Highlighting Habits and Developing Dispositions…Leadership Inquiry…

In a world where knowledge is ever changing and easily accessible, shifts are occurring in the way teaching and learning occurs. Many talk of developing dispositions, working learning muscles, learning to learn, key competencies, capabilities, metacognition, making learning visible and more…However, while I am in full agreement with this shift in focus, I am also aware that this is an area that will not just occur, that need to be thoughtfully planned for, scaffolded and made explicit to the learner. Not just done to the learner and not just assumed that if you think you are developing dispositions that it will happen. Do the learners recognise what they are developing, can they highlight strengths and weaknesses, where they are at and where to next? If these aspects of learning are not explicit, who holds the power in learning? Also if as a learner I do not recognise these dispositions in action, how can I transfer their use to other contexts, situations and learning. Here at HPSS we have our Hobsonville Habits, this is our dispositional curriculum based on the Key Competencies and developed in conjunction with our school community, (learners and whānau). Based on what dispositions our community wanted to see developed to allow learners positive outcomes in education and life. Allowing them to “flounder intelligently” (Guy Claxton) in our ever changing world. Hobsonville habits

How these habits are being developed is an on-going process, that is changing over time, with a recognition that we do need to make these more explicit with our learners. This means that as coaches of our Hubs and teachers of our Learning Modules, we are in an on-going process of reflection and action of how can we do this better? How might we make these clearer? How can we develop these and not just see them as inherent in who we are? That we can change, develop and earn more than just content knowledge in education and work towards our goal of “Personal Excellence” as well as “Academic Excellence”. For me as a Learning Team Leader at school, this is something that I believe I have not supported my community on enough. For us as educators at HPSS, there is many new aspects to how we are doing things around here. Due to this it can be full on at times on the ground with your head in many spaces. If you follow the blogs of others at HPSS, you may be aware of those aspects. If you follow Sarah you will know about project learning here at HPSS https://twitter.com/hpssprojects Also our shift to collaboratively taught, cross curricular modules Steve explains these better than I could as a member of the SLL team https://stevemouldey.wordpress.com/2014/02/10/personalised-learning-at-hpss/#more-610 We are also reporting on learning in a very different manner here which Heemi explains in his posts on reporting and assessment https://heemimcdonald.wordpress.com/2015/06/04/school-reporting-whats-to-keep-secret/ So with many different aspects to the school curriculum at HPSS, I believe I need to better support my coaches in how we develop and make explicit the dispositional curriculum at HPSS. This does not mean that I believe that dispositions sit siloed in hubs and with coaches, more that if I help to build capability at a hub level, then I can support my coaches in transferring this to their teaching and learning in other aspects of the curriculum at HPSS. In contrast to sitting siloed I believe that we need to be making this clear, every day, capturing dispositions in action, “speaking learnish” as Guy Claxton would say and acknowledging when these dispositions are used, need to be used, or need to be developed. Due to this I am on a journey as a leader and have made the focus of my leadership inquiry for NAPP on helping to support the dispositional curriculum and the capability of my coaches to help make this explicit with their learners across HPSS. To do this I would take targetted action in my community-Waiarohia. To do this I needed starting data. My data is two fold, looking at my leadership strengths and weaknesses and also at my coaches perceptions of their capability in using the dispositional curriculum. Here is the starting data that I gathered, so that I can measure qualitatively the journey that we all take, including mine as a leader and my coaches as dispositional curriculum leaders. I gathered the responses from my coaches in an anonymous google form and this is a summary of the data…

