Theatre for Social Change - Mind over Manner NZ


Be
Generous.
Connect to the humanness in the other before you.
Their right to belong.
This connection an open hand...
of strength and possibility.
















A couple of weeks ago, I attended a workshop called Mind over Manner.
The workshop was hosted by RTLB Cluster 29 and educators through out Hutt Valley, Wellington attended.

The message that resonated with me throughout the day was "Be Generous".

What is mind over Manner?
http://mindovermanner.co.nz/
"The Mind Over Manner workshop aims to normalise what is often viewed as disability or dysfunction and encourages the reframe of cognitive difference."


Four actors and a facilitator (Susan Haldane the Creative Director) took us on a journey - exploring areas of stress for students..
Students who are...
Over sensory
Under-sensory
Over responders
Under responders

The workshop was a series of role plays and adult participation. Four hours absolutely zoomed by.
Sometimes we would pause and offer the actors alternative scenarios.

















Image: The Scenario- Emily's story about transition, hoops and hooping

Why am I blogging about this?
1. Because, this professional development workshop was dynamic. At times the atmosphere was electrifying - as we were invited to step into the experiences portrayed in the role plays.
2. I am excited because it is  important to me that we explore simple ways of acting, thinking and doing things different each day. Things we as educators can try where we learn about ourselves and others.
3. Links to the building of Resilience and the conditions for the Discipline of Anticipation
4. If I had one wish for staff professional development across Kahui Ako it would be, dial up Mind over Matter.




Image: Actors modelling the use of flash cards in the classroom by students. Instead of a student saying I need to get out of here or I need to move, a student can use a flash card that says "I need to move my body" (Tap into the use of different sensory modalities)

I learnt a new word.
“Declarative”
I learnt using declarative language sets the conditions to create neural pathways and to practice re-framing is to set conditions for the invitation of connection.

For information about Declarative Language check out

Examples of declarative language
Imperative language: Did you do your home?
Declarative: How was your homework last night?

Imperative: Say goodbye.
Declarative: We are going home now.

I understood that in being explicit in our use of Declarative language we model flexibility. The teacher shifts so the student feels better and as a result we fostering connection.
Using language to connect. Reminds me of Va, Talanoa, Whanaugatanga.
We know as educators that connecting with our students is critical for learning and reducing the distance between the teacher and the student.

This workshop offered simple language frames that I could try out in my next  learning and or in behavior conversations. I will start having a go at explicitly using Declarative language frames in my teaching as Inquiry this year. Declarative language will support students and myself to develop new neural pathways.

Theater for social change is pretty dam exciting and I really want to engage more with this genre.












Karakia as lived experience
















We come together with aroha
We value and acknowledge
Our diverse heritage and the places we come from
The integrity we bring to this team
The respect we have for each other and for the job we do
And the connectedness we feel
The strengthens and empowers us
To work together for a better world

Ka hui tahi tatou
i raro i te korowai o te aroha.
E hāpai ana i ngā uaratanga o tēna o tēna o tatou.
Ka tū kotahi tatou i raro i te ngākau tapatahi.
Te mārohirohi me te awe o ngā mahi.
ka priir pono,
ki te whakakaha me te whakamana tatou ki a tatou.
Mo te painga o te Ao.


This week I have been captured by the story of how the RTLB cluster's karakia was created.

I heard that the karakia was inspired by another karakia which came from Koraunui school, Stokes Valley,  Lower Hutt in Wellington. When I taught at Koraunui school I enjoyed the imagery of the karakia and found the karakia to be the touch stone to my day. When I left Koraunui school, I then carried the karakia to my next school.
Ridgway School in Wellington. 

For myself, karakia sets in motion whakapuake te mauri o te reo,  like an opening in the understanding of the life force within Māori language.

I am surprised by the connection I feel to the RTLB Cluster 29 karakia and am  wondering about karakia as a lived experience. For a karakia to be so part of practise that the essence of it imbudes thoughts and actions.  The life force of the karakia, contributing to change in practice, where perhaps we can start seeing new possibilities.

If karakia is able to support us to see possibilities and work with metaphors that support us to see working together as a living system then it may be quite possible that karakia can support the conditions for living in this post-modern age of complexity. Where people coming together expereince emergent behaviours because working with people has limited predictability.

Does your work place  have  a karakia / prayer?  How does the karakia connect with what you value and believe?

Change is Unpredictable and Complex














I’ve started a new role as an RTLB. (Resource Teacher Learning and Behaviour) you know that excited and terrified feeling when you start a new role and you realise that the more you thought you might know the more you don't?

One of the first publications I have started reading, is Kairaranga. The article I keep re reading is, The Art of Community … What Principles and Practices do RTLB need to Develop an Effective Community of Practice? Kairaranga Vol 18 Issue 1: 2017. I'm loving this article!

