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TK Tony's discussion posts

  • TK Tony 30 Jul 2016 3:50pm () in Teacher workloads in I.L.E [ MLE]]

    Hi Charles,

    A good question/concern re teacher workload and one that we've considered a lot on our journey.  Neill has some great strategies, ideas and thoughts (as per usual) wink

    Some other tips/pointers/considerations (I know you will know some of these from your visits)

    - It will take more time (at least initially) and you need to allow for staff to "work things out" as they will very easily go into the pit (this is not a bad thing, as we ask our students to do this as a natural part of their learning)

    Screen Shot 2016-07-30 at 3.19.21 pm.png


    - We also do regular "black hat" / "yellow hat" reviews/reflections regarding our collaborative teaching and learning communities.  A lot of the early black hat reflections were relatively easily solved, and there are now not many black hat reflections at all.  One obvious barrier was TIME.  Time to meet together, time to plan, time to organise reports, programmes, resources etc etc.  To offset this, we have managed to use staffing carefully to eke out a 3rd CRT day per learning community (all released at once with specialist PE/art/music) - x2 blocks every 2nd week - works well.

    - Having a DEEP understanding of collaboration is crucial (not just cooperation)  refer http://blog.core-ed.org/blog/2015/06/collaboration-so-much-more-than-parallel-play.html 

    We have spent a lot of time developing our C7 collaborative norms below.  Again, these are reviewed and tweaked accordingly (everything is a laminated draft)

    A collaboration continuum was also useful at the start of the year, and recently revisited/reviewed at the end of Term 2.  Each Learning Community teaching team plotted individually on a continuum based on the C7 norms, with factors relating to both pedagogy and also personality.

    Example prompts were:  How tidy do I need my space to be before I can function properly? (ranging from "anally retentive!" to messy/dont care)

    If my LC buddy had a concern/issue and wanted to raise it with me, how would I prefer this to be done? (ranging from face to face/upfront to indirect/softly softly)

    How do I like to prepare for each day?   quiet time to myself - I like to meet and chat every morning

    other factors included agreed meeting times, views about groupings, using teacher strengths etc etc

     Screen Shot 2016-07-30 at 3.18.14 pm.png

    Be prepared to slaughter some SACRED COWS!

    Teaching undoubtedly is harder/busier and more complex than ever.  Given large changes in approaches and the additional time that collaborative teaching takes (but time well spent!) then what do we need to STOP doing.

    For us this includes reduced meetings after school, reduced assessment, no student-led conferences anymore (as being reported in real time via great app {Seesaw}) as some examples.

    Screen Shot 2016-07-30 at 3.18.53 pm.png

    - It is absolutely HARD WORK but so worth it.  I'm incredibly proud of our team at Te Kowhai that have made enormous changes over the last few years from a school that is 126 years old, with x15 "perfectly happy" single cell class teachers to a fully collaborative environment where teachers have are co-teaching for the last 1-2-3+ years.  I think the result below is testament to the work and what they are finding.....(this was latest reflection in teacher voice survey at end of last term)

    Of importance too was another question - How much of an impact do you feel working collaboratively is having on your own professional practice?  results: 63% extremely high impact, 31% high impact, 7% some impact.  Similar results for similar question re impact on student achievement....and student voice survey results are through the roof re impact that more than one teacher is having on their learning :-)

    Screen Shot 2016-07-30 at 3.43.52 pm.png

    so in summary......

    Screen Shot 2016-07-30 at 3.19.50 pm.png

  • TK Tony 14 Sep 2015 8:19am () in MLP or just Effective Pedagogy

    Hi Victoria & Paul,

    Thanks for your thoughts...

    re this comment - the essence of a teacher's professionalism is their "right" to teach how they like. 

    I see this is an issue we need to overcome.  For many teachers (for too long), what they have held sacrosanct is their ability to return to their single cell setting and go about their teaching in their own way.  In no way do I support this, as deprivatisation and collaboration is the key to school wide improvement.

    In terms of preparing teachers to move into collaborative FLS's/ILE's etc, this is an area that I find fascinating and was fortunate to have time to explore this during a sabbatical last term.  

    In our own school (125 years old) this involved changing existing buildings (+ new roll growth) into buildings more functional (refurbs etc) and also taking an amazing single cell teaching staff across to a collaborative team approach (with no staff turnover)

    Some ideas, tips, readings, our journey etc re change management/leadership can be found here & may be of use/interest.  Feel free to use, disuse...abuse! ;-) 


    Cheers, Tony

  • TK Tony 13 Sep 2015 2:13pm () in MLP or just Effective Pedagogy

    Hi Paul,

    You raise a salient point..."new spaces that we are having built will not allow teachers to retreat to their comfort zone single cell"

    This I believe is the critical factor for us, in these exciting times.

