EDUCATION REVIEW Vol 8. Issue 2 2017 $10.95
If we ditched National Standards, what would we replace it with?
Election Year Education Ministers in Waiting
Should Te Reo be compulsory in our schools?
leadership & PD
Pathways to school leadership: principals, senior and middle leaders
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Be a multiplier John F Kennedy once said, “‘Leadership and learning are indispensable to each other”. I can’t think of a more appropriate quote to introduce an issue for which the focus is leadership and professional development. I’ve always been fascinated by leadership; what makes someone a good leader, how one becomes a leader, how one continues to grow, learn and adapt as a leader. I decided to dive headfirst into this theme of leadership and learning and try to get inside the heads of those lighting the way educationally. From political leaders, to union leaders, to school leaders, to educational thought leaders – I’ve picked the brains of a range of people in different roles, trying to get a sense of their journeys and what drives them to drive others. Be sure to check out the ‘Pathways to School Leadership’ article. In this, we quiz a principal, a member of a school leadership team, and a teacher in a middle leadership role on the different challenges facing educators at each step in their career. They share the professional learning opportunities that have been instrumental in helping them climb the ladder, and where handbrakes lie for slowing further progression. Bec Power, the newly appointed principal of Muritai School in Wellington made this comment, which particularly resonated with me: “It’s important to remember you don’t need a title to lead and to have influence; we can all probably picture a person in our own schools who has mana and influence without an official title. The important question might be – what does this person consciously or unconsciously do so effortlessly that we might learn from?” So true. In many ways, the true essence of a leader is letting these qualities in others shine in order to collectively raise the bar. This calls to mind Liz Wiseman’s book Multipliers: How the best leaders make everyone smarter, which discusses how we can build collective intelligence throughout a school or organisation by encouraging people to be ‘multipliers’ rather than ‘diminishers’. A multiplier is a talent magnet, someone who attracts and optimises talent, while its counterpart, the diminisher, is an empire builder. A multiplier is a liberator, requiring people’s best thinking, while a diminisher is a tyrant. A multiplier is a challenger; a diminisher a know-it-all. A multiplier is a debate-maker while the diminisher is a decision-maker. A multiplier is an investor; the diminisher is a micromanager. The most common leadership pitfall – particularly for those who have worked hard to climb to the top of the ladder – is becoming absorbed in one’s own success rather than looking at how to bring the best out of others. Be a multiplier, not a diminisher. Editor, Jude Barback CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Sandy Anderson, Dr John Boereboom, Steve Bovaird, Jaylan Boyle, Dr Phil Coogan, Liz Hawes, Milla Inkila, Sir John Jones, Hon Nikki Kaye, Sugata Mitra, Bec Power, Lisa Squire, Jakalah Trask and Frances Valintine.
Education Review’s print edition is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to in-depth coverage of education in New Zealand. Go to educationreview.co.nz for web-exclusive content, including thought-provoking opinion articles from sector leaders.
What will National Standards look like post-election?
Ministers in waiting: Nikki Kaye and Chris Hipkins
The big debate: should Te Reo be compulsory in our schools?
Pathways to school leadership
Will CoOLs give the Virtual Learning Network a permanent home?
CoOLs: why they’re a good idea
Buzzing about differentiated learning
Post-intervention: the importance of sustainability
Lessons learned and looking forward: a changing of the guard at the PPTA
In pursuit of the elusive and ubiquitous standard
Is it a teacher’s job to teach resilience?
New support on its way for beginning principals
Three major questions for three major educational thought leaders
How MACs are improving opportunities for Māori learners
Principals: changing focus from management to leadership
Jude Barback 07 542 3013 firstname.lastname@example.org
Charles Ogilvie-Lee 04 915 9794 email@example.com
production Aaron Morey
Fiona Reid 04 915 9795 firstname.lastname@example.org
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EDUCATION REVIEW Vol 8. Issue 2
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Leadership & PD 1
What will National Standards look like
This year’s election is about to hove into view and it’s time once more to consider everybody’s pitch. National Standards is a flagship government policy that’s very much on the line, with the controversy and opposition to its introduction nearly a decade ago refusing to go away. Jaylan Boyle considers again some of the main objections and invites Labour’s Chris Hipkins to discuss his version of a post-National Standards world.
Merivale School’s Jan Tinetti blames National Standards for limiting the depth of their curriculum.
Labour’s education spokesperson Chris Hipkins.
n early 2010 the primary sector braced for the introduction of National Standards. The reforms were National’s flagship education policy going into the 2008 election – putting it more than mildly, their announcement and ratification attracted plenty of controversy and condemnation. Should the National party find itself moving down the hall later this year, Labour education spokesperson Chris Hipkins says they’ll start by getting rid of the emblematic four-point judgment scale, an aspect of National Standards that arguably has most angered critics. Back in the last decade, the language championing National Standards seemed in step with the rhetoric of National’s 2008 campaign, as Labour fell on their own sword in the form of totemic leader Helen Clark. The National brand was positioned as an end to complacency and the return of accountability. The mandate returning National to power after 12 years gave new Minister of Education Anne Tolley the confidence to push through changes to the Education Act that made National Standards compulsory, despite knowing as she must have that the response would be fierce. Petitions, protests, and resistance manifestos duly followed. One of the more macro objections to National Standards has been the view that the policy is ideologically driven, an attempt to ‘convincingly suggest’ to teachers that staff rooms should look more to the boardroom. The fact that schools are required to publish National Standards data in annual reporting does nothing to mute the
accusation that a National Standards data set is in effect a school’s share price, designed to stimulate among schools that prime mover mechanism of the right, market competition. Hekia Parata is succinct in her response. The Honourable Minister has heard it all before. “The OECD is emphatic that having explicit national standards are a characteristic of highperforming education systems. New Zealand’s Best Evidence Synthesis is equally clear that while quality teaching and leadership make the biggest difference in school to student success in
2 Leadership & PD
league table of them all, PISA, the OECD’s own now-ubiquitous yardstick. Martin Thrupp is Head of the Te Whiringa School of Educational Leadership and Policy, and Research Professor at the Wilf Malcolm Institute of Educational Research, both based at Waikato University. Thrupp’s latest book The search for better educational standards – a cautionary tale isn’t far from release. The book is a summary of his research into the impact of National Standards – and his long-term opposition to the principles they advance – research that includes the Research Analysis and Insight into National Standards (RAINS) project, commissioned by the NZEI and last published in 2013. I say to Thrupp that it’s hard to argue with the 2010 stated rationale behind National Standards: clear and uniform expectations that identify students at risk of underachievement; a vehicle for better whānau communication; a catalyst for teacher collaboration; a dataset that paints a clear picture at both school and system level. “Well, there were lots of claims made at that time, including that we were going to avoid all the problems that had been experienced internationally with high-stakes assessment. The problem is that teaching to National Standards can drive teacher behaviour,” says Thrupp. Jan Tinetti is principal of Tauranga’s decile 1B Merivale School, and has previously taught
“National Standards do require a deeper understanding of the curriculum, of progression through it, more systematic collaboration with other teachers, and better, more frequent reporting to parents. And that does require more work.” learning; out of school it is the strength of parent and whānau engagement in their child’s learning, and the expectations their community hold of and for them. “Our National Standards reflect and respond to all of these. In other words they are an evidencebased public policy response – not some ideological imposition. It is the reaction by critics that meets that test.” The OECD may be emphatic, but the introduction of National Standards hasn’t managed to arrest New Zealand’s slide down that biggest
at decile 7 and 9 schools. She blames National Standards pressure for at least a condensation of their curriculum, and says parents aren’t necessarily happy about the focus on numeracy and literacy. “I think [a narrowing curriculum] is certainly the case in lower decile schools. I’ve got children who come to school that will be two to three years below oral language levels – certainly they don’t know things that you’d expect a lot of children to know: colours, numbers and things like that.
national standards “There’s the expectation that we need to get these kids to a certain level by the end of their first year in school – and I really hate saying this, because it goes everything that I believe in, but yes, what we’re able to teach and focus on has narrowed quite considerably. We’re still trying hard to deliver on all the curriculum areas, but we’re struggling under National Standards expectations. “We’re honest about that reality with our parents. They don’t like it, they try to encourage us to have a good curriculum mix, and there’s a real tension there at times. “We have a high proportion of Māori students at our school, about 75 per cent of our children, and 15 per cent from a Pasifika background. Our parents want us to make kapa haka available to everyone, for example. Well, that’s incredibly hard for us to fit in. We manage it, but there’s that constant tension that’s there all the time.” Labour might say this is self-evidently bad. National might say that in lower decile schools it’s a good outcome if underachieving kids are accelerated, or put another way, taught intensively. Minister Parata rejects the entire premise of a curriculum strangled by National Standards, saying that there is nothing inherent in their philosophy or detail precluding a rich curriculum.
“The problem is that teaching to National Standards can drive teacher behaviour.” “National Standards do not narrow the curriculum, introduce high stakes testing, label children, ignore the rate or style of children’s learning, take a one-size-fits-all approach or interfere with rich, deep conversations with parents and whānau.” There isn’t time to ask the Minister whether she is implying that a school with curriculum issues needs to look at time management. Ms Parata reiterates one of the key positions of her Ministry: that schools are free to deliver the curriculum however they see fit – but that contributing to the overall picture means more hours. “National Standards do require a deeper understanding of the curriculum, of progression through it, more systematic collaboration with other teachers, and better, more frequent reporting to parents. And that does require more work.” Yet, as Thrupp points out, in 2012 the OECD agreed with a 2007 ERO report in which they had argued that National Standards risk over-focusing schools and teachers on numeracy and literacy, at the expense of curriculum richness. Arguably, the most persistent objection to National Standards is that the four-point judgement scale is an unacceptably crude mechanism, suited only to the simplistic interpretation of simplistic data. Thrupp says the government’s argument that parents have a right to know how well their school is performing rings hollow. “I would then ask, ‘why choose such a crude system?’ Although there’s an extraordinary amount
“We’re still trying hard to deliver on all the curriculum areas, but we’re struggling under National Standards expectations. We’re honest about that reality with our parents.” of work being done by teachers to produce OTJs, why do we have something as crude as a fourpoint scale to sum up that work?” Labour’s education spokesperson Chris Hipkins has promised to get rid of the four-point overall judgement, although he doesn’t say whether that means he’ll do away with judgements themselves, or just their compulsory reporting and publication. He says that, beyond the crudity of the scale itself, the data that’s produced when all those judgements are crunched is being asked to work too hard. “They’re trying to do too many different things using one fairly blunt measure. The Government would say that National Standards is the tool which teachers can use to measure student progress – which clearly they don’t; it’s the tool that schools use to report to parents on how their kids are progressing; it’s the tool that can be used to assess how teachers are going in their classroom… for the purpose of performance appraisal; it’s the tool that the Government and communities can use to measure one school versus another, and it’s the tool that the Government can use to measure the effectiveness of the whole system. “I think the reality is that all those different jobs require a different type of measurement.” Thrupp and Hipkins both argue that one of the problems the Government promoted National Standards as the solution to had in fact been solved before 2007: the identification of students at risk of underachievement. Given that the proportion of that underachievement hasn’t moved appreciably, both say that the layering of a simplistic data capture mechanism on top of the assessment tools we were already using is redundant. “National Standards doesn’t provide us with any better data,” says Hipkins. “We didn’t need National Standards to [highlight the long tail of underachievement]. We already knew there was a long tail, we already knew the characteristics of the kids who fell within that profile, and we already had some pretty good evidence of the types of support that made a difference to those kids who fell within that category.” Minister Parata says that National Standards detractors have missed the point. It’s a framework, not just an assessment. “National Standards, together with the Learner Progression Framework and NCEA now provide a whole of pathway assessment framework for all students from years 0/1–13. With better data we are able to see or question learning progress year on year and to better target resources to grow that learning. With the formation of Communities of Learning | Kahui Ako we have an operational vehicle to support personalised pathways of learning for every Kiwi kid.” Election year is time to put up or shut up policywise, and so those opposed need to come up with
a convincing alternative. Hipkins says that Labour believes a pragmatic approach will prevail – it will still be reform, not review, he hastens to add – if they’re steering, but there’s no point rolling back the bits of National Standards that have led to positive consequences. “Well, we’re not going to collect up all the documents and burn them! One things that schools have said about National Standards that I think is really positive, is that it’s focused staffroom discussion on student progression. Of course, that laser focus on progression has if anything frustrated them more, because it’s focused the discussion in the right place, but they’re finding that the standards themselves are constraining them in their efforts. “But I think that’s been positive, and we want to capture that: the notion that over the last decade, we’ve become much more focused on student progression. I don’t want to take away from that. “For the system, I think a NEMP-style approach is better; for the school I think that parents should be measuring a school more on their overall performance than their National Standards data. A school’s performance, I think, is much better reflected in an ERO report.” NEMP (National Educational Monitoring Project) was based at Otago University between 1995 and 2010 and was the premiere measure of primary education system performance in New Zealand. The project took a random sampling approach and investigated all curriculum areas, rather than just literacy and numeracy. One of the effects of National Standards has been the transfer of responsibility for measuring the health of primary education from experts – as the left call them, or out of touch bureaucrats as the right normally renders it – to teachers. Whether teachers should be asked to accept this responsibility, whether doing so provides good data, and whether the collection of that data has an acceptable cost, is central to the argument for and against National Standards. Thrupp says he believes that we need to stop pretending that making teachers work harder and offer themselves for public scrutiny is a substitute for expertise, and that experts create their own climate of excellence, which becomes a standard of accountability that teachers will be more positively motivated to attain. “My view is that we’re much better off investing in the creation of teaching experts,” he says. “By that I mean improving teacher education and professional development. I’m talking about building a community in which there’s a certain amount of internal accountability because you’re accountable to your colleagues, because the standard of teaching is really high. I think that’s a far more effective model.”
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Leadership & PD 3
Ministers in waiting
Education Review editor JUDE BARBACK catches up with Nikki Kaye, who is tipped to become Education Minister in May, and Labour’s education spokesperson Chris Hipkins about what the future holds for New Zealand education.
Natter with Nikki
had preemptively titled this interview article, ‘Natter with Nikki’ – after all, we are roughly the same age and I’d anticipated a bit of chitchat perhaps. But Kaye is professional to a fault, very cautious in her responses, and incredibly astute. She is also busy beyond belief – our interview was rescheduled over and over again as she struggled to find a spare half hour to chat. By the end of our interview, I’d concluded that ‘natter’ was no longer appropriate, but I’m such a sucker for alliteration that it remains. I come to my interview with Kaye armed with questions about how she would approach the role of Education Minister, should she secure it in May. Prime Minister Bill English has indicated that it is likely that the 36-year-old will take over the education portfolio from Minister Hekia Parata. I’m itching to ask her what her plans are for the education portfolio and what changes she’ll make. But Kaye nips that line of questioning in the bud. “I don’t want to do myself out of a job,” she says. She is mindful that voicing her ideas about how she’d approach a job that isn’t yet hers would not be entirely sensible. I grudgingly agree, as I draw a line through each of my first five questions. I turn the focus to her new delegations, which include communities of online learning (CoOLs), communities of learning (CoLs), teacher workforce supply, collective bargaining, charter schools infrastructure, school transport and technology. There are some big-ticket items on there, not least among them CoOLs, which haven’t been wildly popular with the sector so far.
