Building student learning focused relationships – critical friendships

Working in a learning hub is a great way to get to know students individually – to know their strengths, passions, aspirations, their learning, their whanau.

However, the challenge is how to get them to build learning focused relationships with each other. Teenagers tend to have some difficulty in providing peer feedback which is deep, honest and useful. In order to keep social relationships strong, they may not be truthful or as truthful as necessary when supporting each other in learning.

In Orakei hub, I tried (unsuccessfully) to set up the concept of tuakana-teina within my hub. Some struggled to articulate where they could support others; interestingly, they were all able to state where others in the hub could help them.

So back into a new term, I have a new plan. Rather than pushing some students towards a tuakana-teina model (this may be on the cards for the future), we are using a critical friendship model.

I introduced the concept on Monday and asked them to select (via google form) some students that they would like to work with and a justification why, as well as any student that they would prefer not to work with. Not surprisingly, many of the students picked their close friends. I looked at their selections and paired them up with their second or third choices.

Today we started off our extended hub class with:

  1. listing characteristics that they wanted to see in their (yet unnamed) critical friend
  2. listing characteristics that they individually would bring to the critical friendship – strengths. Then they followed up with areas where they felt that they may struggle being a critical friend
  3. Then they found out who their critical friends were
  4. Next step was to compare their lists to establish their agreed ‘rules of engagement’

    Students sharing their expectations of the critical friendship

    Students sharing their expectations of the critical friendship

  5. Then review their critical friend’s “learner story” and give feedback on the quality of their reflections (we had already co-constructed the success criteria for this).
Working with critical friends

Orakei hub students: Working with critical friends

Collaboration is important not just because it’s a better way to learn. The spirit of collaboration is penetrating every institution and all of our lives. So learning to collaborate is part of equipping yourself for effectiveness, problem solving, innovation and life-long learning in an ever-changing networked economy.” – Don Tapscott

Read more at http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/d/dontapscot564023.html#0IYxafpIQOGSAvsj.99

 

 

Support students to develop processes to work towards their goals.

I’ve been working on making our learning goals more visible with my learners at HPSS. This is a document that I found on pinterest that we used to make our goals, steps towards our goals more visible. We completed these individually, then sought peer feedback from the learning hub around the quality of these, and have now pinned them on the wall of the hub so that we can be accountable for our goals.

Here are some of the students’ documents:

11948169_10153612437824686_2133277314_n

11922942_10153612436904686_675678532_n

And peer feedback from another student:

11920369_10153612437749686_1665876147_n

A huge focus at HPSS is the concept of ‘ako‘ where teachers and students learn from each other, I always participate in the learning. I shared my professional goals with my learning hub, sought feedback, and refined my processes based on the feedback. Here is mine…

My goals

Open to learning leadership

Notes taken during O2L workshop at HPSS

Jacqui Patuawa

  • Leadership through relationships, expertise, postions of authority
  • Leadership exercised through conversations – leadership is a dialogic activity

Student centred leadership

Leadership enables leaders to exercise problem solving and relational trust

Problem solving“If I had one hour to save the world, I would spend 55 minutes defining the problem and then five minutes solving it” (Albert Einstein).

In schools, we often have the opposite approach – time poor (or perceived) means that we jump to solutions, rather than agreement and critical evaluation of problem.

In schools, we spend a lot of time talking past each other.

Complex problem solving involves solution requirements (conditions that must be met to solve problem effectively).

Mark from Starpath project:

13 barriers to increasing student achievement

  • questionnaire to gain snapshot of leadership cohesion
  • ML rate seriousness of barriers in school
  • then rate effectiveness of SLT at dealing with barriers.

Disconnect between senior leadership and middle leadership in many barriers. Questionnaire different for SLT – what do you think your MLs will rank these barriers as.

All data generated in these surveys are perception based – need to clarify perceptions further.

Relational Trust

Bryk and Schneider (1970s) investigated effective schools – outcome was that leaders with high relational trust

IMG_2781

Determinants of relational trust:

  • Interpersonal respect, personal regard for others, competence in role, personal integrity.
  • Your competence is often measured by the way that you deal with others’ “incompetence”
  • Personal integrity – walking the talk. Congruent. Espoused theory vs. theory in practice

Check out: Steven Covey for further reading.

Higher levels of relational trust = higher levels of student outcomes

Connections to Argrys and Schoen! Love them. Learning = detection and correction of error. In schools, we often detect and correct espoused theory. 