What do you consider to be Sally’s strengths as the leader of Waiarohia? And why do you think that? Give examples where you can… Sally has many leadership qualities that she exercises in her work as W leader. For example Sally is purposeful in her work with students and staff. To be purposeful you need to spend time thinking about, analysing and planning for the purpose of what you do.Sally is always well planned in her work and has thought about where it might take people. Another great leadership quality of Sally’s is her enthusiasm for her work. This enthusiasm takes others along with her. She is also confident enough to take risks in what she does with teachers and try new ideas and new things eg planning the multifaceted Hub time programme. Sally also realises she needs to be responsive to people thoughts and feelings. She listens carefully in meetings and negotiates well through sometimes tricky situations. She is willing to change tack too if the feedback warrants it. This to me says she is very knowledgable in how to work closely with and lead a team of thinking adults to get the best out of them. As if this were not enough Sally also has the impact/outcomes on the students…in all her work with staff it always comes back to what is going to be best for student learning. Sally is also committed to doing things well and refining until it works well. Sally cares about the people she works with and develops good relationships with them….they are then happy to work with and for her and go the extra …. Passionate – You are clearly passionate about the learning that takes place in our community which is evident in your language and the activities you plan, particularly around the dispositional curriculum. This is a strength because it drives the team to participate, engage, and support the dispositions within our community. Collaborative leadership – You demonstrate a highly collaborative model of leadership which encompasses the views of all team members. This allows each member to be heard and feel valued even if they do not agree with the outcome or decision taken. Approachable/Supportive – You are always prepared to listen to, and consider different points of view. On a personal level you are also extremely supportive which makes for a supportive working environment within our community team. Knowledgeable – You know what is going on and always up to date with current discussion topics. As a result, you are confident with what is happening at any given time. This is reassuring as a team member. Her ability to support us as hub coaches around activities were are strengths do not lie (Hauroa). That is where her passions lies developing growth and understanding for the students. Very organised. Always has resources and ideas at the ready to help us and makes sure we know what we’re doing. Willing to listen to any feedback – always asks for opinions (even if no one has any!) Is keen to give support and has good ideas about how to do this. It always feels like Sally is on our side.

What do you consider to be things Sally could do better as a leader of Waiarohia? And why do you think that? Give examples where you can… ?? Have confidence in your ability as a leader. You are doing a fantastic job! You lead a positive, supportive team which reflects your leadership style. I can’t think of anything to improve on, sorry. I will try to think of something.

How confident am I in coaching learners in my hub, the dispositional curriculum- Hobsonville Habits? and why do you feel this way? I think I’m okay with it, but sometimes struggle with coming up with specific examples of what some of the habits look like in relation to “my learning’ e.g. adventurous. I have a vague idea of what adventurous learning might look like, but find it difficult to give specific examples of what students might do to be adventurous in their learning. I am confident in some aspects…growing in confidence and learning all the time. I feel this way because it is still new and we are all learning about it. I am not overly confident with the dispositional curriculum or habits because it is not something I have taught to any great extent in the past. I feel I have only a superficial understanding of this content myself. Hmmm to be honest I feel like I am walking in the dark sometimes I feel like I understand the direction of where we should be going but than other times I feel lost. When it comes to the Habits – it is hard from myself to explain in different contexts as one students might see it differently than the next student. Somewhat confident – I think I could do better in this. I’m not confident that my hub are thinking about and using the Habits apart from when we explicitly talk about them. I get this feeling from evidencing habits in the Learner Narrative – it feels like the kids are making stuff up on the spot rather than thinking about using the habits throughout the week.

How can Sally support my learning to better coach the learners in my hub the dispositional curriculum? The materials and activities you have provided are very helpful. Additional PD on dispositional curriculum and habits and how they impact learning would give greater depth to these activities. Keep on listening to your people…..keep on co-constructing the pathway through while keeping your eye on the goal…you are good at this (it is a hard thing to do but you do it well!) It would be great if we had some resources for talking about the operation of the habits in their learning. For example, videos or students in class or encountering difficult work and how they are using the habits or might better use the habits. Students seem to have difficulty relating the habits to their daily lives at school. Maybe suggest activities which students can use to gather evidence for habits? We could make that evidence gathering more explicit in extended hub but stress that it is not sufficient. How to scaffold the breakdowns of habits to students? Perhaps having learning conversations prompters ???

