Saturday, April 25, 2009

New Zealand Bloggers Badge - Copy and Share!

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New Zealand Blogger badge

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NZ Bloggers

• Naketa - ICT Early Childhood Facilitator
• Ethical Martini - This is a blog about media ethics and journalism / journalists.
• Breakaway Retreat - a luxury beach front Retreat in McLeod Bay, Whangarei Heads, NZ
• Silverspikes Photography
Auckland Daily Photography - Awesome photographs by Lachezar from Auckland and throughout NZ
• Nelson Daily Photo - Really creative photography by Ben - capturing Nelson
• A Walk Through Auckland - brilliant concept, great photos
• Hamilton Views - another great NZ photographic blog
• Tauranga Daily Photos - there looks like a photographic challenge on between all the idyllic cities of New Zealand. Another fantastic site with a photo a day from Tauranga
• Whangarei Daily Photos - a fellow blogger from my adopted home town, capturing the spirit of Whangarei. Fantastic!!
• New Views of New Zealand - New (ish) to New Zealand as a result of a mixture of technology and love, this self acclaimed 'mad woman' shares her views of New Zealand.
DutchCorner - postcards from New Zealand. Stories, photos, wonderful poems... and I have to direct you to a little bit of NZ humour!
• Cafe Pacific - Pacific media uncensored
Otautahi Outrospective - Bringing to you the daily life of christchurch nz
My UK/Kiwi Life in Photos
Maungataroto Daily Photo - a Dinkum kiwi town
• Four Paws and Whiskers
• Christchurch Daily Photo
Three Spoons - the culture of food in Aotearoa New Zealand
New Zealand Links - life downunder in NZ
Wellington Road - An American Expat, "pontificating about, you know, stuff" and life in NZ
Just Plane Crazy - Adrenaline Action in New Zealand

This New Zealand Bloggers Badge was created by Beverly Kaye.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

What makes a great teacher? II

I really enjoy dialogue that comes from sharing one’s ideas online. This post is a continuation of the dialogue started in - What makes a great teacher? (13 April 2009)

Further on that subject, there have been some interesting responses that have taken me once again on journeys of discovery.


The first, from Ann, who commented on the ICT ECE PL Café. Ann submitted this quote

“When we as teachers recognize that we are partners with our students in life's long and complex journey,…
- when we begin to treat them with the dignity and respect they deserve for simply being…
- then we are on the road to becoming worthy teachers.
It is just that simple - and just that difficult.”

I love the description of ‘life’s long and complex journey’. It reveals the depth of the journey our children/students are undertaking, as well as the exciting prospects education and life have to offer.

To be partners with our children/students and treat them with dignity and respect ‘ is just that simple - and just that difficult’. I believe this captures the earnestness of educators as well as the shear buzz for educators.

Creativity and Professional Judgment

The next day, Elaine's comment led me to Bruce Hammond’s blog and his discussion on Creative Thinking. His blog post takes a look at Elwyn Richardson’s pioneering thoughts. In Hammond's post he reflects on teachers being creative educators, and the universality of creativity. We need to be creative in education whatever tools we have at our disposal… (pencil, printing press, technology) Bruce Hammond goes on to say…

“Forget the research and current conformist 'best practice',
go back and see what teachers like Elwyn did….
By all means be 'informed' by research but not 'led';
we need to use professional judgement
you ought to know your classroom best…
We need to be more concerned about creating our own ever changing 'best practices'.”

In conclusion
As great teachers we need to be creative in our own ‘best practice’ in partnership with the holistic individuals we find ourselves linked with for some small part of their (and our) long and complex journey of learning.

Readings supporting this post:

Leading and Learning – Bruce Hammond

Ann’s quote is from Awake Magazine. This is an interesting source for educational theory, however if we are to be creative and holistic in our approach to education and use our professional judgment then we open up a world of resource and reference material worth considering.

Ann’s quote went on to refer to a statement by William Ayers
"We must find a better way, a way that builds on the strengths, experiences, skills and abilities... I am reminded of the plea of a Native American parent whose five-year-old son had been labeled a 'slow learner': 'Wind-Wolf' knows the names and migration patterns of more than forty birds. He knows there are thirteen tail feathers on a perfectly balanced eagle. What he needs is a teacher who knows his full measure.”

You might be interested to research William Ayers – another interesting character, on YouTube.

Monday, April 13, 2009

What makes a GREAT teacher?

My reading this weekend included a BlogCatalog discussion facilitated by Tim Wicks - Senior Teacher in a Special School for High School students. The discussion is entitled "what makes great teacher?"

The word "knowledge" or "be smart" makes an appearance in the discussion a few times and I liked Tim's response..

"You say my list has no mention of knowledge. I will add it to the list, .... I am very focused on relationships, and for me knowledge comes in way down the list. Why? So many teachers are brimming with knowledge, yet do not connect with their students."

I would add that sometimes knowledge gets in the way of learning for many teachers. I believe strongly that NZ Early childhood curriculum reflects an emphasis on 'relationships' in education - it is the teacher's job to reflect that in practice. I know that the new New Zealand School Curriculum recently add this in their Key Competencies.

The team at Manaia is currently considering, reflecting, discussing and establishing our new team philosophy, so I was interested to read international ideas about ‘what makes a great teacher’.

I read through Tim Wick's Time to Shine Blog and “15 Critical Traits of the Remarkable Teacher” and wondered what my list might look like and how our final Kindergarten philosophy will read. Tim’s list includes - Be crazy about children, Be fun, honest, Be a learner, Go beyond the boundaries of your classroom, Be a good listener, work with children's strengths, promote self management... Others in the discussion added passion, dedication, adaptability... I liked the suggestion of being a good facilitator.

I would like to make my list more succinct.. here's my list of top five...

1. Be an effective facilitator
2. Be a passionate learner
3. Work with children's strengths
4. Be adaptable
5. Have great expectations of all
6. Show respect
7. Be caring

Ahhhh - its hard to stay on just the top 5.. and already I have shuffled, deleted, added, rearranged...

Quick thinking - off the top of your head - what are the Top 5 teacher characteristics that you value?

Thanks Elaine for your comments - I have reflected further on this topic in:
What makes a great teacher? II