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Neill O'Reilly's discussion posts

  • Neill O'Reilly 23 Feb 2017 9:19am () in Chromebooks Offline

    Perhaps an Ipad?

  • Neill O'Reilly 13 Feb 2017 5:46pm () in Learning Licences, do they really work?

    Hi Gretchen,

    Goals set and then no plan have some value, goals set with a plan (such as a SMART Goal) have even more value especially if children are given time to reflect.

    Less is more, we set our goals against our REAL Hero profile which is linked to the KC's.

    In the studio they might also have a writing goal that is very clear to them and a goal for their other learning areas. We are currently working through some PLD on Self regulated learning and goal setting and want to strike a happy medium so the goals are purposeful and not to onerous. Give me a few months and I will share where we are up to!

  • Neill O'Reilly 12 Feb 2017 12:03pm () in Learning Licences, do they really work?

    Hi Gretchen,

    Some of the most important components to developing self regulated learners are:

    • Meaningful and authentic goal setting with students selecting their goals (this can happen from new entrant) and having success criteria so they can self assess and daily reflection time.
    • Quality feedback related to agreed goals and success criteria- this empowers the learner and develops a growth mindset.
    • Giving children think time after every question is asked (minimum 7 seconds) and then learning talk partners rather than hands up and answering the teacher (I think I have written before about hands up being a 'thinking stopper' and indicative of a teacher controlled rather than student led environment)
    • Scaffold the choices. As a minimum let children select where they learn (this will have been scaffolded through a group agreement about what we are at school to do- learn and what learning looks, sounds and feels like, so that if children are not yet able to do this teacher can support that child by making a decision for them rather than penalising the whole class just because a few struggle with this self regulation strategy
    • Have 'How we get ready fro the day' visual prompts
    • Teacher modelling goal setting and asking for student feedback
    • Making feedback about self regulation and self management as constructive as feedback about learning goals- that is not 'telling off' but constructive, specific feedback
    • Visual prompts about what to do when you are in the learning pit (and celebrate being in the learning pit because tat means you are taking risks and challenging yourself
    • Refection strategies and explicitly teaching children how to reflect- teaching them,  pausing, posing questions, paraphrasing, providing quality information, paying attention to self and others (active listening) 
    • Ask them if they want their art put up on the wall- I still can't believe in 2017 in supposedly student centred learning environment that teachers have children do art (which requires risk taking, mistake making and vulnerability) and then it is all place on the wall often with no indication of a before and after and without a success criteria and without permission! (99% will say yes but lets ask)
    • Have children share they progress with others (celebration)
    • Have children gather information about how self regulated and student centred our environment is- once you have some criteria get them to interview a random sample of students , anaylse the data and then report back to teachers

    these is a few for starters...


  • Neill O'Reilly 01 Nov 2016 7:33am () in Half ILE and half single cell

    Hi guys,


    Tim you are on the right track!

    The challenge is that every learning space in your school should be an "ILE". If you look at the 'Nature of Learning" and especially the 7 Principles of ILE's you will see that these should be present in every NZ classroom as every NZ classroom should reflect the NZC. 

    I think it very important to separate collaborate teaching in flexible spaces from the concept of ILE's. The advantage and difference in a flexible learning space is that teachers can collaborate to better meet the needs of tamariki and children have the opportunity to develop relationships and learn from and with a variety of teachers at one time. If by ILE and MLP (does this mean "Motivating Little People"?) you mean differentiated learning (sometimes called personalised learning) meaningful learning contexts (often through inquiry but also project based learning etc), mixed ability learning, small group teaching, a mix of guided teaching, direct instruction, experiential teaching and culturally inclusive practice then this should be happening in all classes. If you mean negotiated timetables etc this can happen with one teacher it is just enabled by two or more.

    The bottom line is a school should have a vision for learning that reflects the NZC and the principles of ILE and this should be happening regardless if spaces are flexible learning spaces or traditional classrooms. These is more info in my thesis if you are a big reader!


    Just as an aside jump into NZC and look at "effective pedagogy" Terms like MLP or even worse ILP just confuse staff, students and community. Easier just to refer basck to NZC and decide what effective pedagogy in 2016 looks like in our school. (See my previous comments on this and dump ILE, FLE, FLS, MLE and use real words to convey what you mean in your school and community)

    Hope this helps


  • Neill O'Reilly 16 Sep 2016 6:51am () in Implementing Learner Agency

    Hi team,

    Great thoughts. So important we nurture self regulation rather than subversive control.

    I think it is worth looking at Alfie Kohn's book 'Punished by Rewards' and his blog

    Just as a bonus if your school / team still hand out homework other than reading (and having taught parents "To, by and with") and some basic facts children select and practice then this book is also a must!



  • Neill O'Reilly 31 Jul 2016 2:40pm () in Learning Licences, do they really work?

    Thanks Wendy,

    Sounds like friggen great stuff you are doing!


  • Neill O'Reilly 30 Jul 2016 1:41pm () in Learning Licences, do they really work?

    Has me slightly worries that we need a 'Game of school", does this mean we are going down the slippery slope of giving up and school is school so you need to learn how to 'play the game'. Someone should write a 'Game of unschool' for teachers and then we could design a school based around what kids need!

    I like all you other thinking you are clearly putting lots of thought into the transition process to collaborative teaching and learning and attempting to 'design' the most effective environment you can- good for you!

    Where is your school Charles?


  • Neill O'Reilly 30 Jul 2016 1:37pm () in Learning Licences, do they really work?

