Friday, November 16, 2012

Reflections from Down Under

Linda and I have just spent the last week working with hundreds of principals, district leaders, teachers, Ministry staff and consultants in four regions of New South Wales. We were invited to Sydney because some  key leaders have read "Leadership Mindsets" and are interested in the ways we have supported networks of inquiry in BC. The state is going through a major restructuring  - regions (aka school districts) are being reduced and more responsibility is being devolved to schools.  There is considerable interest in figuring out how networks of schools can help sustain the positive momentum that has been created over the past few years as well as how the mindsets can create a positive framework for principals.

To say the week has been fascinating would be a gross understatement. We have met many absolutely wonderful educators whose passion for public education is inspiring. The challenge of creating equity and equality in a system where roughly a third of students attend private schools and another third attend religious schools is not taken lightly. Most of the indigenous students attend public schools and the educators we met are determined that public education is the route to a better life for the vast majority of their learners.

We introduced the spiral of inquiry to each of the groups we met and it was seen as a useful cognitive tool to keep the focus on the experiences of their learners - and avoid being submersed by the churn in the system. There is a lot of interest in creating stronger links with BC schools and opportunities for the exchange of ideas abound.

We also shared the framework for Aboriginal understanding and knowledge that was developed by Laura Tait and her colleagues. This was very well received and the acknowledgement that 'Aboriginal Education is for Everyone' is also starting to take hold in NSW. There are 7 key principles of indigenous understanding that are expected to be incorporated into every aspect of the NSW curriculum. We look forward to learning more from our colleagues here and to sharing what we learn through this blog.

Working through key questions in Sydney
Sydney Opera House - beautiful
Thinking of all of you back home. Hope this week and the conference many of you are attending is chock full of new learning. G'day!

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Indigenous Storywork - a new opportunity for sharing, learning and fun

UBC has declared this as the year of Indigenous Education and as part of this celebration, they are focusing on Indigenous Storytelling and opening up a province-wide Indigenous Storywork challenge  with the intention of 1. building interest in indigenous stories, 2. using stories for education, 3. encouraging creativity, 4. encouraging participation and sharing, and 5. Having fun.
 For schools involved in AESN, taking part in this challenge will be a great opportunity - as it will be for any school interested in deepening indigenous understanding through story and fun.
Please check out the information and get involved!

Youth and Media Literacy

Here's some information about an upcoming (Nov 24) conference sponsored by the YMCA on Youth and Media Literacy. Check it out.