How Might We Promote Growth Mindset, Risk Taking and Perseverance in Teachers?

It has been a while since I have posted a Question Quest post and this is a question I have been pondering a lot lately. This HMW question actually started as a why question:

Why are teachers so unwilling to be uncomfortable when they expect it of students every day?

I have been frustrated to see teachers across the country unwilling to take a risk and push themselves to try new approaches. It seems that it is about getting teachers to feel ok with that uncomfortable learning feeling. To me, discomfort is just a part of learning:

And if we expect students to be ok at grappling with confusion and discomfort while they learn new skills and ideas, shouldn’t we be ok at doing the same? Continue reading


Why Does Dissonance Provoke Curiosity in Some But Rejection From Others?

It has been a while since posting anything in my Question Quest but this question has been developing over the past few days.

Whilst at ULearn there was lots of discussion about the ideas being presented in keynotes, workshops etc. but also about educational ideas that have been shared over the year.

The most interesting conversations for me were about when people disagreed with the ideas being presented. When these ideas caused dissonance in people’s minds there seemed to be 2 main reactions: curiosity to find out more OR outright rejection of either the idea and/or of the person presenting those ideas.

I wonder why there is such extreme reactions to when our minds encounter dissonance? Is this linked at all with Growth vs Fixed Mindsets?

Why Change My Question Quest?

Regular followers of my blog will have noticed that my Question Quest came to a halt last week.

I have thoroughly enjoyed asking these questions and have loved the discussions that have been provoked by some of the posts. Lately however, I have found that some of the questions have been rushed thoughts at the end of a long day rather than properly thought out questions. It is for this reason that I will not complete the challenge as originally set out – 1 post a day for July and August.

Instead, I will continue to post Question blogs infrequently but indefinitely. My aim was to role model questioning as an example for students and to develop my questioning ability. I have done that through regular questioning but feel it is now time to focus on asking questions worth asking.

I will try to show how the questions have developed to their final blog form and the posts that support them will end up longer. I feel this will still allow for a modelling of effective questioning strategies whilst allowing me to focus on the issues I consider truly worth pursuing. Hopefully, this will also allow me to return to more of my reflective narrative blog posts that help me process my thinking (the actual reason I blog regularly).

Thanks for following this blog series and I hope to still discuss many of these issues with you all in future.

How Might We make the most of a conference?

I love conferences. Incredible learning, great networking and a lot of laughs and fun. This week will be full of those at the EdChatNZ Conference but I want to ensure there is the final fun part involved as well. Inspired by what the Geography Collective challenged conference attendees to do at the GA Conference this year:


I am creating a list of missions for people to achieve during the EdChatNZ Conference on Friday and Saturday. The missions for the speakers are the same as above but there are some changes to the rest to reflect the sharing ethos of the #EdChatNZ conference.

At this stage it includes such things as new technologies, food, post-its, autographs, questions, selfies and grelfies.

See you all Friday morning!


This post is part of my Questioning Quest.

How Might We best share our Geography practices?

Each year I help to organise our Geography Awareness Week in New Zealand. Most of the time it is about creating some quiz resources and a couple of fun activities to help students see the relevance of Geography to their lives. This year I wanted to get Geography teachers across the country sharing their best practice. Some subjects have started twitter chats (#engchatnz and #scichatnz) but I wanted to have an event that would enable non-twitter users to engage in conversation as well. This led to us having a Geography Teach Meet NZ online yesterday:

Thanks to the amazing Sonya Van Schaijik for helping us get this together. There were some great ideas shared and I have had really positive comments from Geography teachers (both on twitter and in the “real world”) about how they found it.

Kim Randall shared Google Maps Engine Lite which is a free web based GIS tool, an incredible resource for us Geo teachers. I look forward to playing with this and getting to know it better!

Steve Smith spoke about taking overseas field trips. Although harder to organise, the payoff is definitely worth it with the passion and engagement it brings.

I spoke about how Design Thinking can work in Geography. If you follow this blog you will not be surprised about this topic (see my other posts on Design Thinking here).

Craig Perry shared how he uses SOLO Taxonomy in Geography to help make learning visible for students.

Heather Eccles was lucky last sharing the power of making authentic connections around the world with her students.

Hopefully, this has helped provoke discussions about effective pedagogy in our Geography classrooms. The challenge now is how do we keep the discussions going? The Pond may provide space for this in future when the Communities function is set up but this will take some time. I’m not sure enough NZ Geographers are on twitter for chats to be the answer. Leaving me with my question for today:

How Might We best share our Geography practices?


This post is part of My Questioning Quest.

 p.s. mind turning after posting this. VLN could be a good place but I like the idea of international connections being able to contribute as well. With so many schools moving to GAFE is a Google+ Community the answer for this?

What if you could ask anything of a teacher at HPSS?

A gimme for my birthday!

This week Hobsonville Point Secondary School is playing host to the inaugural #EdChatNZ conference. Amongst all the amazing workshops, Ros Maceachern (@rosmaceachern) is giving a presentation on the way we operate at HPSS. What we (particularly Ros) need to know is what you would like to hear about?

Please contact Ros either via twitter or email her any questions or topics you would like to hear about at Or of course you can comment here and I can pass it on to her.


This is a gimme post for my Questioning Quest.

What if you had 2 more hours in your day?

What if over the next month you had 26 hours in your day? What would you use those extra 2 hours for?

Spending time with family?
Giving deeper feedback to your students?
Learning that new skill or tool that you have been wanting to learn but haven’t had time for?
Reading that great book your colleague/friend/cousin was raving about?

It only lasts for this month so you want to make the most of it! What if you had 2 more hours in your day? How would you spend it?

This post is Day 32 of My Question Quest