4 Leadership & PD
Kaye says she “completely understands” the nervousness around CoOLs. However, she firmly believes that with the huge investment in internet connection around New Zealand, we have a “unique opportunity to deliver more subjects to more students”. “Why wouldn’t we grab this opportunity?” she says. “A longstanding issue for a small nation like ours is: how do we enable choice?” I point out that many schools believe they already have the tools and systems in place to deliver online learning to students in remote areas, with the Virtual Learning Network (VLN) as the prime example. But Kaye thinks the Virtual Learning Network will welcome the CoOLs. “Instead of relying on the next round of funding, [the CoOLs] will give them a permanent home,” she says. Kaye perceives digital technology to be one of her biggest challenges in approaching her new delegations. With the $700 million invested into connecting schools to unlimited data, there is a strong obligation to ensure the best possible teaching and learning is happening. She’s conscious of the speed with which digital technology is moving and wants to make sure the “learning is good”. Part of this means looking beyond schools and tapping into expertise within the wider community. She mentions working with programmes like Manaiakalani and MindLab. “How do we ensure, whether it is through the curriculum, or teachers, or the wider community that we are enabling the best teaching and learning possible?” Digital fluency is a priority for the Communities of Learning (CoLs). Kaye is itching to get out and about in the sector and get to see the CoLs in action. She thinks schools in the CoLs are now at the stage where they are eager to start seeing some benefits from their collaboration. She says the bundled services project she’s currently working on will help to save schools money and free up time for principals and teachers. Kaye is well aware of the mounting paperwork and administrative workloads facing teachers and principals and is keen to pursue ideas that result in their improved wellbeing. There have been pilots rolled out for a number of schools in the areas of facility management, and these have been positive, says Kaye. The next step will be to work with the Ministry around further pilots before hopefully introducing bundled services for schools that are part of a CoL. Kaye is mindful that schools might think that the Ministry is trying to foist these bundled services on them, or that there is some hidden agenda. “There really isn’t. There is enormous potential – for CoLs and schools that want it – to spend more time on focusing on teaching and learning.” Consultation with the sector is, to my mind, so important when it comes to education, so I’m interested to hear Kaye’s views on things like pilots and sector engagement and union discussions prior to introducing new initiatives.
She agrees it is important, but says there is a “delicate balance” between getting buy-in and progressing initiatives. She praises the cross-sector forum established by Minister Parata, viewing this as a stable vehicle to manage the large number of stakeholders the Ministry engages with: unions, teachers and principals, parents, their own caucus, other political parties. When it comes to working with the unions, she is optimistic. She is well aware that the relationship between the Ministry and the unions has been fraught at times, but suggests that her youth will allow her to approach this without historical baggage weighing her down. “I’m an eighties baby,” she says – something we have in common. Kaye thinks it is inevitable that there will be disagreement with the unions from time to time. “Where we agree, that’s fantastic,” she says, “And when we disagree, that’s fine too – there is always respect. “Education is, in my view, arguably the most important portfolio. And it is perfectly natural to have some heated debates and some emotion around these issues.” Some of these heated debates are around partnership schools, another area of Kaye’s new delegations. “I completely understand why some people are sceptical,“ she says, “but we have a very proud history in New Zealand of supporting diversity, and partnership schools provide another option for families.”
Chat with Chris
ducation is the obvious portfolio for Chris Hipkins. He has had firsthand experience with just about every sector within the education system – from schooling, to university, to working within the industry training sector, to managing oil and gas apprenticeships. Even now, he’s pursuing postgrad study part-time, with his Master of Public Policy nearly completed. It was his high school years that lured him into politics. Attending a “failing secondary school” opened his eyes to the inequality within our education system. “I had a good upbringing; my parents were interested in education – I was always going to succeed. But many others weren’t so fortunate.”
“Education is, in my view, arguably the most important portfolio. And it is perfectly natural to have some heated debates and some emotion around these issues.” The other big challenge is around infrastructure. She emphasises that the Government has invested heavily in school property in a relatively short space of time, spending billions of dollars on fixing leaky buildings, old buildings and addressing growth issues. Canterbury and Auckland schools have dominated much of this spend, but she singles out other areas of the country that have also seen significant growth like Queenstown and Tauranga. The challenge is how to manage these projects, how to utilise space better. She believes that the sector has some way to go in this area, and says there are “many misconceptions around Modern Learning Environments”. While there is a lot of research around MLEs, she says the Ministry’s guidance actually only extends to the basic standards of heat, light and connectivity. It is up to schools to integrate these standards in a way that provides the best environment conducive for quality teaching and learning. We’ve only really scratched the surface of her new delegations, and yet it all sounds like a lot of work. But I sense Kaye is up for the challenge. She’ll make a good Minister of Education should the education portfolio come her way.
He says the prevailing mood from the government at the time was that “competition rocks”, which led schools like his to suffer. He joined the Labour Party in his last year of high school, determined to seek more equity within state education. Early Childhood Education is the only area of education with which Hipkins hasn’t had much personal connection. Until now, that is. As a new parent – his baby boy is just five months old – he will no doubt gain first-hand experience of ECE in full swing. Being a parent certainly changes everything, and I detect this in Hipkins. All the policy, the initiatives and so on, take on a new meaning when you envisage how they are going to affect your child. Hipkins is currently in the throes of working on Labour’s education manifesto. At this stage, the manifesto appears to be big on ideas and light on detail. But it’s still early days. Hipkins says he’s keen to try something “a bit different” with communicating the party’s key policies. The manifesto will hinge on five or six priorities. Top of the list is free public education for all, which Hipkins describes as “part of our DNA”. In addition to making state education truly free again, Hipkins has boldly said that Labour will introduce “three years of fee-free post-school education for every New Zealander”. It’s a similar proposition to the Productivity Commission’s Student Education Account idea, which didn’t make the cut in the Commission’s final report. Perhaps they have arrived at similar conclusions through the same underlying opinion that New Zealand’s current tertiary and post-school education set-up is in need of a shake-up. The Productivity Commission was talking in the region of $45,000 per New Zealander, but I can’t pin Hipkins down on numbers. He is confident it will “cost less than tax cuts” though. At this stage he’s more interested in the bigger picture – and he paints it well. He envisages that this policy proposal will promote a “direct transfer from welfare to training”. He sees it as encouraging more incentives for both employers and employees to engage in apprenticeships and expects to see an “explosion” in on-job training. “Secondary school is no longer enough,” says Hipkins. He believes we should be focusing on providing another three years of education after NCEA Level 3 – whether it be at university, polytech or pre-trade training. The three years could either be used in one chunk – towards a bachelor’s degree, for example – or staggered over time to allow people the chance to upskill or change vocation at a later date. Continued on the next page >>
Leadership & PD 5
Te reo Māori
The big debate: should te reo be compulsory in our schools? JUDE BARBACK looks at the arguments for and against making te reo Māori compulsory in New Zealand schools.
ver since the Green Party tabled their proposal for every New Zealand child to learn te reo Māori, there has been a flurry of debate on the subject. From large, ideological questions – Why should it be compulsory? Will it help Māori engage with their education and culture? What is the benefit for non-Māori? – to the practical – How do we ensure teachers have enough training to teach it? How do we achieve it? – there is much to discuss. An online survey by Te Ipukarea, the National Māori Language Institute at Auckland University of Technology (AUT), showed strong support for
making te reo compulsory in New Zealand primary schools. The vast majority of the 5,391 survey respondents agree or strongly agree that the Māori language should be compulsory in New Zealand primary schools, including 83 per cent of Māori, 80 per cent of New Zealand European/Pākehā and 78 per cent of other ethnicities. However, not everyone agrees. Some have argued that it would take time away from other subjects. Some that it is not a “useful” language. Some don’t like the idea of it being compulsory.
So why make te reo compulsory?
Greens’ Māori development spokesperson Marama Davidson says there is a responsibility to ensure that Māori language “not just survives, but thrives in Aotearoa”. “Despite huge progress over recent decades, the survival of te reo Māori is still not assured. In 2013 only 3.7 per cent of New Zealanders spoke te reo Māori and the percentage of Māori who can
<< Continued from previous page It’s certainly exciting stuff – although I hope a clearer answer to the nagging ‘But where’s it coming from?’ question in my head will emerge soon. Hipkins talks about the need to move on from a system that was designed post-war to serve an industrial workforce. “The National Party is refining an education system based on 20thcentury life,” he says. He believes there is too much emphasis on NCEA attainment at secondary school and not enough on post-school outcomes. “There is currently too much focus on outputs – the piece of paper – over outcomes – what students end up doing,” he says. “We are over-assessing kids,” he says. Our current assessment protocols have become, to Hipkins’ thinking, “a system of hurdles” leaving students and teachers over-burdened and anxious. National Standards are “poorly constructed, blunt and arbitrary” and NCEA is “too loose” in the way it is currently used. It’s a criticism I’ve heard before from many different corners but I’m eager to hear Hipkins’ ideas of how to ensure accountability and monitor progress within a higher-trust setting that allows teachers more freedom to teach. NCEA shouldn’t be the end goal, he says, rather a marker along a path that extends beyond high school and into a student’s pathway into workbased training or higher education. Learning planning – as opposed to careers advice – should begin at year 9 at the latest, says Hipkins. It should focus on where a student’s interests lie and on encouraging their skills, utilising many different areas of the curriculum. He gives the example of nurturing a budding entrepreneur with the relevant courses in maths, digital technology, English and business studies. He acknowledges that things are improving in this area. He’s a fan of initiatives like Gateway, STAR and particularly the Vocational Pathways, but “they haven’t gone anywhere”.
Similarly, he likes the idea of Communities of Learning (CoL) – or more accurately, he likes the idea of collaboration between schools – but he thinks the system is too rigid, as it stands at the moment. “We have schools that genuinely want to collaborate but are being met with resistance. Until the managerial focus is removed, we won’t see any progress,” he says. He argues that if a community of schools identifies a need to focus on wellbeing or socioeconomic challenges instead of assessment outcomes then they should be able to set this as their challenge. “They need to redefine ‘achievement’,” he says. One policy of which he is not a fan is the introduction of charter schools. The existing charter schools don’t stand much of a hope if Labour is elected. Hipkins says there would be a range of options for the schools and he would deal with each on a case-by-case basis. I’d previously imagined Hipkins charging into the charter schools with his tools and tearing them down, but now that we’re face-to-face I get the sense that he won’t relish seeing them close. He’d rather find solutions that worked for them, and particularly the kids. Special education is another area he desperately wants to fix, viewing it as “the most unmet need” in the system. “As a potential incoming Minister of Education I want to grab every dollar,” he says. He’d make a good Minister of Education. He’s a big-picture thinker and his enthusiasm is infectious. But the job he’s eyeing up is enormous. It isn’t surprising that Labour intends to keep tertiary education within the education portfolio, given its focus on the continuum of learning, but this makes the Education Minister remit seem titanic. I’m looking forward to seeing Labour’s education manifesto – but it will need to provide directions as well as the destinations if it is to stand up to a critical New Zealand public.
“We have schools that genuinely want to collaborate but are being met with resistance. Until the managerial focus is removed, we won’t see any progress.”
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Te reo Māori hold a conversation in te reo Māori is falling,” says Davidson. The Greens say that introducing all children to te reo at school is one of the best ways to ensure the language survives. Kapiti College’s Head of Māori Language, Paora Trim strongly agrees. “Without Māori language, the culture would not survive,” he says simply. “A lot of Māori students all across the country are disengaged with their language, their culture, their people.” And many are disengaged with their education. There is so much talk of Māori underachievement that it is almost stigmatising. Such a relentless focus on lifting Māori achievement levels is bound to have the effect of making Māori students feel singled out. By normalising the use of reo in the classroom, Trim suggests that Māori students will feel more engaged in their learning if they see that everyone is participating. Ultimately, Trim believes it could help to iron out some of the inequities that define our schools and society. “It would also help encourage empathy among our students, by showing an understanding of someone else’s culture and language.”
A wider societal change
But is making te reo compulsory in schools the way to achieve such vast societal goals? Education Minister Hekia Parata doesn’t think so. Parata, while supportive of te reo, is opposed to making it compulsory, describing compulsion as “the antithesis of motivation”. Project director for Ako Panuku, Hineihaea Murphy agrees – to a point. “When I was a classroom teacher of te reo Māori, I would not have wanted to teach students who were not really interested in learning my language (and being responsible for their success!) Ideally, for such a strategy to work we would have other things in place to pave the way,” she says. Murphy says she would love to see every child in this country learning and speaking Māori, but thinks that making te reo Māori compulsory in schools needs to be part of a wider strategy that extends beyond our schools. She thinks that talking about the issue of compulsory te reo Māori in schools in isolation is probably counterproductive “as it brings out a lot of red herrings that lead us away from the ultimate goal”. “To make te reo Māori compulsory successfully on a national scale will need the value and status of the language to be raised in our communities and nationally.”
Murphy believes we need people – adults, children, Māori, non-Māori – to be motivated to learn te reo Māori. “Motivation to learn can be extrinsically created if the strategy is implemented in conjunction with a range of other initiatives which value language in our society, raise the status of te reo Māori and normalise te reo Māori in our society.
see this as a problem. He points to various apps and online programmes that could be used by anyone. “They’d learn along the way too,” he says. The key to the success of a programme like this is getting the buy-in from a school’s senior leadership team. They need to motivate and make staff accountable, says Trim, while the school’s language expert is responsible for providing resources and supporting staff.
More investment needed
“To make te reo Māori compulsory successfully on a national scale will need the value and status of the language to be raised in our communities and nationally.” “Sometimes we have to take big bold steps to create the kind of change that is ultimately needed… but in this case, it may be dependent on what level of conflict and tension will result in productive change.”
A practical solution
Big bold steps they may be, but Paora Trim has come up with a simplistic and scalable way that teaching and learning te reo could be achievable in our schools. Trim’s practical solution is one that his son’s primary school is trialling this year. Each week, teachers will teach their classes two Māori words and one Māori phrase. The following week, they review the previous week’s words and phrase before learning new ones. “Imagine if a child was taught two words and one phrase of te reo Māori each week from the time they started New Entrants. After 10 years at school they could potentially know 800 words and 400 phrases.” It would take an estimated five minutes each day to teach two words and one phrase a week. Trim acknowledges that teachers will have different levels of reo proficiency, but he doesn’t
Trim’s solution could probably be adopted by New Zealand schools fairly easily and cheaply. However, primary and secondary school teacher unions – both supporters of making te reo compulsory in schools – say more investment into teacher training and professional development is needed to realise the vision of every child learning Māori language. “Of course, having the right number of teachers of te reo is critical to the success of this policy. Currently the demand for teachers of te reo Māori outstrips supply,” says PPTA president Jack Boyle. NZEI Te Riu Roa president Lynda Stuart agrees. “Many more fluent Māori speakers need to be attracted into teaching, and strategies and resources are needed to ensure that professional development and training is provided both at the pre-service level, and for teachers in the classroom,” she says. “This requires a plan, but also much more government investment if it’s going to happen.”
