Learning Together

Learning Together

Wednesday, 17 February 2016

Activity 5:​ Professional connection map

Create a blog post where you first draw a map which demonstrates your current and potential professional connections. 

Choose two professional connections you have in your map.
Evaluate the impact on your practice and professional community.

As mentioned in the class overview which states,
'to work across disciplinary boundaries we will need to understand key elements as they are represented within each discipline. You will need to understand how the community of practitioners and scholars who i) pursue the creation of new knowledge in a discipline, ii) who teaches and practices within that discipline iii) operate in the context of the discipline; and the communities that the discipline serves.'  

What this doesn't mention is the the notion of how big or small a 'community of practice' needs to be, so long as you are able to reflect on the above.

The current professional connections I am involved in revolve around work and extended work commitments. Outside of my employment, the communities I belong to are simply interest communities, personal passions often of a creative nature.

Teaching Professionals: The nature of this community revolves around the necessity and ability to collaborate and create ideas around our common school vision - Together we Care Learn and Grow.  
The changes in our school have seen a new integrated curriculum which is noted as a 'interdisciplinary model so seldom seen in modern schools' ( Matheson & Freeman 1997). Although also noted that due to the cognitive and projected demands from the 21st century the workplace has bought new pressures that have turned the tide once again to a more connected vision of the curriculum ( Matheson & Freeman 1997).  Our management team worked collaboratively with staff and students to update our school curriculum and bring our practices into the 21st century with our school vision intact. Our goal is to bring our traditional parent community with us through empowering their children.
Interdisciplinary with our Maori community it is not - YET!

Maori Community: The nature of this community revolves around the necessity and ability to acknowledge and implement Te Ao Maori into our school curriculum.
Unfortunately this partnership has presented as mostly a one sided 'dictatorship model', where the Maori Community is standing back and waiting to cast judgement on whatever happens, rather that collaborating and creating alongside staff around our school vision of 'Together We Care Learn and Grow.'  
As stated by Crowell 1995, "knowledge is perceived within experience and cannot be separated from the personal meaning given to the individual." 
From this, I extrapolate that I cannot expect our Maori community to change who they are as Maori and as Iwi from this area. I can hope that knowledge passed down from Kaumatua and Kuia could be understood and internalised. Knowledge of the whakatauki that states the most important thing in the world is people, and that we as their community, and as the educators of their tamariki and mokopuna, are not just people but their people.
We have held hui to consult with our community and share the impressive learning achievements of our children. The message from the community at these hui has been, "don't ask us what we would like you to do. Tell us what you are going to do and we will tell you what is wrong with it."
Such an approach makes collaborative community building challenging indeed.
However, we must demonstrate the Key Competencies and Habits of Mind we encourage in our children, and persevere in the face of challenge. We have to for our children's sake.
Te Ao Maori is an important part of who we are as a nation and having the ability to teach and learn is a privilege. The Te Reo Maori we teach needs to be supported by the experts within our local community if the school is meet the goals and ambitions of the community for it's students.

As research says, "the critical element is that regardless of whether it involves skills, concepts, content, points of view, or methods, interdisciplinary always involves bringing together two or more things under one roof. And this is done in a conscious manner, for example through team teaching (Ballard & Anderson, 1994), by coordinating the contents of separate courses (Palmer, 1991), by teaching two subjects together (McBride & Silverman, 1991), or by exploring a general theme through various discipline-based activities (McDonald & Czerniak, 1994). Still, the content, methods, processes or skills taught remain bound to the primary discipline from which they come." An understanding of collaboration is needed between the two communities to better meet the needs and desires of our community. 
Our desire for collaboration has not been reciprocated up until now. Therefore we have sought new ways to build bridges for that collaboration to happen. This has included going out into the community. Visiting our community in their 'place' - Marae, local markets and touch football tournaments. Increasing our on-line presence and sourcing a school pepeha that was gifted to us, then hand painting this onto six huge murals and displaying these on our building exterior.
We live in hope.


Ballard, L. B. & Anderson, R. (1994). Two for one: Integrating history and English III. Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the Center for Rural Education and Small Schools, Manhattan, KS. (ERIC Document Reproduction Service No. ED 382 506).

Crowell, S. (1995). Landscapes of change: Toward a new paradigm for education. In B. G. Blair & R. N. Caine (Eds.), Integrative learning as the pathway to teaching holism, complexity and interconnectedness (pp. 1-21). Lewiston, NY: The Edwin Mellen Press.

Matheson, S., & Freeman, M., (1997). The Logic of Interdisciplinary Studies. Presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Educational Research Association, Chicago.

McBride, J. W. & Silverman, F. L. (1991). Integrating elementary/middle school science and mathematics. School Science and Mathematics, 91(7), 285-292.

McDonald, J. & Czerniak, C. (1994). Developing interdisciplinary units: Strategies and examples.

School Science and Mathematics, 94(1), 5-10.

Palmer, J. M. (1991). Planning wheels turn curriculum around. Educational Leadership, 49(2), 57-60.

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