Learning Together

Learning Together

Friday, 19 February 2016

Activity 10:​ Summarising your Postgraduate Learning Journey and your planning for the future

Create a blog post where you reflect on your personal 32 week learning journey through the whole postgraduate programme with regard to the 12 Practising Teacher Criteria (PTC) in e-learning.

It is difficult to single out three areas of practice that I meet well when all the criteria are explicitly interconnected and without each of them, it makes it harder to be a 21st century educator, and to understand and meet all the criteria above. 

As a leader in the primary school sector, it is often harder to analyse my own teaching, learning and behaviour, and identify the positive things I have implemented, and the positive relationships I have built, particularly when so many of the issues I have to deal with are negative or problems teachers, students and parents have. These tend to over shadow the positives and at times it is hard to 'see the wood for the trees.' It is often hard to look beyond these issues and identify what I am doing well. 

The MindLab Postgraduate Programme has allowed me to reflect deeper on the why, how and what that makes me a 21st century educator, appreciate the support of others, and know we are all on a similar learning journey.

First choose 3 o​f the criteria you have met well. Briefly give examples of these from your practice. 

Criteria 4: Demonstrate commitment to ongoing professional learning and development of professional personal practice.
  • The biggest step was to identify why I needed to continue learning, how I was going to get what I needed to continue learning, and what I was interested in and choose the appropriate course to enrol in. The MindLab provided practical hands on experiences alongside pedagogy and camaraderie. It brought back the passion and helped me clarify why I got started in teaching.
Criteria 5: Show leadership that contributes to effective teaching and learning.
  • DCL 1 and DCL 2 provided the research and background knowledge to reflect on my personal style and preference when leading others. I was able to use my learning and apply it within our school with staff, with students, with the BOT and with our parent community. The MindLab provided me with the knowledge and the model to share my learning via online tools, videos and a self developed website that requires staff and students with access to learn, share and collaborate online.  
An example of our online student Literacy Learning website

An example of our online staff online interactive websitehttps://sites.google.com/a/woodhill.school.nz/growing-mindset-woodhill/

An example of our online community online interactive website

Criteria 6: Conceptualise, plan, and implement an appropriate learning programme.
  • Assignment LCD 1 - 3 provided the knowledge; why 21 century teaching and learning is important for our future generation, the Lean Canvas provided the model of how to move our school into the 21st century, and the what - pedagogy - was provided in the readings and the course material to support, build and sustain our 21st century teaching and learning practices.
Plan and justify t​wo m​ain goals for your future development. 

Criteria for future improvement and planning.

Criteria 7: Promote a collaborative, inclusive, and supportive learning environment
  • I am really excited by the prospect of implementing DCL 3 - Lean Canvas. Our school staff have worked tirelessly in the past year to develop a culture of learning, learning how to learn, collaboration and enviro-school fun. We implemented professional development that supported staff to further develop their teaching practice that is innovative, proactive and reflective. Staff have increased their openness to new initiatives and have at times reflected, challenged and questioned rationale and processes.
Criteria 8: Demonstrate in practice their knowledge and understanding of how ākonga learn.
  • My Learning Journey with the MindLab has provided me with the knowledge, practical skills and courage to move our school from a Traditional to a 21st Century learning model. 
  • Our school is moving from Traditional Education to 21st Century education. As a part of this we are moving staff and students from dependent to independent learners. Self-directed learning is critical in the 21st Century classroom. I believe it allows students to differentiate learning for themselves, provide a greater depth of knowledge, and develops core 21st Century Life and Career skills. In turn we are also moving staff and students from individual to collaborative learning - increasing collaborative learning and decreasing the emphasis on Individual learning. 
  • This year we have started team teaching using a new model of teaching reading and maths. This is called the "Daily 5". Every day our children must participate in five activities. The children are guided to set the expectations to follow within each activity. The beauty of this programme is that it allows children ownership of how and what they choose to do and in what order they choose to do it. It is a fantastic programme that allows everyone quality time to read and also to work with their teacher. From a teacher's point of view, children stay on task longer, are more focused, are a resource for each other in class, monitor themselves and others. All of this frees the teacher from managing, and allows them to devote their time to teaching. This has brought about a noticeable improvement in progress and focus compared to more traditional methods used in many traditional New Zealand schools.
The problems of the 21st Century require cross-functional, interdisciplinary, collaborative teams to innovate and solve the big challenges - from fighting cancer to designing the next amazing technology product. We believe providing opportunity for independence and self managing is laying the groundwork for our learners to be capable of addressing those challenges that lie ahead of us all. 


