It’s wonderful to have so many inspiring local educators! This week’s profile is of Matt Ives, a teacher at Amesbury Primary School.
1. What brought you to #WellyED?
Teachers need to connect. I believe it’s an absolutely fundamental part of our jobs. Connecting online is the first step, but there is a certain magic which happens when it is face-to-face. A buzz, an energy. WellyEd offers a way to connect with local educators – to hang out and chat and share good practice. This diffuses good ideas throughout our network, rather than them sitting alone in schools, championed by a Lone Nut. WellyEd offers an opportunity to support each other learn what good learning and teaching is and can be in our cool little capital.
2. What’s something exciting that’s happening in your classroom or in your sector?
We’ve developed a web-based application called the Amesbury Learning Framework (or ALF) and have been using it with great success over the last few months. Currently, we have a complete Year 1 – 8 writing matrix in it, which breaks down the key components of writing across those years, drawn from the Literacy Progressions, the NZC, and our own knowledge and research. It varies, but there could be 25 – 30 writing components/indicators in a single year. Each student has their own personal matrix, with their progress in relation to the achievement of these indicators made clear. There are a few elements of this that are particularly exciting. The first is that students know exactly where they are at, and what they need to work on to get to the next step. Students get instruction and guidance based not on what year they are in, but what their next steps are. Also, students can upload evidence to prove they are meeting a certain indicator. This puts the locus of responsibility and control firmly in their hands. We’ve also attached rewindable learning (videos, links, or presentations) to many of the indicators, allowing students to access the learning they need to “complete” an indicator. Those are a few of the features. We’re looking to get reading and maths matrices into ALF in Term 1 next year.
3. Who or what inspires you?
Those students who find learning difficult but still persevere, inspire me to no end. Some kids work so bloody hard at school, despite what home life might be like, or their own learning difficulties. People who get out there and share their stories, go to Educamps, or Ignite evenings, sacrificing their own personal time to learn and grow – they inspire me. People who are not mesmerised by the sweet siren song of shiny new technology – instead constantly and critically putting the learning first, and focusing on great pedagogy – those people inspire me too. And the lads from NoTosh are also really inspiring me at the moment to incorporate Design Thinking and the mindset of a designer (holding ideas lightly, the importance of feedback, empathy building and creativity) into learning.
4. What’s your next professional learning goal?
Finding ways to infuse more creativity into the Big Three: reading, writing, and maths.
5. When I’m not teaching I’m…
Hanging out with my beautiful boy and beautiful wife. I now consider going to the playground, reading Hairy Maclary books and playing with LEGO the high point of any weekend. Once the boy’s asleep you’ll also find me doing a bit of gaming on my Playstation 4, indulging in the odd brewski, and chain-binging TV series and movies. I also like to read and run and relax in the sun.
If you’d like to see a Wellington educator you know featured here, please let us know!