Saturday, January 29, 2022

I cannot teach anyone anything, I can only make them think (Socrates)

Photo by Jason Strull on Unsplash

Early days in the evolving school year with new rules around face coverings and social distancing but things have settled pretty quickly in our new Learning Centre after just two days (you'll remember that we moved the senior Learning Centre downstairs and combined it with the Year 9 and 10 students).

We are certainly all about that Socratic school of thought; the Learning Centre is set up to encourage self directed learning via the encouragement to think and make good decisions. Our school motto is Learning to Learn.

We aim to provide the right thinking tools and we share Lloyd Alexander's view that we learn more by looking for the answer to a question and not finding it than we do from learning the answer itself.

Part of that thinking process is providing a calm, settled environment with choices for students - where to study, where to take zooms, where to have face-to-face lessons and where to collaborate.

Every week is different and every day presents fresh challenges and the need to be resilient in the face of covid-19 restrictions, but week 1 was a winner.

Monday, January 24, 2022


There is nothing worse for a young convert than to be thrust into leadership without mentoring and ongoing coaching because the devil relishes these vulnerable souls.

Gary Rohrmayer

Wednesday, January 19, 2022

Stupid Cupid stop picking on me (Connie Francis)

Photo by Charles Deluvio on Unsplash

A recent post by Seth Godin dealt with Harsh feedback:

It often comes from one of two kinds of people:

People who give themselves feedback in the same heartless tone. They don’t hesitate to brutally lash out, because that’s the noise they often hear inside.

And folks who honestly believe that their work is flawless. They can’t understand how anyone else can fail to measure up, because they never seem to.

Of course, each group has a significant (though different) problem. In fact, now that they’re spreading their harshness with others, they have two problems.

When in doubt, look for the fear.
In my experience - this is so true. In the past, harsh feedback has told me more about the person giving the feedback, than about me.

I once had to provide a lot of evidence to an invigilator for a degree course. The evidence had to be specific and I needed three examples for each KPI. After some hours, when he'd gone through it all he turned to me and said - so, do you think you're the finished article?

Flabbergasted I was! 

Saturday, January 15, 2022

I saw myself in checkered lands, I even dreamt I was the knight in command (Split Enz)

Photo by Jan Tinneberg on Unsplash

The starting off point for this post is a question from Seth Godin - What did you expect?

If you open a roadside motel, expect that tired and demanding budget travelers will arrive.

If you run a fancy restaurant, don’t be surprised if people will angle and cajole and lie to get a ‘better’ table. 
If you’re a mental health professional, expect that the people you encounter will have issues with their mental health. 

In the case of teaching - if you are a teacher, expect issues with students' behaviour and engagement, parents of students who run the continuum from disinterest to extreme keen interest, other teachers experiencing a range of adult pressures and bosses you need to be accountable to.

It all goes with the territory.

Wednesday, January 5, 2022

If something is perfect from start to finish there is no suggestion of the infinite (Yanagi Soetsu)

Photo by Photoholgic on Unsplash

Recently, Seth Godin posted this and it made me reflect on the decision making process around a recent big change we've made at the Hastings' Campus for this year - swapping the purpose of the upstairs and downstairs learning spaces around to accommodate the number of students and the staffing we have.

The two choices for anyone with a new idea

“It’s simple.”

“It’s complicated.”

When you talk to someone about your new idea, they’re going to realize right away that it’s one or the other.

The trap is trying to pitch a complicated cultural shift, possibility or project as if it’s simple.

Darwin’s insight about how the world evolved is simple once you understand it, but it represents such a conceptual leap that bringing it to someone who’s looking for a simple and easy explanation is sure to fail. But if you invite someone along for a journey instead of a quick fix, you earn the right to take your time and tell your story. 

The simple/complex trap often confuses well-meaning people in politics, business and the arts. The solution isn’t to dumb down the complex. The solution is to invite the right people along on the journey.

I feel that the successful consultative/collaborative approach did just that - invited the right people along in the process.

It's not going to be perfect but we've got the right basis within which to embrace the imperfections.