Page 1


1 Publisher’s note 2 Let’s talk about sex 5 Top students left standing, Language and identity 6 Feeding the learners 8 Home or prison? 9 Schools are the best playground 12 Indigenous success 14 You are not alone 17 When the media is anti-social


LEARNING AUCKLAND

1

Publisher’s note Emma Chajecka

S

tudent writer Shelley Waddams of Massey High School has taken on a sensitive topic in this edition – sex education from a student’s perspective.

Shelley recently moved to Auckland from the UK, and says this aspect of health education is lacking in both countries. Given the recent findings of the Children’s Commissioner for England, Dr Maggie Atkinson, the subject and our teaching of it probably does need attention, especially in light of rapid uptake of internet by students, and the burgeoning social media networks. Dr Atkinson says age restrictions are applied to cinema, but we permit access to far more troubling imagery via the internet. She says we have no idea of the implications of this random and less than savoury ‘sex education’. “It is a risky experiment,’ Dr Atkinson says, “to allow a generation of young people to be raised on a diet of pornography.” The report called for compulsory

sex and relationship education in primary and secondary schools, with emphasis on the dangers of pornography. This is backed up by the National Association of Teachers, and the education watchdog Ofsted which says sex education lessons are not of a quality students need. The Commissioner also said strict rules around sex education and in classrooms generally made it difficult for students to ask legitimate questions when they did access sexual images. This is different to the usual silly questions that will be asked, where students hope to embarrass a teacher or raise a laugh by asking about some explicit act. As another Massey High School writer, Mathew Ditchburn, points out in this edition, young people are bombarded with unsavoury imagery when they use the internet for legitimate research. Sex education is happening, and it is out of control. The explicit images are far more graphic and offensive than anything that would ever be encountered in a

health class. Even those opposed to sex education for various reasons will agree the ‘accidental’ classroom, and playground, of the internet is unhelpful, to say the least. The Commissioner has shown a clear link between exposure to extreme images at a young age and a noticeable increase in “risky behaviours”, and student writers in this edition are signalling their concerns, shared by many of their peers. Belinda Ryan, from Alfriston College, has shown great courage with her piece on depression. Belinda offers unique insight to the condition, its impact on school and social life, and outlines how others can help people suffering this debilitating illness. Also from Alfriston, Brittney Flavell traces the impact of domestic violence and also presents measures students and others can take when this touches their lives or the lives of those around them. Stephanie Weatherill from ACG Sunderland points out students who are performing well can

be overlooked as resources are poured into those who aren’t; and Tilak Patel from Flanshaw Road School presents interesting research he conducted in several West Auckland schools to arrive at suggestions for playground investment. Anna Neumann, also from Flanshaw Road School, underlines the multicultural shape of our schools and the many languages spoken in them. Anna introduces her idea for bilingual clubs and in the next edition of Learning Auckland she’ll tell us how they could work. Scientist Siouxsie Wiles presents the animations she is producing to support breakfast clubs in schools as part of her work in child poverty, and tertiary student Hilary Dutton covers the recent visit by indigenous education expert Dr Ku Kahakalau. Strong and varied writing from student contributors have given us this third edition of Learning Auckland, and the second for 2013. We welcome your comments and submissions. Emma Chajecka

Behavioural Optometrist

Donald G Klaassen

DipOptom(SA),MPhil(Optom),FBDO(UK),OCANZ

Specialist optometry services and advice for all children including those with vision related reading and learning difficulties. • Comprehensive paediatric eye examinations • Large range of children’s frames • Visagraph technology for computerised eye tracking • Irlen colour screening • Active therapy for “lazy eye”

• Tailored eye exercise programs and advice on dyslexia • Over 10 years experience with autism spectrum disorders • Over 20 years international experience • Registered with Enable NZ Spectacle Subsidy

Available by appointment at three locations in Auckland Botany Ph 262-0086 • Manukau Ph 262-0086 Sandringham Ph 846-7007

STUDENTCONTRIBUTIONS We welcome student writing, art, photographs and ideas. Send material to production@educationtoday.co.nz or call 0277344756 for more details. Education Today can provide a permission form where photos and interviews of students require principal and caregiver signoff.

www.educationtoday.co.nz


2

LEARNING AUCKLAND

Let’s talk about

Massey High School’s SHELLEY WADDAMS, recently arrived from the UK, says sex education needs attention.


LEARNING AUCKLAND

S

ex. There, I said it.