The global picture
Such hurdles haven’t stopped other countries from introducing language schemes that have helped to revive languages. Since the Welsh language was made compulsory in Welsh schools in 2000, the language has seen a revival. A similar programme in Ireland has also seen the Irish language kept alive. Malaysia is considering reintroducing knowledge of the Malay language as a requirement for citizenship. Director of Te Ipukarea Professor Tania Ka’ai says the rest of the world looks to New Zealand for inspiration and guidance on how to keep indigenous language alive. Ka’ai points out that Scandinavian countries like Finland, Norway and Sweden are exploring Māori language immersion models such as Kura Kaupapa and Kōhanga Reo. “We are world leaders in language revitalisation. The next step is for government to make te reo Māori compulsory in primary schools. Now, let’s lead the world in this.”
Leadership & PD 7
school leadership Education Review asks a principal and senior and middle leaders to share their thoughts on the opportunities and challenges at various levels of school leadership.
Bec Power, Principal, Muritai School, Wellington
Congratulations on your new appointment as principal at Muritai School. What are your first impressions of the principal role, now that the first term is nearly behind us? Moving into a new school at the beginning of a school year is a very busy time! I walked straight into preparing several teacher-only days, and a professional development plan – attempting to plan strategically for a staff and school community I was yet to get to know. Nothing like hitting the ground running! Luckily, our leadership team are absolutely superb, and with a fantastic distributed leadership model already in place at Muritai (with four associate principals), we’ve been working as a team to prepare the planning for the year ahead. The role of principal is often touted as being multifaceted – and it absolutely is. No two days are the same, nor are any two interactions with parents, or being surprised with blocked drains, community group presentations, recruitment and employment dealings, finances… ‘expect the unexpected’ may be the best advice. I’ve also walked into two major school property projects for 2017 that have the ability to change our landscape of learning significantly – which is a great opportunity for us as a school community to reflect and review our teaching and learning beliefs that empower students to ‘be the best they can be’.
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In a nutshell, can you share your career path journey to principalship?
I began my teaching career at Broadgreen Intermediate in Nelson. I was lucky to have outstanding leadership including my tutor teacher and deputy principal Cate Gully. Cate demonstrated how to grow and maintain strong relationships with everyone she met across the wider community. She also taught me to innovate – to use what worked well and improve on it. I had rapid advancement into leadership at Broadgreen, where I was a subject leader, an associate teacher then tutor teacher, before winning team leadership then a senior teacher position by the time I was in my fifth year of teaching. At the start of my sixth year I began my first deputy principalship at Nayland Primary. I was able to become a lead teacher on the Link Learning ICT cluster and over three years was exposed to fantastic professional learning. The great lessons I learned were around creating conditions for the best teaching and learning practice – and keeping ‘learning’ as the focus of our work. I chose not to pursue a smaller ‘country school’ principalship, as I believed my best fit is in a larger school. I chose to instead move to a large school (as a fully released DP) that I had always wanted to work at since I’d visited as part of the Apple Bus Tour a decade earlier – Tahatai Coast School. My principal at TCS, Ian Leckie, is a great believer in growing leaders, and from the get-go, treated me as an equal. He trusted the leadership team to lead major portfolios across the school in a distributed model. We were a high-performing team. Ian also encouraged me to shadow him in all areas of leadership and school management, which of course has been vital and definitely significant in my preparation for principalship. One thing all of my school leaders have had in common, was their unwavering commitment to growing leaders within their staff. One of the reasons I wanted to become a principal was to continue this work of empowering others to lead and influence.
What professional development have you undertaken along the way that you feel has been instrumental in developing you as a school leader? Prior to winning my first teaching position I was lucky enough to have an exceptional professional studies lecturer, who is now the director of
eLearning at CORE. Derek Wenmoth is the very epitome of being future-focused, and what I learned in the late 1990s alongside Derek, I still see as effective practice in classrooms today. During this time, it was as though there was an impending ‘call to action’ as an educator, that we needed to bring about change in our schools; this belief and drive has never left me. I’ve been very lucky to have taken part in a variety of internal and external PLD. I learned many leadership lessons as an early DP; the most significant ones were probably as a literacy leader and an eLearning leader. I’ve also maintained a determined focus in all of my leadership positions in growing my own knowledge and valuing of tikanga Māori, te reo Māori and te ao Māori, with a relentless view of ensuring Māori learners achieve success as Māori. I formed a strong connection to the Nga Potiki hapu in Papamoa, and sat on their education subcommittee. I’ve always been a voracious reader, and since becoming an educator, I’ve read widely on teaching and learning beliefs and trends. I’ve worked with a variety of external ‘leadership experts’, usually as a collaborative leadership team, which has been invaluable in growing as a highperforming group. I have attended a wide variety of conferences – some school funded and some I’ve paid for myself and attended in my own time. I’ve taken something special back to improve my own leadership practice from every one that I’ve attended. I was a CORE eFellow in 2014 and was lucky enough to learn alongside inspirational researchers Dr John Fenaughty and Dr Louise Taylor as my supervisors. Our eFellow group has maintained a tight friendship and ongoing collegial support. I undertook research into personalised professional development whilst seeing many of the new schools across New Zealand in action. In 2015 I was awarded as an Apple Distinguished Educator (ADE) and through this programme travelled to Singapore, then to Berlin in 2016 to take part in Institutes to learn alongside the very top of their field in future-focused education using Apple devices. I have been very strategic in being a wellrounded leader in my preparation for principalship. Leadership roles in literacy, eLearning, Connected Curriculum, Māori, assessment, sport and EOTC, to name a few, have all added to my kete of skills and experience.
As things stand, do you feel there is enough support for aspiring principals in New Zealand? As an aspiring leader I was able to take part in the NAPP – National Aspiring Principals Programme – which is unfortunately no longer in operation. The only other formal support I’m aware of (apart from individually sought out or designed PLD) is the Emerging Leaders Programme ‘Providing leadership development for potential leaders in Communities of Learning’. Through the NAPP programme the focus was learning about the role of the principal’s leadership in making sure schools’ systems and processes operate effectively, as well as celebrating our dual cultural heritage and building a strong moral purpose of equity and social justice. After taking part in all of the korero and the yearlong inquiry, I certainly was left under no illusion around the role I was working towards, which I’ve always seen as a unique privilege and a grand responsibility. As DP at Tahatai, I attended all board of trustees meetings. This gave me an invaluable insight into what my responsibilities would be when I was a principal with my own board, and how to be an effective member of a board. When we reflected on our work, Ian used to say, “You’re only as good as your last board meeting” – this is so very true! It allowed us to refocus and grow each month as we improved on the month before.
What about teachers aspiring to middle leadership and senior leadership roles? Do you feel there is enough guidance for teachers as they progress or is it down to a school’s individual approach? Some educators arrive in schools with a career path in mind; however, I was not one of them. I remember being quite shocked when it was suggested to me to apply for a team leader as I hadn’t ever considered it. This is so important in schools – spotting potential, but also growing all teachers as leaders. The reality is that you can often only go so far in any particular school, so there may be a need to move schools or towns for opportunities. This depends on an individual’s personal drive and beliefs – for me it was natural to push forward into new adventures; for others they may have commitments that keep them in one area. My husband is incredibly supportive and as an educator himself understands the demands of the role – also, he’s always keen on a new adventure. The demands on a middle and senior leader in 2017 are quite different from when I began my leadership journey. Being skilled in innovation, rethinking, collaborative connections, having adaptive expertise and being future-focused with the use of technology and learning environments were not skills deemed as necessary in the not-so-distant past. Welcoming all learners to conversations and thinking around being the central players in the learning environment is also an essential part of our role.
It’s important to remember that you don’t need a title to lead and to have influence; we can all probably picture a person in our own schools who has mana and influence without an official title. The important question might be – what does this person consciously or unconsciously do so effortlessly that we might learn from?
What are the biggest hurdles for a deputy principal in making the jump to principal?
I think the biggest hurdle is making a commitment to go for it! I did set myself a timeline goal, which was to be a principal before I was 40 years old (and I made it – just!). The biggest hurdles can certainly be perceived rather than actual; however, having self-belief that you can do the job sits right at the top. You also need to really want the role. There is no halfway as a principal, it is enormously challenging and – already I can see – incredibly rewarding. In making the leap, the largest hurdle I have faced is certainly being female, being a firsttime principal, and wanting to work in medium to large schools. I needed to find the perfect combination of a capable and future-focused (yet not necessarily experienced) board, a vision that I believed in and an outstanding bunch of colleagues to work alongside. I have certainly done just that! I’m still pinching myself, and feel as though I’ve won the lottery.
staff, including two office ninjas who make a huge impact by removing many day-to-day pressures. It’s an exciting team that represents a balanced approach.
Generally speaking, do you think there is sufficient collaboration with neighbouring schools in the community at the principal level? Or are there more opportunities for working together? In Eastbourne we are a little geographically isolated from many other Wellington schools – we are the only mainstream state school in the area. That didn’t stop many of the local principals reaching out to welcome me early in the year, and continuing to as the year progresses. We do not have a formal community of learning; however, as a school leader I do, of course, have a widespread network of collaborators whom I can call upon at a moment’s notice to celebrate, commiserate or question.
Do you think the demands and expectations placed on principals are making the position increasingly unwieldy and unmanageable? It’s no coincidence that the New Zealand Principals’ Federation (NZPF) Conference in 2017 is around leadership and principal hauora, which is also one of the strategic areas of interest for the work of the NZPF. Almost daily in my social media newsfeed or in one of our major newspapers there is an article around teacher and principal fatigue. The elusive ‘balance’ that we try and attend to is very difficult to achieve. We spend a portion of our teacher-only days exploring balance and brainstorming ways of finding and maintaining it. It is certainly elusive. Having a fast-moving career path to principalship has been an insatiable drive for me; however, it has come at the cost of personal health and wellbeing – no longer am I at peak fitness! But children don’t learn from exhausted and unmotivated teachers, and teachers won’t be inspired by leaders who are uberbusy and overwhelmed. Before I was an educator I worked briefly in finance and dipped a toe into the corporate world. When I started as an educator (as well as taking a pay cut and working more hours!) I could see a big change in the commitment to tasks, dedication to the cause and hours worked in the week – and in the passion that educators have to make a difference. Having the right people in the right roles in a school makes an enormous difference. I’ve walked into a kura where I am surrounded by exceptional
The senior leader:
Lisa Squire, Deputy Principal, Hobsonville Point Primary, Auckland
What is your current role and how long have you been in it? What are your core responsibilities? This is my sixth year as deputy principal at Hobsonville Point Primary. I was lucky to be involved in the exciting establishment phase of the primary school and also to work with the secondary leadership team on the establishment process of the secondary school, which opened in 2014. My role developed responsively to the needs of inducting new staff, a developing community, a growing school roll and most importantly the children. Continued on the next page >>
Leadership & PD 9
Leadership profiles << Continued from previous page There was a desire to challenge the traditional idea of what a DP does, so a far more collaborative leadership role has evolved. Another aspect of my job is regularly speaking at conferences and leading tours of visiting teachers/schools; I love the opportunity to discuss the potential of innovative learning spaces beyond the physical building. The core responsibilities of my role vary but predominantly are focused on collaboratively helping to establish the systems and structures to create an innovative, child-centred learning environment.
Can you share your career path journey to where you are now?
I began teaching in Christchurch 1998 at Chisnallwood Intermediate, where I steadily gained teaching and leadership experience over 12 years. From there I took a secondment working as an ICT facilitator for eTime delivering support throughout Canterbury schools. Following this, I was appointed into the role of deputy principal at Linwood North Primary. In 2012 I shifted to Auckland to take the role of foundation deputy principal at Hobsonville Point Primary.
What professional development opportunities do you feel have been instrumental in developing you as a leader? My professional development over the last six years has mostly come through working alongside a driven and innovative group of people. I am very well supported in my leadership journey by my principal, Daniel Birch. Being able to attend international conferences has exposed me to the likes of Sir Ken Robinson, Yong Zhao, Sugata Mitra and many more, which has been important in helping me to ‘think big,’ feel affirmed and be inspired.
I enjoy research, especially the work of Professor Guy Claxton, Carol Dweck and Daniel Pink, as I feel one of the most important qualities in a leader is understanding what makes yourself and others tick. Working alongside Dr Julia Atkin has helped me understand the essential principles of effective leadership, school visioning and curriculum design, which are essential in a senior leadership role. I find opportunities to get out of my own school context helpful in creating a mental space for reflection and building professional networks. I led trips to Sydney and Melbourne, taking groups of colleagues to visit a variety of successful schools and collaborate with their leadership teams. I’m excited about an upcoming trip to San Francisco where we will be visiting their top innovative schools. In 2014 I was selected as a Google Certified Teacher and experienced an intense short burst of professional development called the Google Teacher Academy, run by NoTosh at Google Headquarters in Sydney. This led to the opportunity to be a part of the GEG NZ Leaders and we launched a conference essentially run by children, for children, involving over 300 students. Being an Apple Distinguished Programme school, I also attended the Australasian Leadership Symposium. I was involved in the National Aspiring Principals’ Programme (NAPP), which is tailored towards growing leadership skills and a practical knowledge of the key components required to lead a school. I also sit on the board of trustees as the staff representative, which gives me a much better understanding of the function of a BOT, its relationship to the principal and responsibility as a good employer. I worked with AUT faculty to help design a oneyear master’s programme. As an adjunct lecturer I run professional learning groups, support mentor
As things stand, do you feel there is enough support for senior leaders in New Zealand schools? In terms of whether there is enough support for senior leaders, I think in general there is very little formal training being offered through the Ministry of Education; however, this pushes us to think more creatively and seek out support through alternative means. I think the key in getting support in any role, regardless of seniority, is understanding what you and your school need to be successful, understanding the resources available to be able to meet those needs and bringing people together to help one another. I think it’s about utilising the people you know within your networks to get the support you require. For example, we employ an experienced ex-principal, who comes into school two days a week to provide our leadership team with extra support and general mentoring. This works very well and enables us to get on with the core business of teaching and learning.
What are your career/professional goals? Do you have aspirations for a principal’s
role? For me it’s not so much about a title but loving what you do every day. Right now I’m really enjoying growing Hobsonville Point Primary, working with innovative people and helping to create a school that benefits the children in a really authentic way. Potentially, I would like to become a principal and lead an innovative school and all my professional development is helping me develop towards this goal.
What professional development have you undertaken along the way that you feel has been instrumental in developing you as a leader?
I have been a part of extensive professional development opportunities including in-school professional learning delivered by both internal and external providers. I have continued to refine my teacher practice and broaden my curriculum knowledge through mathematics professional learning with both Dinah Harvey and Charlotte Wilkinson, the writing programme with Gaye Byers and inquiry through working with Trudy Francis. I have developed strong classroom management skills through completing the Incredible Years Programme.
