Friday, August 31, 2012

Congratulations Tasshi Marie!

As you might know, here at ELP we love to celebrate! And what better occasion than our project administrator Marie Thom's recent success in achieving her Black Belt in Taekidokai!

Back in 2010, Marie wrote this for our newsletter: "I have risen to the dizzy heights of blue belt, (to match the bruises on my arms), in my future is a black belt. I followed my eleven year old son into the sport and now my fourteen year old daughter trains as well."

Many hours of training and a couple of bruises later (we have seen the most impressive shapes and colours of bruises here at the office), Marie went to Sydney in July this year to take part in a weekend of training (over 12 hours) followed by an exhausting grading process. In the spirit of true NZ-Australian competition, Marie was the only applicant to break her boards on the first go and even lapped all other students in the fitness line! Ka rawe atu koe!

So, at her return to Hamilton, we just had to throw her a little 'black belt' - party:

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Watching the Olympics

Arriving home last week, after a few days away for work, I found myself watching the Olympics. This is a new thing for me, usually my sport watching begins and ends with the Rugby, and after just coming to the end of the Super 15, I thought my sport watching was to take a back seat until the Four Nations tournament kicks off. How wrong I was though, my partner was so enthusiastically watching, I sat down to watch and have to confess to being somewhat drawn into the ‘show.’ It got me thinking about what it is that I like about the Olympics and in particular I like watching the emotions of the competitors how they handle winning, losing, and competing.  One of the races I watched was the 400 metre sprint  final, when 19 year old Kirana James of Grenada, took the gold medal, after he won, he shook all the competitors hands and then celebrated in the usual style. To be so humble in the face of such a victory, taking the time to congratulate all of your opponents before taking in your own success. I enjoyed watching. ‘Mr Manawatu’, Simon van Velthooven cycle into a bronze and then listening to his absolute joy as he talked about coming third equal in the final, about the hard work, the team work, the people that supported and fed him, all contributing to where he was today.  And don’t forget we are all invited to that barbeque at his place on the 23 of December  at his place - “That's a Saturday you know.”
I was really impressed with the way Nick Willis handled his loss in his race, when interviewed shortly afterward, saying, ‘there was nothing left in the tank’, he didn’t blame lactic acid build up, or getting boxed in, or bad weather, it just did not come together for him on the day and he dealt with  his loss with dignity and grace, a true Olympic champion.
What a huge thing it is to represent your country at this level of your chosen sport, just to be there must be such a highlight for athletes. The dispositions we value so highly in early childhood, in particular resilience and determination must serve these athletes well for what must at times be grueling training regimes. Guy Claxton, says that,  ‘good learners have what we called resilience...they especially need to be able to tolerate the feelings of learning - apprehension, frustration and confusion - and the possibility of making mistakes, without getting upset and breaking contact with their learning too soon, or for too long.” Building Learning Power, 2002. How are you supporting children to be resilient life long learners? To have the determination to persevere when things might be tricky, or challenging. How do children learn the feelings of learning? That sometimes they will feel frustration and make mistakes, how do they learn to bounce back and keep on with their learning? This is one of  our roles as teachers, to help children to be 21 century learners and be all they possibly can be.
Jo Colbert