Spark MIT 2016 first day of Professional Learning here in Auckland

Today I am at the Spark Headquarters here in central Auckland. 
Hotel room view
...and now without me in the way

We have had fantastic coffee, wonderful food and are awed by the amazing design of the building internally.

And then we had to go back to our actual reason for being here; what is the PROBLEM. This was a struggle as at times, it is easy to jump ahead to solutions for a problem you have a gut feeling about. But, have you checked yourself? Do you have enough to keep an inquiry going for a whole year? It occurred to me after I finished the process with the fellow Spark MIT recipients, that I had not done what I preach to my senior students to do, well enough; know your concept/theme (in this case problem) so well, that you always have a base of knowledge to go back to when you get stuck or require a new direction. So that is what I am doing.

Assess, Critique, Extend - Learn, Create, Share Visual Arts Junior Curriculum Levels

The problem: We have the potential for a culture of excellence within Visual Arts at Hornby High School based on sheer talent alone and certainly results are consistently very good and more so at UE level than ever before. Retention into those senior levels however, does not necessarily reflect the true level of ability at Hornby High School.

Students don’t necessarily understand what is expected of them or how to get there at levels 4 - 5 of the curriculum, this affects retention into year 11. Year 10 is the first year Art is an option class.

They don’t have achievable goal posts because there aren’t any within year 9 and 10 Visual Arts curriculum from NZQA. It is not their fault. This impacts on senior skills. They are not experiencing success as they could be if they cannot see the goal posts. If they can co-construct and self-regulate the goal posts, surely they become even more achievable. They also become ubiquitous, and allow for learning, students creating and then students sharing of their work in breaking down their understanding and helping to teach others how to break down an understanding of the curriculum at these levels. The flow-on should be better retention into levels 1, 2 and 3 and more consistent results at level 1. Students should be developing resilience in putting their own ideas out as assessable benchmarks.

The Data so far:

  • Level 1 NCEA 2015 results, including retention into Level 2 and at Hornby High School. PAT stanines for those now level 2 students, from when they were in Year 10 in 2014.
  • PAT stanines for the current year 10 option Art class that I teach from year 9 (soon to be updated with year 10 results).
  • Blogs from Level 3 students who have low academic results in asTTLe/PAT as junior students, yet passed UE Photography.

So now I have my starting point more clearly laid out. I still have a lot of work to do, but am less solution minded and more problem focussed, which if I want to ensure the problem is actually addressed, is rather important.


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