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:



And peer feedback from another student:


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



Hope has been on my mind recently. My husband describes me as the eternal optimist. I have great expectations of the possible, of people and of situations. The glass is always half full.

A glass half full A glass half full of blue water, at an angle by Michael of Scott

A glass half full
A glass half full of blue water, at an angle. By Michael of Scott

What is hope?

hope [həʊp]


1. (sometimes plural) a feeling of desire for something and confidence in the possibility of its fulfilment his hope for peace was justifiedtheir hopes were dashed
2. a reasonable ground for this feeling there is still hope
3. a person or thing that gives cause for hope
4. a thing, situation, or event that is desired my hope is that prices will fall


1. (tr; takes a clause as object or an infinitive) to desire (something) with some possibility of fulfilment we hope you can come I hope to tell you
2. (intr; often foll by for) to have a wish (for a future event, situation, etc.)
3. (tr; takes a clause as object) to trust, expect, or believe we hope that this is satisfactory
I had the joy and privilege of recently spending the bulk of one week jetting around the country working with Classical Studies teachers on designing effective, connected courses. I am hopeful that harnessing curse design will empower teachers and result in better learning outcomes for students across NZ – a lofty ambition.

When I came back to some powerful learning around restorative practice on Friday, at Hobsonville Point, the final circle time was devoted to us (as colleagues) choosing adjectives which describe a member of our team. The lovely Pete chose ‘hopeful’ for me and his description was poetic and apt. And honestly, a smidge too close for a compliment for me to deal with on a Friday afternoon when I was really tired.

Yet, as a Classical Scholar, I understand that when Pandora released the evils of humanity into the world, it was hope that she retained in the jar – is hope therefore a bane or a blessing for humanity? This has been playing on my mind over the last few frantic weeks of term. I wonder if hopefulness makes me just keep chugging away, ticking things off my to do list, panicking slightly as the end of term loomed and the to-do list for learning communities, hubs and our teaching modules continued to grow. For Pandora, she trapped hope in the jar. Is hope supposed to be a monster unleashed or a refuge from said monsters?

To be hopeful helps me so much in shaping the exciting new school, Hobsonville Point Secondary School.  I am hopeful that the vision of our school will be visible, present and valid, I am hopeful that students will be always be at the centre of learning and teaching, I am hopeful that we will harness the NZC and, eventually, NCEA in order to  empower our students.


As the term wore on, the levels of awareness of the enormity of setting up our school loomed.  We were privileged to have the future foundation students of Hobsonville Point Secondary School come in for an orientation day. This was brilliant. I enjoyed working with the students in my hub and all of the students in Taheretikitiki learning community. The students were amped, the coaches excited at the sight of students again (it had been a long time) and a real highlight for me was the activity Sally organised for each learning hub to do – the dream tree. Students and coaches each added a leaf to the a large tree on the wall. On the leaves, students were encouraged to record their dreams, aspirations and hopes for themselves at HPSS and beyond.
When the parents came for the evening event, they were also encouraged to add a leaf to the tree. They could record their hopes and dreams – for themselves, the school, their students – and feel part of our school community. The reality of ‘powerful partnerships’ – part of our school’s vision – was alive and kicking that day.
The next two days were spent working in our learning communities to develop and refine that part of our curriculum. Taheretikitiki learning community consists of Bryce, Danielle, Lea, Steve and myself. Three brilliant days were spent in our hubs – exploring the learning model (my being, my learning and my community), devising rules of engagement for our learning community and creating learning resources to support each other, and the other coaches, when working in learning hubs. Working as learning hub to create effective learning hubs gave me great cheer and filled my with hope. Hope in this case to stave off the the naysayers about our vision for Hobsonville Point and those who have ‘mocked’ how much work we have done this year.
When I look at a definition of hope (as both a noun and a verb), I feel that hope has to be a blessing.

Brainy brains and emotional experiences

The third week of my journey covers reflection, brain exploration and taking values into practice.

