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Education Are NZ’s scientists too scared to speak up?
Game changer: Communities of Learning 8 Top Tips for LMS selection Is 'mat time' a waste of time? Postgrad teacher education:
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The time is right Not long ago, I received a phone call from a researcher in the UK whose study focus was teacher workforce supply trends across the world. She was interested in why some countries are facing a shortage of teachers while others are faced with a situation where many applicants are after the same jobs. A quick check through the back issues of Education Review revealed that teacher workforce supply has been a problem for a while now in New Zealand. To claim we have an ‘oversupply’ of teachers is misleading. There are jobs out there – it’s just that teachers have to be prepared to look outside of the main urban centres for them. Many of New Zealand’s more rural areas are crying out for great new teacher grads to consider them in their job searches. Subject area plays a part too; many schools say they’re short of mathematics and science teachers, while physical education teachers are often in plentiful supply. It’s a tricky business managing teacher workforce supply. The Ministry of Education has formed a Joint Working Group on Secondary Teacher Supply with the PPTA as part of the settlement of the Secondary Teachers’ Collective Agreement. The Ministry is also working with the Tertiary Education Commission to influence the intake of students enrolling in initial teacher education so that they are a better match to school needs. It is also exploring ways to increase the recruitment of beginning teachers into positions that will take them through to full registration. The NZEI’s Beginning Teacher Charter is a great new initiative to support new teachers as well. However, of most importance is the quality of these new teachers emerging from initial teacher education. ITE providers, the Education Council and the Ministry of Education are all focused on raising the profile of the teaching profession. Many are keen to see a postgraduate ITE qualification as the entrylevel requirement into teaching. Meanwhile others are nervous that this will dissuade excellent wouldbe teachers from entering the profession. Again, a quick check through the archives shows that this, too, is an issue that has occupied discussions for a long time. The education sector feels ready for some direction on this. Providers, in particular, are ready to move forward. With the postgrad ITE pilot now in its third year, there is surely enough evidence to support a decision on the future shape of teacher education. The time is right. Editor, Jude Barback CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Rosie Buchanan, Sam Carroll, Dianne Forbes, Alexandra Gunn, Maggie Hartnett, Elizabeth McLeod, Anita Mortlock, Evelyn Lewis, Annie Riley, Shaun Sutton, Karl Vasau, Josh Williams, Prudence Wilson, Noeline Wright
Education Review is distributed to key decision makers in the education sector and its distribution is audited by New Zealand Audit Bureau of Circulation (ABC). Distribution: 6450
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 www.educationreview.co.nz for web-exclusive content, including thought-provoking opinion articles from sector leaders.
EDUCATION REVIEW series
Communities of Learning “game-changing”
Are New Zealand’s scientists too scared to say what they think?
An end to job-hopping for beginning teachers?
The long and winding road to postgrad teacher education
Express to Success: raising Māori achievement rates
Meet the teachers of Aotearoa
Turning the ‘best and brightest’ into teachers
Plugging the skills gap
8 tips for selecting a Learning Management System
See ya CECIL: Kia ora Canvas
Workplaces: the education of the future
Is ‘mat time’ a waste of time?
Work of Teacher Education insights
The lure of the UK
Motivation in online education
Up close and personal with a distance learner
Digital smarts for today’s learning
South Auckland pasifika principals pursue postgrad PD
Wanted: New Zealand teachers
Editor Jude Barback 07 542 3013 firstname.lastname@example.org Advertising & marketing manager Belle Hanrahan 04 915 9783 email@example.com general manager & Publisher Fiona Reid production Aaron Morey Subscriptions Gunvor Carlson 04 915 9780 firstname.lastname@example.org images iStock
Education Vol 7 Issue 3
NZME. Educational Media, Level 2, NZME. House, 190 Taranaki Street, Wellington 6011, New Zealand PO Box 200, Wellington 6140 © 2016. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be copied or reproduced, stored in a retrieval system or transmitted in any form or by any means electronic, mechanical, photocopy, recording or otherwise without the prior written permission of the publisher. ISSN: 1173-8014
Errors and omissions: Whilst the publishers have attempted to ensure the accuracy and completeness of the information, no responsibility can be accepted by the publisher for any errors or omissions.
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Communities of Learning
Communities of Learning “game-changing”
JUDE BARBACK looks at two established Communities of Learning and finds enthusiasm and optimism for the new initiative is overriding some of the earlier negativity surrounding the controversial IES policy.
n the movie version of Communities of Learning, the opening scene would probably start with a grainy flashback to January 2014 when the Prime Minister announced a “flagship policy” for education – the $359 million Investing in Educational Success initiative. Cut to sector leaders, sporting expressions somewhere between confused and impressed, scrambling to make sense of it all, suspicions aroused by the lack of consultation. It would then fade to the present: a sharp, clear, bright, full-colour image of Communities of Learning (CoL) as they stand today.
From IES to CoL
The movie metaphor might seem a little twee, but the journey from the first IES announcement to today’s 117 CoL has been nothing short of dramatic. The sector, and particularly the unions, played an integral role in shaping the policy, which was initially flung on schools as the answer to raising achievement. A working group of education sector leaders gave advice on how to progress IES and the Ministry worked with the sector to finalise its design. IES, as it was presented in the earlier days, was arguably more attractive to secondary schools. Even then, the PPTA worked with the Ministry to hone it into something that better reflected what secondary schools wanted. Meanwhile NZEI Te Riu Roa argued that what students really needed were smaller classes, more teacher’s aides for special needs, 100 per cent qualified early childhood teachers and better resourcing of bilingual education for Māori and Pasifika. The primary teachers union pursued an alternative with the Ministry – the Joint Initiative – which involved a number of working parties tasked with identifying ways to support children’s success at every level of their learning. These negotiations and agreements have changed the look and feel of IES. Communities of Schools have become Communities of Learning – although the more established communities still refer to themselves as Communities of Schools. ‘Expert’ and ‘lead’ teachers, ‘change’ and ‘executive’ principals are no longer part of the IES vernacular. More significant than any language changes, the policy is now starting to resemble something that has the ability to effect real and positive change in New Zealand schools. Renwick School principal Simon Heath believes the process needed to take its course. Heath shares leadership with Marlborough Girls’ College principal Karen Stewart of Blenheim’s 2BCoS, New Zealand’s first Community of Learning. “Some good things, some valid points emerged from the Joint Initiative to help shape the Communities into what they are today,” Heath says. So what are Communities of Learning? The Ministry of Education describes Communities of Learning as the ‘engine room’ of IES. Groups of around 10 schools or kura will team up to represent the ‘pathway’ for students from primary to secondary school. Each CoL will have a small number of ‘across-community’ teachers working closely with other teachers to share their subject and practice expertise and to get the best out of the combined strengths of their colleagues. There will also be career opportunities for ‘within-school’ teachers, who will open their classrooms as models of learning for other teachers. The Ministry expects to see around 1,000 across-community teacher roles and 5,000 within-school teacher roles established.
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Building leadership capacity
Heath says the intensely political nature of IES initially had a bearing on whether teachers would support the CoL initiative and put themselves forward for the new within-school and across-community roles. “To be brutally honest, the NZEI’s stance on this meant that some teachers were not sure if they wanted to buy into it and put their hands up for these roles. It was very political.” The Blenheim CoL has appointed seven across-school teacher positions and 37 within-school teachers. “It has taken time but now teachers are on board. We’ve noticed a big shift in buy-in from teachers. They’re now ready for where we’re at,” says Heath. Principal of Auckland Normal Intermediate, Jill Farquharson agrees. She is the leader of ACCOS, the Auckland Central Community of Schools. “Some staff have put their political preferences aside to support this initiative,” she said. “We shared with staff just how good it is for the kids.” ACCOS has appointed approximately 47 within-school teachers and is in the process of recruiting for nine across-community positions. Farquharson says they were keen to avoid a “top-down model”, so their CoL is driven from the middle with the within-school teachers in the driving seat. “The new positions have provided teachers with career path opportunities,” she says. “In terms of building leadership capacity it’s the best thing I’ve seen.”
Favouring high decile schools?
However, recent scrutiny cast over the initial funding allocations for the new within-school and across-school positions has raised questions over whether CoL is an initiative for schools in New Zealand’s more well-off districts. Ministry data shows that the high decile schools have received more funding for the new teacher roles than low decile schools – statistics that have earned the Ministry sharp criticism.
Communities of Learning
Teacher-Led Innovation Fund
The Ministry argues that higher decile schools signed up in higher numbers at the start of the initiative than lower decile schools, so they are represented more heavily in the first allocations of funding. A school’s roll size is also argued to have more of a bearing on its IES funding allocation, rather than its decile. The Ministry expects IES funding will even out as more schools gradually embrace the CoL model, including those from lower deciles. “It has taken a little longer in some cases, often because it takes schools time to come together but over-all principals we have had contact with have been really positive about the new opportunities available,” says Katrina Casey, head of sector enablement and support at the Ministry.
ACCOS is the epitome of high decile. The Community is made up of schools that lie in some of the more privileged suburbs of Auckland: Mt Eden, Epsom and Remuera. It comprises schools that reflect the learner pathways of its students. Not all primary schools have opted in. Farquharson sees no problem with this. After all, it is entirely voluntary. “The door is always open,” she says. The Blenheim Community of Schools, 2BCoS, is actually two communities, reflecting the two learner pathways to either Marlborough Girls’ or Marlborough Boys’ College as there is no single sex secondary school in the area. All 21 schools in the region are part of it, representing over 6,000 students and 330 teachers. There is talk of including ECE and tertiary in the mix too, with some interest shown from Marlborough Kindergartens Association and Nelson Marlborough Institute of Technology. Not all CoL have materialised with such ease. Heath believes it helped having a strong history of collaboration among the schools, with various cluster-led initiatives paving the way towards the community model. With no university or teacher education provider in their region, they are used to banding together, he says. Heath and Stewart believe the communities have enabled even greater collaboration between schools. “Schools are starting to collaborate in ways we didn’t imagine,” says Heath. “In the past there was an emphasis on getting bums on seats, now schools are encouraging parents to send their children to the closest schools. Some are even in the process of reducing their school zone in an effort to improve all schools.” “We’re moving beyond superficial relationships,” says Stewart. “We’re now all responsible for all learners, rather than just concentrating on the five years or so that you have them.” “We used to blame each other,” says Heath. “The high school would blame the primary school for why the kids’ learning wasn’t up to standard. Then we’d blame ECE and ECE would blame the parents. Now we’re all responsible.” Other CoL are experiencing the same sense of collaboration, including the Waitakere Community of Learning. “For me, it used to be ‘here are the Waitakere College kids and here are the others’, but now it’s just ‘here’s our kids’. There’s a shared sense of community,” CoL leader Shona Smith told Stuff. Farquharson echoes this sentiment. “It’s changed talk of ‘me and my students’ to ‘us and our students’,” she says. “There were good things happening before but we need consistency and seamless transitions between the sectors,” says Farquharson of ACCOS. “The Community is helping us achieve this.” Arguably the greatest value of the CoL model lies in its ability to tighten the collaboration between the levels of schooling. “Bemoaning the state of learning from a previous sector, school, or classroom will shortly become a whinge of the past,” said Minister of Education Hekia Parata.
Karen Stewart points out that the CoL initiative also allows good opportunities for working within the various schooling sectors. Heath gives the example of a small professional and learning development group of teachers between two primary schools. The Teacher-Led Innovation Fund and the CoL structure have helped leverage this concept to incorporate other schools, by allowing inquiry time and release time for staff. The Teacher-Led Innovation Fund, although part of the IES initiative, actually sits outside of Communities for Learning. It is designed to support teams of teachers to develop innovative practices that improve learning outcomes. Minister Hekia Parata recently announced the fund would be extended for an extra two years. It will now run until June 2020 with additional funding of $8 million taking the total invested to $18 million over five years. Parata says the fund has “captured the imagination of teachers”. “It … is resulting in some really exciting projects, including a programme using neurological science to help students with dyslexia, and a collaborative project establishing a farm where students and teachers build stronger engagement in science. This work has the potential to spread across the education system and make a real difference to kids’ achievement.”
In terms of building leadership capacity, it’s the best thing I’ve seen.
Are CoL helping to raise achievement?
It is early days for Communities of Learning; too soon for a sequel to tell the story everyone is dying to hear – that achievement has soared across New Zealand schools as a result of this initiative. After all, that was the Ministry’s intention all along. The quality of teaching is acknowledged as one of the greatest influences on whether students succeed. Of course, socioeconomic factors and other ‘out-of-school’ factors come into the achievement equation as well, however the IES initiative was designed to improve the ‘in-school’ factors by improving teaching practice through enabling better collaboration between teachers and schools. It appears progress is afoot. Once approved, the achievement challenges for each CoL are added to the Ministry’s website. A quick look reveals a range of similar documents, all identifying which national standards areas and NCEA levels they need to improve, for which students, whether it is a focus on Māori students, or boys, or learners who require extra support. Each plan shows where the schools sit currently, where they want to get to and how they propose to do it together. The Ministry’s Katrina Casey says one of the key challenges has been working with CoL to identify their achievement challenges. Twenty-two CoL have now had their achievement challenges endorsed with 11 leaders and over 200 of the teaching roles appointed. “That’s good progress but more needs to be done,” she says. The ACCOS schools are among those with an approved achievement plan. The achievement levels for ACCOS schools were already relatively high so Farquharson says they are really aiming to stretch themselves with their CoL achievement challenges. By 2017 the Community hopes to see a lift in writing – with a specific focus on boys’, Māori and Pasifika students’ writing – boosting the 78 per cent currently achieving the national standard to 90 per cent. It hopes to see attainment of the reading standard increased from 86 per cent to 95 per cent. For its secondary schools it is looking to increase NCEA Level 2 and Level 3 achievement. Its final goal is about boosting parent engagement. The Waitakere CoL has goals to raise the achievement level of reading, writing and maths of its students, particularly in Māori and Pasifika learners as well as achieve the national goal of 85 per cent of all students leaving with NCEA Level 2 or better.
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Communities of Learning
In each of the plans, the focus is on singling out the areas that need attention, not on singling out individual schools. In the past, thanks to the hangover of Tomorrow’s Schools, there has been an unhealthy competitiveness among schools. By contrast, the CoL achievement plans convey a real sense of ‘we’re all in this together’. Stewart says the goals are driven by data and by learner need, allowing them to target the right areas and monitor their progress. The challenge for Communities of Learning, aside from the obvious task of meeting their achievement goals, is to communicate their CoL vision to the wider parent communities. Parents have become accustomed to competition between schools and have played no small role in enhancing this rivalry. Stewart says getting parents and the wider community on board has been key for their community. Farquharson says they are looking to compile a joint newsletter for their CoL’s parent community. It doesn’t appear to be a particularly ‘hard sell’ for parents. “I haven’t met a teacher, principal or parent yet who doesn’t want the best for all our Waitakere students – so there is a huge groundswell of goodwill and optimism,” Waitakere CoL leader Shona Smith told Stuff.
