The Value & Importance of human connection

Kia ora

On Thursday and Friday 2-3 May, in Auckland, the 2013 residential for the National Aspiring Principals Programme was held. I was invited to attend and speak about Lytton's journey over the past 18 months and about Student Voice. It was a genuine honour to be have been asked to speak at this residential.

As a participant in the 2010 programme (Generation 2010) I can certainly testify to the quality of professional learning, and I must admit that we've been very strategic about accessing this quality professional learning. In 2011, Senior Manager Jan Morley and Te Kotahitanga facilitator Bella Hooper graduated from this programme. This year both Deputy Principal Jody Walters and HoD PE & Health Craig Christophers had been accepted into the programme and were in attendance at the aforementioned residential.

For me, the educator Rita Pierson captures the very heart of what came through loud and clear at this residential - "the value and importance of human connection - relationships!"

"...one of the things that we never discuss is or we rarely discuss is the value and importance of human connection - relationships.  James Comer says that no significant learning can occur without a significant relationship.  George Washington Carver says all learning is understanding relationships."
"I think Steven Covey had the right idea . He said you ought to just throw in a few simple things, like seeking first to understand as opposed to being understood, simple things like apologizing."
Transcript of Rita Pierson's speech

Approximately 250 educators in attendance with just over 200 of them future principals. They spoke with moral purpose; they were passionate, and inspring - it was truly humbling to be there! The last two days of the term break and these dedicated educators worked very hard over those two days.

For the presentation I invited Anaru Groube, a Year 12 student, who was one of our two Keynote Speakers at the Teacher Only Days at the beginning of the year. At that time he shared with us his learning experiences at Lytton High School. I also invited Mr Poi, a teacher of Visual Arts and nationally recognised exponent of Haka.

Eileen Robinson, Anaru, Dr. Jan Robertson & Mr Poi
Together we three shared our story - Mr Poi spoke about our school haka as a vehicle for  change - borne out of our school history i.e. Mission statement, Motto and school Whakataukī (proverb). He made explict the inner meanings which are about the value and importance of human connections. Anaru then spoke at a more personal level about himself and his learning experiences, and what tomorrow could mean - Student Voice.

I then spoke about the context of Lytton High School. This presentation was no longer than 30 minutes.

It was great having Jody Walters (who introduced us and took a moment to acknowledge the Honourable PM Parekura Horomia) and Craig Christophers. They were with us on stage and together we performed the school haka at the very end.

I can't wait to see what impact this trip has had on Anaru and is interactions with other students. I can't even begin to imagine what it was like for him to be mixing with these future principals over the two days. Discussing ideas about the future for education in Aotearoa! He mixed easily with everyone. In the photograph above we have our friend Eileen Robinson from Gisborne and Dr Jan Robertson, the Academic Director of the programme. For more images check this link.

Anaru was an amazing collaborator who worked well with Mr Poi and myself. We co-constructed the presentation and enjoyed each others company. He was an excellent ambassador for our school and for our district. If you've been following this blog you'll recognise my Vision for 2013 in this work.

We, have aspirations to be more than a great school - we want to be an outstanding school! The pathway for this is through becoming truly inclusive and responsive. It involves meaningful engagement with students and their whānau. At the residential Anaru received countless accolades for his courage and honesty - he rose to the occasion like the rampant lion in our school's heraldic images. Thank you Rita for the inspirational reminder of the value and importance of human connection - relationships!

Enough said, enjoy the weekend with friends and family.


Video of the week - the Lytton haka being performed at the NAPPnz13 residential



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