Wednesday, February 24, 2010

What currency do you deal in?

I've read a very interesting article about the currency exchange in a classroom. Most students offer teachers attention, curiosity and participation in return for their efforts. In exchange for their efforts teachers offer students approval, praise and positive attention. It is important to recognize that the currencies we value might differ from he ones our students value.

There are however currencies that is problematic, e.g. sarcasm. Some students might use it as a way of getting respect from their peers as it shows they are lever and funny. If students feel that teachers don't value or understand their currencies, they often assume that there is no place for them in the classroom.

Teachers often attempt to address classroom problems by attempting to connect with students through their interests or with rewards. Getting to really know 20-30 students in a short period of time and make a personal connection with each one is also seldom possible. A possible alternative would be to work out what currencies they value and plan your strategies around that.

How might this look in practice? If you have a group of students who value the approval of friends more than good scores, trying to get them to place greater value on scores might not be the best strategy. A much better way might be to develop a class culture where students push one another to do their very best - in short: use the currency they value.

(Robyn R Jackson: Start where your students are)

Monday, February 15, 2010

The Future

I have a keen interest in how learning in the future will look and what spaces we need for this learning. Look at this new video from FutureLab titled ‘Make the Future‘, which looks at ideas drawn from research commissioned under the Beyond Current Horizons (BCH) programme. BCH considered futures for education in the light of social and technological change over the next two decades.

The video aims to inspire education leaders to think differently about the future of education and to consider the challenges and possibilities for 21st century schools. It contains a series of challenging statements and questions to provoke thinking and discussion for those involved in working to prepare our schools for the future.
(Thanks to Derek W for the link etc)


I was lucky enough to be awarded a sabbatical for this year. I strongly believe that the system of sabbaticals is a very important things to help principals take a break and come back to work refreshed.

At a Principals' Development Group meeting yesterday I met an English "Head Teacher" who is visiting one of our fellow principals. They don't have a sabbatical system in the UK, so after 15 years in the job he decided to resign his job to get the break he so desperately needs. This whole process is costing him a big part of his life saving. This was a good reminder for me to thankful for the opportunity I will have and a large number of my colleagues have had. I am also been lucky to have a very supportive Board who is supporting the "work" part of my sabbatical.
I will be on my sabbatical during Term 3 and plan to do a literature study and visit some experts in Auckland, Victoria (Aus) and the UK. And I plan to spend quite a bit of time on R and R and do some traveling to places I've always wanted to visit (guess where?).