The ‘goodwill and optimism’ hasn’t always prevailed. “In the early days what was frustrating was people passed judgement and made comment before having all the information,” says Farquharson. Since then, she says there has been a “groundswell of support” for the initiative. She says they have some truly insightful principals among their community. “In the past at principals’ meetings we discussed things like sports days, wet lunch days, uniforms and so on. The CoL has now upped the ante. We talk about bigger issues like achievement and pedagogy – really meaty stuff. “It’s a big pedagogical shift, you can’t look back. Even if we make mistakes, we can learn from them and move forward,” she says. In this regard, it would seem CoL have the full support of the Ministry of Education. The Ministry has regional directors working across the 10 regions to provide direct support for the CoL. These directors and their staff provide information about student movements across pathways, achievement and other studentrelated data, and general information, advice, guidance and brokering potential CoL membership.
The directors and their staff also work with each CoL to work out what professional learning and development needs they have. Casey says the Ministry is making professional learning and development available across the country. “It’s all new for the Ministry as well,” says Heath. “Ministry support has been exceptional. Our CoS liaison person is very supportive and forthcoming.” He says they receive rapid, and in many cases, instant responses to their queries. Farquharson agrees the Ministry has been “fantastic”, especially with things like dealing with macro data. So it would seem Communities of Learning – The Movie is set to be a feelgood flick after all. To the question, ‘why be in a community?’ Stewart’s answer is clear: “Why not?” she says simply. “There is now resourcing that allows collaboration between schools.” “It’s exciting and daunting at the same time,” says Heath. “It’s hard work, but it’s exciting work. It’s a game changer.”
Numbers at a glance 117 Communities of Learning approved Over 1,000 schools now in Communities of Learning (40 per cent of schools) 8 ECE services are in a Community of Learning More than 320,000 students 22 CoL have had their achievement challenges endorsed 11 have appointed CoL leaders Over 200 teachers have been appointed to new within-school and across-community teaching roles
All figures based on information received from Ministry of Education mid-June 2016. 4 Postgrad Education 2016
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Are New Zealand’s scientists
too scared to say what they think? The fight for the mighty research dollar is creating some significant barriers to scientists commenting on controversial issues. ELIZABETH McLEOD discovers why some of our leading minds are calling for a Commission for Science.
hese days, a large part of scientific endeavour in New Zealand is carried out within the corporatised model of Crown research institutes (CRIs). Embedded in the model is an explicit expectation – stated in the legislation – that CRIs carry out their work “for the benefit of New Zealand”. There are many scientific projects where industry or government agendas comfortably coexist with the beneficial interests of New Zealand. But what happens when these interests are seen to be at odds? In his new book Silencing Science, Shaun Hendy lays down the gauntlet: “The Prime Minister has a chief science advisor, and it is time the public had one too.” It’s a provocative comment – but Hendy, one of our leading scientists, is arguably well positioned to make it. A professor in physics at the University of Auckland, he is also director of Te Pūnaha Matatini, a Centre of Research Excellence; a Fellow of the Royal Society of New Zealand, and a recipient of several awards including the Prime Minister’s Science Media Communication Prize. Scientists are being silenced in many ways, both overt and subtle, argues Hendy. This ‘silencing’ can range from confidentiality clauses in contracts with research funders, to self-censorship by scientists worried about jeopardising their funding – and even scientists criticising each other for speaking out on topics outside of their specialist expertise, or too early in their careers. Sometimes, they’re just afraid of getting it wrong, or being misquoted by journalists. Hendy’s book explores how, during the Christchurch earthquakes and the Fonterra botulism saga, experts being unavailable or unwilling to comment created a vacuum that was often filled by speculation and some less-thanreliable commentators. Science commentator and Sciblogs founder
Peter Griffin is in the rare position of having been able to ask hundreds of scientists about gagging – and receiving an honest answer. As manager of the Science Media Centre, Griffin runs media training for scientists around the country. He says they frequently tell him they’ve experienced “pressure from above” not to comment publicly on sensitive issues. “It’s definitely more pronounced among CRIs,” says Griffin. “And while some CRIs actually have enshrined in their charter that part of their role is to communicate their science to the public, increasingly the overriding priority is commercial viability and growing the private side of their business. I think it’s becoming increasingly difficult to separate that commercial imperative from the public interest science they do.” Many scientists tell Griffin they self-censor. “My worry is that a lot of researchers are increasingly just going, ‘it’s not worth the hassle, I’ve got a good thing going here, I’ve got research underway, I’ve got funding and I don’t want to jeopardise that in a fiscally constrained
contaminated with a deadly pathogen, and we really needed some insight from independent scientists”. “The problem was, everyone who had expertise in that area was either aligned with AgResearch, MPI or Fonterra – so everyone had confidentiality contracts and was told not to speak to the media.” Sometimes this official circumspection stems from a desire not to alarm the public until all the facts are known. Kelvin Berryman, principal scientist at GNS Science, says in the aftermath of the Christchurch quakes, some “alarming, quite outlandish” claims were made based on opinion rather than data about the risk of further aftershocks. “These were coming from sectors where there is that freedom to say, ‘well, I think this is going to happen’.” GNS, by contrast, didn’t express opinions unless they were based on the data, he says. “We recognise, as government scientists if you like, that there are some wider ramifications of the information that gets delivered – including to the public’s confidence, safety, psychological concerns, and business, insurance etc.”
Often the scientists doing the work may be the bestqualified people in New Zealand to understand a problem, and sometimes to identify ways forward, and they’re not allowed to speak out on that. environment, so it’s better for me to just say very little or say nothing’. “On some issues in particular, it’s harder than ever for us to get five or six people to weigh in with commentary. And that, I think, is a tragedy for the diversity of discussion on a lot of these issues.” During the Fonterra crisis, he recalls, “for a few crucial days we thought the milk powder may be
Other times, it appears to be political. Climate scientist James Renwick worked for 20 years at the National Institute for Water and Atmospheric Research (NIWA). Now a professor of physical geography at Victoria University, Renwick says NIWA scientists were “discouraged from saying anything that would go against public policy, or possibly reflect badly on the Minister”.
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Likewise Michael Baker, currently professor of public health at the University of Otago, who previously worked at the Institute of Environmental Science and Research (ESR), where the main contractor was the Ministry of Health. “It was very apparent that you couldn’t really speak out on issues. Some issues, some areas of research, even some viewpoints got actively suppressed,” says Baker. Scientists were limited to presenting the data: “You weren’t allowed to interpret what should happen about them and the applications. It was very difficult to highlight the issues that really mattered.” Sometimes the research itself is silenced. Baker recalls that during his time at ESR a report on a large research project demonstrating the massive financial cost of hospital-acquired infections was pulled from publication at the last minute by a nervous Ministry of Health who “felt they weren’t ready to manage the fall-out”. The colleague who’d written the report returned to the US, taking her expertise with her. “I think we need as a society to look really critically at the CRI-government relationship, because I think it does mean we’re not getting the best value out of our science. “Often the scientists doing the work may be the best-qualified people in New Zealand to understand a problem, and sometimes to identify ways forward, and they’re not allowed to speak out on that. And I experienced quite a few examples of that when I was working at ESR.”
At the heart of the issue is the fact that CRIs are not universities, and their scientist employees are not academics. It’s a distinction that Science New Zealand chief executive Anthony Scott is keen to make clear. Academics have a statutory role to be ‘critics and conscience of society’, which bestows a specific freedom to comment called ‘academic freedom’ (although it’s important to note, this can be superseded by confidentiality clauses when academics accept contracts from government or commercial clients). The concept of ‘academic freedom’ doesn’t apply to scientists working in CRIs, says Scott. In fact, he challenged the very premise of this article and Hendy’s book, saying a discussion of academic freedom “is simply not relevant” to the role of scientists in CRIs. Even the word ‘gagged’ implies the removal of a right that CRI researchers simply don’t have, he says. “CRIs are not academics at universities. CRI researchers operate within a set of policies which reflect the different role of CRIs and universities, and different working environments. For example, CRIs are team-based, and also the corporate body takes responsibility for the actions – including statements – of its staff when associated with that staff member. “The Science Media Centre may choose to characterise this as ‘pressure from above’ or ‘being discouraged from saying anything that
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might go against public policy’ – but all public sector agencies and most private sector bodies of any size will have media and public engagement policies that also allow for individuals to take part in processes and discussions outside the CRI.” Scott says CRI science and staff are “absolutely dedicated to the integrity of the science”, and both are tested through all the standard measures of science including peer review, as well as in “open forums of civil society such as judicial proceedings”. CRIs have internal processes that enable staff to raise matters safely and are also subject to the Protected Disclosures Act 2000 (or ‘whistleblower law’), he says. And because it’s vital to have people with scientific authority who communicate well (“as the Fonterra example showed, a wrong word can cause unwarranted concern and damage”), it’s “highly appropriate” for CRIs to choose how to handle their communications, Scott argues. This doesn’t wash with Hendy. He acknowledges that legally CRI scientists don’t have academic freedom “at the present time”. “What I explore in Silencing Science is whether this is the right thing for New Zealand, and conclude that no, it isn’t. “There are situations where a lack of scientists speaking out – CRI and academic – has clearly harmed the country, and I’ve come across numerous examples where CRIs have simply declined to allow their experts to talk to the media, despite Scott’s assurances. “We need to change this; CRIs need to enshrine their responsibilities to inform the public in their statements of core purpose.” Hendy says it’s unhelpful to divorce the conversation about academic freedom from the responsibilities of CRI scientists. “Scientists, whether from academia or a CRI, are part of the same community and compete for the same pots of funding. If some scientists are being hindered from participating in public debate, the public can get a distorted view of the science. “Furthermore, we’re increasingly being encouraged to work collaboratively across institutions, so policies that affect CRI scientists’ ability to talk can also impact on their collaborators in academia.”
Surveys on silencing
In a 2014 online survey by the New Zealand Association of Scientists (NZAS), 40 per cent of respondents said they’d been prevented from making public comment on a controversial issue by their management’s policy or fear of losing funding. More than half of respondents were from CRIs and 33 per cent were from universities. Of those who hadn’t felt gagged, many said they’d witnessed it happening to others. If the sample is in any way representative, it’s clear that the “silencing” isn’t confined to CRI scientists. While the academics interviewed by Education Review all spoke warmly of the comparative freedom they experience in their universities, it’s a freedom apparently not experienced by all academics. In a 2014 survey of 3,000 academics by AUT’s Work Research Institute, more than one-third reported that their level of academic freedom was worse than when they began working in the sector, as was their opportunity to act as “critic and conscience” of society. Some argue that the externally sponsored research funding model universities have had to embrace makes scientists fearful about speaking out – despite their “critic and conscience” role. Professor Stuart McCutcheon, vice-chancellor of the University of Auckland, says issues around publication and freedom of expression of views for contracted research “get sorted out” when contracts are negotiated. Sometimes commercial funders want to have the results ahead of publication, or to keep the intellectual property to themselves. “And of course they’re completely entitled to do that. But I don’t think we have any real experience of significant numbers of researchers complaining that their results were suppressed because they’re unpopular.” It’s important not to cast CRIs as the villains of the piece: none of the scientists interviewed by Education Review had personally felt constrained in speaking out while employed in CRIs, though all had witnessed others experiencing it.
More transparency around evidence
Hendy claims certain industries will “cherry-pick the experts who are doing the measurements that tend to favour them”. An example, he says, is the recent fisheries study that suggested New Zealand’s true catch was nearly triple what’s reported. An international collaboration including University of Auckland research fellow Dr Glenn Simmons and the University of British Columbia, the study “sought to fill the gaps left by official data”. That official data is collected by NIWA scientists, who Hendy believes were doing more conservative measurements at the lower bounds of the overcatch. The University of Auckland scientists, by contrast, looked at the maximum effect from fish being caught but not recorded. “The real answer probably lies somewhere in between. Both approaches in some ways are valid – but if we want to get to the truth, we really need to be funding both types of work.” It’s important to note that the fisheries stock surveys NIWA carries out are funded through industry levies. Anthony Scott is clear, however, that NIWA’s scientists “are contracted by the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI), not by the industry”.
But the question must be asked: if industries like the fisheries are effectively able to “buy science” from research institutes like NIWA, can we trust the science? The obvious answer is we can if we have a transparent system that enables scrutiny – and checks and balances in place when that scrutiny turns up something less than scrupulous. “I think we need to have a careful look at how government uses evidence,” says Hendy. “In this case I guess MPI is an organisation that know its goals are very much aligned with economic growth, and so its goals are aligned with industry… and then we find that sure enough, the evidence it’s using is the evidence that tends to favour industry. I think it’s important for MPI not only to be funding the stuff it’s comfortable with, but also perhaps funding the stuff it’s uncomfortable with.” Griffin says when the University of Auckland fisheries report came out, it was extremely difficult to find anyone to comment. “We went to people who’d worked at NIWA who were now outside the industry, who still had knowledge of it, and for various reasons they didn’t want to comment on it. We got an independent person from VUW and comment from NIWA itself. But there are literally only about 10 people in the country who have intimate knowledge of it and are in
a position to be able to comment, and half of them are tied up in research itself. “I definitely think there needs to be more transparency around that – particularly around fisheries, which is probably the hardest one for us to get independent commentary on.” This seems to be the nub of the issue: you may manage to get official comment from the CRI itself, but it’s getting harder to find scientists outside of that official machinery who are able to talk authoritatively – and openly. Berryman says it’s important for CRIs to have an open door policy with media and build a trusted relationship during “peacetime” – a message Griffin also preaches around the country. Griffin says the Government “to its credit” has made efforts at promoting science communication with its Curious Minds and Science in Society strategy. “So on the one hand, there’s a lot of stuff going on. But it can’t just be about science or issues that the Government is comfortable with. It has to be all science-related issues, even if they’re uncomfortable – if they’re threatening to us economically or culturally or whatever. It can’t just be something that suits a government agenda.
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<< Continued from previous page “A lot of these issues that university researchers and CRIs are dealing with go right to the heart of what we’re about – whether it’s our environmental sustainability or the state of our environment. It’s not enough to say we want positive communication or neutral communication – some of these issues need to be really drilled into and could be confronting to the Government – particularly around climate change.” Science and Innovation Minister Steven Joyce says scientists participate in public policy debates all the time, such as “sugar, alcohol, water policy, trade policy [and] treaty policy”. “Ultimately scientists have a strong input into public policy but decisions are made by the government of the day on behalf of the public – that’s the nature of democracy.”
