserved.

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The best year of your life NGAHI BIDOIS

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The quest for independence

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67 70

KAREN TOBICH

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YVONNE GODFREY

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How the over-worked principal gained back time Reach your students using psychology of colour

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Kids Conference review ROSEMARY PORTER

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Get serious about getting results ROWENA SZESZERAN-MCEVOY

Sleep your way to a better life

The opinions expressed in Teachers Matter are those of the contributors and we love them!

All Enquiries Spectrum Education Ltd

WENDY SWEET

Street Address: 19 Rondane Place, Lower Hutt, New Zealand

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The alarm you’ll look forward to: iStudyAlarm

Postal Address: PO Box 30818, Lower Hutt, New Zealand

KAREN BOYES

Phone: (NZ) +64 4 528 9969

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The Last Word: Redesigning team meetings

Fax: (NZ) +64 4 528 0969

KAREN BOYES

magazine@spectrumeducation.com

Quote

www.spectrumeducation.com

THELMA VAN DER WERFF

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The duck who stopped a war BARBARA GRIFFITH AND TRICIA KENYON

ROBYN PEARCE

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JOKES Autumn feast

Parts of this publication may be reproduced for use within a school environment. To reproduce any part within another publication (or in any other format) permission from the publisher must be obtained.

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MARK VAN DOREN Lioncrest Education Postal Address: PO Box 340 Cessnock NSW 2325, Australia Phone: 61 2 4991 2874 or 1800 249 727

DELICIOUS AUTUMN RECIPES Page 70

info@lioncrest.com.au www.lioncrest.com.au

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EDITOR’S NOTE

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arly on a recent afternoon, a woman named Allison Mahoney was being pulled in two directions. She was on the phone during her lunch break, reminiscing about her experiences at a university near me, but a teacher needed to check in with her. “He was great!,” I heard Allison saying. “In the beginning, he shut down. I had a little chat with him, and he really turned it around. He showed me how to do some ladder multiplication; he could explain it better than me!” In the class where she was relieve teaching, Allison had successfully connected with a student who was known to get easily frustrated, so much so that he would disengage and withdraw. She appreciated that one of the full-time teachers who worked with him regularly was concerned about her progress – and she was proud that she didn’t need any help. Soon, she will be graduating with her second degree from the university, first one in accounting and now one in education, and she is gaining confidence in her skills. A few weeks before, another teacher had explained what she wanted done in her absence, and she paused as she went through her list. “Oh, sorry,” she said to Allison. “I said ‘Kagan strategies;’ you probably don’t know what those are.” “Well, actually, I do,” replied Allison. “I’ve studied Kagan.” She had already practised “Kagan” and used his methods in classes.

I knew I risked being rude, but I was so excited that I was also familiar with “Kagan” that I just had to turn the conversation around to me – and the wonderful content of Teachers Matter. I started to tell Allison about Karen Boyes, owner of Spectrum Education and creator of this magazine, and how I have the pleasure of editing Spencer Kagan’s articles (including another great one in this issue), and how rewarding it was to talk with a new teacher who was successfully teaching with his techniques.

I again swelled with pride: Every issue of Teachers Matter, packed with how-to articles, could easily serve as a guide for a new teacher – or a rejuvenating refresher for an established teacher. The pages aren’t clunky or heavy like tools, but they certainly help teachers get the job done, a job that is rarely easy. The challenges of teaching have never been simple ones. Video games, cell phones, and television show after television show make those challenges even harder nowadays. Students’ attention spans are shorter, and after all the lights, movement and noise of electronic entertainment, students want excitement. They might not realise it, but they also crave human connection, something that can often be sadly missing from their wired lives. The keys to drawing the students in: s Having knowledge of the material s And having knowledge of the student. (See Christine Kerr and Alan Cooper’s articles about this topic inside.) We could also add “knowledge of the teacher” to the keys. How well do you know yourself? Your strengths and weaknesses? And your dreams and goals? If you need to give these questions more thought, read Ngahi Bidois’ article in this issue to get started. The articles I’ve mentioned here might be just what you need to do an even better job teaching tomorrow – or you might need a reminder about something else today and will later rely on the information I’ve highlighted. That’s up to you to decide, but I know one thing for sure: You’ll definitely find lots of relevant information on these pages and you’ll definitely feel better after reading – and applying – it all.

Happy reading,

Teachers Matter

I later talked with another teacher – Dr Malcolm Lively, who teaches at Allison’s university.

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He told me how he likes each graduating teacher to have a variety of options when faced with challenges in the classrooms. Visualise his goal this way: Tool bags. “I want the teachers to have a wealth of skills and strategies at their disposal,” he explained. “Teaching doesn’t have to be only memorisation and drills. You want to know about different techniques. Maybe you won’t use some of them for two or three years, but you will need them all at some point. That’s when you’ll be prepared, because you’ll have studied something that will help your students.”

Kristen De Deyn Kirk


Moway- Autonomous Programmable Robot What is Moway?DŽǁĂLJŝƐĂŶĞĚƵĐĂƚŝŽŶĂůƚŽŽů͘/ƚƐĂŝŵŝƐƚŽƉƌŽǀŝĚĞƚĞĂĐŚŝŶŐĐĞŶƚƌĞƐǁŝƚŚĂŶŝŶƚƌŽĚƵĐƚŝŽŶƚŽƚŚĞǁŽƌůĚŽĨƌŽďŽƚŝĐƐ͕ƚĞĐŚŶŽůŽŐLJ ĂŶĚĞůĞĐƚƌŽŶŝĐƐ͘/ƚŝƐĂĐŽŵƉůĞƚĞƐŽůƵƚŝŽŶĨŽƌůĞĂƌŶŝŶŐƚŚĂƚĂůůŽǁƐƐƚƵĚĞŶƚƐƚŽĚŝƐĐŽǀĞƌƉƌŽŐƌĂŵŵŝŶŐĂŶĚĞůĞĐƚƌŽŶŝĐĐŽŶƚƌŽů͕ƚŚƌŽƵŐŚƐŝŵƉůĞĂŶĚ ŝŶƚƵŝƚŝǀĞƐŽĨƚǁĂƌĞǁŚŝĐŚĐŽŶƚƌŽůƐƚŚĞƌŽďŽƚĂŶĚŝƚƐŝŶƉƵƚĂŶĚŽƵƚƉƵƚĚĞǀŝĐĞƐ͕ĂůůŽǁŝŶŐƐƚƵĚĞŶƚƐƚŽĚĞǀĞůŽƉƚŚĞŝƌŽǁŶƉƌŽŐƌĂŵƐĂƚĂŶĞĂƌůLJƐƚĂŐĞ͘ Moway is an essential tool for teaching and learning: ͻdĞĐŚŶŽůŽŐLJ͗^ƚƵĚĞŶƚƐǁŝůůďĞĂďůĞƚŽǀĞƌŝĨLJƌĞĂůƉƌŽŐƌĂŵŵŝŶŐƌĞƐƵůƚƐĚĞǀĞůŽƉĞĚŽŶƚŚĞŝƌW ͻWƌŽŐƌĂŵŵŝŶŐ͗dŚĞLJǁŝůůĚŝƐĐŽǀĞƌƐLJƐƚĞŵƉƌŽŐƌĂŵŵŝŶŐƚŽŽůƐŽŶƚŚĞŝƌW͕ĂŶĚĂůƐŽůĞĂƌŶŚŽǁƚŽƉƌĞƉĂƌĞĨůŽǁͲĐŚĂƌƚĚŝĂŐƌĂŵƐĂŶĚĂƵƚŽŶŽŵŽƵƐůLJ ǁŽƌŬƚŽĚĞǀĞůŽƉƚŚĞŵ͘ ǁŽƌŬƚŽĚĞǀĞůŽƉƚŚĞŵ ͻWƌŝŶĐŝƉůĞƐŽĨĞůĞĐƚƌŽŶŝĐƐ͗dŚĞLJǁŝůůĞdžƉůŽƌĞƚŚĞŽƉĞƌĂƚŝŶŐĨƵŶĐƚŝŽŶƐŽĨĚŝĨĨĞƌĞŶƚƚLJƉĞƐŽĨƐĞŶƐŽƌƐĂŶĚŚŽǁƚŚĞƌŽďŽƚƌĞĂĐƚƐƚŽƚŚĞŵ Educational Kit $745.00 Basic Kit $397.00 ͻϮDŽǁĂLJZŽďŽƚƐ ͻϭDŽǁĂLJZŽďŽƚ ͻ/ŶƐƚƌƵĐƚŝŽŶƐĂŶĚƐŽĨƚǁĂƌĞdƌĂŝŶŝŶŐDĂŶƵĂů ͻ/ŶƐƚƌƵĐƚŝŽŶƐĂŶĚƐŽĨƚǁĂƌĞ ͻϯZĂĚŝŽĨƌĞƋƵĞŶĐLJŵŽĚƵůĞƐĞŶĂďůĞƐĐŽůůĂďŽƌĂƚŝǀĞ ͻhƐĞƌ'ƵŝĚĞ ƉƌŽŐƌĂŵƐďĞƚǁĞĞŶϮнDŽǁĂLJƐ ƉƌŽŐƌĂŵƐďĞƚǁĞĞŶϮнDŽǁĂLJƐ For more information go to www.sitech.co.nz>Science and Robotics

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CONTRIBUTORS

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 Zealnd. 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

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.habits-of-mind.net

Barbara Griffith Barbara has been a primary school teacher for 36 years. She has specialised in the teaching of literacy for more than 20 years and recently retired from a position as a Resource Teacher: Literacy, which she had held for the last 16 years.

Teachers Matter

Bena Kallick

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Bena Kallick, Ph.D is a private consultant providing services to school districts, state departments of education, professional organisations, and public agencies throughout the United States and abroad. Her work with Dr. Art Costa has led to the development of the Institute for Habits of Mind, an international institute that is dedicated to transforming schools into places where thinking and Habits of Mind are taught, practised, valued, and have become infused into the culture of the school and community. www.instituteforhabitsofmind.com

Dr Cheryl Doig

Janice Davies

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.com.nz.

Janice Davies is “The Attitude Specialist” and teaches people to be positive and empower themselves. As a professional speaker, success coach and author, Janice educates people through conferences, workshops, websites and books. She is the founder of the annual international self esteem awareness day and is featured in the new True Happiness DVD. Visit http://www.attitudespecialist.co.nz for complementary articles and tips.

Christine Kerr Christine has 30 years experience in education, the last decade in school management. She facilitated a structured counselling service for her intermediate school students and is a qualified, professional life coach. Passionate about meeting young people’s needs for ongoing success, Christine created the Mighty Minds programmes. Using 21st century research and mindset tools, she inspires young people to take leadership in their own lives, culminating in a total package for future reference throughout their lives. Post-programme support is available for participants through a range of media pathways and interactive funshops. Visit www.lifeseeker.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 program. For bookings, resources and free downloads visit www.dkeducation.com.au

Elliott Seif Elliott Seif is an educational consultant and author. He is the author of several books and handbooks, including a textbook on the teaching of elementary social studies. He has published numerous articles on educational issues, including teaching for understanding, social studies education, standards-based curriculum and instruction practices, project-centered instruction, curriculum development, leadership and supervision, futures education, the teaching of thinking, and interdisciplinary teaching and learning.

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

Jo Issa After 10 years teaching in New Zealand and the UK, Jo Issa swapped the playground for a pencil and began freelance writing. She is currently completing two diplomas in creative writing and publishing at Whitireia Community Polytechnic in Wellington. www.joissa.co.nz

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

Dr Judy Willis Dr. Judy Willis practiced child and adult neurology for fifteen years before returning to university to obtain her Teaching Credential and Masters of Education. She then taught elementary and middle school for ten years and is now a presenter at educational conferences and provides professional development workshops nationally and internationally about classroom strategies derived from neuroscience research. Her most recent book, Learning to Love Math: Teaching Strategies that Change Student Attitudes and Get Results 2010 ASCD, is about changing negativity to motivation. www.RADTeach.com

Kate Southcombe Kate’s business EPR Training combines her passion for horses and her educational background – supplying online products to support people with behaviour management of horses and children. This novel approach is grounded in science and draws on the principles of applied behaviour analysis. Kate is an Early Childhood Education lecturer and private tutor.

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

presenter at educational forums around the world. info@rainbowreading.co.nz

Karen Tobich

Ngahihi o te ra is from Te Arawa and is an international speaker, author and consultant. Book him for your next conference or seminar by phoning 021482281 or through his website at www.ngahibidois.com

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 foods 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

Margaret MacLean

Ngahi Bidois

Patti Drapeau Patti Drapeau is an international presenter, trainer, author, and instructor. She worked in education as a teacher and coordinator for over 25 years. Patti currently presents at international, national, state, and regional conferences on the topics of differentitation, critical and creative thinking, and gifted education. She also conducts customised workshops and trainings in school districts. She currently serves as adjunct faculty at the University of Southern Maine, USA and is an educational consultant for the Maine Department of Education, USA. www.pattidrapeau.com

Robyn Pearce Robyn Pearce, a Certified Speaking Professional, is known around the world as the Time Queen, helping people discover new angles on time. Check the resources on her website, www.gettingagrip.com, including a free report for you: How to Master Time in Only 90 Seconds.

An educator with over 30 years experience in seven countries, Margaret MacLean currently provides professional development services to teachers and school leaders internationally. She focuses on developing collegial relationships, encouraging reflective practice, and rethinking leadership - all in support of increased student achievement. www.teachercollaberation.org

Rowena Szeszeran-McEvoy

Dr Marvin Marshall

Simon Evans

Marvin is an international staff developer and the author of the best-selling book, Discipline Without Stress, Punishments or Rewards: How Teachers and Parents Promote Responsibility & Learning. His approaches demonstrate how using internal motivation and non-coercion is far more effective and significantly less stressful than using threats, punishments, rewards, and other manipulations aimed at obedience. www.marvinmarshall.com

Before joining CORE Education, Simon Evans worked with Breathe Technology as an Educational Technology Advisor and was a primary classroom teacher for 11 in New Zealand and the United Kingdom. He now works with schools and the relieving c o m m u n i t y. F o r m o r e i n f o r m a t i o n , call 0800 D9 TEACHER or sign onto www.educatingthedragon.blogspot.com

Meryl-Lynn Pluck Meryl-Lynn Pluck has a MPhil (Hons) with a specialisation in reading difficulties from the University of Auckland, New Zealand, where she studied under the guidance of Marie Clay. Her research into effective literacy practices with struggling readers has been published internationally and she is sought after as a

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.

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 energisers. www.kaganonline.com

CONTRIBUTORS

Steve Francis Steve Francis is a former principal and has written three books, A Gr8 Life...Live it now!, encouraging people to live for today; First Semester CAN MAKE OR BREAK YOU!, a guide for principals moving to a new school location; and Time Management For Teachers. Steve has also developed the Gr8 People range of educational resources to help school leaders and teachers “keep it simple” and the Happy School article service to help reduce stress and boost staff morale. See www.happyschool.com.au

Thelma van der Werff Thelma van der Werff is a chartered colour therapist who has developed the Colour Comfort Method, which uses the psychology of colour for self-development and growth. She has written two books: Why are you wearing those colours? and Dress to Impress. Thelma teaches her Colour Comfort method in New Zealand, Australia, The Netherlands, Germany and offers a Colour Comfort online course.

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 developed 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 wsweet@xtra.co.nz.

Yvonne Godfrey Yvonne Godfrey is the founder of Miomo (Making it on my Own), a 10-day, live-in experience to equip 17- to 24-year-olds for a responsible, independent and successful adult life. www.miomo.co.nz

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ELLIOTT SEIF, BENA KALLICK, AND DR ARTHUR COSTA

Effective teachers are made – not born The Habits of Mind make the difference.

These studies suggest that teacher improvement and greater effectiveness is not determined by genetics, but by whether or not a teacher has key qualities –

Teachers Matter

Habits of Mind - that enable him or her to put in the required effort to improve teaching skills. Given the right Habits of Mind, teaching proficiency is more likely to occur when a school’s culture, climate, and system supports countless hours of rethinking and refining teaching practice to continually improve. Growth in effectiveness is also supported by a curriculum in which both teachers and students have the opportunity to practice and use Habits of Mind on a regular basis.

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Opportunities to develop and use Habits of Mind Which Habits of Mind make a difference? Sixteen Habits of Mind lead to greater success and learning for students. Although all are important for teaching and learning, we have organised most of the Habits into seven qualities that we think are critical dispositions for continuous growth and learning. In our

experience, teachers who have these Habits of Mind qualities are more likely to make efforts to improve their teaching. 1. Remaining open to continuous learning – Admitting you don’t know something or how to do something. Believing that “I have so much more to learn.” 2.Thinking about thinking – Being aware of your own thoughts, strategies, feelings and actions, and their effects on others. Being aware of your own strengths and weaknesses. Regularly planning, monitoring, and reflecting upon actions and tasks. 3.Figuring things out – Includes a number of habits that support clarifying problems, data gathering, and rechecking information, such as:

PHOT PH PHOT OTTO: O ALEX EX X HIINDS IN IND N

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re teachers born with their talents or can they learn to become more effective? What’s the difference between “good” and “great” teachers? Recent research into the development of “greatness” in many fields strongly supports the idea that in-born talent is not the determining factor in high levels of performance (Shenk, 2010, Colvin, 2008, Gladwell, 2008). In instance after instance, these authors show that excellence in music, art, sports, science and technology, and other endeavours develops from countless hours of persistent, continuous effort that leads to excellence. They also point out that a significant body of research indicates that those who seem to have a “natural” talent in a given field are not necessarily the ones who demonstrate excellence over the long haul (Terman, 1959).

These teachers are frequently on the lookout for ways to improve. They readily admit that they don’t know how to do something, and are willing to figure out a problem and look for and try new ideas. As they incorporate Habits of Mind into their thinking and behaviours, teachers say, “I need more practice with…” or “I am so excited by how much I have learned about…” or “I need to go deeper into this material…” They have developed the desire to continuously improve and learn.

s Gathering data through all senses

Creating the conditions

s Questioning and posing problems

These habits, learned, practiced and used regularly, when coupled with a desire to improve one’s teaching skills, will lead to significant growth and greater effectiveness over time. But they do not automatically exist in every teacher.

s Striving for accuracy 4. Communicating – Communicating effectively with adults as well as with students, by: s L i s t e n i n g w i t h u n d e r s t a n d i n g a n d empathy s Communicating with clarity and precision

Based on observations in schools over many years, we think that strong school cultures have four characteristics:

s Thinking interdependently

s Explicitly teach and use Habits of Mind language and behaviours

5. Creating, imagining and innovating – Generating new and novel solutions and strategies. Being original. Inventing new ideas and alternatives.

s Provide positive reinforcements and incentives

6. Taking responsible risks – Trying new and different ways, even if there is a chance for failure. “Living on the edge of your incompetence.”

s Develop a coherent system of professional development options

7. Persisting – Persevering in a task through its completion. Looking for a way to reach your goal when stuck. Not giving up.

s Create opportunities for persistent, “deliberate” practice


ELLIOTT SEIF, BENA KALLICK, AND DR ARTHUR COSTA

Explicitly teach and use Although many people come to teaching with some habits well developed, they usually do not consciously recognise how important these habits are. When teachers are explicitly introduced to the habits, they become aware of the need to strengthen and practice the habits. Schools that wish to build a system of professional growth and development around Habits of Mind first need to explicitly teach and reinforce the use of Habits of Mind language and behaviours. Through such activities as professional development sessions, book and article study sessions, faculty discussions, or wall postings, the entire school needs to be made aware that Habits of Mind dispositions and behaviours are central to professional learning and improvement over time.