The word that is so taboo in today’s society, yet is the most basic human instinct. Sex is present in most people’s lives at some point, yet young people are not being properly educated about it. I remember my sex education lessons in England where you had the opportunity to anonymously ask questions, and most of the class asked about a specific sexual act, simply for the thrill of hearing the teacher explaining it. When I moved to New Zealand, I arrived at the end of year 10, just in time to catch the lessons on sex education. Overall, what I learnt from these lessons was that if you have sex without using a condom, you will get an incurable sexually transmitted infection (STI). There was no mention of regular trips to Family Planning or other such clinics to get yourself checked out, and no mention of the fact that many STI’s are in fact curable if you happen to be in that situation.

Young people need to be aware of their options if they happen to contract an STI or even fall pregnant, as these things will happen, no matter how many out-dated sex education videos they are shown by schools. When these things occur, young people need to know what their options are and where they can go to get help. Pregnancy options, STI options, contraception options, sex and the feelings that may go along with sex are all things that need to be discussed in sex education lessons. I decided to ask some students at my school their view on the sex education lessons they received. Out of all the students I asked, I didn’t get one positive review. “No-one took it seriously because it all seemed so oldfashioned so we all just laughed and took no notice.” This quote came from a year 10 student and I feel it helps to show schools need to update their resources in order to be taken seriously by students. Another student, Thomas McIver said: “we only got

taught prevention, we didn’t get told what our options are if these things (STI’s or pregnancy) do actually happen.” Thomas is a year 13 student and offered a more insightful opinion. Renee Shannons said that she found sex education “not very informative, I learnt the most about it in year 11, but taking health isn’t compulsory in year 11 so not everyone was taught the more detailed parts of it.” What I suggest is that every single school around the country brings in someone from their city’s sexual health service to teach children properly about their options regarding contraception, STIs and pregnancy. Unfortunately, judging by my experience with sex education in England, it is not just New Zealand which needs to raise the standard of their sex education lessons, and I am also led to believe the United States of America’s sex education lessons aren’t all that great either. I suggest children all over the world may be undereducated sex education-wise and that this is a serious problem which needs to be addressed now. Bringing in people from the local sexual health service won’t change the world, but it’s a pretty good place to start. We are showing elements of Education Review Office reports on sex education with this story. ERO found that “the majority of schools needed to improve one or more aspects of the design and implementation of their sexuality education programmes and that many schools did not give their teachers the support required to deliver high quality sexuality education programmes.” It is also important to note ERO found most schools did not have feedback from students on the outside sources or agencies students turned to in their own efforts to be better informed in this area. Continued page 4

Links

Curriculum Action Positive Puberty resource Promoting health education http://healtheducation.org.nz/

Shelley Waddams

Ministry of Education comment The New Zealand Curriculum provides direction for schools to foster the development of young people who will be confident (in their own abilities and identities), connected and relating well to others, actively involved in their own and others well-being and life learners actively seeking, developing and using knowledge. An essential part of this learning is in health related contexts – and that includes sexuality education.   Positive Puberty, one of the Curriculum in Action teacher resources, supports the teaching of Health and Physical Education by providing teachers with ideas for planning units of work to meet the identified learning needs of students. It advises that teachers should plan and deliver sexuality education programmes that give young people accurate information about changes during puberty and that encourage them to empathise with others. Such programmes can enhance each student’s self-image, build up their sense of self-worth, and help them to manage the changes as they occur. The New Zealand Curriculum further advises that learning must happen in an inclusive and non-discriminatory way.  Students must be encouraged to think objectively and critically about what they are learning and understand why the learning is relevant to them.    From The New Zealand Curriculum, and Curriculum in Action: Positive Puberty http://health.tki.org.nz/Keycollections/Curriculum-inaction/Positive-Puberty

3


4

LEARNING AUCKLAND

Schools that teach sexuality education well A n Education Review Office report (link shown below) shows four schools featured in sex education case studies representing a range of schools, including single sex and coeducational, urban and provincial, large and small, secondary, intermediate and primary. While each school had developed its sexuality education programme differently in response to their students’ needs, they shared some common characteristics.

