The urge to write has crept up on me just like those grey storm clouds which marched towards Jeff’s house and let loose a torrent of pencil-thin rain down on their mansion in Speed of Light!
Like the story, there was all sorts of flotsam left after it had stomped off in a northerly direction!
So to the flotsam …
We knew it wasn’t going to be easy – we don’t want it to be easy because easy means boring! That is what we tell the kids too. “We don’t do easy in Muriwhenua and Rongokako – we make easy happen through hard work!”. BUT we are beginning to think things could be made a little less frustrating if our community were more informed about what this new building is all about. As the year is progressing we are realising our community need to know more about the type of teaching and learning which many of their children will experience if they choose to come to our school and are placed in this Innovative Learning Environment. We would like to think their child is there because they believe in what we are doing. And then we can get on with it with their support.
We love that everyday is an inquiry into our teaching (and learning space). We do not really have to do a TAI because everyday we are inquiring into our teaching … EVERYDAY! Every period of everyday! This whole process for us is an inquiry. An inquiry into how can we make this space a place where every learner experiences success. We are totally committed to this kaupapa. We almost live and breathe it. We probably do it at the expense of the balance needed for it to be sustainable.
Ko te tamaiti te pūtake o te kaupapa.
Then there are things which happen, however, which feel like that grey cloud has pulled the trigger and let rip a torrent of hailstones. We tell ourselves – it is not their fault. They just really don’t understand. It is new for them and their kids. We let them have their say, share their concerns, grill us about what we are doing, and then they finish with the comment they are not sure this is the right environment for their child.
We once again find ourselves explaining, justifying, and clarifying (in the friendliest and sincerest way we can for the hour that the meeting goes for after a busy day) all over again. The two hui and three other opportunities we have been available to meet and discuss seemingly still not enough. We begin again with what we are doing in our ILE and how it is different to what they know about school and the way it has always been. Then attempt to explain why we are doing it all this way, how learning to collaborate, problem-solve, question, take risks, make mistakes, self manage, make their own decisions, think for themselves, connect and share with others, organise their own day, prioritise, and show their learning in different and creative ways are all really important life long skills. Skills which ensure we are fulfilling the curriculum vision of building learners who are confident, connected, actively involved life long learners.
And then … assure them they are still learning reading, writing, and maths!
Then we go home and all we do is think and re-think and think again and then dream and wake and dream and wake only to realise another day could mean the same thing all over again.
What we know is this: in communities where Innovative Learning Environments are being built as a stand-alone building in a traditional school how vital it is to inform our school community, contributing schools and their teachers, and all prospective learners and their whanau. Not only to inform them about how teaching and learning happens but more importantly WHY it is changing and the benefits for their kids. We have done all we can to inform our whanau – the whanau of our 61. We connect and share in our Facebook group, the kids share via Seesaw, we are in contact with whanau via email, we have held two hui and we have a Google Site attached to the school website which we hope all our community visit to learn about Innovative Teaching and Learning.
Although we attempt to clear this flotsam away, we are realising that it could float around for a while.
This is where we at!
This could be of interest: Traditional works … why change it?