Friday, 18 March 2016

Field Trip to Stonefields

As part of our Digital Friday Immersion classes, the MDTA gathered with 60 other educators from around the Manaiakalani cluster as part of the Manaiakalani School Leaders Study Tour. As it happened, this took place at Stonefields School, my workplace.

For me, the tour was a slightly different experience. As I am blessed to be in that learning environment all the time, I wasn't focusing so much on the logistics of what was going on. Without my 'teacher' hat on, I noticed the focussed students, engaged in their learning yet also really eager to share it with others. I noticed the teachers equally engaged in the rich interactions, and spoke to a few teachers who were bubbling with excitement about the authentic learning being born out of 'Breakthrough'. The last thing which was a highlight for me was the opportunity to see the tamariki that I am with all day, everyday in a different context. I was in awe of their ability to 'step-up' and become leaders, of their obvious humble pride in sharing the great things about their school.

Year 7/8 Learners participating in the Q & A Panel

As well as the physical tour of Stonefields, the leadership team supplied mini tours of their conceptual understandings or their 'meaning making' in regards to certain aspects. My favourite workshop was one on Culture and Collaboration, which briefly touched on/posed questions such as "what makes a teaching team hum and buzz?" "How do we deal with elephants in the room?" and "What is my mental model of conflict and how did that come about?".

A really important point I took away from that workshop was that conflict can be better thought of as an opportunity for growth, an opportunity to do something better or be better at something. That although some conversations are hard to have, having them allows for changes to be made and relationships to grow stronger, evidently through stronger relationships comes better teachers. In essence, if we have conflict in our spaces, be it big or small, we need to have the hard to have conversations so that we are better equipped to teach our learners. Ultimately, we are all teachers because we are individuals who want to be agents of change. It is only through the releasing of the ego can we achieve much much greater outcomes. Below is a short, yet effective and provoking video about individual mindset shared at the Culture and Collaboration workshop. Well worth watching!

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