Each school had: • Acknowledged the strong student need for being taught potentially awkward sexuality topics by approachable, trustworthy and empathetic teachers; • Organised their sexuality education programme with a strong focus on positive relationships and the emotional and social aspects of sexuality; • Supported their teachers in developing an effective sexuality education programme that was interactive and student-centred; • Undertaken, or was in the process of completing, a regular school-wide review of

the sexuality education programme; • Ensured teachers had the opportunity for professional development, specifically in sexuality education, to establish high quality pedagogical knowledge; • Fostered a school-wide ethos of respect and a classroom environment of safety and inclusiveness; • Provided supporting pastoral care networks and medical services; • Communicated effectively in a variety of ways with the school community and parents; • Monitored the programmes delivered by the outside organisations; • Provided plentiful and varied resources which were updated regularly; • Collected and analysed school wide student achievement information in sexuality education to plan for students’ needs; and • Encouraged teachers to provide for the needs of diverse groups of students. This report and the accompanying ERO report, The Teaching of Sexuality

Education in Years 7 to 13, June 2007 (link shown below), provide information to boards, schools and their communities about how effective sexuality programmes can be delivered to students. ERO says the purpose of these reports is to help all schools review their sexuality education programmes, so their students are equipped with skills and attitudes enabling them to understand the physical, social

and emotional aspects of sexuality. Links

www.ero.govt.nz/NationalReports/The-Teaching-ofSexuality-Education-in-Years-713-Good-Practice-June-2007/ Schools-that-teach-sexualityeducation-well www.ero.govt.nz/NationalReports/The-Teaching-ofSexuality-Education-in-Years-713-June-2007


LEARNING AUCKLAND

5

Top students left standing Students performing well against the curriculum can somethimes be overlooked, says STEPHANIE WEATHERILL from ACG Sunderland.

M

ost people know that students who are performing below the national curriculum standards are being given help to improve to where they need to be, but what’s being done for the students who are performing above and beyond the curriculum? Cassandra Pauling-Munro is a student at ACG Sunderland and says classrooms could have two teachers, one to assist students below the curriculum and one to assist students at the appropriate level and those above the curriculum.

Cassandra recognises this could be difficult. “Classes should be divided into different levels – one for students above the curriculum, one for students at and one for students below,” she says. Ria Sharma is also a student at ACG Sunderland. “If I was in that position,” she says, “I would like the ability to work on the topics that have already been studied and perhaps the next topic in the class agenda. “As this could be finished quite quickly, the ability to help other students with their work would be a great learning

experience on both sides.” Different schools have different problems and different solutions. Are top students being left standing at your school? If so, talk to your friends, family, teachers, students and principals and see what you can do you can do to fix and prevent the problem. If schools ignore this problem, classes will be thrown into a see-saw effect. Students who are above the curriculum will start to sink down to curriculum level and then below. Students below level will become the students

above, which isn’t so bad, until the cycle starts again. Is this a problem at your school? What do you think can be done to help?

Stephanie Weatherill

ANNA NEUMANN is at Flanshaw Road School, and says students love the challenge of new languages, and the opportunity to use their own.

A

cent of students (that’s 50) can speak a second language.

uckland is a really multicultural city, but did you know only 33 per cent speak a second language? Wouldn’t it be fun for students to teach other students their language?

Wouldn’t it be fun for students to teach other students their language? I am a bilingual speaker and sometimes that makes things a lot easier. I think that other students who can’t speak a second language should be able to, so I came up with the idea of bilingual clubs where students teach each other their languages.

54 per cent of students speak a second language. With bilingual clubs students can help others who are not so fluent in English so they can get more interesting jobs.

• Mãori is the most common second language, next is Tuvaluan and then Cantonese and Korean. • 34 per cent of students (that’s 32) want to teach their language. Anna Neumann Speaking a second language also helps in other subjects and with general learning. I think teaching another language might help with confidence and leadership skills.

Our senior school speaks 22 languages. I surveyed 92 year 5 and 6 students in my school about what languages they know and this is what I found out: • Our senior school speaks 22 languages and 54 per

• 83 per cent of students

(that’s 77) want to learn another language. Altogether, I found lots of students are interested and lots have a second language. Wouldn’t it be cool if every Auckland school had bi-lingual clubs? In part 2 of this article (LA 3 2013) I will tell you how the clubs could work.


6

LEARNING AUCKLAND

Holding hands with schools

Feeding the learners Scientist SIOUXSIE WILES and animators MOHAWK MEDIA are using cartoons to make people aware of child poverty. Learning Auckland finds out more.

T

he Government recently decided to spend $9.5 million over five years to help ensure some school children get essential fibre, calcium and other nutrients.

