“Mostly I try to incorporate fun due to my experiences in school – I attended St Francis Primary School in Point Chevalier, and St Peter’s College in Grafton – it was the fun activities that I can remember,” Hadnett says.
The Owairaka-based state integrated school which caters for children from Years 1 to 6 and also for girls through to Year 8 is part of the wider Catholic parish family and enjoys close relationships and connections with members of the church.
Its school roll reflects the ethnically diverse community the school and the local parish serve, with 60 per cent of students hailing from Pacific roots.
The recent growth in African immigrants with English as a second language enrolling at the school has further added to its diversity.
Keeping this spread of cultures and ethnicities in mind, Hadnett strives to make all of his lessons interesting by using current events as learning examples, as well as a variety of technology.
Recently, Hadnett has enjoyed using rewindable learning in his lessons.
“As I teach in a one-to-one digital classroom that runs on a Google domain, I set up Google slides for each of my subjects for the term which allows for the students to work at their own pace through the activities and lessons set for them,” Hadnett explains.
Each set of slides is broken up to include what is required to be completed each week, meaning students can go back and see how they did something from a couple of weeks ago, and use it again.
Rewindable learning allows the use of video clips to give instructions or help, and Hadnett says an example of this is for maths – where he links Youtube clips in so students can see how to solve a decimal problem.
“It also allows the students to hear it from another person, which can help with learning at times.”
Another key element in Hadnett’s classroom is free choice.
“As I have these slide presentation set up for each subject area it allows my students to have a choice of when they do their work,” he says.
“During the week I have blocked out times for literacy, maths and inquiry - the students get to plan/organise their week, and choose when they get to do their work.”
Hadnett sets out when, and what workshops he will hold, and the times students need to check in.
Each student needs to attend at least two workshops and check in for each subject once a week.
“The students find this very enjoyable and time management skills have really improved,” he reports.
Having been in his current role for nearly two years, and having experienced many trial and error situations, Hadnett says his biggest suggestion to teachers considering using innovative programmes or technology is to just give it a go.
“The students do not care if it falls apart, and with using technology in a classroom, the experts are really the students.”
When learning a new app or website, Hadnett suggests playing around with it for a while before mastering it and then introducing what you want to use into the classroom environment.
“I was unsure how my slide presentations would work, and the first three I did were rubbish until a student taught me how to link in videos and web addresses,” he says.
“It’s about having the attitude where teachers do not always have to have the answer - ask your students how can we make this task more interesting and let it run from there.”