Sunday, April 19, 2015

What does it mean to be Adventurous?

As I delve into what it means to be Adventurous, I need to start with the idea of 'Growth Mindset'. Because being Adventurous, like our other Hobsonville Habits, promotes 'Growth Mindset'.

Growth Mindset?

- Best summed up by two of our students, based on the work of Carol Dweck:

"People with a growth mindset tend to learn from criticism, have a great sense of free will and embrace challenges. They are resilient, adventurous, curious, contributive, creative, responsive, reflective and purposeful. They have a passion for learning, not a hunger for approval. They know that their traits could be developed and enhanced through dedication and effort."

In this 5 minute clip, Carol Dweck explains Growth vs Fixed Mindset:

Growth mindset: the belief that talents and abilities can be cultivated. A view that promotes the taking on of challenges in the face of obstacles. That effort is what makes you smarter and better.

Fixed mindset: challenges and obstacles are threatening to ones sense of ability. Even effort is a threat, because there is the belief that things come naturally, therefore if effort is required, you must not be good at it. A "You've either got it our you don't" attitude!

It's also important to note, that you can have different mindsets for different things / contexts / modes. To be honest, there's not a day that doesn't go by where my mindset isn't tested. The challenge is to be able to call yourself on your fixed mindset and identify how growth might occur.

For me, our Hobsonville Habit Adventurous = 'Growth Mindset'.

While our Habits are set in concrete - literally (posted on our stairwell!), the unpacking and development of them will always be ongoing and evolving as we explore what they mean for us as learners.

Currently, our definition of Adventurous is: I am willing to take risks and look for opportunities which may not yet exist. I give everything a go.

Other language / characteristics associated with 'Adventurous are:  

enterprising, dream big, innovative, risk taking, pro-active, always a learner, leader, team-builder, catalyst, resourceful, social and economical awareness, creative, motivated, high expectations, mastery, rigour, challenging , authentic, quality, leadership, agency, mana motuhake, competitive...

Being Adventurous is, as Carol Dweck says, taking on challenges in the face of obstacles. Obstacles might be personal, physical, mental or emotional. In my previous blog I wrote about being adventurous in pursuing passions and this being more than just doing what you love, but continually finding new challenges and pushing yourself out of your comfort zone in the process. This certainly happened for me in my pursuit of Adventure Racing and taking part in a 7 day race - GODZone (story still to be told!).

During the school holidays I got to spend time with family and was reminded that being Adventurous, has the same characteristics (challenge, obstacles, risk taking, etc...), but looks different for each of us. You don't have to go out and do a multi-day adventure race, to be adventurous

My mum epitomises the habit Adventurous. I was lucky enough to be with her at the NZ Creative Fibre awards in Rotorua where she had 4 pieces in the exhibition and a garment in the Fashion Show (which took out two of the major awards). No surprises really - Mum has always been passionate about design and is an amazing knitter, sewer, designer, creator ... What was inspiring was that all her pieces were Harakeke (flax weaving). The table that we sat with asked if I took after my mum. I replied, "no - definitely not, I'm not creative" (very fixed mindset of me). One of the replies I got was, "anyone can learn if they set their mind to it." And she was right, because 8 years ago when my Mum and Dad moved to Opotiki, Mum probably didn't know what Harakeke was, let alone be able to pronounce it. But her passion for the arts and her passion for learning saw her push all her comfort zone boundaries and immerse her self in a 3 year course, learning the art of Harakeke. The course is over, but Mum is always learning, not just weaving, but about Tikanga, Te Reo. The beauty of being Adventurous is that the characteristics you develop transfer into all areas of your life and become who you are rather than just what you do. 

Bev Vellenoweth creations

 Be Adventurous: Explore what you are interested in / what you love / what you are passionate about. Continually ask yourself how you can take it to a level where you feel uncomfortable and uncertain - take risks! Don't stop learning.

Friday, April 10, 2015

Sharing Stories - Being Visible - WALKING THE TALK

There is hardly a day that doesn't go by where I am not reading a blog post by one of my colleagues.  And each time I'm inspired by their level of reflection and insight into education and their journey here at HPSS.  And each time I exclaim - "that's inspired me to blog!"

Well, confession time - "forgive me, for I have not blogged since June 3 2014!"  

While my "that's inspired me to blog" exclamations and then not actually doing it has created a great deal of humour around the place, I am actually embarrassed that it's been almost a year.  So what gave me the kick start I needed? It wasn't actually all the cajoling, but thank you anyway Claire, Steve, Bryce, Ros and Maurie.  It was partly due to a  life-changing experience I had about 4 weeks ago, but more so this image I ran into this afternoon:

Today, there's been blokes buzzing around painting walls different colours and putting signs up, but I wasn't expecting this - our Hobsonville Habits - very visible.  I felt such a huge sense of pride when I saw our stairway, because these Habits are the heart and soul of HPSS.  It has been an amazing journey with our learners, our parents, our community and our staff to refine the dispositions we want to continue to build and develop in our HPSS learners. And by 'learners' I don't just mean our students.  It was the visibility of our Habits this afternoon that struck a real chord with me.

What I admire most about my fellow bloggers is their self critique and their story telling of their learning - warts and all, so that what we are doing here is transparent and shared with everyone - not just within our walls.  The dispositional curriculum is part of my leadership role and I encourage our learners everyday to share their stories and set their goals, around their successes and failures around these habits, because, as Linda Darling-Hammond (Most Likely to Succeed)  says, this is how we build 'Grit'.  

However, I think, for a moment, that I lost sight of the fact that when it comes to building dispositions / habits that I am just as much of a learner as any of our students.  My initial embarrassment when I saw the habits on display stems not just from my acute lack of blogging (sharing), but from being some one who preaches the necessity of growing our dispositions in our young people, but not actually making my own stories, successes,failures and learning visible.  So, it's about time I shared some of my learning - WALK THE TALK!

Back to that life changing experience.  In the first week of March I was in Wanaka competing in a week long Adventure Race, GODZone - "an adventure race like no other."  I am incredibly passionate about Adventure Racing, but also realised going into GODZone, that I have generally stayed in my comfort zone.  The challenge about pursuing your passions, as I've more recently discovered, is to be able to push yourself further so that it doesn't just become something you are good at, but something that takes you to places (both mentally and physically) that you never thought you could go.  GODZone pushed me to that place, over and over again.  By day three, about 70 hours in with maybe 4 hours sleep I hit rock bottom.  We had hiked 22km up Brewster Glacier, canoed 22km down the Makarora River, spent 32 hours out on the 56km Albert Burn Alpine Trek, Canoed and Coasteered another 41km and were in the middle of the most brutal and soul destroying MountainBike I had ever done.  We had also climbed to heights I had not experienced before.  What went through my head?  Corny as it may sound, our Hobsonville Habits and the realisation that when you are completely stripped of everything, what you do have left are those core values / dispositions / habits to draw on to get you through.  

So, just as the habits have been put out there, I'm going to share my learning around each of the Hobsonville Habits and at the same time tell my GODZone story - warts and all!  One habit a week, starting with ADVENTUROUS - watch this space!  

Team Kori Kita: Steve, Lea, Hedley and Dean