The Key government will hold hands with corporates to extend the school breakfast programme run by Sanitarium and Fonterra in some New Zealand schools from two days each week to five days in decile 1-4 schools in term 3. School communities will organise delivery, provide cutlery and do the dishes.

An animation to raise awareness about the issue of child poverty in NZ, and the need for food in schools programmes, has just been released by an educational research project at The University of Auckland.

Breakfast clubs … create a better school environment

Sanitarium’s Kickstart breakfast scheme has been delivered to 575 schools in the four lowest-income deciles. The kids get Weet-Bix and milk, bread, muesli bars and other food at about $1 per breakfast.

This is the second animation, released by ‘Investing In Our Nation’s Kids’, a project that aims to advance the immediate priorities put forward in the Expert Advisory Group’s report to the NZ Children’s Commissioner on child poverty solutions.

Dairy giant Fonterra is also committed to providing free milk to every primary school around the country that wants it. Their argument is kids don’t learn when their tummy is rumbling.

The first initiative by the project was an actions-focused workshop held in early March, and this was followed by release of the first animation on the need for a ‘warrant of fitness’ for housing.

Future animations will highlight other priority areas, including the need for more teen parenting units, support for microfinancing initiatives and safer community spaces. The animations are the brainchild of Dr Siouxsie Wiles, a microbiologist at the University of Auckland, working with Wellington animators Mohawk Media. Dr Wiles uses animation as a graphic scientific learning tool, and also to reinforce social

issues in tandem with the scientific background to them. “Many Kiwis don’t know it, but poverty is a huge issue in New Zealand. It plays a major role in our horrendous rates of infectious diseases,” Dr Wiles said. “We’re hoping the animations will raise awareness not only of the number of Kiwi kids living in poverty, but how we can get them out of poverty.” “New Zealand is in a unique position. Being a small country,


LEARNING AUCKLAND

if everyone pulled together, government, businesses, whanau and communities, we could pull those 270,000 kids out of poverty and let them fulfil their potential.” The Food in Schools animation discusses the fact that more

than one in four Kiwi kids lives in poverty. “NZ is a first world country with a child poverty problem,” project coordinator, Dr Airini, Head of School of Critical Studies in Education at The University of Auckland told Learning Auckland.

We wouldn’t expect our All Blacks or Silver Ferns to do their best if they’re hungry

Dr Siouxsie Wiles and Mohawk Media use animations to hold children’s attention and teach them about food groups, and to help show the extent of child poverty in New Zealand.

“Poor nutrition is a significant problem in NZ. We have hungry children in our schools. Going to school hungry affects a child’s ability to learn. Healthy food helps children learn. With better education our children might escape the poverty cycle.” Providing food in schools is likely to be a modest cost compared to the societal benefits of a giving all Kiwi

The number of children living in poverty in New Zealand would fill Eden Park more than five times.

7

children a healthy start to life.

help our hungry children.

Estimates for implementing food in schools programmes range from $5 million to $10million a year, depending on who is doing the sums, and how much is donated by corporates. Programmes like these promote a healthy diet, and improve children’s school attendance, behaviour, and ability to learn. Breakfast clubs also provide a safe, early morning place to increase social skills and confidence, creating a better school environment. “Learning is a physical activity. Children need healthy food every day to help them be learning-ready,” Dr Airini said.

“In the end, it’s not just hungry kids that benefit, but all New Zealanders.”

“We wouldn’t expect our All Blacks or Silver Ferns to do their best if they’re hungry. Why would we think children could do their best as learners if they’re hungry? Good food feeds the mind.” “Teachers, schools and community groups say we need to provide food in schools to

Other animations by Dr Siouxsie Wiles and her team

The Food in Schools animation www.youtube.com/ watch?v=5SsfGmHBiYk Animation is available to download from: http://vimeo. com/childpovertynz Website for the ‘Investing In Our Nation’s Kids’ project www.education.auckland.ac.nz/ uoa/child-poverty

Fireflies and superbugs: http:// youtu.be/kP_RaHo1Pmw Fireflies and NASA: http://youtu. be/UUUytRoI-5g The Hawaiian bobtail squid and bacterial communication: http:// youtu.be/KCobcWsYOS8


8

LEARNING AUCKLAND

Home or prison? BRITTNEY FLAVELL from Alfriston College lifts the lid on a serious challenge facing our communities.