Theory of action:

Key beliefs:                 Interpersonal values:                  Actions:              Consequences: Relational trust, Solving problems

What is driving the practice? Engaging in teachers’ theories, for them they are real.

ET – espoused theory

TiU – theory in use

from closed to learning to open to learning conversation

  • Closed – win don’t lose, keep control of task and process, avoid negative emotion
  • O2L – demonstrate respect for self and others, maximise valid information, build internal commitment

Maximise valid information

involves testing and improving the of our own and others’ thinking

Thinking includes opinions, reasonsing, inferences, and feelings

Strategies:

  • Disclose the reasoning that leads to your views
  • provide examples and illustrations of your views
  • treat own views as hypotheses rather than taken for granted truths
  • seek feedback and disconfirmation

What is the disconfirming evidence? Considering this will take you deeper into defining (and solving) issues/concerns.

Demonstrate respect for self and others:

Treat others as well-intentioned, as interested in learning, and as capable of contributing to your learning

Get curious, not furious!

Build internal commitment:

Foster ownership of decisions by seeking honest reactions and building.

OTL values:

Screen Shot 2015-08-13 at 14.54.49

Power of checking and confirming confirmed! A solution is not good enough if it is not going to advance the work on the problem.

Common ground needs to be named, otherwise it could be murky. If not a common ground, could be that the conversation is useless if one party does not see the problem as a problem.

Inquiry to avoid advocacy – people ask questions that they know the answers to as it is preferable that the other person tells you.

Minimising your concern:

CTL pattern

Trivialising or minimising your concern

  • be honest about the seriousness of your concern

Sandwiching your concern by giving positive feedback before and after raising your concern.

  • disclose early on that there is both positive and critical feedback if that is the case.

Avoid a culture of niceness – OTL is not about “difficult conversation” but about a culture of support and challenge.

Issues between the staff lurk like land mines, until addressed, we never get to the issue.

Teaching is who we are, not just what we do

I was privileged enough to attend the funeral of a dear colleague of mine today. It was hard. Tony was an exceptional human being who had an impact on so many lives. His life was celebrated to his family, friends, colleagues, and former students – with his love of mathematics, learning, compassionately serving his community, seeing students succeed and being an all-round good bloke to boot was evident through every tear shed, every laugh shared, and every quiet moment of contemplation. Tony was the epitome of a life-long learner, a leader, and a kaiako.

Everyone spoke about Tony as a teacher. I’ve always wanted to be more than just a “teacher”. I’m many other things: a mum, a friend, a wife, a shoe collector, a wannabe snowboarder, a part-time tap dancer. I have always believed that we are the sum of our parts. Yet for many of us, teaching takes up so much of our time, our energy. Our families listen as we talk teaching, think teaching, talk about our students etc. It keeps us awake at night on occasion. We worry about students and staff – their well-being, their learning, about whether we are doing enough to make a difference. We want a life outside of teaching. Bring on the holidays so I can be my real me.

Yet, I wonder if we sometimes fight too much. We entered this profession knowing what it was all about. Teachers who are passionate about others, about learning, about the subjects they teach which get their blood pumping, therefore they should be proud to be teachers all of the time. I was simply overwhelmed at points today reflecting on this gem of a human being who is no longer with us. I loved how he shared his love of new things (he was prone to sharing new learnings with others all the time – he taught me about the power of crtl T, among other things), instilled a love of problem solving in thousands of students over a 48 year career, tried to teach this classics and drama teacher about the importance of problem solving when timetabling (my non-logical thinking struggled at times!), and treated ever person he encountered as a friend.

Today was testament to a true teacher – it was amazing seeing how many people were there to acknowledge a life spent in the classroom. I have reflected deeply on both this wonderful man and my perceptions of myself. What is wrong with being a “teacher” as part of our definitions of ourselves? I am a teacher. I love teaching. I am a learner too. Teaching is about connecting with other souls and working together to learn more. Tony’s journey as a teacher was also a journey as a learner.

I’m not really sure what the point of this blog post is. To reflect. To ponder. To share my pride in being a teacher and to challenge others to consider the impact of what they do every day without getting bogged down in the nitty-gritty of the industry.

I am proud to have taught with this man. I hope that I can live up to the example he lived, breathed, and taught to others.

balance-15712_640

Professional Reading: May / June 2015

My blogging has slowed but my reading hasn’t. This is what I have been reading recently.