Grow, Gerald. (1996) Teaching Learners to Be Self-Directed.  Teaching Learners to Be Self-Directed. Dr. Gerald Grow, 20 Mar. 1996. Web. 27 June 2013. - Link The Staged Self-Directed Learning (SSDL) Model (Grow 1991) 

Practising Teacher Criteria and e-learning. Retrieve from http://elearning.tki.org.nz/Professional-learning/Practising-Teacher-Criteria-and-e-learning

Activity 9:​ E​valuations of cultural responsiveness in practice

Create a blog post where you first share your own views on your indigenous knowledge and cultural responsive pedagogy.

Many people would think that being Maori is an advantage when it comes to cultural responsiveness. This is partially so, from the perspective that I have been raised in the Pakeha world and have an understanding of the Pakeha education systems and processes, whilst also having an understanding of, and cultural connection to, Te Ao Maori, as a Maori. 
Nonetheless, in my current role it presents a new set of challenges. 

Our community is 68% Maori, and I am Maori. However, connecting with our Maori community presents the same challenges as for any mainstream school, no matter the size of the Maori population. 
I believe some of my challenges are strongly influenced by my own schooling experience and upbringing. When I was young, Te Reo Maori  was addressed in a tokenistic way at school, and only in the form of providing kapa haka opportunities and covering basic greetings in class from time to time. We had one Maori teacher in our school, and he managed behaviour, so therefore he seemed terrifying to me as a young child. 
Maori was presented to us as fun - kapa haka and simple greetings. Yet, the corporal punishment discipline delivered by the only Maori role model in our school was anything but fun. This was a conflicting and confusing message. There was no challenge in terms of what we could learn about our identity, our culture and our values. There was huge challenge in connecting to this scary representative of our culture and learning. As a result, I grew up a white Maori in Christchurch. I saw myself as white, I measured myself against white children and my culture was bypassed.
My response to this is to try to ensure my experiences are not repeated for my children. I want to ensure the indigenous knowledge of our children is recognised, celebrated and extended.  I want to ensure my school demonstrated culturally responsive pedagogy.

Then evaluate how you or your school addresses cultural responsiveness in practice in t​wo​ listed areas.

Our school Vision, Mission and Goal Setting are areas our school plans and implements particularly well.

Our school follows Ka Hikitia as our guideline when implementing Maori across the school. We believe (in fact we know) that which is good for Maori is good for all students. 

The Guiding Principles of Ka Hikitia (2013), are similar to the statements made by Professor Russell Bishop (2009), in his video to support schools in developing a culturally responsive pedagogy.

1. The Treaty of Waitangi - Ensuring all students enjoy and 
    achieve success. 
2. Maori Potential Approach - Asserts that every student has 
    the potential to make a valuable contribution their 
    community and to New Zealand as a whole.
    Students who are expected to achieve and who have high 
    expectations of themselves are more likely to succeed. We 
    all must share these high expectations for Māori students 
    to achieve.

3. Ako – a two-way teaching and learning process - where 
    the educator and the student learn from each other in an 
    interactive way. Ako is grounded in the principle of 

4. Identity, language and culture count. Students do better in education when what they learn,          and how they learn, builds on what is familiar to them, and reflects and positively reinforces          where they come from, what they value, and what they already know.  

5. Productive partnerships - promoting a team effort - collaboration. It requires everyone who 
    plays a role in education to take action and work together. 

If schools and teachers fail to acknowledge and implement culturally responsive pedagogy, then as Professor Bishop (2012) indicated, the education deficit for Maori as students will correlate to the incarceration rate as adults.