    For decades we have had the single cell approach where we have teachers heading off into the privacy of their own rooms.  There is no way that we can make an overall difference to student achievement by working one teacher at a time. Teaching can be a lonely job.  Plonked in a room with a closed door with 30 kids and expected to work alone to make a difference.

    Screen Shot 2015-09-13 at 1.46.50 pm.png

    ​As the visual shows below a school will have a range of expertise on their own staff.  Despite the best staff discussions, strategic planning, PD, resourcing etc, when these teachers head back into a single cell setting the messages/efforts are being diffused...

    We have the superstars (top left) BUT very rarely do others get to see them in action, because they are in their own rooms.  The toxins/laggards (top right & fortunately none at my own school!)  The very small % that may have retired and just forgotten to hand their notice in, or the ones that just see teaching "as a job, nothing more".

    Then there are those that are "doing the best they know how" (bottom right) - good teachers with a wide range of skills, BUT...not necessarily the best that they could be with a little support/wider sharing from other staff.

    Then....our beginning teachers (bottom left) - keen/energetic and given their own class by themselves to get stuck into it.  Yes they have a tutor teacher but I don't believe that the support for beginning teachers in a single cell setting is anywhere near as much as what it can be...

    Screen Shot 2015-09-13 at 1.49.41 pm.png

    We need to question the autonomy that teachers have in their own classroom, which is tricky because the essence of a teacher's professionalism is their "right" to teach how they like.  In NZ we historically have had 38,000 classrooms operating as silos.  We also know that the "in-school" variance is significantly greater than the "between-school" variance (PISA)

    The solution (in my humble view)....is to create communities of practice (and reflective practice) so we can all become better teachers.  The power of collective teacher efficacy etc

    Collaborative teaching teams have the potential to reduce the shadow between our strategic goals and the actual implementation at class level.

    Michael Fullan refers to this as learning is the work - the ‘collective or shared depth of understanding among members about the nature of their work’. You can’t get collective depth from a workshop, or from episodic team meetings. You can only get shared depth one-way—make learning the day-to-day work.

    There is a remarkable spread of expertise that can be identified, nurtured and piggybacked off to reduce the variance within our own schools.  Collaboration & coherence is vital for a highly effective school.

  • TK Tony 11 Sep 2015 6:14pm () in MLP or just Effective Pedagogy

    I agree Neill.  We could/should ditch the array of acronyms out there (ILE/MLP/FLS etc etc) - God knows there's enough educational acronyms anyway!

    Many of them are misconstrued as being related to knocking walls out, what new schools "do", getting some funky furniture, buddying up with another teacher etc, when actually it's just plain common sense.  You can't just "do" ILP in an ILE!

    However, it is only "common sense" if it is has strong coherency with your own school's vision for teaching and learning.

    It is ABSOLUTELY about effective pedagogy, and how this can be supercharged on steroids through a strong collaborative teaching approach, in a purposefully designed (which I prefer to flexible) environment.


  • TK Tony 07 Sep 2015 12:56pm () in Help!!- Research against MLEs- the most scathing please!

    Hi Sharon and others,

    regarding the comments about noise levels....

    When asked whether ILEs are noisy, I reply yes and no.

    No: because some of these spaces (new or refurb) have greater use of acoustic design (e.g. autex, breakout spaces, nooks/crannies, outside areas, trust licences to work in "universal" breakout areas like the hall/library etc

    Yes: because more students obviously = more voices = more noise

    However......long gone are (or should in some cases) the days where a teacher is said to be highly effective and a class said to be "humming", when the learners are sitting in silence.  Who knows what was happening for them.  I would imagine many were bored, and for others too hard/easy.  

    So...noise in itself is not necessarily a bad thing.  If we want our learners to be collaborative, effective communicators etc and we know that learning is a social process, then we want our students to be discussing with their peers and teachers.  

    The Learning Pyramid below is relatively old research but still resonates strongly today.  With parents I openly share my own teacher education training.  I can recall very little of the lecture style classes (I know I did stuff about Piaget, Vykotsky, Plato etc but that's about it), however....I can tell you at length about my 3 teaching practicums and my associate teachers and the students and experiences I had.

    The types of learning that are proven to work WILL involve more discussion and talking (and noise)

    A couple of other interesting factors we are seeing are...