Books

Teaching with intelligent mindsets – Jamie Fitzgerald

Teaching for intelligent mindsets

Auckland 15th March 2015

The final presentation of the day was from Jamie Fitzgerald (A.K.A the guy from Intrepid NZ and First Crossings – www.inspiringperformance.co.nz) which I must admit was not (initially) as exciting for me as either Guy Claxton or Carol Dweck were. And I had lined up for ages to get my lunch, so I was tired and not really that keen on listening to some adventurer guy. What a fixed mindset I possessed and I am pleased to report that I was pleasantly surprised.

These are my stream of consciousness notes taken during his one hour presentation.


“The secret of success is not predicting the future, it’s creating people who can thrive in a future that cannot be predicted”

Fostering growth mindset – from position of curiosity

  • What could be possible?
  • How will we get there?
  • How will we work together?
  • How will we measure progress?
  • What have I learnt?

Am struck by the similarities in Jamie’s description of his planning for Antarctica exped and teaching as inquiry – the focusing inquiry, to set the path, the invention and adjustments on the way based on evidence…

Your brand is your rep – it is what others say about you when you are out of the room. Expectations in people’s minds and actual experiences need to align – uniqueness and consistency.

“If you don’t know what you stand for, you’ll fall for anything”

Example of his training for Antarctica of dragging tyres around suburban NZ streets…

“Hey loser, where is the rest of your car?”

Importance of the elevator pitch – keep your purpose succinct and invite questions

What does success look like?

Important question for teams to consider…

  • Establish daily routine
  • Hold self to account – importance of duration for success – try to create the wonderful day 7 days in a row

RASCI model as model for accountability

Responsibility, Approval, Supportive, Consult, Inform

IP RASCI Solid

Power of storytelling

  • To build resilience and perseverance via storytelling – someone who overcame struggle
  • What happened, how did they overcome it, what would that look like for us (in the context of their polar exploration)
  • Principle of shaping a conversation to affect or change or align mindset around progress through narrative

AGENCY! Growth mindsets is about making choices (Jamie’s work with Big Walk)

How raise an issue was important

  • Protocols around raising issues – rotation (row, eat, sleep) three times – then if still on your mind, you can raise it but it must be in German accent.
  • Decide to keep rowing or throw out sea anchor (love this as a metaphor)
  • Great to have a clear protocol

This is self-regulation! Pause, examine evidence, adjust if required…. Sometimes you leave others behind if they are not reflective!

 30 miles analogy

conditions were the same for all, all had opportunity to have conversation from position of curiosity, but “sometimes when you think you are making the least progress, you’re actually making the most”

“Let’s stop making the measurable things important and make the important things measurable” – MacNamara

 

When you’ve had a great day at work, what has happened?

CIP Research, UK

No 1 thing – made progress

Progress doesn’t need to be tangible – instead can be intangible

What gets measured (focused, informal convos) gets done.

Conversations of progress.

What have I learnt?

Need insights to create more opportunity in the future

“I would prefer to have goals in front of me which may not be attainable rather than a weekly shopping list” – Fitzgerald

would rather have 90% aligned and 100% committed, rather than 100% committed

Guy Claxton – Teaching for intelligent mindsets

Teaching for intelligent mindsets: Auckland 15th March 2015

Teaching intelligence

Guy Claxton, King’s College London

 

  • Fixed mindset one of the most powerful brakes on intelligence.
  • We are trying to teach with the breaks on, no wonder it is a grind!
  • Intelligence is the word we give to our understanding of when the mind is working at full strength – as is creativity and wisdom
  • Intelligence characterised by times when we bring all of our resources together, we are firing on all cylinders, and we cope with situations that are complicated.
  • What is the mind like when it is at its best? Same for boys and girls?
  • Intelligence – understood in 19th – 20th cent by phrenology
  • What evidence do we use to justify judgements made by teachers about intelligence – gifted, struggling
  • Hierarchy of subjects – rational (maths etc.) at the top of the hierarchy and those involving the body (music, dance, drama, design) lower down the food chain
  • This preconception has been blown apart and is shattered by contemporary research (including Dweck).

