To kick off the year we came together to improve our collective understanding of our Manaiakalani pedagogy 'Learn Create Share'.
Six of our seven Outreach schools were present, with approximately 115 teachers plus Uru Mānuka Trustees (Garry Moore, Jason Marsden, Rose Crossland and Jane Ross) and Manaiakalani Education Trust (MET) Chair Pat Snedden.
Pat Snedden described the historical background that drove the Manaiakalani pedagogy's inception. We need to lose the deficit thinking...
He held the room spell bound as he gave insight into our obligations to right the wrongs of the past and break down barriers which have been inadvertently imposed over generations.
As one of our Uru Manuka Cluster Leaders of Learning, I spoke about how Learn Create Share has changed my practice:Kia ora koutou. Ko Mel Raisin taku ingoa. Ko Ara tu Whakata (Gilberthorpe) toku kura.
Adapting my practice to follow Learn Create Share pedagogy has reawakened my excitement in education.
I’m acutely aware that I may run the risk of either preaching to the converted or prompting minds to close, however I want to begin with a provocative challenge in thinking.
Must Do’s/May Do’s; Task Boards or to do lists for learning tasks… We’ve all used them in some capacity within our learning environment.
Are we wanting our students to be busy with a number of superficial tasks via machine gun learning, by asking them to complete a large number of learning tasks whereby there is bound to be some form of learning “somewhere”.
Do we want learners to develop an in depth understanding about a context where they have been required to draw information from a variety of sources; critically reflect, question and discuss their interpretations, seeking to synthesise and test theories and so on. Finally, share their learning in an appropriate and purposeful way to an authentic audience for the purpose of gaining feedback and feedforward that they actually want to act upon.
What I have discussed could fall under literacy, numeracy, topic… Actually… it could describe our own research, planning or teaching as inquiry.
Adopting Learn Create Share pedagogy has changed my practise in that there is a focus on depth of learning and understanding rather than quantity of completion. I strive to look for ways to make learning fun, like I believe it can and should be, or what’s the point?
There is a misguided perception that changing practise to align more with Learn Create Share pedagogy means increased teacher workload.
We’re not talking about throwing the baby out with the bathwater. But we do need to remind ourselves why the baby is actually in the bath.
Defaulting to a digital platform doesn’t replace effective teaching practices, which is an outsiders misinformed critique. Instead, it successfully supports them by optimising teaching time and minimising frustrating interruptions to re explain, reiterate and redefine a task. Learners can engage with content ubiquitously, the number of times and at the speed which best suits their needs at the time. I wonder what Vygotsky would have made of modern scaffolding.
The akonga are afforded an element of choice, (please note, choice doesn’t mean open season, but a few guided appropriate options)this increases potential for engagement and experimentation. Learners can individualise their learning experience to a certain degree, while working within set parameters.
Digital learning allows for the use of tools to break down barriers such as specific learning difficulties. Leveraging allows akonga to be exposed to content they are often excluded from as it’s deemed too hard.
Often our at risk of underachieving learners are unwittingly blocked from accessing curriculum by us, through our own best intentions and inadvertently placed glass ceilings.
There’s huge value of setting authentic purposeful tasks, whereby the learner understands the point or the why. Embedding a mindset where our young people are seeking a meaningful audience which is hopefully not passive, and gives honest helpful productive feedback. In our modern era, blogging is an invaluable tool for educating our young people to be safer cybersmart citizens. We’re needing to prepare them to deal with perils that social media platforms have that most of us never had to worry about throughout our mistake making years.
In a nutshell, I believe that Learn Create Share pedagogy enables my learners to be better equipped to be prepared for a future beyond our imagining.
We were placed into groups, consisting of a mixture of year levels and schools. We were then allocated either Learn, Create or Share and asked to define what that was.
Our group chose, rather than to group ideas or cluster them, to draw a double koru to depict the pre-existing knowledge and the new learning to come.
One of the frustrations that cropped up for many of us Leaders of Learning was that we had spent a great deal of learning around the Manaiakalani definitions of Learn Create and Share. The actual definitions weren't mentions or acknowledged. In many instances, groups had paraphrased stating "Learning is..." rather than "Learn is". This is a common misconception as it places a dictionary definition around Learn which centres on Learning as a Verb, which is far removed from the Manaiakalani definition.
There is a real fear that the baby may be thrown out with the bathwater purely because of the ignorance, albeit unintentional, of many.
The Manaiakalani definitions are what they are due to a great deal of research, data and trial and error. They are what they are due to more than ten years of nitty gritty analysis. I feel it would be extremely arrogant (and ignorant) for us as a cluster to deviate from it due to a lack of understanding by members.
Time will tell what comes of it...
We finished off our session with a powerful impromptu performance of Smash Poetry by Daisy Lavea-Timo.
You can read reflections on the day from Gary Roberts, Principal at Hornby Primary School, here
You can read reflections on the day from Robin Sutton, Principal at Hornby High School, here