It’s like electricity…

This week we have been looking at our passions, why passions are important in education and what it means to be ‘in the zone’.

Wednesday morning started with a session from Maurie about educational change based on the Te Kotahitanga model of GPILSEO (Goals, Pedagogy, Institutions, Leadership, Spread, Evidence, Ownership). I found this really inspiring, especially how we as a staff are going to make sure that what happens at school reflects the vision of the school. I liked this model of leadership change as it addresses all parts of school – physical, institutional, leadership, staff and of course, students.


A snippet from ‘Billy Elliot’ was our starter for Thursday morning – looking at Billy’s audition where he explains how it feels to dance –

“what does it feel like when you’re dancing?
Billy: Don’t know. Sorta feels good. Sorta stiff and that, but once I get going… then I like, forget everything. And… sorta disappear. Sorta disappear. Like I feel a change in my whole body. And I’ve got this fire in my body. I’m just there. Flyin’ like a bird. Like electricity.”


… which got us onto talking about how we feel when we are in the zone. Lea’s task for us was to make a sculpture to explain how we feel when we are in the zone. Mine was a very small, coloured box – to reflect how insular I get when I am focused; I lose track of time, I don’t stop for anything, I can be easily startled… Interestingly while my sculpture was very small in scale and therefore quite different from many other peoples, the similarities about losing track of the outside world, not wanting to be interrupted or being so focused on what we were doing were clear.

I kept going with my professional reading of Ken Robinson’s The Element (see my thoughts here) and found this to be one of the most engaging texts I have stumbled upon for quite a while.  Our bookclub on Friday delved into this reading, with some brilliant insights, into the power of finding one’s passions as well as the need to ensure that we as teachers/ mentors allow students to discover and extend their passions. I loved Robinson’s description of the Element as a “meeting point between natural aptitude and personal passion”  where people have “lives with purpose and meaning in and beyond what work we do” (p. 16). In so many ways, this sums up the front end of the NZC where the ultimate aim of education in New Zealand is stated in the vision as “young people who will be confident, connected, actively involved, lifelong learners” (NZC, p. 7).

I took one thing in particular from reading The Element, that mentors (whoever they are) need to:

  • recognise
  • encourage
  • facilitate
  • stretch

As we are about to embark on our roles as LOLs this week, I thought that this was timely considering the role that I am going to play in developing the learning hubs at HPSS.

I engaged in my very first edchatnz session on Twitter on Thursday night. The topic was on personalised learning, which is to the forefront of my thinking at the moment, and I felt that I had something to say. I am sceptical by nature, especially of bandwaggoning online, and have been known to be scathing of twits on twitter. Having said this, I actually enjoyed the sense of community on the #edchatnz discussion. The more sceptical part of my brain was whispering in my ear the whole time “walk the talk, walk the talk” but overwhelmingly I was saddened by the number of people yet to jump wholeheartedly into the twittersphere who would be active, critical voices in this forum. Then my internet connection died, thanks for getting that fault sorted Vodafone, so I was forced to revert to being a normal person at home with my family on a Thursday night. I think I will try this #edchatnz thingee again though.  ****shamless plug, follow me on twitter @mrsmeganpete ***

On Friday, Di lead us through a brilliant session on pulling together all of our work using the ‘Julia Circles’ to try to refine our vision, principles and practice for HPSS. My brain was sore after this session, but pleasantly so.  Friday afternoon was personal time, unless we wanted to join in Claire’s ‘thinky tanky’ on digital citizenship (which I normally would except I wasn’t feeling that well), and I spent the time in a quiet spot in the school reading Changing the Odds by Bryan Goodwin (here). I am still working my way through this but have enjoyed the challenging tone of this reading – e.g. are we doing what matters?

Key understandings from this week:

  • Personal passions shape who we are, how we relate to ideas and what we value in life
  • It is easy to get suckered into the vacuum of educational ideas – an echo chamber of sorts. What is more difficult is thinking critically about the ideas, relating them to my interpretation of good pedagogy and having the guts to challenge not only myself but also other educators