Sunday, 28 January 2018

Crossing the Rubicon ....

In 49 BCE Juleus caesar crossed the Rubicon, a river in northern Italy (theoretically the boundary between Italy and Cisalpine Gaul) with his 13th Legion, a move that sparked the Roman civil war. The act gives rise to the saying 'crossing the Rubicon', meaning that an irrevocable step has been taken, that there is no return, that things can never be the same again. Caesar is reputed to have said 'the die is cast'.

Today teaching staff from five of the six Uru Mānuka Manaiakalani Outreach schools came together to improve their collective understanding of our manaiakalani pedagogy 'Learn Create Share'.

The cluster vision reads “Inspiring futures”, and our collective purpose of the day was to take further steps along the way to more empowering & consistent learning experiences for Uru Mānuka tamariki from Yr 1-13. Specifically we aimed to further develop our shared understanding of Learn, Create, Share.

It was the first chance for teachers from across the cluster to meet the members of the Uru Mānuka Trust set up to gather resources to support our work within the cluster. Garry Moore, Rose Crossland, and Jason Marsden (fourth trustee Janine Morrell-Gunn was unavailable to join us) all greeted the 112 teachers before staff got down to work to grow our collective understandings. The day included eight 'slams' in which teachers from the different schools shared examples of their practice that are making a difference to our learners.

The pedagogy offers a rich tapestry of opportunity that successfully engages and challenges  learners. What's more it is no coincidence that its central element, creativity, is also the focus of our school vision. We were challenged to come to shared understandings of what each term meant, a very powerful way of helping every one of us to develop our own understandings and practice.

The data is convincing, we are accelerating learning by double national averages over three years in writing, and one and a half times national averages in reading and mathematics, using the manaiakalani pedagogy, and digital devices. The Uru Mānuka cluster is the only one accelerating learning in all three areas.

We were also privileged to hear from Mr Pat Sneddon from the Manaiakalani Education Trust in Auckland. The MET is the 'Godfather' of the pedagogy and its evolving use of chromebooks and digital tools to accelerate learning.

For the cluster this was the day on which, I think, we 'crossed our Rubicon', on which we made progress that means things will never be the same again. The room was filled with rich learning focussed conversations across schools, and very importantly across the primary/secondary divide, as teachers discussed what good learning looks like, and how we use the technology and the pedagogy to create good learning, to accelerate achievement for our learners.

This is an amazing gift that we have been given, the chance to make a community wide difference. Well done to everyone who contributed and participated - these are extraordinary staff driven by a real moral purpose. Thank you!!!

As they say, some things once seen can never be unseen. Similarly the learnings gained today can never be unlearned. 'The die is cast'.

You can read reflections on the day from Gary Roberts, Principal at Hornby Primary School, here.

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