Uncovering the consequences inside Restorative Justice.

Many people who use, or have tried restorative justice in their school are entrenched in the conception that there are no consequences, or that people who do things get away with just having a conversation with someone.

Recently I have trialled something more.

Three boys had a fight in the classroom. One grabbed the second in a headlock, and the third kicked the first in the head. As restorative justice dictates, we met individually with the boys first.

We talked about what had happened, who they had affected, and how they were going to make it right. These boys are pretty good at this kind of stuff now, they decided they would make it right with each other in different ways. Some apologising, some inviting others to join them in projects, and others making promises for the future.

We then discussed who else they had affected, and discussed how they had affected The School.

"We live by a set of values here, and by fighting in the classroom you have jeopardised those. You have mad…

Life, is a journey of self discovery.

Life, as a journey of self discovery, has been a main discussion point for me of late with two students, in discussion around bullying and being bullied.

Wikipidia explains a journey of self discovery as:
"The term "journey of self-discovery" refers to a travel, pilgrimage, or series of events whereby a person attempts to determine how they feel, personally, about spiritual issues or priorities, rather than following the opinions of family, friends, neighborhood or peer pressure."
We talked about the need to understand yourself, the need to understand how you react to different stimuli and in different situations, and the need to understand why others have decided to react in a certain way.

I don't know how much of this the students actually understood, but it's a step in the right direction and if we continue to have these discussions with them, they may see themselves and their lives in a different light. Peopl…

What is real learning, anyway?


One way the government could adapt NCEA to completely revolutionise the education system.

We understand why the education system needs to change. As the Factory Model moves gradually out of our schools and we usher in a new era learning. As the knowledge curve extends upwards in our lives, the schooling system moves away from content transmission and moves towards using knowledge to create new knowledge. Developing skills of collaboration, critical thinking, creativity, problem solving...

...unless you're doing NCEA external exams.

Exams are solely based on memorising information before you go into them, and regurgitating as much as you can onto the page, to be marked on how well you applied the knowledge you could remember to the problem given on the day.

The exams create a need in schools for teachers to follow a syllabus. I lived with a high school science teacher for a while, and although she loved the idea of introducing modern learning principles into her classes, she struggled because of the amount of content she had to deliver to students to get them ready for …


As an outsider coming to Christchurch, I didn't know one area from another. You could say Bishopdale or Swanson, and it would mean absolutely nothing to me. But I'd heard of Aranui.

The stigma of the East side of Christchurch travels far and wide, and is re-promoted continuously. Only at the weekend, an MC at a kapahaka event asked all the participating schools if they were here, and the schools would shout back that they were. When Haeata, the new school in Aranui shouted back that they were here, the MC responded "Oh good, then my car is still in the car park." The fact that this kind of stigma that people are working hard to remove is promoted by leaders in our community ensures that it is refreshed, reinvigorated and continued. This is not however, a single isolated event. It is a stigma that our students experience and have drilled into them over and over again every day.

So are all the children in Aranui thieves and vagrants? No. Of course not. They are loving,…

Today's environment could be a catalyst

Today this article came up on my facebook feed.

Which is quite an old article, but talks about how Finnish schools are phasing out subjects, to value contextual learning, and learning through projects.

When we examine the New Zealand Curriculum, we normally skip straight to the back, where individual subjects look like they dominate, and have major priority (indeed it was the first thing I was taught to look at.)

But if we look at the front we see a very different story. We see quotes like this:
While the learning areas are presented as distinct, this should not limit the ways in which schools structure the learning experiences offered to students. All learning should make use of the natural connections that exist between learning areas and that link learning areas to the values and key competencies. -New Zealand Curriculum pp16  And this:
Schools may, for example, decid…

Explore deeper the values of Modern Pedagogy

Much research around the terms 'modern' or '21st century' or 'future focused' learning have placed several values at it's centre. Learners having a choice in what they do, and teachers creating activities that are authentic to their students are two of these such values that we hear discussed in the education sector.

I believe that educators need to explore deeper than these values.

Giving students choice about which activities they complete is no longer enough. To ask them to complete a list of "must do's and can do's" or choose from a "learning menu" is not going to prepare learners for their future well enough for them to thrive in a technology-driven world.

We need to grow their thinking by scaffolding them to actually own and drive their own learning, which means students need to be in control of their learning from the beginning of the planning process, to the outcome of the learning. As long as adults are planning learning…