Developing the Characteristics of our Heroes

Entering this term I had set myself the goal of improving in my role as a Learning Coach as I felt this was the area of of teaching I was least proud of in Term 1. Our Learning Hubs at Hobsonville Point Secondary School are a version of Learning Advisories as seen at Big Picture Schools and we see our students every day ranging in time from 30 minutes to 2 hours.

In these hubs we are developing students’ Hobsonville Habits (our learning dispositions) their metacognition (which we are using Hermann’s Brain as a focus on this) their hauora (wellbeing) and also being an active advocate for students in their learning. I had done all of these things well in Term 1 but thought that I could make this more powerful for them by personalising our activities to be more meaningful for these specific students.

The activity I describe here took place on Tuesday morning when we spent 2 hours together and is based heavily on an idea from The Falconer by Grant Lichtman (see my full reflection on this book here).

I asked students to sit quietly and write down the name of 3 people that they would consider heroes or role models, those people who inspire them the most. Questions from students about this task included:

  • can they be fictional characters?
  • do they need to be people that others will know?
  • is it ok to choose my parents?

I answered that it could be absolutely anyone that inspired them, that there were no boundaries on who they could choose. Students then shared their choices on a whiteboard and we discussed as a group who some of the people were.

Students then had to say how these people inspired them. What were the characteristics that made them so inspiring. I stated that I didn’t want answers about the job or role that person has had but more what makes that person so much more inspiring than others that have had that job or role. After reflecting on this privately, the students added their reasons to the whiteboard:

Why our role models inspire us

Why our role models inspire us

We then discussed all the inspiring characteristics on the board and looked for the common threads among them. We negotiated the word or phrase that best represented these common threads and I wrote them up on a document that was screened so all could see it. These words are now the characteristics that we would like to develop in ourselves over the next 5 years at the school:

The Reweti Characteristics

The Reweti Characteristics

This document was shared with the group and then the students set off individually to reflect on these. They had to say how they thought we could develop these characteristics in ourselves  – what activities we could do within our hub and what they needed from the school as a whole – so they could be confident that they would leave school at 18 with well developed characteristics that would enable them to be like their role models/heroes.

I walked out of this Hub time feeling it had been an incredible 2 hours. It is the Hub session that I am most proud of this year and it gives a great foundation for what we can work on from here.

p.s. I followed this up by asking the students today (Wednesday) to start collaborating on what they would like to do in our 90 minute extended Hub time on Friday. The students must give me by 9 a.m. tomorrow a plan for what activities they would like to do with reasons why they have chosen those. Far more student agency in the way our Hub is operating this week and I will be interested to see if they relate their plans to these characteristics we have developed together…

p.p.s. The students have decided that they will spend Friday’s extended Hub developing a deeper profile of one of their chosen role models. They will be focusing on examples of the inspiring characteristics of that person.


1 thought on “Developing the Characteristics of our Heroes

  1. Pingback: Improving Awesomeness in Iteration 2 | Steve Mouldey

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