Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Solution Focus Coaching

I just spent 2 days at a Solutions Focus Coaching Master Class. I found the approach of Solutions Focus very empowering and complimented what I already knew about GROWTH coaching. The Education Group will be bringing these workshops to NZ next year (as the NZ provider of professional learning and development for Growth Coaching International).
The focus on a strengths based, positive solution focus, rather than dwelling in deficit thinking and problem solving aligns with my personal mantra of projecting positivity and continuous improvement. When I got home I was so inspired I started reading the book! The Solutions Focus is a SIMPLE way of working to allow individual solutions according to what is happening for the individual or within an organisation.  
Solutions not problems
Inbetween: the action is in the interaction
Make use of what's there - not what isn't
Possibilities: past, present and future
Language: simply said
Every case is different

The Solutions tools are: 

  1. Platform - a point for departure
  2. The Future Perfect - the situation without the problem, the way the customer wants it to be
  3. Counters - resources and skills that will count towards getting to the solution
  4. Scale - to measure progress and identify difference
  5. Affirm - recognising positive steps towards solution that are already taking place
  6. Small actions - pivotal steps that take action towards the future perfect, they are specific and concrete
There are 5 conversation expanders that are used during a Solutions Focus coaching conversation:
  1. Non-verbal participation
  2. What else?
  3. First tiny signs (steps)
  4. What difference would that make?
  5. What would person X notice?
I really liked how the experienced coach can "flip" a conversation skilfully if a client shares negative interactions into positive interactions.  I found when participating as the coachee, I was able to think clearer about a current situation that I wanted resolving and left the session with a few small steps to take action.  I also like the focus on what was Better than Before and having a butterfly effect rather than a locust effect. I can also see how a Solutions Focus will help with self review and work around developing a new school charter.

Here is a little taster of what being solution focused is about (vs. problem focused). 

Monday, May 18, 2015

Putting Faces on the Data: What Great Leaders Do!

As a member of NZEALS it was great to be able to go to a seminar day led by Dr. Lyn Sharrat on Putting Faces on the Data.  Dr. Lyn Sharrat is a high calibre educator from Ontario who works closely with Michael Fullan (who I really respect the work of).  Their book Putting the Faces on the Data and subsequent seminar today was affirming with the practices that we use at our school to ensure that all students are making progress.  Dr. Lyn Sharrat overheard me sharing our practices and asked for me to share with the whole audience - so this was very positive and reassuring.

Our group wondered whether there was an acronym for FACES and we came up with: Facing Achievement Changes Every Student or as Dr Lyn Sharrat said, although she hasn't ever thought of an acronym it is about Front And Centre Every Student - being at the heart of all learning organisations.

I was one of the few people tweeting the learning from today (below are some of the tweets, collated into a Storify) - I also look forward to reading the book.

Saturday, March 28, 2015

EduIgnite: So what's the GTA all about?

At the end of last year Diana and I shared our experience of attending the Google Teacher Academy in an EduIgnite format at the National Library.  It is always challenging presenting in an eduignite format (20 slides on auto-advance every 15 seconds!) and presenting with a buddy is even harder! We did a great job and shared our positive experience in an informative way.  Hope you enjoy our presentation:

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Developing digitally literate learners

At the Learning with Digital Techonologies Symposium (way back in August 2014 at the National Library) I was interviewed regarding the digital journey we are on implementing learning using digital technologies. The video has just now been produced and a couple of snippets of my interview have been included in this piece:

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Google Mission Control [#GTASYD14] / Destination Moonshot!

Recently I had the privilege of attending the Google Teacher Academy in Sydney with 50 other amazing educators from across NZ and Australia.  This academy, the first to be rolled out under the facilitation of +NoTosh Captain's Tom Barrett and Hamish Curry (along with our GTA mentors) was an exciting opportunity into a new style of academy for Google that put the focus on pedagogy.  Don't get me wrong, there was Googly-goodness in our two days on site however we took a different trajectory to past academies.  Just like in our education settings, the use of integrating technology in learning is driven by our curriculum and learning needs, so too was the underlying theme towards our journey in this academy.
photo: +Suan Yeo
The academy was centred around the concept of creating and planning for Moonshots using a design thinking process that NoTosh have used extensively in educational settings. A moonshot is a project or proposal that: 1) addresses a huge problem; 2) proposes a radical solution; 3) uses break through technology.  I first hear of Moonshots and saw the video at our own Festival of Education so knew the two days would be full of challenge, questioning and pathways.  The framework that NoTosh use of immersion, synthesis, ideation and prototyping/feedback was carefully scaffolded with useful mini activities to support our thinking in small groups.  Useful take-outs that I know I'll use again are: Hexagon thinking strategy, Critique Protocols "be hard on content, soft on people" using HAKRS, HMW framing template for our Moonshots (pictured) and the 3-step drawing for prototyping our ideas (& thinking).
The 50 participants were divided into 8 groups.  I was in Team Black Sheep, which aptly embraced the Moonshot definition. I'd like to thank our Team Black Sheep members: +Chris Woldhouis, +Michael Ha, +Alfina Jackson, +Angela Lee, +Nick Wilson and guided by our mentor +Rich Lambert for the collaboration, connection, challenge and conversation that started prior to our arrival and will continue over the next 6 months as we report our progress towards achieving our Moonshots.

Whereas in past academies participants may have sat in mini workshops related to learning about different Google tools/products, this year the mentors flipped this idea and led sessions that fitted into the pedagogy first theme.  Sessions were facilitated around the themes of community, curiosity and creativity to work our what Google tools we could then use to support these components of future focused pedagogy.  

The immersion in Google-life was a big feature of the academy.  We had the opportunity of visiting 3 of the Google buildings in Sydney's Pyrmont area of Darling Harbour.  The work spaces are unique as are the modes of transport that can be used between buildings (if walking is not enough for you why not try a scooter, skateboard or a unicycle).  The album below features some of the common spaces that we were allowed to view.  We were treated to meals at three different staff canteen's that had a huge array of healthy options for us to dine on and some stunning scenery!

A highlight for me was listening to invited guest speaker Annie Parker of Muru-D who embraced the idea of thinking big and promoting entrepreneurship spirit in our kids.  The process she discuss was a practical life example of the design thinking process we were working through in our Moonshot using the NoTosh framework.  She ignited a personal project that I've been sitting on quietly for the last 10 years that I am keen to bring to fruition in the next 12 months [so watch this space!]. I loved this quote that she shared that really hit home that each one of us can make a difference by Margaret Mead.  Having participated in this Google Teacher Academy I can officially say that I'm a Google Certified Teacher - I love how a fellow GTASYD participant Rob McTaggart describes a GCT from his reflective blog post... "A Google Certified Teacher is someone who sees a problem with no easy solution but will go about finding a way to do it anyway.  These educators believe they can make a big difference to education.  And many of us will." 

While I'll be keeping in touch with many of the #GTASYD14 via online networks and through continued hangouts (particularly with Team Black Sheep).  The other special group that I'll have a lot of face to face opportunities will be the kiwi contingent of the #GTASYD cohort (and in particular the Auckland based GCTs).  Here we all are:

The tweets that were #GTASYD:

The Album that is #GTASYD:

I look forward to posting more about my Moonshot and progress, soon...WATCH this SPACE.