Kia ora koutou katoa
I very much enjoyed going out into Harakeke Hub this week and seeing the learning programmes in action. I was particularly impressed with the calmness with which students moved around the hub and how little time was wasted in transitions as they moved from one activity to another or from one space to another. The teachers told me they have been practising this and the students are now doing it really well (most of the time!).
I noticed that when the students were working on independent tasks, they were highly engaged and focused and when they were working with teachers in guided sessions, I saw them listening very carefully. Big congratulations to both the teachers and the students of Harakeke Hub. This shows that when students are motivated to learn, they will use self-discipline to ensure that they learn.
It is pleasing to note that some of the changes we have made this year to the learning programmes have increased student engagement. ourTime and myTime and literacy-as-communication-arts have all made a huge difference to the level of student engagement. One cool thing I saw in Harakeke Hub was students being given the choice to do a learning task by hopping on the bus, going in a car with a small group of other students, or, lastly, riding on a bicycle. Of course these vehicles were metaphors for working in particular ways, with students choosing the manner in which they worked depending on their needs. For example, if students felt that they needed to be quite supported to do the task, they (metaphorically) hopped on the bus and worked closely with a teacher in a very guided way. If they felt very confident, they hopped on a bicycle and they accessed all the resources and learning materials themselves. In the cars, students supported each other as they worked in small groups to complete the task. Of course, there were always teachers around to support the students no matter what vehicle they chose, and they could change vehicles if they felt they needed more or less support.
These ways of working really assist students’ engagement in learning tasks because they feel more in control of their learning. At the same time, students are also learning about what it means to be an effective learner. Effective learners know when they need help and support and they access the right support in a timely fashion, but they also know when they are ready to work independently. Through reflections, teachers assist students to make increasingly better choices about which vehicle they need for different tasks. Students quickly realise when they have not made the right decision and they move to the appropriate group, so that precious learning time is not wasted.
This is just one great example of the many ways in which students at Amesbury School are being encouraged to develop as effective, empowered learners.
Nga mihi mahana