Education for the Age of Innovation

All educators are familiar with the concept of the learning pit.

(Image courtesy of Stonefields School https://www.stonefields.school.nz/)

When we first start out with a new skill – whether it is a swimming stroke, writing, mapping or playing an instrument – we always struggle/make things a bit worse before we start to see success. Then we improve, iterate based on feedback – either personal or from others. As we improve on this skill, we start seeing/making an impact – faster times, more fluent writing, accurate maps, beautiful music.

I have recently been wondering if this is what is happening with humans now? With many a head bow to David Attenborough here – we are now living in the Anthropocene. The age of humans. For most of life on Earth, nature has determined our existence, now humans determine nature’s existence.

The Industrial Age was the start of when humans had more influence over nature. Our technological advances gave us great societal advances but what we didn’t realise at the time was that it also had other consequences. Now we have global awareness that we have put ourselves into the pit. Gradually, over the last few decades, we have noticed and received feedback about our impact on the world. Think Ozone layer, Great Pacific Garbage Patch and of course, Climate Change – or in fact Climate Crisis now organisations like The Guardian are calling it Continue reading

Staff Wellbeing Challenge

Term 1 had been extremely busy as we developed new curriculum structures and collaborative ways of working all whilst continuing to design great learning experiences for our students at AGE. Our teachers at AGE were starting to feel the strain of this as we approached the end of term. In recognition of this, I shared Te Whare Tapa Whā with the staff and talked about the need for maintaining all aspects of our wellbeing.

Image via Te Ara

For the holidays, I set a challenge for us all to think of what we could do to work on our physical, spiritual, mental and social wellbeing. Here’s how I set about rebalancing my hauora/wellbeing over the recent school break.

Taha Tinana – Physical health

The trusty steed parked at work

In the first week of school holidays I took advantage of the long end of Summer/fine start of Autumn to ride my bike to work each day. Having a bit less time pressure made this an easy way to add more exercise into my week. It isn’t a long bike ride to work but I really enjoyed starting and ending my day by cruising past clogged traffic as I rode along a mix of roads and bike paths to reach work. Now, I just have to find a way to make this happen more during term time! Continue reading

Wellbeing Hui

New Zealand as a nation has some very concerning statistics about the wellbeing of our young people. Whilst there has long been talk about our teen pregnancy rates and heart breaking ability to top youth suicide rankings, in 2017, Unicef still found major concerns around aspects of wellbeing including work prospects, suicide, health and bullying (https://www.unicef-irc.org/publications/pdf/RC14_eng.pdf)

New Zealand, far down the list in terms of childrens’ wellbeing

In 2015, The Education Review Office released a well-publicised report called Wellbeing for Young People’s Success at Secondary School (http://www.ero.govt.nz/publications/wellbeing-for-young-peoples-success-at-secondary-school/). This report highlighted the impacts that a lack of wellbeing education and over-assessment were having on students across the country.

At Lynfield College, we had also noticed rising stress and wellbeing issues amongst our students. These concerns resulted in an increased focus of how we could help our students. Continue reading

Hauora – a New Zealand Perspective on Wellbeing

My twitter feed lately has been full of tweets and blogs from the UK with the hashtag #teacher5aday. A movement started by Martyn Reah it is all about bringing teacher wellbeing to the forefront of people’s minds. His initial blogpost (along with Teach Meet presentations) that started the movement spoke about how teachers always worry about students wellbeing and then challenged teachers to look after themselves more under the headings of:

  • connect
  • exercise
  • notice
  • learn
  • volunteer

This reminded me of last year when my colleague Bryce challenged Hobsonville Point Secondary School staff on our wellbeing in an Ignite talk during Staff PD.

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In New Zealand we tend to use the Maori perspective on wellbeing – Hauora. Continue reading