Grow Waitaha roadshows – Collaborative design
Grow Waitaha develops many initiatives to support education renewal in Christchurch. The aim is to be responsive to the current and emerging needs of the education sector. This story outlines how Grow Waitaha facilitators and educators collaboratively designed a series of professional learning events to support the needs of the primary education sector during 2018.
Establishing a design team
Grow Waitaha facilitators who lead development in primary sector support wanted to ensure they were genuinely meeting the needs of primary teachers when planning future initiatives. They decided to engage with a group of keen educators who attend Grow Waitaha events to build a design team. This team would work collaboratively to design initiatives that would be implemented throughout the 2018 school year.
The Grow Waitaha facilitation team had already gathered sector feedback at previous events. This feedback, as well as internal expertise, formed the basis for the vision and principles underpinning the focus of Grow Waitaha responses moving forward. The vision and principles were also aligned with the Grow Waitaha Monitoring and Evaluation framework. (MET)
“Bringing together the design team has meant that we are building sustainability of Grow Waitaha. We can ensure that we are targeting needs from the sector and the team adds another layer of collaboration which strengthens the programmes we develop.”
Grow Waitaha facilitator
The vision and principles were shared with people interested in being part of the design team. The design team then came together in late 2017 for a think tank. In this session, educators and facilitators worked alongside each other, sharing expertise and local knowledge. It was from this session that the idea of Grow Waitaha roadshows emerged; a traveling professional learning event, by teachers, for teachers. The following roles and role clarity statements were developed.
The purpose of the design teams (student and teacher) is to:
- influence the initiative so that it is sector driven and user-centered
- create sustainable change in the sector that is driven from within, this is also to continue the change that Grow Waitaha has influenced
- be inspired to lead change and inspire others
- connect theory to practice and support this to be actioned
- develop models of new thinking around collaboration, innovation, and authentic curriculum.
The role of the design team (teacher) is to:
- influence proposed approaches in the initiative
- connect educators in the sector with key ideas and needs aligning to the MET
- support the co-construction of any initiative (where appropriate) and drive any new ideas back in the sector
- support/inspire the leadership of learners to design new ideas around authentic curriculum
- support the influence and engagement of whānau and iwi within any initiative
- co-construct and facilitate engagement of community, agencies, and networks to influence collaboration in the sector.
The design team’s outcomes:
- Establish ways to connect and collaborate to make a difference in learning and education
- identify changes needed in curriculum design to empower learner-centered education
- lead change in curriculum design
- maintain the momentum of change beyond designing the change.
“Being part of the design team enabled me to work with, and learn from some amazing educators from around Christchurch.”
Grow Waitaha facilitator
Co-constructing the roadshows
The next phase of the design process involved the design team and facilitators coming together to plan what the 2018 roadshow events might look like. This involved members of the design team moving into a facilitation role to share an area of expertise.
Key factors that were considered included:
- strategies for promoting the roadshow to the wider sector
- ongoing monitoring and evaluation of the roadshow
- ways of being responsive to any emerging needs from the sector
- involving a wide range of people
- developing partnerships with schools.
It was decided that the roadshows would be an after school event, with a focused timeframe. This made it easier for schools to attend as a staff meeting. The design team facilitators worked collaboratively with another teacher from a different school and developed an interactive session based on the following themes:
- authentic student engagement
- authentic curriculum
- collaboration for teaching
- collaboration for learning.
The design team received mentoring from Grow Waitaha facilitators on developing techniques for supporting adult learning and facilitating discussions.
Six roadshows were held at various locations around Christchurch. This meant that there was a location geographically close to the majority of schools. They were held in terms 1-3 as it was identified how busy term 4 often gets for teachers, especially with two public holidays.
Roadshows followed a similar structure outlined below:
“The themes of the workshops were in response to needs identified from teacher feedback. A key driver was teachers supporting teachers in practical ways.”
Rachael Hefferman, Wigram Primary School
As part of the design team think tank, the Grow Waitaha vision of ‘students at the centre’ was discussed. The design team felt strongly that students should be included in the roadshow event, but the logistics were tricky. The final design involved Grow Waitaha facilitators working with students in the afternoon preceding the roadshow event, gathering student voice that was shared with roadshow attendees. This meant that students’ perspectives were included and honoured as part of the roadshow event.