Provide positive reinforcements Schools with strong Habits of Mind cultures develop explicit strategies that help teachers think about their strengths and needs, learn continuously, and solve problems independently and interdependently. For example, they provide time for collegial conversations, planning, and reflections. At faculty meetings, less time is spent on administrative talk and more time on discussions of instructional issues. Collaborative planning time during the year and the summer enables teachers to pose teaching problems, listen to each other with understanding and empathy, strengthen the curriculum, and suggest new ways of teaching. The entire school staff uses school-wide professional development days to create and share teaching ideas. Teachers are encouraged to “take risks” and try new teaching strategies. Some schools establish mentoring and peer coaching systems. Others have instituted the “lesson design” model. A strong Habits of Mind culture may make use of “master teachers” – teachers with specialized instructional expertise – to encourage discussion and feedback and work with teachers over time to improve teaching and learning.

Deliberate practice Recent studies (Colvin, 2010) suggest that to improve one’s skills, it is not enough simply to practice something. The term that is used

to describe practice that makes a difference in effectiveness is “deliberate practice.” Ericsson, et. al. (1993) describes deliberate practice in the following terms: “In contrast to play, deliberate practice is a highly structured activity, the explicit goal of which is to improve performance. Specific tasks are invented to overcome weaknesses, and performance is carefully monitored to provide cues for ways to improve it further. We claim that deliberate practice requires effort and is not inherently enjoyable. Individuals are motivated to practice because practice improves performance… maximization of deliberate practice is neither short-lived nor simple. It extends over a period of at least 10 years…” Deliberate practice goes hand in hand with Habits of Mind. Teachers who are continuously open to new learning, analyze their own strengths and weaknesses, try to figure out teaching problems and possibilities, and create new approaches to teaching and learning are likely to deliberately work on and practice specific teaching skills to become more proficient. Schools that encourage and support deliberate practice move away from “one shot” professional development programs and introduce innovative programs that are designed to solve identified instructional problems. They then conduct follow up sessions and classroom visits by mentors and experts (i.e. teachers who have mastered new teaching strategies) to support teachers and provide analysis and feedback as they work to implement a new strategy or approach to teaching. One recent study found that “reading gains” (up to 32 percent) were greatest in schools where teachers receive a large amount of coaching around specific teaching skills. (Viadero, 2010).

A system of development options Schools that reinforce teacher use of Habits of Mind and deliberate practice also need to institute a clear and comprehensive system of professional development options that meet teacher needs. Professional development, focused around key strategic teaching areas, helps teachers assess their strengths and problems, supports them as they learn new approaches, and helps them through a “deliberate” practice time that supports their growth and development. As teachers improve on what they do, they are also able to share new techniques with other teachers

and help them to implement strategies that improve achievement. Lemov (2010), Jackson (2010), Wiggins and McTighe (2005), Berger (2003), and Hill, Rowan and Ball (2005) suggest a number of key areas that we should concentrate on. Using the following categories as a framework, a school can organise professional development options based on teacher analyses of strengths and areas for improvement: Explicitly develop and reinforce the language and use of Habits of Mind for both teachers and students.

Develop a rich background knowledge and understanding of key ideas and skills related to specific curricular implementation Use planning and implementation techniques and strategies that: s Clarify and focus learning on specific, targeted knowledge, understandings, processes, and habits of mind goals s Set and maintain high achievement expectations s Set and maintain high behavioural expectations s Create a strong classroom learning culture that supports positive habits of mind s Build character and trust in students s Develop student understanding s Help all students to think critically and improve comprehension and reading skills s Engage students in appropriate and effective learning strategies (so that they work harder than you do) s Share models of success with students s Use a “balanced” assessment system (traditional and performance assessments) to evaluate growth and performance s Use effective feedback strategies (check for understanding) s Enable students to apply learning to new and novel situations (transfer)

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DR JUDY WILLIS

Transform student negativity into motivation Want students to “use” their brains more? Help them understand it first.

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hroughout my 10 years of teaching, after a career as a neurologist, I have been profoundly moved when I see students change from expecting failure to recognising they hold the tools to success. The empowerment they gain from knowing the science of learning changes their lives. Each strategy they choose and apply with focused, intentional effort increases their perseverance.

“ Understanding how the brain stores and retrieves memory, the neurochemistry of brain alertness, and the power of changing one’s own brain and intelligence through neuroplasticity is life-changing for students.”

I have seen negative and disconnected students become more confident as they apply more effort and enjoy their new optimism – and draw new dendrites and synapses on their brain “self-portraits” on the classroom wall. These resilient students are the ones I trust to become lifelong learners with the adaptability, motivation, and desire to apply the necessary effort to solve problems and follow through with the phenomenal opportunities available to them.

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Understanding how the brain stores and retrieves memory, the neurochemistry of brain alertness, and the power of changing one’s own brain and intelligence through neuroplasticity is life-changing for students who have lost confidence. Genius is more than genes Intelligence is in the control of every brain owner. Even the measurement of IQ, which is only one predictor of one type of academic intelligence, is not under the dominant

PHOT HO O: AN NNUN U NA1 NA

Teachers Matter

Reverse expectations of failure There is now the greatest high school dropout rate our country has ever had. In fact, for a student in high school now, it is more likely that his parents will have graduated than he will. The number one reason students give for dropping is boredom. High-stakes testing has turned many classrooms into places of mind-numbing teach-to-the-test lectures and drills. In these conditions, the most successful students are not the most intelligent, but rather the ones who can most successfully memorise isolated facts.


DR JUDY WILLIS

control of genetics. We now know that even parts of genes (alleles) are turned on or off by environmental influences, many of which are within the brain owner’s control. Research demonstrates that superior learning takes place when learning experiences are enjoyable and relevant to students’ lives. We’ve seen through brain neuroimaging, such as PET scans and MRI scans, the influence of one’s emotional state upon learning, judgement, memory storage, and information retrieval and transfer.

PHOTO: ANDRES RODRIGUEZ

In contrast, memory construction is impacted negatively when learning takes place during emotional states of fear, anxiety, high stress, or depression. There is a switching station in the emotional brain (the amygdala in the limbic system) that determines if information coming into the brain is sent up to the highest-thinking, reflective, prefrontal cortex or down to the reactive, involuntary lower brain where conceptual, retrievable memories are not constructed and the behavioural responses of fight/flight/freeze are the involuntary reactions. Being embarrassed, confused, or feeling that all the others understand things that a confused a student prevents new information from even entering long-term memory. Today’s overly packed curriculum works against successful learning. When students are stressed, bored, frustrated, or feeling helpless or confused by classroom instruction or reading, the reactive lower brain receives the information and active learning stops. Understanding that past failures are not predictions of their future potential helps students. Students who have background knowledge about their brains realise what external factors limited their success in the past. They know that their emotional state before and during learning profoundly influences successful memory and why it is brain efficient to strategically reduce stress. Empowered students are motivated to use the strategies that promote their positive emotions, such as connecting with personal relevance and activating prior knowledge. Understanding how they can use strategies, such as recognising their incremental progress, reverses negativity and renews motivation. This results in a transformation from a fixed to a growth mindset. Using additional strategies to promote growth

mindsets, such as metacognition (reflection about what strategies they used for success), brain-empowered students know how to make conditions favorable for learning and test taking.

The benefits of patterning are undeniable and the habit is accelerated when students are encouraged to actively relate new information to positive past experiences, personal interest, and opportunities.

It’s within every student’s power Rejuvenation of optimism continues as students learn about their brains’ essentially unlimited potential to grow in memory and intelligence (neuroplasticity). Brain-wise students know that seeking and constructing patterns in new information matches the way the brain most successfully stores information.

Learning that transfers to life success The goal of education should be learning how to be successful beyond the classroom. With the force-feeding of overstuffed curriculum, there is little classroom focus on application of new learning to new situations. Students need to acquire the valuable life skill of conceptual transfer, which does not come from IQ or memorisation, but rather from emotional and personal relationships to learning.

The brain turns data from the senses into learned information by encoding it into already existing patterns. When students understand their brains’ pattern construction and recognition system, they can use strategies such as activating prior knowledge, making real world and personal connections, and other pattern- stimulating strategies to achieve the most effective information intake, memory construction, and information retrieval pathways. The system of storing information in related patterns is an evolutionary development that increases prediction accuracy to promote survival in animals and is the basis of intelligence in humans. Neuroimaging evidence supports that the brains of animals and humans make decisions based on activation of neural networks constructed over time based on the stored outcomes of previous behavioural responses. The stored memories of prediction results become the basis of more successful future predictions. The research confirmed what was already recognised from cognitive psychology about the benefit of patterning tools, such as concept maps and comparisons of similarities and differences. Further studies showed that the retrieval of information is most effective when students know how the information is organised, especially when they choose their most successful ways of structuring new information into patterns that are most logical and memorable to them. There is no right or wrong way to construct information into a pattern and later connect patterns into concepts. However, we do know that when information passes through the amygdala into the hippocampus in a positive emotional state, the memory that subsequently forms undergoes cellular changes that make it more durable.

Wiggins and McTighe often use sports analogies in their book, The Understanding by Design Guide to Creating High-Quality Units (in press, ASCD), to demonstrate the value of conceptual transfer. One such analogy is soccer. They describe the interplay between skill learning and practise with opportunities to actually use the skills playing the game. Instead of waiting until learners master all of the individual skills before letting them on the field, children have opportunities from the beginning to play the “real” game, and then work to refine needed skills. That same interweaving of real application opportunities to skill development makes for meaningful, effective and motivated learning. Understanding the brain and using brain research-compatible strategies gives students greater ability and motivation to add new learning and to construct more and more accurate networks of related information that guide better and better predictions. Students who do this will be best prepared to achieve their life goals. At the beginning, students who learn about brain-research compatible strategies will develop confidence and restore motivation as they learn to recognise their incremental progress. Confidence will grow to the realisation that their social, emotional, and academic intelligence is within their control, and their potentials are virtually limitless.

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DR SPENCER KAGAN

It’s all about engagement! Try a new technique to involve more students in fun and non-threatening ways.

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agan Structures are instructional strategies designed to promote cooperation and communication, boost students’ confidence and retain their interest in classroom interaction. The structures work in all teaching contexts — regardless of subject, age group, and number of students in class — and are a particularly powerful tool for teaching a foreign language. Let’s compare a typical traditional English lesson to an English lesson using Kagan Structures. For example, we might want to teach direction vocabulary with prepositions of place and direction: next to, down, into, out, up, above, below.

Teachers Matter

In a traditional classroom, the teacher may provide some direct instruction, then do a wholeclass question-and-answer session. During the question-and-answer session, the teacher usually asks questions, then has students raise their hands to volunteer answers. Alternatively, the teacher may ask a question, and nominate a student to respond. Finally, the teacher may assign an activity for individual work and have the students independently practise the new skill. Sound familiar?

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Cooperative learning offers a powerful alternative for language teaching: interaction. Yet, there is a vast difference between Kagan Structures and conventional pair or group work. Kagan Structures carefully engineer student interaction to maximise cooperation, communication, and active engagement by all. The teacher who is fluent with a number of Kagan Structures would teach the same lesson quite differently. She would likely still provide some direct instruction, but skip the whole-class question-and-answer session, and not do the individual exercise. Instead, she would choose a Kagan Structure that will involve ever yone, and encourage sharing and cooperation. On the subject of directions, the teacher might have the students do a RallyCoach — students

w o r k i n p a i rs a n d t a ke turns answering the activity questions. In Match Mine, partners sit on opposite sides of a barrier. One partner, the “Sender,” places items in an arrangement. The other student, the “Receiver,” tries to match the sender’s arrangement, using only the sender’s verbal directions. Students use the direction vocabulary in a functional way: Place the square next to the triangle. Place the circle below the triangle.

“ We now know that there are many styles of learning and multiple intelligences. What works for some may not work well for everyone. Therefore, we need a variety of strategies to reach and teach our students.”

Choosing a cooperative learning structure over traditional methods creates a dramatic positive difference in English language learning. We now know that there are many styles of learning and multiple intelligences. What works for some may not work well for everyone. Therefore, we need a variety of strategies to reach and teach our students. If we always use lectures and independent exercises, we may inadvertently create barriers to English learning for many students. If, instead, we use a variety of structures as we teach, we engage the different learning styles and students’ multiple intelligences. The variety creates greater novelty, increases motivation, and maintains attention. Kagan Structures also create greater engagement, lower anxiety, and promote natural language acquisition. Let’s see how. Increasing engagement One attribute that sets cooperative structures apart from traditional instruction is that structures don’t call for voluntary participation. Participation is required. In RallyCoach, students take turns. Both partners have a specific role, and they cannot accomplish the task without working together. It is the same with

Mine Students must communicate Match Mine. accurately to complete the task. It is the same with Match Mine with pair work or group work. If pair or group work is not structured properly, one student can simply do the work, while the others watch, or even tune out. In contrast, the Structures hold every student individually accountable for participating. There is a direct connection between student participation, engagement, communication, and subsequent language learning. During our cooperative learning practise, the class is divided into pairs, and at least half of the class is generating language at any time and the other half is directly receiving comprehensible input and practising active listening. This radically increases the opportunity to decode and produce language. Lowering anxiety Whole-class settings for language learning are often perceived as threatening situations where students have to engage in “public speaking.” We know from both language learning theory and brain research that stress negatively impacts attitudes, learning, and memory. With RallyCoach and Match Mine, students are working with just one other student. Most Structures encourage


pair work or work in teams of four. Students who would experience anxiety in a wholeclass setting feel more comfortable speaking English in a more intimate setting. Promoting natural language acquisition There’s a big difference between learning about a language and actually acquiring the language. Too many language courses teach students about the language. Not enough courses allow students to actually use the language. In our example of the traditional classroom, students learn about directional vocabular y. They learn to correctly complete exercises. But are they really building fluency? Results say no. Many Kagan Structures naturally develop fluency by sidestepping the transference gap. In the real world, we don’t fill out exercises on the proper use of language. But we often do need to give instructions and follow directions. When the situation of language acquisition (exercise work) is too different from the situation of performance (giving directions), a transference gap is created and fluency is not acquired. Match Mine sidesteps the transference gap: the situation of acquisition (giving and receiving verbal directions) matches the future situation of performance (giving and receiving verbal directions). Many Kagan Structures naturally develop fluency by sidestepping the transference gap. Too often, language courses fail to build functional fluency. Students learn how to conjugate verbs, memorise vocabulary, and learn grammar rules, but too often miss out on the opportunity to use language frequently in a functional way. With the Structures, students not only learn about directional terminology, but they actually implement them to accomplish a goal. Developing English fluency consists of four major inter-related language objectives: We want to build oral comprehension skills so students can understand what they hear; we want to build oral fluency skills so students can communicate with others; we want to build writing skills, so students can express themselves clearly and correctly; we want to build reading skills so students can read with comprehension and accuracy. To a c c o m p l i s h t h e s e f o u r l a n g u a g e goals — reading, writing, speaking, and listening—we need an array of teaching tools. That’s exactly what Kagan Structures are. Each structure is a different languageteaching tool designed to develop different skills. Some structures are more suitable to build vocabulary skills (e.g., Match Mine). Others are ideal for practising language

skills such as grammar (e.g., RallyCoach). A third category of structures develops interaction, fluency, and speech elaboration (e.g., Progressive Timed Pair Share). Then, Structures like the Flashcard Game are great for simply memorising the breadth of vocabulary terms and phrases students need to learn. Many structures simultaneously address multiple objectives that go beyond the four language objectives outlined above. We h a v e d e v e l o p e d o v e r 2 0 0 K a g a n Structures for promoting interaction in the classroom. Here are two sample Structures we encourage you to experiment with. Match Mine Language functions: Vo c a b u l a r y b u i l d e r, f u n c t i o n a l communication, oral language production Advantages: s Develops target vocabulary based on the content of the game s Develops ability to give and follow instructions accurately Structure summary: Partners on opposite sides of a barrier communicate with precision in order for one to match the other’s arrangement of game pieces on a game board. Match Mine is terrific for developing communication skills. Students must use the target vocabulary correctly to achieve a successful match. Description: The teacher assigns students to pairs. Each partner receives an identical game board and game pieces. The game board and game pieces can be based on any vocabulary topic such as food, clothing, sports, careers, verbs, and so o n. F or e xa m p l e , t o p ra c t i se h um a n body vocabulary, the game board is an illustration of a person. The game pieces are numbered arrows. The pair sets up a file folder barrier between them so they can’t see each other’s game boards. One partner (the “Sender”) arranges the numbered arrows pointing to different body parts. Then, the “Sender” describes her arrangement of arrows on the illustrated body and the “Receiver” attempts to match the Sender’s arrangement exactly: Arrow #1 is pointing to her left ear. When the pair thinks that they have correctly made a match, the “Sender” and “Receiver” compare their arrangements to see how well they did. If the game pieces are arranged identically, the pair celebrates their success. If the game pieces don’t match, they congratulate their efforts, then discuss how they could have communicated better to make the match.

DR SPENCER KAGAN Match Mine is terrific for developing communication skills. Students must use the target vocabulary correctly to achieve a successful match. Timed pair share Language functions: Fluency, elaboration, oral comprehension Advantages: s Half the class is actively producing language at any time, while the other half is actively listening. s All students must participate. s Students listen attentively so they can respond appropriately. s Students regularly practise producing language on various topics. Structure summary: Partners take timed turns listening and sharing. With Timed Pair Share, no students get left behind. Everyone must participate. Description: Timed Pair Share is one of the simplest cooperative learning structures — and one of the most powerful. The teacher states a discussion topic, how students are to pair, how long students will have to share, and selects who will go first. It is perhaps the easiest way to infuse cooperative interaction into just about any point of the lesson. For example, “What do you predict this text will be about?” Face partners and share for 30 seconds each. Partners with the darkest clothes begin. When you compare Timed Pair Share to its traditional counterpart — selecting one student to share with the class — its true power is revealed. With Timed Pair Share, half the class is active at any one time, while the other half listens attentively. Variation: Progressive Timed Pair Share. In Progressive Timed Pair Share, students take turns sharing with different partners on the same topic. Each time they share on the topic, the time limit is increased. This gives students the opportunity to start small and work their way up to more elaborated sentences, phrases, and ideas. As they hear ideas and language from their partner, they can incorporate what they’ve heard into their own turn to speak.

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STEVE FRANCIS

Boosting teacher morale

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hilst teaching can be rewarding, it can also be demanding. Research suggests that teacher morale is at an all-time low in Australia and New Zealand, with teachers feeling undervalued, frustrated, unappreciated and demoralised. The drop in morale has been accompanied by a shift in public attitude toward education. In recent times parents are far more likely to challenge a school. It doesn’t take Einstein to work out that low morale will come at a cost. When teacher morale is high and the school environment is healthy, teachers feel good about themselves, each other and their teaching, which in turn impacts student morale and achievement. Alternatively, when teacher morale is low, it can lead to decreased productivity and effectiveness and a detachment from colleagues and students. The price is paid in both student achievement and staff well-being.

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Why is working in schools so stressful? Teaching is far more complicated than work in many other industries. Staff face unique challenges: s Much of the day is already scheduled. There is limited leeway in altering a class schedule, so teachers must work efficiently with the limited time that is flexible. s Schools are people organisations. We deal with the myriad of personality types, social issues and stressors that reflect the broader community - the good, the bad and the ugly. s We deal with emotive issues that surround one of the most important aspects of anyone’s life - their children. s Often we have to sensitively address miscommunication issues and respond where parents have not been made aware of all of the information and are dealing with second-hand perceptions.

Research shows that the average classroom teacher will make more than 1,500 educational decisions every school day. In an average 6-hour school day, that’s more than four decisions every minute. It is no wonder we feel overwhelmed by the demands of our profession.

PHOT PHO PHOT OTTO O:: ED DYT DY DYTA YTA YTA YT A PA AWL AWLO WLO W LLOWS WSK W SKA S SK K KA

A little time for reflection and rejuvenation can erase a lot of pressure.


