28 October 2015


I believe a significant part of my leadership role is to be able to implement the NAGs in a meaningful way in the day to day running of learning programmes. 

The Board has an overall responsibility to ensure that the school is running competently but at the end of the day, the SLT are probably more likely to lead. 

This is especially so for NAGs 1 - 3.  This is my breakdown after re-visiting the NAGs. It includes a breakdown of each NAG and potential direction which are very much open for discussion and challenge! 

17 October 2015

Avoiding the recommended videos showing...

Tetli has made a video with instructions for the story centre. To avoid the unnecessary recommended videos at the end of the clip playing, we can embed it in a blog and adjust the settings:

Click the 'Share' option and choose to embed the video.

Click on "SHOW MORE" and untick "Show suggested videos when the video finishes".

Copy the embed code...
Check that your blog post settings are on HTML rather than compose and paste the code in.

3 October 2015


What is the difference between a team and a group of people working well together? There is a belief that teamwork will lighten the load or make things happen faster. We have realised that is not quite so...

“Real teams perform- they are not amorphous groups that we call teams because we think the label is motivating and energising” 

Katzenbach and Smith - "The Wisdom of Teams"

In a session with Tony Burkin last term I became quite alarmed when he announced to the room that "one of the myths is that teachers like to collaborate". I felt incredibly uncomfortable about this statement but it is this statement that has forced me to keep thinking and digging into what it really means to be a team and what collaboration needs to look like.
There are a number of reasons that teams actually underperform. These include (according to Burkin):
  • no clearly defined explicit purpose (They exist because they are all about raising student achievement)
  • People mistakenly believe teams working together harmoniously are better and more productive.  We've all been in one of those meeting where a new idea or concept is introduced as non-negotiable because "the SLT has decided..."
  • Newness is a liability. Crikey, what does this mean for us as a new school with new teams and new groups coming together? This makes me realise the sense of urgency to foster professional relationships as well as social relationships.
  • Complacency - there is no room for deviants as it creates mediocrity in a team.

Working groups come together to share information, share perspectives and insights, make decisions to help each other. The focus was always on individual goals and accountabilities. Workers don’t take responsibility for results other than their own. Working groups are prevalent in our schools. They are great place to be and I have worked with some great groups of people. But they have not been teams.

Teams go beyond group discussions and sharing information. In a team there will be dialogue about performance standards. There will be debates and it will feel comfortable enough to have open ended conversations. The role of the leader is to foster that open and honest dialogue so that the beliefs of the team are collective and the practices reflect what the team has defined as important. The desired outcome is clear to all. This common commitment distinguishes a group of workers from a team. Without it groups perform as individuals. With a common commitment, teams will hold each other accountable for their performance in a trusting and transparent culture.

Reflection: How can our teams articulate their common commitment and use this to evaluate their effectiveness?

No group can ever become a team until it can hold itself accountable as a team. It’s the difference between "the boss holding me accountable" to "we hold each other to account".

Our common commitment is to cause learning… Do our discussions reflect this?

1 October 2015

Why Blog?

Blogging is a form of professional journalling for me. It is a time that I endeavour to be analytical about my practice and development. It involves me using critical analysis, evaluation and synthesising. 

This is a shift for me. When I began blogging it was simply a professional diary which was sequence oriented. The latter has proven to be great way to look back on and see my growth over time and the journey of the educator that I have become. Having said that; it is the deep thinking out loud on the blogging platform that is strengthening my own understanding of my beliefs and values which ultimately impact on my practices which in turn means that my daily actions/ practices reflect my beliefs and that of our school. 

Each time I blog, I am endeavouring to articulate my thoughts and new learning. My posts overtime are becoming much more evaluative, synthesising and reflective. The mere fact that each post might be read by people who know me and people who don't causes me to really think about what I record and to ensure that it does in fact reflect my walk... I need to walk this talk!

I don't write for an audience so why don't I simply record my thoughts in a journal or lock down the blog? The fact that is public means that I am being transparent which is a key attribute to leadership in my mind. It also means that my reflections are relevant, timely and purposeful.

Another reason to blog is that it easily ticks off PTC 12. (See below)

Having said that I don't write for an audience, there have been some posts that I would have valued discussion on....

PTC #12.  use critical inquiry and problem-solving effectively in their professional practice
i. systematically and critically engage with evidence and professional literature to reflect on and refine practice
ii. respond professionally to feedback from members of their learning community
iii. critically examine their own beliefs, including cultural beliefs, and how they impact on their professional practice and the achievement of ākonga