What is your current role and what are your core responsibilities?
I am currently a teacher at Golden Sands School where I have been a team leader for three years. This year I lead a team in our year 3–4 learning community. Previously I have led in the year 5–6 community. My core responsibilities include leading effective collaborative teaching practice, delivery of a strong curriculum and creating professional development opportunities.
Can you share your career path journey to where you are now?
At the beginning of my career I taught a year 3–4 composite class in Whakatane at Apanui Primary School. During my two years there I completed my beginning teacher programme and gained my full teacher registration. After my two years in Whakatane I gained a teaching position at Golden Sands School. I taught year 5–6 students for a year before achieving my position as a team leader.
The middle leader:
Jakalah Trask, Team Leader at Golden Sands School, Papamoa
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teachers and student teachers. I’m about to start my master’s degree through AUT as a next step in my professional development journey.
As things stand, do you feel there is enough support for middle leaders in New Zealand schools? I have great support and professional development within my school environment. We develop our leadership theory during our middle leader meetings. The focus for our meetings is relevant and structured around our leadership goals. I’m aware there is an Aspiring Principals Programme
Do you feel there is clear pathway to achieve these goals? Is there enough support/ guidance/PLD out there for teachers to progress to where they want to get to? Or is it down to a school’s individual approach? A key to achieving your goals is to make the conscious decision to surround yourself by people who will encourage you and support you on your pathway. For me, it’s all about having the passion to turn up to school every day and make a real difference to the children, their families and ultimately the school. I use this as my base to find things that interest me and I make a conscious effort to apply myself to continuously improve my own practice. I think being proactive and seeking out professional development that inspires you and encourages the passion is really vital. There are lots of different avenues and flexible learning opportunities available, and they don’t all fit the traditional model so being open to new experiences has really helped me. There are loads of free resources available; some of my favourites are TED Talks!
In your opinion, what are the biggest hurdles for a classroom teacher in progressing to a middle leadership position and then a senior leadership position?
with a focus always on relationship building. Often I think people doubt themselves and wait until they feel they’ve acquired all of the skills necessary to do the job. My advice is to have confidence, back yourself and be open to learning along the way.
What are the biggest challenges you face in your senior leadership position?
I think it would be easy to become systemsoriented and stuck in the office but most importantly school is about the children and noticing the non-measurable elements of a successful school so you can celebrate successes as a team. So, for those reasons I deliberately make a conscious effort to get into the different teaching spaces, talk to the children, teach them and generally spend as much time as I can with them.
There has been a lot of talk recently about the stress involved with being a principal. Do you think there is a knock-on effect for senior and middle leaders? How do we manage this?
I think when it comes to teaching people to manage stress, coaching them to be able to say what they need and how they feel can be very useful in catching problems early and thus provide the right type of support.
Generally speaking, do you think there is sufficient collaboration with neighbouring schools in the community at the senior leadership level? I think working with like-minded people can really help an organisation and this includes collaborating with your neighbours. I really love the way online environments, like the Google Educator Groups, can help facilitate this, when time and geography may be a barrier. I really value the opportunities to catch up with local schools and an example of this is how Hobsonville Point Secondary invites the local primaries to informal breakfast catchups, which provide us with the opportunity to unwind over a coffee and talk. It’s wonderful for building relationships and provides a natural way of sharing, celebrating or sometimes problem shooting! There will always be more opportunities for us to work together and I love the way schools seem to be opening their doors more and focusing on collaboration not competition. We are just at the emergent stage of bringing together a group of like-minded leaders, as part of the formation of our CoL. We share a lot of common challenges – rapidly expanding rolls, for example – however, with similar outlooks it will provide another opportunity for us to support each other as we endeavour to grow.
I think the biggest hurdle going from a classroom teacher to a middle leader is the mindset change required to effectively lead adults, as well as children. You need to be able to lead and build teams effectively at this stage, and the art of teaching adults is very different from teaching children. The move from middle management to senior management requires you to change how you think significantly. It tasks you with thinking creatively, strategically and logically, while managing a wide array of relationships,
I think the scope of a principal’s job is huge and again I think it’s about harnessing the skills of the team and allowing people the opportunity to help lessen the load. I think implementing frameworks like the distributed leadership model may help principals to manage their workloads better, however obviously there are some tasks only a principal can do. Within my school context, the Private Public Partnership (PPP) model works extremely well, allowing us to focus on our main job of delivering the New Zealand Curriculum, not having to worry about the physical facilities or caretaking staff, which means the principal can focus on what’s truly important – the teaching and learning.
and feel it would be great to see a national aspiring middle leaders programme to build another layer of support.
into leadership and efforts are made to support teachers to pursue aspirations, through an aspiring leaders programme.
What are your career goals? Do you have aspirations for a senior leadership role or a principal’s role?
In your opinion, what are the biggest hurdles for a classroom teacher in progressing to a middle leadership position?
Currently my goal is to continue to develop as a team leader and a strong classroom practitioner. In future years I can see this focus shift towards a senior leadership role.
I feel the opportunities for professional development in leadership theory is a hurdle for teachers to progress. As a young leader a hurdle could also be gaining an opportunity to lead.
I think wellbeing and stress has a knock-on effect right through to our teachers and support staff. Education is a demanding profession as we work collaboratively to provide best outcomes for our students. All boards of trustees need to be mindful of their staff, including their principal. A flattened hierarchy and a model of distributed leadership helps each staff member to feel supported. It is in this way that we all work together to face challenges to ensure we achieve the best outcomes for our learners.
Do you feel there is clear pathway to achieve your career goals? Is there enough support/ guidance/PLD out there for teachers to progress? Or is it down to a school’s individual approach? I believe that there are multiple pathways for teachers to progress in their career. I feel there are ample professional development opportunities for teachers to develop their curriculum knowledge and classroom practice. However, I feel that professional development on leadership theory is down to a school’s individual approach. My school provides good pathways for teachers to progress
What are the biggest challenges you face in your middle leadership position?
In education, I believe time is the biggest challenge. It is vital for middle leaders to ensure they manage their time effectively to ensure the practice of a strong classroom programme and to lead a highperforming team.
There has been a lot of talk about the stress involved with being a principal and concerns about principals’ wellbeing. Do you think there is a knock-on effect for senior and middle leaders? Any thoughts on how we manage this?
Generally speaking, do you think there is sufficient collaboration with neighbouring schools in the community at the middle leadership level? Or are there more opportunities for working together? It would be great to connect with purpose with other middle leaders in my area and/or nationally. Currently there are networks for principals, APs and DPs and I feel there could be value in connecting middle leaders in a local area.
Go to educationreview.co.nz educationreview.co.nz
Leadership & PD 11
Will CoOLs give the Virtual Learning Network a
permanent home? Will communities of online learning (CoOLs) provide the Virtual Learning Network with the resourcing it needs to be sustainable and continue to develop? Or will they unleash an open educational marketplace that has the potential to undermine public schooling? JUDE BARBACK looks at the most polarising element of the Education (Update) Amendment Bill.
ear 7 and 8 students at Halfmoon Bay School on Stewart Island aren’t as isolated as you might think. Thanks to the Rural & Remote Schools Project, established by their principal Kath Johnson, the students make use of digital technology to collaborate with other students from remote areas all around New Zealand. The highlight is the chance to meet face-to-face at a camp in Wellington every other year. Meanwhile, with the help of video collaboration, Northcote College teacher Tony Zaloum delivers Level 3 physics to a group of Kaitaia College students who would otherwise miss out. At the same time, a Samoan teacher is able to ‘meet’ with his students from Ashburton, Selwyn College, Wellington High School and Roxburgh Area School at the same time.
VLN needs resourcing
The risk of privatisation
At the same time, Whalley worries that the introduction of CoOLs may open the gates for organisations that are more focused on making money than supporting children’s learning. “The concern is that kids will fall between the cracks, that there won’t be that pastoral care and support that is needed to support their learning.” Many fear that CoOLs will be used as a means of lining the pockets of the likes of K12 Inc, an online charter school organisation that, according to Professor Gary Miron, has profited heavily from offering alternative education solutions while delivering poor outcomes and low student retention. The VLN Primary School’s submission raises the concern that an open educational marketplace has the potential to undermine public schooling. It states that the proposed legislation “is very open and invites ANY provider to apply to be a CoOL, therefore opening the door wider to further privatisation of the education sector which could be fundamentally negative for the Aotearoa New Zealand education system”. However, the Ministry of Education is adamant that the CoOLs will not become a vehicle for online charter schools and that there will be a high level of monitoring and accountability. While Education Minister Hekia Parata says the CoOLs will be open to as wide a range of potential providers as possible, she also says there will be a rigorous accreditation process alongside ongoing monitoring to ensure quality education is being provided.
“The concern is that kids will fall between the cracks, that there won’t be that pastoral care and support that is needed to support their learning.”
These are all examples of how the Virtual Learning Network (VLN) is transforming learning for students all over New Zealand. Thanks to the VLN, students don’t need to miss out on a particular subject because of where they live. The VLN promotes online learning in school clusters, which is essentially what the new communities of online learning (CoOLs) are all about. But, if this is the case, why has there been so much backlash about the CoOLs, which look set to take shape following the update of the Education Act? It seems that while the proposed legislation around the CoOLs has the potential to cement the good stuff that’s happening in the VLN, there are also fears that the CoOLs could open the door to providers who might not apply the same focus on the curriculum or student-centred approach. Part of the VLN’s success is down to how it supplements the existing school system. Schools work in partnership with the eTeachers and VLN staff to support students in their ‘home’ schools. The concern is that the introduction of CoOLs might see a move away from this school partnership model.
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It was this combination of hope and fear that prompted VLN Primary School ePrincipal Rachel Whalley’s mixed reaction when she first heard the news about CoOLs. “I said ‘Yay’ when it was first announced – and then I actually cried,” says Whalley. The ‘Yay’ is easy to explain. The VLN has been pushing for a sustainable resource for a long time and CoOLs could provide the answer to this. The VLN has sat outside the school system for nearly two decades and has been living hand to mouth throughout that time, relying on charitable grants and piecemeal funding from one year to the next. The VLN Primary School’s submission to the Education and Science Select Committee on the Education (Update) Amendment Bill is clear on this point. It states that it is “long overdue that this type of learning be brought into the ‘mainstream’ of
For example, in the primary school sector, the VLN delivers mainly languages and extension maths and science learning programmes. But the changes may allow it to expand into other areas. The CoOLs will help to formalise and support the current work of VLNs, and will also give them the chance to develop further.
learning for New Zealand students and resourced as such”. “It feels like we’ve been in a holding pattern for years,” confirms Whalley. “We need sustainable revenue streams.” The VLN began in 1997 in the secondary school sector and has experienced flurries of growth in the 20 years following, usually coinciding with technology updates, such as the ICT PD cluster and the implementation of high-speed broadband in schools. The VLN has experienced significant growth in the last eight years, with enrolment numbers increasing sharply. In the primary school sector, there were 12 enrolments in 2009; this grew to 450 enrolments in 2016, with 40 schools participating in 40 classes. Whalley says the VLN gives schools, particularly small rural schools, more opportunities and more teaching capacity.
There are also fears over whether the Education Funding System Review will have a negative impact on small and rural schools. The whole legislative update is aligned with the funding review, which is currently underway. In a Cabinet Paper outlining the next steps for the review, in clauses 70–73, it discusses the extra costs faced by small and isolated schools and how these schools would not be “educationally viable” if they received only curriculum-based per-
why they’re a good idea
Their arrival in the proposed legislation has prompted some debate, however Associate Education Minister NIKKI KAYE is keen for schools to see, understand and embrace the opportunities that Communities of Online Learning (CoOLs) will bring.
e live in a world that’s being transformed by digital technology. This transformation is affecting all areas of our lives, but in particular, it’s revolutionising the way students can interact and learn. The Government has invested more than $700 million to ensure that schools can access the digital world and take advantage of the immense opportunities it offers for learning. This investment has funded projects to provide schools with digital infrastructure such as cabling and wireless technology. It also includes more than $200 million towards the Network for Learning (N4L) Managed Network, which is providing schools with uncapped, high-speed broadband. This means we now have a platform in place to support the range of initiatives currently underway to achieve our vision of New Zealand as a world leader in digital education. These initiatives include an increased focus on digital technologies in the curriculum, and the creation of new learning resources in a range of digital formats. We’ve also invested over $60 million into professional learning and development for teachers, with digital fluency identified as one of five priority areas, and we’ve set up a $1 million
contestable fund to support innovative learning projects that capture students’ imagination, and help them become skilled in using and developing digital technologies. Perhaps the greatest impact of digital technology for schools is the way it has merged traditional institutional and learning boundaries. It’s now possible for groups of students to have discussions with each other or collaborate on projects in real time, despite being in different locations. This opens up an entirely new world of teaching and learning opportunities. Schools have already begun taking advantage of these opportunities. The Virtual Learning Network is seeing schools from the far north to the deep south of New Zealand come together as one online community, to promote the notion of a ‘classroom without walls’. The concept of Communities of Online Learning is about recognising and further supporting this capacity for students to learn anywhere, anytime and at any place. Communities of Online Learning will supplement and complement students’ learning in the classroom, and give them access to a wider range of subjects and teaching expertise. It’s simply not realistic to expect every school to have teachers ‘on the ground’ teaching every specialist subject. Communities of Online
Learning will enable students to attend a local school, but include subjects in their studies that might not otherwise have been available to them. This is incredibly important in a country like ours, which comprises many small, remote communities. I believe it’s important to balance online and other types of learning. This Government has committed over $5 billion to grow and modernise school infrastructure all over New Zealand, so physical schools will continue to be the cornerstone of our education model. For some students, attending a physical school just isn’t viable, and Communities of Online Learning will potentially offer these students an option to meet their education needs. But alternatives to physical schools are not new – around three per cent of New Zealand’s 765,000 students currently learn through Te Kura, our correspondence school, which was established in 1922. Communities of Online Learning are about being innovative and embracing the benefits of the digital world. The future offers unlimited opportunities for teachers and students to achieve in ways that haven’t previously been possible, and that’s something I’m incredibly excited about.
student funding. It suggests a new approach that would take into account the potential for CoOLs to mitigate some of the costs in the operation of small and isolated schools. Whalley believes this has the potential to be a threat or an opportunity – it very much depends on the detail. “The VLN communities have come about to support a need in schools, and been of the schools’ own devising, but will they be used by the Ministry as an instrument to undermine the future viability of the very schools we seek to serve? “I find this really concerning and look forward to seeing what detail will emerge from the review.” Another Ministry paper titled Funding to support small schools notes that “it would appear that secondary and composite schools are relatively generously treated compared with primary schools across all roll sizes”. It reaches the conclusion that “there are opportunities to reduce the level of funding that is provided through base funding arrangements” for small schools to “allow more funding to be delivered on a per-student basis”. Rural Women New Zealand president Wendy McGowan is concerned that funding to support small and isolated schools might be diverted into CoOLs.
