Tuesday, 13 February 2018

An idea whose time has come

They say that nothing is more powerful than an idea whose time has come, and Manaiakalani, and its pedagogy 'Learn Create Share', is an idea whose time has come. Teaching staff from right across the Uru Mānuka Manaiakalani cluster joined together for a shared 'Teacher Only Day' at the end of January 2018 before beginning their year's work with children. Our aim was to develop a better shared understanding of exactly what 'Learn Create Share' actually means, what it could actually look like, in classrooms across the whole cluster.

You see, collaboration, collective action, is such a powerful force for change and progress.

The day was a tremendous success. It's not very often that you will find over a hundred teachers from across six schools sharing, creating, learning in precisely the way we want our tamariki to learn, create, share in our kura. And why? Because we have huge disparities in New Zealand, we have become a land of 'haves and have nots', and providing equal opportunity is not the answer. The moral imperative behind what we do is what gets most teachers out of bed in the morning.

Manaiakalani is as much about addressing disparity as anything else, it is about accelerating achievement for those who have entered life with possibly fewer advantages than others, and most likely through no fault of their own. This image says it best:

And the results speak for themselves.  I've posted here before about the impact of Manaiakalani and the use of digital devices on achievement, with reading and maths achievement accelerated by 1.5x the national norms, and writing accelerated by 2x the national norms, over a period of three years. The impact is so profound the question that has to be asked is 'why wouldn't you?'.

But it's even bigger than that. Our school vision set in 2016, and reaffirmed by our forward looking Board of Trustees in 2017, is to be 'A centre of creative excellence'. It's NO coincidence that that vision aligns with the 'Create' that sits at the centre of the Manaiakalani pedagogy 'Learn Create Share'.

Another of our many challenges at Hornby High School is to build our shared understanding of what creativity looks like, feels like, sounds like, at Hornby High School. To that end, at the end of 2017 I gifted a copy of the same book to every member of staff (regardless of their role at the school). That book was 'Creative Schools' by Sir Ken Robinson.

Now I am a huge fan for Sir Ken, and you can see some of his thinking on creativity in schools here:

and here:

This IS out future. Artificial Intelligence is more and more rapidly replacing human beings at predictable routine tasks. Even such long revered professions as the law are not immune to this. So where does the future lie? We must focus in what makes us human, because that is what distinguishes us from the technology. At the heart of that, in my opinion, is our ability to empathise, and our ability to be creative.

So what is creativity in ur context? It can be the creative arts, but that is far too limiting a notion. It is about coming up with new solutions to problems, regardless of whether they are technological, mathematical, linguistic, or sporting. And by new we mean new to the learner, not necessarily new to all of humanity (although that would be a great bonus, and certainly isn't beyond the realms of possibility).

The willingness to do any of that requires responsible risk taking. No coincidence, yet again, that developing responsible risk takers sits as  apart of one of our strategic goals.


  1. I 100% agree with you. Manaiakalani Outreach is (in my opinion) one of the greatest gifts we are gifting our students in Uru Mānuka.
    The Learn, Create, Share Mini Conference was such an opportunity for our staff around the cluster to build relationships along side their growth in a shared understanding of LCS.
    Creativity is allowing our students to be empowered and will prepare them for a bright future!
    Thank you again, for sharing your journey with us all.
    - Kelsey

  2. Kei te tino pai tēnei!
    Engari, ka tino pai tēnei!