STEVE FRANCIS

Good teaching requires students to be engaged and suitably challenged. This requires high levels of both energy and skill. You are always on show. Te a c h i n g i s a s o c i a l l y r e s p o n s i b l e occupation that is highly accountable and bureaucratic, demanding intellectually, emotionally and physically, and intensive and unrelenting. Numerous causes for low teacher morale have been suggested: poor status in the community; poor salaries (relative to other professions); poor student behaviour; excessive workload; poor leadership; poor working conditions; and increasing government accountability measures. What can be done to reduce stress and boost morale? There are many actions that can be taken at all levels to help reduce the stress on teachers and therefore boost morale. Education system leaders can: s Reduce the number of initiatives. s Improve the management of change processes. s Improve communication, in particular explaining the intent behind decisions that have been made. s Facilitate better cross department linkages for family support. s Promote and value the work of schools to the wider community. School leaders also have a vital role to play. They can: s Be there to provide practical, timely support when required by knowing and genuinely caring for staff as people. It’s the little things that matter.

s Give feedback that helps teachers be the best they can be.

people the benefit of the doubt, we lower our “fight” responses and our stress level.

s Ensure good, open communication that engages staff on important issues.

The following example illustrates the importance of monitoring our own thought processes. In responding to a parent who is complaining about something that they believe happened to their child, try to see the situation from the parent’s point of view. They may be responding to limited information and have a multitude of other factors impacting them. We don’t know what else has happened in their lives in the last 24 hours. Choose forgiveness and give them the benefit of the doubt - at least initially!

s Play “gate keeper” so that staff can stay focused on priorities. s Genuinely consult with staff (not pretend to consult when a decision has already been made). s Provide timely professional development to support staff. However, despite the circumstances being the same within a school, some staff are less stressed than others by events and situations that occur. People with low morale tend to see obstacles as potential opportunities for failure, while people with high morale see obstacles as challenges that need to be solved. The individual teacher’s attitude and thought processes are key factors.

Morale in schools is a vital issue that impacts student achievement and the staff’s welfare. Commitment from system leaders, school leaders and staff can have a positive impact and benefit for all.

Therefore individual teachers also need to take responsibility for their own well-being. Teachers need to take responsibility for their physical and emotional health and well-being. Whilst teachers are always busy, there are some peak times when workloads are particularly heavy. It is during these times that we are most likely to neglect our own welfare. Exercise routines are dropped, we don’t eat as well as we should, and we don’t take as much care of ourselves as we need to. It is especially at these times that we need to look after ourselves. Taking a break from writing report cards or marking assignments to “walk the dog” or go to the gym is an important investment of our time, not a waste of our time. Even when we are particularly busy it is vital that we look after ourselves. One of the most critical areas is our own thought processes. Each of us has choices in how we interpret other people’s behaviour. Based on the behaviour we observe, we make presumptions about their intentions. We jump to conclusions about why they are behaving in that way. By being more optimistic in our presumptions and giving

PHOT PHO P PH HOT H OTTO: O O EDYTA YTA TA PAWLO TA A WSKA

There are many other competing demands on time, including demands from administrators, requests from the wider community, and the need to continually professionally develop and contribute to the school’s on-going development.

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MAGGIE DENT

Bullying in our schools: A different perspective

PHOTTO: MANDY PHO YG GOD GO OD DBEHE B AR R

A teacher might be able to turn a bully into a best friend.

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ullying is when someone (or a group of people) with more power than you, repeatedly and intentionally uses negative words or actions against you, which causes you distress and threatens your wellbeing. It is the rise and negatively impacts almost every classroom. Teachers everywhere are struggling with the issue, and valuable time is wasted trying to solve the problem.

From bully to buddy It is not easy, but a variety of approaches can be used to stop bullies. I was asked to take over a Year 9 English class, and I was warned that the school’s worst bully was in the class. Tommy certainly had attitude, and no one would sit near him in class or work with him. He looked lonely. I spent time building a cooperative, caring class environment by doing different activities, and the best one is paired sharing. This involves students choosing students they don’t know, and doing a guided pair-share. I keep the time limit to 90 seconds and

ensure that only one person speaks and the other listens. Each pair share began with 90 seconds of sharing your life story, then swap. I continue with best play experiences from childhood; worst nightmares; favourite foods; if I had $1million... I also enjoy using Jenny Mosley’s circle time after the first week as this is a powerful way of building connectedness. After the second week, something interesting happened: Students were sitting next to Tommy, speaking to him and even working with him in groups. Tommy never put a foot out of place, and his studies improved dramatically. In many ways, the increase in bullying is a sign that our adult world has changed. There is more violence in sport, road rage, violent computer games, alcohol induced violence, less manners, reality TV that makes fun of people, graffiti and high levels of youth homelessness – all sure signs we have lost social capital and a former culture of community cohesion and care. Despite these social changes, we still need to do everything we can to reduce bullying.

Both the bully and the victim are struggling with emotional illiteracy and a low sense of self. The bully covers his or her inadequacy by “acting out” when he or she is really struggling to cover up a low self esteem and a fear of rejection. Many victims are chosen because they appear vulnerable or just because they are different – not because they are weak. Then there are the victims who are chosen because they have what the bully values and wishes he/she had – good looks, wealthy family, courage to be an individual, a girlfriend/boyfriend, artistic talent, lots of good friends, school success or even a happy family. The bully’s actions is what then causes the victim to struggle – being frightened for one’s safety, being shamed, harassed, constant verbal and psychological abuse and being excluded all cause deep trauma within children and adolescents. The thinking processes become distorted and the inner critic voice of many victims will become negative, toxic and the cycle of self destructive and critical thoughts continually erodes the victim so that they then attack themself. Effectively, they bully themselves and expect to be bullied. This is a difficult cycle to break and can have lethal consequences especially in adolescence. Signs a student is being bullied: s Unexplained cuts or bruises s Ripped clothing s Vague headaches or stomach aches s Reluctance to go to school s Asking for “lost” possessions to be replaced s “Losing” lunch money s Falling out with previously good friends s Being moody or bad temper s Doing less well at schoolwork s Insomnia s Anxiety

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MAGGIE DENT

P OTTO PHO PHOT O:: MAN ANDY DY GOD DY GODBEH BEHE B EHEAR A

s Being quiet or withdrawn s Unexpected outbursts and meltdowns We are wired to be social beings, and schools are small societies. The two biggest threats that can happen to humans are to be rejected from the tribe and to appear weak because biologically this would mean death. We are instinctually wired to survive before being happy or clever. This instinctual behaviour still happens – to feel unloved and powerless means to feel rejected and weak. Dr Matthew Lieberman, a social cognitive scientist, has found that social pains, like being rejected, treated unfairly and being verbally abused, feels like a physical pain. The brain shows the same neural responses of distress in either situation and social pain, like bullying can be seen to affect victims much more deeply than previously believed. Dr. Lieberman has advised that we take this pain seriously, writing that, “we sometimes think someone should ‘get over’ their hurt feelings despite the fact that we would never think someone should “get over” their broken leg. Accordingly, we need to appreciate that however much reality we accord to physical pain we should also extend to social pain.” In reverse, being treated fairly activates the same neural pathways as chocolate. This new finding was like a light bulb going off in my head. I rarely saw any bullying in my high school classrooms, and I speak to many teachers who experience the same. Yet some of my students were known to be bullies in other classes and in the play ground. When the primary needs of every individual – to feel safe, cared for, and valued – is fulfilled it removes the invisible threat of rejection and the unconscious trigger of the fight/flight/freeze response. Bullies are often triggered to fight when they feel unsafe, inadequate or rejected. Being treated fairly is a huge influence on student behaviour in our schools. This negates the primitive and instinctual needs to demonstrate power and strength. This is what happened with Tommy.

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Taking action Schools can help prevent and overcome bullying by: s H a v e a s c h o o l f o c u s o n f a i r n e s s “Everyone matters – no matter what.” s Increase playtime in classrooms and school grounds play is excellent way of building emotional and social competences. s Teach calming and stillness to children from kindergarten. s Build safer classrooms and playgrounds – reduce threats of rejection. s Explore ways to build a sense of belonging for troubled individuals. A teacher “ally” is an essential part of helping bullies and victims to develop trust and understanding. To build a sense of inner value and worth, students need to help out others – eg. Read to preschoolers, help out with local elderly peoples, help in school gardens, help their teacher allies in some way. This technique builds self esteem instead of damaging it with more sanctions and discipline. s Run as many programs as possible for as long as possible that build resilience, emotional and social competence. (eg Better Buddies is an initiative by The Alannah and Madeline Foundation and The Friends for Life by Pathways). s Build school spirit with school songs, assemblies, school plays, fun days and fund raising activities.

Serious and prolonged bullying leaves scars for life. The modern world is contributing to the problem with busy parents, children playing less outside as well as with other children and a generation now wired to be entertained by screens. Today’s children are couch potatoes, hurried and over scheduled in many ways, and this causes a heightened sense of stress and stressed children are more prone to being bullies or victims. Children need adults to keep children in our schools and homes safe and maybe this is where the problem really begins. Maybe if we all slowed down a little, hurried less, allowed our precious children their whole childhood to grow up and invested heaps of time guiding our children how to be kind, caring and decent, bullying would disappear. Until then, we as educators need to do all we can to make our schools safe, friendly and fair places for our students. We need to value the art of good teaching, which includes “people making” as well as academic success. Remember, fairness tastes like chocolate to the human brain and that seems like an easy place to start.


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21


ALAN COOPER

Classroom relationships and sociograms A careful look at your students’ friendships can reveal opportunities for growth.

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eyond on-going observation and practical knowledge, formal data collection of classroom relationships can help teachers create a positive classroom culture. Sociograms (see diagram) do this. They are a teacher-made and teacherfriendly way of gaining rich data about the class’s social relationships. Construction To construct a class sociogram, ask each pupil to confidentially list two students to work with on an activity. The topic does not matter; in most cases the social relationships will be relatively constant regardless of the activity. Make sure they put their own name on the top of the paper. Write up this data as a chart. Different-sized circles, as in the diagram, give visual impact to these relationships and make it easy to discern the various degrees of popularity. This can be done either on a computer, or by hand tracing different-sized coins. Arrows indicate who is choosing whom.

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Another way would be to provide small-group activities and set the group number at four and arbitrarily mix in the isolates. Provided the teacher has set up the group dynamics in such a way that team work is required, integration has a real chance of success. However, the isolate may need careful instructional on social skills – the skills of emotional intelligence. Girls and boys seperation Another alert is the clear division between the boys and girls. Is this wanted? Obviously it is a co-ed school, so what does that imply? Is it an example of what Chris Argyris calls the gap between the espoused theory and the theory in action? Is the espoused theory that boys and girls are better off in a school where the

genders are mixed? If so, this shows that the theory in practice is not so. If the genders are to be mixed, serious teacher reflection is needed before taking any action. If an instruction was given simply to choose a boy and a girl to work with, a worse situation could arise if the decisions were made on a boyfriend/girlfriend basis. Reflection may suggest that in this case the gap between espoused theory and theory in practice is best left as it is, and gender issues and compatibility be addressed somewhere else. Check out the group dynamics There are several quite tight groups that may well merit some degree of philosophical scepticism. Are these groups “cliques” only interested in being exclusive, maintaining boundaries to keep their exclusivity, or worse still, being antagonistic toward others? Who is the go-to girl in the classroom? In a sociogram, she would have by far the greatest number of arrows seeking her out. Yet, beneath the radar, her influence could be self serving, her ability to put down others sophisticated. Graham Nuthal’s research, noted in his The Hidden Lives of Learners book, records the action of such a girl. A boy is having trouble

Isolates can lack the social skills to make friendly overtures to their peers, and because of this inability, they will tend to be unhappy, perhaps very unhappy. This unhappiness will not just shut down academic learning, which is serious enough, it could also lead to disruptive behaviour or, in a worst-case scenario, to self harm or suicide. Thus when the sociogram establishes isolates, it is the teacher’s responsibility to react. One uncomplicated solution is to attempt to integrate isolates into a group that they have shown interest in. In the girls’ group, top right, an attempt could be made to integrate either Lill or Livie or both in this

PHO OTO: CATHY OT Y YEULE ULE LLEET

Teachers Matter

Isolates One of the alerts a teacher gets from the sociogram is that there are boys and girls – the isolates – who no one has chosen or who have only been chosen by another isolate. While it is wise to have a certain degree of philosophical scepticism in making initial assumptions about isolates, they are a cause for concern.

way. However, such integration requires more than just arbitrarily inserting the islolate in the group. Teacher initiative will be crucial. Perhaps if an isolate is quiet and writes well, she could be given the task of being the group’s scribe. This not only gives the girl a purpose, and, through that, some confidence, it also frees group members from having to take on what they may see as an onerous task and may give them some sense of gratitude toward the scribe.


ALAN COOPER Ann

Tom

Mat Fleur Will

Meg Livie

Pete

Jo Lil

Nick

Ali

Alan

Nick

Trish

Charlie

Liz

Cha

Les Tom Beth

Ivy Sid

Bill

Tim

spelling the word Sahara. He asks her to help. She carefully spells the word in a way that subtlety reinforces her elite status. If that is not bad enough, once he has the word, she turns on the pressure by saying, “Why couldn’t you have copied it yourself? It’s on the White Board dumbass!”

day starts with a cheerful “hello” or “good morning,” together with a friendly, welcoming smile. Likewise, being there for them is more about simple, everyday things than dramatic happenings, for example, providing a pen or pencil when someone has forgotten theirs or the lead has broken.

Sadly, Nuthal notes, the classroom teacher was unaware of all of this.

Teachers should look for these positive behaviours, too, and reinforce them. In a general way, a poster on the wall about making their day or being there for them would be a good backup.

For this girl, it’s all about power, personal power, rather than the empathy that holds a classroom together. On the other hand, those who are popular may well be part of a positive group fully integrated into the classroom culture, a catalyst for good. Both inside and outside their group, such individuals would be intent on “making the day” for both themselves and others. This is not dramatic stuff. Making their

Link to Habits of Mind Teacher monitoring of the verbal interaction between the group, and the body language accompanying it, should occur outside the classroom as well. If there is no smoke, no harm has been done.

If there is, the teacher is alerted early to the jockeying for dominance and power that will be the antitheses of being kind and helpful. Then the teacher might give special attention to the Habits of Mind such as listening with understanding and empathy and thinking interdependently to have the students valuing each other and working in a collegially mutual interdependent way. A teacher’s job does not start and end with the curriculum. The social side of the classroom is perhaps equally important. The school is the sea. The students are the fish. If the sea is not kept at the right temperature, the fish will die! Sociograms won’t necessarily give the teacher the answer, but they will certainly show where to look.

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GLENN CAPELLI

Personal anthems What words motivate you the most, when you need them the most?

On

my radio shows in Australia I have written and spoken about all kinds of songs:

s Silly songs

s Songs with people’s names (sadly very few Glenn songs) s Songs on the juke box from hell s Wedding songs s Advice songs

I recently discovered that one of my favourite poets, Rabindranath Tagore (Rabby to most Kiwis and Australians), has penned the lyrics that are the foundations of not one but two national anthems. This beautiful Bengali poet is the creator of the Indian and Bengladesh national anthems. That is pretty special!.Consider these writers: s Elton John and Bernie Taupin s Cole Porter s Burt Bacharach and Hal David s George and Ira Gershwin s Carol King

Teachers Matter

Joe Dolce who wrote the Australian-Italian anthem Shut Up Your Face (voted the worst song to hit Number One in Britain, another reason to love it)

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As good as these songwriters are, to my knowledge, they have not penned two national anthems. On you Rabby! National anthems have been known to stir the blood and make a hair or two stand to attention. National anthems have, at times, also inspired debate: s Is “I Still Call Australia Home” better than ‘”We are one, I am, you are, we are, Australian?”

PHOTO: KUZNE KUZNE U TS DMITRY TSO TSOV

But now comes the big one: Anthems, be they national or personal.

s Should Matilda be waltzing rather than Advancing Australia Fair? s Would Aussies be better off singing Advance Australia Fair to the tune of Gilligan’s Island? s Is this treason or good reason? s Or should we all just be just saving our gracious queen instead? These are important issues whether you are considering them by the dawn’s early light of an American “Star Spangled Banner” or whether you are keeping your glorious land free and standing on guard for thee (as any Canadian would). However, I think we should do a bit of an old Johnny Young penned tune, and step back a little. Let’s step back a little from the national, and move to the personal. I know it is a big thing to just toss on you like this, but if you did have a personal anthem, what would it be? Consider these contenders for spots on the Personal Anthem K-Tel Greatest Hits CD:

s Frank Sinatra’s rendition of the words of Paul Anka, My Way. Sid Vicious took a liking to the words and did it his way, too. s The Man from La Mancha dared to dream the impossible dream and beat the unbeatable foe because that was his quest. s Al Martino sang “I’ve Gotta Be Me.” s Helen Reddy declared that she was woman and be prepared to hear her roar, which led to various blokes trying to pen a male equivalent song: I am man Hear me snore In decibels too loud to ignore And I know too little to go back and pretend ‘ Cause I’ve heard it all before So let me just sleep and snore And don’t you dare wake me up again


GLENN CAPELLI

“ If you did have a personal anthem, what would it be?”

The Supremes also have an anthem called “I Am Woman,” but I don’t think their tune would make Helen Reddy very happy. The lyrics go; “I am woman, you are man, I am smaller so you can be taller… I am woman, you are man, let’s kiss.” Not quite as inspiring as “Yes I am wise, but it’s wisdom born of pain, yes I’ve paid the price but look how much I’ve gained…” Or, if Italian, how about going Puccini and Pavarotti all in one with the huge anthem “Nessun Dorma – Let No One Sleep” (at dawn I will win!) Then, of course, for rocky times, there is the Rocky Theme – gonna fly now, particularly good on steroids. And there is another Rocky theme, “The Eye of the Tiger;” play that 10 times and you will be a survivor. Which leads us quite naturally to Gloria Gaynor’s” I Will Survive.” What is your personal anthem? What are the personal anthems of each school student as they learn their way through life? What are the personal anthems of athletes, leaders, teachers and everyday folk? When times are tough, who you gonna turn to? Ghostbusters? I was recently presenting in the wonderful town of Mildura when a month’s rainfall fell on our heads in an hour. Then, two days later, I was trapped in floods whilst driving through rural Victoria. All of this occurring after we all watched the horror of the floods and cyclones that wiped out towns (and lives) in Queensland. And, then we had the devastation of the earthquake that shattered beautiful Christchurch and the horrific events in Japan. As I watched the way folk pitched in to help, as I witnessed acts of everyday people doing what they had to do to save themselves and others, as I wiped away tears seeing strangers digging in to help anyone they could in any way they could, I found my pen and started writing a new song:

Together Got a little bit of fight, left for tonight, let’s face it Got a little spark of hope left to ignite, let’s light it Got a little chance to grab the branch, let’s take it Got a little strength to go the length, let’s use it

(Spoken) With a little bit of faith and a whole lot of mates A little bit of luck and a whole lot of pluck A little bit of spit and a whole lot of grit With plans in our heads and a whole lot of sweat We’ll honour those lost with this song and some beers With all hands joined and a bucket load of tears

While there’s a shimmer of a glimmer and

We’ll all pitch in; we’ll take our turn

A chance to win

For them we’ll win, for tomorrow we’ll learn

We’ll catch our breath And get stuck in

Tomorrow is another day Side by side

While there’s a shimmer of a glimmer and

Standing tall

A chance to win

Tomorrow is another day

We’ll catch our breath

All for one

And get stuck in

And one for all

Tomorrow is another day

Now, the queen may be a champion my friend and Australia may advance fairly; again and again, New Zealand may ‘Put our enemies to flight, Let our cause be just and right’, but “Together” is now my Personal Anthem and the anthem I wish for us all.

Side by side and Standing tall Tomorrow is another day All for one And one for all

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PHOTO: O:: CLAUD O LA IIO O ROSSOL

ALLISON MOONEY

Patience with patients Personality dictates how patients and their loved ones want to be treated.

Teachers Matter

When I left to go overseas three weeks before, he was doing extensions on our house, fit, active and eating well. It got me thinking about teachers and children and when tragedy, death and trauma occurs for the child. Could there possibly be other ways to respond to those in grief and loss? Without any knowledge of the personalities, we won’t understand why people move on at different paces. Some move more quickly than others, some hold on to the familiar. Let’s look at where those who are unwell can get stuck:

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Playful The Playful personality, who we know to love fun and excitement, have the greatest ability to live in denial. From an early age with their great imagination they have made up stories, pretended to live in mansions, and expected to live happily ever after. Acceptance of cancer would wipe out the future fun and those mansions. Until there is pain, the Playful can pretend the fairy godmother will come soon.

