We've been switching to real-time reporting to whanau this year. It's been great but I've been scrambling to get some meaningful (trying to avoid jargon too) assessment criteria in place so the whanau can really see what their akonga can actually do. I've also (in the last unit of the year) asked the students to set their own success criteria, with a little guidance.
Speaking of the latest unit/s, it has been a challenging experience to bring students on board with the idea of communicating their inquiry findings in art form. Many have struggled with the concept of how you can communicate a massive amount of information and a wide range of ideas (or just a single idea!) in an artistic medium that doesn't include Powerpoint. Having said that, some have taken to it like the proverbial ducks. It may also be daunting for them to realise this, hopefully, will be for a genuine audience. I'm hoping to document the process more fully now that the seniors are gone for the year. Whether it comes off or not, I guess we'll see in the next two weeks :)
PLD has been crazy as we rush to cram in a number of final rounds of Kia Eke Panuku, Mentoring, and iwi-led initiatives from Ngati Kahungunu. I am hugely excited about the last one, as I have been really challenged by the idea of 'Maori succeeding as Maori' after the outstanding session by Ann Milne from Kia Aroha College at ULearn15. When I asked my colleagues and Kia Eke Panuku folk, answers ranged: "more Maori getting Level 2 NCEA"; "reduced prison statistics"; "they're able to get NCEA credits in Kapa Haka and Te Reo." The problems I have with all of the responses I've had from others so far are:
- They are Euro-centric. NCEA/academic achievement is an inherently Euro-centric system which I believe does little to nothing to address the concepts of Manaakitanga - Respect, Aroha - Empathy, or Mana Tangata - Integrity (three of our core values), or the core principles of Identity and Connectedness (to land and whanau) expressed by a local iwi representative during the iwi-led PLD session.
- They are expressed in deficit terms and/or come across as tokenism. Maybe I'm being too harsh in this judgement, but this is an issue I get pretty fired up about.
At least the year should end on a positive note. I'm taking a small group of students trout fishing for four days for our Activity Week, 7-10 Dec. I might even get to catch something myself! :)