The student conversation focused on the question ‘What is learning?’ and was inspired by work done by Andrew Tobin (Massey University Design School) and Pene Abbie (Principal, Paparoa Street School). Grow Waitaha has co-designed a set of resources from this process that can be used by schools to explore this concept with their own students in a fun and engaging way.
Scroll to the end of this article to download these.
“The student hacks gave us a real insight into student’s thinking about what real learning meant for them. They highlighted authentic contexts and real world application of learning as a priority. This emerged as a consistent theme across all schools.”
Grow Waitaha facilitator.
Impact and feedback
The roadshows were very successful with over 300 teachers attending. Many schools used the roadshow as a staff meeting and bought their entire staff. Some teachers attended multiple roadshows in order to participate in each of the facilitators’ workshops. The geographic locations of the roadshows meant that some schools who hadn’t previously accessed Grow Waitaha events were able to attend. Feedback about what the attendees found most valuable included:
“I enjoyed listening to teachers talk about their programmes. Hearing from principals about their changes was interesting.”
“This roadshow affirmed the importance of children leading learning.”
“I enjoyed meeting other teachers and discussions, and looking around the school/classrooms. The interaction with other staff from other schools was great.”
Attendees also reflected and highlighted possible changes to their own teaching practice after coming to a roadshow event:
“That I need to be more responsive to how I group my students. I want to go see this in action.”
“That authentic curriculum has multiple meanings ... what does it mean for us?”
“Discussing how we can have flexible grouping.”
“Great opportunity to share journeys and have time to question others in regards to collaboration. It cemented how far we have come, and how the art of teaching is forever evolving. It is so important to keep the dialogue between professionals and schools alive as I came away with many ideas and systems.”
Design team reflections
Developing and implementing the roadshow events provided professional learning for the design team and an opportunity to collaborate in a different way.
“Being part of the roadshow helped me to refine my practice and ensure I was 100% walking the talk.”
Kerry Hall, Grow Waitaha facilitator
“Being part of the roadshow has helped me to further develop my practice with a group of like-minded people who I have learned so much from. It has also helped me reflect on why I do things the way I do and making sure that learners stay at the centre of change.”
Marc Gibson, Wigram Primary
“Collaborating with other educators from a variety of schools from across the region was a great experience. I was constantly being challenged and inspired, which prompted me to make improvements to my teaching practice.”
Nicole Cunningham, Rāwhiti School
The design team evolved throughout the year as two members changed roles and new members came in. The design team is already working with Grow Waitaha to plan future events. They are looking forward to building on this year’s learnings and strengthening and developing the roadshow concept in 2019.
Grow Waitaha – Authentic learning: Student conversation toolkit
Use the following resources as a guide to gain students' perspectives about learning. These ideas may support you to create authentic learning experiences.
Using the resources, students can explore:
- what learning means for them
- aspects of the New Zealand Curriculum
- the idea of future focused learning.
Facilitation guide: A suggested step by step process to help facilitate a conversation with students about their learning.
Conversation script: Prompts to support leading a learning conversation with students.
Image pack: Images to prompt discussion about different types of learning.
Curriculum cards: Short descriptions of the New Zealand Curriculum learning areas and key competencies in child friendly language.
Share your students’ thinking about learning
Select this link (Google form) to help us know what your students think about learning. Grow Waitaha will email you a #growreallearning badge to celebrate your participation in the #growreallearning conversation. Quotes from your students might feature in our social media spaces.
Grow Waitaha would like to thank the members of the design team who were involved in the Roadshow collaboration during 2018.
Pene Abbie (Paparoa Street School), Linda Baran (Clarkville School), Rachael Hefferman (Wigram Primary), Marc Gibson (Wigram Primary), Kerry Hall (Cashmere Primary), Cam Gordon (Emmanuel Christian School), Helen Williamson (Emmanuel Christian School), Nicole Cunningham (Rāwhiti School), Bridie Gray (Swannanoa School)