Monday, 19 October 2015

Don't ask those at the top.

There's a lot of ' Hoo Haa' being said about education at the moment.  There are 'Top' Principals, from 'Top' Schools projecting 'Top' comments to 'Top' periodicals about 'Lesser' learning environments and the learning that occurs within them.

The truth is when you finally arrive at the top, when all is said and done there is a hell of a lot more said than done.  I mean, when you finally arrive at the 'Top', where else is there to go, what else can one do and what is left to say?  It must be awesome standing on the top and looking down on all of those things and people that are below?  Well, that is one perspective, that to change it, requires one to lower themselves.
Recently JK Rowling said "If you want to know what a man is really like, look at how he treats his inferiors".  This statement, like those quoted from 'Top "schools', also send shivers up my spine, because it echoes a societal discourse that that contradicts all of what I believe that schooling should be about.  To even treat an inferior well, one must consider that the notion of inferiority exists.

I don't know who said this but this makes more sense to me. "Nobody is superior, nobody is inferior, but nobody is equal either.  People are simply unique, incomparable.  You are you, I am I.  I have to contribute my potential to life; you have to contribute your potential your potential to life.  I have to discover my own being; you have to discover your own being."

As soon as you have a notion that there is a top and a bottom, then you have a diminishing of the voices that are perceived to be placed at the bottom.  Have you noticed that the media do not turn to those voices unless something extraordinary happens.  Schools 'bucking the trends' with achievement, a team or individual makes the National stage or the project that is 'turning lives around'.  None of these things are bad, but I can tell you this, in education and learning there are many many examples of outstanding educational practice that will never be highlighted, purely because they are not deemed lofty enough.

So with this in mind, I seek daily reassurance that we are on the right track in our 'Modern Learning Environment', by listen ing to the voices that matter, the students.  Here are some very recent answers to a question that I asked some learners in my HUB.  Tell me about some recent learning that you have had, and how might you apply it?

My moment of learning is learning about binary and how it works, how the 1’s represent a bit and the 0’s represent an empty slot.  TheY are put in certain orders to represent letters for example the letter A is 00001 and B is 00010, how it works is that 00001 is one 00010 is two 00011 is three so on, the first bit is one, then two, four, eight, sixteen, thirty two, sixty four and is keeps doubling. Using binary also helps you find a faster and more efficient way to sort items, it takes half of the selected items you are sorting goes through them, if it is higher, or lower than all the selected items then it uses the other half and it keeps doing that until you find the one you were looking for.

Last term I learn’t something that changed my whole attitude towards things. I’m the type of person that over thinks things or can get really worried. Last term in one of my SPIN (Special Interest) classes I was put in a group with people who honestly tend to go off task. I would be working in that group for the next few weeks and our drama performance would be marked on the SOLO rubric as part of our term 3 report. When I saw the group I was in I instantly started worrying that this would cause me to get a low mark, which is something I don’t really like, but then I thought to myself “no, I’m going to try and make this work”. I already had learned in the past that I can be a good leader when I want to, and if I just summoned up the confidence to lead my group so we could produce at least an okayish drama performance it would be all good. It also helped that I am passionate about drama. Anyway, in the end everything turned out better than I thought it would be and I was worrying about nothing! So the moral of the story is, if you have a positive attitude towards things you will 9 times out of 10 turn out with a better outcome!

During the holidays my mum was talking to my auntie and I was just sitting there on my phone but I was also listening to what they were saying. As I was sitting there I heard them talking about looking at things in a different perspective and my mum said that different generations and different types of people look at things differently. For example my auntie would buy some toys for her children to play with but they already have lots of toys, then her mother in law would say buy something more useful like games, activities etc… to help them learn new things. So in the end everyone has their different opinions and will have their own perspective on things. When I heard what my mum and auntie were talking about, it made me realize that not everyone will agree on the same thing but if you look at things from their side you can see a whole different side to the story. I feel like this will help me in the future not just in learning but also in life because now I know that no one is ever really wrong it’s just how you feel and how your perspective is on a certain situation.

One thing that is going to change my life is knowing that if you be more positive to people, things go more your way and that will help you achieve a group activity. This works by keeping the team strong and you if fuel them with a strong positive attitude, they will see you as a leader and follow your moves and you will lead them into a big battle on war of achievement and this  will give everyone a good vibe so you can win the game or competition. You can change other people simply by having a positive approach and attitude.

The thing that I learnt was about building up my confidence. Throughout my schooling years I was never really the confident person I would only talk loud to my friends and family but  I never liked talking to the teacher. I always found it difficult to speak in parent teacher interview because the teacher wouldn’t really know me that well and I had to tell them everything about my learning in the pass. I wasn’t very good at some of my subjects such as mathematics but At the end of year 8 my confidence started building up and when I started high school I found it easier to interact with teachers and other students and would present projects in front of people in my spins and modules. This year has helped me a lot with my confidence because teachers would tell me that I got better at a subject,  finding out my strengths and weaknesses and staying positive towards my learning. I still have have to build up more confidence to answer questions in spins and modules so far this school has helped me a lot with my learning and helping me finding out things I never knew about myself but this year has been good because I had more confidence in myself and told myself I could do things I never thought I could do.     