Checks and balances
The thing with democracy is, there must be sufficient checks and balances. So what are they? Universities are legally bound to ensure staff can exercise their right to speak about their research – but this right can be constrained by the terms of their research contracts. Staff who feel they’re being unreasonably constrained should take it up with senior people in their universities or with the funding agencies, says McCutcheon. The Protected Disclosures Act or ‘whistleblower law’ enables anyone to report ‘serious wrongdoing’ in their workplace, but it seems unlikely this could extend to being prevented from speaking out on the science. The New Zealand Association of Scientists (NZAS) is a small society with limited resources to investigate, adjudicate or advise, Hendy says. A recent misconduct allegation took six months of negotiations to resolve. The Royal Society of New Zealand “promotes and advances” science, but can’t intervene in a case of scientific misconduct by a research organisation unless one or both the parties are Society members. The Prime Minister’s chief science advisor is tasked with encouraging greater use of evidence in public policy (amongst other things), but isn’t expected to advocate for any particular piece of scientific evidence. Furthermore, several of the scientists Education Review interviewed believe that neither the Royal Society nor the role of the Prime Minister’s chief science advisor are sufficiently independent of the Government to challenge policies that aren’t supported by the science. The Society’s own research community survey found that, while most view it as “largely independent”, there is “an almost universal desire for the Society to be more independent”. The Society’s president, Emeritus Professor Richard Bedford, says it’s a perception rather than reality – and persists perhaps because the Society administers large contracts on the Government’s
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There are situations where a lack of scientists speaking out – CRI and academic – has clearly harmed the country. behalf, including the Marsden Fund. But Centres of Research Excellence (including Hendy’s Te Pūnaha Matatini) also have contracts binding them to the Government, argues Bedford, and universities receive government funding, “and yet they’re not seen as being under the Government’s control”. In fact, he argues, the Government entrusts such contracts to the Society because of its independence. However, that mutual-trust relationship with the Government could be a double-edged sword. Pastpresident of NZAS Dr Nicola Gaston says in the past, staff from the Royal Society have admitted openly that they weren’t going to say anything that would be embarrassing to the Government because “they weren’t able to do that”. The role of the Prime Minister’s chief science advisor is to provide “evidence for policy rather than policy for science”, according to the man currently in the job, Professor Sir Peter Gluckman. While he’s a prolific and considered blogger on scientific issues, Gluckman stresses that any advocacy he undertakes is within the confines of the policy process. He says the interaction between science, society and evidence “is much more complex and nuanced” than Hendy’s book suggests, and scientists need to understand the policy process much better, “rather than taking the arrogant view that evidence alone makes policy”.
What are the solutions?
So… the checks and balances in the system seem patchy at best. Are there any solutions? Griffin reckons making all publicly funded research visible would be a start.
“They [CRIs and government agencies] should be publishing on their websites and releasing their methodology around this stuff – releasing the reports, giving access to the raw data, and making an effort to actually turn that into content that’s digestible for the public.” Griffin sees the Land Air Water Aotearoa (LAWA) website – a collaboration between regional authorities, Ministry for the Environment, Cawthron Institute and Massey University, and supported by the Tindall Foundation, to inform the public about fresh water – as a test case for what needs to happen in other areas like fisheries, natural hazards and conservation. “So the public actually understands what’s going on in a lot of the research they are funding.” But GNS’s Berryman thinks there’s already an open data policy – except where information is commercially sensitive. And he sees risk in having so much raw data with no expert interpretation. Social media could be used more as a tool. As Hendy and Griffin point out, scientists have far more control over the message: you can’t be misquoted; you can link to relevant evidence and articles and engage in an ongoing public discussion with others. Hendy’s ‘Big Idea’, however, is a new independent Parliamentary Commission for Science, which would “forge a new relationship between scientists, policy-makers and the public”. He envisages it having powers to “scrutinise the use of evidence by organisations like MPI and ensure that they’re funding a variety of science, so they’re not just using the methodologies they’re most comfortable with, but they’re listening to other experts”. “We do have these ministerial science advisors but I don’t think they’re having enough influence on the way Ministries are using science.” A Commission could also challenge the Government when it ignored scientific advice, investigate claims of scientific misconduct and protect whistleblowers, says Hendy. It wouldn’t, however, extend to funding or policy. Renwick and Gaston back Hendy’s call for a Science Commission; Baker does too, “potentially”. Not so McCutcheon: “I think we’d end up with yet another bureaucracy.” Minister Joyce has dismissed the proposal, saying, “There are very few, if any, examples of such a post internationally. This Government has introduced the Prime Minister’s Chief Science Advisor to bring science and evidence into the heart of policy-making.” Gluckman hasn’t commented on the Commission idea. However, he quotes Professor Ian Boyd, the UK’s Chief Scientific Advisor at the Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs: “Effective challenge is not achieved in public.” Hendy begs to differ. “Science that’s not heard is not science at all. Science needs openness and debate to operate properly – and the public increasingly demands transparency of scientists.”
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Gladstone Primary in Auckland was the first school in New Zealand to sign up to the charter. “For us it’s all about supporting new teachers into the profession,” says principal Dave Shadbolt. “If we don’t support them and show you’ve got confidence in them then we could end up losing them.” As things stand, statistics show that over a third of teachers leave the profession in the first three years.
It sends a very strong, positive message to a school’s current and prospective teaching staff.
An end to job-hopping
for beginning teachers? Education Review looks at the NZEI Te Riu Roa’s new charter, which aims to prompt best practice when it comes to employing beginning teachers.
arlier this year Stuff profiled new teacher Jacqui Holland, describing how she would typically go from school to school working 10-week chunks at a time, all the while looking to secure permanent fulltime employment. Holland’s predicament mirrors that of many other new teacher graduates. Ministry of Education figures confirm that just 15 per cent of new teacher graduates are getting permanent teaching jobs. Upon completing their teaching qualifications, many look to enter the teaching workforce only to find a dearth of full-time employment available. With student loans weighing heavily on their shoulders, they are left with little choice but to take fixed-term contracts, relief teaching positions or part-time work at schools. Many spend years in employment of this variety, which can hinder their ability to achieve full certification as they are not receiving the appropriate mentoring and induction. In answer to this, primary teachers’ union NZEI Te Riu Roa has introduced The Beginning Teacher Charter and is encouraging schools to support the initiative. “If we want great teachers for our children, teachers need to be well supported from the beginning of their career. Beginning teachers are the experienced senior teachers of the future – we need to look after them and support them,” says Louise Green, NZEI national president. The charter has the support of the Education Council and New Zealand Principals’ Federation
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and NZEI reports “positive conversations” have also been held with the Ministry of Education. Schools that sign the charter are publically declaring their commitment to providing permanent employment in all situations other than the exceptions outlined in the Employment Relations Act, such as replacing a permanent staff member who is absent on approved leave or undertaking a specific fixed-term project. They are also committing to never employing new teachers on a trial or otherwise illegal fixedterm basis. They are also agreeing to ensure that beginning teachers receive high-quality induction and mentoring as a critical part of their professional learning and development. Signatory schools receive a certificate and window stickers to show they support beginning teachers. “It sends a very strong, positive message to a school’s current and prospective teaching staff,” said Green.
Education Review series
New teacher Rosalie Sinclair says it can be “very unsettling” to have to chop and change between schools at the beginning of your career. She is pleased to see the new charter in place. “Obviously a permanent position is a lot more stable and not just a big one-year long trial,” she told the NZEI. Green said the new charter was about creating a shift in practice and awareness, but the longterm answer to a lack of permanent jobs for new graduates depended on the Ministry of Education undertaking workforce planning, which was sorely needed. The Ministry says it is well aware of the problem and working with the sector to find a solution. Lisa Rodgers, deputy secretary for early learning and student achievement, says the Ministry has been meeting regularly over the last few months with principals and sector bodies. She says a range of potential solutions are being explored and some are being implemented. The PPTA and the Ministry of Education established a Joint Working Group on Secondary Teacher Supply as part of the settlement of the Secondary Teachers’ Collective Agreement. While a similar formal arrangement doesn’t exist with the NZEI, Rodgers says they do meet regularly to discuss issues of concern, this being one of them. Rodgers says that in the primary sector the Ministry is providing recruitment assistance to schools with hard-to-fill vacancies; working with the Tertiary Education Commission to influence the intake of students enrolling in initial teacher education so that they are a better match to school needs; working to smooth the path for overseas teachers coming to work in New Zealand schools, and exploring options for increasing the recruitment of beginning teachers into positions that will take them through to full registration.
A student teacher’s plea: “The only thing I ask is that schools take a chance on us! I know it can be ‘scary’ to hire provisionally registered teachers, but I can assure you that you will not be disappointed. I know that I haven’t been.” Prudence Wilson
The long and winding road
to postgrad teacher education Many teacher education providers are pushing for a master’s level qualification to become the minimum requirement to become a teacher, while others think this approach will deter aspiring teachers. With the initial teacher education (ITE) postgraduate pilot now in its third year, the Ministry of Education is getting closer to making a decision on the future shape of ITE. Which way will it go and what impact will it have? asks JUDE BARBACK.
or years now the Government has been toying with the idea of making a postgrad qualification mandatory for initial teacher education (ITE) in New Zealand. In 2010 an Education Workforce Advisory Group tasked with investigating the best path for ITE recommended to the Minister of Education moving toward ITE being provided only at postgraduate level. Although the subsequent public consultation revealed some concerns about the proposal, many were supportive of raising
the standard of teacher education through a postgraduate programme. In her Budget 2012 speech, Minister Parata declared that “a postgraduate qualification will be introduced as a minimum for all trainee teachers”. By 2013, the Ministry launched a pilot involving partnerships with several universities to trial new ‘exemplary’ postgraduate level ITE programmes, intended to lift the quality of graduating teachers’ practice and contribute to raising student achievement, particularly that of priority learners.
Extra funding was provided by the Ministry to support these providers. “All the research shows that the in-school factors that make the most difference to student achievement are the quality of teaching, performance expectations, school leadership and positive relationships between parents and teachers that focus on learning,” says Lisa Rodgers, the Ministry of Education’s deputy secretary for early learning and student achievement. “So we want to ensure we attract the best and brightest Continued on next page >>
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ITE << Continued from previous page into teaching to raise quality and lift the status of the teaching profession and education leadership.” The pilot, now in its third year, includes seven programmes in English medium, four in Māori medium, two in early childhood education, and one programme in field-based secondary ITE, Teach First NZ. There are currently 269 full-time equivalent students enrolled in the English medium primary and secondary schooling and early childhood education programmes in 2016. The Māori medium programmes are under development and likely to start in the second semester of 2016, or at the beginning of 2017. Teach First NZ accepts 20 students per cohort.
The pilot has given providers the opportunity to design innovative programmes that differ substantively to existing ITE options. The programmes are explicitly designed around inquirybased approaches with the aim of producing teachers who are self-regulated learners. The exemplary postgrad programmes also aim to enhance the integration of theory and practice during practicums. Mentor teachers at the partner schools play an important role, allowing student teachers the opportunity to experience regular, sustained placements in classrooms, working alongside experienced teachers. The close partnership with schools is one of the defining features of the programmes. There is even an expectation that providers work with schools to co-design the programmes. There is also an emphasis on developing teachers capable of teaching priority learners. Subsequently, many partner schools are low-decile schools.
The Ministry engaged Martin Jenkins to evaluate the implementation and early outcomes of the programmes. His report found that of the 33 graduates who had secured teaching positions at the time of writing, just six were in low decile schools. Survey feedback also showed that less than a third expressed an active preference to teach in a low decile school.
The pros of postgrad ITE
It is still perhaps too soon to tell whether the pilot can be given the seal of approval. Martin Jenkins’ report suggests that, based on early feedback and outcomes, it has largely been successful so far, with good integration between theory and practice. It also shows the requirement to provide regular days in school along with strengthened practicum placements is also making a difference to the depth of student experience. An NZCER evaluation of the Teach First programme was very positive about the quality of teaching experience in classrooms for Teach First graduates. Two further evaluation reports about the English medium exemplary postgraduate ITE programmes are due for release in February 2017 and May 2018. Providers are largely in favour of a postgrad model for teaching. The New Zealand Council of Deans of Education has written to the Ministers of Tertiary Education and Education about its view on what future ITE should look like. Among its recommendations was that of requiring a postgraduate qualification before registration, and raising entry requirements to ITE programmes. Professor Gail Gillon, Pro Vice-Chancellor at the University of Canterbury’s College of Education,
Health and Human Development says the New Zealand Council of Deans of Education is very supportive of the trial and strongly supports the introduction of a mandatory master’s-level qualification as a requirement to becoming a teacher. Gillon believes the critical analysis and research base combined with the integration of theory and practice provide the right foundations for teaching. Dr Alexandra Gunn, Associate Dean Teacher Education, College of Education, University of Otago agrees that the research component is important. “In this evidence-based paradigm that we’re in, we need inquiry-based, scholarly teachers who can identify problems, explore problems and are equipped to deal with a curriculum that isn’t uniform,” she says. Gillon says they are keen to maintain multiple pathways into the master’s degree, whether it is through a Bachelor of Education or an undergraduate degree of a completely different subject. At the University of Canterbury she says they’ve noticed that the postgrad approach has helped attract teachers in areas where there are typically teaching subject shortages, such as maths and sciences. There has been some debate over whether the mandatory postgraduate requirement should be extended to early childhood educators. Gillon is in favour of this and says there are strong advocates from the ECE sector to support this move. Gillon says it is an exciting time for New Zealand. She views this not just as an opportunity to raise the profile of teaching, but a chance to reduce some of the inequities of New Zealand’s education Continued on next page >> system.
UT student Ruby Grace is currently working towards her Master of Teaching and Learning, a full-time, one-year programme, with an emphasis on education for priority learners, including Māori, Pasifika and those with special or high education needs. The master’s students spend two days a week at AUT, one day developing a specialist area in schools, and two days at partner schools on practicum, where they have a chance to put theory into practice. The master’s programme comprises students from a variety of different undergraduate specialisms: sports and recreation, social sciences, graphic design. Grace graduated in December with a three year Bachelor of Arts in psychology. She feels that everyone brings something different to the course. Like other ITE providers, AUT also offers an undergraduate route into teaching – a three-year Bachelor of Teaching and Learning. Grace says she doesn’t feel like she is cramming a three-year teaching degree into one year. “I don’t feel pressure to learn everything. I’m planting the seeds for future learning and development. I don’t feel I know everything about psychology after three years.”
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Fellow master’s student Prudence Wilson feels the same way. “To be sure, the Bachelor of Education has a great deal more time to spend on understanding curriculum content than students in the master’s, but is content all that important in a world where almost anything can be looked up online? It is certainly not unimportant, but reflexive, creative, critical and adaptive practice is definitely where education is heading,” says Wilson. The one year postgrad pathway, while more intense, arguably produces graduates more passionate about pursuing a career in teaching. Grace speculates that those taking an undergraduate pathway into teaching may not be 100 per cent sure whether teaching was what they really wanted to do, particularly as most come straight out of high school. She describes her master’s cohort as “a passionate group of students”. “Everyone really wants to be there. Everyone is passionate about redressing inequalities in our education system.” “I’ve always had an interest in helping people,” says Grace. She definitely sees herself working in low decile schools in the future. While she isn’t nervous about finding employment next year, she isn’t overly confident either. “I’ll go where there is a need. I expect an opportunity will present itself.”
ITE If New Zealand moved teaching to a postgraduate profession, it would be in line with other countries. Finland, for example, requires teachers to have a master’s degree and teaching is generally highly regarded as a profession. In Singapore, prospective teachers must complete a 16-month postgraduate diploma in education (PGDE).
Raising the bar too high?
