I am so excited to introduce you to a new member of my team, the wonderful Amy Holt. Amy's role is to support our Buzz Academy schools, helping them dig into the Buzz diagnostic findings, or identify where to next by strategically using the videos and resources in the Buzz Academy portal. It's been wonderful to have Amy join the team. Amy will be working on a part time basis for us.
Amy is one of the best teachers I know, and I say this both as a colleague and as a school parent - Amy taught my son Conor for two years in his primary schooling! She is also a passionate educator who develops strong collective learning cultures wherever she works - perfect for The Buzz Academy schools.
Following is a bit of a bio of Amy, as well as an article Amy has written on Authentic Collaboration where she discusses some new thinking from Patrick Griffin, and gives some ideas for tapping into the mind, moment and mouth - those key pillars of a buzzing collaborative culture - Collective Growth Mindset, Compelling Environment, Authentic Dialogue.
We also let you know how you can tap into Amy further down the newsletter. Or you never know, she might tap into you to have a chat about how you are sustaining your professional learning culture!
And from me - I hope Term 2 sets off, or has already set off, with a smooth and joyful start!
Amy Holt has been involved in Education for 20 years and is a registered teacher with the Victorian Institute of Teaching. She works as a Buzz Academy Facilitator and Primary School teacher. She has had various leadership roles during her teaching career which include Team Leader, Curriculum Leader, Leading Teacher and more recently Success Coordinator.
She is passionate about building positive relationships, strong culture and high collaboration amongst staff to effectively impact student achievement. She sees the Buzz Academy as a hive of activity with great scope to cross pollinate schools.
Her role with the Buzz Academy will be to build our Community of Practice and to support school leaders on their Buzz journey. She can see huge benefits in developing strong collaboration amongst high achieving professionals to expand the Buzz’s collective efficacy. 'Why learn alone when we can do it together? The Elevating Questions are a fabulous tool to elicit discussion about the content of the Buzz and encourages a collective growth mindset amongst group members'. She cannot wait to find out where you are at with your Buzz journey and how she can best support you and your school.
by Amy Holt, Buzz Academy Facilitator
These holidays I have invested some time in professional reading. My book of choice has been Assessment for Teaching 2nd Edition, edited by Patrick Griffin. It’s about changing the culture within schools around their use of assessment data and upskilling staff to use targeted teaching interventions based on evidence rather than inference. What I love about this book is that it focuses on looking at data through a glass half full lens, it is a developmental approach, seeking to find what your students CAN do and what they are READY to learn regardless of their backgrounds. Teachers must have a belief that ALL students can learn.
It takes a clinical approach to assessment and the use of data in the classroom and involves teacher collaboration to implement targeted interventions based on a student’s readiness to learn. A fundamental key to success with this model is collaboration. A collaborative working culture and working with the support of your peers is paramount to yielding significant gains amongst students.
Griffin states that “teachers need to work collaboratively in teams, not team teaching, to collaborate on evidence-based decision-making that can markedly improve student learning”. Which got me thinking about the Buzz. Are we authentically collaborating or are we just co-operating?
Buzz Bite 1B: The Collaboration Continuum looks into the different levels of collaboration. To be authentically collaborating we want to be working in the co-creation/collective capacity space. This is where we see the mind, the moment and the mouth all working together. Everyone is invested in each other’s growth and success. We are creating things that we could not have achieved alone. We are willing to open up about our practice. We are comfortable discussing our pedagogy. We can identify when teaching strategies are not working and make changes to ensure the best outcomes for our students. After watching this Buzz Bite, be sure to complete the two interactive activities that are linked to the video. The best part is you can decide if you do this at a macro level or a micro level. It could be with your whole staff, senior management, team leaders, PLC teams. The choice is yours! This will help you to see whether you are actually authentically collaborating or simply co-operating.
We need to be moving towards collective capacity in our schools. Deep dialogue, robust discussion around pedagogy, and being willing to question and challenge the impact of our practices are imperative to a successful collaborative team and quality outcomes for our students.
Learning cultures don’t happen by chance.
Building a strong collective learning mindset, a compelling team environment and having the right conversations is a momentum turbocharge for teams.