I feel that some aspects of my last two posts may have seemed a bit ‘preachy’ to my readers! While I do think that the points made in those two posts are important I have decided to go a bit more positive and upbeat in this post!
I am going to base my post this week around 2 case studies. There are many other schools I could have selected but in doing some online research these 2 stood out. They are what seem to me to be interesting and helpful examples of schools doing something special in the values in school area.
Case Study: Breens Intermediate - Christchurch
I selected this case study because I think it is a good follow on to my last post. This an school that has really worked over period of time to build their values across all aspects of school life. There are 4 video clips in TKI that outline this. All the videos are short (5 – 6 min).
The first clip (below) deals with how the Breens values were developed.
Their values are summed in this diagram.
One thing that is impressive about this first case study is the breadth and depth of the conversation the school has had with community, parents, and students in developing their values.
The second video covers the on going development and refinement of their vision and vales as expressed in the tree overtime. As they considered the kind of things included in the following advice available on TKI …
… they realised had failed to include sufficient cultural diversity in their values and so they went back to their community to change that.
Another strength of Breens approach to the values is the extent to which they have built the values into everyday life in the classroom life of the school.
It could well be argued that if are values are strong they will help us in times of crisis. The final video explains what happened when the Christchurch earthquakes created just this kind of challenge to the school.
Case Study Two: Balmoral School - Auckland
I have chosen this school (which includes both a primary school and an intermediate) because its approach is quite different from that of Breens and illustrates interesting ideas about the various ways education about values is built into a school and its curriculum.
Their vision statement states that vision is “To value diversity and to develop curious, confident and connected learners.” This vision is very similar to the vision of the New Zealand Curriculum but is followed by a ‘Vision Story’ that expands on the vision. This and other aspects of the Balmoral Approach can be seen at:
The school has a well-developed learning model set out in the school prospectus above. The model features 5 aspects: Balmoral Habits; Numeracy and Literacy; Philosophy for Children (‘Whakaaro Tamariki’); and Curriculum Inquiry at Balmoral (C.I.B.)
Interestingly there is no specific mention of values as such instead values are woven throughout the vision and the learning model. The vision includes the ‘headline’ values diversity, curiosity (part of Innovation, inquiry and curiosity) and connected is an aspect of community and participation. Further it could be argued that confidence is part of respect (self esteem, self respect and self belief – see the notions, concepts and ideas diagram above).
However, there a number of other ways in which values are evident in the school’s innovative approach. The Balmoral Habits shown in the diagram below.
A glance down the features column will reveal the many values that are embedded in the Balmoral Habits.
Another aspect of the Balmoral School learning model is that P4C (Philosophy for Children) is considered a key aspect of the student learning. The school newsletter of 9th September 2016 gave an explanation of the school’s use of P4C, including the following …
We see teaching of P4C to every child is vitally important if we want to develop citizens who are critical, caring and creative thinkers. When citizens behave in such a manner we believe that beliefs and prejudices will be challenged, critically thought through and creative solutions found. If this happens we will have a thoughtful progressive democracy.
Balmoral school appears to have a healthy focus on both values and habits and on the critical thinking aspects of values page of NZC. This well-balanced approach is further enhanced by the use a very robust inquiry model throughout the school curriculum.
This model has a strong focus on problem solving and action. And through this process provoking, empathising, brainstorming, prototyping and reflecting all include aspects of values, critical thinking and taking action.
Two quite contrasting but interesting approaches to the implementation of the values dimension of the New Zealand Curriculum!
Next week two secondary school examples.
Next week I will look at two interesting secondary school examples.
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