Communication methods is one area our school could improve. 
We invite our Maori community to participate and contribute to school events at least twice a term. We email, Facebook, Twitter and publish information on our website to inform our community. Unfortunately these efforts appear to make little difference to our Maori community, particularly with encouraging their connection to our school. 
We have an open door policy and chat daily to parents when they drop their children off. We have three out of five Maori representatives on our school board, and two out of four Maori staff. Our school hosts evening Te Reo classes in terms 2 and 3. 
We increased our tikanga practice and our Te Reo use. Students are expected to enter our wharenui with shoes off. We start each day with karakia, waiata and student pepeha. We use Te Reo naturally in the classroom and have renamed each of our classrooms with Maori names. 
We have held hui at school and invited our Maori parents to discuss how they would like Maori to look, feel and sound at our school. We have also surveyed parents with the help of the local Maori ropu. However we receive very little in the way of replies, and little in the way of positive feedback. 
We have shared Ka Hikitia with our Board with the hope they will share it with their connections. We have have held Treaty workshops - focused on our community through the eyes of Ngati Whatua - for our Board and staff annually. These workshops include visit to local Maori landmarks and places with cultural and historical significance. 
Staff have attend Maori events in the community and tangi in the community. I have visited homes of Maori in the community for positive reasons and to seek support for children experiencing challenges with learning and/or behaviour.
I believe we have made a huge, concerted and consistent effort to connect with or Maori community. As the old adage says, "You can lead a horse to water but you can't make it drink."

I feel saddened and frustrated that in spite of all our concerted efforts, the response from our community is lacking in passion, commitment, support or encouragement.
I have reflected on this at length, and one major issue I have reflected on, is that our school is built in the heart of five contributing Marae. 
Each Marae presents as though they own our school, they hold the knowledge and no-one is worthy to meet their standards. Any initiative is seen as suited to, driven by, or supportive of the "other" Marae, and therefore not supported.
A natural response in this situation would be to go to a community kaumatua and seek their support and advice. The difficulty in this situation is with five marae there is no one community leader and there are issues between the leadership of all five marae. What works for one or pleases one but will often displease the others.

As a Post Script: 
An external community committee was established to try to bring these five Marae together. As of 2016, this committee has been disestablished due to a complete lack of progress towards their goal. 


Edtalks.(2012, September 23). A culturally responsive pedagogy of relations. [video file].Retrieved from https://vimeo.com/49992994
Edtalks.(2012, May 30). Mike Hogan: Culturally responsive practice in a mainstream school. [video file].Retrieved from https://vimeo.com/43097812
NZ Ministry of Education (2013). Ka Hikitia - Accelerating Success 2013-2017. The Maori Education Strategy. Learning Media. NZ

Activity 8:​ Legal contexts and digital identities

Create a blog post where you identify a​n e​thical dilemma in your own practice linked to digital or online access or activity.

Explain the dilemma and discuss e​ither:​
  • how you would address the potential issue if it occurred in your own practice or (​if relevant):
  • an actual situation that you have knowledge of, and how it was resolved. The discussion should be in relation to either the guidelines of your organisation on online practice or the code of ethics for certificated​ teachers.
I have been fortunate, so far, in that I have yet to deal with a highly dangerous situation involving digital devices -  "Knock on wood."

Access to pornography on a school laptop or device is an issue that no one would like to encounter. Speaking personally, I find pornography to be ugly, despicable and distressing, especially when it involves children. Pornography is a contentious issue, as it can be subjective. One person's "mild titillation" can be another person's "objectionable filth". As a principal called to at times adjudicate such differing opinions, there is always the potential danger of making a mountain from a mole hill.

Although I have yet to deal with a situation such as this, the New Zealand Ministry of Education (2015), provides a guideline to support schools should this happen. 

An example pertaining to dealing with an issue involving pornography is outlined below:

'Student ‘A’ was using a school laptop in the library and invited a group of friends to look at a website with pornographic and violent images. Another student viewing it was very disturbed by the content and told the librarian the laptop should be confiscated and examined.'

1. Ask the student to surrender and search the device and consider the following:
  • How have the images been accessed? This will inform the school as to whether they only need to focus on the laptop, or whether images could be on other devices or their server

  1. Loaded to the laptop locally. For example, using a USB memory stick?
  2. Accessed via the school’s network?
  3. Accessed using the student’s own internet connection (e.g. via a tethered mobile device) or a third party connection (e.g. community Wi-Fi)? 

  • If accessed via the school’s network, were any security and content filtering systems bypassed e.g. using a Virtual Private Network (VPN)? Whose network account was used?
  • What type of images are involved? Are they inappropriate (i.e. restricted) or illegal (i.e. objectionable material)?
  • Were the images being viewed illegal content? If so, the laptop should be secured electronically and physically and the incident reported to the Department of Internal Affairs.
  • If the images were inappropriate, could they become evidence in a school- based discipline procedure? 
Things to consider: 

  • If so, the laptop should be secured electronically and physically and an examination conducted by a digital forensics specialist on behalf of the school board.
  • Will a review of the school’s prevention strategies be carried out after this incident? For example, are the school’s policies on appropriate use of digital technology clearly stated and understood by students? What pastoral support is in place for students witnessing the content?