“Rural schools perform a vital role in their communities, yet many are struggling to cope with the unique challenges of providing education in isolated areas. The Government’s first priority should be in further supporting these schools, rather than seeking out alternative providers, which could challenge their viability,” she says. Stratford High School teacher Erin MacDonald agrees. “They are not taking into account the specialist equipment needed. And I don’t think anything can beat the input of a classroom environment with a teacher working with the students. The relationships, rapport, discussions and debate are where much of the real learning takes place. You can’t replicate that through an online course.”
The VLN Primary’s submission states that “a regulatory framework for online learning is welcomed by the VLN Primary school to remove the operational barriers that have challenged us in our work across schools”. Currently having no legal status within the schooling system means that they don’t have the oversight and support of educational agencies such as the Education Review Office. They also have no ability to share staffing, difficulty employing all teachers equitably according to their collective agreements, and no access to a wider range of PLD. The VLN Primary is already working on bringing themselves in line with the schools system by developing a charter that aligns with the curriculum, streamlining its PLD, and firming up its admin and management systems. The Education and Science Select Committee’s recent update to the legislation showed only minor changes to previous versions of the Bill. A lot rests on the finer detail that is yet to emerge; there are still question marks over how CoOLs will work for the VLN and New Zealand education as a whole.
The challenge will be to keep the legislation around CoOLs loose enough to allow flexibility, but the guidelines tight enough to ensure high levels of quality are maintained. Whalley welcomes the increased accountability the legislation will bring to the VLN. “We’ll be more accountable – which will be a good thing. We currently fly under the radar,” she says.
Leadership & PD 13
Bees in schools
differentiated learning They are swarming, again!” This was how the principal at Avalon Intermediate School in Lower Hutt greeted students as they arrived at school on a warm spring day late last year, when the school’s bees were literally a hive of activity. Students were excited at the prospect of watching the bees swarm their way out of the classroom-based observational beehive. The kids’ questions ranged from “where is the queen?” to “will they come back?” to “what is going on?” Their curiosity was piqued as their brave principal placed his hands in the swarm; as they checked the four queen cells to see if a new queen had hatched, and as they watched a beekeeper carefully remove the swarm. The school was buzzing, and the opportunities for learning – not just about bees, but about big issues like sustainability, the environment, and maintaining living systems – were only just beginning. We have been working with teachers and students at Avalon and Newlands Intermediate Schools, alongside Dr Jean-Pierre Martin of L’Abeilles in France, to explore how teachers can use an observational, classroom-based beehive, created by Jean-Pierre and called an apiscope, as a catalyst for differentiating teaching and learning. We are curious about ways placing a living system in a classroom might trigger differentiated teaching for learning about the life of a beehive – its genesis, the swarm, its death, and all the patterns of interaction that can be observed. The bees are not ‘kept’ as a beekeeper might keep and manage a hive; they exist in a classroom as an independent living system, for observation and study by communities of learners – students, teachers, researchers, scientists, artists, beekeepers and bee enthusiasts. Placing a living system in classrooms creates multiple pathways and interconnections between curricula, through developing understandings of complex systems, because, as the swarm at Avalon reminded us, there are many structural, behavioural and functional relationships to observe and understand. We are working with teachers at both schools to develop ways of exploring concepts like patterns, systems, relationships, communication and change, across the curriculum, but with a specific focus on STEAM – that is, the traditional STEM, with an injection of arts. For example, learning about the hexagon as a pattern that repeats itself in the hive, provides a platform for exploring many open-ended questions, such as: Why do bees use a hexagon shape rather than other shapes, like a circle or square? How and why do bees make hexagonal shapes?
TRACY RILEY and ANNE NOBLE discuss how bees in schools can have a profound effect on integrated learning opportunities.
Why are hexagons different sizes for different functions, like storing honey? Why and how are groups of hexagons strong? Where else do we see hexagons in nature? How can we make hexagon sculptures and works of art? Rather than simply asking Google these questions, as many students may be tempted to do, we are working to help them observe what happens in the hive and create their own experiments to solve interesting problems. For example, when asked, how many bees do you think are in the hive?, the students responded with a range of suggestions, from trying to count the bees to plotting the number of wax hexagons, to weighing a bee and then weighing the observational beehive when it was empty and full of bees to compare the difference.
The levels of depth and complexity of learning can be adjusted to a range of different abilities, strengths and interests, as these examples show, and this adaptation to learner needs is central to differentiation. Other key practices that are important to differentiation, like student choice, relevance, authenticity and learning preferences, can also be addressed through the study of bees. This summer, with a summer scholar, Steph McKay, we developed a tool for analysing beerelated curriculum resources to determine their flexibility and adaptability for diverse learners. What we discovered was that there are a variety of different resources available to support teachers and learners in the study of bees, but many of these have not been developed with intermediate-aged students in mind (being either too simple or too complex). Also, we identified a gap in resources that reflect biculturalism and the growing importance of bees within our culture. According to the National Beekeepers’ Association of New Zealand, our country may be “more dependent on pollination from the honey bee than any other nation on earth”. This bee dependency, by New Zealand’s primary industries and iwi who are investing in Manuka honey production, provides a strategic reason for studying the bee, so future generations can begin to address wicked issues like biosecurity, honey laundering, agrichemical use and nitrogen regeneration. This project is evolving as a collaborative exploration of the potential of the apiscope to change the way teachers work with diverse learners. Newlands Intermediate School led the way with the first installation in 2014, and the hive has not only provided amazing differentiated learning opportunities, but also contributed to the school’s focus on its identity, vision and values under the leadership of principal Angela Lowe. Working in partnership across two intermediate schools, traversing education, arts and science has us all a-buzz about learning. As a Newlands Intermediate student explained, “The apiscope gets greater learning because … you can actually get to see the bees, you get to have a look close up! The apiscope is not really a hands-on experience, it’s more of a viewing, looking, talking, discussing, learning …”
“Looking at bees through the lens of a camera triggers children’s imaginations and senses to explore the impact of human impacts on natural biological systems.”
14 Leadership & PD
Two students created a grid on the window of the hive using tape and have been counting the numbers of bees in each square on a regular basis to determine the number of bees in the hive over a period of time. A teacher worked with students to take daily photographs of the hive to watch as its numbers increased – or declined, as in the case of the swarm. Looking at bees through the lens of a camera triggers children’s imaginations and senses to explore the impact of human impacts on natural biological systems. The STEM to STEAM approach acknowledges the complexity and interconnectedness of all living systems, and the need for both scientific and aesthetic modes of investigation. Introducing art brings students’ sensory, imaginative and expressive capacities to the practice of observation alongside rational and analytical modes of study. This infusion of expression is evidenced in the music videos created by Avalon Intermediate School students and their teacher Paasca Schaller, where we hear students rapping about “undercover flower lovers, planet protectors” and see bee dancers in gold and black suits with dark sunglasses moving pollen between blossoms.
For resources to get your classroom buzzing, please visit this article online at www.educationreview.co.nz. Tracy Riley is from Massey University’s Institute of Education. Anne Noble is from Massey University’s College of Creative Arts.
Post-intervention: the importance of sustainability DR PHIL COOGAN says collaborative partnerships and capability transfer are the key to ensuring the sustainability of an intervention.
ognition Education recently hosted over 120 key educational leaders, influencers and advisors at an event to discuss the latest research on collaborative impact and its benefits for learner achievement in New Zealand and globally. Keynote speaker Professor John Hattie shared research that showed teacher collaboration is among the most important influencers of student achievement. His research, published as Visible Learning, has been highly influential in education systems around the world. Another keynote speaker, Emeritus Russell Bishop, outlined how relationships-based learning is changing lives for indigenous and marginalised students in New Zealand and Australia. The event reinforced our thinking that we can no longer continue to accept systemic under-achievement – especially among particular learner groups – when we have the evidence-based professional development programmes that we know can lift achievement for those groups. Cognition’s approaches to professional learning are informed by the research of both Hattie and Bishop but also by people like Michael Fullan, Andy Hargreaves and Helen Timperley. Our job is to translate that research into practical strategies that can be implemented by leaders and teachers. Former principal and current Cognition Education Professional Learning Manager Dr Brian Hinchco sees the new approaches being implemented as part of the wider Investing in Educational Success strategy as key ways of sharing and scaling such professional learning. “Placing learners at the centre and viewing their pathways through learning organisations as a collective responsibility – who can argue with that?” says Hinchco. He applauds schools and Communities of Learning/Kāhui Ako using data and shared local expertise to develop local achievement challenges aligned with national priorities. “Add to that the rigorous accreditation of facilitators, choosing the appropriate type and mode of internal or external PLD, as well as the most appropriate facilitator and you’ve got the ingredients for a system gamechanger,” he says. “Our schools want to know that interventions have an evidence base and that they will impact positively on leadership and teacher practice and student engagement and accelerated achievement.” Critical for schools and Kāhui Ako is the capability building needed to ensure the sustainability of any intervention. Hinchco suggests that this needs collaborative partnerships and planned capability transfer. “What we leave behind is as important as what we do while we are in a school or community.” The bottom line is the impact of any initiative and at Cognition we can point to some pretty substantial shifts in learner achievement as a result of working in partnership with leaders and teachers. The national mathematics contract we led showed an aggregated effect size of 0.98 (0.4 progress is considered to represent an acceptable effect size for one year of learning). Our system-wide work in the Northern Territory of Australia has contributed to literacy and numeracy results for kids – especially Aboriginal kids – which has attracted attention across Australia. And we’re proud of our support for an iwi-led response in Whanganui where impact is being demonstrated in terms of teacher practice, community agency, leadership practice, and yes – NCEA results.
Dr Phil Coogan is Cognition Education’s Regional Director for Asia Pacific.
world of possibility Cognition’s Term Two workshops and events are now available to book! Keep an eye out on our website as opportunities are added weekly. Jacque Allen - Consultant Innovative Learning Explore the innovative learning pedagogy and practices required for true collaborative teaching and authentic learner agency.
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Lessons learned and looking forward:
a changing of the guard at the PPTA JUDE BARBACK meets with new Post Primary Teachers Association (PPTA) president Jack Boyle and catches up with his predecessor Angela Roberts.
e need to throw the kitchen sink at making teaching a first choice profession,” says Jack Boyle. He loves his clichés and metaphors, I notice. I’m not surprised to hear his background is in teaching English, drama and performing arts. The new PPTA president has a pretty clear idea of what the proverbial ‘kitchen sink’ entails in this case: among other things, better collaboration between schools, more targeted funding, and culturally responsive, accessible professional learning and development (PLD). At the heart of all this Boyle has one key priority: he wants to see fairness and equity in New Zealand education. He hasn’t wavered from this objective since he first joined the PPTA at a school level or as he progressed to regional level involvement with the union in 2009. It was around this time that he attended a PPTA conference.
“[The conference] was the best PLD I’d had at that point,” he says. The conference opened his eyes to how important, yet inaccessible, PLD opportunities were for teachers. Boyle thinks the current one-size-fits-all, centralised and expensive approach to PLD isn’t cutting it. “There’s an expectation for teachers to do their PLD in their own time, on their own dime,” he says. The sector has come to rely on this “heroic model”, says Boyle. Senior subject associations for example, are vastly under-resourced – “they run on the smell of an oily rag” – yet could be the perfect vehicle for delivering high-quality, subjectspecific PLD if they were adequately funded.
16 Leadership & PD
In pursuit of fairness and equity in education More collaboration
Boyle feels strongly that we need to move away from the competitive model that has infiltrated New Zealand education. Under the Tomorrow’s Schools approach, school choice amounted to exit, he says, with families overlooking their local school and seeking out the higher decile schools down the road, without a thought given to the teaching quality on offer. While he views Communities of Learning as a work in progress, he sees huge potential in them to enable more and better collaboration between schools. “Doing it alone isn’t going to get the job done,” he says. He is keen to see the CoLs succeed, and wants to be sure that the money set aside for Investing in Educational Success (IES) is being put to good use, after Labour’s Chris Hipkins lifted the lid on a massive underspend of the policy roll-out. “I’d be really concerned if there was a slush fund sitting somewhere,” says Boyle. When it comes to funding, Boyle doesn’t get too hung up on the overall level of the education budget. He’s more concerned that the amount being spent on education is bootstrapped to addressing equity in education. “We want to see that the investment is what is needed and is adequate,” he says.
More focus on producing quality teachers – and giving them flexibility to teach
Another part of the jigsaw puzzle is getting teacher registration right – setting the bar high and providing opportunities for quality mentoring and support. Boyle says the input of ‘critical friends’ in a teacher’s development is such a valuable part of the mentoring process. He doesn’t want to see New Zealand go down the path of countries that have introduced performance pay measures that have ultimately led to downward pressure on teacher salaries.
“Every teacher in New Zealand should be highly trained and competent and their initial remuneration should reflect this,” he says. He is tentatively supportive of a postgrad approach to initial teacher education, preferring it to a “learn-on-the-job approach”. But again, the pay would have to reflect teachers’ levels of training and skill. Teachers’ salaries are currently a contributing factor to teacher shortages in places where the cost of living is high, most notably in Auckland. “You can’t put lipstick on that pig,” he says of the supply crisis, proffering the best metaphor of the conversation yet. Ultimately, teachers need to be empowered, he says. Part of this relies on students and school communities feeling empowered as well. Boyle says there is a tendency for schools to foist systems and ideals on to their communities, rather than listen and reflect what they want and need. He’d love to see “cross-partisan consensus” between government, schools and communities.
Less bureaucracy and accountability
Part of this consensus hinges on the Ministry really listening to what teachers and principals need in order to do their job to the best of their ability. Boyle says teachers would like to see less pressure to complete the increasing amount of paperwork that is taking their focus away from teaching. The PPTA is anxious for feedback on the Ministerial Workload Working Group Report, which looks at how to remove, or at least reduce, administrative tasks that are taking teachers away from teaching. Boyle says the other pressure that needs to be recognised relates to assessment. The way that NCEA is currently set up, with the Ministry’s 85 per cent achievement target bearing down heavily on schools, requires almost constant assessment. “A student has a high-stakes assessment just about every two weeks,” says Boyle. He thinks the pressure of assessment on students and teachers is relentless and, again, distracts teachers from actually teaching.
catch Angela Roberts on her last day on the job. Tomorrow she heads back to Stratford, where she’ll pick up where she left off four years ago as HOD for the arts department at Stratford High School. “My husband says it’ll be like riding a bike,” she says of returning to teaching after four years at the helm of the PPTA. “I sure hope so!”
