Saturday, August 5, 2017

Beneath the surface

In 2011, my spark for digital storytelling was born. Since then I have travelled the world talking about the impact digital storytelling can have on teams, communities and children. This video from VOGEL reminds us that everyone has a story, and when we take the time to listen, we become better people as a result.

What do you bring to the table?

Warrior Scholars - Decolonising education

The "Warrior scholars" video below shares inspiring teaching practice happening at Kia Aroha College. I have had the great pleasure of listening to Anne Milne (previous Principal) talk about her research "Colouring in the white spaces: Reclaiming cultural identity in whitestream schools" and listened to her talk about her work, she has worked tirelessly for years to ensure better outcomes for students. You can read more about her research, and a brief blurb below:

This thesis describes the 25 year journey of two schools and their community’s determination to resist and reject alienating school environments in favour of a relevant culturally-located, bilingual learning model based in a secure cultural identity, stable positive relationships, and aroha (authentic caring and love). While the research design is a case study, in terms of western, “white space” academic tradition, it is also a story in terms of kaupapa Māori and critical race methodology. More importantly, it is a counter-story that chronicles the efforts of these two schools to step outside education’s “white spaces” to create new space. This counter-story is juxtaposed against pervasive, deficit-driven whitestream explanations of “achievement gaps” and the “long tail” of Māori and Pasifika “under-achievement” in New Zealand schools. In the process of this research the focus shifted from how could Māori and Pasifika learners develop secure cultural identities in mainstream schools, to examining what barriers exist in schools that prevent this from happening already? As these issues became clear the language of the thesis shifted accordingly; “developing” a cultural identity was reframed as a reclamation of educational sovereignty — the absolute right to “be Māori” or “be Pasifika” in school — and “mainstream” schooling became better understood as the “whitestream.”

Warrior Scholars - Decolonising education from Teach For All on Vimeo.

Milne, B. A. (2013). Colouring in the White Spaces: Reclaiming Cultural Identity in Whitestream Schools (Thesis, Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)). University of Waikato, Hamilton, New Zealand. Retrieved from http://hdl.handle.net/10289/7868

Saturday, June 3, 2017

Play is the highest form of research....UNICEF


Nga Kiwi o Te Moana Whero - Identity in Saudi Arabia

Over the past 4 years, a group of Kiwis have been coordinating a group of Kiwi children and their families for kapahaka and significant events (ANZAC day, Waitangi day and Farewells). The purpose of creating this group was to create a sense of identity and connectedness for our Kiwi children that live in our community in Saudi Arabia.

The children are students of the International Baccalaureate program, where International Mindedness and Global Citizenship are essential parts of the program. Children are encouraged to see themselves as citizens of the world, rather than citizens of a nation. In many cases, this is absolutely true - with many children speaking multiple languages and identifying with a range of countries before they are four years old (I taught a child who spoke 4 languages and was fluent in each of these, his mother was Armenian, his father was French, he was born in Germany and was living in Saudi Arabia). While I relish this notion, I have come to realize that it is not 'either/or' rather 'and' - Identity and knowing who you are and where you come from (whakapapa) is important to me AND so is understanding that you are a citizen of the world and you can influence and make a contribution to the world.

As my family and I start our return home to Aotearoa, it is with sorrow that we farewell our Kiwis in KAUST whanau. As I reflect on the past 4 years and our original purpose of having a slice of home in our desert home, I without a doubt am incredibly proud of the kids and their families. Not only do our children stand tall and exude pride in being Kiwi but people from nations all over the world appreciate our culture and heritage too.





Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Competing committments

Recently, I blogged about The R Word. I experienced a revelation in identifying my very own competing commitments. I value reliability, its one of my trust facets and is something that I have now come to realise influences all aspects of my life. In my role as Pedagogical Coordinator I also value 'leading from behind'. Empowering others and watching others grow and learn, surpass me even. Kegan and Lahey in "Immunity to Change" call these competing commitments.  As I navigate what this means for me I have found the video below and the following article "The real reason people won't change" helpful. Now that I've identified my competing commitments, figuring out my big assumptions is my next step to becoming more self-aware.

What are your competing commitments? 

Leading from behind

Ka komutu au ki muri, ka tukua koe
I'll fall behind and allow you to proceed.

This image and story has been circulating the internet for sometime now, and while the story is complete fiction the concept of leading from behind appeals to me. To lead from behind means to empower others, to serve others, to be altruistic, to grow yourself out of a job and to see others succeed around you.

What is a true leader??

This is a pack of wolves. The three in front are old and sick, they walk in the front to set the pace for the rest of the group so that they don't get left behind. The next five are the strongest and the best, they are there to protect the front if there is an attack. The pack in the middle are always protected from attack with the strongest both sides of them.The next five behind the middle pack, are also among the strongest and the best, they are tasked to protect the back side if there is an attack.The last one, that is the LEADER. He ensures that no one is left behind. He keeps the pack unified and on the same path. He is always ready to run in any direction to protect and serve as a "bodyguard" to the entire pack. Just incase you were wondering what it really means to be a leader... it's not about being out front and for all to see. It means taking care of your whole team.




Thursday, May 18, 2017

Amazing things happen...

I loved the simplicity and elegance of this video that was shared at our Community of Practice in Kindergarten yesterday. We are all wired differently and this is something we should celebrate.