Powerful The Powerful abhor sickness within themselves and others, because to them it reveals weakness. Their biggest fear is lack of control over their own lives, and any illness is considered worse than death. Why? Because they love to produce, and this would thwart their ability to do so. They are always looking for the “quick fix.” You know, that trip to Mexico, or a controversial new drug. Oh, and they slip quickly into the anger phase. Yes they are angry, they bargain with whomever, and strive to overcome this obstacle, not seeking much help from others. Precise The Precise personality has greatly feared this would happen most of their lives. They echo, “I knew it.” “Remember I said it would happen.” They are sometimes creating a self fulfilling prophecy. They tend to move from shock right into depression. They read the latest medical journals, google the type of illness, and expound on facts and figures for all who come to visit. Whatever method of treatment they decide on, they will pursue it with diligence. They have a tendency to see all that could go wrong.

Peaceful The Peaceful are the best patients of all. They don’t like conflict and will avoid the anger and depression cycle of the grief process, and move quickly into a placid acceptance. They appreciate everyone and anyone’s assistance. They enjoy being waited on in the hospital, and rarely impose with demands for more medication. “I didn’t want to bother you.” “I know you are busy with others” is their response. They don’t focus on the problem, but quietly accept their fate in life. It’s not only the children who are impacted by the illness. What about the teachers or, for that matter, the well parent, who is often time very different in personality and operating from a different perspective, frequently quite opposite to those who are sick? Can you see how difficult it can become? The Playful parent or child wants to ignore the patient’s pain, and only tell funny stories, jolly them up. He really doesn’t want to hear the chronicle of symptoms the patient has to share. While the Powerful wants people to “get up and get moving.” “All of this is in your heads!” “If only you would do something, you’d feel a lot better” is their advice.

PHOTO: P PAUL MOORE

I

have recently returned home from working in Asia to be greeted by my family with the sad news that my brother-in-law has an aggressive inoperable brain tumour. He left the hospital to go home and sort out his affairs.


ALLISON MOONEY

The Precise parent handles problems by recognizing the seriousness of the issue and encouraging discussion about the future. They dole out the prescriptions at the right time, empathise seriously and deeply to the patient, and are the policeman to visitors, to those who are too loud, too boisterous, or too happy. One would never get past them. The Peaceful helpers are a real asset, easily able to fit the mood of the patient. They can laugh with those who laugh and weep with those who weep. They won’t wake the person up to give them a sleeping pill. They’re easy to get along with and flexible. It’s important when one is involved with those who are unwell to not try and make them like us, but look for ways that would help them and support their personality type. When sick, we need to understand their personality; we then need to encourage them to use their personality strengths to cope in times of distress and illness. It is helpful if we as teachers can assist the child to respond to them according to how they need to be responded, too. Rather than dealing with their illness in the ways most comfortable for us, we as teachers need to know how we could support their personality type and that of their student.

Appropriate interventions based on patient’s personality needs Playful’s basic desire is fun. Being seriously ills says “Life is no fun.” Try and give them some type of fun. Powerful’s basic desire is control. Being incapacitated says, “Life is out of my control.” Allow them to make decisions. Peaceful’s basic desire is to avoid conflict and confrontation. They will deny serious illness; it overwhelms them. Being sick says

“You’ve got to face this serious problem and make hard choices”

Peaceful’s treatment: s A peaceful room and surroundings

Precise’s basic desire is to get things done right. Being ill says “Nothing’s ever going to be right again.” Don’t try to jolly them up but allow them to grieve.

s Time for themselves to think it through

Prescription: “Treat others as they want to be treated, not as you want to be treated.” Playful’s treatment: s Positive and cheerful surroundings; pictures, flowers, music s They need good listeners, for they have to speak to hear their thoughts s Touching and loving support to feel that you really enjoy caring for them s People, because they dislike being aloneparties perk them up s Compliments and encouragement s Instructions given more than once (they tend to forget) s Directions on priorities s Attractive appearance, help them stay looking good. Powerful’s treatment: s To be allowed to be independent as much as possible, because they want to do for themselves s Facts as soon as possible for quick decision making – no cover up s Intelligent medical personnel (they are bored by repetition and angered by incompetence)

s Encouragement to express feelings and fears s TV books and environment where they can people watch s Motivation to make decisions and to move into action s Extra time in eating, doing personal care and decision making s N o n - t h r e a t e n i n g a n d c o n g e n i a l personnel s Not to be neglected in their care, due to their congenial ways s Feelings of respect and self worth Precise’s treatment: s Things done right the first time; don’t deviate from the tried and true method s Schedule for their plan of care, lab tests, x-rays, treatments, and baths s Things organised and prepared when having blood drawn IVs started and treatments s M e d i c a t i o n o n t i m e a n d s c h e d u l e followed s Telephone, call light, personal items convenient and where they want them s Adequate time to study drug sheets, new information, consent forms before making decisions s Call lights answered promptly

s Freedom of movement if possible – it is most difficult for them to be confined

s Correct and factual information given to answer their questions

s Choice in selection of treatments s Room where they can see the activity in the hall or out of a window

s A good listener and attention to their complaints

s Prompt attention to problems

s Feelings of sensitivity and competent support

s Procedures done expediently; don’t dally around

L e t ’s b e p a t i e n t w i t h t h o s e w h o a r e patients.

PHOTO: LEAH-ANNE THOMPSON

One Powerful wife has been known to cut her husband’s pain medication in half so he could “buck up” and not succumb to dependency on the drugs. This can be so typical of the Powerful. They find sickness so debilitating.

s Sense of loyalty from medical staff s Praise for how well they are doing.

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JANICE DAVIES

Boosting self esteem in schools Teachers can lead the way with fun and helpful techniques.

Schools sometimes spend more time with children than parents, and although it is a shared responsibility, schools can simulate and boost self esteem. Help is available for schools from Life Education Trust and for parents from Tough Love. Life Education Trust helps children become self aware by allowing them to create their self image with graphics on their website. Although a time-consuming exercise, you can be spread it over a few months for Friday afternoon treats. Clothing can also boost self-esteem in surprising ways. KidsCan’s free raincoats programme for children at low-decile schools has done more than keep kids dry, it has boosted their self-esteem, pride in their school and attendance. Associate Professor Mike O’Brien, who teaches and researches social policy at Massey’s School of Social and Cultural Studies, has just evaluated the programme and found that many children were so proud of their quality black Adidas rain jackets, adorned with the All Black silver fern logo, that they wore them rain or shine.

Teachers Matter

Small things can definitely make a difference. Faye Stockill created a set of cards called Positive Choices for Children. Many schools have the cards, and they offer a great resource to use with the children. Teachers have been using the cards to share positive ideas about peace, health, energy, love, fun, joy and confidence.

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“ Another way to boost self-esteem is by teaching children goal setting. ”

Another way to boost self self-esteem esteem is by teaching children goal setting. I created a one-page Success Journal a few years ago. It is available to download on my website (on the school page). You can also create one with a smiley face logo and these words (or something similar): s I am great because s This week I achieved s I felt good because s Next time I will try s I want to s My goals are ... One of the easiest ways to help boost self esteem is free: Learn to speak in public. Many adults’ greatest fear is speaking in front of a group. A lack of this talent leads to low self-esteem and a lack of confidence. Many employees are looking for confident employees to promote and manage their teams, so if this fear can be overcome as a child, many employment opportunities can be open in the future. You can help students overcome this fear with an activity. Have a group of children stand in front of the class together and each student read one line or sentence from a short story or poem. Set the public speaking guidelines of listening and respecting each other. Change the groups by selecting them alphabetically, then by birthdays, or hobbies, or sports, so you are constantly creating different groups. As children progress, extend the time and audience, and even extend it to share their weekly successes; you are building a confident student whose self esteem is on the rise.

I have started an annual awareness day, Wednesday, 29th June. It’s called Selfday. In the middle of winter, when days can become cold and dismal, it’s the perfect opportunity to have your students plan activities. They could spend time mind-mapping their goals, creating a treasure map of their future, performing a skit, creating cards or dancing to songs by Glenn Capelli. They are all steps to boosting self esteem.

P PHO PHOT O: LEAHO EAH-A ANNE N THOMP NN HOMP OM O MP M PSO SON ON O N

R

esearch shows that it’s a balancing act to boost self esteem with praise, guidelines and discipline. As society changes for teacher and students, we still need to inspire confidence and build self esteem, and never, ever give up.


JANICE DAVIES

10 ways to Boost the Self Esteem of Your Child

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

Plan a special date night or “celebrate you” day. Have a fun backward day - answer the phone with a “goodbye,” read a book from back to front, watch a video backwards, talk backwards! Eat supper with dessert first and salad last! Develop an attitude of gratitude with your children, have a gratitude minute, day, or night. 100 strokes - stroke your child’s head or back as they go to sleep and with each stroke, tell them something you love about them. Value and praise them for who they are, as well as what they have done. Ensure that they are valued for a variety of skills so that children learn tolerance. Teach them that “good at” means “different from,” not “better than.” Keep a warm fuzzy file - into this put all the certificates your child gets, special thank you cards, meaningful notes and emails from friends and family, etc. Over the last 10 years I have collected all the lovely thank you cards that schools, individuals and family have sent me! Even as an adult it’s good to occasionally look at these. Over the years I have found when life has gotten a little challenging, it reminds me of how loved and capable I am. Make requests in the positive, “please look where you are going when you jump off that wall.” Not “don’t fall.” Remember whatever you focus on you get more of. Imagine - Share some of your dreams and aspirations together - the big ones, the small ones, and even the seemingly impossible ones. D.H. Lawrence once asked, “How can you have a dream come true unless you have a dream?”

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PATTI DRAPEAU

The creative classroom Where imagination, creativity and innovation meet

As

whereas, productive imagination involves the formation of concepts. Productive imagination has a role in any content area because it helps us to create. Imagination is a tool that students use to access their creative thinking.

What happens to the students’ inquisitive nature? They learn to answer your questions correctly. There is nothing wrong with being right. However, a steady diet of convergent questions with only one right answer denies students the opportunity to think about possibilities. Eventually the student’s natural inquisitive nature diminishes.

In a creative classroom, the teacher nurtures the students’ creativity in 10 ways:

Imagination, the ability to visualise new possibilities, is a prerequisite for success in the 21st-century work place. Now more than ever, we must foster imagination in our schools and nurture it in our communities. It is important to provide an educational environment that promotes imagination, creativity and innovation. Research indicates that such an environment is intellectually stimulating and intrinsically motivating. As I travel around giving workshops on creativity and the creative process, teachers often say to me, “I used to use creative strategies in my lessons but now I don’t have the time. I must get my students ready for the tests. I have to cover the material.” I say to the teachers that covering the material does not mean students are learning it. I say creativity and innovation are 21st-century skills that are required in the workplace. I believe creating a classroom conducive to creativity should not be a choice.

Teachers Matter

Roger Van Oerch says in his book, A Whack on the Side of the Head, “Students enter school as question marks and exit school as periods. In the 13 years of school, students learn to be specific.”

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Imagination plays a key role in creativity and the learning process. Students utilise imagination to manifest thoughts and ideas. Imagination helps the student make sense of the content. Without an imagination, students would be unable to build mental scenes, imagine a feeling, paint a picture or write a book. Reproductive imagination and productive imagination are two different kinds of imagination. Reproductive imagination involves memory;

1

Provides a safe environment

2

Supports unusual ideas

3

Provides choice

4

Encourages independence

5

Utilises creative strategies and techniques

6

Encourages multiple solutions

7

Provides models

8

Utilises visual tools

9

Incorporates novelty

10 Provides constructive feedback The teacher provides a safe classroom environment where students are comfortable trying new things. Students know the teacher values individual differences. The teacher supports creativity by encouraging unusual ideas. The teacher affirms unusual answers verbally as well as nonverbally. The teacher is aware that one disapproving look can crush the creative spirit. Boundaries are set so students know their unique responses will not be ridiculed by the teacher or another student. The teacher also provides choice whenever possible. Choice allows students to feel they have control over their learning. Choice enhances student engagement and motivation. Choice becomes the catalyst for creativity. The teacher acts as a facilitator and allows students a level of independence that helps to build their self confidence. A feeling of self confidence is helpful to students when they risk sharing an unusual answer. As you can see from the examples, the prompts encourage the students to think

Creativity Prompts 1. What if… 2. H o w m a n y ways… 3. What would … say… 4. I f y o u c o u l d change something what would it be and why? 5. N a m e o t h e r uses for… 6. How are these two unrelated things alike? 7. G i v e n t h i s object, how might it be used and what does it remind you of? 8. In a team, start with a few lines, add to it and create a picture. 9. In a team, set up an obstacle course representing a problem. 10. In a team, create a nonverbal system to figure out a solution to a problem.


about possibilities and come up with multiple solutions. The teacher models multiple and unusual responses so that students know and understand how to think outside of the box. Besides providing students with sample responses, the teacher also displays creative thinking visuals as reminders to students that in this classroom, “Creativity is not an option.”

PATTI DRAPEAU

PHOTO: ERIK REIS

The teacher encourages creativity by providing novel lessons and experiences. Novelty excites the brain and breaks the routine. Students often get bored with the regular routine day in and day out. This can dull their thinking. Lessons that promote curiosity, suspense and interest activate their brains. If you want to create a novel environment, change what you ordinarily do. Even if it takes you out of your comfort zone, the pay off will be worth it. Here are a few examples of what novelty might look like: s Dress up as a character in the story. s Use props in your lesson. s Add background music as the students enter the classroom. s Improvise by telling jokes. Humour is definitely part of the creative process. s Create a ritual. Talk about the importance of rituals and how they are unique in different cultures. Create one for the classroom. s Dress in an unusual way. s Create a celebration. Celebrate absolutely anything. One final way that a teacher promotes creativity and imagination in the classroom is through the use of constructive feedback. Students will recapture their creative spirit to some degree just by engaging in the creative activities. Their level of awareness regarding the importance of creativity will be heightened as they engage in this type of learning. However, they will become better creative thinkers if you provide them with constructive feedback. The creativity skills students’ use when they engage in creativity is measureable. For example, the teacher says, “Harry, you came up with five different ideas to solve the problem in the story in September. In November you came up with 12 different ideas to solve the problem in the story. It looks to me like your ability to come up with many ideas is improving.” Another example of constructive feedback might sound like this, “Anne, I see you came up with three ideas to solve the problem in the story in September. In November you came up with five ideas to solve the problem in the story. You are beginning to come up with more ideas.

This means your fluency rate is increasing. However, all five ideas are similar. Remember, we talked about categorising ideas to see how different the ideas are from one another. Now that you are generating more ideas, let’s see if next time you can still have lots of ideas but the ideas will be different from one another.” Notice the teacher acknowledges Anne’s improvement and also gives Anne specific advice on ways to improve her creativity. The teacher acts like a coach providing tips and encouragement. In the creative classroom, imagination and creativity are necessary components of innovation. Innovation usually refers to ideas that are applied in practice. Creativity refers to producing ideas, while innovation consists of both generating and applying creative ideas in a context. Innovation in the classroom begins when students conduct real inquiry by generating their own questions or ideas leading to a search for answers. Innovation through an action-oriented approach is not just finding out or knowing about something. It combines knowledge with creativity and imagination and ends in action. The key questions that drive the innovative process are: s Where does an idea come from? s How does a student decide if an idea is worth pursuing? s What drives an idea forward? s What are the steps in pursuing an idea? s Who are the enablers and disablers?

When talking about innovation in the classroom, it is important for students to understand what innovation consists of. If your students are old enough, perhaps they have seen the movie “The Social Network.” The movie describes how Mark Zuckerberg created Facebook. Ask the students to answer the above questions by giving examples from the movie. Talk about how creativity and imagination helped drive Mark Zuckerberg’s vision. Now take a look at your curriculum and think about how you can integrate innovation into your classroom. Think about how innovation serves a purpose, responds to a perceived need and solves identified problems. Where in your curriculum can innovation be used to make the learning more purposeful? It is important to find ways to cultivate and sustain imagination, creativity and innovation in our classrooms. As Daniel Pink says in his book, A Whole New Mind: “Creativity is important now more than ever before.” Pink describes the age we are in as the conceptual age. As he postulates, we need to be able to think beyond the known information to come up with new possibilities. Computers cannot do this for us. The ability to visualise possibilities is necessary for success in the 21 st-century global work place and economy. It is our responsibility to foster creative innovation in education. If we encourage imagination, creativity and innovation in our classrooms, perhaps no one will quote Albert Einstein saying: “The only thing that interferes with my learning is my education.”

s What is the endpoint?

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KATE SOUTHCOMBE

Reward programmes can work With the right rewards and enforcement, rewards can result in improved behaviour.

Teachers Matter 32

Our initial response is often to correct or deliver a punishing consequence before we have considered any alternative action. While I am not advocating ignoring all misbehaviour, I am suggesting that maybe we would benefit from shifting our focus on some occasions. For example, if a child is running around, could we halt him simply by asking him to do something specific for us, rather than drawing attention to his inappropriate behaviour? We could then follow up by reinforcing the correct behaviour. Of course we also have to have clear boundaries outlined in the beginning so the students are aware of what is unacceptable behaviour. This could be done by establishing a class contract for older students or having a simple poster of class rules for younger children. Involving the children in this discussion is vital so they feel part of the decision-making process. Ownership of the rules or contract is the key to developing clear boundaries. A small warning: Sometimes our range of unacceptable behaviour is unrealistic, and we seem to be permanently saying “don’t do this” and “don’t do that.” We actually numb the students to our requests; we are training them to tune out to us. We need to limit the list of don’t’s and increase the list of do’s. If we only ever talk to the children to say what we don’t want, we are in

danger of missing the opportunity to tell them what we do want. So where do reward-based behaviour programmes fit in to our strategy for f o c u s i n g o n t h e d o ’s ? A r e w a r d o r reinforcement programme is intrinsically focused on the desired behaviour; the consequence of doing this behaviour is you gain reinforcement. Thus we are clearly directing our attention to a desired outcome and fostering motivation in our children.

PHOTO: SON NYA ETCHISON

A

fter a student expressed her feelings about a piece of work in no uncertain terms, I pondered a dilemma: How do we deliver appropriate consequences for inappropriate behaviour, while remaining focused on the behaviour we desire? The teaching environment is busy and stressful, so the temptation to deliver quick-fix consequences is always lurking. However, we all know that often an issue can be completely reversed by acknowledging the student’s appropriate behaviour in other areas and ignoring the inappropriate behaviour.