Fresh approach to union leadership
Assessment has been brought to the discussion table by Gareth Morgan’s Opportunities Party, with the suggestion that NCEA assessment should be delayed. Boyle is eager to have these discussions, especially with this being election year. The Greens’ policy on compulsory te reo is another debate well worth having, he says. He says he is driven by policy rather than any allegiance to a particular political party. Boyle strikes me as having a slightly more diplomatic approach to working with government and other parties – or perhaps he is biding his time. He doubts he’d ever take a stance like his predecessor Angela Roberts did when she announced she was no longer prepared for the PPTA to participate in the cross-sector taskforce as it lacked genuine sector consultation. “The Ministry has some really good people and they genuinely have kids’ best interests at heart,” he says. Even if the union disagrees with the way a certain policy is introduced or with its finer details, Boyle believes the Ministry’s underlying goal will generally be focused on improving outcomes for young New Zealanders. He gives IES and the funding review as two recent examples of ‘heart in the right place’ policy initiatives with ‘devil in the detail’ implementation. Boyle appears to be up for the challenge. Roberts was in the role for four years and I muse that he will have “big shoes to fill”. “Yes, ‘this high’ stilettos,” he laughs, indicating with his fingers the height of Roberts’ heels. He clearly has huge admiration for Roberts; however, I get the feeling that Boyle will bring his own leadership style to the table. “I see myself as in a servant role, certainly not a figurehead,” he says, “I’m still not used to having a PA, but I’m getting better!”
what’s next after four years at the helm?
Four years have apparently passed in the blink of an eye. Her children were young when she started and it’s been years of commuting and compromise to make it all work. She hasn’t looked back since being shouldertapped for the role. “I believe strongly in the female power of the shoulder tap. When others say, ‘This is something you should think about doing’, it makes you want to prove yourself.” And proved herself she has. Four intense years is almost too long to boil down into a neat list of presidency highlights. She walked straight into the Novopay fray when she took on the job . “Peter Hughes and I were both new to our jobs. We didn’t have time to let egos get in the way. We just had to focus on finding solutions.” Roberts points to OECD evidence that shows that when governments engage with teacher unions, it results in good policy being developed and implemented well. “It’s not just about sitting around the table,” she says. “When I turn up to these discussions, it isn’t my opinion I’m sharing – it’s the views of the profession, formed democratically and informed by evidence. I always feel confident that it is robust.” Investing in Educational Success (IES) is a good example of how the PPTA worked effectively with the Ministry to help develop a policy initiative. Roberts described that when the Prime Minister presented the initial IES policy, they were suddenly within grasping distance of an opportunity to progress policy they had been trying to advance for about a decade. IES offered a chance to push back against the competitiveness of Tomorrow’s Schools and to progress professional development opportunities for teachers. However, the model hinged on performance pay, which Roberts describes matterof-factly as “a terrible idea” as it doesn’t incentivise teachers. The collective agreements provide an opportunity to shift the emphasis of IES from pay to more teachers benefiting from the system. Roberts concedes that IES is “not perfect” but rather is a work in progress. There are still supply issues and there isn’t much in it for middle leaders, she says – but with time and patience they can keep honing the policy. The sense of urgency the Minister is trying to inflict on IES is counterproductive, in her opinion. IES policy was one of the few to divide the PPTA and the primary teachers’ union NZEI Te Riu Roa. Despite their different views on the policy, Roberts says they “kept talking to each other”. “I think the recent bulk-funding campaign has proved that the relationships are strong enough,” she says.
The same is true with the PPTA’s relationships with the Ministry and government agencies. “If we’re about to have a tough conversation with NZQA, for example, I’ll always preface it by saying something like, ‘You’ve got to remember the profession has invested heavily in NCEA’,” says Roberts. NCEA is a good example. Roberts says teachers want to see it flourish, but they need to have “the liberty to play in the sandbox”. After a decade, a little more trust would go a long way. NCEA is on Roberts’ list of ‘unfinished business’ from her time as PPTA president, although I get the sense that it is one of those jobs for which you never reach the bottom of your ‘to do’ list. Another item on the list is teachers’ workloads. Teachers are frustrated by the increasing levels of accountability placed on them by various agencies. “Teachers didn’t get into teaching to fill out forms,” says Roberts. “The focus seems to be on satisfying the needs of a bureaucrat in Wellington and not the needs of students in my classroom.” Roberts is looking forward to being back in the classroom. She says she is curious to view teaching through a different lens. She acknowledges that while technology has moved forward, the fundamentals, such as the relationships and reflective practice, will be unchanged. She will remain on the executive of the PPTA, sliding into the vice-president role, which will see her supporting her successor, Jack Boyle, who, she says, is “itching to get stuck in”. She reflects on how her role at the PPTA has changed over time. Once the “youngest by about 10 years” and writing up papers on induction and mentoring processes for young teachers, Roberts now finds herself passing the baton to those coming up through the ranks and sharing with them how to write their own papers and bring awareness to issues. There has been some speculation about her next move – will she seek a senior leadership role? Or will she consider a career in politics? Roberts says both are possibilities. I get the impression she would relish a political position. “I really enjoy the work I do in Wellington. I love having a constituency and finding out where the solution lies. And sometimes we do effect change.” Roberts says timing is everything. “It might come down to the ‘shoulder tap’ again,” suggests Roberts. For now, however, she is looking forward to heading back home and back into the classroom. Although I don’t think it will be long before she is tempted into the world of politics.
“I love having a constituency and finding out where the solution lies. And sometimes we do effect change.”
Go to educationreview.co.nz educationreview.co.nz
Leadership & PD 17
In pursuit of the elusive and ubiquitous standard Dr JOHN BOEREBOOM discusses why defining an educational standard is so problematic in both the primary and secondary schooling sectors.
n 1878 the educational fathers of our fledgling nation introduced six educational standards for primary schools. The standards were highly prescriptive and precise. For instance, the prescription for Standard 2 Arithmetic prescribed: “Numeration and notation of not more than six figures; addition of not more than six lines, with six figures in a line; short multiplication and multiplication by factors not greater than 12; subtraction; division by numbers not exceeding 12, by the method of long and short division, mental problems and multiplication tables to 12 times 12.” All primary school students were to be assessed at the end of each year by a school inspector, often on horseback. The assessment data was centrally controlled and students who did not pass the standard exams were held back. Parents, teachers and the public soon came to judge a school by the ‘percentage of passes’ and a teacher’s status and promotion prospects depended on the pass rates in the annual standards examination. There was much debate in the 1920s about the impact of a standards-based primary school curriculum and the purpose of annual exams. When analysing the debate you constantly need to check the date because it could have been written yesterday. In 1936 the newly elected Labour Government abolished the proficiency exam in Standard 6 and schools received autonomy to design their own programmes of learning and assessment. With a sense of déjà vu, standards-based assessment was revisited in secondary schools in the mid-1990s with the introduction of Unit Standards for secondary school qualifications and reintroduction of National Standards for primary schools in 2010. The National Standards describe expectations that students need to meet in reading, writing, and mathematics in the first eight years at school.
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At first glance it seems straightforward for the Ministry of Education to prescribe the National Standards for primary education and for NZQA to provide Achievement Standards for secondary school qualifications. In practice however, the definition of an educational standard is more problematic. Far from being a precisely and narrowly defined pedagogical statement, the standard is a complex social construct that reflects the interaction of a number of factors.
All of these participants in the assessment process need to be socialised into developing a shared and triangulated understanding of the standard which extends far beyond the written statement of the standard. In primary schools the introduction of National Standards has not gone smoothly. While some have called for the Government to get rid of them, this may be too drastic a recommendation. If assessment against National Standards remains school-based and student-centred to support
“Far from being a precisely and narrowly defined pedagogical statement, the standard is a complex social construct that reflects the interaction of a number of factors.” Firstly, there is the statement of the standard, which is by necessity precise and narrow. The standard specification has to be so specific and unambiguous that both learners and assessors can interpret them consistently. Secondly, there is the level of difficulty and content of the assessment used to judge whether students have met the standard. This needs to be valid and requires interpretation of the standard by the examiner. This requires pre-assessment moderation of the assessment activity and assessment schedules to ensure they reflect the learning outcomes of the standard. Thirdly, the marker of the assessment needs to interpret the marking schedule consistently with other markers throughout the country. This necessitates moderation between markers to reach a consistent interpretation. Last but not least, it requires a shared understanding of all teachers and providers of educational resources so they can use the standard as a guide in the design of their teaching programmes.
teaching and learning they can be useful signposts for measuring student progress as part of a learning progression framework. The scenario to avoid is the potential path to national testing, league tables, measures of school effectiveness and, heaven forbid, performance pay. In the secondary sector, the introduction of Unit Standards in the nineties resulted in widespread public and academic debate. The subsequent evolution of secondary school assessment provides an interesting illustration of the difficulty of adopting a pure form of standards-based assessment. Unit Standards for secondary school qualifications were internally assessed and competency based. Each standard included strict performance criteria. To achieve the standards students had to meet all of the performance criteria. Critics felt that while this method of assessment was suitable for vocational and skillbased subjects, it was unsuitable for assessing the higher level skills of academic subjects. The method of grading adversely affected student
Emotional learning motivation and did not sufficiently differentiate between students. Teachers also complained of the heavy administrative workload involved in keeping track of numerous standards and criteria. The move to Achievement Standards introduced external exams and an element of ranking by stating whether students had met the standard with an Achieve, Merit or Excellence grade. Due to the complexity of locating the standard, the initial results showed variation from year to year in the percentage of students who attained the various grades. The standards were elusive to assess consistently. NZQA addressed this by introducing the Profile of Expected Performance (PEP). The PEP is based on the historical proportions of students achieving N, A, M and E grades for each standard. At the initial stages of marking the profile of grades for a sample is compared to the PEP. If there are variations adjustments are made to the assessment schedule to achieve a better match. This is a form of standards based scaling. It does not accommodate national improvements and longitudinal growth as schools and students improve in their preparation for the NCEA exams. The introduction of cut scores to regulate the percentage of students in the various grade categories were a further move away from a pure form of standards-based assessment towards a hybrid form of assessment that uses a normreferenced approach to adjust the results. The setting of cut scores to achieve a PEP is dictated by the distribution of grades and not linked back to the interpretation of the standard. The manipulation of grades using PEPs and cut scores happen behind a veil of confidentiality agreements at the marking stage and lack transparency for students, teachers and parents who expect that a student’s performance in relation to the criteria is the sole determinant of their grade. History clearly shows us that summative assessment of learning that is used for certification and national qualifications needs to include some form of norm referencing since student ability and achievement, like all human traits, is normally distributed. This provides the basis for normreferenced assessment which enables recognition of a wide range of achievement. In the case of assessment for learning however, standardsbased assessment is student centred, formative, diagnostic and useful for measuring progress and guide future learning and teaching. We have a world class Curriculum Framework that is student-centred, engages students and provides freedom for teachers to design learning programmes to meet the needs of their students. The challenge is to choose the right assessment paradigm for the correct end use. The lessons from history are valuable and need to be revisited periodically to ensure that the student remains at the heart of our education system. Value-added assessment is useful because it supplements the summative nature of standards by introducing a monitoring component which provides a clear indication of student progress and growth. Dr John Boereboom is the Director of the Centre for Evaluation and Monitoring at the University of Canterbury. He is a past national moderator, examiner and standard writer.
Is it a teacher’s job to teach resilience? Research shows teachers are doing a great job with teaching the curriculum but are we ticking all the boxes when it comes to students’ social and emotional learning journeys?
iwi parents are concerned that their children aren’t learning resilience or the ability to cope with stress or negative situations, raising the question of whether children’s social and emotional learning needs are being met. This was one of the key findings of last year’s ASG Parents Report Card survey. The ASG study – run in collaboration with Monash University – surveyed 800 New Zealand parents on a range of things from financial pressures, to perceptions of the quality of their child’s education, to technology use, to their thoughts on their child’s social and emotional development. While the survey found that 89 per cent of parents were happy with the quality of teaching, there were clear concerns raised about children’s resilience and coping abilities. The survey found that more than half of parents (54 per cent) feel that their child is not taught how to manage stress at school very well. Six out of 10 (62 per cent) parents believe that their child is easily upset by negative experiences, while almost one third expressed concerns at their child’s ability to handle personal problems. ASG chief executive John Velegrinis is an advocate for a holistic approach to schooling, one that looks beyond a child’s academic achievement and encompasses all facets of learning. “The social and emotional learning journey is arguably just as important, if not more important, than the academic journey. It is about finding the right balance between the two,” he says. Associate Professor Sivanes Phillipson of Monash University’s Faculty of Education says the survey findings reinforce the need for a holistic education. “Students need to be able to apply life skills and critical thinking to any setting. They need to constantly ask the question: “Why am I learning…?” The United States-based Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning (CASEL) suggests there are five core
competencies that young people need: selfawareness, self-management, responsible decision making, social awareness and relationship skills. These reflect the key competencies outlined in The New Zealand Curriculum, which provides an avenue for building these competencies across a range of learning areas. However, Velegrinis says teaching is still considerably focused on retention and is hindering agility and the ability to apply learning. “The current generation of students is forcing a solution to be found. Policymakers typically move very slowly, but they don’t have that luxury when students are demanding a new way of learning.” Velegrinis believes policymakers also need to take into account the perspectives of parents and whānau. “Parents are the singularly most important stakeholder in education,” he says. “I liken it to a three-legged stool, the legs being the educators, policymakers and parents – at the moment the stool is wobbly and unbalanced because it is missing that parent leg. We are flummoxed that parents’ voices are currently not heard.” Phillipson says the survey findings reflect a need for closer links between home and school. “The survey shows that parents do recognise the value teachers add. But the loop between home and school needs to be closed. Schools should be listening to what parents have to say,” she says. “What children experience on the homefront might differ vastly from what they experience at school, so the gap needs to be bridged to allow that social and emotional or holistic learning journey to be consistent,” adds Velegrinis. There are various initiatives and programmes that are aimed at addressing this. The Positive Behaviour for Learning (PB4L) programme is focused on building social and emotional competencies. The Wellbeing@School toolkit, the Mindfulness in Schools initiative and the international You Can Do It programme are also examples of efforts to weave social and emotional learning into students’ learning.
“The social and emotional learning journey is arguably just as important, if not more important, than the academic journey. It is about finding the right balance between the two.”
Leadership & PD 19
New support on its way for beginning principals
Education Review takes a look at a new initiative to support beginning principals.
eginning principals will benefit this year from the opportunity to access highlevel expertise, coaching and mentoring through a new Ministry of Education funded service that aims to support and develop them as leaders of their schools. The new initiative fully kicks off in term 2 this year, with 21 full-time leadership advisors across New Zealand poised to provide the timely support that beginning principals in both primary and secondary schools need. The Ministry of Education has selected Evaluation Associates to provide this new service which replaces the Firsttime Principals Programme.
In addition to providing overarching strategic guidance, leadership advisors will also take on a coaching role, working with new principals on their individual professional journeys. This will help principals make progress with their professional goals around things like governance, leading staff, leading learning, and addressing a school’s specific needs and challenges. The leadership advisors will also help principals to make connections and build networks across the country with other beginning principals. In addition to the support of a leadership advisor, a beginning principal will also have access to a mentor who can provide assistance on the day-to-day business of running a school. The mentor will be an experienced principal based at a school in the same region. Each of the 10 Ministry regions will have regionally based leadership advisors.