Developing a consistent practice across the school assists us in ensuring devices are updated and kept safe. Our school has decided to provide devices for our students to use. This way we are able to manage and assign one device per student and monitor the use and safety of these. Hapara Teacher Dashboard provides our teachers with an ability to assign projects, to access student work, and to monitor and share student work. 

One way we address internet safety and device safety in our school is to involve our children in brainstorming the rules. Our school vision plays an important part and influences our wider school management, learning and behaviours. With this in mind, the approach and expectation is similar across the school. 
Our school vision is often the starting point in our discussions with children on the establishment of our class treaties. Once these rules or treaties have been decided upon, a letter outlining these is sent home to parents to agree to and sign, along with their child. This way our children and parents have a shared expectation, responsibility and understanding of the rules and consequences.


Cinelearning. (2014, June 7). Teacher Ethics Video - Social Media Dilemma HD.[video file] Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fGQbLSEPN5w

Cinelearning. (2014, June 7). Teacher Ethics Video - Ride Dilemma HD. [video file].Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B0UEFSmxkbg

Ministry of Education (2015). Digital technology- Safe and responsible use in school. Retrieved from http://www.education.govt.nz/assets/Documents/School/Managing-and-supporting-students/DigitalTechnologySafeAndResponsibleUseInSchs.pdf

New Zealand Teachers Council.(2012). Establishing safeguards.[video file]. Retrieved from https://vimeo.com/49216520

Activity 7:​Social media in teaching and professional development.

Create a blog post where you discuss your views on social media use in teaching and in professional development.

Our children are 'digital natives' - born during the age of digital technology and so familiar with computers and the Internet from birth. The digital tools that are reshaping our economy make more sense to young digital natives than to members of older generations. It is  a part of their home life and social life. Asking children to come to school to power down is not in touch with their daily life.

As mentioned in Office of Ed Tech. (2013), collaboration has always been a method and expectation applied within the teaching profession, and now technology has broadened our opportunities to connect and collaborate further than before through the availability of the internet. Being a connected educator offers a unique opportunity to research, learn and improve our teaching practice, interest and knowledge. 

We live in a super busy era, parents working full time with their children in before and after school care. Social networking provides our school with a platform to connect with parents through Facebook, Twitter and an interactive email newsletter. 
Social networking provides an opportunity for our students to share their learning and daily interactions through personal Google Blogs, GAFE, SeeSaw and our school website. 
Our senior children have a one to one Chromebook allocation which provides access to GAFE tools to share their learning. Our junior children have a one to one iPad allocation which also provides GAFE tools, but more importantly video, photo, audio and writing tools to enhance their learning experiences. This year we are implementing a new digital portfolio - SeeSaw. Recently we have been exploring artists and using iPad apps to re-create our own art works and sharing this learning journey via See Saw.

It is becoming more apparent that educators need to be up-skilled, not only with the use of technology but also with technological pedagogy. I believe is a necessity in the 21st century to be a connected educator. It eliminates the feelings of isolation, the 'I don't know what to do' situations, and provides support and knowledge via online feedback, suggested trial and error examples and expert information that has the potential to transform our teaching and learning practices. Our classroom teaching and learning experiences are magnified through social networking. This has a similar impact on the students we teach.

This has all added a new dimension for schools with the added responsibility to teach, and ensure students are aware of, the social responsibilities required when connecting to the the web and in becoming responsible online citizens. We are now having to investigate ways for students to be aware of on-line personal safety - how to;  

  1. protect oneself from online predators
  2. protect oneself from online bullying
  3. demonstrate appropriate online etiquette 
  4. monitor what they are sharing 
  5. control who they are sharing with

New Zealand schools are fortunate to have a government that has already acknowledged this as a priority and which has addressed this by installing a fibre network, providing ultra-fast broadband, wireless networks and establishing through Network for Learning, online security filtering for all New Zealand schools. 
Our challenge is to ensure children know how to keep themselves safe in their homes without the security blanket available at their school. 
Beyond this, we need to teach children discernment - the ability to judge what is worthy and what is not. This will happen - all we need is time.


Office of Ed Tech. (2013, Sep 18). Connected Educators. [video file]. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?t=216&v=K4Vd4JP_DB8
Tvoparents. (2013, May 21). Using Social Media in the Classroom.[video file]. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=riZStaz8Rno

Wednesday, 17 February 2016

Activity 6:​ Contemporary issues or trends in New Zealand or internationally

Create a blog post where you identify and evaluate 2 contemporary issues or trends that are influencing or shaping NZ or international education, which you find most relevant to your practice.