It is not about giving out coloured stickers and saying well done; it’s not bribing or cajoling; it’s about delivering meaningful consequences for appropriate behaviour, while gradually encouraging and developing internal self or social

“ Involving the children in this discussion is vital so they feel part of the decision-making process. Ownership of the rules or contract is the key to developing clear boundaries.”

reinforcement in the natural environment (Martin and Pear, 2003). This can only be achieved through a planned reward-based programme. If I had a dollar for everyone who has criticized reward programmes in schools I would be fairly wealthy. “They don’t work” is the common cry. Or “they should do it because that’s the way it is in life” is another popular excuse. If a behaviour is not occasionally reinforced, it will eventually diminish or be extinguished (Martin and Pear, 2003). We need to acknowledge that any behaviour, however

insignificant, must be reinforced at some point if we wish to see it reoccur. It takes a shift in mindset to catch children doing the right stuff rather than waiting for them to do the wrong stuff. It’s like the view of the glass of water: Is it half full or half empty? It’s all a matter of perspective. The common problem with many schoolbased reward programmes is they are often not reinforcing for the students who need it. The rewards are not negotiated and are often supplied by the teacher. The children must be involved in the process if it is to fulfill the requirements


PHOT P PHO HOT HO OTO: O: SO ONY ONYA N ETC E T HI H SON ON

KATE SOUTHCOMBE

of a proper behaviour programme. This could form part of a class discussion on what people see as being rewarding for certain behaviour. The criteria for reinforcement must be clearly laid out, and the consequences for noncompliance must also be clearly identified. Unfortunately, this makes it all begin to sound like a science experiment and not nearly as trendy and politically correct as a sticker for being quiet or for doing your homework on time. Here’s a quick checklist for starting a reward-based programme: s Clearly identify the target behaviour s Discuss the rewards with the children or students; give them a reasonable selection to choose from s Be consistent; have clear guidelines for receiving reinforcement s Involve all people who interact with the students ( a school-wide approach is more effective)

s Evaluate the success of the programme; Has the target behaviour increased? Remember if it isn’t working, go back and consider your reinforcers. A final warning A friend of mine had two sons attending a local college. The eldest is bright, but laid back and generally does OK on a lastminute effort. The younger son is diligent, works consistently and hands in work on time regularly. The college had a reward system in place, and if you completed all course work on time for the entire term you earned a day off! Sounds good – encouraging students to work regularly and consistently to gain a reward and develop time management skills. The younger son worked toward this, confident he could achieve the goal. The older son continued to be laid back and began to realise that he was not going to earn a day off. Never mind; he accepted the fact. In the second-to-last week of term, the older son’s teacher made a monumental

behaviour management error: She told the entire class that if they could get their remaining course work completed in those two weeks, they could still earn the day off. What did these two boys learn about reward-based programmes? Well, one might have learned you can have your cake and eat it, while the other one may have learned that doing the right thing doesn’t get you ahead, so why bother. Devising a reward-based system that really works takes a bit of thought, but remember it’s not the system that fails: It’s the people who fail to manage the system correctly.

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DR MARVIN MARSHALL

Joy in learning How students will want to do quality work

Q

uality is what makes learning a pleasure and a joy. A quality experience hooks a student on learning. Sometimes mastery is hard work. However, when there is joy in learning, it does not seem like hard work because it feels good. A student will spend hours on the basketball court, working up a sweat while he practises a particular shot. Yet it is not thought of as hard work. When a person wants to do something, the labour seems incidental. Quality work involves exertion, but it may even seem like fun. The adage to remember is that people produce quality when they enjoy what they are doing.

Starting on the process Quality in learning is influenced by the quality of the process. An investment of time in which the student discusses quality actually raises quality. This fosters a sense of ownership. Students of every age can be so engaged, but it takes more than just announcing a desire for quality. A sense of purpose needs to be established. A discussion of the following questions assists in this regard:

s What does the student need to do in order to attain the level? s What can the teacher do to help students attain the level? s How will a third party be assured that the level had been attained? These discussions prompt students to examine their own objectives regarding what they can gain from the learning, rather than just engaging in activities for the usual external reward of a grade. The result of such discussions is that during the remainder of the semester, student enthusiasm and drive increase so that the students learn much more. What one may think of as lost time becomes more than regained. A class consensus regarding the importance of what is to be learned is helpful. Once students are persuaded that the contents of the course are worth their time and effort, discussion focuses on how the learning is to take place. This discussion revolves around such subjects as follows: s Testing: How often? What kind? How to evaluate? What is the purpose?

s Why are we here? s Homework: Why? How often? When? s What are we trying to do? s What does it mean to do something well?

Teachers Matter

s How will we know if we are doing it well together?

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When students move from the child development emphasis in primary grades to one of greater accountability in upper grades, evaluating their own work is critical. Therefore, the first few sessions of the class should be devoted to a discussion of the following topics: s What does it mean to do work with quality? s How will each student know a quality level has been attained? s How will the teacher know a quality level has been attained?

s Evaluation: How will we know how we are doing? Against what shall we make comparisons (benchmarks)? s Class management: How do we make ourselves most efficient? s Documentation: How shall we persuade others that we have really done a good job? The purpose of these discussions is to have students become more involved in their own learning — to persuade themselves to become responsible for their own education. Once some students have tasted the joy of learning, they may not want to return to something inferior. But other students need to be constantly engaged in order to be wedded to academic learning.

Teaching vs. learning The following illustrates the difference between learning and teaching: The dog owner says, “Last Wednesday I taught my dog to whistle. I really did. I taught him to whistle. It was hard work. I really went at it very hard, and I taught him to whistle. Of course, he didn’t learn, but I taught him.” Recognising that it is not teaching but learning that determines the quality of education, it is evident that learning depends upon how enthusiastically the students tackle their assignments. The key to harnessing that internal motivation is participation. Research has shown that participation with others may stimulate the brain to release “feel good” chemicals such as endorphin and dopamine. Positive feedback from working with others may be the single most powerful influence on the brain’s chemistry. Collaboration and quality W. E d w a r d s D e m i n g , t h e t e a c h e r w h o brought quality to the workplace, clearly showed the advantages of collaboration over competition for improved quality work. Traditional approaches believed that if quality were increased then costs would surely rise. Deming showed — by using collaboration — how quality work would increase while costs simultaneously were reduced. Using collaboration to improve quality, Deming brought Japan from a reputation of producing cheap and shoddy products to becoming the world’s leader in producing quality products. Collaboration — the antithesis of individual competition that is so prevalent in our schools — became the overriding approach. Along with diminished competition, the use of exhortations, threats, prizes, and special rewards for doing what people are supposed to do were also reduced. In a nutshell, Deming showed the world that working collaboratively is better than working competitively for improving quality. The key to quality learning is to structure student interaction for maximum participation. For example, a common


DR MARVIN MARSHALL

“ Once some students have tasted the joy of learning, they may not want to return to something inferior. But other students need to be constantly engaged in order to be wedded to academic learning. ” approach to starting a lesson is to ask students a question, which infers a right answer. Students compete for the teacher’s attention by raising their hands. Posing — in contrast to asking — infers open-endedness, invites students to engage in thought, and engenders dialog. Have students collaborate in pairs or small groups for responses. When collaboration is used, then all the students participate. Here is another example of how collaboration improves quality of learning. A high school student accustomed to above-average test scores was disappointed in her last two test results. The student had grasped the prime concepts but did not do well on reporting details. The teacher told the students that to place concepts in long-term memory, details need to be remembered. The student’s father suggested that, as the daughter reads, she should illustrate what she was reading. The daughter, being in high school, thought that illustrating was too juvenile. The father explained that when the brain attempts to remember words, semantic pathways to memory are being used. Semantic pathways require much repetition in order to be retained. On the other hand, he explained, when the brain attempts to remember illustrations, it uses episodic pathways that require little, if any, repetition. Episodic pathways are contextual or spatial and always involve location. The father, to make his point, asked his daughter what she ate for dinner the previous Saturday and requested that, as she answers, to relate her thinking process out loud. The daughter responded by saying, “Where was I last Saturday?” “Exactly the point! You looked for a location because we are always somewhere, and we remember through images,” said the father. The daughter suggested to two friends that they also illustrate their next reading assignment and share their illustrations. All three met and discussed their illustrated notes. During the discussion, each became aware of a few additional details that the others had included. Their test scores dramatically increased. Although the

strategy of illustrations assisted, assisted it was wa the contributions shared through collaboration that made the activity so successful.

Continuous improvement Deming’s overriding theme was continuous improvement through continuous evaluation. This model calls for a framework that allows those closest to the task to have ownership of the task. Ownership is critical to quality because the driving force is selfevaluation—rather than outside inspection. Deming understood that motivation, productivity, and quality work cannot be legislated. They come from intrinsic motivation. Schools generally use the old factor y approach to evaluation. Before Deming showed the superiority of self-evaluation for improved quality work, American managers hired inspectors. Quality did not really improve; rather, the poor quality work just did not get out. Costs went up because items that did not pass inspection were discarded. Rather than use this outdated factory model of the teacher as inspector, improved quality work results if continuous improvement and continuous feedback are built into the learning process. It is learner-generated feedback that increases motivation and is so critical to improved quality. When we are pleased with our efforts, especially when we see improvement, we invest more effort. Collaborative evaluation Stephen Covey, in his provocative book, The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, refers to the concept of collaboration as “synergy.” Collaborative evaluation is an integral component of synergy. Collaborative evaluation enhances success, perpetuates a positive learning atmosphere, and raises quality. Te a c h e r s w h o e m p l o y c o l l a b o r a t i v e evaluation methods promote quality because students become more involved in assessing

their own work, which results in greater retention of subject matter and improved attitudes toward learning. Interpersonal relations and understandings are also enhanced. Students learn that others’ ideas and feedback can contribute to one’s success and that having a different perspective and even a different background is of benefit. Although the processing takes place in our individual brains, learning is enhanced when the environment provides opportunities to discuss thinking out loud and to bounce ideas off peers. Teachers’ workloads can be reduced, while simultaneously increasing the quality of student work, by applying approaches of collaborative evaluation through feedback. For example, assume the assignment has to do with writing an essay. After an assignment is given, but before it is started, students pair with each other and then share their understanding of the assignment. Then the procedure of “three before me” is explained, which is that before the teacher corrects any paper, it will have been seen by one other student three times. (A variation is to have the work seen by three different people and may include someone other than a classmate. A parent qualifies.) After the original oral sharing of ideas, each student writes a first draft that is exchanged with another student. Each student gives feedback to the other. A second draft is then written, again with each student giving the other feedback. The final copy is then submitted to the teacher. Summary Although competition can serve as in incentive to improve performance, it can have a negative effect on learning. This is especially the case where success, not defeat, is so necessary when first learning a skill. Competition can also have a deleterious effect because some students find themselves rarely winning, thereby decreasing their motivation. In addition, the focus becomes one of winning or getting the prize, often at the expense of the joy of learning and quality work. Learning is greatest when people work with each other—not against each other. Collaboration and focus on continual improvement result in improved quality work because of continual self-assessment and feedback. Finally, because the focus is on learning, in contrast to a focus on teaching, this participatory learning strategy can also reduce teachers’ workloads.

35


DAVID KOUTSOUKIS

Twenty fun quotes and observations on life Take a slightly different look at every situation, and you’ll smile. I fired my masseuse today. She just rubbed me the wrong way.

B

irthdays are good for you. The more you have, the longer you live.

Help Wanted: Telepath. You know where to apply.

Before you judge a man, walk a mile in his shoes. After that, who cares? He’s a mile away and you’ve got his shoes.

Why do kamikaze pilots wear helmets?

A pessimist’s blood type is always b-negative. Do cannibals play swallow the leader at birthday parties? He who laughs last thinks slowest.

Teachers Matter

If at first you don’t succeed, skydiving is not for you.

36

A chicken crossing the road is like poultry in motion. A comb makes a lovely parting gift. A plateau is a high form of flattery.

Why do psychics have to ask you for your name? Why do they call them apartments when they’re all stuck together?

Confucius A gossip is say man who someone with dream about a great sense of being a muffler rumour. will wake up exhausted. Always proof read carefully to make sure you haven’t any words out. Always remember that you are unique, just like everybody else.

The average income of the modern teenager is about 2 am.

Would a dyslexic person go to a toga party dressed as a goat?

These fun quotes were taken from David Koutsoukis’s book 366 Fun Quotes and O b s e r v a t i o n s o n L i f e . Av a i l a b l e f r o m Spectrum Education.


DAVID KOUTSOUKIS

Great key words and phrases for teaching values The right words – for the right reason.

Values create your destiny

Values make life better

Values and attitude

Keep your thoughts positive, because your thoughts become your words.

When values are clear, laws are unnecessary.

Allocate a number to each letter of the word ATTITUDE according to its order in the alphabet

Keep your words positive, because your words become your behaviour. Keep your behaviour positive, because your behaviours become your habits. Keep your habits positive, because your habits become your values. Keep your values positive, because your values become your destiny.

When values are not clear, laws are unenforceable. – Goethe

Values are more than just “knowing good” Values development is moving people from knowing good to doing good.

– Mahatma Ghandi

Values and the law of attraction

The Law of Attraction says “Whatever you are thinking and feeling, plus your actions, is creating your future.” Our values determine how we think feel and act. Positive values help us think, feel and act in a positive way that will lead us to a positive future.

Values help us make decisions Values are the signposts at the crossroads of life.

A = 1 T = 20 T = 20 I = 9 T = 20 U = 21 D = 4 E = 5 Add them all together A+T+T+I+T+U+D+E = 100

David Koutsoukis

“When your values are clear to you, making decisions becomes easier.” Roy Disney

Values take time to develop

A habit is formed a bit at a time: HABIT ABIT BIT IT

There is 100% correlation between attitude and success! A positive attitude will give you positive values; positive values will give you a positive future.

David Koutsoukis is the author of the Values Education Toolkit series available from Spectrum Education.

37


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SIMON EVANS

Reliever, substitute or supply to the rescue ILLUSTRATION: DENNIS COX

Whatever name you use, great ones are like gold dust.

T

here is a public perception that relievers are second-rate teachers who can’t get a real job; they are not good enough for a regular classroom job. But that is not necessarily true. More often than not relievers do not fit this stereotype, but rather have other reasons for preferring to relieve:

s They are a new teacher to New Zealand, seeking experience in the classroom. s They are a new mother looking for parttime work, keeping their “hand in”. s They are a teacher having to move areas, for personal reasons, having to begin all over again. s They are a retired teacher looking for a little work to supplement the pension and keep the mind engaged. Regardless, if it were true they were not good enough, then why are they being employed by schools at all? Many teachers have only had full-time positions and never experienced the challenge that is relieving. They are doing one of the hardest jobs in teaching: being expected to engage

students in meaningful learning activities, differentiated to meet their needs with no prior relationship established, no knowledge of ethnic makeup, social background or ability spread, and often with little support. Great ones are like gold dust. Poor ones are never asked to return. So what can a reliever do to get themselves invited back? And what can a school do to retain a good reliever? Getting invited back “The Magic Bag” is an essential resource; it holds everything you will need from scissors and whiteboard pens to colouring pencils and spare paper, and is crammed with activities, photocopies and templates. Think carefully about the resources you’ll need to teach a day in any classroom, regardless of year group, and ensure it is stored in your Magic Bag. Be pro-active, ASK! Think ahead about what you may need to know to ensure that the day goes positively. Ask the questions: What time is Morning Tea? Is there an assembly? Are there any students who leave during the day to go to

other programmes? Knowing the routines will give you confidence. Know the behaviour steps: Don’t suffer alone. Every class in every school will have a behaviour plan. If it is not immediately obvious in the classroom, ask the DeputyPrincipal or teacher next door. Invariably they begin with “Name on the board,” or something similar, ending with “removal from the classroom” by some means or other. Knowing it and confirming where the “final step” leads will ensure that you can relax into the day, confident in the knowledge that you do not have to suffer alone with unruly students. Just be sure the students are aware that you know the plan. Offer to do extra There is a perception among teachers that relievers are just there for the pay cheque. If there is not a duty at Morning Yea or lunch that you are to complete, offer to do one anyway. Perhaps taking over a road patrol at the end of the day will allow another

43


SIMON EVANS

Don’t leave marking for the teacher You may not be aware of the current thinking about supporting students with their writing. (Gold/pink highlighters, writing in green not red, dots not crosses? Feed-forward not back? Formative not summative?!) But don’t make it the reason for not marking the students’ work. Take a few minutes throughout the day, as you are “wandering” the class, to check the students’ work. Talk about it, and mark it as they go. Leave a short comment reflecting what has been discussed. Then at the end of the day, take a few minutes to mark the books; if you ask the students to hand in their books OPEN on the right page it shouldn’t take too long.

Teachers Matter

Bring your own work for the right year group Often little or no work is planned for a reliever to do. That does not mean that the time with you is not quality learning time. The habitual Magic Bag should always be with you. That is not to say that you should not ask if specific work needs to be done or if there is a reading or numeracy plan needing to be followed, but be prepared to deliver a quality day without any direct input from another teacher.

44

Share a story Students of all ages love a good story. The choice of material needs to be specifically targeted for that age group. Having your own selection of reading material to share with the class goes a long way to engaging them in original material. It could even be used as a starting point for a piece of related writing. Andy Griffiths is always a good book, especially for the boys. Chris Wor mall writes some brilliantly illustrated “big books” that will hook even the senior students. Smile And don’t forget to smile to the staff and to the students. It displays confidence, and a sunny disposition always goes a long way.

Retaining a good reliever Welcome her A mention at Morning Tea goes a long way in welcoming a reliever. Multiply that by 100 if the deputy principal doing the “notices” mentions the reliever by name. Orientation Walking the grounds with the reliever, pointing out where the classroom is in relation to the staffroom, where the loo is, where the senior teacher in the syndicate can be located, is helpful. There is nothing worse than getting lost at Morning Tea between the classroom and the staffroom. Procedures and protocols There are hundreds of things that go on in a school that the regular teachers take in their stride and make allowances for, but such things can throw a reliever off their game. Suddenly having to pack up, line up, march to the hall for syndicate assembly leaves the room a mess, the students disorientated and the reliever feeling inadequate. Let the reliever know about these procedures.

Duty If a reliever is to feel part of your staff and supported within your school, they should not be expected to carry out more duties than your regular classroom teacher, especially if they are at your school over multiple days within the same week. Provide work A reliever called at 6 a.m. because a member of staff has suddenly taken ill expects that no work be provided for the students, and they are expected to pull the whole day out of the Magic Bag. However, it is not unreasonable to expect a well planned CRT day release to be organised, to a point, with more than directions to the p h o t o c o p i e r. Any reliever worth their salt brings the Magic B a g a n y w a y, but there is always that lingering feeling of needing to provide quality learning experiences for the students, focused on what is current for the class. Students see the work being asked of them and quickly judge whether it is of value, based on whether their own classroom teacher will ever get to see it.

“ ...don’t forget to smile to the staff and to the students. It displays confidence, and a sunny disposition always goes a long way.”

Support them When a reliever comes in for the day, they are acutely aware that their sole job is to manage the students. There is no larger expectation than that. But to know that there is a senior manager somewhere close to hand who is there and is genuinely interested and supportive means that they know help is nearby, ensuring they can focus more on the business of educating and not on managing behaviour.

PHOTO: JASON STITT

teacher a few minutes to get organised before a staff meeting.


DR CHERYL DOIG I observed these teachers as they began to develop shared understandings and work toward changing their practices. If change is to occur, five factors must be present: co-creation, congruence, consistency, collaboration and challenge. What did they look like in the Indian context?

1. Co-creation This refers to involving people in the direction of the organisation or learning programmes from the very beginning. It refers to the building of trust; listening to and appreciating the diversity of the group; and using these understandings to grow the organisation.

Lessons from India Even when you’re teaching, you’re always learning.

In

December 2010, a group of six people from the Rata Teachers’ Support Trust, including me, volunteered in India. Our mission: to support untrained teachers to confidently teach children from the communities they serve. Rata worked with seven schools from communities in remote areas, in slums and in places which had limited access to public schooling.

Dehradun, the capital city of Uttarakhand province, was the base for our voluntary work. Some of the teachers we were working with came from nearby areas, while others had travelled from remote communities. What all of the schools had in common was a passion for the children they worked with and a commitment to providing them with the best education. It was an honour and a privilege to work with these people.

In Dehradun we did lot of listening. While two people in our group had formed a relationship with the schools in 2009, the rest of us were complete strangers. Our first task was to get to know the people, their experiences and their needs. On the first night, each school presented their yearly journey. This was useful for us to gain some sort of context from which to develop a learning programme. We had developed a framework for our work, and we were then able to flesh out the details based on needs. The following day, we asked teachers to reflect on what the schools had gained from Rata’s involvement the previous year and what their current needs were. As we worked on various aspects of literacy, numeracy and classroom management, we allowed plenty of time for teachers to make meaning for themselves and to explore how ideas might be introduced in their own environment. At the end of each day, teachers met in their school groups to make connections and to teach each other. We appreciated that some ideas would be easier to implement than others and that schools would create their own next steps to move learning forward. Reflection: Trust is foundational. If time is not spent building this and involving staff in the direction from the beginning, change is unlikely to occur and certainly will not be sustained. Listening occurs before action.