Diane Manners, Evaluation Associates’ National Coordinator of Leadership Advisors, says the initiative has grown from a research and evidence base. “Beginning principals want timely and responsive support as well as the opportunity to tap into the expertise of experienced principals. This initiative will provide day-to-day mentoring as well as the wider support of a leadership advisor,” says Manners. The New Zealand Principals’ Federation was a key driver behind the increased support for beginning principals. From the outset, they have been a strong advocate for the provision of high quality support for beginning principals, as effective leadership is a proven enabler of highquality education. For more information on this programme, you can visit www.evaluate.co.nz or email your questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Leadership advisor profiles
What led you to pursue a leadership advisor role?
I have always been interested in the development of such a role, as first mooted by the New Zealand Principals’ Federation. I was a mentor in the First-time Principals (FTP) programme helping to deliver support and guidance on a regular and consistent basis to new and beginning principals within a challenging educational landscape. While it was satisfying to work with new principals on a scheduled basis within the FTP programme this new initiative will allow the flexibility to address specific needs of new principals as they arise and to build up an ongoing relationship of guidance and support. The leadership advisory roles are full-time positions and are an acknowledgment by the Ministry of Education of the complexities of principalship, and the critical importance of establishing a positive relationship with an experienced advisor early in the tenure of a firsttime principal to a school. My interest in applying for this role stems from the range of experiences I have been fortunate to have had in education over the past 25 years: as a teaching principal in two rural contexts, an advisor to rural schools, a deputy principal role in an urban school, four years as an education reviewer and latterly as an urban principal in a U5 school in Napier. I like to think those experiences have made me a better principal and I feel it is timely to share whatever expertise I have accumulated with others, new to their principalships. The challenges that face experienced principals, let alone brand-new principals, can be overwhelming at times.
20 Leadership & PD
What do you view as the main Q challenges facing beginning principals?
As a leadership advisor, how Q can you support beginning principals to address these
Initially building up trust and confidence amongst staff and community while managing the school operationally and providing ongoing instructional leadership from day 1 is a key challenge. There is no training period for a principal. On the day you start, the expectation is that you will be able to do the job and satisfy all stakeholders, i.e. parents, staff and the wider community. Developing a shared culture of improvement where everybody is focused on the big picture of educational success for all. Maintaining a resilience and work life balance to enable the energy to do the job. Taking care of oneself as a principal is a must. Complexity of the workload in a challenging and rapidly changing educational environment; rethinking what is taught, how it is taught and how learning is assessed is challenging for all school principals. Current research on what influences learning and how the brain learns is challenging much of our thinking and we need to be clear on what this means for school direction and development. Effective management of the school in an operational sense versus instructional leadership of the teaching staff. Balancing the need to achieve enhanced student achievement in an academic sense balanced alongside the need to promote success in the key competencies, e.g. communication, creativity, collaboration, critical thinking and curiosity. Determining what is appropriate professional development for staff is also a challenge. Important to note that all principals face these challenges, but that they are especially demanding for new principals who haven’t yet gained the confidence of their staff and communities to make the best decisions. Each good decision a principal makes the more his/her colleagues will trust them to continue to make good decisions.
A key component of the leadership advisor’s role is in coaching the new principals to develop a ‘clarity of purpose’ about what is important to focus on (i.e. the promotion of student achievement and wellbeing), so that all decisions, large and small, can promote and progress that purpose. Such a focus elevates decisions above personalities, personal wishes, staff preferences and bias and provides a rationale for why decisions are made. So a natural progression is for the leadership advisor to assist the new principal to set realistic goals based on this clarity of purpose and follow the goals through to achievement through effective action planning with respect to community and staff input. There is a danger in trying to do too much too quickly and risk superficiality over depth. Change takes time to embed. In line with the Ministry’s emphasis on high quality and high equity, a key component of the leadership advisory role, through mentoring and support, is to assist the new principal to develop strategies to enhance student achievement and wellbeing in the widest sense, so that each learner achieves educational success. Each school is a unique context and so strategies for advising, mentoring and coaching will vary, hence the need for the leadership advisor to build a relationship in the first instance with the new principal and learn about their context, background, skills and strengths. At a more practical level, the role also means helping new principals anticipate and schedule when certain bureaucratic demands need to be met, and help principals understand where to look for documents and key information.
“Beginning principals want timely and responsive support as well as the opportunity to tap into the expertise of experienced principals. This initiative will provide day-to-day mentoring as well as the wider support of a leadership advisor.”
STEVE BOVAIRD What led you As a leadership advisor, how can What do you view as the main Q Q Q to pursue a you support beginning principals challenges facing beginning leadership to address these challenges? principals? advisory role?
I have been the principal of Lynfield College for 15 years. During that time I have built up a wealth of experience in management and governance. Lynfield College’s four previous ERO reports confirmed the solid work we have been doing here. My 13 years on the executive of ASSPA (Auckland Secondary Schools Principals’ Association) a two-year term as chair, a Woolf Fisher Fellowship in 2015 and a stint helping out as principal at Papakura High for four months in 2015 have given me a wealth of experience beyond Lynfield, that I believe could be used to support new principals as they establish their careers.
Adapting to the role of ultimate responsibility in school management. There are no other roles like it in the education system and unless you have done the job you don’t really know what it is like. Helping new principals to navigate through the demands and complexities of the job will be a key part of my role. In the next few years principals will need to deal with: finding an adequate supply of highquality staff; changes to the current school funding model; the move to digital assessment from NZQA; the place of Communities of Learning in the schooling system, and the ongoing property issues around supply of teaching spaces and ensuring high-quality spaces.
I can listen and share experiences. I can ensure that new principals are aware of the supports that are available and make sure that they have easy access to them. In my time as principal I have experienced most of the events that will surprise a principal and found out where to get support. In dealing with these specific issues, many of them are issues within the education system and require contact with the Ministry. Being able to build positive relationships with those you need support from is an essential element of being a principal. I can support new principals to network with others so that issues that arise are addressed in a systematic way rather than in isolation. If a school has issues you can guarantee that other schools have the same issues. We are often not good at sharing our issues with each other.
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Leadership & PD 21
Three major questions S
ugata Mitra, Sir John Jones and Frances Valintine headlined the Leading Remarkable Learning Conference in March this year. Convened by Westmount School, the conference aimed to redefine and refresh views of education and to inspire the education community for the future. Mitra’s ‘Hole in the Wall’ research, to develop the learning capacity of slum children in India, inspired a movie (Slumdog Millionaire) and is propelling the shift worldwide to Schools in the Cloud. Sir John was knighted for his services to education and is a speaker who inspires teachers to think about why they are in education, and the impact they have on young people. Valintine is the founder of The Mindlab by Unitec and the Tech Futures Lab. She is listed in the Top 50 Ed Tech thinkers globally and challenges us to think about the purpose of education in the context of a digital future that is changing exponentially.
What is the biggest challenge confronting education at present?
Mitra: The biggest challenge to education is its view of its own purpose. Education is meant to help us understand the world and human beings. Its purpose is to enable people to live happy, healthy and productive lives. Very few would argue against that. However, what is it that people should know in order to fulfil this purpose? Years ago, the UNESCO said the four pillars of learning were fundamental principles for reshaping education: 1. Learning to know: to provide the cognitive tools required to better comprehend the world and its complexities, and to provide an appropriate and adequate foundation for future learning. Is present education doing this? Does school enable you to search and find what you need to know? Does it help you understand the complexities of an immensely connected world? 2. Learning to do: to provide the skills that would enable individuals to effectively participate in the global economy and society. Do multiplication tables help you participate in the global economy? Did you learn how to text properly in school? Did school teach you what social media is good for? Will school help you own and use a driverless car? 3. Learning to be: to provide self-analytical and social skills to enable individuals to develop to their fullest potential psycho-socially, affectively as well as physically, for an all-round ‘complete person’. What is a ‘complete person’ in a connected world? What are social skills on digital media? Does school help you learn these?
22 Leadership & PD
4. Learning to live together: to expose individuals to the values implicit within human rights, democratic principles, intercultural understanding and respect and peace at all levels of society and human relationships to enable individuals and societies to live in peace and harmony. Do individuals and societies exist in isolation anymore? Do robots have rights? Are animals self-aware? Do they have rights? Do you learn these in school? In other words, present education is still very much meant for people growing up in the recent past. It has little relevance in the present, and no awareness of the future. Education is full of knowledge and skills that are ‘just in case’ you ever need them. But you never will need most of them, and if you do, a machine or a network will teach you instantly – or, better still, do it for you. Jones: We live in a rapidly changing world – a world in which, statisticians claim, 80 per cent of the jobs our children will do have not yet been invented. In order to thrive and succeed in such times, Thomas Friedman, in his visionary book The World is Flat, warns that we are all going to need four key qualities: creativity, ingenuity, portability and flexibility. This has huge implications for schooling in general, and teachers, in particular.
“Our teachers are our greatest assets and we need to ensure they are confident, capable, open to progress and highly informed.” McKinsey research (2007) examined the top 10 performing global education systems and identified three things each system does well: They get the right people to become teachers. They develop these people into effective instructors. They put systems in place to ensure every child can benefit from this instruction. Politicians must support and promote the growth of an educational system that will deliver these three things. They must set the right priorities, by: paying teachers well avoiding the use of education as a political football championing teaching as a great career path (in Finland, one of the consistently highest performing global education systems, teaching outstrips medicine and law as the most popular career choice, although it is not the highest paid)
for three major educational thought leaders Education Review asks three international leading educationalists – Sugata Mitra, Sir John Jones and Frances Valintine – to respond to three big questions. relieving teachers of unnecessary bureaucracy granting extensive statutory time for professional development and lesson preparation (in Singapore, another PISA highperforming system, teachers teach far less than in the UK and are given generous preparation time). Valintine: Globally, I think the challenge is that we are preparing children for a world that is completely different: There will be massive population growth (from three billion in 1950 to nine billion by 2050). There will be growth in the middle class. There will be a much larger number of highly educated, self-educated youth who are going to be competitors for jobs and champions for new ways to work, communicate, live and learn. Business models are being completely disrupted by technology. Every industry requires its workforce to have an understanding of technological advances, new business models and the new drivers of the global economy. The challenge for New Zealand is to develop a longterm strategy for education. National policies treating all learning communities the same need to be personalised and contextualised to better respond to need. We underinvest in teacher professional development and technical capability. Our teachers are our greatest assets and we need to ensure they are confident, capable, open to progress and highly informed. We haven’t identified the real value of STEM in New Zealand, which is that it is underpinned by problem solving. It develops the mindset as well as the skills our children need for the future. We have to think much more broadly about the benefits of STEM and move away from narrow views of technology and science.
What is the most compelling piece of educational research you have encountered and why? Mitra: It is hard to point to one piece of research. There are many – that animals have a sense of fairness, that trees can communicate, for instance. Educational research needs to move out of sample studies of learners answering exams. Educators need to read research outside of traditional ‘educational research’.
“... in the right political system, in great schools, working in new ways with brilliant teachers and supportive parents, anything is possible and is there for all and not just a select few.” Jones: Carol Dweck’s work on Fixed/Growth Mindsets. Fixed mindset thinking has held back so many. Both teachers and parents need to readjust their thinking on high performance. Some decades ago as a young teacher and parent, I thought that being clever was more important than working hard; that ability was fixed – some have it and some don’t; that being correct was good and failure was bad and, more crucially, that you are who you are and changing is difficult. I was comfortable with words like gifted, talented, natural and prodigy. How wrong I was. In my sixth decade I have come to realise that effort and hard work should be praised more than being smart; that learning how to handle failure is a key life skill; that all of us possess that inner spark and finding your genius is more important than being a genius; that in the right political system, in great schools, working in new ways with brilliant teachers and supportive parents, anything is possible and is there for all and not just a select few. It’s called ‘learning without limits’. Valintine: Research in education is tricky because it is a backward-looking process. Reviewing what has happened and assessing a legacy activity will only ever be part of a solution. Research in itself is limiting. We have to think about research differently. We need to take more into consideration the global macro trends in much shorter time spaces as well as the local impact. We need to make it about the past and the future – what can we learn from the past that will benefit the future?
Jones: For decades, education has taken the option of repeating itself, comfortable in a culture of standardisation and compliance. Teachers need to break free of their comfort zones and let go of traditional methods on the journey from controlled to free, self-directed learning. Valintine: This is the problem we were trying to solve with The Mind Lab by Unitec Postgraduate programme. We had to consider: How could we deliver a postgraduate programme to teachers so that they didn’t need to attend during school hours? How could we scale the programme so every teacher in New Zealand could access it? How could we make it affordable? How could we ensure all aspects of the programme were reflective of contemporary practice, evidence-based and impactful? Nearly three years on, one in every 30 teachers in New Zealand has undertaken the digital and collaborative postgraduate programme. This has had a very large and positive impact for teachers and their students. Our curriculum approach is highly iterative. There is a constant focus on improvement and responding to teachers’ feedback, new knowledge, data and insights. The Mind Lab is a partnership with Unitec. The model is a Public Private Partnership, which is rare in education. It is a transformational model for teaching practice and development.
How can educators ensure that their teaching practice remains effective in the face of changing learning environments, assessment practices, curriculum priorities and other variables? Mitra: Ask the learner, every step of the way. Listen to them and live in their world, do not try to bring them into yours. If you are over 40, the world you know and believe in is obsolete.
Leadership & PD 23
PLD – Māori Achievement
How MACs are improving
opportunities for Māori learners
LIZ HAWES discusses how the Ministry of Education, the New Zealand Principals’ Federation and Te Akatea, the Māori Principals’ Association have worked together to develop a professional learning development programme for teachers of Māori learners.
ot since the Hunn Report of 1961 has Māori educational disadvantage been in the spotlight to the extent it has in the past decade. Whilst the introduction of National Standards was about as welcome as an opossum at a picnic, one of the Government’s stated reasons for their introduction was to address the ‘underachievement’ of Māori learners. The challenge had been issued. The New Zealand Principals’ Federation (NZPF) took up the challenge, determined to find a creative solution. Recognising that about 90 per cent of Māori learners attended mainstream schools, any solution had to apply in the mainstream. Already the Ministry had produced Ka Hikitia and Tū Rangatira, both excellent publications and distributed these to schools. The Education Council had also distributed Tātaiāko, ‘Cultural Competencies for Teachers of Māori Learners’. The missing link was the professional learning development (PLD) to go with them. NZPF, with guidance from Te Akatea, the Māori Principals’ Association, set out to develop a PLD programme for principals designed to bring life to both the Ministry’s documents and the Education Council’s Tātaiāko. Central to this PLD was shifting school culture. If schools were to adopt a truly bicultural aspect, then leadership was key to that transformation. The first step was to transform the leaders themselves. The PLD takes principals on a journey of cultural encounter. Through a process of hard, and at times uncomfortable and confronting, questioning and reflection principals come to understand how their own culture was shaped. They come to appreciate how their own worldview, values and beliefs were acquired. At this point it is possible to recognise and accept that different worldviews can coexist. They come to see how covert racism can unwittingly operate in a school or indeed any part of society, making Māori learners feel culturally uncomfortable and alienated. The rationale for the PLD was based on the assumption that if Māori learners felt they belonged and that their views and beliefs were valued and made normal by the school, they would have a greater chance of succeeding. The assumption was one that principals could believe in. It was backed by a broad selection of global research linking learning success with environments in which learners feel a sense of belonging and ownership. This unique PLD is delivered through collaborative groups, each led by a facilitator who has cultural expertise and is trained in group mentoring and coaching. The collaborations operate on a high-trust model as members support each other through their own journeys. Last year the Minister backed the PLD with funding so that a national coordinator or Te Pītau Mātauranga could be appointed. In the past year principals have flocked to join the PLD collaborations stretching the funding and facilitators delivering the PLD to the edge. The original six collaborations have grown to eight and from 47 principals when funding was granted, to 156 now. Māori Achievement Collaborations ( MAC) principals can be found in eight regions of the country and the total number of students involved in the different schools has increased from 16,286 in March 2016 to 41,663 in November 2016. The number of Māori students across those schools has grown from 6,111 in March 2016 to 12, 873 in November 2016. Participating principals report high levels of satisfaction with the PLD, which they also find very effective. Some of the comments from principals include: “The cluster [collaboration] means I have a network of people to call if I have a question.”