At the end of last week I shared my story with the staff about my learning journey and values which have shaped my life.  I spent a lot of time thinking about my life, the learning experiences, challenges I faced and how I overcame them. This level of reflection wasn’t part of my usual daily routine and I found the process to be very emotional. So many aspects of the vision of Hobsonville Point resonate with me as my life would have turned out quite differently had I not been in a school were there was sufficient flexibility to allow me to take a slightly different route and personalise my learning. I found sharing my story to be very difficult – there were lots of tears (from me and others) but I kept coming back to why I believe that learning needs to be personalised – if Kavanagh hadn’t been so open, I would have left school with my highest qualification as 4 subjects School C. Now, I have just finished my masters and am in line for first class honours. I love hearing the stories of everyone at Hobsonville. There are moments of connectedness, shared experiences (especially when looking at old photos) and the sense that we are coming together as a team. I look forward to more stories today and tomorrow.

So, after that cathartic experience, we spent the beginning of the week with Julia Atken looking at learning preferences and the brain. We had all completed a Herrmann’s Brain diagnostic test earlier in the term and Julia took us through our results and the implications of our results.  This was a really interesting process. As a team we had to select dispositions or qualities from a set of cards which most reflected ourselves. Julia put limitations on these so that we had to make a choice of three cards, with the option of one which did not reflect us at all. I felt that I wanted to pick a card which reflected  an emotional way of thinking but instead chose my three descriptors as ‘flexible’, ‘challenging’ and ‘planner’ – my non-me card was ‘quantitative’. I was quite pleased with my choices but not at all surprised to see that my Herrmann’s brain diagnosis placed me as mainly holistic/ emotional in my thinking/learning preferences, followed by a practical approach with rational thinking as my least preferred mode.  This correlates to my Myers-Briggs personality profile – ENFP.  I think big picture with an emotional slant – innovation, imagining, risk-taking balanced out with structured, logical and conservative approaches – kind of like my three words.  It was great to compare and contrast our diagrams with the team – as a group we have common traits but there is diversity. I really loved the openness with which everyone shared their diagrams, their interpretations of them and the acknowledgement of our shared differences.

photo (2)

I see real potential in how we use this information about our thinking preferences – both in terms of leading learning (for students and staff) but also in how we work closely alongside students to personalise learning. Personalisation does not have to be about making student’s passions the focus of their learning but instead could be about knowing preferences and challenging learners to develop their least preferred option. I also love that it doesn’t label someone as ‘being’ blue or yellow or red… or whatever. Instead, it acknowledges preferences. The diagnosis also covers how you are likely to think when under pressure – no surprises for me that my rational and practical ways of thinking take a backseat to a more emotional response. However, the only thing which proved to be a surprise was that I was more likely to be an experimental thinker under pressure – future focused. This would come as no surprise to my poor husband who sees me as the eternal optimist, particularly when under duress.

Tuesday and Wednesday has had the Leaders of Learning working on developing the ‘Hobsonville Habits’. These are the practices and principles which will underpin everything that we do. This has been a great academic exercise where we developed ‘I’ statements about what those habits may look like – e.g. ‘I stay firm to my resolve’ as a habit which underpins resilience. I have really enjoyed the robust discussion around these – not only as I love discussion and dialogue – but we are hopefully more mindful of the thinking preferences approaches we as a LOL team possess.  I love that we have time to debate and discuss the semantics of these (I am passionate about language and the power of words) but that this is balanced by the fact that we have time, a luxurious resource which most educators are not afforded. I love that we can say ‘throw all of those ideas down, we can look at them again later’ instead of having the pressure to produce something, something quite profound, and do so quickly.

My learnings from this week:

  • Good things take time
  • It takes all kinds of people to achieve, I did know this but the brain diagnosis confirmed the importance of diversity (especially in thinking!)
  • Honesty and openness allow for individual’s values, beliefs and ways of doing things to be explored