Many of you will know that I am at a new school this year and have made the step up to a Senior Leadership position. This meant that I jumped at the chance to take on the #ShadowaStudent challenge that was created by School Retool, IDEO and the Stanford d.School. What a great way to gain empathy for the student experience at Lynfield College – to really find out what it is like to be a student here.
I asked a student if I could shadow him for the day and explained why I was doing this. Let the teachers know why I would be in their classroom wearing a school uniform and got prepared for a day outside of my office!
The start of a new school year brings with it a whole bunch of new students to get to know. Principals around the country will be urging their staff to get to know their learners and reminding them of the importance of relationships to enable learning to occur. So what does this actually mean? How do we get to really know our learners?
I spent a great deal of time at the end of Term 2 focusing my thoughts on how Design Thinking applies to educational leadership. This is something that we have been doing at Hobsonville Point Secondary School, but a couple of presentations I did in Term 2 meant that I had to clarify my thoughts about what it really meant to lead with Design Thinking.
For me, part of why I find Design Thinking an effective approach to school leadership is captured in this quote:
Design Thinking is a Human-centred process (or mindset) for dealing with open, complex problems. Now, to me, ‘open, complex problems’ sums up education in a nutshell. And the focus on empathy that a Design Thinking approach brings is ideal for focusing on the right question – the cause of issues arising rather than the symptoms. Continue reading →
Mountain on Planet Epic: resource to utilise or sacred ground?
This post is being jointly written by Danielle and Steve and cross-posted on both of our blogs (you really should check out Danielle’s blog http://missdtheteacher.blogspot.co.nz/ it is awesome). We are co-teaching a Science and Social Studies module called Post-Mortem for the first half of this year. This post is to share a learning experience that we designed to kick off the second term of our course: colonising another planet. Continue reading →
I see empathy as a key step in gaining a deeper understanding of issues and it is something I am trying to develop in students in my Social Studies (and Geography when I get back to teaching senior students again!) classes. When focusing on local issues or the local impacts of global issues, this is a step that is straight forward to implement. Exploring, observing, interviewing, listening etc to how it is affecting people. How do we do this effectively though for issues or case studies that don’t have such a local impact though?
Films can sensationalise and/or trivialise the impacts on people
Documentaries can be extremely biased
Role plays (thinking land mine victims by tied up legs etc.) are well meaning but do they really get students truly feeling what it is like – have seen plenty of giggles and laughter while doing this, definitely not how a true victim reacts.
Distance, time zones, language and cultural barriers can reduce our ability to interview, survey etc. whilst cost severely limits our ability to observe and explore the area.
In Geography and Social Studies we rightly study issues from all around the world. I want my students to be able to develop the deep understanding of these global case studies. How might we help students develop empathy for distant issues?