However, although Gunn sees real benefits with postgrad ITE, she believes it “isn’t the be all and end all”. Her preference would be to allow alternative pathways into teaching alongside postgrad ITE. She thinks raising the bar higher to become a teacher has the potential to deter people who would otherwise make excellent teachers. “It’s difficult in New Zealand to get into university and to cope with the demands of postgraduate study – especially without a student allowance. We get a lot of people who are second chance learners, mature students,” says Gunn. “We’re focused on who we graduate not who we accept onto the programme. “The teaching workforce needs to reflect the population it is teaching. We need diversity in our teacher workforce to reflect the diversity in our classrooms.” Chief education scientific adviser Professor Stuart McNaughton agrees that while the evidence supported the idea of mandatory postgraduate qualifications there are risks that need to be considered. There could be an immediate negative effect on enrolments from some groups, for example, Māori, Pasifika and students from lower income backgrounds, he told the NZ Herald. Those students were more likely to have lower entry scores than their peers enrolling in teaching, but their presence was “significant” in schools, he said. However, Gillon argues that the University of Canterbury’s postgraduate ITE programme does reflect the classroom, due to the way it is codesigned with schools and with input from the Ngai Tahu advisory board. She says they have engaged their local iwi and Pasifika leaders to support students through their study. “If we have a cautious learner who is passionate about becoming a teacher, we will help them to staircase through a bachelor’s degree and support them through the master’s programme,” she says.
One risk of increasing entry requirements into teaching is that ITE student enrolment numbers will decrease. However, even under current ITE programmes the number of entrants into teaching has dropped by 25 per cent in five years, putting pressure on universities to accept lower entry grades to maintain numbers. The NZ Herald recently reported that students accepted onto ITE programmes have some of the lowest entrance scores across all bachelor’s programmes – although all entry scores are rising. While raising the minimum qualification to postgraduate level would, of course, raise entry standards, it is possible that it might see enrolment numbers dwindle further.
Early feedback showed that enrolment numbers onto the pilot programmes were lower than expected. It was thought that condensed time frames combined with the higher entry standards and expense were contributing factors. However, it is perhaps too early to draw any solid conclusions about enrolment trends. In recent years, the oversupply of teachers into the teaching workforce has meant that decreasing enrolment numbers is not a huge concern. The shortage of teaching jobs, mainly in urban centres and for certain subject areas, is well known with reports of large numbers of applicants applying for a single job. Many have also struggled to secure full-time employment, having to settle for fixedterm contracts instead. Another contributing factor is an ageing workforce, where more teachers are working longer into their retirement. Naturally, the employment situation is a deterrent for some people who might have otherwise considered teaching as a career. However, the teaching workforce situation is now being closely monitored. Lisa Rodgers says the Ministry is working with principals and sector groups across primary and secondary schooling to respond to their concerns about teacher supply. “We have been meeting regularly over the last few months with individual principals and groups, principals’ associations and sector bodies in a series of discussions to develop joint solutions. As a result, a range of potential solutions are being explored and some are being implemented.” As part of the 2015 Settlement to the Secondary Teachers Collective Agreement, the PPTA and the Ministry of Education established the Joint Working Group on Secondary Teacher Supply. The initial meeting of this group was held in February and the working group is currently underway. In time, the teaching workforce oversupply situation is expected to ease, and when this happens, providers will hope to fill teaching positions with high-calibre teaching graduates, trained to a postgraduate degree standard.
The biggest problem: uncertainty
While teaching graduates face some uncertainty about the job market, teacher education providers also face uncertainty about the future of ITE. Associate professor Sally Hansen, director of Professional Education at Massey University’s
Institute of Education says, “ITE providers are finding it increasingly difficult to plan for future provision because the messages we are receiving formally and informally are mixed and unclear.” She says TEFANZ (Teacher Education Forum of Aotearoa New Zealand) executive was told at their last meeting that the Minister was seriously considering a generic, cross-sector ITE qualification, probably at the master’s level with less focus on specialisations. Since that meeting, Hansen says TEFANZ reps have met with other high-level Ministry officials who have presented a contradictory narrative – a preference for multiple pathways with specialisations and not necessarily at postgraduate level. Hansen says it is difficult to establish the Ministry’s motivation, intention, and extent of support for the various models. The Minister’s recommendations and decisions are expected in 2017. Providers are anxious to know which shape ITE will take, as it will have significant implications for their course planning and provision. The Education Council supports the idea of postgraduate ITE. “Considering the complexity of the role teachers now play, and the changing nature of learning, we support consideration of a postgraduate qualification as the benchmark for entry to the profession over time,” says Education Council chief executive Dr Graham Stoop. The Education Council has a mandate to build professional teaching practice in New Zealand and Stoop says examining the role of ITE is a priority. “Our profession needs to review how we recruit, select and educate teachers so they are fully prepared to meet the demands of a rapidly changing world,” says Stoop. “We need to be clearer about what we expect a graduate to be able to do and on how we manage the pathway from graduation through to full certification. “We have started the conversation. We are expecting it to progress to action over the coming months as we work with the profession on redesigning for the future.” Lisa Rodgers from the Ministry confirms there is still a lot of evaluative work to be done. “No decisions have been made,” she says. “Evaluation of all of these programmes will inform our ongoing work on what approaches have the most impact in lifting the quality of teaching, particularly in relation to priority learners.” “We are also looking at the role of postgraduate qualifications in the wider strategy to lift the status of the teaching profession,” says Rodgers. Of course, costs will have some bearing on the Ministry’s decision, too. Martin Jenkins’ evaluation of the pilot stated that “there are indications that the amount of funding available may be low for the provision of truly ‘exemplary’ programmes” due to the high costs of working in partnership with schools, including professional development costs for mentor teachers.” So it remains a waiting game for providers as work continues at the Ministry on making a decision on the future shape of ITE. However, it looks to be a safe bet that New Zealand teacher education is destined for mandatory postgraduate qualifications.
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Express to Success
In an effort to raise Māori achievement rates for NCEA Level 2, the Ministry has partnered with Te Wānanga o Aotearoa to provide five learning support hubs.
āori achievement rates for NCEA are improving. Ministry data shows that just under 68 per cent of Māori students achieved NCEA Level 2 in 2014 compared with 57 per cent in 2011. In 2009 it was just over half. Everyone wants to see this trend continue, but how? The ‘Express to Success’ homework hubs initiative is the latest government initiative at targeting Māori achievement. Five new learning support hubs are being established around the upper North Island to assist 16- to 18-year-old Māori with their learning. Te Wānanga o Aotearoa will run the Express to Success hubs from its campuses in Kaikohe, Mangere, Hamilton and Gisborne as well as from Tarawera High School in Kawerau. Further hubs are planned for Hawke’s Bay, Manawatu/Whanganui, and the South Island at a later stage. The first Express to Success hub recently opened in Hamilton. Te Wānanga o Aotearoa northern region director Matiu Payne is keen to see students who are not achieving in the mainstream school environment receive the necessary support to re-engage them as learners and help them achieve NCEA. “The partnership with the Education Ministry means more successful young ones are coming up. While mainstream schools continue to not meet targets for Māori and Pasifika, particularly kids in mainstream environments, we can assist through things like the homework hub,” he told Stuff. “We’re making sure families know we’re here, not only for the adult students but also for the young ones, and we’re opening the doors for schools to come in and use our facilities.” The hubs will usually run for one evening each week, and will feature other events such as marae stays.
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NCEA Level 2,” says Parata. “The hubs offer those young people a chance to get back into education, with help and support.”
Steps to raising achievement
The hubs offer those young people a chance to get back into education, with help and support. Minister of Education Hekia Parata says the hubs will connect Māori parents and whānau with their children’s learning. “We want the hubs to be fun and exciting places where young people can catch up or get ahead, and sharpen the tools and skills they need to attain NCEA Level 2,” says Parata. “Support will be tailored to the circumstances of each individual. “It is really important for whānau to go along with their kids. The hubs will also offer activities for younger siblings at primary school and in early learning, and will give parents and whānau the tools and confidence to help their children at all ages.” The hubs are not just for those still at school. “In fact we specifically want to reach our young people who have left school without achieving
Education Review series
The Express to Success hubs initiative joins other programmes aimed at boosting achievement levels for Māori and Pasifika students. The University of Auckland’s Starpath project has recently introduced an online toolkit aimed at helping more young Māori, Pasifika and first in family students proceed to university. As things stand, just 11 per cent of university students are Māori and eight per cent are Pasifika. The free toolkit includes checklists for NCEA attainment and University Entrance; embeds data utilisation skills among staff; enables better academic planning, and will help improve engagement with students and their families and whānau. Count Me In is another initiative, aimed at helping Māori and Pasifika aged 16 to 18 who have left school without NCEA Level 2 to achieve a Level 2 qualification. Similarly, Youth Guarantee initiatives also aim to improve the transition from school to further study, work or training. They point students in the direction of the Vocational Pathways to help them get the necessary qualifications and training for their chosen career. Last year’s Pasifika Power Up for NCEA programme was another example. The programme started with an eight-week study course aimed at supporting people in their preparation for NCEA exams. Eight ‘power stations’ were established in churches, community centres and schools to help students and their families plan, prepare and study for NCEA. Collectively these projects are hoped to help achievement levels for Māori and Pasifika young people continue their upward trajectory.
Teacher grads PRUDENCE WILSON
Meet the teachers of
New Zealand’s teaching workforce comprises many different people – provisionally registered teachers, those who have come to teaching in a roundabout way, those who are opting for some teaching experience abroad, and those who are putting their teaching qualifications to innovative use. Here, we meet some of New Zealand’s newest and aspiring educators.
The student teacher
Master of Teaching and Learning student PRUDENCE WILSON can’t wait to start her teaching career.
have always wanted to be a teacher. In fact, when I was a young girl I set up my own school and taught the neighbourhood’s preschoolers from my treehouse. As I got older though, a great many people tried to steer me away from teaching; ‘you’re too smart to be a teacher’ was a common thing for me to hear. The problem with this, of course, is that teachers need to be smart. Not smart in the sense of extensive content knowledge necessarily, but smart in the sense of deep, inter-disciplinary, critical and divergent thinking. After all, teachers’ roles have changed. We are no longer producing fit-forpurpose workers, but are tasked with a much more difficult endeavour – preparing them for a future we cannot even imagine, which I believe involves the regular facilitation of higher order thinking. Luckily for me, my Master of Teaching and Learning (AUT) is preparing me to do just that. It is a dynamic, collaborative and future-focused course that rightly prides itself on supporting the development of culturally responsive, adaptive and resilient educators equipped with the skills and confidence to reimagine traditional classroom pedagogy. To be sure, the Bachelor of
Education has a great deal more time to spend on understanding curriculum content than students in the master’s, but is content all that important in a world where almost anything can be looked up online? It is certainly not unimportant, but reflexive, creative, critical and adaptive practice is definitely where education is heading. The higher order thinking skills, alongside a great deal of other skills/competencies that my Master of Teaching and Learning has supported me to develop will certainly set me up well as a future teacher. Indeed, I feel confident that towards the end of this programme I, and the others in my course, will be incredibly employable. We have learned and are learning how to be flexible, critical, compassionate, integrative, engaging professionals who value personalisation, differentiation and cultural responsiveness in the classroom. On top of that, my background in sociology, history, gender studies and Māori studies will stand me in good stead as a teacher in Aotearoa. Indeed, understanding the sociopolitical context of our society so deeply will enable me to work as a truly responsive and socially transformative educator. My knowledge of
Te Tiriti o Waitangi and te reo Māori me ngā tikanga, as well as my respect for the unique bicultural, and increasingly multicultural, foundations of our country will also hold me in good stead when looking for jobs. The only thing I ask is that schools take a chance on us! I know it can be ‘scary’ to hire provisionally registered teachers, but I can assure you that you will not be disappointed. I know that I haven’t been. Indeed, my master’s has been an incredible experience overall so far. I have met some wonderful people, many of whom I know will be lifelong friends. I have also had the opportunity to work alongside some wonderful teachers. While there have been many assignments, they are all of incredible value. In fact, I have yet to utter the words ‘what is the point of this?’. The best part though, has of course been practicum. I have been placed at Murrays Bay Intermediate School, a truly inspiring example of futures-focused education gone right. My wonderful year 8 students are a raucous, excitable, hilarious group of learners that make me laugh, smile and beam with pride (almost) all of the time!
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The teacher who took a different pathway into teaching
Like many young people, BROSNON SILUUGA dreamed of a career in sport or the gaming industry, but after following advice from family and friends he became a teacher and hasn’t looked back.
rosnon Siluuga recently graduated with a Bachelor of Education (Teaching) Primary from the University of Auckland on Friday. He now teaches year 5 students at Papatoetoe East Primary. “I love it! I can’t wait to get up for school each day,” he says. “I can’t wait to get there and see my students to ask how they are and what they did in the weekend and to help them learn and encourage them to be the best they can be. My students are what drive me each and every day to be the best teacher and role model I can be.” As a teenager he shrugged off suggestions from his teachers at Marcellin College that he should teach. Instead he did a diploma of computer programming specialising in interactive gaming at Media Design School. But after completing the diploma in 2011 he was finding it difficult to find work in the industry. His mother Diane was teaching at Holy Cross School in Papatoetoe and told him he should apply for a teacher’s aide position that was opening up at the school. “Working with students, seeing how diverse the schooling environment was and being able to be a part of those lightbulb moments when students learned something new was amazing,” he says. In 2013 he started his degree at the university’s Manukau Institute of Technology (MIT) campus. The University of Auckland at Manukau Programme started over 15 years ago and this May graduation marked the milestone of the 500th graduate for the Bachelor of Education (Teaching). Brosnon says studying at MIT was great because of the supportive staff and convenience to home. Now the 26-year-old is recommending teaching to others.
BROSNON SILUUGA “If you love to help, encourage and support others, and are well-organised and punctual, then teaching is definitely for you.” He is particularly keen to encourage more men into teaching. “I know there are quite a few of us out there who are reluctant to teach because of their
The new teacher grad
Newly graduated teacher RUTH ALEFAIO wants to make a difference for Pasifika and Māori learners.
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personal experiences at school, because of the stereotypes that surround male teachers, or because you think it’s going to be too hard or too challenging. Ignore all of that, because at the end of the day, it could be you who is making the difference in the lives of others for a living.”
rossing the stage at Massey University’s graduation ceremony to receive her Graduate Diploma of Teaching (Primary) was the culmination of years of hard work for teaching graduate Ruth Alefaio. Now, she wants to apply her degree to improving educational outcomes for Pasifika and Māori learners in New Zealand. Mrs Alefaio has been studying with the Institute of Education in Palmerston North for the past few years alongside raising her four children, Christian, 11, Tiara, 10, Daniel, seven and Isla-Grete, three. Although she has previously graduated with a Bachelor of Business Studies from Massey University, this time was extra special. “It was overwhelming! I was nervous, excited – my heart was beating so fast,” says Mrs Alefaio of her graduation ceremony.