Issue 1 Sir Ken Robinson has been an inspiration for me personally and professionally and one that inspires my passion of supporting children to retain their creativity, individuality and personality - rather than having it "schooled" out of them. 
Robinson states in his address, Changing Education Paradigms, that schools are modelled on the 'interests of industrialism' and 'in the image of industrialism.'
He explains this simply by demonstrating that schools are still organised by,
  • bell times
  • as factory lines
  • into separate subject area
  • and classes are based on batches of age grouped children
Education and institutions are increasingly more interested about conformity and standardisation rather than what and how children should be learning. 

We should be creating a model of learning that is based on divergent thinking. Providing many possible ways of thinking, teaching and learning. He further states, "our current system fails creativity and replaces it with education." 

This is sadly our truth. Our parents still believe that what worked for them will work for their children. However the research strongly tells us that with the exponential growth in population, demands on resources and time, and the pervasive spread of technology into every aspect of our lives (the Internet of Things), our children need to be developing divergent thinking skills in order to prepare for this unknown, exponentially changing future.

How do you respond to those issues/trends in your practice? 

The key message for our parent community is that the role of new technologies in transforming teaching and learning for the 21st century is heavily dependent on educators’ abilities to see the affordances and capacities of ICT in relation to all of the features of 21st century learning outlined in the NZ Ministry of Education report - 'Supporting future-oriented learning and teaching - a New Zealand perspective'.  

School management need to provide opportunities for staff to collaborate and up-skill in a multiple of disciplines to best meet the developing need for future divergent teaching and learning.

Parents need to trust the professionals or ask questions if they are not sure or if it is unfamiliar to them. Together we can Care Learn and Grow.

Issue 2
“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times . . . it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair . . . we were all going direct to Heaven, we were all going direct the other way . . .”
Charles Dickens, A Tale of Two Cities

The backdrop for A Tale of Two Cities was the French Revolution and the dawn of the Industrial Age. We are living through a similar transformative period in which the breadth and scope of possible developments—both good and bad—are equal to, if not greater than the aftermath of the political and economic revolutions of the late 18th century. (US National Intelligence Council (2012)).

According to the research and publication by the US National Intelligence Council (2012), there are many 'Mega Trends', 'Game Changers ' and 'Alternative World' issues that no matter where you live in the world, all have the ability to impact on our lives and roles as educators. There is no escaping.

How do you respond to those issues/trends in your practice? 
Firstly, to be aware of the potential changes on the horizon and prepare our children through education - encouraging creative problem solving, building empathy for and understanding of each other, being environmentally aware, encouraging sustainable practices and being proactive problem solvers.

Humans are in effect a virus inhabiting our world. As a virus, we are acting destructively. As Sir Ken Robinson notes, we are the only life form, that if we disappeared from the face of the earth, the earth would flourish rather than suffer harm or imbalance. 
Considering this, it becomes apparent that individual empowerment through knowledge and education will have the most impact globally because humans are both cause, effect and potential solution.  
As educators, we have the single most power to influence how humans impact their world through interactions, connectedness and building empathy towards other living things - people , plants, animals and their habitats. We can achieve this through programmes such as Paying it Forward by giving, by sharing and by exploring solutions to world issues and issues in our local communities. We need to ensure our future citizens embrace their local environment and learn to be self sufficient and appreciative. 

We are all inter-related. If we are at the centre of the issue, then we can work together to be a part of the global solution.


Bolstad, R., Gilbert, J., McDowall, S., Bull, A., Boyd, S., & Hipkins, R. (2012).Supporting future-oriented learning & teaching: A New Zealand perspective.Wellington: Ministry of Education. Retrieved 5 May 2015, from https://www.educationcounts.govt.nz/publications/schooling/109306.`
Pearson. (2013, April 26).Global trends: The world is changing faster than at any time in human history. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SdZiTQy3g1g

The RSA.(2010, Oct 14).RSA Animate - Changing Education Paradigms. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zDZFcDGpL4U.
US National Intelligence Council (2012). Global Trends 2030: Alternative Worlds. Washington, DC: United States National Intelligence. Retrieved 20 September 2015, from https://info.publicintelligence.net/GlobalTrends2030.pdf