Monday, February 11, 2013

How did I get to this point?

I arrived in Auckland from Opotiki two weeks ago to take up my post as one of 3 DP's at Hobsonville Point Secondary School.  Day 1:  Navigating my way from Mangere Bridge (current abode) to Hobsonville Point.  Quite exciting, considering for the last 6 years I have lived 100 metres from Opotiki College!  Made it.  Stopped and stared in awe at the construction site of our new secondary school - the enormity of the challenge ahead slowly sinking in.  Arrived at the new HP Primary School and tried to restrain myself from running around in absolute delight in, what one can aptly name, a modern learning environment.  I spent week 1 pinching myself and asking how this country girl got to this point?    

A few thoughts come to light.  Firstly, that my experiences so far have set me up for the Hobsonville Point challenge.   I was lucky enough to work with an innovative team at Opotiki College who through continual inquiry into what was best for our students turned teaching and learning upside down to implement a 21st century teaching and learning model - within an existing school structure.  Some of the radical changes was the shift to 100minute teaching blocks, High Impact Projects and the establishment of Learning Advisories. This will always be a work in progress, but what was most exciting was to be part of a vision that placed students and their passions and interests at the heart of the teaching and learning.  Secondly, I have an unfailing belief that all students can learn and that I can make a difference.  Thirdly, I don't have all the answers but I can't wait to work with colleagues and students to continue to find ways for them to achieve and reach their full potential.  

What I do know? 

Relationships are key, as are high expectations - of ourselves and our students.  At the core of our teaching and learning their must be a strong vision, informed by current and relevant research and inquiry.  Student's learning must be relevant to them and to be truely valuable needs to draw on their passions and interests.  I also know that 21st century teaching and learning does not require a 21st century modern learning environment.   Sure, it helps and for me at HPSS, our state of the art environment is a privilege - not a give-in.  However, a modern learning environment does not equate to effective teaching and learning - quality education is a mindset, not a bunch of fancy buildings.  

What do we have to do?  

De-school!  (It's actually harder than it sounds)  It's about continually challenging ourselves about what education is, what it looks like and where it needs to go.  It's about making it relevant for our 21st Century learners.  The world we live in is evolving at a rapid pace - so why has education remained so static?  It's about changing the way we think and not hitting the default button.  Defaulting - not going back to what we know, the way we've always done it, just because the going gets tough.  So at the moment, along with de-schooling, there's a lot of 're-framing' and 'unbundling' going on.  

How do we do it?

 Currently my 'how to' is realitvely simple, but as I continue on this journey I'm sure my reflections will gain more deepth.  The how to is never losing sight of our vision - a vision which has students at the heart of it.


  1. Well done. Looking forward to following your thoughts.

  2. Awesome. Now we keep each other in check with our blog writing!! :)

  3. Great blog! Now I can make some sense out of what you try to say. I look forward to reading more.