Sir Gateway?

Many people may get annoyed with this post, in fact it may even be considered sacrilegious by some. Sir Ken Robinson is extremely well known, liked by many and revered by some. His TED talk from 2006 has been watched almost 35 million times. Yet on finishing his most recent book I was left with an overwhelming sense of “meh.”


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#edsketch15 Going Strong

As May began I posted an idea to share a sketch every day this month. 10 days in I am stoked to say that a great group of teachers have joined me in #edsketch15. The large majority from New Zealand and Ireland (thanks Bianca for spreading the word in Ireland!) but also being joined by teachers and students in India, Australia and the US.

Here are my first 10 sketches from this month: Continue reading

Natural Ecosystem of Learning

Schools that recognize the need to prepare their students for a changing world are knowingly or unknowingly in the process of converting from an engineered process to a model based on the laws that govern natural ecosystems

Grant Lichtman, #EdJourney p210

In #EdJourney, Grant Lichtman makes the link between schools that are effectively innovating and how natural ecosystems operate. He found that the schools demonstrating transformative learning were:

  • more dynamic – moving far away from one size fits all
  • more adaptable – functioning like outside world and adaptable to future change
  • more permeable – expanding learning beyond the four walls
  • more creative – moving past consumption of knowledge
  • self-correcting – based upon empathy, mindfulness and creativity

Using this, Grant proposes a model that shifts from Assembly-Line Education to a Learning Ecosystem. 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?

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

Why do we find it so hard to switch off?

I have noticed recently (in myself and in many others) that we as teachers seem to find it extremely difficult to switch off from our jobs.

It’s the weekend at the end of our first week back and many of my PLN are currently at Edu Camp Auckland. Others who aren’t there are sending tweets that pretty much apologise for not being there but promising to check in on the hashtag throughout the day. The recent holidays saw lots of conferences occurring where similar situations happened each time.

Twitter chats bring on the same type of comments. Those heavily involved sharing their ideas throughout the hour, supplemented by those apologising for not being able to make it or for only being able to pop into the chat briefly.


Other teachers in the last break were going on overseas holidays excited at the chance to catch up on educational readings – those books that look like they will help us improve but there was just no time during term. Do other professions take their professional development reading with them on break???

I know my connections online are all extremely committed professionals who not only want to improve their practice but want to help others do the same. I’m also certain that there are thousands of other educators around New Zealand (and possibly millions around the world) who are doing the same things we are.

I am currently looking at taking up some more opportunities to get involved further in the education system and talked last night with my partner about the implications of this for our family. Her response: “it’s what you do.”

Why is it that as educators we find it so hard to switch off from learning, discussing, reflecting etc.?


This post is Day 26 of My Questioning Quest. It was prompted by observations of myself and my PLN plus this awesome post by Brie Jessen-Vaughan on switching off from twitter for 6 weeks and is feeling so refreshed because of it.

How might we overcome the conference to classroom chasm?

Right now, all around the world, many countries have school holidays. Thousands of teachers are spending part of these holidays attending education conferences. Getting inspired, sharing ideas and planning ways to transform their teaching to benefit the learners in their classes.

Fast forward 3 months and how many of these inspiring ideas have actually been implemented? At ICOT last year in Auckland I was inspired greatly by the ideas of Design Thinking from Ewan McIntosh. Yet, back in my school, very little occurred until I changed schools and had more agency to implement these ideas. I spoke to lots of teachers who enjoyed Ewan’s keynote and workshops but know many of these have not implemented the ideas yet at all.

What happens between being inspired at conferences and getting back to the classroom? Is it a crowd-based euphoria that disappears when we leave the conferences? Are the presenters too inspiring so we feel unable to emulate them? Why are ideas disappearing into a chasm to be lost for a year or 2 until we come across them again at another conference?

Do we need to set up critical friend pairings at conferences to check up on how implentation is going? Do we need a day back together 1 month later to discuss any misgivings we now have? Do we need help with pitching our ideas from conferences to senior leaders or influential colleagues?

How might we overcome the conference to classroom chasm?

This post is Day 8 of my Question Quest

My Questioning Quest

It’s time to set myself a challenge. I have been reading A More Beautiful Question by Warren Berger (which I highly recommend) and have been struck by the fact that to develop questioning in students we need to model how we use questioning.

I then read this great post by Bo Adams which asks some fantastic What If questions about school structures and systems. Inspired by this I started to think that I could emulate Philippa Nicoll Antipas100 Days of Learning by asking a question every day. Continue reading

Searching for Elegant Solutions

I recently read The Falconer by Grant Lichtman and thoroughly encourage each of you to do the same!

2014-04-03 17.10.58


It really pulled some thought threads together for me and I found myself nodding away and tweeting quotes the whole way through the book. I had read the book to try and find ways to take Design Thinking from a process to a mindset and it has absolutely helped me to do this.

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Pride and Excitement

Wow! Term 1 of HPSS is done. Awesome, Term 2 is close to starting!

This was the thought running through my head as I drove to work this morning. It sums up very succinctly what this reflection is about: how Term 1 has gone and where to next.

To start our last day of Term 1, Maurie asked us to briefly say 1 thing that we are most proud of 1 term in to HPSS. These were the thoughts that ran through my head: