Six large Vision Cafes were held for all TCS staff (TCS now renamed Te Kura) during the last week of term in 2009 (plus one smaller one earlier in December). All staff across our three wahanga were invited to attend, and over 300 did so. These Vision Cafes were amazing! The staff spent three hours in each session fully engaged in robust discussion and debate, teasing out their ideas and asking challenging questions of each other. Staff clearly see and verbalise the focus for Te Kura, ie placing each student firmly at the centre of their own learning; building a learning programme personalised for each student around authentic learning opportunities.We were all able to link our ideas to current best practice at Te Kura, plus best evidence New Zealand research on what makes a difference for student learning.
Staff considered such questions as: how they see their current roles evolving; what effective teaching and learning will look like for our students building on authentic contexts; and how our own in-region models for delivering teaching and learning will evolve, including thinking about the timeframes for our evolution.
Interestingly timeframes identified across staff reflected the strategic plan developed by our Board, in consultation; ie increased rollout over three years for increasingly personalising programmes of learning around student interest and authentic in-context learning opportunities, and increasing regional capacity to work more closely with students in their environments.( remembering that we are a Distance Education provider).
The Advisory Group for Authentic Learning will have its' first meeting later this month, and this week I begin running Vision Cafes in three of our Regional Offices: Hamilton, Christchurch and Auckland.