Kia ora koutou
Well, it is the end of another term. Thanks to our wonderful staff who have worked so hard this term to create a great learning environment for all our students and who are doing their best to cope with the slightly overcrowded conditions . On that note, it is worth mentioning that planning for the new building is underway and we are hoping that it will be completed at the end of next year. Also, we are still talking with the Ministry about recapitation. However, the same schools are still opposing our application to recapitate. But we have received some support from a couple of other schools in the network. Some have not responded at all.
You may have noticed some new terms being used this year to describe aspects of learning. For example, “My Time”, “Our Time” and “Contemporary Communication Arts” which is often shortened to just “Communication”. Contemporary Communication Arts is a reframing of literacy (a different way of thinking about literacy) to recognise, firstly, that reading and writing are two sides of the same coin – in reading we receive communication and the more skills we develop the better we are able to understand the messages being communicated; and in the other we create communication and the more skills we have the better we are able to communicate our messages. However, reading and writing are only two of the modes of communication. There are speaking and listening, for example. The Arts, also, are all about communicating and receiving messages in a whole range of ways – through drama, dance, music and digital technologies.
When National Standards came in, the focus of “being a literate person” shifted almost solely to reading and writing. A literate person became someone who could communicate effectively in writing and could read well; rather than someone who could communicate and receive communications effectively in a whole range of ways. The problem with National Standards was that it privileged particular modes of communication which are, undoubtedly, still very important in today’s world, but meant that other ways of communicating stopped being a valued part of the curriculum; and success at school, and the success of schools, was all measured by how well children could read, write and do maths. With this narrow definition of success, some children never experienced success; and yet they might have experienced success if a broader definition of success was recognised and valued.
With the removal of National Standards by the Labour Government, schools are now expected to value and pay attention to the “whole” curriculum. Hence, we have reframed literacy as Contemporary Communication Arts. While continuing to recognise the importance of reading and writing for our children, we are also recognising that they will be advantaged by being able to communicate effectively in a broader range of modes. This fits perfectly with what you, our parents, told us are important outcomes for your children as a result of an Amesbury education – that your children will leave as confident people, who are broadly capable (as well as academically capable) and have a positive outlook on life. Reframing literacy as Contemporary Communication Arts will help with this. We have noticed that children are certainly more engaged in their learning as a result.
Reading and writing are important skills but they are not central to being human. Being able to communicate is a central aspect of what it means to be human. Therefore, what is of greatest importance, is not that students develop the skills of reading and writing but that they develop the capacity to communicate effectively with others. This is the purpose of reframing literacy as Contemporary Communication Arts.
Sorry....that is a bit heavy for the end of a busy term! Wishing you and your whanau a lovely holiday break. Travel safe and we will see you back for another great term of learning in a couple of weeks.
Nga mihi nui
Lesley, Urs and all the staff