Thursday, 12 April 2018

TML Week 18: Future-Orientated Learning & Teaching

Figure 1: Gibbs' reflective cycle
Step 1: Description - What happened?
As a connected educator/leader who has a future-focused disposition and considering myself as a change maker already, I am interested  now in reflecting on theme 3: A curriculum that uses knowledge to develop learning capacity.  I am interested in our current pursuit for developing a new teaching model at our school focused on a visual metaphor of GEMS (Growth, Empathy, Mana and Self-belief). This change is a current process that we are in the midst of implementing.

Step 2: Feelings - What were you thinking and feeling?
Myself and the senior leaders believe our GEMS acronym will provide continuity for our staff, learners and community to understand what teaching and learning at our school is about.  We can relate the GEMS to aspects of the New Zealand Curriculum (2007) key competencies, and have adopted the GEMS into our behaviour management plan, learning inquiry model, staff performance management and values.

Step 3: Evaluation - What was good and bad about the experience?
We are currently energised by the GEMS and adapting these to many aspects of our school context.  We are finding that having a strong focus is giving us opportunity to bounce creative ideas off each other and relate the GEMS to different cycles.  For example, in our performance management we talk about Growing Everyone, Maximising Success.  In our learning model we talk about Get thinking, Exploring, Making meaning and connections, Sharing & shining. The changes at present have not been shared out with the learners or community (this will be the next phase after consultation, co-construction and iteration with the teaching staff). 

Step 4: Analysis - What sense can you make of the situation?
There is a sense of synergy across the leadership team and this is beginning to extend to the wider staff as we share our initial concepts and see feedback on the development of each metaphor within contexts.  The staff initially have indicated in favour of this strong metaphor/acronym and in relation to GEMS as a learning model for inquiry (described above) this moves us closer to knowledge not being taught in separated learning areas and equipping our learners to do things with knowledge and within context in order to develop learning capabilities (Bolstad 2012).  We believe our GEMS will help support and develop learning capabilities.

Step 5: Conclusion - What else could you have done? & Step 6: Action Plan - If it arose again what would you do?
We are within the process of implementing this change, so at present we are too close to have perspective of whether we would do this differently.  What I have learnt with our change process is that we seek and consult with our staff to gain feedback to adapt and be agile.  We trial ideas, reflect and iterate.

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Bolstad, R., Gilbert, J., McDowall, S.,  Bull, A.,  Boyd, S.,  & Hipkins, R. (2012). Supporting future-oriented learning and teaching — a New Zealand perspective. Report prepared for the Ministry of Education  

Finlay, L. (2009). Reflecting on reflective practice. PBPL. Retrieved from


Deborah Wakker said...

Thanks Justine. I love the ancronym GEMS and also believe that it will add value to both your Staff and student teams.

Justine Driver said...

Thanks Deborah for leaving a comment. We have been agile and "borrowed" GEMS off another school with permission to adapt and personalise to our Sunnyhills context. The GEMS originally were created by Birchville School. As a leadership team, we could see how having this streamlined integrated approach would take us closer to our future focused direction.