The following words stand out...
“It is now recognised that change is not a simplistic or linear process, but a dynamic one that occurs in unpredictable and complex ways.”

From this article I think more about Teaching as Inquiry - experience tells me TAI is far from linear and we need to know what thinking and doing looks and sounds like when teaching / learning in complex spaces.

I am also reading through the RTLB Tool kit
I am captured by the words ‘Ecological approach’. I’m learning how this principle inter relates to the seven other principles.
“An ecological view is that:
  • Learning is an on-going, interactive and contextualised process.


I am excited as I read and have affirmed that working in the RTLB space is about learning to work in a complex space.  I often wonder if in schools we give the complex space enough attention. TAI's are far from linear. I’m wondering if we sometimes approach a complex situation and treat it as either simple or complicated.

I have noticed in schools and education we use the word complex in many situations that actually in my guess are actually just complicated.  By this I mean there is some expertise required to untangle the jigsaw and with the right amount knowledge, skill and or  attitude the problem will be solved.   However, what about the situations where there is no clear solution? Where no amount of working smarter is going to solve a problem. These to me are complex, where the pathway to a solution is multi faceted and it may be difficult to identify one thing as the antecedent. Where if we just ‘get our ducks in a row’ work hard enough - work smart enough we will be able sort the situation at hand.

So, it is my hope as I keep learning with the team that I keep experimenting and learning about what working in complexity might look and sound like in schools and education.

One more thing.... I have noticed a few conversations that explains different rolls in schools and education as a cog in a larger machine. I'm wondering about this becasue if we are saying we are working in a complex space and we need to work in relation to each other in processes that are not linear. Then a machine metaphor does not work for me. This is mainly because complexity and an ecological approach  must engage with ambiguity and unpredictability.  Two things I do not associate with machines.
Would appreciate hearting what others think about the use of machine as a metaphor. Our mental images are important right?



The Art of Community … What Principles and Practices do RTLB need to Develop an Effective Community of Practice? Kairaranga Vol 18 Issue 1: 2017

Coppieters, P. (2005). Turning school into learning organisations. European Journal of Teacher Education, 28(2), 129-139

Garvey Berger, J., & Johnson, K. (2015). Simple Habits for Complex Times.



Dishwasher as Pedagogy?

 Does your staffroom have a notice similar to the one below?




 















Is your staffroom bench filled with dishes?
Do you find other teacher's empty coffee cups in your classroom?
Do senior students walk around the school at the end of a week / school term and collect up empty coffee cups?
Are the dishes often left and done by our office administrators?

Yes to any of the above questions?

Then I'm wondering....
We talk about the importance of well being, building school culture and being culturally responsive. We prioritise energy for professional development on this thing called 21st C  pedagogies. We talk, plan develop around the importance of the Key Competencies - a capabilities curriculum to prepare for the future of work and  know in our hearts that our values and beliefs do transfer to our students and colleagues.

So, here's the gritty bit...
Why are we not cleaning up after ourselves?
Why are we leaving our cups on the bench?
What assumptions about the world underpin our actions?
Is the framing of this issue compatible with the way we see the world?
How can we work with others to shape and re shape this issue?
How does this issue shape and reshape us?
What is gained if all teachers sorted their dishes?
What is lost if all teachers sorted their dishes?

What if... tomorrow every teacher in New Zealand put their coffee cup in the dishwasher? . We know the future requires us to focus on human capabilities. That capability starts in the kitchen.

Two days ago, our year three student teachers were preparing for their final practicum. I said, your values and beliefs tell your story - know how to load and unload the staff room dishwasher. I am less interested in all your fancy pedagogies if you do not understand what it means to be human in community with others.


Why Game Design?


William Wyllie The Sloping Deck 1871. Oil on card.
Collection of Christchurch Art Gallery Te Puna o Waiwhetu, presented by the family of James Jamieson 1932

Where in our learning spaces is the success of a task based on the diversity of the group? Where, actually, the more different the members of the group are the better the outcome?  And.. to push these questions a bit further, to simultaneously…..  engage in real world complex problems?

I have been thinking about Game Design for a few years now. When I started engaging with Game Design in the classroom, I noticed student's learning pathways change. Students who were usually on the edges of classroom conversations and learning started moving into the middle. Students who were ‘consistently below standard’ started to shine. Students who were successful starting to reframe who they needed to work with to be successful.  I kept wondering what the heck was going on and why. Students were totally engaged and I  was hearing something in the classroom that I could only describe as ‘the humm’. It was a sound I had not heard in other learning areas.  The humm was  across all 40 students! When you hear  a humm and you have no idea what is going on, you have to start noticing.


