I recently attended the New Zealand Principals Conference in Wellington. It was one of the best conferences I have been to. Every single keynote speaker’s message really resonated with me. If you read the board newsletter, Bob Weston mentioned that the theme of the conference was Creative Leadership, Flourishing Futures. One of the speakers said that we are on the edge of the biggest change since the industrial revolution. The advent of AI, the global nature of our communications and collaborations, the ways we approach and solve problems and the never ending change and development in all manner of technologies is causing all of us to look at new structures, new paradigms and new ways of approaching global and local problems.
So what does this mean at primary school? We need to create innovators; people who question and disrupt, who don’t accept and who don’t comply but who create different solutions. Perhaps I should word that differently, we need to provide the conditions in which children are encouraged to be innovators and create; create solutions, products or systems. An interesting quote was that innovation was all about team work, there are no individual innovators but schools persist in celebrating individual achievement. We value collaboration but reward individual achievement. This same speaker said there should only ever be 3 grades A, B and Not Yet. If a student hasn’t met a milestone or benchmark, don’t say that they have failed, just give them more time to achieve it.
The whole conference was around nurturing creativity and the single most important take away for all of us was – don’t tie creativity to the arts. If we think that we are only creative if we can sing or paint or dance or play an instrument, then we are diminishing creativity in all aspects of our lives. As well as creativity in the arts, people exhibit creativity in the ways they solve problems, how they work with new information and whether they have the ability to carry out non routine tasks.
Reflections and thoughts for me for 2019 and beyond:
- Are we preparing our children through valuing soft skills, team achievement and innovation outside the norm?
- Do we genuinely involve the learner in decisions about their learning or is it ‘done’ to them?
- Do we teach our children what they already know?
- Relevance – my key word for 2019. Is this learning relevant for that particular child? If not, then why are we doing it? Learning that is relevant for one child is not relevant to another. How will we manage this if we want to nurture creativity in all children?
These are questions for all of the teachers to ponder as we plan the curriculum for 2019 and beyond.
Oh dear, everything that gets written for the public to read may be interpreted in as many ways as there are readers! Last week, I urged you to email me with your thoughts about our level of ‘comms’. I said tongue in cheek ‘ However, I would appreciate your feedback about our level of comms – ie too much / not enough as well as your constructive suggestions. Please don’t bombard me with complaints!’ I should have put LOL after that last sentence! It was a tongue in cheek comment. It was NOT meant as ‘oh Janice doesn’t like to receive complaints’. In fact, the whole reason for asking for your feedback about our comms was because I rarely receive complaints and yet I am aware that there are complaints discussed among some groups of parents but they don’t bring their complaints to me so I can make changes for the better. If something is bugging you, please complain and share it with me, perhaps together we can make a change or sort it out. Thanks to all of you who have emailed me with your thoughts, I appreciate it as it helps us to improve.
Reminder 1 – Triadic Meetings 28, 29 November
Triadic parent, child teacher meetings coming up on 28, 29 November. Further details to come. School will finish at 2pm on Wednesday 28th so we can ensure everyone gets an allocated time. Look out for the email with the logon details.
Reminder 2 – Parent Portal and Reports
We will open the achievement portal for each child the week following the triadic meetings (from 3rd December). Look out for your individual logon details sent out the week prior to the portal being opened. Final reports will be sent home on 14 December. Your child’s report will inform you about how they have achieved against the national expectations (ie curriculum level) for their year level. Watch out for an explanation of curriculum levels in upcoming newsletters.
Reminder 3 – Teacher Strike 12 November
At this stage the strike is still on so the school will be closed. If this situation changes, we will let you know immediately.