The Leamington Learner concept, or dispositions, is the school’s strategic focus and foundation for enhanced achievement. Owned by the school community, technological capability is an integral component.
Mike Malcolm: One of the key things that we’ve developed over the years, is our Leamington Learner concept, which is a descriptor of some dispositions we want our learners to have. We pulled that into five different areas based on feedback from our community. That evolved over a number of years into what we now call our cogs, so our cogs are the core goals that we want to achieve for every learner within our school. We have five of them. Effective Communicators, Active Learners, Make a Difference, Technologically Capable, and Effective Thinkers. We want every student within our school to be able to talk about it, so let’s put it to the test.
Student 1: Akonga Hauora: Active Learners
Student 3: Korero Maia: Effective Communicators
Tonia Fenemor: So I’m using the Leamington learner Language in my classroom to base the children’s learning around so they know where they’re focusing their learning.
Jodi Brenton-Rule: I like the Leamington Learner concept because I believe those core goals that they’re working on, they’re skills that we also want to encourage the kids to do at home as well. I also really like the way the school links their rewards and their praise to the core goals which they then bring home. We can use the same language, we can appreciate which goals they’ve been working towards.
Leesa Mangino: It’s such a big part of our school, from Monday morning assembly start with talking about the cogs and virtues.
Student 1: A Leamington Learner is someone that uses all their cogs and virtues all the time. When we have a task, we’ll go to the cogs and virtues fans and then pick a cog or virtue. In writing I would choose Effective Thinkers because it’s someone that focuses on their fantasy writing and always stays on task. When we do writing, we do a plan first and we would use Popplet to put down all our characters for our fantasy story and the theme of it. With our partner, we read through each other’s plans and then we give them feedback and feedforward and then show the teacher and if she likes it we can get started on our story. We start writing the story in Google docs and then we’ll start with a huge word to entertain people. Once we’ve finished writing our draft we’ll go with another buddy and then check to see if there are no mistakes and give feedforward and feedback again by putting comments on the top of their story so they always have that in their mind what they can work on, and then we get to publish it and put it onto an app called PicCollage.
Mike Malcolm: So a key part of our cogs is being technologically capable, and when we talk about being technologically capable, we’re not focusing on the technology. For us, the goal is the technology becomes invisible.
Leesa Mangino: It grew from three C’s at the beginning, it had to be about consuming, collaborating, and creating, and as we went on our journey, we found these other C’s came up as important as well.
Mike Malcolm: So the flow-on effect of all this on student achievement has been significant. We’ve really seen a shift in our boys, with the amount of work they do and their willingness to refine their work. We’ve seen a huge shift in terms of being dependant on the teacher for all information, to becoming inter-dependent on each other and willing to learn from each other, and also being vulnerable to each other. So a question we’re often asked is, what impact has this had on student achievement in relation to just data. If you were to look at our 2012 National Standards results versus 2013, there has been a significant lift for our Māori students. But it would be really hard to identify that impact because of iPads, because what we’ve seen is that when students enter a one-to-one, or one-to-two environment, teaching pedagogy has to change significantly. So to say it’s as a result of the device is hard, because so many other things change because of it. What we are seeing is a lift in the types of thinking that the children engage in, and the depth of the conversations that they have.