2. Congruency Congruency refers to a school’s absolute focus on its vision and mission. In these schools there was a clear philosophy and mission for learning.

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DR CHERYL DOIG Teachers in these schools acted as role models, often going through hardship themselves to ensure that students had the opportunity to learn. The principals worked tirelessly to be congruent in their schools and in the community. They would often finish their school day only to begin their work in supporting the community, living and breathing what they believed in. The following incident described by one of the principals illustrates their commitment: Many want to come to our school as it is the only English medium school in the area. Some of these come from wealthy families, but many from poor families. One day one of the parents came to me and he said he wanted to withdraw his children from the school. I asked the reason. He said I am not able to pay the fees. We decided we would not ask for fees. Staff helped the students with clothes, shoes and books. The problem is that it is difficult for Nepali parents to pay because they are labourers. If they don’t work that same day, there will be no food. I am very concerned about them. As a staff, we are working out how we can support our Nepali families more so their children can get a good education. Reflection Schools can’t do everything. They need to decide what is important, focus on that vision and articulate that vision in the community. What you focus on grows.

3. Consistency

Teachers Matter

Once schools have a coherent purpose, it becomes important to relentlessly apply schoolwide beliefs and focuses so they eventually become embedded in practice. This is where consistency becomes important.

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In some of the Indian schools, achieving consistency was difficult as student numbers fluctuated with the weather, the seasons and the views on the importance of education. Each school tried to maintain consistency by establishing routines, expectations and standards of behaviour and dress.

in their crisp white and brown uniforms. In the background, amongst the haze, were the slums that the children called home. This regimented routine was the school’s way of providing consistency to students who had little other consistency in their lives.

One school we visited was housed in a single floor of a small house. As the number of students swelled, students still inhabited this small space, although a building site had been purchased nearby. We watched the children doing their military style drills on the balcony of this building - neat lines, an arm’s spacing away from each other, chanting their pledges

Reflection What you are consistent about matters. The way staff relate to students, the routines and the ongoing systems within a school all contribute to school culture. Structure and routine provide part of the picture. Consistency must also be in developing supportive learning relationships with students.

4. Collaboration The ongoing ability of people to work together, valuing diversity and acknowledging strengths, is a foundational requirement for organisations. In working with the teachers from these seven schools, we tried to model the importance of collaboration by allowing opportunities for different grouping arrangements – specialist skill groups, random groupings, job alike teams and school teams. This allowed relationships to develop across the schools and for teachers to share their practice. Deliberate grouping


DR CHERYL DOIG schools came from varied contexts, not only from our contexts, but from each other. While one principal was working in slums on the outskirts of Delhi, another was in a remote mountainous area in the Himalayan foothills. Some of the issues they had to deal with included children who had to walk three hours to get to school (yes and then home again at the end of the day), poverty and lack of equipment. The school we visited in the mountains near Dehradun had no power, and a small playing area at the edge of a cliff face. The teachers and principal were dedicated to making a difference to these children. They turned their challenges around by being positive in mindset and providing a supportive, nurturing environment. This showed in the children’s shining eyes. Reflection The ways in which challenges are tackled depends greatly on our attitude. When circumstances are difficult, these teachers got on with the job and never thought it couldn’t be done. This growth mindset, as Carol Dweck would say, is foundational for personal improvement and for creating learning opportunities for all young learners. Summary The opportunity to volunteer, to support others, to listen to their stories and create a journey together is a humbling and rewarding experience. At times it was uncomfortable and confronting and at these times I learnt most about myself and the assumptions that I hold. I think all educators need to place themselves in uncomfortable situations to keep learning and see things from other points of view.

to encourage interaction, communication and understanding is crucial for change to occur. Teachers in these schools need to collaborate to survive some challenging circumstances - small workspaces, no power, few resources and remoteness.

us to help them explore new ways of teaching and leading; they wanted to be challenged! The principals and staff from these seven

Interested in volunteering for India or Ghana? For more information about Rata Teachers Support, visit their website www. rata.org.nz. Cheryl can be contacted at www.thinkbeyond.co.nz

Reflection It is important for schools to provide opportunities for staff to collaborate within and between schools. This creates rich dialogue and opportunities to share stories, challenges and solutions. This must be a deliberate act.

5. Challenge The teachers in India face many challenges in their daily lives and work. And yet they asked

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MARGARET MACLEAN

Tuning up our teaching A systematic, team approach to taking your skills to the next level

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usan, a classroom teacher, brought several portfolios of student work to share with her colleagues. The group of six teachers of children ages 9 to 11 met regularly to examine student work, support each other, problem solve, and discuss articles. As the group looked through the portfolio samples, Susan spoke: “Here’s the issue I am concerned about; I am not sure the portfolios encourage students to think at higher levels; I am not sure the students are building on their prior knowledge. I hope you can look at these for me, and tell me the levels of thinking you see. I would also love to hear your ideas around how I can both promote deeper thinking and help students continuously improve.” Susan’s colleague, Mike, had spent 10 minutes with her after school the day before and helped her clarify her question and what student work to bring to the group. Together they had agreed the “Tuning Protocol” would be the best method to use to get at Susan’s question, and Mike had agreed to facilitate the protocol and the group’s work.

At the end, Susan had a big smile. Her notes reflected affirmation of the things she was doing well, observations of student learning in the portfolios she had not been aware of, and a number of great new ideas. Others in the group also commented that they had new ideas from looking at Susan’s student work. The teachers left for the day looking forward to the next time they would

PHOT HOT OTO OT O:: KAI K CHI KA HIA IA ANG NG

For the next 45 minutes, the group focused on Susan’s questions. With help from Mike, they had quiet time to look at the work, asked clarifying questions of Susan and discussed as a group both the thinking they saw in the student work and ideas about how Susan could better utilise the portfolios to promote student learning. During the discussion, Susan listened and took many notes.

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MARGARET MACLEAN meet with both a plan for who would bring student work and who would facilitate The “Tuning Protocol� available at the end of the article is a structured discussion process, which helps teachers give feedback and support to each other. It is one of many protocols developed by teachers working with the Annenberg Institute at Brown University in developing the Critical Friends Group model of Professional Learning Communities. Protocols help teachers achieve deeper understanding through dialogue; they allow

groups of teachers to explore ideas deeply through looking at artifacts, student work, or unpacking the dilemmas teachers face on a regular basis. They create a community for teachers’ professional growth, the kinds of community teachers create for their students, but too often short change themselves on. As with any change in teacher practice, using protocols is not simply a matter of following a formula. Teachers beneďŹ t from opportunities to learn about Professional Learning Communities in theory, practising

tools for collaboration in a safe setting, and time to grapple with how Professional Learning Communities will be organised and function in their school. This Professional Development is most usually taught in a graduate level course or during teacher in-service time. Conferences also provide a good opportunity to be introduced to this work. With these skills in place, the foundation is laid for the successful development of Professional Learning Communities.

Tuning Protocol The tuning protocol was originally developed as a means for the ďŹ ve high schools in the Coalition of Essential School’s Exhibitions Project to receive feedback and ďŹ ne-tune their developing student assessment systems, including exhibitions, portfolios and design projects. This collaborative reflection helps educators to design and refine their work, as well as to support higher quality student performance. Since its trial run in 1992, the Tuning Protocol has been widely used and adapted for professional development purposes in and among schools.

1. Introduction (5 minutes) s &ACILITATOR BRIEmY INTRODUCES PROTOCOL goals, guidelines, and schedule 2. Presentation (10 minutes) The presenter has an opportunity to share the context for the student work: s )NFORMATIONABOUTTHESTUDENTSANDOR the class

Teachers Matter

s !SSIGNMENTORPROMPTTHATGENERATED the student work

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s 3TUDENT LEARNING GOALS OR STANDARDS that inform the work s 3AMPLESOFSTUDENTWORK s %VALUATION FORMAT ˆ SCORING RUBRIC and/or assessment criteria s &OCUSINGQUESTIONFORFEEDBACK

3. Clarifying Questions (5 minutes) s 0ARTICIPANTS HAVE AN OPPORTUNITY to ask clarifying questions to get information that may have been omitted in the presentation that they feel would help them to understand the context for the student work. Clarifying questions are matters of fact. s 4HE FACILITATOR SHOULD BE SURE TO limit the questions to those that are clarifying, judging which questions more properly belong in the feedback section. 4. Examination of Student Work Samples (10 minutes) s 0ARTICIPANTS LOOK CLOSELY AT THE WORK taking notes on where it seems to be in tune with the stated goals, and where there might be a problem. Participants focus particularly on the presenter’s focusing question. s 0RESENTERISSILENTPARTICIPANTSDOTHIS work silently. 5. Pause to reflect on feedback (2-3 minutes) s 0ARTICIPANTSTAKEACOUPLEOFMINUTES to reect on what they would like to contribute to the feedback session. s 0RESENTERISSILENTPARTICIPANTSDOTHIS work silently. 6. Feedback (15 minutes) s 0ARTICIPANTSSHAREFEEDBACKWITHEACH other while the presenter is silent. The feedback generally begins with a few minutes of warm feedback, moves

on to a few minutes of cool feedback (sometimes phrased in the form of reective questions), and then moves back and forth between warm and cool feedback. s 7A R M F E E D B A C K M A Y I N C L U D E comments about how the work presented seems to meet the desired goals; cool feedback may include possible disconnects, gaps, or problems. Often participants offer ideas or suggestions for strengthening the work presented. s 4HE FACILITATOR MAY NEED TO REMIND participants of the presenter’s focusing question, which should be posted for all to see. s 0RESENTERISSILENTANDTAKESNOTES 7. Reection (5 minutes) s 0RESENTER SPEAKS TO THOSE COMMENTS questions he or she chooses while participants are silent. s 4HISISATIMEFORTHEPRESENTERTOREmECT aloud on those ideas or questions that seemed particularly interesting. s &ACILITATOR MAY INTERVENE TO FOCUS clarify, etc. 8. Debrief (5 minutes) s&ACILITATOR LEDDISCUSSIONOFTHETUNING experience.


PHOTO: PHOT O: VUK VUK VUKM KMIRO IROV VIC

KEVIN MAYALL

Walking the talk Go the extra mile to teach an important life lesson.

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ho are the heroes and the role models that GenY admire? Is it really the latest X-Box killing game action figures or the reality TV drama queen? If that were true, then what would be the point of even teaching kids, if all they aspire to be is someone who society admires for all of the wrong reasons? The real heroes are in fact another group who work amongst our students every day and get little recognition for the amazing

work they do: Teachers. It’s the teachers who not only do their work in a professional and diligent manner each day, but go beyond the call of duty. You know them. They coach sport outside school hours and are there to help the students who need a hand with difficulties that they face inside and out of school. It’s these teachers who are the real role models and who need to be held up high by our society. You really do make a difference.

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KEVIN MAYALL

PHOTO: IMAGERYMAJESTIC

“ There are times in life when we as adults just have to do the right thing. It’s just the rules and part of being a good human being.”

Teachers Matter

I was reminded of what a difference people can – and cannot – make when I was driving down a busy state highway one evening. It wasn’t far from getting dark, and I passed two elderly ladies with a flat tyre. They were clearly at a loss as to what to do. I was able to pull over and go back and help, which they were incredibly grateful for. They had been there for over 30 minutes and not one car had stopped to offer assistance. Their cell phone was out of coverage for their network and naturally they were concerned. As it turned out, their car had no jack so I couldn’t change the wheel for them. Luckily there was a service station only a kilometre up the road, so I paid them a visit to see if they would lend them a hand. I asked for either a suitable jack or someone to come and help them. It would only take them 30 minutes at most. But no, the owner of the garage said they wouldn’t help, and, even if they did, they would charge a $200 minimum call out fee. I told him the ladies were pensioners who couldn’t afford that, but this meant nothing to him.

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There are times in life when we as adults just have to do the right thing. It’s just the rules and part of being a good human being. I left the garage and went back to the ladies, used my cell phone (which had coverage) and set to getting help for these ladies. In a matter of 30 minutes, I had someone there changing the wheel. The kind person who did the changing would not accept payment and did the job with warmth and spirit. That’s what a great human being does.

If you are one of those teachers, then you are to be commended because you are not only teaching your academic studies, you are teaching the next generation to be great humans, and whilst you don’t always get the recognition, I would like to say thank you on behalf of your students.

I see these same wonderful human beings in our schools every day going the extra mile. You are the real heroes. You are the smiling faces, the supportive adults who your kids will remember throughout their lives. Proof? We w i t n e s s e d t h e 10,000 students who mobilised in the Christchurch earthquake and armed themselves with shovels and wheelbarrows. All done with willingness, warmth and enthusiasm. These students had good role models in their lives (you!), who inspired them to do the right thing. Surely these life attributes are just as important as academics: s Giving s Gratitude s Going the extra mile s Everything we do is with heart and spirit Many teachers already have these attributes and go beyond the call of duty. You need to know, it doesn’t go unnoticed by teens.

PHOTO: PHOT O: VUK UK K VUKM VUKMIRO IROV VIC

I often ask, “What is the point of education?” This question is meant in positive terms. I believe that teaching our young minds academic studies is not enough anymore. Our world demands more, and teachers are the coal face, often by default. On top of academic studies, we need to foster and nurture the young minds who will shape the world’s next generation, and we do this by walking the talk ourselves.


JOHN SHACKLETON

Why do kids seem to learn the word “no” before “yes”? Focus on the positives in hopes of lessening the negatives.

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hen Luke, my first son, was less than a year old he understood “No.” He was trying to do something dangerous, and I said “no” and he stopped. Coincidence, fear or understanding, who knows what it was, but he definitely understood “no” before “yes.” I recently heard that one way to help children have greater self belief is to ensure that the child hears the word “yes” from the parent five times more often than “no” when referring to his behaviour. Easy in theory, yes – and difficult in practice. But if you don’t try, a child can suffer from low self belief. A few years ago, I was asked to help coach a child athlete who, according to the parents, “had the ability to get to the top in the sport but was being held back by a lack of self belief.” The child, who had the best coaches, training and equipment, wasn’t able to perform in competition at the level that everyone knew he was capable of and, at 12 years old, he was talking about quitting. I attended a training session and saw some positive work done by the coach. On more than a few occasions, the child produced a technically excellent performance and was congratulated and when he had a failure, the coach encouraged him to learn from it and replace that behaviour with a better one. The child left the training session in a chatty, bubbly mood, well motivated and looking forward to his next competition in a couple of days. When I got to the competition, I saw a different kid, nervous, introverted and obviously scared of getting things wrong and messing up, which is what happened: He lost when he should easily have won. When I asked the parents what had happened between the training session and the competition, they couldn’t pinpoint anything that may have caused the turnaround. I offered to take the child home in my car so that I could have a

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JOHN SHACKLETON

PHOTO: PICSFIVE

“ Perhaps I should be looking for five successes to comment on for ever y failure we discuss. Perhaps this is something that we, as teachers, also need to consider”

Teachers Matter

chat with him. To cut a long story short, the child had said that he felt fine when he left home, but by the time he arrived at the competition, he felt like he “was going to lose before even starting.” Obviously the two-hour car journey with the parents had caused the child to lose all his self belief, and I was left with the unenviable task of telling the parents.

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Rather than try to change things myself, I asked them to take a tape recorder with them on the next weekend and record the conversation they had on the journey. After another poor performance from the child, we sat down and analysed the parents’ earlier chat with their son. The father was a strong athlete in the sport himself. Almost all of the conversation centred around the son’s mistakes from previous competitions and how he could perform better. On at least three occasions the father told the son that his poor performance was due to his lack of self belief and that the boy needed to change that if he was ever going to succeed. The parents loved their child more than anything and really wanted him to win, but they were inadvertently destroying his ability to do so. They really thought they were helping but were in fact causing the

problem. The child looked up to his father’s athletic abilities and respected his ideas and took the comments as criticism and lack of talent rather than the constructive comments they were intended to be. Even the comment of “You must have more self belief” had the effect of causing the child to have less self belief. I’d love to tell you that there was a happy ending, but, unfortunately, the parents didn’t accept responsibility and eventually their son quit his sport. It’s situations like this that help me focus and comment on all the good things my children do. I’m not looking at the world through rose-coloured glasses; I do see the mistakes and comment on them as well. I won’t be avoiding talking

about my son’s failures and mistakes, because I know how important failure is, but perhaps I should be looking for five successes to comment on for every failure we discuss. Perhaps this is something that we, as teachers, also need to consider – that we accentuate and praise the positive progress that our pupils make and point out their mistakes in a way that doesn’t make them focus solely on their failure so that they have the confidence to move on and make improvements. I believe that this approach will reap great benefits for both teachers and students, facilitating leaps in their learning. Give it a try.


CHRISTINE KERR

A winning strategy to ensure student success How positive relationships with students will ensure success.

In

As viewers, we could only imagine Sir Peter as a young schoolboy. He implied that before Mrs Maine, he was attending school without any intention of being a success, because he didn’t think he was worthy. He was from a simple background, with little family finances, and probably assumed his adult life would be similar to his parents’. Mrs Maine’s winning strategy was building a positive relationship with him. Clearly, feelings of hope, anticipation and perhaps excitement filled Sir Peter back then. This notion of how students feel is paramount. Dr William Glasser wrote in his book, Every Student Can Succeed, that “successful teaching is based on strong relationships,” adding that “ultimately, everything ....... is based on how you and your students feel.” Think about this and how you teach: What will your own students be saying about you in a few years’ time? What will they remember? How will your role in their lives today affect them in the future? Take a few moments to think about how specific teachers had a positive effect on you. Which teachers inspired you to learn and grow? How did they do that? Do you recognise any similarities between them and Mrs Maine, and how are you similar to those teachers? Those you remember so fondly were those who took the time to get to know you, value you and inspire you. They would have aimed to ensure you felt good attending their classes. To do this, they would have made sure you experienced some success and achievement.

PHO PH P HO H OTTO: CATHY O C YEU EEUL ULE U UL LET

October 2010, Sir Peter Leach was the latest person featured on TVNZ’s “This is Your Life” programme. One of the highlights was when he was reunited with his favourite teacher, Mrs Maine. Her teaching style gave him and his classmates “hope.”

They would have had high expectations of your abilities and encouraged you to believe in yourself. Since then, you have most likely used something of what they taught in some profound way. After all, having knowledge alone is not power, using knowledge is, whether it be knowledge about yourself as a person or some factual information to enhance further learning. Many of us are familiar with the quote “No one cares how much we know until they know how much we care.” These words are especially relevant when we think about students beginning their time with a new teacher, whether it be for a year, or a day, as with a relief teacher. It must be our intention as educators to build a positive rapport with our students from the start. After all, isn’t that our intention when we are introduced to all new people? To ensure each student succeeds, keep the following in mind: s Make it your purpose to benefit your students through your teaching.

s Have total belief in your purpose for teaching your students. s Express your highest expectations for your students. s Truly value each student so they may value themselves. s Engage in positive conversations with your students and their caregivers. s Be non-judgmental in your students’ ideas and contributions. s S h a r e s t o r i e s o f y o u r o w n l i f e a n d experience to build further trust. s Remain the adult in the relationship, friendly although not over-familiar. s Keep the faith that your positive influence will never end. When you have become competent in these strategies, there is no doubt that you will gain the most enjoyable, rewarding experience teaching your students, so that you may succeed together.

s Keep focused upon your purpose, with passion!

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Habits of Mind Available from www.SpectrumEducation.com

They have finally arrived - long awaited ... Karen and Graham’s new books Developing the Habits of Mind

Teachers Matter

Developing Habits of Mind in Elementary Schools - Learning Tool Year 1 to Year 6

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By Karen Boyes and Graham Watts (written by New Zealanders published in America) Take educational outcomes way beyond facts and information with this collection of tools for teaching students how to think and behave intelligently when they encounter problems and challenges. A series of 32 lesson plans and worksheets helps primary school teachers plan lessons and classroom activities that teach students the 16 Habits of Mind. The Learning Tool combines classroom resources, professional development activities and ideas to promote successful learning in the classroom and beyond. Each tool includes a brief explanation, step-by-step instructions, worksheets, samples, and resource pages. Plus, another set of tools helps you create teacher training sessions that introduce all 16 habits to teachers and provide a launching pad for teachers to teach these valuable lifelong skills.