D

omestic abuse is an issue; do you know how many people are afraid of being in their home?

Domestic violence is one of the leading causes of depression in New Zealand. Approximately 750 people are affected every week, 3000 people every month and 36,000 every year.

Domestic violence is one of the leading causes of depression in New Zealand But these statistics are only from people who called the police themselves. There are a lot of people who are being abused who are not calling in and are not being noticed.

Support Victims of domestic abuse often don’t know who to turn to. Sometimes they have been threatened and are afraid, other times they simply don’t know where to go to get help. There are several organisations out there to help and listen to people being abused, there’s the Abuse Helpline, Are You Ok? Informationline, the Women’s Refuge and The Hotline. These help lines are 24/7 and encourage you to stay safe and get out. Whenever you need to talk, or whenever you need help they will be there.

Widespread Domestic violence doesn’t just happen to a few people; it

happens to a lot of people at all age groups.

Their parents are meant to love each other Children are massively affected by this, even if they aren’t the ones being abused. If children hear their mother or father yelling, the natural reaction is to be scared, their parents are meant to love each other and be their role models. When a mother or father is hit, children often believe that it is right. They don’t know what’s wrong and what’s right because their parents are usually the ones who tell them what they should do and what they shouldn’t do.

Recognising symptoms Something that is noticeable with the children is that they are split and go to one of two sides. They often either become an offender themselves or are extremely skittish and quiet.

Children are massively affected even if they aren’t the ones being abused Women and men who are affected by domestic violence also do this. They go extremely skittish, quiet and slowly begin to push others away or begin to be very defensive and become mad easily. By noticing these small things,

Brittney Flavell you may be able to help someone in need. If you are unsure of what to do to help others, you could always try these things; • Don’t be afraid to let him or her know that you are concerned for their safety. • Acknowledge that he or she is in a very difficult and scary situation. • Encourage him or her to participate in activities outside of the relationship with friends and family. • Help him or her to develop a safety plan. • Encourage him or her to talk to people who can provide help and guidance. • Be non-judgmental and respect their choices. • Just be there and support them throughout this tough time.

Facts • The longer it goes on, the more violent it gets. • About 10 children are killed every year in family violence. • One woman is killed by her partner or ex-partner every five weeks. • Women’s Refuge assisted about 20,000 women and children last year. • Psychological abuse can be just as damaging as physical abuse. • Children who hear or see family violence can suffer psychological harm.

Who can I talk to? Abuse Helpline: 0508 744 633 Are You Ok Information Line 0800 456 450 Women’s Refuge 0800 REFUGE The Hotline: 1 800 799 SAFE


LEARNING AUCKLAND

9

Flanshaw Road School student TILAK PATEL researches West Auckland sport and play facilities.

VSA sports student Vincent Walker ollies a BMX rider at Te Pai Park, Henderson.

Schools are the best playground

A

s a student in West Auckland, I’m quite keen on sport and I have come to notice a growing problem in our area. We have a huge amount of kids, but not enough facilities for them to play the sports that they like. For example, my friend loves playing table tennis, but he lives too far away from the only outdoor table tennis table in his area.

Did You Know? • There are approximately 180 parks in the Henderson Massey area. • There are 26,990 children aged under the age of 14 in Henderson-Massey according to Comet Auckland.

• There are 18 parks with playgrounds in Massey • There are 24 parks with playgrounds in Henderson • There are nine parks in Henderson with sports’ facilities • There are nine parks in Massey with sports’ facilities • There are two parks in Te Atatu South with sports’ facilities • There are nine parks on Te Atatu Peninsula with sports’ facilities I find that playgrounds are a great way to make friends, to improve our skills in many different areas, like strength, balance, coordination and stamina and they give us something to do so we don’t get bored or do anything that gets us into trouble. I decided to do a survey with year 5 and 6 students in four schools to find out what kids in our area think about the facilities and playgrounds we have.

Survey results There were 365 year 5 & 6 students from Te Atatu South and Massey that completed the survey.

Tilak Patel checks the survey data he gathered for this story.