The Teach First NZ grad
SAM CARROLL graduated with a Bachelor in Science (maths major, physics minor) from the University of Otago. He is a teacher of mathematics, beginning the Teach First NZ programme in 2014 at Onehunga High School.
umbers. One of the earliest memories I have of a fascination with them is when a maths book I had at primary school had the times tables on the back cover, and this went up to the 15 times table… wow! Looking back, though, I was actually never among the top maths performers in my class through primary and intermediate. I had always been a big reader of books, and a storyteller, so numbers were more commonly seen by me at the bottom of a page than throughout one. Fourth form came along, and with it a new maths teacher at our school. I can distinctly remember his first class with us, and it began with a lesson in Latin. We learnt that “carpe diem” translated to “seize the day” and this was the beginning of the development of a classroom culture that bred success. Later in life, I chose to embark on a career in education myself, under the tutelage of Teach First NZ and The University of Auckland, and my relationship with numbers continues. Every week in the classroom throws at me countless new questions, and the structure of the programme has provided me with numerous branches of support to reach out to answer them. As I have matured as a teacher, my inquiries would become deeper, more complex, and my guidance would match that. Over the two years I have built strong relationships with the students I have taught, and sometimes these have been tested. One really strong message this Teach First NZ path has taught me however is not necessarily about numbers at all. It’s about NOT treating students as numbers. It’s about finding out from the students what makes up THEIR culture, what they bring to the classroom each day. It’s about sharing with them a little bit about me, and helping them realise that each of them have fascinating stories to tell, and that I have a genuine interest in those stories.
Education is highly valued in her family. Her mother, Grete Luisa Lavati, was a schoolteacher in Fiji, where Mrs Alefaio was born and lived until age 12 on the island of Kioa, an outlying island of Fiji’s main island Vanua Levu. Kioa was bought on behalf of settlers from Vaitupu atoll in Tuvalu, who migrated there between 1947 and 1983 due to overcrowding on Vaitupu. Due to restrictions for scholarships for nonFijians for secondary and tertiary education in Fiji, her family decided her best option was to attend high school in Tuvalu. She took the three-day journey with her older brother by boat to Vaitupu atoll, where she spent her early teen years at Motufoua Secondary School, a government boarding school, before gaining a scholarship to New Plymouth Girls’ High School for her final two years. Both places were a huge culture shock, compelling her to adapt and become resilient
as a young woman far from her home and family. From adjusting to a more westernised diet in Tuvalu, with its dependence on imported foods, to the bitter cold of New Plymouth, where she was one of three scholarship students from Tuvalu in 1998, she describes her travels with upbeat good humour. While studying business at Massey University’s Manawatū campus, she met her Tuvaluan husband, Kelese Alefaio, a microbiologist. Now happily settled there, she immersed herself in helping her own children with their learning, as well as working as a volunteer at Riverdale Kindergarten and teacher’s aide at West End Primary School’s reading programme, before deciding she wanted to train and work professionally as a teacher. “I wanted to understand our education system and how it inspires our children to learn,” she says. Since completing her degree she has worked
part-time as a reliever at Somerset Crescent School, and this year has joined an early literacy programme for five and six-yearold pupils headed by Massey’s Institute of Education, being rolled out in several schools in the region. She’s also been inspired to consider big picture education and equity issues through a Pasifika teachers’ conference she attended in Wellington last month. As a passionate teacher, she wants to be more involved in making positive changes to help lift Pasifika and Māori underachievement in national standards. “We have a system that can work for everybody,” she says. “But we need to be mindful of how the education system is implemented to ensure all students, in terms of diversity, are catered for.”
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Teacher grads KEVIN POWELL
The Kiwi teacher overseas
Education Review continues to follow the progress of teacher ANNIE RILEY, who graduated from Massey University a few years ago.
W The teacher with a difference New teacher graduate KEVIN POWELL has taken an entrepreneurial approach to education, establishing the business ‘Teacher in the Paddock’, which he describes as a “living outdoor classroom”.
ay of Plenty man Kevin Powell is not your average teaching graduate. While he had every intention of becoming a ‘traditional’ classroom-based teacher following completion of his degree, instead he’s taken an entrepreneurial approach to education. Kevin sums up Teacher in the Paddock as a hands-on opportunity for adults and children to experience the simplicity of good nutrition and a sustainable lifestyle. “It helps connect children and adults with their food, where it comes from and how it impacts our health and wellbeing, as well as many other aspects of renewable living principles. We offer a series of programmes which provide teachers, parents and children a living resource that is cross-curricular. We base these programmes both outdoors on our small lifestyle block and in our house, making this a unique ‘homely’ experience for all.” As part of studying his teaching degree at the University of Waikato in Tauranga, Kevin says students were exposed to a range of opportunities that demonstrated the diversity of a teaching qualification. This influenced the realisation he could pursue any number of careers. Earlier this year, the Ministry of Education reported that only 15 per cent of new graduates were picking up permanent jobs in schools. Kevin is bucking this alleged trend by taking an innovative approach to education. “During our studies we were told that employment options could be challenging due to the high volumes of job seekers versus positions
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available. Things weren’t painted negatively, but in a realistic sense. As with anything though, I’d say that attitude is 99 per cent.” Attitude clearly is everything – across the University of Waikato’s undergraduate teaching programmes, more than 80 per cent of 2016 teaching graduates from Tauranga have already found employment in full- or part-time educationrelated roles. “Prior to setting up Teacher in a Paddock it dawned on me I had a range of abilities that – coupled with learning to be a teacher – allowed me choices I had never even considered. My advice to others considering the teaching profession is to consider your studies as an opening of doors to a world of possibility.” He believes that education encourages us to question not only how we see our world, but how to make a positive contribution. And through Teacher in the Paddock, Kevin is definitely making his. “Visitors can expect to see a slice of paradise and a way of living that, although somewhat reminiscent of ‘old times’, reflects a growing trend and more sustainable way of being in our age of pre-prepared, pre-packed, consumptiondriven society. It showcases our lifestyle, based around self-determination, self-sufficiency and sustainability through the mediums of see, hear, touch, taste and smell.” Teacher in the Paddock offers a range of programmes aimed at 2–70 years, including after-school care, school holiday programmes and community-focused nutritional workshops and sustainable backyard events.
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ow! It’s been another busy, challenging and rewarding year for me. I taught year 1 at Wimbledon Chase Primary School in London last year and at the beginning of the school year in September I began teaching year 5 – I absolutely love it! Year 5 provides me with so many teachable moments and some intriguing conversations; I also feel more able to be creative. I have had so many opportunities for professional development including child protection and safeguarding, speech and language and growth mindset training. I have taught children from various corners of the world with a diverse range of cultural backgrounds and learning needs. I feel as though this experience has been invaluable (as well as testing my own fortitude and knowledge) and I have loved forming relationships with such a broad range of kids. I will definitely miss them all when the school year concludes at the end of July. In September I also took on the role of art coordinator for the school (over 900 students) and run a sports leadership programme for senior students – so I am always busy! The British education system is, of course, markedly different to the New Zealand system and I couldn’t be more eager to return home in December to begin the job search for 2017. It’s safe to say I absolutely miss the can-do attitude of Kiwi kids and look forward to teaching in a dynamic, collegial school and embracing The New Zealand Curriculum once again.
‘best and brightest’
Education Review asks Teach First NZ’s chief executive SHAUN SUTTON about the origins of Teach First NZ, its influence on New Zealand’s models of initial teacher education, the recent controversy around teacher recruitment processes and the impact it is having on students at low decile schools.
Education Review: In a nutshell, what is Teach First NZ all about? A: Shaun Sutton: Teach First NZ was set up in response to the fact the education is New Zealand isn’t fair. Still today, a child’s postcode is one of the greatest determinants of their educational success. Teach First NZ is a growing movement of people who are truly committed to changing that.
Your involvement with Teach First began as a participant in the programme in the UK. Can you share your experience with the programme in London? A: Having worked previously in a graduate role in business, joining the Teach First programme in the UK truly changed my life. I had considered entering teaching as I went through university, but for a number of reasons wasn’t attracted to the traditional models of initial teacher education. I heard about Teach First when I was living in the UK, and I was instantly attracted to the clear mission of making a difference. The key factors that encouraged me to apply were how competitive it is to get a place, the real challenge the programme offers, and the true practice-based nature of the training.
What prompted you to set up Teach First NZ in 2011? A: In the UK, I witnessed first-hand the incredible influence that great teachers have in positively affecting disadvantaged young people – and in London, Teach First has been attributed as being one out of four factors that have completely turned around London’s education system. I thought to myself “why don’t we have something like this in New Zealand?”, and that is when the Teach First NZ seed was planted.
Was it difficult to establish a different pathway into teaching when the parameters of teacher education were fairly well established by other providers? How did you gain acceptance as a legitimate alternative into teacher education? A: While traditional teacher education models were well established, there was a fair degree of honesty in the sector that the traditional models weren’t in general attracting the ‘best and brightest’. Our country’s top graduates were increasingly being snapped up by corporates and other professions regarded as more prestigious. There were very few people who were reluctant to admit that the system needed some innovation.
What is your response to critics of Teach First who are sceptical of its ‘fast-track’ approach to teacher education? A: Evidence suggests the best school systems globally have multiple pathways into the teaching profession, and feedback from schools and the independent NZCER evaluation reports has been
overwhelmingly positive about the Teach First NZ model. Our selection process ensures only people who are ready to teach relatively early – closely supported by ongoing mentoring – are offered a place on the programme. The high challenge of the programme means it’s by no means a programme suited to anybody.
Why the University of Auckland? Are there any plans to extend Teach First NZ to work with other New Zealand universities? A: We partnered with the University of Auckland for two reasons – firstly because of its high credibility as an education institution with strong initial teacher education expertise, and secondly for geographic reasons (i.e. being located in the area with the highest density of low-decile secondary schools). In response to demand from schools, we are currently in discussions with other universities about extending the Teach First NZ programme to other parts of the country.
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Why only low-decile secondary schools? Why do socioeconomics play such an important role in where Teach First NZ participants end up teaching? Why not primary? A: There is a sad correlation in New Zealand between socioeconomics and educational outcomes – but it shouldn’t and doesn’t have to be this way. Teach First NZ has been setup to tackle part of what is a complex problem – we’re not THE answer, but we do know the critical importance of getting more great people to become teachers in low-decile schools, and of the need to challenge the unhelpful stereotypes of these schools. We started at secondary level because of the very strong demand from that sector for more subject specialist teachers, but are always considering new ways to increase our impact.
A: More than half of Teach First NZ participants have said they wouldn’t have considered entering teaching through other more traditional pathways. Many of our participants tell us that the clearly articulated Teach First NZ vision grabs their interest from the outset, and they are also attracted by the practicalities of the programme (high challenge, intensive training, in-school support, leadership development), and that it is a scholarship/bonded programme.
The school decile funding system is under review at the moment; will any resulting changes have implications for Teach First NZ? A: We are monitoring the progress of the review closely, and look forward to continuing to serve schools serving low-income communities, and schools with high Māori and Pasifika rolls.
Teach First NZ participants commit to two years’ teaching. What typically happens beyond these two years? Can you tell us about the alumni programme? A: There is no expectation for our alumni to remain in teaching beyond the initial two years – but through our alumni programme we do aim to support all alumni to remain engaged in working towards closing the education gap in New Zealand. That could be through classroom teaching, school leadership roles, and roles in wider education, research, policy or even business. So far, 88 per cent of our first two intakes have remained in teaching, mostly in low decile schools and many with some kind of leadership responsibility.
The Employment Relations Authority (ERA) ruled in December 2015 that Teach First NZ participants were being illegally appointed to teaching positions. Can you shed some light on this matter? A: The ruling from the ERA was a signal to the sector that, under current legislation, the job appointment process of employment-based initial teacher education programmes, such as Teach First NZ, was not able to be conducted as originally intended.
Following from the ERA ruling, Teach First NZ, The University of Auckland, the PPTA and the Ministry of Education have reached agreement on employment processes for Teach First NZ participants. Can you explain what this agreement entails and what impact it will have on graduates of the programme? A: The agreement we reached was that Teach First NZ participants who have been selected for the programme will apply for Gazette-advertised jobs
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Teach First has been attributed as being one out of four factors that have completely turned around London’s education system. in schools, alongside other applicants in an ‘open market’. We are also keeping a close eye on the legislation currently passing through Parliament that would, if passed, create a new official ‘trainee teacher’ category of teacher.
Following that agreement, the Ministry has since proposed a legislation change that could see jobs reserved for trainee teachers, much to the PPTA’s concern. Given that agreement had been reached, do you think the Ministry’s proposed legislation change is necessary? A: While we are continuing to honour the agreement with the PPTA, we would additionally welcome any clarification about the legal status of employment-based initial teacher education programmes. Since the ERA ruling, there has been a degree of uncertainty for our partner schools and Teach First NZ participants, and we would welcome any move to formally clarify the rules and regulations related to their appointment and employment. If any such legislation were to pass, we plan to get back around the table with the PPTA, look at what the legislation says, and figure out together a way forward that will address any remaining concerns.
Presumably high-achieving graduates in other areas typically don’t initially have their sights set on teaching (otherwise they would have likely studied teacher education). What do you think draws these graduates to teaching?
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I understand the Teach First NZ programme is very competitive with only around seven per cent of applicants accepted. Why is the bar set so high for entry into the programme? Are there plans to expand the number of places? A: The bar is high because the programme is very tough! We make no apologies for selecting only the best and the brightest, particularly because the programme is employment-based and our participants are acting as teacher of record in their schools. The Teach First NZ programme is driven by school demand, which continues to be strong, and as such we are currently evaluating options to increase the impact of the programme through expanding the number of places.
How closely is the Teach First NZ programme aligned with other Teach First programmes around the world? Is there much collaboration between countries? A: All Teach First programmes globally are independently managed, governed, and financed, but we are aligned in some ways with Teach First in the UK and Teach For Australia. Teach First programmes around the world share with each other our research findings and best practice through the global Teach For All network, and we were fortunate to have the opportunity to host the annual Teach For All Global Conference last year in Auckland.
What are the biggest challenges you face leading Teach First NZ? A: Our biggest challenge is how to position the programme to enable more top graduates to apply to join. We know that Teach First NZ offers incredible training and leadership development to those lucky enough to secure a place, but marketing this to a fluid pool of graduates who have many other opportunities is challenging, particularly in an environment where teaching has a relatively low status.
What is your overarching vision for the organisation? A: If we are truly going to help ‘move the needle’ of education success in New Zealand, our growing community of partner schools, universities, participants, alumni, policy makers, and even actors from other sectors such as business, need to come together united in will and desire to work to make teaching, particularly teaching in low decile schools, a top graduate choice for our best and brightest.
With all the talk about New Zealand’s growing skill shortages in the STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) areas, Education Review looks at two collaborative tertiary initiatives aimed to plug gaps in ICT and engineering.
