Thursday, 11 September 2014

How important is knowing the learner?

Last Thursday I had the privilege of heading to Samoa with a combined group of students from Hobsonville Point Primary and Secondary.

Sharyn and Sarah had done a huge amount of work with the 19 students raising funds for both the school we were visiting and working with, as well as with for the students expenses. The amount of planning and support for the trip from these two was amazing.

My role in the process was not very big at all, so heading to the airport on Thursday I was interested to see what would be happening.

19 students greeted me in matching self designed shirts excited and nervous at the same time. I knew the students by name at least, some a little more, I looked forward to getting to know them over the next 5 days.

What happened over the next 5 days was not a surprise but reinforced the idea of authentic learning. These students travelling away without devices, without make-up to home stay with strangers showed massive amounts of resilience and self management. The dispositional curriculums within both schools were being lived out in ways we could never recreate at school. They learnt a lot about themselves through the actions of their hosts and the way they lived. The students were moved that their teaching inspired these amazing kids from the school we worked with. The developed an understanding of what their life is really like compared to others.

The students showed collaborative skills, caring and support for one and other and were very warm and demanding of each other and themselves.

This trip made me incredibly proud to be involved with these schools. The students were amazing, the learning they were getting was something I wish all students could get. The experiences both challenging and exciting were embraced with open arms, even to the the point of not squealing at giant cockroaches.

When I think about our learning values at HPPS all were present in this journey for the students. The only downside was only staying half the time. I am sure Maurie will also get as much out of it as I did.

I came away knowing more than their names, I came away knowing them as learners!