24 Leadership & PD
“It has strengthened partnership in our immediate community.” “MAC is the most influential PD I have ever received – it supports all of my work and I don’t want to see it finish.” Feedback from the participating principals also indicated that their knowledge, especially in implementing the Ka Hikitia strategies is developing well. They also report higher levels of confidence in their ability to implement the strategy. “I am learning heaps at each hui.” “It has a needs-based feel about it which is hugely important in adult learning.” “We are generating our own questions and getting great support from one another as well as from our facilitator, who has a wealth of knowledge to top us all up and keep us on track! It is truly great.” Participants have also reported gains in their partnerships with students, whānau, iwi and hapu. “We have more of our Māori parents talking to us and sharing ways we can work together.” “…parents say their children are putting pressure on them at home… to speak te reo and understand their culture.” “We now run te reo lessons in our interval times two or three times a week.” Principals continue to line up to join what is now considered to be positively transforming PLD. Whilst the will is there to accept all-comers, the PLD is now a victim of its own success and has outreached its capacity to cope with more participants. The Minister has more recently focused her sights on the data for Māori children whose principals are involved in the MAC PLD. She wants to see increases in the national standards results of these Māori children, especially where principals have been involved from the beginning. This is a challenge for participating principals who believe that first biculturalism has to be embedded in their schools before they will see appreciable shifts in national standards data. That is after all the purpose of the PLD. More concerning is that the Minister has not confirmed that funding will continue for the MAC PLD. Principals believe it is such a powerful mechanism for ultimately developing a bicultural nation that it should be continued for the benefit of all. A statement from one MAC principal sums up the value of the PLD well: “Every time we have met for a MAC event I have learned something more, something new. Schools are doing any number of exciting, innovative projects and opportunity to learn more about these is a catalyst for doing more in my own school. Our long-term goal is to be a bilingual school in a bicultural nation, while also ensuring the mana of all students is grown in our multicultural, Tamaki Makaurau context.”
Principals: changing focus from management to leadership
moved to New Zealand all the way from Finland when The Mind Lab by Unitec opened its doors to teachers and school leaders in 2014. During the past three years, as a postgraduate director and session facilitator, I have had the privilege of seeing more than 2,000 teachers come through our doors feeling inspired, motivated and confident to embrace the challenges of this global, digital and collaborative era. This group now includes a growing number of leadership teams, principals and deputy principals, who are transforming their focus from management to becoming pedagogical leaders by completing The Mind Lab’s Postgraduate Certificate in Applied Practice (Digital & Collaborative Learning). From my experience, the best leaders recognise that we are on the same journey as our students. The same digital tools and pedagogical approaches that help our students to collaborate, problem
MILLA INKILA says The Mind Lab by Unitec is helping principals to attain a shift in focus from management to leadership.
solve, innovate and self-manage can also help us and our teams. When looking for good leadership models, we should also look outside the education setting. After starting out a teacher and then jumping into the IT industry, I experienced the real power of self-managing teams. Having the courage to try something new really requires agency, collaboration and courage. As pedagogy evolves to tackle our changing society, a willingness to take a more active role in effecting cultural change is one of the greatest attributes our teachers and school leaders can have. Realising you are not alone builds that muchneeded courage. We can drive the change by listening to, motivating and inspiring each other and our students. In today’s dynamic environment we are here to help time-poor teachers and leaders seize the opportunity to reflect on and develop their practice.
We’re providing opportunities to cultivate new ideas through collaboration; improve teaching practices, and challenge preconceived ideas about educational leadership. Being a manager is about operating at the level of ‘business as usual’. Leadership is about being able to initiate and sustain change. At The Mind Lab by Unitec we give educators the tools, skills and confidence to collaborate, innovate, inspire and embrace change in 21st-century teaching and learning – and I’m grateful that we too get to further upskill with every new cohort of students. Milla Inkila is Postgraduate Director for The Mind Lab by Unitec. The Mind Lab by Unitec’s Postgraduate Certificate in Applied Practice (Digital & Collaborative Learning) is a part time 32-week programme and is redefining professional development for teachers through the offering of a hands-on, progressive and blended qualification. Intakes for 2017 are in March, July and November.
“Some principals think
“The course develops a range
Postgrad study is not for
of skills that are absolutely
them - that it’ saimed
crucial for any educator.
solely at teachers.”
But I believe too that if I want my entire teaching team to dive into Postgrad, I need to walk the talk first.”
Vicky McIntyre Hinds School
SUITABLE FOR BOTH PRINCIPALS & TEACHERS ALIKE Apply Now for our Postgrad Programme in Digital and Collaborative Learning: www.themindlab.com $2000 NEXT Generation Teacher Scholarships available educationreview.co.nz
Leadership & PD 25
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JOBs if you know anyone who has a licence, there’s definitely a story behind it. We all have friends who breeze through tests without studying, after you’ve spent weeks slaving to ensure success. it seems like driving is one of those things you’re either great at to start with, or you need… just a little practice.
We cover these pathways on:
tHe first steps Do you need NCEA credits to get a job? The short answer is ‘no’, but consider sticking out high school until you complete NCEA Level 2. With NCEA Level 2 under your belt, you will have the foundation skills needed for many jobs, and surprisingly, this is one of the first things they will ask about! If you’re more interested in doing an apprenticeship, many apprenticeships don’t have any NCEA requirements. However, some industry training organisations (ITOs) recommend studying NCEA maths and English to at least Level 1 or 2 and any subject relevant to the particular apprenticeship you have your eye on. Your very next step should be writing a curriculum vitae (CV). This is a summary of your work experience, education, and skills. We have
work preparation cHecklist Life as an adult requires paperwork! To ease your transition into the workforce, you’ll need to get these things sorted: » An IRD number (tax number) » A driver’s licence » A bank account
Most jobs require a combination or all of the list above.
wHat sort of job do you want? You know you want money, but do you know the field you want to work in? For a start, if you haven’t already completed the personality type quiz on page 6 , jump back there now and give it a crack. There are a heap of career suggestions in JETmag. I recommend taking your time to read through each one, and narrowing it down to a field you think you’d do well in. Want a second opinion? Try the trusty Careers New Zealand career checker at www.careers.govt.nz/tools/career-checker. There are hundreds of occupations listed on the Careers New Zealand website, and this fiveminute quiz is the key to unlocking them. Go on, check it out, we can wait. Think about all the stuff that makes you tick. There has to be a good job that will be a good match for you. What is your passion? What are your hobbies?
Anyway, here’s the correct and most assured way to be a safe driver once you are allowed to hit the roads. With thanks to VtnZ.
How you get a car licence there are three stages to getting a car licence. At each stage you earn a new licence with fewer restrictions and more responsibilities: » Stage 1: learner licence » Stage 2: restricted licence » Stage 3: full licence.
STage 1: getting your learner licence » you must be at least 16 years old before you can apply for your learner licence. » you have to pass a road rules theory test to get this licence. While on a learner licence: » you must only drive with a supervisor sitting beside you at all times. your supervisor must hold a current, full new Zealand car licence, which does not have a supervisor condition. they must have held their full new Zealand licence (or an equivalent overseas licence) for at least two years
» your car must display learner (L) plates front and rear » you may carry passengers but your supervisor has to agree to this » you face severe penalties if you drive outside the licence conditions. See details on the process for getting your car learner licence and the conditions that will apply to you. your learner licence will be issued for five years. See more information on the validity period of licence classes.
STage 2: getting your restricted licence To apply for your restricted licence, you must: » be at least 16½ years old » have held your learner licence for at least six months. you can apply for this licence after six months on your learner licence. to progress to this step, you’ll have to pass a practical test of your driving skills. While on a restricted licence: » you can drive on your own, but not between 10pm and 5am » generally, you cannot carry passengers without the supervision of a licensed car driver. your supervisor must hold a current full new Zealand car licence that does not have
a supervisor condition. they must have held their full new Zealand licence (or an equivalent overseas licence) for at least two years. your restricted licence will be issued for five years. See more information on the validity period of licence classes.
DefeNce force With more than 80 roles (known as ‘trades’), the job diversity in the New Zealand Defence force is huge and there is something for everybody.
STage 3: getting your full licence you must be at least 18 years of age before you can apply for your full licence. if you have completed an approved advanced driving skills course, this is reduced to 17½. if you are under 25 years of age, you can apply after you’ve held your restricted licence for: » at least 18 months; or » at least 12 months if you have completed an approved advanced driving skill course. if you are 25 years of age or older, you can apply after you have held your restricted licence for: » at least six months, or » at least three months if you have completed an approved advanced driving skills course. to progress to a full licence you have to pass a practical test by demonstrating safe driving behaviour across a wide range of traffic situations and road conditions. Don’t be afraid to tweet or Facebook us photos of you and your licence on the special day! We’d love to hear about how great your tests went, or… didn’t!
he New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF) is made up of the Navy, Army, and Air Force. The NZDF’s primary purpose is to defend New Zealand in times of war, but the Defence Force conducts a range of other activities, like aiding disaster relief. Trades range from combat to IT and communications, health, logistics, engineering, hospitality, workshop (technical), and management (officers). If you reckon you have leadership potential, you can join the NZDF as an officer straightaway. Officers are the ones who can take control of a situation, command people and resources, and make decisions under pressure. Skills for life: The NZDF provides world-class training, and through that training, you get access to high-tech equipment not found anywhere else. This can be a good alternative to doing an apprenticeship through an Industry Training Organisation (ITO) or studying at polytech. The upside to training with the NZDF is that you get paid while you learn. New recruits start on a salary of about $31,000 during their initial 12–16 weeks of training. Food and accommodation is included during training. After graduation, the salary jumps to at least $44,000 per year and increases regularly as you upskill and get promoted. Should you leave, you will be taking with you a wealth of transferable skills and experience. If you’re smart, active, a good team player, and passionate about making a difference, you may enjoy a career in the New Zealand Defence Force. Find out more at defencecareers.mil.nz.
A range of Youth Guarantee initiatives such as secondary-tertiary programmes (including trades academies), service academies, and fees-free places provide students with new opportunities to engage in higher education and vocational training for free.
WHAT ARE THE VOCATIONAL PATHWAYS?
Ok, anyone under 20 can dive back in … the Vocational Pathways are a way of looking at career options and support available for jobs. These are clumped in six broad sectors (the sixth, creative is still under consideration by the Ministry of education, but we’ve included it in here because we like poets, dancers, and other artistic types), The pathways represent new ways to structure and achieve NCeA level 2 and provide a more understandable framework for vocational education and training. They aim to help you develop your own individual education plan, so you can be better informed and can make better choices to meet your career goals. The Vocational Pathways (including the possible sixth pathway) are: » Primary Industries » Services Industries » Social and Community Services » Manufacturing and Technology » Construction and Infrastructure » Creative Industries Here in JeTmag, we have our sector overviews arranged under these six headings. each overview has several profiles of young professionals and professionals-intraining doing awesome things. Their jobs range from the straightforward (like a doctor or teacher) through to funky specialist fields (like a fashion designer or audio engineer).
NCEA Level 1 Level 2 Level 3
Social and Community Services Page 71
everyone in senior school should have received their vocational profile (on www.nzqa.govt.nz). If you didn’t, ask your careers advisor or year dean. Your vocational profile shows your achievement against the five current Vocational Pathways. This should give you a sense of the progress you are making to achieve NCeA level 2 or equivalent. Achieving a Vocational Pathway on your profile means you are developing the skills and knowledge in areas that employers value. employers will be able to see your strengths, abilities, interests and achievements using the Vocational Pathways. Your Vocational Profile can show how your achievement relates to the learning or skills training employers are seeking. If you’re an especially creative type, you’ll have to wait until that pathway is developed before you can measure your progress in related NCeA subjects.
Contact: Fiona Reid, Commercial Manager
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hen there’s the person who wakes up, decides they might go get their learners WiTHOUT reading the road code and who comes out saying it was easier than the year 4 basic facts test.
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» A birth certificate » Interview and work clothes » Transport (a way to get to and from work, such as a car or bus card). » Your parents, guardians, or whānau should be able to help you with most of these things.
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You can potentially leave school if you’re under 16, but you need a plan (preferably a job or training position lined up) and an early leaving exemption from the Ministry of Education. Bear in mind that the Ministry declines about 90 per cent of all early leaving exemptions, as they want to encourage students to stay in school and gain a qualification. If you want to go down this path, talk to your school’s career advisor or year dean. Otherwise, your best option is to attain some NCEA credits.
everything you need to get this bad boy up and running, including an example to get you started. On your CV, summarise your NCEA results. Be smart about this by putting the results an employer would most like to see at the top of your CV and including any credits towards NCEA, even if you haven’t completed a full NCEA. Once your CV is in order, you just need to write a personalised cover letter (nothing fancy, just a couple of positive paragraphs about why you want to work at the company and what you can offer). Make sure you personalise each cover letter per each job, e.g. a pet shop you would say “I’m great with animals!” or a helpline, “I’m great with people!”. Before you contact anyone, make sure your social media presence is sorted. This means ensuring you remove any nude selfies (!), photos of you passed out in the street, trolling rants, or any other randomness that your potential new employers might find offensive.
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Your family most likely won’t support you when you leave school (and if they do, lucky you!), so whether it’s a part-time job to help while you study or a full-time job to help you work your way up the career ladder, here are some tips for snapping up that first job, which can be a pretty brutal process at times.
tudents, tune out while your parents take over for this bit … the Youth Guarantee is the Government’s promise to provide young people with more choices, ways and places to achieve NCeA level 2 or equivalent. Achieving NCeA level 2 allows young people the option to take on further education or get a good foothold in the workforce. This is where the Page 89 Vocational Pathways can help, by offering access to a wider range of learning opportunities to achieve qualifications at levels 1–3 on the National Qualifications Framework, with a focus on achieving NCeA Creative level 2. There are a range of Youth Guarantee Networks around the Industries country that consist of education providers, employers and community interests. using the Vocational Pathways, the networks are developing learning opportunities across the networks to ensure students have: » more relevant learning contexts » more choice about what and where to learn » more applied learning opportunities » more relevant learning programmes.
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