ICT Grad Schools
he new ICT Graduate Schools were established to help bolster the ICT workforce. “Industry leaders see the school as part of the solution to the growing shortages in the New Zealand ICT workforce,” says Rees Ward, director of the Wellington ICT Graduate School, the newest ICT Grad School to open its doors for business. The Wellington school, which opened in May this year, is one of three government-funded ICT Grad Schools in New Zealand. The schools aim to expose students to the industry as they undertake their study, to ensure they join the workforce attuned to the latest trends and practices. Industry partners are able to connect with students through scholarships, mentoring opportunities, internships and project work. The schools offer master’s-level degrees, with graduates gaining expertise in software development, business analysis and engineering – vital disciplines for the ongoing growth of the regional and national ICT sector. “The industry appreciates the school’s effort to tap into communities and demographics that have been traditionally under-represented in ICT. This will increase the diversity of the talent pool,” says Ward. Chris Gosling, chief executive of WelTec and Whitireia, who together have the largest IT delivery by institutes of technology and polytechnics in New Zealand, says there has never been stronger demand for highly skilled technical experts.
Curbing national shortage of engineers
intec has teamed up with Waikato secondary schools to address the national shortage of engineers by moving more young people towards a career in the industry. Together, they’ve developed a programme – the first of its kind in New Zealand – which aims to provide secondary school students with a pathway into engineering. From February this year, around 30 year 12 and 13 students from Hamilton’s Fairfield College and Fraser High School have spent two days per week of the school year taking part in engineering courses with learnings that will apply to mechanical and civil engineering pathways at Wintec. During the other three days, their maths and physics school subjects will be specifically contextualised toward engineering. A Wintec engineering tutor will work with the schools to incorporate projects into their curriculum which teach the theory through hands-on application. “At the end of the year, the students will have the necessary criteria to enter into and succeed in Wintec’s New Zealand Diploma in Engineering,” says Wintec chief executive, Mark Flowers. “New Zealand needs more engineering graduates and primarily at the level of engineering technologist and technician, but there’s a public misunderstanding about the breadth and depth of the industry. “There are a range of credible engineering roles that don’t require a four year university degree, but that open up great career options for some pretty decent pay. “The fact we’re not training enough people in this area goes right back to secondary school. Students need to take the right subjects like maths and physics in order to be able to move into an engineering diploma or degree and it’s much better if they can understand the relevance of these subjects to jobs like engineering. This programme aims to address this.” Fairfield College principal Richard Crawford says the programme will connect his students to an engineering pathway that offers significant career opportunities. “Next year will not be the final year of secondary school for these students, but the first year of a three-year programme that places them in the strongest possible position to achieve the New Zealand Diploma in Engineering.” Fraser High School principal Virginia Crawford agrees. “Creating purpose and context in learning with a clearer line of sight between what a student learns at school and how it is connected to the engineering vocation is a game changer.” The results of the pilot programme will be evaluated at the end of 2017, with the aim of increasing the number of participating schools and students in 2018.
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Learning management systems
tips for selecting a
Learning Management System
Education Review trawls through all the advice to find the top tips for selecting a learning management system for your school or tertiary institution. your overall goals, needs and expectations 1Determine
Regardless of your choice – and prior to selecting a suitable LMS or LMS alternative – you must list the features that are important to your institution. And you must separate needs from wants and wishes. In addition, you need to determine what impact the selection may have on your current operation. For example, will the LMS solution: provide the reliability/stability, flexibility, scalability, and security the institution needs? easily integrate with existing systems — both software and hardware? require IT staff to receive additional training? If training is required, can it be provided online and how much will it cost? necessitate the hiring of additional staff with skill sets that differ from those possessed by existing staff? How many staff will be needed to support the LMS solution? require extensive maintenance and support over time? Do vendors offer tiered support plans that can be covered by existing budgets? (Seb Schmoller, Educause Review)
Think of your end user and include them in the decision-making
Try to avoid starting with the technical requirements and then forcing administrators, teachers, and students to buy into those requirements with little input about what they think of them. (Katie Ash, EdWeek)
3 Pilot the systems on offer
As you continue to evaluate the finalists, you may ask for a trial version of the LMS software or access to a ‘sandbox’ installation where you can explore the finalist products. Hands-on exploration will give you a better sense of the user-interface design, features, and capabilities of the product.
It’s important to enter the discussion with an idea of what students, teachers, and administrators need from the system. Group options into three categories – don’t need, nice-to-have, and musthave – to narrow the choices and avoid paying for features that aren’t needed or won’t be used.
(Steve Foreman, Learning Solutions Magazine)
(Katie Ash, EdWeek)
You can get a clear sense of how well the learning management system will adapt to your current and upcoming needs during a live demo or trial run. It is essential to ask the vendor about testing the product before you purchase. This can help you to avoid costly trial and error, given that you will be able to see which features are going to be truly beneficial and which may be unnecessary. During your trial you can also gauge whether or not the scalability is in line with the expected growth of your organisation, and if its flexibility, customisation and usability is what you need to achieve desired eLearning outcomes.
A learning management system may be perfect for your learning and development needs today, but will it be tomorrow? Ideally, you’ll want to choose a learning management system that is going to offer you the features and functionality you need now and in the future. Is it easy to update and maintain over time? Will you be able to integrate other tools and technologies into the platform?
(Christopher Pappas, elearningindustry.com)
Does the company offer round the clock support? Are they going to be able to troubleshoot problems that you may encounter with the LMS in the future? Ask the LMS vendor about the support services that come with your LMS package to ensure that you have access to the help you need to make the most of your new LMS.
4 Talk to others who are using them You learn so much through collaboration with people who are already in this space. They tell you what to look for and the things that went well in the rollout, as well as things they wish they would have improved upon. (Katie Ash, EdWeek)
open source or proprietary? 5 Cloud-based,
Deciding whether to obtain a proprietary, opensource, or cloud-based LMS is like choosing a religion — it depends on what you believe in. Depending on your educational priorities and how the software is configured, any of the three forms might meet your needs. In any case, use care in making general statements about proprietary versus open source LMS software, as they share many advantages and disadvantages.
Introducing or replacing an institutional learning management system (LMS) should involve all stakeholders. Although information and educational technology staff obviously play a key role in the LMS selection process, the successful addition or change in an LMS requires collaboration among IT personnel and the academic staff, as well as the consideration of students’ needs.
People coming to the tertiary sector now are used to working anytime, anywhere, any device. They come with their own tools, their own emails – why would they want to change to infrastructure that’s different from the way they work. So they don’t want to be restricted by server technology.
(Seb Schmoller, Educause Review)
(Igor Matich, Dynamo6)
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6 What features will you need?
(Seb Schmoller, Educause Review)
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(Christopher Pappas, elearningindustry.com)
7 How much support will you need?
(Christopher Pappas, elearningindustry.com) Complex systems often end up adapted to tasks they may not have been specifically designed for. In such a situation it is always a good idea to have a knowledgeable support representative available to ask questions, brainstorm and evaluate the solutions you come up with. (Teach.com)
8 Consider the cost
All schools must take the cost of LMS into consideration as they are all constrained by budget. How much you are willing to spend should depend upon how long you will be committed to using the LMS, and the results you expect to gain. Some LMSs offer free accounts to entice you to sign up, but there is always a hidden cost lurking around the corner. Therefore do your homework to determine if the cost of the LMS is worth the results you will get. The answer should always be the determining factor for buying. (MrKempNZ.com)
Learning management systems
See ya CECIL Kia ora Canvas Dr Kevin Morris
’m exhausted,” laughs Dr Kevin Morris, the University of Auckland’s Director of Learning and Teaching. His fatigue is understandable, given the university’s mammoth project of moving to a new learning management system (LMS) for its 33,000 students and 5,000 staff. While most institutions would opt for a gradual roll-out, the University of Auckland decided to implement the new system completely in the first semester this year. Although it’s early days for Canvas, the University’s new cloud-based LMS, it appears the transition has been successful. Saying ‘hello’ to Canvas, however, meant saying ‘goodbye’ to CECIL, the Uuniversity’s homegrown LMS, of which they’d grown rather fond over the years. I remember using CECIL during my uni days, which says something about its age. “It did us proud for a long time,” says Morris, “We were ahead of the curve. However, we faced huge shifts in technology in terms of what’s available and providing flexibility for the future.” With many of the staff who created CECIL still at the university, they could easily change and tweak things. Morris says they are still becoming familiar with the large commercial system in its place. Once the university had accepted it was time to leave their beloved CECIL in LMS history, they embarked on a process of changing to a new system. The university agreed from the outset that they needed a LMS that would integrate seamlessly with external tools and applications that faculty use, while also working across operating systems and devices that students expect to use in conducting their learning. Four systems were considered, including “all the usual suspects”, says Morris. “In LMS land, they all do 80 per cent of what you want it to do. Where we felt Canvas had the edge was its architecture for the future – we had to address the future-proofing question.” The student community agreed. The selection process involved getting the wider university community involved. Screen capture scenarios and
JUDE BARBACK talks to Dr Kevin Morris about the University of Auckland’s transition to a new cloud-based learning management system. mock websites using Canvas were made available to all staff and students, who were then invited to review and provide feedback via a survey. Students were given the opportunity to ‘play’ with the four products, after which Canvas emerged as the winner. Canvas’s open environment was a key aspect that appealed to the university. It has open APIs (Application Programming Interfaces) and an open LTI (Learning Tools Interoperability) environment, with over 300 apps that can be plugged in to give even greater scope. This allows the opportunity to easily integrate a huge range of tools for teaching and learning, without requiring IT support. Morris says the LMS also has great learning analytics. “It allows us to track how people are using the systems. If we posted a video, we can see how many people viewed it – if no one clicks on it, we need to look at why this was.” He says student reaction has been great. “It looks and feels like Facebook, so it is what they’re used to,” says Morris. It was important that the new LMS supported anytime, anyplace, any device learning, particularly as students often bring more than one device with them. Today’s student flits between accessing timetables on their smartphone, uploading video submissions for assessment via their tablet and writing assignments on their laptop. Faculty also want to use a variety of technology tools and applications in their teaching, and they don’t want to be constrained by the university’s learning platform. Staff members have also adapted well to the change to Canvas. They’ve taken a ‘sandbox’ approach, allowing staff to have a play and simulate what they want to do before they export it. Morris also takes heart that Canvas is used by many of their partner universities around the world, including Ivy League universities, putting them in good company.
Moving to Moodlerooms Earlier this year UCOL’s e-learning team member Cheryl Tyler shared with e-learning professionals from around the world the challenges and opportunities that came with guiding UCOL staff and students through their recent transition from Moodle to Moodlerooms. Over 75 e-learning professionals from a variety of educational institutions and corporate organisations attended the international conference Blackboard Education on Tour in March this year, hosted by the Philippines eLearning Society. Moodlerooms is an enhancement of the supported LMS Moodle. It allows access to additional features including advanced reporting, grading and conduit for student integration, and is cloud-based – reducing several hardware and technical challenges. Cheryl Tyler describes Moodlerooms as a “natural progression” from Moodle. She says it provides the means to future-proof UCOL’s supported learning management. “The best feature is the responsive design, called SNAP, where the look of the page changes depending on the device being used,” says Ms Tyler. “It allows the lecturing staff to better suit the needs of the students by improving their course site and make it more accessible and interactive. “We look forward to working more with staff to improve their knowledge and use of Moodlerooms to enhance student engagement and their own abilities when it comes to teaching with technology.”
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the education of the future
JOSH WILLIAMS, chief executive of the Industry Training Federation, suggests that one way to fix the education system is for workplaces to become the education system.
his year’s Budget had some wins for our kind of education – that is on-the-job training for skills and qualifications. New government investment will give our skilled workers a much needed boost – in particular apprentices, Māori and Pasifika trades trainees and workplace literacy programmes. With several industries facing major worker shortages, the investment is forward-thinking. In the 21st century, to keep up with the rapid pace of change, we need continued investment in our workers and workplaces. But the pace of technological change hasn’t been met by tertiary education, according to the Government’s Productivity Commission. Our education system, they say, hasn’t responded quickly enough to the new world of learning via our computers. On the other side of Parliament, Labour has been running its own Commission – the Future of Work, which suggests that workplaces are rapidly transforming and jobs are being replaced and automated – again in part because of the machines. This has big implications for education and training. In both discussions, talk of ’lifelong learning’ is back. It’s a piece of education-speak that doesn’t seem very exciting to people outside of education, but we can’t seem to think of a more exciting word for it. It doesn’t mean training for old people; rather it means education throughout life, because you’re going to need to learn stuff along the way, especially since things change quickly. And at the moment, your tax dollars don’t really go towards that and the education system doesn’t really look like that. Most attention and effort and resource are directed to education institutions, mostly for pre-employment training, mostly of the young, mostly before they’ve really got going in the workforce. How’s that been working out so far? I hear employers across many areas say things like “well
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yes, we take on graduates, but then we have to start again with them”. Another one is “why do they spend three years when we could have got them up to speed in six months?” Industry finds itself having to do an awful lot of remedial work on the very basics in far too many cases. And we also read a lot lately about skills shortages, which is true and requires urgent effort, but also kind of assumes that those education people over there are going to create a reservoir of people with the right skills that industry can tap into. But how can they? I was recently out at a heavy automotive outfit that maintains and repairs
opportunities to train on the job. And if there are missing bits, or underpinning theory that needs to happen, we can arrange that with education providers. We know we’re giving people the right skills. And we know it’s making a difference to productivity because the learning is happening inside and as part of a productive enterprise. But wait, there’s more: what if this stuff was available to all ages – kids straight out of school for sure, but also mid-career and older workers who need a short chunk of relevant learning, or to retrain? Instead of making kids pay big fees and rack up student debt before learning how to work, we could give them jobs and they can earn money while gaining their skills and getting qualified.
Instead of making kids pay big fees and rack up student debt before learning how to work, we could give them jobs and they can earn money while gaining their skills and getting qualified. the sort of kit that no public or private training provider is ever going to be able to afford. The manufacturers issue systems and procedural updates on a weekly basis. In the real world, every hour these enormous and ridiculously sophisticated machines are up on hoists is costing someone major dollars and productivity. So they train their people, because they have to. And of course, you can’t just learn everything on the internet. Even those virtual reality helmets don’t cut it quite yet. In the end, across the workforce, we have to train our people on the real stuff to do the actual thing. So I’m wondering if maybe one way to fix the education system is for workplaces to become the education system. Maybe the new model we are after is one where the learning happens in the workplace, using real stuff in real situations. Where industry itself says what the skill needs are and arranges the
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Ready for the twist? I’ve just described New Zealand’s current industry training and apprenticeships system. The new idea is an old idea, born in part out of an earlier wave of lifelong learning excitement. Today, 138,000 workplace trainees and apprentices are being supported to learn on the job, using seven per cent of the tertiary budget. Just for contrast, there are 146,000 university students, attracting 53 per cent of the tertiary budget, and that’s leaving aside the loans and allowances keeping them alive. So if you want the right skills at the right time, get hold of your Industry Training Organisation. If our tertiary education system wants to be more responsive to the needs of a rapidly changing workforce, deliver skills to people throughout their working lives and make sure this training results in productivity, then continued investment in workplace education and training is certainly a good place to start.
ANITA MORTLOCK shares her research about the common practice of ‘mat time’ in New Zealand schools.
