Wednesday, 20 July 2016

Inspirational New Zealand teachers and schools

The blog I wrote about Opunake School has had tremendous response.

It might indicate that there is a hunger out in 'teacher-land' for examples of schools sticking to their
Some classes have the 'wow' factor
beliefs and do the right things rather than doing imposed requirements, such as National Standards right.

To fulfill this need for creative alternatives I have 'mined' my blogs to find examples that might fit the bill.

This morning I listened to an interview on National Radio with  American education professor Zong Zhao  who is in New Zealand to give presentations of his ideas. We have made reference to Zong Zhao several times as his views are aligned to the message of this blog.

He was talking, in the interview, about his latest book 'Counting What Counts - Re-framing Educational Outcomes.'  The point he was making is that measuring achievement does not equate to students' attitudes to wards learning. He was asking for schools ( or rather Governments) to assess what matters. On his website he quotes Einstein to make his point; 'If you judge a fish by its ability to
Zong Zhao
climb a tree it will live its whole life believing it is stupid'.

Rather than focusing on National Standard we need emphasize the provision of engaging challenges. Students are born needing to learn - it is integral to their desire to survive, according to Zong Zhao. Focusing on such things as National Standards  distorts the curriculum, stifles student growth. and seems to require behavior programmes to 'control' students who do not have the opportunity to be suitably engaged. As a result we suffer from an 'opportunity gap' rather than an achievement gap' National Standards discriminate and punish uniqueness , students with strengths in areas not tested, rather than valuing it. Education is more than test scores placing students on a bell curve.

Zong Zhao referred to  High Tech High as an example of a school that engages students in authentic problem solving, integrating modern information technology, but he could have been referring to Opunake Primary.

So back to finding inspirational New Zealand examples unfortunately limited to those I know of. Someone needs to find and share such examples.

These are schools that place the  intent of the New Zealand Curriculum ahead of the politically imposed and doubtful National Standards. Schools that put into practice the phrase from the curriculum that   students need to be able to 'seek, use and create their own knowledge'.

Many teachers are aware of the creative approach of New Zealand's pioneer teacher Elwyn Richardson. His book 'In the Early World' has recently been republished by the NZCER

The early beginnings of creative teachering in New Zealand : Gordon Tovey and the art advisers.
Perry Rush

Perry Rush of Island Bay School is an inspirational educator. I have visited his school and heard him present his ideas. Perry had the courage to stand out against National Standards.

Gay Gilbert's integrated arts programme Hillcrest Normal School Hamilton. I have known Gay for decades and have had the opportunity to work with her school.

Inquiry based learning at Mt Eden Normal School

I haven't had the opportunity the last few years to visit Spotswood School but it was once one of my favorites. I still hear good things

A visit to an inquiry based junior classroom in New Plymouth : Deborah French.

Fraser and his students making honey

An eccentric and creative teacher  in the far north; Fraser Smith

Bill Guild
Bill Clarkson - a quiet revolutionary.

Thoughts from Bill Guild about teaching and learning

The forgotten genesis of creative junior school teachers.

New Zealand's all but lost Learning in Science Project - inquiry learning model  and valuing the prior ideas of students.

Discovery Time is a New Zealand prgramme to develop science inquiries in junior classrooms

Ideas to begin the school year - or anytime for that matter.

Books to inspire creative teachers.

from leading and learning

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