Developing Habits of Mind in Secondary Schools Learning Tool By Karen Boyes and Graham Watts (written by New Zealanders published in America) This series of more than 50 Habits of Mind tools helps secondary school teachers plan lessons and classroom activities for successful lifelong learning. Teachers choose from the extensive list of tools to * Establish positive behaviors. * Teach communication skills. * Promote problem solving and decision-making. * Demonstrate good character traits.


MERYL-LYNN PLUCK

Reader’s Theatre and achieving fluency Discover a popular way to develop reading skills.

Reader’s Theatre and the curriculum

PHO PHOT PH HOT H OTTO: O O: PIC ICSF IICS CSF CS C SFFIIV S IVE VEE V

Reader’s Theatre can support teachers to meet the goals and achievement objectives of the English curriculum. Reader’s Theatre engages young learners in reading scripts. It can also involve students in writing scripts. It is aligned with the English curriculum statement in the following ways:

R

eader’s Theatre is repeated oral script reading that students practise and “perform” to an audience as a group reading presentation. Students rely on their voices, rather than on acting, costumes and props, for a successful presentation. Think of a Reader’s Theatre script as a bit like a radio play.

How does it differ from traditional plays? The main difference between Reader’s Theatre and traditional school plays is the former involves script “reading” rather than memorising. With traditional plays, the emphasis moves away from actual reading as students concentrate on costumes, props and positions. The physical copy of the script is inclined to get in the way, so the lines are often memorised. With traditional plays, the interest is often conveyed by what can be seen happening on stage. With Reader’s Theatre, presenters simply stand still or sit to read the script. The fluent reading of the script hence becomes the most important element of the presentation. For a successful Reader’s Theatre presentation, and to hold the interest of the audience, presenters must use a different set of skills than those they use when practising and performing traditional

plays. They need to use their voices to greater effect to hold the interest of the audience and to convey what the characters are feeling. A lot of careful consideration needs to be given to why characters say certain lines, how they would say them and why. This kind of thoughtful consideration develops comprehension as well as fluency. Because they don’t memorise their parts, students need to follow the entire script so they know when it’s their turn to read.

Oral Language – Reader’s Theatre involves students in speaking and listening Written Language – Reader’s Theatre involves students in reading and can involve them in writing Visual Language – Reader’s Theatre involves students in presenting and viewing, using dramatic texts

How is it best implemented? Reader’s Theatre is a flexible, group-reading approach that can be used in a number of ways. Teachers could choose to:

How does it improve fluency? Experienced and successful teachers would use a variety of techniques to help students become fluent readers. If, however, a teacher were looking for a single programme or technique that addressed a good number of these instructional strategies, then he or she would be hard pressed to find a better alternative to Reader’s Theatre. Practising for a Reader’s Theatre presentation is purposeful, enjoyable and educational. To ensure a successful presentation of Reader’s Theatre (and there won’t be too many students who would be happy with an unsuccessful presentation!) a lot of repeated practise and cooperation will be needed.

s Use Reader’s Theatre as part of their guided reading programme on a daily basis, for a block of time. s Use Reader’s Theatre as a learning centre for small group work while the teacher leads a guided reading group. s Use Reader’s Theatre to assist special education students or English language learners develop fluency. s Plan for the whole class or just a few groups to be working in mixed-attainment groups. s Train teacher aides or other adults to work with groups. s Run an intensive block of Reader’s

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MERYL-LYNN PLUCK

Theatre on a daily basis for a number of weeks. s R u n a o n e w e e k R e a d e r ’s T h e a t r e programme at different times during the year. For maximum beneďŹ t, teachers are advised to keep in mind the following tips: s Match students carefully with scripts and parts in the scripts as students should read parts that are achievable. s To encourage students to read all of the script, it is recommended that parts not be allocated too soon. When students read all of the script, many times, they achieve a more complete understanding, and their reading mileage is increased. s Time spent modelling, demonstrating, and discussing best practises with students will be time well spent.

Choosing a Reader’s Theatre resource

s Multi-levelled scripts that allow students of mixed ability to work with and learn from each other.

Depending on teachers’ and students’ needs, there are a variety of options available for purchasing or developing resources for Reader’s Theatre. There are scripts available on the Inter net as well as guidelines for adapting narrative into a script for Reader’s Theatre. Ready-made resources are also available for purchase from several publishers. Whether purchasing or developing your own, consider the following:

s Scripts that have links to a variety of curriculum areas; Maths, Science, Social Studies as well as general ďŹ ction.

s Short, interesting scripts of relevance to New Zealand students, that student are happy to practise repeatedly and that an audience will respond to positively. s Levelled scripts that allow students to practise at their instructional reading level.

s A u d i o s u p p o r t t h a t i s p a r t i c u l a r l y beneficial for students who need extra support, such as struggling readers and students learning English. s A form of assessing reading fluency: smoothness, ability to read with meaning, pace, expression, volume, and timing. s Involving students in the writing of scripts for others to present which is authentic, meaningful, and extremely motivating. s Involving families in Reader’s Theatre both as an audience to present to and as a means of enabling students to practise their reading at home.

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Teachers Matter

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NGAHI BIDOIS

The best year of your life Reaching your goals is possible, when you look at them in a new way.

I

magine you are retired and building sandcastles on the beach with your mokopuna (grandchildren) or young relatives. You are answering their never-ending questions when out of the blue, they ask you a real beauty: “Koro (Grandpa)/ E Kui (Grandma) what has been the best year of your life?” You reflect back on the many years of your life and, after much consideration, reply “The best year of my life was 2011.” Thinking you have escaped the ongoing challenge to your intelligence and test on whether or not you have Alzheimer’s, you get back to digging the moat around your masterpiece sandcastle. Out of the blue, they ask you another beauty: “Koro/E Kui, I know you have built lots and lots of sandcastles, and have lived for lots and lots of years, so why was the year 2011 the best one of your life?” In my consulting work with leaders and organisations around the world, I often use the above analogy to help people redefine their annual goals and create better businesses, relationships or memories. It is often easier to go forward to the successful completion of a goal and then look back to your current situation before setting objectives. So if you place yourself in the above role play, what made 2011 the best year? What did you accomplish in 2011 to make it the best ever, and how did you accomplish those things? What goals did you put in place at the start and middle of 2011 to make it the best year? What produced results?

proverb summarizes this concept of starting on the smaller detail before taking on bigger challenges: ‘Ko te pipi te tuatahi, ko te kaunuku te tuarua’. The small wedge (pipi) is used first to split the timber before the larger wedge (kaunuku) bursts the wood apart. May the rest of 2011 make a significant difference to how you achieve your goals and may I optimistically wish you all the very best as you apply the wedges of reflective practice to the old wood in your life.

Reflective practice is an important tool that ensures we achieve our goals, but how often do we actually apply it to our own lives? Perhaps we need to start with small steps and build our sandcastles of life one bucket at a time. A well-known Maori

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YVONNE GODFREY

The quest for independence Young adults can take care of themselves; you just have to believe it.

The training process to become totally independent began when I was 10, and my father, brother (Pete), and I went farming. Pete and I cooked, cleaned, rode horses and milked cows every day. The three of us did the weekly food shopping together in our beloved truck, Magabelle. My job was to tally up costs as we went so we could stay within budget. If we did, our rewards were a packet of Chocolate Mallowpuffs for Dad and a huge bar of chocolate for Pete and me to share. By age 16, Pete and I were working, earning money and living independently - and what’s more, we thought it was perfectly normal. Although I don’t wish the circumstances surrounding my early emergence from the chrysalis on anyone, I do know that young people are more capable of looking after themselves – and others – than their parents give them credit for.

Teachers Matter

Stalled in life

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A lot of young people do not know how to take care of themselves, and this causes them to lack the confidence to take life by the horns and give it a good wrestle. Some students who come to Miomo (Making it on my Own, a 10-day, live-in programme to become independent) are stalled in life. Between a rock and hard place, they are dependent on Mum and Dad physically, financially and emotionally with no chance of living the independent life they dream of.

Routine | Rhythm | Momentum You can’t have momentum (free flow of ideas and action that create results) if you don’t have some kind of rhythm happening in your life. And there can be no rhythm if there are no routines. Many of the students at Miomo are so out of whack with routines that they find the first couple of days a shock. But after they get used to it, they love the structure that brings positive expectations, like dinnertime at 6 p.m. We don’t allow cell phones at any

meal. They sit together and eat yummy food that they have cooked in teams. They laugh and talk and build great relationships. They do this for 10 days straight. On graduation day, before they go home, they discuss with their parents how life will be different from now on. This involves a written contract, a Declaration of Independence, signed by both parties.

Make a plan Until you quantify what a person can and cannot do, you cannot set goals or expectations around change and growth. This Declaration of Independence gives a wide range of things to tackle over a period of time. It cannot all be accomplished in a week, but I do believe that with the right attitude and work ethic, and with help given in practical areas, all young people who have left school can become independent within 90 days. The time frame is short enough to create a sense of urgency, but long enough to accomplish the tasks.

PHOT P HOT H O O: O HE ELDE LDE DER ALMEID ALMEID EIDA

L

eaving home and “making it on my own” was my expectation from an early age. Growing up with a bitter family split meant that home was never a place where I felt a sense of belonging and peace.

My Challenge: If a young adult cannot get a job, then work for free for someone for a month and I defy you not to get paid. If you can’t get a non-paying job, go clean a house and weed a garden for the solo mothers, widows and old people in your area. Word of your good work will get out. Be sure of that.


YVONNE GODFREY

f Declaration of Independence f Date ________________________

Name ____________________________________________________

Signature _____________________________________________

I am taking full responsibility for my life. I put a check in the box for the things that I have not yet mastered but make a pledge to do so over the next 90 days. Financial …I am able and willing to take care of my financial needs. …I am prepared to do whatever it takes and I make no excuse for not earning a living. …I do not take handouts from the government, my parents, friends or any others (unless in an extreme situation and only for a limited time).

…Any money I borrow has a written agreement signed by both parties for paying that money back.

Physical …I am able and willing to take care of all my physical needs including: …Managing a household – food shopping, paying bills, and understanding and signing contracts. …Cooking, cleaning, making my bed, changing the sheets and washing clothes. …Taking care of health - eating properly, exercise and regular dental and medical checkups. …I do not partake in physically abusive activities or allow myself to be physically abused by others. I will leave or ask for help in a dangerous or potentially dangerous situation.

Emotional …I respect and value others and myself. I am fully responsible for my own behaviour. …I can choose my feelings and I have the ability to control any negative feelings that may lead to socially or personally unacceptable behaviour. I cannot control another person’s feelings or behaviour.

…I will ask for help if I am in an emotionally dangerous state. I will not allow myself to be abused or manipulated and I do not abuse or manipulate others.

…I will continually develop my people skills and my leadership so that I add value to my friends, family, workmates and others.

f 61


ROBYN PEARCE

How the over-worked principal gained back time Set boundaries and be more productive.

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ll kinds of businesses and industries request my expertise as a time management specialist, so I’m fortunate to see many variations – the good, the bad and the very ugly – on the theme of “good systems grow good organization.” When there is a productivity leakage, I’ve noticed that almost always there’s a poor or non-existent system.

The overworked principal Pat, the principal of a large secondary school, was chatting to me. She was tired of working crazy hours. ‘Tell me about your workflow,” I requested. “I do believe in being here for my staff,” said Pat. “It’s an open-door policy round here.” As soon as she said that, I knew I had one answer. In my opinion, that particular management system, if used without parameters, is the cause of horrendous amounts of work-related stress and poor productivity. One problem: The little darlings start to rely on a boss who’s always available. Before they know it, many bosses who run such a system end up doing (or constantly being involved with) the work of their team during the day. They only get clear time to do their own work early in the morning, late at night or during the weekends.

The principal holds short, early morning meetings with her direct reports. She shares necessary information and takes any questions. Then, unless it’s a crisis, they hold questions until later in the day. No more wandering in with “just a quick question.” Also, she now shuts her door when she’s working on tasks that require full concentration. Other staff can see her if necessary. They make an appointment with the secretary, unless it’s a crisis and it must be addressed immediately.

Results: s Staff are more focused s Interruptions have dramatically reduced s Her team take more responsibility s Work output for all, including Pat, has increased. She still helps with staff needs at the appropriate time, but she’s not so available that people can come rushing in the minute they have a problem. Surprise, surprise - they now solve far more of their own problems. The major issues are rarely urgent, and anything they still need help on is addressed at regular intervals. Also, Pat’s not hooked into their work. The monkeys (alias problems) now stay on the shoulders of their owners, because they’ve been encouraged and helped to think more deeply before they ask for help. What system do you have for assisting the people around you? Whose work keeps you busy? Is it yours, or do your subordinates or colleagues have you doing their work? If they keep asking for help when they could workout the answers, look out, that’s a danger signal. When they ask you to finish something for them because you know more about it than them, or ask you to do errands as you go past, look out, that’s taking up your head space on their work, not yours.

Teachers Matter

The next day, Pat pulled the staff together. They agreed to test a new strategy.

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First thing she meets with her PA, who now handles more phone calls, appointment scheduling and low-level interruptions. This may seem obvious, but the process constantly needs to be revisited. Many executives (not just educators) don’t use their assistants effectively. When we do a task we could delegate to another who’s paid a lesser rate, we effectively pay ourselves at that lower rate.

RT BYRON


THELMA VAN DER WERFF

PHOTO:STEPHEN COBURN

Reach your students using psychology of colour Match your clothes to your message.

As

a teacher you spend time and energy preparing your content, but you want to make sure that you are well received as well. Try using the psychology of colour to improve your effectiveness and influence your students’ behaviour.

How does it work? Colour is a fraction of light, which travels in waves, just like radio, television, microwaves and x-rays. The only difference between these waves and colour is that we can actually see the waves of colour. When seeing a colour, the light that enters our human eye will reach our hypothalamus, the brain’s brain, a small organ in our brain that governs our hormone and endocrine system. Our hypothalamus influences our metabolism, body temperature, autonomic nervous system, behaviour, sleeping patterns and sexual and reproductive functions. Colour is a frequency or energy, and many experiments have proven that colour has a physical effect on us. Colour also affects blind people, because they can actually “feel” the colour and identify different colours. The psychology of colour is used in marketing to influence buying behaviour and promote products and services with those colour choices that will emphasize the nature of the product/service. The colour of

interiors in shops, offices, homes and schools affect us, whether we are aware of it or not. The colours we wear do not only reflect our emotions, but also send out a message to others. If you can see colour as a universal language, and you can learn to understand and speak the language of colour, you have an effective tool to support the message and/or image you want to communicate. Remember, before you have spoken, the colours you wear have already spoken for you because it travels with the speed of light. Whatever your subject or aim is, there will always be a colour that can support you and your message. To integrate this colour, the simplest and easiest way is to wear this colour as a shirt, tie, or accessory. Here is a list of emotions and the colours that can enhance these emotions: Activity, motivation, determination: Wear red Fun, social interaction, enthusiasm: Wear orange Focus, concentration, alertness: Wear yellow

Calmness, good communication, trust: Wear blue Authority, wisdom, intelligence: Wear navy blue Fantasising, inspiration, calmness: Wear violet Sharing of ideas, artistic creativity: Wear purple Avoid conflict, care, consideration: Wear soft pink Innovative thinking, readiness for change: Wear magenta/fuchsia Reliability, structure, down-to-earth: Wear brown Openness, clarity, sincerity: Wear white Reserved, mysterious, blend-in: Wear black Professional, quality, intelligent: Wear grey You can, of course, combine different colours, but be careful not to give o p p o s i t e m e s s a g e s . C h e c k w w w. colourcomfort.com or search “dress to impress” a www.amazonkindle.com for more information.

Teamwork, decision making, harmony: Wear green

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EVENT REVIEW BY ROSEMARY PORTER

Activating brains: Spectrum Education Kids Conference An inside look at what one student learnt.

On

27th January 2011, the twoday Kids Conference was held at the Energy Events Centre, Rotorua, at the same time as the Teachers Matter Conference. On the first day, we walked down to the hall at 8:30 a.m. ready to listen to the speakers from all around the world. During the day, we were shown how to draw Wordtoons, turning original words into pictures, and learned how to use the Poi. It was fun. Marion Miller showed us the top 10 foods for the brain and how to switch the brain and muscles on and off. We had a group discussion with Adrian Rennie about whether an apple is alive or not. In the afternoon, David Koutsoukis talked about the “six kinds of best” and what they mean to us. To end the day, we learnt the 16 Habits of Mind by doing a dance with Sandra Brace.

Teachers Matter

The next day, we dissected a brain with John Joseph, finding all the parts and discussing their role and importance. We made a sculpture with play dough of how the brain worked. Dissecting the brain was a lot of fun. The brain was gooey, but exciting and interesting to look at. John also told us stories about Bad Cat and Emily. My favourite story was about Emily because she lost half of her brain, but was still the same as everyone else.

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In the afternoon, Rowena Szeszeran-McEvoy chatted with us about what we want to be and our dreams. So we know to live our dreams; they are us. After each session with the conference speakers, we created a badge by drawing a picture to represent what we had learnt. All of us had a necklace of badges by the end of the conference. We played lots of games and had fun. A big thanks to Justin Stewart, Craig Porter and all the speakers who helped out. I had a great time.


EVENT REVIEW

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PHOT PH OTO: OT O: AL LEK EKS E SEY Y MN NOGO NOG NO OG O GO G OSMYSLO YSLOV YS

ROWENA SZESZERAN-McEVOY

Get serious about getting results When it comes to exercise, think “common sense.”

We

exercise for all sorts of reasons: to feel good, to chomp up some stress, to have some personal time out and, for some people, even for fun. However, exercise is ultimately the best way to get fit, stay fit, be strong and massively reduce the risk of disease, injury and illness. This is great news for some people – the exercise lovers. Sometimes referred to as the exercise fanatics, they always seem to be looking for ways to make exercise longer, harder, more extreme and, unfortunately, more and more unattractive to the folks who already hate it. What about the folks who want the results of exercising – being fit, strong, tight, toned, healthy and self-confident – without spending endless time in the gym or hours pounding the pavement? For them, the bazillion-dollar question is: “What exercise gives the best results, in the fastest time?” In other words, for those less excited about exercise: “How little can I do and still look good and fit into my clothes?”

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My advice: The best exercise is the one you like. Pick an activity you enjoy, not one picked for you by one of those exercise lovers/fanatics. Running is the fastest way to burn calories and to get fit, but if you do not like to run, running is the worst exercise for you. Ask “how little can I do to get a result?” not “how much do I have to do?” Five minutes hard and fast is much easier to mentally prepare for, and often a much better workout, than a slow, long, tedious endurance event. A collection of short, fun workouts are also much easier to fit into your schedule and you can’t use the excuse of “no time” when you only have to puff for five to 10 minutes. Stop picking stupid – or unsafe – exercises. Always ask, “Is this the best – and safest – exercise for the time I have? Time is not unlimited, and if you are going to put in time to move make sure the movement you choose is the best exercise for the result you want. The latest fad, or oldest opinion, is not what you need. Both are often wrong, and if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is

not true. Make your exercise choices with the following strict guidelines in mind: - Is it safe? - Is it based on functional anatomy? - Is it physiologically sound? - Is it common sense? - Do you like to do it? - Does it fit in with your lifestyle? - Is it the best exercise for the result you want? You must add strength-training to every exercise program: A stronger you means you can go harder or longer and experience fewer illnesses and injuries. To get strong, you have to overload your muscles with weight, not time or numbers. The amount of weight doesn’t matter; your muscles can’t see and they can’t count. They just get stronger when you make them lift more weight – whether it’s bricks, dumbbells, logs or couches – than last time. Keep this advice in mind – and get moving in a way that is fun, safe and effective.


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DID Y OU KNO W??

What can honk without using a horn? Answer: A goose.

Did you know that your heart beats around 100,000 times a day. That’s 36,500,000 times a year and over a billion times if you live beyond 30!