Is ‘mat time’
a waste of time?
eaching a class of children on the mat is a common practice in our schools. In fact, a survey issued to teachers in year 2 classrooms as part of my doctoral study showed that many children spend approximately a quarter of classroom time sitting on the mat; however, despite it taking up a significant percentage of a child’s day, we know very little about its use. The following article reports the findings of my project and is based on classroom observations, interviews with teachers and children, and a large-scale survey.
Teaching and learning
Teachers used mat time mostly for discussion of rules, explaining a learning activity, and curriculum instruction. Their key goals were to enhance children’s language and listening skills, to improve their social understandings, and to foster a sense of group cohesion. Although each of these goals and uses are useful, only 18 per cent of the teachers indicated that children were consistently attentive at mat time. In addition, a significant number of teachers reported that some children routinely do not participate; therefore such children might not be taking on the desired learning or practising the language skills necessary for speaking in large group situations.
several children. Mia, one of the study children, most eloquently described her anxiety by saying, “When I get something wrong everyone kind of looks at me and I don’t really like it. The main thing is that I think people might tell everyone.” This shows that we need to ask questions that require all of the children to engage in critical discussion, rather than requiring a small number to answer a question quickly. Some of the time, teachers asked the class to form pairs or small groups in order to foster discussion. While this also had the additional benefit of involving everyone some of the children found themselves left over. At times, this had a profound impact on those children who were affected, making them feel rejected and without a sense of belonging. However, when the teacher selected the pairs or groups it assisted such children in forming relationships and gave children the opportunity to find common interests. The importance of this was illustrated by one of the study children, Areta, who said, “Some people get some more new friends.” Anita Mortlock is a lecturer at Victoria University of Wellington’s School of Education.
Helping children to pay attention
Many teachers indicated that they used reward systems to encourage children’s attentive behaviours. International literature suggests that rewards can be an effective strategy; however, they must be maintained. In fact, as soon as reward systems are withdrawn, children appear to be less attentive and more disruptive. The children themselves offered some useful insights into why they might not always pay attention. Some children found the mat uncomfortable to sit on, which caused them to fidget. The majority of children found the disruptions of other children distracting. In fact, this was their most cited dislike of mat time. Another issue was that children found paying attention more difficult the further away from the teacher they sat (unless they were seated in a circle). In addition, the children unequivocally wanted to take part in active ways rather than merely listening, unless they were being read to. Active participation was a significant theme, particularly when children referred to whether or not mat time was interesting. Whereas teachers identified interesting topics, children often talked about interesting activities. Activities that were most attractive to children were those that enabled their active participation, such as singing, or pair discussion.
Mat time Mat time is often used for a range of purposes in junior classrooms but few teachers claim that children are attentive. We can enhance children’s attentiveness by facilitating activities that involve everyone. Involving everyone might also improve classroom relationships.
Even though the children wanted to take on active roles there were several things that prevented their participation. One was the difficulty of teachers’ responsiveness to individual children’s needs. For example, when teachers asked a question that required a specific correct answer, only certain children were able to answer it quickly. This meant that the participation of many other children was automatically precluded. It also meant that there was an element of competitiveness, which deterred
Moriah College invites outstanding individuals to apply for the following full-time teaching position for a Term 3 start:
CHEMISTRY TEACHER (YEARS 7-12) Experienced Science teacher required to teach senior Chemistry (Years 10-12) plus junior Science classes (Years 7-9) . Ideally the successful candidate will have knowledge of the NSW Chemistry syllabus and HSC examination requirements. General selection criteria for teaching positions The successful applicant will:
• have demonstrated experience in responding to contemporary research, trends and initiatives that support the implementation of educational best practice within their subject area • provide high quality teaching and learning programs and activities that are context relevant, promote independent learning and integrate relevant technologies • possess well developed interpersonal skills • participate in the Co-Curricular life of the College • be committed to ongoing professional learning • support the Jewish Zionist ethos of the College
All appointments will be based on merit selection without reference to the religion of applicants. Any offer of employment will also be subject to child protection employment screening.
Visit www.moriah.nsw.edu.au for a Moriah Employment Application Form. The completed form should be sent together with a letter of application, CV, academic transcripts and information regarding two referees should be sent to: firstname.lastname@example.org Applications close at 5pm on Monday 4th July 2016.
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Work of Teacher Education
insights DR ALEXANDRA GUNN discusses her recent TLRI study that scrutinises how initial teacher education is produced, maintained and practised in New Zealand and compares it with similar research carried out overseas.
recent study funded by the Teaching and Learning Research Initiative has been examining teacher education work within New Zealand universities now that most initial teacher education (ITE), since the final mergers of former colleges of education with universities, has become university based. The Work of Teacher Education-NZ (WoTE-NZ) project has been interested in understanding how teacher education, as a part of the academe, is produced, maintained and practised; we believe that the institution of the university provides much scope for building a robust evidence base for teaching, teacher education, and future systemwide development. This is particularly so when considering the current partnership models of teacher education that are under development and which encourage strong reciprocity between school and early childhood teachers, student teachers and teacher educators within ITE. However, parallel Work of Teacher Education (WoTE) projects in England, Scotland, and Australia have raised questions over how ITE has shaped up within universities after similar shifts of ITE to such institutions occurred in those jurisdictions. In England and Scotland, a sense of teacher education as a lesser but more troubling academic discipline is evident in the research. The sense is attributed to the close professional ties teacher education maintains with schooling and a labour force of academic workers who may not be being supported to accumulate the types of academic capital valued by the university, principally research outputs which bring with them, for universities, funding benefits and reputational status. In the Australian WoTE project, teacher education was almost rendered invisible by universities when, in recruitment materials for academic positions within teacher education, human resource type language and generic academic skills and qualities featured strongly.
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This was interpreted in the research as a reflection of Australian universities’ anxiety over their government’s research assessment and funding exercise, Education in Research for Australia, kin to New Zealand’s Performance-Based Research Fund (PBRF). The New Zealand study has found similar issues to England and Scotland with respect to the place of research in teacher education work within universities here. Support for teacher educators’ research had waned in some instances. Some teacher education academics’ work designations had been changed to omit research as an element of their expected work.
The New Zealand study has found similar issues to England and Scotland with respect to the place of research in teacher education work within universities here. Despite this, all teacher educators in the New Zealand study were actually engaging in research. We interpreted this finding as a collective recognition by teacher educators of the imperative within New Zealand universities for academics to base their teaching on research and to take seriously their role as critic and conscience, in this case the profession of teaching. Having teacher educators engage in research is precisely the kind of work that would ultimately allow university-based teacher education to contribute to robust, evidence-based, systems change. Ironically what we think universities too would want, but that seems to be undermined by the kinds of practices within universities that have been observed in the research.
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The New Zealand WoTE study noted a bifurcation of the category of work involved in teacher education occurring when universities appointed people to either research inclusive or teaching dominant tracks. During the six months where we gathered data on recruitment to positions within teacher education, we observed two types of position being advertised: those who sought experienced researchers who may not have any teachingspecific background or qualification required of them in order to apply, and those who sought experienced, qualified and registered teachers, who would not be required to research as part of their role. Thus the institutions were creating and maintaining a research/practice dualism within teacher education and preventing teacher educators from addressing the full scope of university-based teacher education work, which by definition involves research, teaching (including teaching student teachers who will be in practicum settings), and service (to the university and beyond). A major implication of this finding is that universities may in fact be impeding the development of teacher education as an emerging discipline within the academe. Furthermore, they may be maintaining a general sense of the university as distanced from the profession therefore insufficient an institution to be a quality provider of initial teacher education. Dr Alexandra C Gunn is associate dean teacher education at University of Otago College of Education. She was principal investigator for the Work of Teacher Education – New Zealand study with Drs D Berg, M Haigh and MF Hill. The summary project report for the study is due to be published by NZCER under the TLRI. Please see the online version of this article for all references.
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The lure of the UK ROSIE BUCHANAN of Smart Teachers recounts what Kiwi teachers in the UK have to say about their experiences teaching abroad.
he UK has long been a popular destination for New Zealanders to work and travel. It’s estimated that at present there are 200,000 Kiwis living in the UK, many of whom are qualified teachers. The sheer number of people flocking to the Northern Hemisphere in order to kickstart their careers is achieved largely through the Youth Mobility Visa scheme, designed to facilitate working holidays for those aged 18–31. Recent media attention surrounding the increased cost of relocation, healthcare fees and accommodation scarcity has given some cause for hesitation but there is no doubt the interest to travel and work in England is still there – so how do we separate the facts from the speculation? We did our homework and also asked those who have ‘been there, done that’ what they believe are the challenges to moving to the UK, and how to navigate them. Here’s what they said:
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Visa cost and surcharge
The introduction of a health surcharge to cover the cost of a migrant’s use of the healthcare system was introduced in early 2016. Amounting to just over NZ$300 per year, it is comparable to GP visits in New Zealand. Newly qualified teacher Jason was determined to make the move over as soon as possible. “I’d been planning the move for some time, and had saved a considerable amount by the time I applied for my visa. While it would’ve been great not to have to pay the healthcare surcharge, it definitely didn’t deter me from going,” says Jason.
2 Different curriculum
The curriculum is different. No surprises there. The UK is structured in their approach to delivery and assessment but this hasn’t phased Kara, who
has found creativity was encouraged and she has managed to put her own spin on teaching. “Although it has been challenging at times, it has been great to experience different ways of teaching and learning in the UK. The children in my class love to hear about New Zealand and the different ways we do things,” says Kara.
3 Finding a job
What would you even search on Google? Navigating the job market in another country on your own is time consuming, confusing and overwhelming. Engaging with an agency is the smartest and most popular way to find a job – and it’s free. “Smart Teachers supported me throughout the whole process,” says Kerry. “I was unable to find a job here in New Zealand and as the months slipped by I realised that I would have to look further afield Continued on next page >>
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Interested in teaching overseas. Have a million questions. Want someone to make it easy.
Join our next webinar http://www.smartteachers.co.uk/teach-in-the-uk-newzealand/
Teaching jobs. In England. And we’ll fly you over there.* Education Review series
Postgrad Education 2016 27
DR MAGGIE HARTNETT draws from her new book Motivation in online education to discuss what drives people to pursue and persist with online learning.
ith the rapid growth of the internet and related technologies, the way we interact with each other and the world around us is changing. This is particularly true for tertiary education where the availability of online courses and programmes is increasing markedly. There are good reasons for this growth. The nature of work is changing and we can now expect to have several different careers over the course of our working lives. This makes the availability of ongoing education opportunities very important. Online learning (internet-based study where students are at a distance from on-campus classes) can offer the flexibility students need to fit study around other life commitments.
This is particularly true for mature students who are often juggling study with family and work commitments. Perhaps a lesser known benefit of online learning is its ability to provide greater equity of access to people who may have previously been excluded from education. Alongside the advantages of online learning there are also challenges. Research shows there are a range of considerations that are crucial to online learner success. Primary among them is learner motivation. Poor motivation is a decisive factor in contributing to high dropout and noncompletion rates from online courses.
Learners in context
Motivation is a term used to describe an impetus that causes someone to do something. In the past, motivation to learn has been viewed as a personal quality that an individual brings to their learning. For example, learning that aligns with personal interests and goals, is meaningful and engenders a sense of self-efficacy all contribute to an individual’s motivation to learn. However, this is only part of the story. Aspects of the learning environment, such as the curriculum, learning activities and the role of the teacher also affect (positively or negatively) motivation. Collectively, these combine in complex and dynamic ways to influence the motivation.
Motivation and technology
When it comes to technology it is often viewed as inherently motivating because it provides a number of qualities that foster motivation such as curiosity and novelty. The novelty factor does tend to wear off, however, as users become accustomed to it. Learning online, however, can provide freedom and choice to decide when, where, what and how to learn (i.e. agency). Learner agency is a key aspect of fostering motivation but it’s unlikely to be sufficient on its own. Competence and social support are also needed. Clear guidelines, ongoing guidance and timely feedback, for example, allow learners to make accurate, ongoing judgements about their capability, necessary for ongoing motivation. This is particularly important in online courses where teachers may not be immediately available to answer questions. Social support, in the form of supportive learning relationships with the teacher as well as other learners, can offer emotional benefits in addition to study-related assistance which are known to foster motivation. If you are embarking online, whether via formal study or in a MOOC, consider learning and social support features alongside the convenience and flexibility aspects of online learning to ensure a motivated and successful learning journey. Dr Maggie Hartnett is a senior lecturer at Massey University’s Institute of Education. Her book Motivation in online education was published earlier this year.
<< Continued from previous page for a job before the gap between university and my own classroom got too wide. “After contacting Smart Teachers I was listened to and then guided with options. I was supported in my CV writing and then invited for Skype or phone interview by schools who had received my CV and seen me as a good match too. That alone was an amazing experience and here I am now four months into my job in the UK and I am loving it.”
4 Finding accommodation
Consider approaching finding accommodation in the same way you might to finding a date. There are myriad websites, profiles, matching services, apps. Shane considers himself one of the lucky ones. “I managed to find long-term accommodation only 20 minutes from work within four days of arrival. I simply put an ad on spareroom.co.uk and was overwhelmed with people looking for someone to fill a room.”
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Secondary teacher Rebecca found the process a little more hit and miss. Her first viewing was a disaster, with an agent pressuring her to accept something she didn’t want. “My advice is to try and see different areas of London to get a feel for different suburbs and don’t feel bad about saying no!” she recommends.
5 Arriving in the UK
Staying connected is key and knowing where to turn for support is critical for a smooth transition. Even with home only a phone call or click away, reaching out to real-life people in the UK makes so much sense. And it’s free! “I’m not going to lie – arriving in London is incredibly overwhelming! It is everything you know or have heard about it and so much more. Knowing that Smart Teachers were only a phone call away to calm any nerves I had about the new
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job was comforting. For me it was so important to have that support,” says Kate.
Expect to work hard. Teaching is a challenging job if you want to do it well. Don’t fall into the trap of listening to the people who tell you you will only work until 4pm – yes, some do – but the teachers who seem to have real job satisfaction understand that you have to work hard to get good outcomes for students. Expect to feel homesick – that’s all part of the process, but that too will pass. Be fussy! The job market is so different from home. There are loads of jobs, which means you probably can hold out for the job of your dreams.
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Up close and personal with a distance learner EVELYN LEWIS says distance learning allows her greater connectivity with peers and tutors compared with being one of many in a lecture room.
Education Review: What are you studying and what stage are you at in your qualification? A: Evelyn Lewis: I have just completed my MEd in E-Learning through Massey University. I am looking forward to commencing doctoral studies later this year.
Why did you opt for distance learning? A: Having teenage children and a family home a long way from any tertiary education provider drew me towards distance learning. The courses and the papers being offered by Massey University were particularly interesting to me. The more I looked into distance learning, the more I was drawn to the flexibility it could offer me – while still being able to manage family life.
How does it compare with other ‘face-toface’ educational experiences? A: My face-to-face learning experiences are from some time ago now. Notwithstanding this I feel that my distance learning gave me far greater connectivity with both peers and tutors. Through the online environment that Massey uses to provide access to its courses, I was able to develop working relationships with peers. It was really easy
to seek advice and guidance from tutors, who were only ever an email away. Comparing this to back in the days when I was one of many in a lecture room, when there was little chance to ask a question, has made my distance learning a far superior experience.
