Thursday, January 12, 2017

Makamaka - Saddle Hill

Growing up in Allanton under the shadow of Saddle Hill, Makamaka as I now know it, I have often wondered of the stories and legends.  

Saddle Hill's twin humps are named for the body parts of the famous taniwha (mythical monster) Matamata. The large hump is his belly - Puke Makamaka - and the smaller is his knee - Turi Makamaka. Another tradition identifies the Hokonui hills as his resting place. Both use the taniwha's restless movements as an explanation for the land forms and river courses of the area. Matamata is identified with Kati Mamoe chief Rakitauneke and the Otakou chief Karetai. (I saved this some time ago, and unfortunately I did not copy the source, and now cannot locate it. If anyone is able to help with this please let me know.)

"The Taieri was once the abode of a taniwha (water monster) which had its home up the Silver-stream Valley near Whare Flat. Its nest was a swamp, Waipotaka (round pool), but it was of a restless disposition so it journeyed down stream to the place where the town of Mosgiel, and the woollen factory, now stand. The hollow where the town exists was formed by its weight. Mosgiel did not meet the monster's demands so it tripped down the Taieri River. Wriggling and wriggling it made all the sharp bends between Allanton and Otokia. This part of the Taieri is called Te Rua taniwha and its former resting place at Mosgiel is Te Konika o te matamata. When the taniwha died it became Saddle Hill near Riccarton with two main humps named Puke Makamaka and Turi Makamaka." source 

Slow down and listen...

I started the day with a very slow walk.  After an epic day of walking yesterday, and a very sore knee there really wasn't an option for anything else.

Yesterday was a HUGE day.  My early morning walk was listening to podcasts, my late afternoon walk with Susan was all about chatting and catching up on each other's lives.  My evening walk was a stroll along the beach with Grant, after our picnic tea.  

This morning's walk was again listening to podcasts but it was different.  It was SLOW, slightly PAINFUL, with a very sore right knee and it was reflective.  As I first listened to 'slowing down' I had a new insight into my reflection on my practice. It really is fact that we learn far more by reflecting on our experiences than we ever do while experiencing something. I also learnt a lot about the power of procrastination.  On this, my first week back at work for 2017, much of my week seems to have been procrastination.  This podcast helped me realise the potential of incomplete tasks, and the value of leaving something and coming back to it with fresh eyes!  If we complete a task, we often do it rapidly, settling for our first idea.  If we procrastinate for too long we are often pressured into completion of an idea that is not well thought out or developed, but if we procrastinate, re-visit, reflect, we can often be more creative and complete work that is innovative.  

For me as a Professional Learning Solutions, Ministry Accredited Facilitator, there is a huge a amount of food for thought in this podcast.  How do we deliver professional development, and support transformational change that allows for a degree of procrastination? My initial thoughts are this:
We need to:
  • Develop a relationship with the people we work with, a deep, trusting relationship.  This takes time, and brings the tension of beginning the work, developing the relationship. Increasingly I think we need an intricate mix of blended ways of working. Our relationship begins to develop with the very first contact, the phone call or email, and continues well beyond our last session.  
  • Foster collaborative ways of working.  As the relationship(s) develop, we are increasingly compelled to collaborate.  
  • Be transparent in our ways of working, actions, processes, activities, goals.
  • Model and encourage reflection.
  • Inquire into our own practise and share our learning journey.
  • Explicitly identify, acknowledge and value ways of working and being. 
  • Be vulnerable.  Share our own learning and vulnerability.
  • Identify, acknowledge and build on capabilities and capacities.
  • Foster sustainable change.
I am very excited about the year ahead.  Unlike my teaching colleagues I do not have a class to prepare for.  I have something unique to us in our role as facilitators, something I am beginning to identify more and more as a unique privilege.  I have the privilege of meeting new educators, with a passion for learning.  I have the privilege of walking alongside them in an inquiry, unique to them, their context, their place, their journey.  I have the privilege of being able to bring different perspectives, resources, ways of working, to support and extend the incredible journey educators make daily to improve outcomes for all our learners, the future of our world.   

So, off now to work on my own inquiry... time to really reflect on my incredible PPLP session with Margaret and prepare for gathering evidence as my own inquiry grows this year.  Indeed an exciting time ahead.... 

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Stop, Listen, Go...

For over one year now I have committed to walking 10,000 steps a day.  Yes, I have missed the odd day, and yes it has transformed my life.  I am fitter, happier and healthier.  I absolutely love the opportunity to get out and walk.
For most of the past year I have listened to music as I walk.  While I was walking around Naseby tracks and trails I began to notice that I would return from a walk and I could not tell you much I what I saw, heard, smelt or felt during the walk.  This got me thinking, was music distracting me from the act of walking?  Was it blocking the reality of walking?
I tried a couple of walks in silence.  I sure did notice more.  I noticed the colours, the sounds, the smells and the feel of the breeze, or sun.  However I got back from these walks totally recalling the walking, the length, duration, steps, and some of the JOY of walking was missing.  I persevered and found that walking in silence wasn't necessarily working for me either.
Yesterday I caught up with Rowan and she talked about podcasts.  For the longest time I have been meaning to download podcasts, and last night I did.
Today I listened to a podcast as I walked.


I walked far further, and jogged far more than I realised.  I was in the moment of walking, jogging, listening to inspiraitonal talks from the TED Radio Hour.
Today I listened to "Being Happy" and "Headspace".  Both of them delighted and inspired me. This also got me thinking.  Maybe the secret is in mixing up my walking.  Maybe I can walk in silence in the beauty of the tracks and nature, listen to music in the busy town streets, intersperesed with listening to podcasts.  My takeaway from today is that whatever I am doing I need to focus on what I am doing.  Being fully present to what I am doing.  "Stop, listen, go", a very cool phrase from my podcast from the Ted Talk "Want to be happy, be grateful".

I am really excited about the potential for learning, thinking and reflecting while walking...