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Anita Yarwood's discussion posts

  • Anita Yarwood 11 Sep 2016 4:06pm () in Enabling e-learning forum: Look how far we've come | NAPP Kōrero 14 2016

    As a result of engaging in NAPP conversations I can now apply leadership thinking and strategies that empower me to rearrange my priorities away from a subject specific ‘status quo’ . Before NAPP my priorities as a Head of a Learning Area in a secondary school, were focused on HOW do we get students to succeed in NCEA. How can we change ākonga so they are achieving the results that we deem important, in the way that we deem as the ‘right way’ to achieve. NAPP taught me about moral purpose and the importance of knowing the WHY of educational leadership. The conversations within NAPP aren’t focused on a deficit model of ākonga – they are focussed on what we can achieve as educational leaders to ensure equity of outcome through celebrating a students’ sense of identity and culture.  Success doesn’t have to be linked to a rigid academic model. NAPP conversations prioritise a sense of  belonging as the foundation of educational success which reaffirms my moral purpose and makes me feel confident in the leadership decisions I am making within my kura and within my classroom. Plus, NAPP provides a network of like-minded leaders and colleagues, which is invaluable, especially when change isn’t always easy to implement and you can sometimes end up feeling isolated within your kura – but going online means you don’t have to feel isolated in your thinking.

  • Anita Yarwood 04 Sep 2016 3:19pm () in FORUM: What does innovation look like in your school? | An Enabling e-Learning event

    Kia ora 

    I work at a 'traditional' secondary school, so innovation for us has been a move away from 'one size fits all' assessment models to working with students to enable them to make choices around NCEA assessment that best suits their strengths, interests and future pathways. I am the HOLA of English and we are lucky that our conditions of assessment for English standards promote flexibility and assessment when the student is ready, not when the teacher decides it is time to assess a particular skill set. We started this approach last year with English staff using goal setting and individual plans with students and the results were considerably improved at the end of the year. Even more importantly, student voice indicated a boost in confidence levels and engagement in the subject. We used Carol Dweck's work around growth mindsets when explaining to students why we weren't assessing everyone in the same manner at the same time.

    Interestingly the lower achieving students embraced this flexible approach, but our successful students struggled with the lack of teacher directed deadlines and felt that they were being unfairly disadvantaged against by our allowing other students to take a longer time to complete a standard, or opt out of a standard altogether. We have discovered that we do now need to work with our year nine students to support the development of competencies that enable students to be successful learners in a flexible programme (and build on the great work that is happening in primary and intermediate around competencies). This is probably our biggest takeaway - innovation in schools is valuable, but students need scaffolded support and teaching to develop the skills to embrace whatever innovation a school is undertaking. I know this sounds like common sense - but it is something that has taken us by surprise and something that we are now working on addressing. 

  • Anita Yarwood 22 May 2016 3:03pm () in Forum: How do schools ready themselves for modern learning pedagogies?

    Kia ora

    My name is Anita Yarwood and I am HOLA of English at Avonside Girls' High School. We are about to rebuild our school as it was badly damaged in the Christchurch earthquakes. We are moving site and will co-locate with Shirley Boys' High School in an ILE. We have two years and I strongly believe that one of the only new things about our shift in January 2019 should be a shift into a different space. So, we are working through the pedagogy that justifies the shift into ILE at the moment through a lot of reading and being lucky enough to visit schools such as, Hobsonville Point and Albany. We are also trialing collaborative teaching with year eleven English classes (NCEA level one) in an open plan space, not a single cell classroom. The trial has been the best learning experience, as we are constantly revisiting what we are doing and readjusting to make sure all ākonga are succeeding. We are working with ākonga individually introducing personalised assessment. At the same time, one of us will run workshops for half a lesson to introduce skills that we observe are needed by ākonga. We expect ākonga to goal set and reflect on goals during every lesson - and we wouldn't be able to do any of this effectively without digital support, which we do struggle to get as we aren't a BYOD school and we don't have a lot of digital resources. 

    But, what I am realising more and more is that the benefits to ILE is the potential for ākonga to experience deep learning which is really exciting. Schools can best resource this deep learning through extended time in the timetable - this will allow kaiako the time to build a relationship with every ākonga which means kaiako can best support a student's learning as they will have a better understanding of strengths and areas to develop. The second benefit of schools resourcing more time in fewer lessons means ākonga have the time to fully develop their learning. Often at secondary schools ākonga will learn a skill in one subject, only to have to replicate the learning in another subject e.g. research skills are taught in English, Health, History, Art etc. Ākonga are so busy learning HOW to research they don't have the time to research anything in depth. So collaborative teaching between learning areas to limit the double-up of teaching and time to allow ākonga to fully explore their new skills and to engage in deep learning is going to have to be one of our first school-wide steps to becoming an ILE.