Pondering leadership.

What makes an effective leader?

This below video explores this and provokes thought. Enjoy.

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The benefit of stopping, sharing and thinking.

I went to Educamp today, which was held at Stonefields School in Auckland’s Mt Wellington. Educamp is essentially an opportunity for like-minded educators to get together and share in an open and flexibly formatted day. I’ve really come to see the value in stepping outside  the day to day running of your school life, whether literally (as I did today) or figuratively. It give you the chance to stop, share and think – which I think is invaluable if you are to really make a difference to the children in your class or school.
It is so easy to get stuck in a rut and in an insular little bubble as a teacher. If you don’t share, glean ideas from others and bounce thoughts around with fellow educators (or, sometimes better, with people beyond the education world) how can you possibly grow? I was lucky enough to spend time talking to Sarah Martin, the principal of Stonefields, today which was just invaluable. We discussed the way in which the school has been set up from its inception last year in terms of the school vision, culture, beliefs, planning, goal setting and so on. There’s such value in talking to someone as passionate as Sarah, who shares core beliefs with you but also challenges your thinking.
Teachers and leaders in education so often get bogged down in the mundane details of everyday life at school that we find it challenging to see beyond our own school, our class, those difficult children in our class. It’s so easy to do this and even the very best find themselves in this situation at some point. Wherever possible, I think it is essential to force yourself to stop, think and reflect. In my opinion, this, along with sharing and collaborating gives you the ability to synthesise the best of the ideas, technologies and theories you have exposed yourself to into something that works for you, and your school.

Student Reflection

I like to think the children in my class are reflective learners who use their reflections to take ownership over and further their learning. They have individual blogs and e-portfolios. They blog weekly and reflect on a more informal basis regularly. They give each other feedback and offer to help their peers out based on reading their class mate’s reflections.

However! The quality of their reflections is not always brilliant and there are some children who struggle to write meaningful reflections that assist them in taking responsibility for their leanring. I’ve tried many things to remedy this – modeling; a rubric; peer, teacher and self assesment; stentence starters; discussing the purpose of reflecting; and probing questions they can use to think about thier learning. Still there are students who find reflecting difficult.

So, I wondered, how do I get the entire class reflecting in a meaningful manner? Luckily, I stumbled accoss this helpful diagram, by Peter Pappas which I intend to try out this coming term as I feel it has the scope to improve reflections at all levels within the class.

Here’s my adaptation of the above model, that I will be using with my class. Reflection progression.