A, learning and a life changing, thing for me was being able to go to school at my primary and and high school actually being able to learn maths, writing, reading, spelling, languages and science without these i couldn’t be prepared for my future like if i went to a job interview and wanted to get a job to be a scientist i couldn’t i don’t know maths and fractions or angles so without me going to school i wouldn't be able to get a job to easy and when i came to this high school i've learn a lot more than i have ever like coding was a great experiment and learning about a.i and how it all works.

I cannot remember too much of the specifics but I remember walking into my lounge only to find my mum sitting on the couch doing the strangest fake laugh I have ever heard. There was nothing around to laugh at either, no books or devices in play nothing, so I asked her what is she laughing about?  Pretty much, to sum it up, she said that when you fake laugh you will feel so silly about doing the fake laugh and you end up laughing for real and that sends some kind of hormones around that makes you happy. So now when I feel a bit sad or a lot sad I just fake laugh to make myself feel better. Another thing I do now is talk to a friend and just make a lot of jokes which makes me laugh as well and causes the same effect.
I also had another learning memory this year. So for this learning memory I took a My Time called the lyricist because all the other my times in my head sounded boring. So when I got there what we had to do was write a song, and I ended up starting to write a terrible song but had the best time doing so. I got one of my friends to join the my time and every week we would look forward to continue creating our creation. I still create a song from time to time I think my most recent one is about how hard you work to achieve something but in the end you lose apart of who you were before and how you have to live with what you get. So now I have little projects I can work on through my day and every time I complete one I feel like I got an achievement.

My moment of learning that changed the way that I see things is to just go with the flow
instead of making excuses not to do anything.  Have a positive attitude when you're doing the thing that you don't really like doing or when you're just not in the mood to do any work.  Personally when I am doing work that I don't really like I try to just go with it and have a positive attitude, instead of making a fuss about it.  Then in doing that it made me feel good about the task and I can actually end up enjoying the things that seem boring or hard at the start.

One piece of leaning that has affected me in the past was showing confidence. I have always been cautious of what I do due to how people might show judgmental attitudes or show disrespect. What has made me change the way of looking into this issue was in the past I had to present a Tribute Performance, for a school project. Beforehand I was predicting what other people would say to me after the act. For example- ( Your voice broke, You can't sing, Try hard, you suck at singing etc… ). Suddenly after the act I felt a relief in my shoulders that it was over. I still didn't want to go off into the area and get all this negative feedback that I had in mind. Then out of no-where I was hearing voices saying “Nice voice”, “Your talented”, “You did amazing” etc…. I guess I just had all this tension on me and what others ‘would’ say about me. But I've recently found out that, it's completely normal for performers to feel this emotion. Now I have all this confidence growth in me and it's slowing gaining more.

In Words Act, I found out that i'm good at writing a blog. I got good comments about my Malala blog and I am also writing a blog about Greenpeace.  One of the blog’s I wrote  was about Amnesty International.  I found out that my blog’s had 104 pageviews and Ma koura blog’s have 5 pageviews.  My ‘Words Act’ blog has 64 pageviews from the United States 34 pageviews from New Zealand 2 pageviews from Italy 2 pageviews from Romania 1 pageview from Germany and 1 pageview from France.The blog’s I wrote were week 1 Issues going viral on rhino poaching Cecil the lion week 3 making sense of greenpeace and  amnesty international Malala and greenpeace. I’m thinking the blog’s could help me with my writing.The comments I got for my blog’s really help.

This year I have learnt many things but one big thing for me would have to be learning how to become more confident especially when asking questions. I remember at the start of the year I would never ask the teacher questions about the work that I was doing or about anything else. I would always be behind because I sometimes wouldn't know what I was doing. But now I have become better at it. During the year I have become a lot more confident compared to the start of the year. I think many things have contributed to me becoming more confident like making new friends, the extended hub times and doing things with the tiriwa community. I can now confidently ask questions to almost anyone and it has really helped me at school.


  1. So awesome to hear the students' voices here, Pete! What a range of learning experiences!

  2. “While on top of Everest, I looked across the valley towards the great peak Makalu and mentally worked out a route about how it could be climbed. It showed me that even though I was standing on top of the world, it wasn't the end of everything. I was still looking beyond to other interesting challenges.”

    Edmund Hillary

    I wonder what Sir Ed would have thought of your perspective of being at the top. I am sure on his way to the top of Everest there was more of the doing than the talking.

    Where we differ in opinion is that I see reaching the ‘Top’ as only the start of the journey, once there you have gained the opportunity to then do whatever else you set your mind too. Putting the in effort and wanting to reach the ‘Top’ should not be viewed as a negative quality to have. This type of thinking empowers the Tall Poppy mentality where people become embarrassed of their achievements instead of celebrating them. Do we not want the best for our children, for them to achieve to their highest level, to be successful in life in whichever career or life path they chose to travel?

    Your quote from Osho basically says we are who we are, there are those who strive to make it to the ‘Top’ of their chosen vocation, there are those who don’t, it does not make either better or worse than the other, we are who we are, we are who we choose to be.

    Where our children end up in the future, in the end, will be their choice. I just hope they aren’t pressured into making the wrong choice because of social expectations and judgment from others where being successful and reaching the ‘Top’ of their potential is viewed in some circles with negativity or they are deemed as a social outcast for making it there.