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Heather Eccles's discussion posts

  • Heather Eccles 23 May 2014 9:40am () in Part 2: Personalising learning : Shallow and deep expressions of practice | An Enabling e-Learning event

    Hello everyone, 

    I'm Heather Eccles and I'm HOD of Geography at Ormiston Senior College, Auckland. I'm passionate about lots of things - but mostly placing the learner at the centre of learning and providing multiple pathways towards success. Ormiston Senior College is a really forward thinking school applying a pedagogy focused learning conversations with students. Learning conversations are developed two ways - through a relationship with a Learning Avdisor (a transformed form teacher) and by applying a student-directed pedagogy in my lessons which gives me more time to talk with students. 


    • Each teacher is a Learning Avdvisor/Form teacher and responsible for the pastoral care of 12-15 students
    • A block of 90 minutes is allocated for the Learning Advisor to talk with their group of students each week. TIME to have learning conversations is essential!
    • I apply a student-directed pedagogy in my lessons - using a LMS to structure learning. I provide a rubric for assessment and reflection. My conversations in lessons then revolve around where the student thinks they are on the rubric and what their next steps are. 


    • Every teacher in the school acts as a Learning Avdvisor (including the principal, HODs, and people who typically don't have a form class - this allows you to have a ratio of 1:15 which gives you TIME to talk with students and dig deep)
    • NO DEANS - each Learning Advisor is responsible for the pastoral care of their group of students
    • ALL communication between parents and the school goes through the Learning Advisor 
    • Limited teacher-directed lesson delivery. I use myPortfolio to provide learning guides for students in which they work through a series of activites - at their own pace and choosing what they work on when. his gives me TIME to talk with students.

    I hope you have picked up from reading this that making TIME to talk with students is KEY to presonalising learning and REALLY KNOWING YOUR STUDENTS. There are changes schools can make, and changes you can make in your own classroom to facilitate this. 



    Is there anyone in your school that could answer ALL of the below points about a student?

    • I know about their family - who they live with and their important whanau relationsips
    • I know what extra-curriculars they are involved in (in school and in the community)
    • I know who their friends are - and I know about how they are managing these relationships
    • I know the future aspirations of this student and we discuss and monitor the steps in getting there
    • In know what their academic strengths and weaknesses are - the students knows these too and we talk about them
    • I know what successes they have had this term and we have celebrated them

    There are many more I could add here - but when I reflect on this, it makes me think that for many years my answer to this, for almost all my students, was NO - I've realised just how superficial my relationships with my students have been. However, now that I have build these relationships and seen the benefits of presonalising learning I could never go back and I'm keen to get others to see the value in this too. 

    I'm keen to hear about other experiences of personalising learning as I continue of my journey!


  • Heather Eccles 14 Feb 2013 3:47pm () in Looking for schools who have implemented an effective personalised learning programme with flexible learning spaces to visit

    Ormiston Senior College in Auckland is also implementing personalised learning programme. Perhaps you could come to Auckland and visit Ormiston and Albany - see how two schools are working, each with its own flavour. 

  • Heather Eccles 07 Sep 2012 3:40pm () in Homework and authentic learning

    I've been assigning videos from youtube or vimeo for students to watch with guided questions for students to answer.  Students have seven days to complete the homework and the videos introduce content which will be covered the following week. I have experienced a high level of homework completion and added depth to classroom discussion. Giving students a week to complete the homework means they can access school computers if they do not have internet access at home.

    I have have shared the homework page with the class by creating a myPortfolio page but this could easily be replicated by sharing a google doc. The myPortfolio page has also been shared with parents using the secret URL.