Is there any other ideas, thoughts, feed forward, feedback that you think would be useful to Sally in embarking on an inquiry into leading the dispositional curriculum and how it is coached/supported? Demonstrate how the dispositional curriculum and habits are integral to learning and not merely tacked on as an extra. This will make it more relevant to staff and therefore students. Awesome Miss. Love to hear how all this is going along the way. Making it easier to find all the information that Lea and LTL have placed….I struggle to find it – maybe it is the system we have created. Perhaps a more centralised system for tracking habits in a public way (like a star chart or something, rather than the Learner Narrative) to support getting in the habit of gathering evidence for the habits.

So while my coaches gave positive feedback about my processes of leadership, I also critically reflected on how they are feeling about the dispositional curriculum and see this as an issue in my leadership, that I have not supported them enough and that I need to take steps with my leadership to do so. There has been two parts to this journey so far and I have shifted my thinking on this after some reading and learning. As a community we have been working to make the habits visible with activities such as…



Each term we have had a focus on one or two habits that we dig deeper with. To start off with on this journey I started to develop resources and create activities to make the habits more visible, to use and share with the coaches. Coaches take turns at leading activities which focus on these habits and we try to consolidate this with greater focus on one or two. Cindy, Cairan, Jill, Martin, Tanya and Leoni have lead some awesome activities that have been carefully thought through and linked to the habits… To help support further, I have tried to develop some more activities. First of all I tried to scaffold the habits a bit further, using some of the work of Guy Claxton on building learning power https://magic.piktochart.com/output/5007410-hobsonville-habits-taken-furth The link takes you to an online version of this..

Hobsonville Habits Taken Further Copy

I have also tried a number of activities to make the habits more explicit in different contexts… Where learners developed thinking on habits such as… and this…

Petra and Emily - Habits of the Athletes (1) and Connor Seb

Also activities such as this, which was sparked by Bryce a member of staff who epitomises the Hobsonville Habits through his life journey, provoking the learners linking Habits to Hauora…

Untitled drawing

I consider myself to be a servant leader and in doing this I often go about doing what I am asking others to do and trying to “awhi” and support this in others. What I have realised part way through this process is this does not always lead to “sustainable leadership”. So I realised when I read “Coaching Leadership” a book by Jan Robertson that I was not always building capability in my coaches, if the leadership of the dispositional curriculum is to become more sustainable, then I need buy in and ownership by all my coaches as leaders. So aspects such as us taking turns to develop the habits in our community do build capability, by me developing resources to give to my coaches, I am not. So I believe I need to find a balance of developing and supporting ideas, which my coaches have asked for, but also allowing them to lead alongside me and develop their own capability in using the dispositional curriculum. Here are some snippets from Jan’s Book that show what sparked my reflections.

image copy image_1 image_2 image_3 So after reading this, I shifted my inquiry, I asked my coaches, who wanted to be involved in a coaching group, where we work together to develop and collaborate around leading the dispositional curriculum. There was no imperative to do so, all of my coaches have agreed to be a part of this. While I had already started developing activities, we have shifted to all coaches taking two habits each to develop my learning activities for their hubs next term. Coaches will lead these with their own hubs and will reflect and refine after leading these. We will all share our process, refinements and thinking as well as supporting resources. This will enable all to be a part of the development, while also sharing the workload of doing this. I will also gather feedback and voice in coaching conversations about how this has supported or otherwise coaches next term. In finding a balance and not transferring everything to coaches and still supporting others, as we have IEM’s coming up where the learners are to reflect on “my-being, my learning, my communities and my habits” and this is a source of unease for some coaches, I have developed some scaffolds to support learners in thinking about these… Here is the IEM doc as developed by the LTL’s and Lea.. Here are some supporting scaffolds I have developed… Thinking about Habits and Goals Thinking about my being Thinking about my communities Thinking about My Learning Anyway, this is a very long blog post, however it is important for my leadership inquiry that I keep a record of my process and journey of leadership and learning, there is still a lot more to come, I hope this journey will help me build my leadership skills and also build the capability and leadership of others, while also helping to embed our dispositional curriculum in a sustainable way….