Wednesday, 18 April 2012

Finally a starting point for this blog
Sometimes I procrastinate - some people would say that sometimes is a little generous. This is the case with this blog. Then you have an event that energises the mind and prompts you to write, to share an experience. So here goes a first attempt...

Ignition2012 an unconference for emerging leaders has spun my wheels. So many ideas that resonate with my mental models. The chance to see the future leaders of New Zealand education co-constructing a format for open dialogue was priceless. These people were not having professional learning done to them. They were forging new paths, sparking from each other and building upon ideas in an atmosphere dripping with collaboration.

I considered myself a lucky participant. Firstly because I am a principal and obviously have 'emerged' as a leader in education. Secondly because I got to see the emerging leaders I took from Taupaki School see that their thoughts and ideas are valued by a wider audience. I was lucky because I got to listen to educators who were not concerned about which sector they were from. Tertiary, Secondary, Primary were all there as equals.

I spoke with amazing people @timoslimo @chrisbradbeer @taratj @claireamosnz @mosborne01 @teachernz @chrisclaynz @traintheteacher @bridgetcasse @homaians. I missed 1:1 face to face connections with @rachelboyd @billy_merchant but their tweets were on the money! All brave people making a difference in our New Zealand schools.

As schools we have a responsibility to incubate stunning people. As leaders in school we must allow innovation to flourish. We cannot allow these bright hopes for the future to be snuffed out or picked off in our schools due to lack of opportunity or professional freedom.

A sign of leadership is to step back and let others shine. The attendees at Ignition2012 definitely shone. I have no doubt that given enough time and resource these people would solve a number of issues (both perceived and real) in education. I hope they continue to experiment at the fringe, inspire those around them and ignite connections.

[Posting interrupted by a 30 minute dialogue with a teacher I took to Ignition2012 who was buzzing about the event]

To the Team at Albany Senior High School e mihi atu ki to mana ki to wairua. You provided the structure and framework for great things to happen. To Mark Osborne thank you for letting an oldish Principal attend this event and providing a forum for me to increase my connections with stunning people.

Taylor Mali would be proud of the many voices who spoke with conviction at Ignition2012

Now... to think about the next post... BYOD or as I want to name it BYOB or the tweet by @johnllock from the First Time Principals' Residential Course where @hekiaparata talked about competitive collaboration... Hmmmmm.


  1. Thanks for your comments Stephen.
    It was an awesome event, made even more powerful by having leaders like you in attendance. Leaders who have the grace to know when it's time to lead, and when it's time to be led by others.
    That's the real trick of leadership. Aroha mai.

  2. Hi Stephen - Great to see that you've started blogging. I will be watching with great interest and am looking forward to reading about both BYOD (B) and (ahem) competitive collaboration ;)

    My blog is nearly 2 years old now and it too was started after being inspired by @mosborne01 at a conference.

    Cheers for the mention - (always good for the ego)

    Tara TJ

  3. I was absolutely gutted to not be able to make it through for Ignition. I began this year "throwing in my cowboy hat" and taking a step back to herd the cats into the same direction.

    With one term down, I have to say that I have sometimes felt frustrated and have been the amazing distance collaborations with awesome teachers.

    Having said that though, I read your post (wish again I could have found a cheap flight and been part of some of those amazing conversations....) but you have affirmed that my goals for this year are the right ones for the physical space that I work in.

    I already have enjoyed many magic light bulb momenst with colleagues who beginning to find their own "purpose"for shifting their pedagogy, including...
    - a music teacher who is using social media to connect our children with musicians,
    - a young teacher who has declared that actually the do learn differently to her at school and it is time to rethink her programme so that it does not just mirror HOW she was taught
    - and a team member who is suddenly using digital tools to record children's learning in maths and archiving them into (unbeknownst to him) a digital portfolio of sorts.

    I was almost thinking a laissez faire approach might be my next step for the oncoming term but having read your post, you have put me back on track. That ripple effect is another affirmation for what must have been a sensational gathering...

    I may be a bit quieter online this year, but you will hear some raucous from our end of the country soon!
    (From Claire on her daughter's Google ID!!!)

  4. I have been following your tweets and I feel like I have missed out on something terribly exciting. How do I get involved now?

  5. Great post - look forward to following it :-)

  6. Like Tara, cheers for the mention Stephen. Was a privilege to meet you. Thanks for your insights on values and leadership.

    Really enjoyed the big picture/possibilities/implication-type conversations.

  7. Hi Stephen
    Thanks so much for your kind words. It was fantastic to meet you in person and really valued your contribution to #ingition2012.