When asked which playgrounds students had played on in the last three months – 54 per cent named their school playground – 26 per cent had played at the new Tui Glen Park playground, 19 per cent had played at Triangle Park in Massey and 18

per cent had been to Olympic Park in New Lynn. This survey shows that most students went to the closest playground to their home. The exception to this was the students who were taken to Olympic Park. When asked which sports and recreational facilities they had used in the last year, 39 per cent of the students had been to West Wave Pool, 29 per cent had used the Trusts Stadium and 19 per cent had been to Te Pai Park. All three of these facilities have organized clubs. At West Wave, lots of different groups of people use the pool. The other two facilities are used for different sports, such as

basketball and netball. When asked what would make their local playgrounds better, 49 per cent of students wanted a flying fox, climbing walls were favoured by 31 per cent and 30 per cent wanted monkey bars. As my findings show, conclusively, the majority of children in this area use school playgrounds more than any other. I think our boards of trustees and the local council board need to know this information when planning playgrounds and facilities. If our local board was to work with our schools to help them improve the playgrounds, there would be many more children that would be fit and joyful.


10 LEARNING AUCKLAND

Products and services

Abacus Books showroom, offices and warehouse are at Albany.

Language lovers excel Abacus Books achieves educational book supplying excellence by growing with the sector, and has done for more than 40 years. Education Today takes a closer look at this experienced company.

T

he roots of Abacus Educational Book Supply go back to a phone call received by a small family News agency based on the North Shore, Auckland, in 1971. A Teacher from Takapuna Grammar asked ‘do you supply textbooks?’ Over the subsequent 40+ years, Gordon Nicol, owner of Abacus Books, has seen many changes in the design, production, range, content and distribution of educational books in New Zealand. But one thing hasn’t changed – books are still the main learning tool used in schools, homes and businesses alike. Since they moved their operations to

Albany 14 years ago, Abacus Educational Books have been able to refine their office, showroom and warehouse systems and create a modern, efficient educational book supply business.

The Abacus website navigates easily Schools and the public have ready access to the great range of educational book titles stocked in their showroom, as well as the advantages of dealing with experienced staff and systems developed over the 40 years of educational book supplying to schools around New Zealand and the Pacific. During that time, Abacus

has earned a deserved reputation for excellent service and advice. In recent years the Abacus website has developed a strong sales presence, both nationally and internationally. Abacus have become one of the main educational book specialists in New Zealand, with a wide range of suitable titles listed for ages ranging from preschool to senior secondary school, including titles published for NCEA, Cambridge International Examinations and the International Baccalaureate. Various Categories list all the current, relevant titles suitable for school education in New Zealand. The experienced staff at Abacus are also well placed to source any business,


LEARNING AUCKLAND 11

A huge selection of publishers and titles are on hand. professional or tertiary educational title that customers wish to obtain. Abacus also supply into secondary school libraries, so they carry stock of all the latest quality fiction and nonfiction titles, both teenage and adult. Their website features titles due to be released in the next few months, as well as those recently released.

One of the main educational book specialists in New Zealand The Abacus website navigates easily, from quick picks near the top including an impressive list of titles reduced by 50 per cent. Tertiary education alone has 11 subsections from sciences to beauty therapy, lending to the site’s, and the company’s, strong relevance across all levels of schooling. This helps empower teachers and students to find comprehensive material linking study and career options from an early age. A primary school student can easily be linked

to a wide range of creative, study and career options, while educators, parents and mentors can align teaching resources, via the same source, with their students’ interests. They are owner operated (one of the few remaining educational suppliers to be so) and are fully staffed by mature, experienced people with the ability and resources to supply books efficiently. Fast, no obligation price and availability reports are provided, and their carefully developed systems ensure a minimum delay in procuring your book requirements. Invoicing can be to your school’s specific requirements. Abacus always has a current special offer on Dictionaries and Atlases - very special prices on top titles. Other features include no small order or hidden surcharges. Freight free terms are currently being offered to schools throughout New Zealand. Try them - you will be impressed. links

www.abacusbooks.co.nz


12 LEARNING AUCKLAND

Indigenous success HILARY DUTTON is studying an education degree, and in this article looks at the findings of Hawaiian educator Dr Ku Kahakalau. meaningful cultural values could enable learners to grow and achieve better than ever before.

We are struggling because of a lack of resources

Hilary Dutton

T

he educational success of young indigenous people is of concern around the world.

In New Zealand, this includes both Maori and Pacific Island students, where research has consistently shown they participate and achieve at lower levels than other groups and this educational disadvantage has implications beyond the classroom and school years.

