Friday, 10 November 2017

Accelerated Achievement

As much as I have spent the year focusing on teaching Key Competencies and social skills, there's still that monkey on your back to have each and every child make accelerated progress. For Manaiakalani that means 1.5x the expected.

This year I had no expectation that academic gain would be substantial, I was looking at gains in Key Competencies and emotional security. The way that I taught these skills didn't follow the usual pattern of a classroom, in fact very little academic expectation was placed upon the boys. We worked on routines, discussion, cultural identity and regulating emotional responses to varied experiences.

The graphs below show just one snapshot from PAT tests. As much as I am extremely proud of some of the test results produced by the boys, these graphs are a tiny piece of a much much larger puzzle.

While most of the boys have made the expected academic gains or even 2-3x the expected gain in one year, I don't believe that this has anything to do with quality academic teaching.

The reason for the academic gains made by the boys come from a feeling of belonging and the comfort to take risks and feel confident about their abilities. In reducing the anxious responses and ramping up the positive, the boys have had the opportunity to learn from everyday simple activities.

Suddenly, sitting down to lunch, waiting your turn, using your manners or following the rules of a game, become massive learning opportunities.

By being who they are, acknowledging where they come from and feeling secure and safe, the boys have achieved as themselves and are growing into confident, connected, lifelong learners.

But in reality, the learner who has actually learnt most in the room has been the teacher.