New Kinds of Smart (Lucas and Claxton)

  • Intelligence is made up of a constellation of aspects of our minds
  • Composite, attitudinal, physical, distributed, social, expandable
  • Intelligence is distributed – not just a single person on their own, esp. if deprived from social tools. Yet we treat students as if their intelligence is their own possession.
  • Intelligence is the sum total of your habits of mind” prof Lauren Resnick
  • Intelligence as a jazz combo: plays off each other, plays sweetly, knows how to orchestrate itself.
  • Links to mindfulness, so important in a world that seems to inspire students to be distractible

Cognitive combo

  • Attention
  • Investigation
  • Imitation
  • Imagination
  • Experimentation
  • Reasoning
  • Reviewing

Attitudinal

Intelligence is powerfully expanded – and contracted – by mindsets, beliefs, attitudes and vulnerabilities”

Fixed mindsets like a computer virus – perverts functionality

Accelerators:

  • Growth mindset
  • Tolerance for uncertainty
  • Fair-mindedness
  • Empathy (perspectives)
  • Craftsmanship

Brakes:

  • Fixed mindset
  • Intolerance for uncertainty
  • My-side bias
  • Egocentricity
  • Approval

Are senior secondary teachers keen to preserve students’ ability to think on their feet – flounder intelligently.

  • Fair mindedness vs. my-side bias
  • Keith Stanovic (sp?) – Canadian researcher – found that high IQ may result in people developing more sophisticated versions of “my-side bias” (focusing on how to prove my perspective)
  • Roger Berger (Austin’s butterfly guy) Creativity emerges from having a go, reflection, having another go, reviewing, having another go etc.
  • Ability to accept suggestions from peers and see how he is bursting with pride when he creates a scientific rendition of a butterfly. Flies in the face (no pun intended) of usual process – product aspect of learning – true creativity comes from having goes at getting it right.

Physical

  • Importance of the body in intelligence – connecting body and mind
  • “The hand is the cutting edge of the mind” Jacob Bronowski
  • True creativity often stems from gesture, if ignored it can hamstring
  • Connections between cognitive performance and physical expression
  • Discusses how we feel and think through our heart, gut, skin, lungs, brain – the body as a connected being where intelligence/ thought happens

Distributed

“We make the world smart so we don’t have to be” – Andy Clark

  • it is person-plus-tools
  • deep in our genetic make up to be designers of tools to extend and develop our intelligence

Yes, we do group work but when stakes are high we expect students to work independently. This is so important regarding how we, as a whole, approach assessment.

Social

Intelligence is a social triumph – Phil Brown and Hugh Lauder

  • Two heads are better than one (sometimes)
  • Communities of practice
  • Social and digital learning
    • Personal learning networks

Sugatra Mitra’s hole in the wall – perfect e.g. of social aspect of intelligence

Expandable

All the instruments of the orchestra of intelligence improve with practice..

We can teach in a way that builds and broadens habits of mind

  • Resilience, imagination, empathy, resourcefulness, reasoning, craftsmanship, reflection, collaboration
  • Links to HPSS Habits and Values
  • The joy of the struggle – Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant when working on ‘The Office scripts’.

Build imagination by using language that encourages imaginative thinking. Move away from “is” language – fixed idea – i.e. the rainbow is red, yellow etc. – Is there actually red? Or is it “man-salmon” (a quote from Steve)

Instead but on “could be” language rather than “is” language…

Love the “empathy specs” to build and stretch empathetic thinking

Building reflection

  • Teachers should coach students to think like a reflective practitioner of learning – essential skill
  • Landau Forte College school in Darby – learning powered school (video clip, see if it is online…)
  • Learning how to learn
  • http://www.landau-forte.org.uk/

Intelligence is NOT Fixed

  • Children can become smarter – and so can we
  • Schools can aim to build learning agility /power / growth mindsets
  • Learning powered students do better academically
  • Why train children to be diligent clerks when we can help them become intelligent explorers?

It is our moral, ethical responsibility as teachers to build students’ intelligence – aims for a more advanced NZ – aspects of citizenship

Question from floor re assessment limiting intelligence

Response – it is up to us to build learning power in students. Not a matter of choosing assessment success or life long learning.

These questions about NCEA and summative, high-stakes assessment are frustrating me! This is another example of how teachers’ fixed mindsets about NCEA and assessment are creating barriers for our students…

 

Streaming

Currently similar in levels of achievement and performance (CLAPS!) – evident in athletics, sports etc.

Problem only comes when you insert the virus of labelling this as predicitive of performance expectations – interesting in terms of how we are using our e-AsTTle / OTJs