“We come from our proud cultures … our Polynesian cultures. We have a reason to be really proud of who we are. So, once a child understands that, then they can … learn anything that they want to learn and be anything that they want to be.” Kanu o ka ‘Aina aims to provide culturally-driven education that is not only grounded in the knowledge and teachings of their indigenous culture, but also prepares their students with 21st century knowledge

that is necessary in the Western world. They believe “Hawaiian knowledge structure differs significantly from the Western system of education” but also that the two perspectives are not mutually exclusive.

They have seen remarkable increases in every positive educational performance indicator They draw best practises in education from both “ancient and modern” sources. Students participate in traditional cultural knowledge, such as projects on Makali’i, a voyaging canoe, and are also expected to build excellent computer and technology literacy.

Embedding their education in relevant and meaningful cultural values could enable learners to grow and achieve better than ever before This approach has been referred to by Dr Kahakalau as “pedagogy of aloha”, where Hawaiian traditions are central to teaching and learning practises. Guided by this framework, close relationships are critical, so teachers and staff are referred to as Auntie and Uncle rather than Mrs or Mr. Additionally, working in groups is prioritised over individual assignments. During her visit to New Zealand, Dr Kahakalau noted

Over 70 per cent of the students who attend Kanu o ka ‘Aina go on to university Local and national responses to this crisis have been varied, and a recent visitor to New Zealand has been able to share the experience of similar communities in Hawaii. Dr Ku Kahakalau is a Hawaiian educator who is passionate about issues around indigenous education. In 2000, she established Kanu o ka ‘Aina, a charter school in Waimea, Hawaii in response to troubling statistics about the educational achievement of young indigenous Hawaiians who had been struggling in the public education system for generations. She believed that embedding their education in relevant and

Dr Ku Kahakalau with US Consul General Jim Donegan at a function celebrating Global Entrepreneurs Week, held at the US Consul General’s residence in Auckland late last year. Dr Ku’s visit to New Zealand was sponsored by the US Consulate. Photo: Michelle Robinson


LEARNING AUCKLAND 13

Implication for our students

R

eflecting on the experience of Dr Kahakalau provides some interesting possibilities and implications for Maori and Pacific Island students in Auckland and across the country. Dr Kahakalau’s programme is based on the importance of a secure and proud cultural identity as the foundation for success.

Bridging the gap

It suggests education that fails to tap into the knowledge and experiences Maori and Pacific Island students experience in their home and family life is literally foreign to them. Bridging the gap between their personal knowledge and the knowledge promoted by the New Zealand Curriculum is important to their educational success. Two worlds

This also expresses the reality of many Maori and Pacific Island students who feel like they have to navigate their success through two different worlds – the Western and the Maori or Pacific – which are at times at odds with one another. They need to become culturally literate, able to “walk in two worlds” as Dr Kahakalau says. This can create difficult and even hostile environments for students. Group work

For example, where the western education system values individual

that one of the greatest challenges to alternative education models is resourcing. In an environment where every dollar – from the government or elsewhere – is heavily competed for by a variety of interests, getting enough resources to set-up and sustain new programmes and institutions is a real challenge.

The two perspectives are not mutually exclusive “Resources for Hawaiianfocussed charter schools have not been there,” she says. “We are struggling because

Links

learning and personal achievement, other collectivist cultures thrive in collaborative group work, where success is derived from the relationships with one another. Or, students from cultures that follow more hierarchical social structures might find it difficult to speak to a teacher or other authority figure, limiting their opportunities for learning and support. Schools like Kanu o ka ‘Aina are able to be sensitive to these issues and create the learning environment around the culture, rather than the culture or individual learner having to change to meet the needs of the institution.The obstacles highlighted in the Kanu o ka ‘Aina experience can also be translated to and understood within the New Zealand context. Funding challenge

Government spending on education is very tight, making it difficult to secure funding for programmes even if they are modelled on successful and relevant international experiences. This means it may be up to communities that are already resource-poor to try and establish programmes or schools to help their young people flourish in education. Additionally, the question of legitimacy will be central to persuading the New Zealand public alternative models of schools can be

of a lack of resources, not because we don’t know how to design and control and create quality models of education.” Another challenge is the perception that schools outside the traditional public education system are not academically rigorous enough. It is argued that because they do not have to adhere to the same curriculum and assessment as other schools they can “just give them the straight A’s”. However, Dr Kahakalau refers to the standardized tests conducted across the state of Hawaii and where the students of Kanu o ka ‘Aina have improved significantly.

