Tuesday, 3 November 2015

Community engagement in learning

Embedded image permalinkAs a network, community engagement in learning is an area we all recognised as important for many reasons. Hence, it has been one of our change priority areas since we were an LCN. 
As teachers we have all got into the community to extend classroom learning, see learning in context, in action, for real. Plus it's so much more fun! School trips are highlights of a school year.  

Embedded image permalinkAkoranga o Naenae  has been a success for engaging with our community at local, national and global levels. The biggest differences for us were 1) the varieties of experts that students connected with, 2) That students did most of the organising (finding experts and places, organising permissions, notices etc) and 3) the ways our learners connected with experts and places (social media, visiting people and places, email). It was a real lesson in resilience and creativity to firstly identify experts and places. Then  contact them. Then work out what to do if people didn't reply (still waiting on Jehn Cena and Taylor Swift among others). 

We see many benefits to supporting learning through engaging with community:
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  • Learn about the variety of people who can help our learning beyond whanau, teachers and friends
  • Discover how experts have deep knowledge about specific areas, great for students who also have deep knowledge as a starting point 
  • It brings whanau into learning as they are taxi drivers, photographers, ticket providers, support planners, connections to other experts...
  • Authentic reasons to write, search, express gratitude, problem solve, organise, be resilient and creative
  • Teachers are relieved of being the expert (especially about fishing, WWE, sprinting, scrap-booking and much more) when they really aren't - and don't want to be!
  • Being extra connected to our surroundings 
  • It's very exciting to contact your idol 
  • Best of all - every active learner trait is in action almost all of the time
So we thought we would share the experts and places our students have contacted this round as a way of saying thank you to those who bravely helped us, even when they didn't exactly know what was expected of them. We are so grateful to everyone who replied. And because we are so proud of our learners, we are inspired by the diversity and amount of people and places they have connected with! 
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Bunnings team

Blue Carrot chefs


Dan Carter
John Cena
Steven Adams
Jamie Oliver
Taylor Swift
Ussain Bolt
Nick Willis
Janet Evans
Varsily Sapunov
Annette Dougherty
Ash Wootton
Lindsay Hamilton
David Morrison
Maggie (Hills Hats)
Rosie Booth
Jessica Barlow
Brianna Barlow
Mitchell Barlow
Jen & Jolie (Dowse)
Annette Forbes
Chris Brown
Ed Sheeran
Marnie H
Jordan Kerr
Callaghan Innovation
Dowse Gallery
Mitre 10
Belmont school courts
Dyer Street School field
Carter Observatory
Hunting and Fishing
Wellington Zoo
Sea Cadets
Scrapbooking Central
Te Papa
British Air Force
Koru cafe
Zone Hairdressing
Premiere Hairdressing
Hutt Valley High School
Te Marua speedway
Petone Football
Sherrington Jewellers
Rock shop
ASB stadium
Wellington Lions
Pump Dance
Elite Dance
Hutt City Dance Centre
The Learning Connexion

It's a hive of activity when students are following their passions beyond the classroom: it feels messy, and frenetic, and like you have to be on top of a lot of stuff. And you do. It is all those things and more. Closely followed by inspired, excited, astounded and grateful. 

Community engagement in learning... it's worth every grey hair. 


  1. In order to grown responsible, contributing citizens we have to introduce our tamariki to their own community and let them explore, and learn, and build relationships. This is one of the aspects of AON that I have been most in awe of - the truly pragmatic and authentic learning, where the students have had equal exposure to the back AND the front end of our wonderful curriculum. Let's hope others will now be less frightened to take the leap! Well done to all of the AON community. Looking forward to Friday!

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  4. Community engagement is an excellent way to build upon students’ cumulative knowledge in a specific discipline and to demonstrate the integration of that knowledge with real life issues.
    Community Engagement Ideas