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Wednesday, 20 May 2015

MIT Update 5 - Finlayson Park Primary School

Today, I had the absolute honour of sharing my inquiry with the staff at Finlayson Park Primary School.  Here is how they describe themselves on their school site:

I was greeted in many different languages as I walked through the staffroom and was made to feel very welcome as I set up my laptop with help from staff!

I opened by showing this video, created by my partner and his family - the first V48 hour film to be entered in a language other than English.


This is the ultimate for me when I think about what I would like students in my classroom to be successful in.  That is, successful in the English Medium (two cousins have masters, one has a degree in Philosophy and Anthropology etc.) but, they are not only bilingual speaking, but, bi-literate and able to write a script in their first language and create a movie in their first language.

This is what I hope for students in my classroom, through my inquiry.

As I knew this school had extremely strong practice with bilingual learners, my presentation was aimed more at bringing in digital pedagogies to strengthen this practice.  I briefly looked through my class site and showed the process of Learn, Create, Share with my target Reading group, with links to bilingual practices.

I was overwhelmed with the response I received from staff.  Teachers approached me with tears in their eyes, and warm hugs.  One teacher of woodwork talked with me about how he asks students to gift their 'creates' to family members, and we talked about how this comes from having deeper cultural understanding.  Another teacher was excited that she was not alone in having such enthusiasm for digital teaching and learning.  Many teachers expressed how they appreciated that I was a 'real' teacher, who literally had to be back in a classroom an hour later.  I was given an empathetic ear, when telling them about how sometimes when I talk about 'this sort of stuff,' eyes glaze over.

I was described as passionate about my inquiry.  Which I am!  But I have to thank them, as much as they were thanking me.  I felt emotional about their reactions and felt re-energized and motivated,  I felt that: yes! I am on the right track and that, although this is BIG - it's something that people would like to have more information about and continue to talk about.  For the benefit of our learners, who, are "Blessed with Bilingual Brains."

I am very fortunate to have a principal who was happy for me to share about my inquiry with another school and arrive to my next appointment later than usual!  The more I talk about it, the clearer it becomes, so I am also very thankful to the Principal of Finlayson Park Primary School - Shirley Maihi (QSM) for saying yes to Olivia, who heard me speak during her TESSOL class in the holidays, and agreeing to have me in at one of their staff meetings.

On a personal note:  Thank you to Finlayson Park Primary teachers... you made me feel so welcome and I honestly felt very inspired by you all when I left.  Thank you all and good luck on the digital journey!

A gift card I received:  Living and breathing their bilingual philosophies.
With principal Shirley Maihi and some of her wonderful staff at Finlayson Park Primary School.

1 comment:

  1. Wow Kyla...this is awesome! I did a practicum at Finlayson Park 100 years ago and it's great to see that Shirley Maihi is still there steering the ship. It was a a great place with lovely kids and staff back then too. Keep up the fantastic work on your inquiry! It is an area of pronounced need and it is EPIC that you are pursuing your research with such passion.