Wednesday, October 28, 2020

Nothings succeeds like a budgerigar

Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

The philosphical tension between how much self-directed rope to give senior students is quite a real one.

On one hand - the desire for students to succeed (the down side of that is the lack of desire for students to fail, and thereby learn about themselves); and on the other - the desire for them to be (or become) self-directed learners.

How much do we intervene when they are poised to fail? Riddle me that. How much?

I checked my previous posts on self-directed learning on this blog and I think there's a real danger, from time to time, of forgetting the central precepts of SDL.

I wrote this two years ago: 

What conditions need to exist to improve S-DL?

Great question. Here's my response!

  • Environment (personalised places/conditions to do it)
  • Learning goals (set by the student and owned!)
  • Choice (what to study and when to study)
  • Self-reflection (How am I doing? What needs to change?)
  • Support: Learning coaches (help is on the way)
BTW: Those last two are linked. Self-reflection is tough for kids and that's why a coach is a crucial ingredient.

When one or more of those elements are missing there's an imbalance in the force.

There's also potential imbalance when the desire for results becomes a primary driving force and coaching becomes something else.

It's a dilly of a pickle.

Thursday, October 22, 2020

I got these fresh eyes, never seen you before like this (Andy Grammer)

Photo by Renee Fisher on Unsplash

School Inspections can induce a number of emotions.

This week, the powers that be paid a visit to my two campuses.

Cue emoticon city Arizona: apprehension (that we'll be seen in our true light - sometimes a one off image can lodge in the brain); pride in our campuses; elation at showing off the great people at our workplace.

I love them (really) because an inspection means you see familiar surroundings with fresh eyes - a bit like showing someone around your home. You appreciate anew what you have!

They are also a great chance to get other's impressions of how we are doing and what we could do better.

In this case, this week, it was an excellent experience with valuable input from a hugely supportive team, and great preparation for an ERO visit that is scheduled for November. 

Saturday, October 17, 2020

What a day for a daydreamin' boy (The Lovin' Spoonfull)

Photo by Drew Hays on Unsplash

I'm a day dreamer from way back.

You know that opening scene from Boyhood, with the boy on his back looking up at the sky? That was me at his age.

Jacky often asks me what I'm thinking when I'm gazing out of the window at home.

The answer is often, "I'm just looking at the clouds". True fact!

A colleague of mind posted this International Cloud Atlas on his site three years ago - and it's still cool.

Everything you may wish to know about clouds is right there, and it's fun to use the compare clouds function as well.

Look up!

Monday, October 12, 2020

I don’t look at the passport of people; I look at their quality and their attitude (Arsène Wenger)

If you're looking for a leader to learn from, may I suggest you consider A
rsène Wenger, the former manager of Arsenal F.C. for 22 years.

He has a new book out (today in fact) that I can't wait to read, and learn from.

Yes, I am an Arsenal fan, but I am also a leader and if I want to improve (and I do) then I need to learn from the best.

This Guardian article is a good place to start. It features a terrific interview with Wenger, the questions coming from a wide range of celebrities, including a certain Chelsea and now Spurs manager.

But I still want that book!

It's called My Life In Red and White. Brilliant title. I need a copy. Fast!

Wednesday, October 7, 2020

The brain acts as a promiscuous encoding device (Oliver Hardt)

Photo by jesse orrico on Unsplash

The brain is amazing. 

To remember, the brain must actively forget (I recommend reading the whole article).

Oliver Hardt notes that at night many people can recall even the most mundane events of their day in detail, but then they forget them in the following days or weeks.

The reason, he thinks, is that the brain doesn’t know straight away what is important and what isn’t, so it tries to remember as much as possible at first, but gradually forgets most things. “Forgetting serves as a filter,” Hardt said. “It filters out the stuff that the brain deems unimportant.”

In the southern hemisphere generally, and NZ specifically, we're into the second week of a study break between terms.

After we return, students will have roughly 4 weeks to prepare for external exams.

How much will they remember from the last weeks of Term 3, let alone from pre-lockdown, or during our Alert Level 4 Lockdown?

Our outdated, no longer fit for purpose, rationale for having external exams needs re-examining at least and, hopefully, abolishing in my brain's opinion.

Saturday, October 3, 2020

Another pleasant day in the countryside (Crowded House)

Photo by Blaz Photo on Unsplash

Marking student work is something I'm a little rusty at, but it came back pretty quickly today.

It feels good to have this done, half way through my holidays. 

My original thoughts were to have this completed before heading off to New Plymouth on holiday but, predictably, other, more fun things, took my attention away.

Anyway, it's done, as is my mid holiday catch up with emails (39 of them).

So, I now have no excuses for some home projects: secure the back paddock so that the chickens don't get into Jacky's gardens - they love digging up her bulbs; a sandpit for Asher; gardening - loads to do here; figure out the irrigation system so that we have some water getting to the plants this summer. 

That's enough to be going on with.

Aside from all that stuff, I also want to lounge around next week, listening to music, and reading some things from my stockpile of books, and blogging (of course).