    We have seen such large increases in behavioural engagement that students are not just "on task" but enjoying learning.  Noise levels are appropriate for learning as opposed to increasing off task "chatter"

    Students are increasingly aware of their role within the Learning Community  i.e. not just how they can improve their own learning....but what is their role in supporting/enhancing the learning of others


  • TK Tony 07 Sep 2015 9:16am () in Best Practise Schools overseas

    Hi Catherine,

    Like Neill, we also visited a lot of Melbourne schools.  I would add to his list and recommend Laurimar, Coatesville, Broadmeadows Valley Primary & also Broadmeadows Primary

    regards, Tony


  • TK Tony 28 Aug 2015 6:21am () in Help!!- Research against MLEs- the most scathing please!

    Kia ora Mia,

    Sceptics...gotta love them!  ;-)  to be fair, there are huge changes for us as educational professionals to "get our heads around", let alone for our parents/trustees.

    “If I’d asked my customers what they wanted, they’d have said a faster horse.”

    I love this quote (possibly attributed but not definitively confirmed to Henry Ford),  This is not to say that parent/trustee/stakeholder input is not important (because it clearly is!), but sometimes they "won't know what they don't know"....

    It sounds like you've done some great pre-thinking and initial research (the power of why is vital), and there are some great tips coming through these posts as well, from some great thinkers.

    You may find some of these resources/thoughts timely or user-friendly -  http://thequohaslostitsstatus.weebly.com

    I have made 4 key tabs - Te Kowhai School, ILEs, Collaborative teaching, and Change Management/Leadership

    Each section usually begins with my own 5 cents worth of thinking, although this is morphing most days and  needs updating on the website.  Then also some supporting resources/readings etc that I found useful (again, requires updating as have heaps more)

    Perhaps of particular help for your journey would be these tabs/sub-tabs: Te Kowhai School/Strategic development section including golden circles, ILEs/My thoughts including getting rid of pub quiz learning, Collaborative teaching/my thoughts and the advantages, and Change Management/Leadership - Education: the need for change.

    Good luck for the continued journey....be brave...it's our job.

    Regards, Tony


  • TK Tony 21 Jun 2015 2:30pm () in Collaborative Teaching in ILEs - Research and findings, and Change Management/Leadership required

    Greetings all,

    Innovative Environments...exciting times!  

    The crux of these are that they provide our collaborative teams greater opportunities to apply the pedagogies and approaches that really make a difference.

    I'm in the final stages of my sabbatical and have been exploring ILEs, collaborative teaching and also the change management/leadership required.  
    There IS a lot of research out there, and I have included many of these findings (and other resources/readings) in my sabbatical site below.


    Hopefully this will also assist many others on their journeys, just as many other colleagues/schools have been generous in sharing too.

    Am keen to gather more readings/info regarding these areas



  • TK Tony 07 Apr 2015 11:19am () in Establishing the “Why” of MLE

    Great thread Mike, and have hit the nail on the head.  

    At Te Kowhai we have used Simon Sinek's Golden Ciricles as a great model for our MLE (I prefer to call it learner-centred) journey.  The importance of starting with "WHY" is covered in his book (and Ted talk below)


    It also aligns nicely to Jim Collins ("From Good to Great") hedgehog concept (and also chapter "First who...then what"), and also the great work of Julia Atkins (Values/Principles/Practices)

    For us we have added a 4th circle in the middle....the "WHO"   This incorporates our learners (including staff) and what is unique to them in our school context, and what our stakeholders believe powerful learners are.  

    This then informs/drives our "WHY" (Vision/Values etc) before the "HOW" and finally the "WHAT" 

    e.g. For the "WHO" we have synthesised stakeholder views to state that we want our learners to be highly collaborative, self-managers, strong communicators, thinkers and resilient (our "take" on the KCs)

    The "WHY" (our Vision/Values etc) mentions empowering learners

    The "HOW" involves the change management (especially when moving to collaborative teaching models), professional development, strategic planning, resourcing, parent info sessions etc etc

    The "WHAT" means nothing without all the above.....but when the above is in place, the "WHAT" can strongly enhance learning.  

    e.g. for us the "WHATs" are things like collaborative teams, students working across 2-3 "classes" as a learning community, 1:1 iPads, BYOD, collaborative norms etc etc 

    I will follow this thread with interest, as about to begin sabbatical this term on this very topic!



  • TK Tony 16 Jun 2014 10:00am () in MLEs: Learning spaces and resourcing | NAPP Kōrero 6

    I would say that "YES" MLEs are very much part of what the Ministry is expecting.  See links below, including the excellent recently launched MOE MLE site.

    as part of developing new 5 year property agreements, we need to complete MLE stocktake spreadsheet, and for our current roll growth 3 class project, we wouldnt be allowed to build 3 single cell classrooms even had we wanted to (which we didn't!)