We each have about 96,560 kilometers of blood vessels inside us. If you could lay them all out in a straight line they would stretch more than two times around the earth!

The largest cookie ever made was 31 metres in diameter and weighed 18,000kgs. To compare, that is longer than a Boeing 737 aeroplane and as heavy as four fully grown elephants! 67


Teachers Resources & Lessons

by Adrian Rennie

      

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KAREN TOBICH

Autumn feast Nature still provides tasty treats this time of the year.

As

autumn is approaching and the veggie garden is not very productive anymore, I love the cooler nights but enjoy the still warm days. A visit to my special friends, who have a

Baked Blue Cheese Pears You will need: 4 ripe and juicy pears 4-6 slices of prosciutto ham A wedge of creamy blue cheese 100ml cream 1 packet of baby spinach salt and pepper Wash your pears. If they are still a bit hard, stick them for a minute in the microwave or cover them with boiling water for a few minutes. With a melon baler, remove the core of the pear from the base and stuff the cavity with blue cheese. Cover the base of the stuffed pear with a piece of prosciutto ham and then wrap another piece around the pear. Place the pears in an oven proof dish, pour in the cream and season with salt and pepper.

Teachers Matter

Bake for 25 to 30 minutes in a preheated oven at 160º. If you have used hard pears, bake them a bit longer and cover them with foil for the first 15 minutes.

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To serve, place a handful of baby spinach on a plate, place the baked pear on top and drizzle with the cream.

beautiful pear and apple orchard, reminds me how well Mother Nature provides for us, even at this time of the year. As I walk through the orchard, I can smell the sweetness of the tree ripened pears, and

nothing beats biting into a sun-ripened, freshly picked apple. In the field I find a good picking of field mushrooms, perfect for my mushroom burgers, and an abundance of flat leaf parsley will make a hearty pesto.


KAREN TOBICH

My Fair Trade Chocolate Mocha Cake This is such an easy cake. I can get it ready to go in the oven in 5 minutes. You can vary the chocolate according to your taste, mood or occasion.

Mushroom Burgers with Parsley Pesto You will need: 500g lamb or beef mince 1 egg 2 tbsp whole grain mustard 1 medium red onion finely chopped 1tbs of soy sauce 1/2 cup of oatmeal (or 1 wheet-bix) salt and pepper 8 large field or portobello mushrooms (they are ideal when before the gills have turned black) olive oil For the pesto: 2 cups of chopped parsley 1/2 cup pine nuts 1/2 cup of grated parmesan cheese 1/4 cup of olive oil To garnish: red and yellow capsicum slices or slices of tomato Sprigs of Rosemary Mix all the ingredients for the burger patties together and form into balls (not flat patties) slightly smaller than the field mushrooms. Cook them on the BBQ or in a preheated oven until just done (15 to 20 minutes). Brush the mushrooms with olive oil sprinkle with salt and bake in a preheated oven for five to 10 minutes or until just done. To make the pesto, place your parsley, pine nuts, parmesan cheese and olive oil in a blender and blend into a paste. To assemble the burger place one mushroom upside down on the plate, cover with a spoon of pesto, then the meat ball followed with the capsicum rings/tomato, another spoonful of pesto and then top with a mushroom. To hold it all together, push a rosemary sprig as a skewer through the centre. And serve with an extra spoonful of pesto.

You will need: 185g melted butter 1 1/2 cups of fair trade sugar 3 free range eggs 1tsp vanilla essence 1/2 cup of spelt flour (you can use normal flour) 1 cup fair trade cocoa 100g fair trade mocha chocolate (if you don’t want a mocha cake, use white or dark chocolate) 200g fair trade white chocolate 200ml cream coffee beans to decorate Preheat oven at 150º (not fan bake). Grease tin. Mix butter and sugar together then add one egg at the time mixing well. Add vanilla essence then sift flour and cocoa into mixture and fold. Put mixture into cake tin then poke chocolate pieces into cake, covering the chocolate with the mixture. Avoid having the chocolate touch the sides of the cake tin. Bake for approx 45 minutes. It will look underdone, but skewer should come out clean unless chocolate has been hit. Once the cake is cooled, make the chocolate ganache by melting the white chocolate and the cream together into a smooth paste. Cover the cake and decorate with coffee beans.

Apple (Cider) Tarts You will need: 2 sheets ready prepared puff pastry 4 crunchy apples (or you can use pears) thinly sliced 1 bottle of apple cider 1 cup of sugar whipped cream to serve Preheat the oven to 180º. Place the cider and sugar in a pan over high heat and reduce down until you have a syrupy consistency. Cut out four pastry rounds out of each sheet (10 to 15cm in diameter), place four circles on a sheet of baking paper and top with the remaining pastry rounds. Place the thinly sliced apple on the pastry rounds and brush with cider syrup. Bake until pastry is puffed and golden. Once out of the oven, brush with the remaining syrup and serve with some whipped cream. They are great cold in the lunch box, too.

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BARBARA GRIFFITH AND TRICIA KENYON

The duck who stopped a war Learning about peace and opposing views with this recently re-released book “The general is ready to go to war but a duck in the gun causes a sudden ceasefire. One duck can’t stop an entire army, can it?” –Back cover of 2009 version

J

oy Cowley first wrote this book as a protest against war during the Vietnam war, as she wanted to get the anti-war message across to children. It was first published in 1969 with illustrations by Edward Sorel; it went out of print in 1970s. Shortland Publications reprinted it in 1984 with new illustrations by Robyn Belton. It has been recently republished by Walker Books in 2009 as the 25th anniversary edition. It is one of 10 children’s books chosen from around the world to be displayed in the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum. This book works on multiple levels from reading for simple enjoyment to delving further into the anti-war message used as the theme.

Activities 1. Timeline a. Create a time-line of the events as they occur in the book. b. Indicate how the General and the Prime Minister viewed each event – as a positive or negative. 2. Problem / Solution List the problems that occurred and the solutions that the Prime Minister and the General agreed on.

Problem

Agreed solution

3. Friend or foe. What is an enemy? (Personal definitions / other references) What is the opposite of an enemy? (Personal definitions / other references) What are the events in this story that changed enemies into friends?

Teachers Matter

4. Vocabulary for war and peace a. Make a list of all the words that relate to or refer to war and of things relating to war that are depicted in the illustrations.

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b. Create a word bank on the topic of peace, eg. reconciliation, love, kindness, co-operation. c. Create a Peace poster with these words. 5. White flag What is the significance of the white flag? Why does the General use a white flag in this book? Research to find another instance of a white flag being used in history and by whom.

THE DUCK IN THE GUN Author - Joy Cowley Illustrator - Robyn Belton ISBN 9871921150838


BARBARA GRIFFITH AND TRICIA KENYON 6. Role Play Ask some students from the class to role play the story’s characters in a panel discussion. The role players sit at the front of the room wearing a name tag. All the others in the class are the audience and ask questions of the characters. (It works better if these questions have been planned in advance.) Those playing the characters answer the way they think their character would have answered. Some possible examples of questions: The general

Why were you attacking this town? How did you feel when you saw the duck nested in the gun?

Prime Minister

What did you think of the General when he wanted to share your gun and borrow money from you? Did you notice that the General and your daughter were becoming friendly?

Soldiers

How did your attitude towards the townspeople change when you worked amongst them? Was it just because of the new paint that you didn’t want to fire on the town?

7. Character Analysis of the General

At the beginning

At the end

His goal His feelings about the situation His relationships with others His attitude to war 8. Changes in the cover (The cover of the 1984 edition is shown in the back of the current edition.) Discuss:

1984 version

2009 version

What elements are different between the two covers? Which do you prefer and why? Why was the change made?

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Sleep your way to a better life Improved energy, resilience, weight control and immunity are all possible

B

Teachers Matter

y the time you read this, the 2011 academic year is well underway. Undoubtedly you’ve had a few late nights - meetings, marking, parent interviews, sports team supervision as well as preparation for the following day. Couple this with early morning starts and a pattern may have begun to emerge – less quality and quantity of nightly sleep followed by long days in the classroom with you feeling increasingly tired, run-down and irritable.

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Unrestricted sleep at night has become rare since the Industrial Revolution. Shift-work is the greatest culprit in over-riding the body’s natural circadian biological clock, but so too are the many pressures derived from living in a modern, busy society that expand wake-time activities at the expense of sleep. It is no surprise that in more recent years, the lack of adequate sleep among both adults and children has become a world-wide health concern. Not only from a performance perspective, but because chronic sleep deprivation is now known to be associated with many health problems including Type 2 diabetes, hypertension (high blood pressure), obesity, low immunity, poor reaction time, memory loss, depression and musculoskeletal pain. In fact there is enough evidence

between most of these problems and sleep deprivation to appreciate that a good night’s sleep is as potent as any “wonder drug.” To maintain optimal immune health, medical experts suggest that most adults need between seven and nine hours sleep per night. In America alone, the past decade has seen the average number of hours of sleep per night for adults creep down to less than seven hours. Some studies also suggest that as many as 40 percent of people are only averaging between four and five hours per night. The subsequent cost to businesses with increased workplace accidents, higher rates of absenteeism and poor work performance (decreased reaction time, lower cognitive behaviour and mood swings, decreased alertness) has been estimated to be around $100 billion annually. Similar studies of French workers have put the cost of sleep deprivation and insomnia on average at $3,025 per employee per year. New Zealand too pays a high price for sleep deprivation according to Massey University sleep expert Dr Phillipa Gander. Massey’s Sleep Wake Centre survey shows 37 percent of adults aged 30 to 60 are sleep-deprived and 25 percent of adults aged 20 to 60 have insomnia.

Whilst most of the sleep research to date has centred on shift workers and chronic fatigue, more and more research is now being undertaken with specific occupations. One such profession studied last year in the United States was been that of teachers. The purpose of the study (conducted by Amschler and Mackenzie and reported in the Journal of Health Education) was to describe the sleep habits and concerns of public school teachers, administrators and support workers (librarians, school counselors, etc) in a public school in Indiana. The anonymous study included 167 teachers, 12 administrators and 43 support workers. Both quantitative and qualitative methods were utilised to provide data that described the sleep patterns and behaviours of those studied. The study findings may well be of interest to school personnel here in New Zealand, especially as the findings indicated that the school employees had greater sleep problems compared to data from the general U.S. population. Forty-three percent of study participants averaged only six hours per night. Overall, two-thirds of the teachers studied felt they got enough sleep only “some of the time” and of additional concern was the response that 64 percent of those teachers

PHOT HOTO: O VIK KTORIIA ORIIA KUL KULIS ISH H

WENDY SWEET


WENDY SWEET

“It is no surprise that in more recent years, the lack of adequate sleep among both adults and children has become a world-wide health concern.” felt drowsy during the day “most of the time.” time ” Twenty-five percent of the administrators reported that they slept less than six hours per night. A recurring theme reiterated: Professional responsibilities outside of the classroom contributed to a lack of sleep: “With teaching, the problem is that there is always work to do....grading, staying up to prepare lessons, etc. Thereby setting up a pattern of going to bed between 11 p.m. and 12 a.m., and getting up between 5 and 5:.30 a.m. Add to that graduate classes, kids, and working out, and you get a sleep-deprived American!”

major functions: It serves as the energy restoration period from day-time activities; it affords immune system protection at night when the hyper-sensitive sympathetic nervous system needs to function to help reduce evening cortisol production; and adequate sleep allows the brain time to consolidate important experiences and memories for learning.

Weight gain and sleep deficit

Little attention has been paid to the demanding lifestyle of teaching and the potential for the accumulative effects of insufficient restorative sleep. More often than not, attention is paid to the sleep needs and well-being of students instead. Whilst their wellbeing needs are similarly of interest to education researchers, there is also a need to support the educators. Teachers who fight sleepiness and struggle to stay mentally sharp may be placing themselves as well as the students they serve, at risk.

More and more studies have emerged in recent years linking chronic sleep deprivation to obesity. When chronic sleep deprivation builds up, evening production of cortisol is increased. This has been shown to increase food intake and the accumulation of abdominal fat. Sleep debt with an associated increase in cortisol production is also associated with lower levels of another hormone called leptin. Leptin is secreted from fat cells and transmits energy balance messages to the brain. As leptin levels decrease, the brain interprets the message that the fat cells need more food and directs the body to eat more. This impacts levels of another hormone, ghrelin, as the human body works on a “negative feedback” loop (when one hormone is low or high, it stimulates the secretion of other hormones to balance things up). Thus lowered levels of leptin cause a subsequent increase in ghrelin. This is the “hunger” hormone produced and secreted from the stomach. As ghrelin levels increase, so too does hunger. Put this alongside increased daily fatigue and therefore no energy or motivation for daily exercise, and yes, you got it, weight spirals upwards and the unhealthy weight gain cycle begins.

Chronic sleep debt

Action plan for teachers

This is commonly defined as sleeping between four and seven hours a night for a number of consecutive nights. Acute sleep deficit refers to a loss of sleep during a 24-hour period. It’s the chronic deficit that hinders performance. Scientists suggest that sleep provides three

The following tips are sourced from the Sleep Wellness Centre at the University of California. If you are suffering from sleep deprivation or poor quality sleep, then try these pointers for improving your deep sleep.

Another teacher mused, “I actually think my job impacts my sleep! Teachers never stop thinking, re-thinking and reflecting. During the week, I think my brain plans all my lessons at night!” Difficulty falling asleep was another common theme: “I feel that I am worn out at the end of every day. However, when I lay down I can never go to sleep…I worry about things that happened during the day or what is going on the next day. I wish I could turn my mind off at night.” Sound familiar?

Expose yourself to morning light by taking a walk early before work. This helps to shorten the sleep cycle, so that when you go to bed at night, it will be easier to fall asleep. Exposure to morning sun or bright light induces the pineal gland to secrete melatonin (the sleep hormone) earlier in the night. Exercise shortens the sleep cycle. One possible cause of insomnia may be that when bedtime comes, you are mentally exhausted but not physically exhausted. Exercise during the day or before/after work. Note that vigorous exercise within two hours of bed-time may delay melatonin secretion by an hour or so. sWhen body temperature is raised at night, it will fall at bed-time, facilitating sleep. A sauna or hot bath/ shower serves this purpose. s Avoid taking daily naps longer than one hour. Power naps of 20 minutes are known to be restorative, but longer naps mean that you will be less sleepy at bedtime. s Don’t consume alcohol or caffeine prior to bedtime. Alcohol inhibits melatonin secretion as well as the REM and Delta phases of sleep – physiologically, the deepest stage of sleep. sEnsure your bedroom is darkened and quiet. sRemove clocks, computers, phones etc from view. There is nothing worse than lying awake and “watching the clock.” sSupplements may enhance the quality of sleep if your diet is not supplying adequate nutrients – magnesium, calcium and B vitamins. sTry to learn a relaxation technique. There are lots of books and videos on yoga and deep-breathing techniques that you can do lying in bed. sWake up at the same time each morning in order for your body to acquire a consistent sleep rhythm. sDon’t let sleep deprivation get the better of your health this year. Take action. Develop your own strategies and sleep your way to improved energy, resilience, weight control and immunity.

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KAREN BOYES

The alarm you’ll look forward to: iStudyAlarm The iStudyAlarm is now available from the Apple itunes store.

S

tudying for a class, mid term or final exam just got easier with iStudyAlarm. Staying focused while studying can often be a challenge, and the iStudyAlarm is designed to help exam students of all ages. Research shows that studying in 20-minute intervals and taking a five-minute brain break is highly beneficial for learning and memory. Studying is supposed to get you ahead in life, not make you a nervous wreck. Plus studying for too long causes your brain to get tired and forget key information.

How the iStudyAlarm works When you are ready to study, simply tap the start button. The timer will go off after 20 minutes and prompt you to spend two minutes revising what you have just learned. Next the alarm will time your five-minute brain break.

Brain break ideas What you do during a break can be as important as when you are actually studying. This menu provides quick brain-friendly break ideas.

Exam tips Ideas of what to do before, during and after an exam. Tips include questionanswering advice, what to do if you can’t remember and hints about what examiners are looking for. Each tip can be expanded to find out more information.

Motivate me Provides quick ideas to help keep you on track and focused. There are also links to short Youtube clips about effective study techniques.

Library mode If you are working in a quiet environment, you can simply switch the alarm to vibrate mode and still stay focused without disturbing others.

Teachers Matter

Features include: Study tips:

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Practical tips to keep you on track and studying in a brain friendly and effective way. Tips include setting up your study environment, memory and recall strategies, brain food and note making ideas. Each tip can be expanded to learn more.

The iStudy alarm is designed exclusively for use on iPhone 4, iPod Touch. iPhone 3G/3GS and iPad. It is now available from the Apple itunes Store.


THE LAST WORD: KAREN BOYES

Redesigning team meetings Teachers have the tools to make meetings fun.

G

reat teachers know that engaging students in many different ways is important for learning. Researchers know the environment makes a difference. Seating, temperature, the structure of a lesson, the teacher’s use of technology and creative ideas often lead to higher recall and understanding. So what about teacher meetings? What happens when we want teachers to learn, recall, think and understand?

Stephen Lethbridge, a principal and contributor to the first issue of Teachers Matter magazine, states, “If we really think [these skills] are important for children to have, how are we using them successfully in our personal and professional lives?” Are principals, senior leaders and staff developers using the techniques we know work for the brain?

to feel completion of each task. Musical Chairs: Each time an agenda item is complete, play some upbeat music and have everyone dance around. When the music stops, find a new chair. This gets the energy flowing, wakes people up and sets a clear message that we are moving to the next agenda item. Plus, sitting in a different part of the room gives people a different perspective on the meeting. Clay shapes: Give each person a handful of clay or play dough. Invite them to mold it into a shape. When the meeting is finished each person squashes their creation flat. Timed pair-share: When you are asking for thought and discussion, get teachers up and talking with others. Put more structure around this, as is great for students, by timing each person to speak for one to two minutes and swapping over.

Walk through agenda: Write your agenda on a large piece of paper and attach it to the exit door. Once the meeting is complete, teachers rip through the agenda, leaving it behind. Groaners: Start with a joke. After a day in the classroom, a bit of light relief can be welcomed. There are simply hundreds of strategies that teachers use in the classroom to engage students. Spend a few minutes while planning each meeting to choose an engagement tool or thinking strategy that will facilitate energy and participation. You may need to adopt an idea, adapt it to suit your team and then apply it. Not only will you make your meetings memorable, you will expose teachers to the different ideas that are being modeled. If your teachers do not have the energy for this, suggest a new career! If these tools are good enough for the students, they should be good enough for us.

Team meetings are most often held when teachers are at their lowest energy levels. They are tired, hungry and have filled their brain with so many thoughts about each student – and then we want them to learn! How can you make meetings exciting and engaging and even energising for teachers? Below are some ideas:

Disposable agenda: Issue each person on the team a post-it note pad and invite them to list each agenda item on one post-it note. Everyone will have an overview of the meeting and what will be discussed. Place a bucket either on the table or floor within reach of each person. Each time an agenda item is complete, screw up the post-it and throw it into the bucket. This is a great way

PHOTO: YURI ARCURS

Stand up meetings: If people are tired, sitting down and relaxing will often make the meeting last longer. Stand in a circle for discussions. Use a koosh ball, magic wand or rubber chicken as a “talking stick.” The person who is holding it speaks while everyone else listens. We do this in the Spectrum office, and meetings are faster and more efficient.

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ILLU IL LLU L LU USTRA STRA ST RATIO TION T ON: D DM MIT ITR IITRY TRY KUT T UTL UT LAYE LA LAY AYE A YEV

The art of teaching is the art of assisting discovery. Mark van Doren

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Profile for Karen Boyes

Teachers Matter Magazine Issue 13  

The Teachers Matter Quarterly magazine has been created as a ‘booster shot’ for educators of pre-school, elementary and secondary students....

Teachers Matter Magazine Issue 13  

The Teachers Matter Quarterly magazine has been created as a ‘booster shot’ for educators of pre-school, elementary and secondary students....

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