Architects of Opportunity

Kia ora.

Architects of Opportunity - what a great title for a blog entry!  I'd like to say that I came up with the phrase but unfortunately I didn't. It belongs to Nikhil Goyal, it was coined by him when talking about teachers, that they could and should operate as 'architects of opportunity'.

Anyhow let me start with saying how much I love my job. Checkout the photo of me jumping into replace the lead guitarist for one of the school bands - the guitarist was absent from the lunchtime practice. I was hoping they were playing covers, i.e. songs that I would recognise. Instead, they were playing an original composition that they had put together a few weeks earlier. So, I had to fit around their composition, I had to firstly workout the key for the song, its tempo and then put it together. In essence I had to utilise prior learning to create new knowledge, which in essence is what learning is all about!

I can't even begin to quantify the benefits of music in our learning - I personally think ALL students should have to learn to play an instrument and participate in either a band, choir or something similar. Anyhow, here is a link to a video from Pentatonix, a well known acapella group, entitled Revolution of music. I hope you enjoy it.

Returning to Architects of Opportunity, Nikhil was very helpful by describing what we as teachers could do to place ourselves into the position of being Architects of Opportunity. It involves the following actions;

  • allowing the students to do it for themselves
  • to promote learning in a collaborative manner
  • allowing students to disrupt their own education in their own ways
and advocated
  • Project Based Learning, with
  • Portfolio Assessment
These last two are the context for an ongoing conversation that I've been having with a colleague/mentor who is a principal at another local high school. These resonate very well with my readers and research.

NAPP2013 - later on this week I'll be attending the National Aspiring Principals 2013 Residential Hui. As a wānanga it involves, the 220 participants meeting together "kanohi ki te kanohi" (face to face) with an ongoing continuous dialogue about the complex challenges in education today. As an invited speaker I've been asked to share our story of Lytton High School - our journey over the past 18 months.  To assist with engaging the participants with ideas around Student Voice, I've invited Anaru Groube, a 16 year old student, to accompany me. Anaru was one of two students who spoke at our Teacher Only Days at the start of this year. They were our guest speakers fro the 2 day event, at Parihimānihi marae in Waihīrere, which had Student Voice as its theme. Anaru and the other student spoke about their learning experiences in their time at Lytton High School - they were amazing. They spoke with conviction and from the heart, at moments they were humorous and at other moments made very poignant comments. We as a group of teacher were better for the experience. We were very privileged to hear his story and get an insight into the current learning experiences of our students. We learnt so much from their stories and it acted as a catalyst to further and ongoing discussions and debate amongst teachers about what we could do better!

Now, Anaru would certainly fit the criteria of the Priority Learner as espoused by the recent Ministry of Education descriptors and the recent national report from ERO. However, it would be erroneous and, more importantly, patronizing to define who Anaru is by the term 'Priority Learner'.

I think Anaru will be amazing at the residential and I know that his whānau are extremely proud and honoured by this request of mine to have him share ownership of the presentation. Mum was overwhelmed when we spoke about this a couple of weeks ago and when speaking with his grandmother yesterday she was very humbled and proud of her mokopuna. These actions to involve Anaru are about being an Architect of Opportunity! in my next entry I'll share more about the residential.

Anyhow, enough said by me at this moment. Keep well, keep safe and utilise your ability (with others) to be an Architect of Opportunity!

Video of the week - Suli Breaks - I Will Not Let An Exam Result Decide My Fate (Spoken Word)

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