Discovery, the wonder of learning - Mid-Pacific Institute

Elementary School Principal's Blog

Discovery, the wonder of learning

Posted on October 9, 2016

by Dr. Edna Hussey on October 9, 2016

In the spirit of Discoverers' Day, this week's blog highlights the amazing discoveries I make every time I document the learning I observe when walking about campus or stopping into classrooms. Here are three, beginning from the end of the week. (Stop into the teachers' blogs for their highlights of learning in their classrooms this week.)

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Discovery 1: Six Mid-Pacific Fellows of the Harvard Research Schools International, of which Mid-Pacific has been the only Hawaiʻi school invited to participate, reviewed the basis of action research and the focus of this yearʻs study. Action research provides a systematic process for teachers to analyze specific factors and conditions intended to improve teaching and learning. Under the assessment umbrella, action research entails mindful observations of students while in the process of learning and documenting what happens when an instructional practice or tool of learning is applied.

This year, Mid-Pacific asks these inquiry questions: To what extent does motivation affect learning? What conditions contribute to student motivation? The Fellows, among them multiage 3-4 teachers Tiffany Byrne and Torry Montes, explained theories of motivation -- defined as" to be moved into action" -- to the preschool through high school faculty. We discussed theories such as being in the "flow" of learning, Carol Dweckʻs "growth mindset," and self-determination. How do we create classroom conditions where students develop a sense of autonomy and competence and intrinsic desires to be self-motivated? The faculty and I will be spending time discussing action research on motivation in their classrooms.

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Discovery 2: Several students in M 1-2 and M 3-4 experienced the art of calligraphy right in their classrooms. Keysiu Sensei, a famous shodo (form of Japanese calligraphy), demonstrated the ancient artistic writing. The art form, which began in 4th century China under the Tang Dynasty, was developed in Japan by their own calligraphers into styles intrinsic to Japan. This was the first time I had ever seen calligraphy performed! The act of communicating through calligraphy is full of emotion and drama and begins with a commitment to the idea being conveyed. The students were learning how to write "love." Weʻre grateful to Maria Shiraishi, parent of two Mid-Pacific students, who coordinated Keisyu Sensei's visit. Sensei's performance underscored my own belief that writing is a powerful human act.

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Discovery 3: Kahu's chapel message was about "launching love," that is, understanding the reciprocal roles of initiating love and receiving love. President Turnbull participated in chapel by assisting Kahu with a brief demonstration of "catching" love using a ball to represent love and a container to catch it. In the photo, look at Torry Montes' expression on her face. The children who also volunteered to participate were just as excited!

That inimitable feeling of discovery always feels new and exciting. There are countless days I feel this way as I stop to observe the extraordinary learning among our children and teachers.

Happy Discovery!

E Kūlia Kākou! Let's strive and aspire together!

For our children,

Edna L. Hussey, Ed.D.

Principal