    Thanks Wendy,

    I am pleased you have thought about the 'why'. The most important thing is that you as a team/ staff are reflecting on the effectiveness of the process/ system you have put in place and continue to ask, "Is this empowering our children as self regulated learners?" I can see the very specific nature of what you are doing. Do all children need the licence? Or is the system necessary because of a few who push the boundaries?

    Do you think at some point in the future the only licence you will need is for those who need supervision/ management and all the rest can just get on with it?


  • Neill O'Reilly 30 Jul 2016 1:31pm () in Teacher workloads in I.L.E [ MLE]]

    Ok I figured it out! So here are the S8

    Screen Shot 2016-07-30 at 1.24.41 pm.png


    and for staff and families this order is important

    Screen Shot 2016-02-17 at 5.37.41 pm.png

    rather than  this:

     Screen Shot 2016-02-15 at 7.59.19 pm.png 

    because shifting our focus away from quality T & L (effective pedagogy) and saying to ourselves or parents "We are now an ILE doing ILP or a MLE doing MLP" will result in this...

    Screen Shot 2016-02-15 at 7.59.49 pm.png

    and this is not ok for our students or teachers!

    I hope this helps ;-)



  • Neill O'Reilly 30 Jul 2016 1:22pm () in Teacher workloads in I.L.E [ MLE]]

    Hi Guys,

    I recently finished writing my thesis on the key components to creating and effective collaborative teaching and learning environment. I also have led the transition form autonomous practice in traditional classrooms to working in 'retro fit' spaces and now a purpose built school with 4-5 teachers, 1-2 learning assistants and 110 children in a flexible learning space.

    Charles to answer your question the short answer is the workload increases. This is due to the need to collaborate which requires significant communication, compromises, consensus, conflict, clarification and commitment. Teachers have to discuss everything that they previously did on their own, this in itself is time consuming. The number of people in the space adds to the initial complexity, as you can imagine, two people can quickly discuss and make decisions, often on the go. When you get to 3,4 and 5 or more then meeting times have to be arranged daily (our staff all arrive at 8:00am to spend time together and are required to be at school until 4:00pm to work together) and less can be done on the go as it requires all are involved. On the flip side when you have three or more you have the added benefit of multiple perspectives, experience, interests, skills and personality types.

    My research indicates the workload is significantly more for the first year and it takes two years with stable staffing to get the workload down to below what it was prior to going into collaborative practice. However, lets not assume all staff work all the hours God gives, some do not and some do, so for some who have been working very long hours their load might be less. No need to arrange a room for yourself, to plan everything alone, to find all the resources, to deal with a problem child alone...

    Here is a wee bit of a summary of my research

    The eight key components are (I call these S8 to collaborate)

    1. Support for Staff: Teachers in our school have additional release time, are all released at the same time, have planning days together. The initial support (in year 1 was four full days a term). This year it is a 90 minute block every week and usually another day a term. They also need support to use google docs effectively, to understand the skills of collaboration, to re think their approach to learning etc. If you want this to work then you need to invest in your staff there is no shortcut to this!
    2. Student centred: Sounds easy but I assure you it is not a given. Karla has some great examples.
    3. Shared beliefs and understandings: These take time, much work should be done in advance to develop understandings about what quality teaching and learning looks like, about what studnt centred means, about self regulation.... and then the beliefs and understandings emerge as teachers and other staff start to work together in the space
    4. Smart Systems: I have yet to see a school who has this one sorted, we are all re inventing the wheel with google docs etc and we have some sms coming on stream such as Linc-ed but at the moment we are not smart. Then we can talk about the systems and routines in the space to make it work
    5.  Skill Development: Teachers were not trained to work with adults, they were trained to work with children. We (leadership) have a big job to do to up skill the collaborative skills of staff. There are a multitude of ways to do this and starting points would include HBDI, Belbin. 7 Norms of Collaboration etc
    6. Strategies to Co-teach: To just work in the space with other teachers as you were in a traditional class is a recipe for disaster and a waste of human potential. Teachers will out perform themselves based on their past experience when they collaborate. So what to do? We have created our own co-teaching strategies using these and more specifically these 5 co-teaching strategies. There is gold in working differently and using collective power of more than one to improve the learning, self regulation and hauora of our tamariki.
    7. Structures School wide: These need to change, release time together is needed, appraisal systems need to be different, appointment processes change, timetabling and how staff are selected to be in a team
    8. Space flexibility: Teachers need to understand how to use space, such as flow, learning zones, the use of displays, of glass and light of the outdoors, of zones for collaboration, for independent learning for guided teaching etc

    These environments can be stunning for our children, imaging having the benefit of multiple teachers and their perspectives and world views, of multi years in one space building powerful relationships with teachers over time, of having space to undertake projects and inquiries. And for teachers having the support of colleagues, the collective problem solving, the collective wisdom skills and strengths, the opportunity for real time PLD in your workspace. All of this requires commitment from leadership, funding and resourcing to ensure it is a success. 

    Parents? Parents get it if we communicate: We are going to use the collective skills, knowledge and wisdom of our teachers to create the best possible learning environment for your child. Our focus will remain on quality teaching and learning. We will not be throwing the baby out with the bath water. We are going to take the best of what we already know about teaching and work together to make it even better. 

    Do not use terms like: MLE, ILE, FLS, FLE, MLP, ILP or any other stupid set of letter. Talk about quality teaching and learning, collaboration and flexible learning spaces and you will have parents more onboard. 

    Far out! I got carried away. I have to say that this is one of the most exciting times to be in education and there is no question the opportunity for teachers to collaborate together in a single space is fantastic for our kids but do it bit by bit, by design not experiment and you will get there.


    PS I hope to be able to upload a few diagrams to illustrate these points