What are the main advantages of distance learning? A: For me the key is the flexibility it provides. I was able to plan my study schedule within the parameters provided by my courses. I could study early in the morning or late into the evening – really whenever it worked for me. I could access learning anywhere there was internet access – so even if I wasn’t at home for a few days I could carry on with my studies. Not having to spend time travelling to access study, meant I could devote more time to the actual learning.
And what are the more challenging aspects? A: Although you can tell I am pretty much sold on the whole experience, I have to be honest and say that it can be a lonely experience – if you don’t connect with other learners. Motivation can be hard to maintain, but by keeping connected with peer learners and tutors it can be overcome.
What advice would you give others considering studying via distance learning? A: Choose your courses carefully – pick subjects and papers that really interest you as it will be much easier to keep your enthusiasm going as the semester(s) progress. Work at building those relationships with peers and tutors. If there are on-campus meetings attend – so that you can meet face to face. Make use of all the support mechanisms available via your institution, from teaching staff to the library and student support staff. Be kind to yourself. When you choose courses take the advice on how much time you are expected to study seriously – tutors will have planned your learning to use the specified time. Plan your schedule and be realistic about how you need to work to achieve it to meet deadlines without giving yourself undue stress. Devote quality time to study and make sure you schedule some rest and relaxation to recharge your batteries. Last – but not least – go for it! Meet new people, open your mind to new ideas, and most of all pursue your dream.
New eCampus paves the way for online education Online learning will take on a new dimension for students of a group of tertiary institutes in New Zealand with the launch of an innovative new online learning platform. Ara Institute of Canterbury, Otago Polytechnic, Universal College of Learning Palmerston North, Nelson Marlborough Institute of Technology and Eastern Institute of Technology have collaborated to offer online education across the country via a new online learning platform, TANZ eCampus. Kay Giles, chief executive of Ara, says offering programmes through online learning creates new opportunities for potential students who can now study at the time, place and pace of their choice.
“The services provided by the TANZ eCampus will ensure that students receive a comparable level of support to if they were studying face-to-face at a physical campus, with the eCampus therefore not just improving access but also increasing the likelihood of successful completion for remote learners.” A qualification from one of the participating institutes undertaken through TANZ eCampus is industry recognised and accepted by the New Zealand Qualifications Authority (NZQA) and students may attend the graduation ceremony of any of the partner institutes. Initially, students will be able to access more than 40 courses through the TANZ eCampus service, including a significant number of business-related courses and qualifications.
Pamela Simpson, Executive Director of TANZ eCampus says that study through TANZ eCampus will be of particular interest to workplace learners looking to extend their job prospects or gain a new business-related skill, for example in project management. “We will be using innovative student analysis to keep a finger on the pulse of student needs – adapting with students so that the learning platform performs at its best. In addition, students will be well supported by real people. They will each have a personal advisor who will follow them through their learning journey, as well as access to experienced course facilitators who are dedicated to helping them achieve their study goals,” Simpson says.
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Information & Communications technology
Digital smarts for today’s learning
In their book Digital Smarts Waikato University’s NOELINE WRIGHT and DIANNE FORBES share how digital technologies can support and enhance learning across all education sectors.
ow can we effectively and innovatively harness digital technology for learning today? On the surface, the question might assume that effective and innovative harnessing of digital technologies doesn’t already happen. Perhaps we need to focus on the qualifiers “effectively and innovatively”, which can be interpreted as being organised or efficient, in ways that might not have been possible before. Certainly there are many digital technologies that can be categorised under productivity in that way, and many are used in education contexts. Schools commonly use software for enrolments, attendance, communication, archiving and sharing resources; however, this is no longer enough, especially since the rollout of ultra-fast broadband to most schools will be complete by the end of this year. Since learning is the core function of a school, technologies that support and enhance learning are what teachers and learners strive to use. Digital Smarts demonstrates examples across all education sectors (ECE, primary, secondary, tertiary) and goes some way to answer the initial question ‘how can we effectively and innovatively harness digital technology for learning today?’ Focus on purpose: In education, the purpose is learning. It is the pedagogical decision-making that should happen before any technology decision is made. It is not tech for tech’s sake, and is regardless of education sector. The key question is always, ‘What do my students need to learn?’ Promote agency: This can be understood as students’ active participation in their learning. It is also about having control of one’s learning and decision-making. This includes any learner in early childhood through to
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secondary and tertiary learning contexts where a learner exercises agency over the focus of learning, generates content and resources, and is encouraged to provide feedback and feedforward to peers. Be creative: Take risks, experiment and inquire. The term F.A.I.L. is a good one – it’s an acronym for First Attempt in Learning (from Kalam’s Wings of Fire, 1999) and reclaims ‘fail’ as a positive act of discovery. Challenge the status quo. Look across disciplines and domains for new ideas and inspiration. Be brave: Invite critique – peer review may feel scary, but this is about aiming for quality. In classroom terms, this is about reviewing one’s and colleagues’ practices as well as seeking feedback from learners about how well the learning happened. This is also important when making choices about digital technologies. Are they fit for our purpose? In what ways might learners’ experiences be enhanced? Value diversity and equity: The perspectives of all participants regardless of context are important. Digital Smarts incorporates viewpoints from students, librarians, beginning teachers, researchers and designers, across sectors. It creates a rich compilation of voices and views. In any educational context, there are multiple ways of making sense of the same experience. This might include views of students, support staff, whānau and community. Respect, consultation and open communication is essential for the success of efforts involving digital technology. Look to theory: There is nothing so practical as a good theory. Theoretical grounding can help in harnessing digital technology for learning, whatever the learning context. This is the case with Simon and Sara Archard’s work on digital habitus. This concept represents
the competencies and understandings that children bring from home to preschool settings. Other influential theories underpinning effective learning through digital technologies include connectivism and invitational theory, or an extension of continuance theory to education contexts. Seek partnerships: Be generous with your own contributions and seek mentoring and support. Share and share alike, collaborate and have an open approach. Where possible, use open software and open educational resources. Join a PLN (professional/personal learning network) and share with colleagues. This can easily happen via social media interest groups. Persevere, be resilient: Nothing worth doing yields instant results, and not all feedback is positive. However, when students provide helpful feedback about how using a digital technology helped them learn, then teachers can overcome all obstacles and keep trying. Keep learning: It is about being lifelong and lifewide. Educators and younger learners find ways to use technological tools for new purposes and add to what we know by doing so, for digital technologies provide new opportunities and options for learning that could never have existed before. The more we learn from research the more we can add to knowledge and ways of learning. Think and act smart: The term ‘digital smarts’ can be understood in many ways. It can be about being efficient in lean times and having to make do, overcoming other interpretations of ‘smart’. Digital technologies can help us work well. To download a free copy of Digital Smarts: Enhancing teaching and learning, see http://goo.gl/7bz3Ec.
Principal’s Prfessional development
South auckland pasifika principals pursue postgrad pd
Rowandale School principal KARL VASAU was one of four principals in the Pacific Island Manurewa Principals (PIMP) group to pursue a postgrad professional development opportunity. He believes professional development is “critical” for principals. KARL VASAU
Education Review: What inspired you to seek professional development at the postgraduate level? A: Karl Vasau: I belong to the Pacific Island Manurewa Principals group, and we work together collaboratively, sharing ideas and working together in our community. We’re all like-minded principals who come from very similar schools with a similar ICT infrastructure. We saw The Mind Lab by Unitec’s Postgraduate Certificate in Applied Practice as an opportunity for us to grow our knowledge and understanding around the effective use of ICT, so that we could take more of a leadership role in our schools. Along with the three other principals in our PIMP group, I enrolled in the course in November 2015.
What does the course entail? A: In the first half of the course we have looked at a variety of different leadership theories and styles around how digital tools and collaborative learning can be used to raise achievement in the classroom. We’ve also looked at and researched the various opinions around 21st century learning and how educators can transform their practice. The second half of the course is mainly online, with the occasional face-to-face workshop and focuses on research-informed practice, selfreflection and community engagement. This gives me the opportunity to apply my insights back into my school’s curriculum, whilst studying online alongside my fellow principals.
What were your first impressions of the course? A: I was quite anxious before I started the postgraduate course, but I knew that I had the support of my principals group which really helped. Our group would always attend the sessions together and meet up beforehand to compare notes and collaborate on assignments. The support of our group, and the team at The Mind Lab really made our study that much more beneficial and enjoyable. It created an environment where you’re working with other teachers straight away. It was a very teacher-friendly course – it’s flexible around our work and can be adapted to our schools.
How does collaboration with other principals help you do your job better? A: Being a principal can sometimes be a lonely job, and you need a good, close-knit support structure. My principals group helps me to seek collaboration and work together with other peers. We’re very likeminded and get on well, which is a bonus.
What are some of the most challenging aspects of being a principal? A: The most challenging aspect is the bread and butter of schools – raising student achievement and keeping up with all the national standards. We need to make sure that our curriculum reflects one that’s broad, focused and targeted to the needs of children. We need to keep staffing levels appropriate to the needs to the school, and hire teachers that reflect the community, the goals of the board and of parents. Being a low decile school, we deal with the issues within our community, support our parents and ensure that kids come to school every day and are exposed to an amazing learning experience.
Ultimately what do you hope to get out of the course? In what ways do you hope it will help you to be a better principal? A: It is setting me up with the skills and knowledge to understand exactly how ICT can be used to support learning in my school, and is helping me to understand more about what it means to be innovative. I’ve learnt that to be an innovative teacher, you don’t just do amazing things within the classroom but you step back and look at how the whole school can upskill in ICT from a leadership level.
And the most rewarding? A: I really enjoy coming to work. Every day I wake up and know that I’m off to a workplace I enjoy. It’s a beautiful community – we have wonderful staff, a supportive board, awesome parents and children with so much potential. Rowandale School is a family-like context, which is what I base my whole philosophy around. In order to be successful, educate kids and support families we need to be like a family. We need to treat every child like they’re our own.
Is it a challenge to fit the study in around your work and other commitments? A: As principals we’re pretty lucky in that we’re able to allocate time for our study. We have leadership teams within our schools that will cover us when we get together to do our assignments. We work long hours so it’s extremely valuable to have some time in our week dedicated to professional development. There are so many expectations and requirements of teachers these days – children’s achievement is paramount. If a teacher is considering further study it’s important they discuss the options with their principals. The school should understand they’re not only investing in the teacher’s development, but in development for the whole school. In the past I’ve had teachers come to me and ask for time to do their assignment I’ve said yes, but I didn’t really know what I was saying yes to. Now that I know, if a teacher came to me I would make sure I provided extra assistance because of the flow-on benefit to our whole school.
What advice would you give a first-time principal? A: As a principal, you are never too good to do anything on your own. I’ve been a principal for 10 years and I still enjoy collaborating with others. I learn off other principals all the time – I steal ideas and pinch systems. Other people have so much more knowledge than you when it comes to different areas, so learn off them and let them help you. If you’re a sponge, and you take support from others then make sure you’re reciprocal in sharing that with more principals and teachers. Remember that you need to share with others – when you share information it reinforces everything you’re doing.
Do you think professional development is important for principals? Why? A: Definitely. I think for us to stay ahead of the game, professional development is critical and as leaders we need to show our staff that we are willing to walk the talk. Participating in this professional development is another way of showing our staff there’s a thing called ICT out there and if we’re willing to take a risk and learn, so should they.
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Postgrad Education 2016 31
Their adaptability and calibre of training means that Kiwi teachers are highly sought after by international Englishmedium independent schools around the world.
nglish as the language for learning is growing in popularity the world over; so much so that a 2014 report by England’s Oxford University and British Council describes it as a “growing global phenomenon”. This is one of the reasons why the worldwide English-medium international independent schools market is expanding at such a pace – and why there is such a demand for skilled teachers from English-speaking countries. According to The International School Consultancy (ISC Research), which has been the leading provider of data and intelligence on the international schools market for over 20 years, there are currently 8,231 English-medium international schools around the world teaching 4.3 million students. These schools are currently employing over 402,000 full-time staff and many are fully qualified teachers from such countries as the UK, US, Canada, Australia, Ireland, South Africa and New Zealand, where teacher training and qualifications are considered to be of a high standard. Andrew Wigford, managing director of Teachers International Consultancy, an organisation that specialises in recruitment for international schools, believes New Zealand teachers have huge appeal in other countries. “They have very good training and tend to have excellent adaptability skills, meaning they cope well when working with different curricula and approaches to teaching and learning,” says Wigford. “New Zealand is very progressive in some areas of English teaching, especially at primary level, and teachers from New Zealand typically have good experience of inquiry-based learning which many international schools have adopted. This is why international schools often rate them so highly.”
An education solution for local and expatriate children
International schools are no longer only meeting the learning needs of expatriate students, which is why they were originally established. Today,
32 Postgrad Education 2016
new zealand teachers the number of local children attending international schools is at an all-time high and now makes up 80 per cent of the overall student population. The reason for this is that international schools deliver all, or the vast majority, of the education in the language of English, often with globally recognised qualifications and good standards of teaching and learning. For many parents, both local and expatriate, this is considered an important educational route; one through which their child can gain a place at a western university; well prepared in the English language and in a western style of learning. The National Curriculum of England is the most popular curriculum, used (all or in part) in 39 per
10 years the market will almost double again. By 2026 it predicts there will be 16,000 international schools teaching 8.75 million students, which suggests that job opportunities for qualified and adventurous expatriate teachers look set to continue. The number of expat teachers employed in English-medium international schools varies from country to country depending upon a number of reasons including government quotas, visa restrictions, school standards and more. Labour laws and tax rules affecting expatriates also influence the recruitment and retention of teaching staff. For example, recent legislation in Indonesia required that all teaching staff in the country should have five years’ postgraduate teaching experience. In some countries, such as the United Arab Emirates, foreign teaching staff pay little or no tax on their salaries, making such destinations particularly attractive for some expats.
They have very good training and tend to have excellent adaptability skills, meaning they cope well when working with different curricula and approaches to teaching and learning. cent of international schools around the world. This means that British teachers and those with experience delivering the National Curriculum of England are particularly sought after by many schools. The International Baccalaureate and US-style curriculum are also popular. As for qualifications, many international school students study for A levels, IB Diploma or Advance Placement all of which are recognised by western universities.
A continuing demand
This combination of relevant qualifications, teaching and learning, and English language skills explains why the number of international schools and students attending international schools has risen dramatically in recent years. ISC Research states that the market has more than tripled in 15 years and forecasts that within
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Attracting the very best teachers
Many of the premium international schools employ all, or a particularly large proportion of, well-qualified teachers from English-speaking countries. However, there are not enough topquality teachers with the skills and experience, who are willing to move away from their home countries, to satisfy the demand from all the international schools. As a result, international schools often compete to recruit the best candidates. Some schools offer salaries which are higher than teachers could earn in their home countries, and many schools offer a range of benefits such as free or subsidised accommodation, medical insurance, free or subsidised flights to and from teachers’ countries of origin, free or subsidised tuition for children, and more.
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