Game Design a 21st C microscope?
It is quite possible, that Game Design supports us as educators to see things in teaching and learning that were not previously visible. Riel Miller in his talk  Enlarging the Field of Futures Studies. The Emergent Discipline of Anticipation discusses the function of the 20thC microscope and how over a period of time the microscope has enabled us to see things other wise unseen things and in doing so we are able to act differently in the present. In his discussion, Miller encourages us to explore and identify the microscopes of the 21stC.
At present,   I’m playing with the idea that Game Design just might be one of the 21stC microscopes.

So what is it about Game Design that enables us to see what may have previously not been visible?
 
  • Teacher role shifts. Teachers shift from being the source of knowledge to setting the conditions for epistemic curiosity
  • Knowledge moves. It’s not primarily what students know that is valued, but what they can now do with what they know.
  • Requires multidiciplinarity. All learning areas and Key Competencies are required in Game Design.
  • Learning in Public. Students and teachers are encouraged to ‘fail fast’ and not only  that - do it publically.
  • Idea Improvement is the touch stone to success. Ideas become separate from self so students and teachers can critique. Where we can start really think hard with others.
  • Diversity of student Interactions. Students develop new social learning pathways within the classroom
  • Diversity of student groupings. Students become self motivated to seek to work in groups with people different to themselves in order to create and achieve a successful game.  Check out  Key Competencies for the Future for more information about this idea.
  • Embodied Learning. This is where students must engage their mind with their body. In order to be successful all aspects of self participate.
  • Real world contexts and considerations are debated. A space for real disagreement. Where idea improvement can frequently be tracked and has value. The thing with Game Design is there is enormous value in the process.
  • Building student Intellectual Capacity. Guy Claxton considers intelligence as the ability to respond to a variety of situations and contexts. Game Design is a process where  teachers and students need to be able to think hard about what is the  best thing to do next. Not only that, invariably in game design the next best thing ‘to do’ is in relation to and with others.
  • Building student capability to work with uncertainty. Students and teachers work together with uncertainty and certainty within Game Design.  Working with uncertainty are often the places where we feel uncomfortable or there appear to be no answers. Game design is  a practical way to start to engage with the complexities of a problem. To be able to work with uncertainty and consider complex problems (as discussed in Key Competencies for the Future  as wicked problems) is to set conditions to be able to  imagine different scenarios.  To imagine different scenarios are steps towards what Riel Miller refers to as being ‘Futures Literate’.  It is quite possible that the ability to imagine different scenarios is the pulse of Game Design.
  • Builds capabilities for the Future of Work as outlined by  Ross Dawson @rossdawson
 


Never Alone - The Game




Game: Never Alone 
Twitter: @NeverAloneGame
Web: http://neveralonegame.com/

Never Alone keeps me awake at night.
It's not that I constantly get killed by a bear, (which by the way occurs because I am a totally hopeless gamer and forget how to use the functionalities)  It keeps me awake as this game evokes an unrelenting curiosity within my myself. There is a quality  in the game that I find difficult to capture and express in words.

I was introduced to this game by Rachel Bolstad @shiftingthinkng a couple of years ago. 
I attended a CORE Education Breakfast. @coreeducation
I recall my school could not afford the whole morning session but $20 was doable. Believe me - my $20 bite size morning PD was ample! (I wonder if most PD should just be short and sharp and to the point where we interact with the essence.)

Never Alone is the game that totally convinced me there was something in this thing called Games for Learning. So this game... we play.. for what purpose?

People are some what polarised about the use of games for learning and games in the classroom and actually just digital games full stop.
I hear very few conversations about what is gained from creating & playing digital games.
I hear a lot about what is lost and a fear of loosing face to face  interaction. (what I think of as the warmth of human interaction.) 
I hear about schools in NZ who have filtered out students having access to YouTube.

When I talk to colleagues about Games for learning, more specifically the engagement with creating and playing digital games, seriously, I feel like I'm pushing drugs.

Some how in the game  Never Alone...
  1. I'm interacting with some thing like a collaborative process, where I'm inside shared knowledge that by the actual interaction and lived game experience I am contributing to building shared knowledge.
  2. The actual learning in the game is taking place without conscious awareness
  3. I'm interacting with increasing levels of complexity and improvement
  4. Although the game has a 'learning / educative' thing going on there is some thing about a bigger purpose going on.
  5. The building of an understanding in the game is non linear, a bit confusing and messy at times, often slow and for me difficult.
This game keeps reframing what I think of digital games.
My own knowledge, perception and reality of digital games keeps colliding.

There are swags of seriously inspiring communities and individuals surfing this thing called Games for learning
- Never Alone

Humans and the Future of Work


I'm inspired by this info graphic. I have been looking and thinking about it for some time now. When thinking of the future of work and the purpose of education, this is my go to.

Tomorrow I'm going to print this out and stick it in the inside cover of my copy of the New Zealand Curriculum.
Ross Dawson on twitter @rossdawson 

Theatre for Social Change - Mind over Manner NZ

Be Generous. Connect to the humanness in the other before you. Their right to belong. This connection an open hand... of strengt...