As new staff join we have had the privilege of adding new perspectives and fresh insight into all our steadily forming models of good practice. Our ever growing team have been thrashing out some of the key ideas of learning in schools. One particular process is Inquiry-Based Learning and what that entails and how it could play out in a middle school setting. One definition given has been “Inquiry begins with exploration and questioning and leads to investigation into a worthy question, issue, problem or idea and involves asking questions, gathering and analysing information, generating solutions, making decisions, justifying conclusions and taking action.” Some successful inquiry-based schools have been adopting principles in their approach such as Fostering Inquiry By Scaffolding Curiosity, Designing Structures For Participation, Teach Kids - Not Subjects, Provide Opportunities For Experiential Learning, Embrace Failure and by Fostering Joy.
Another investigation begun by team members has been around the importance of “Learning Outside of the Classroom”. While OJC will benefit from state-of-the-art facilities we must remember that learning does not take place in a vacuum! Learning is everywhere, anytime and sometimes in the places you least expect it. We hope that internships, expeditions, physical pursuits and much more will form a fundamental part of our learners’ year. Measuring the ‘learning’ from taking 20 students on the Tongariro Crossing shouldn’t be a sterile data crunching task - instead we can simply ‘smell the roses’, enjoy the moment and know inherently the 'value-add' it is having on young kiwi adolescents.
Again, this week Luke met more families for enrolment and continues to come away excited about the unique learners and families who will be joining us in 2017. We spent quality time on Thursday night with new families at a Parent-Workshop on Future Careers. We looked at skills sets the world may need in 2050 and analysed potential new careers and jobs that will arise given the world's increasing population, migration and environmental degradation. Insightful parent questions and queries plus Board of Trustees members wisdom and encouragement made the evening a real success. The building of strong Home-School Partnerships will remain at the core of what we do at OJC.
Fred and Kelly have taken initiative in their own learning by continuing on in their own induction and by visiting schools (Orewa College, Westmount Schools) and raising great debate about what induction for the last cohort of staff will look like (final staff group start October 10th, 2016). Everyone has admitted that the time given to us before opening a school has been one of the best forms of Professional Learning one could have. It’s a privilege to be foundational staff and play a part in planning for Ormiston’s future learners.
OUR ENVIRONMENT - THE THIRD TEACHER
Fred and Kelly attended a CORE Education seminar on Modern Learning Environments where the key takeaway was on how the designing of learning should always prompt purpose and that teachers can’t afford to design learning experiences for the ‘average’ student, since there is in fact no ‘average’ student in personalised learning.
The school construction is still generally on target to be completed mid December. In the last week multiple meetings have been had over simple yet important tasks of where cables, wifi, ports and TV screens will be located throughout the seven learning commons.
The Ministry of Education’s E.R.O will visit us again in the next two weeks to help us review our plans and milestones towards opening in term 1, 2017.
Signage and the naming of the building areas and learning commons is in progress.
More enrolment meetings this week with more wonderful families.
Health & Safety planning and training workshops are planned for the next two weeks.