Coverage of Dr Kahakalau’s visit http://www.acceleratingaotearoa.co.nz/node/101

effective places of learning, and their outcomes can match those of the public school system. Education employers

One key part of education is preparing young people with useful knowledge and skills to apply to their working life. This may require a more thoughtful approach to educating future employers on how different kinds of learning in alternative schooling can meet the needs of the 21st century workplace. One opportunity on the horizon is the trial of charter schools. Although they are a controversial option with, at best, conflicting research about their effectiveness, Kanu o ka ‘Aina is an example of a successful charter school. Opportunities

It remains to be seen exactly what form charter schools will take during their trial in New Zealand and whether they can match the Hawaiian experience where the cultural emphasis is their basis. However, it does at least open the door to possibilities for schools that better suit young Maori and Pacific Island students and require greater flexibility and autonomy to truly cater to their needs.

They have seen “remarkable increases in every single positive educational performance indicator” and now match or outperform

public schools in a variety of measurements. Furthermore, over 70 per cent of the students who attend Kanu o ka ‘Aina go on to university.


14 LEARNING AUCKLAND

Depression affects many people, in many different ways. BELINDA RYAN from Alfriston College gives insight to this condition from her own perspective, and that of students around her.

You are

Not alone

A

round one in five New Zealand teenagers will experience some form of mental health problem during their adolescent years. Depression is a condition of mental disturbance, typically with lack of energy and difficulty maintaining concentration and interest in life.

There are seven main changes most people go through when experiencing depression, they are: • Agitation- a mental state of extreme emotional disturbance, unsettlement and/or not calm. • Procrastination- putting off or delaying or deferring an action to a later time, actions (movement and speech) slows as if they’re carrying a weight on their shoulders and dragging a weight with their ankles. • Hibernation- Finding themselves refusing invitations and making up excuses to avoid social activities. • Diet- Losing appetite or having a bigger appetite than usual. • Sleeping schedule- Rarely sleeping, having trouble sleeping or sleeping more than average.

How does depression affect a student’s school life academically and socially? Shivani Nand, student at Alfriston College says that socially she is angry and agitated with everyone and it’s usually for no real reason. Shivani sometimes finds herself not wanting be around people at all and can’t tolerate very many people. Shivani says academically she finds it very hard to stay focused and blanks out a lot and gets frustrated with the task at hand because she doesn’t understand it.

She finds herself screaming at people … usually for no real reason How do students cope with these effects? Shivani personally says she doesn’t cope at all. She says she breaks down and finds herself screaming at people, again, usually for no real reason. How do learning leaders recognise depression in their students? Jane Schroeder, learning leader

Belinda Ryan

at Alfriston College, says in her experience of students with depression she sees a lack of emotional engagement with their tasks and sees that the student usually doesn’t care about their class learning. How do learning leaders deal with a student with depression? Jane says once she has recognised the condition she would have a private conversation with the student, ask them if they want to talk about what’s going on. Jane says she would let the other learning leaders know about the depression so they know what’s going on and would make a special effort to be more aware of their feelings. Jane said she would ask the student if they want to be referred to a counsellor and refer them if they do. My experience with depression? My experience is a tad different to Shivani’s. I found myself bottling things up a lot for a long time and hiding how I really felt from my friends, loved ones and people in my school. For me this caused extra stress. I found out myself through being unable to sleep and having night terrors when I did.

Concentrating was very hard and understanding was also a challenge; like Shivani, I found myself blanking out. I would take a lot of time off school because I didn’t want to see people or I was scared that I would get judged twice as much. I also bottled things up and hid how I truly felt, which can lead to self-harm which eventually leads to people finding out and asking a lot of questions. This made it harder and more stressful for me. I worried about what they would think about me and whether they’d even still be associated with me. How did I cope with all this? At first I didn’t. I would go home and hide in my room and breakdown and self-harm. Then I found that Brittney, a close friend of mine, was the one person I felt safe about talking to and who was always there. Talking to Brittney was the main thing that helped me cope. I used things I like doing to distract myself from my thoughts - drawing, reading, writing etc. What is the Government doing? Around one in five New Zealand


LEARNING AUCKLAND 15

I would take a lot of time off school because I didn’t want to see people or I was scared teenagers will experience some form of mental health problem during their adolescent years. In April last year the Government announced the Prime Minister’s Youth Mental

Health Project, which aims to improve mental health and wellbeing for young people with, or at risk of developing, mild to moderate mental health issues. The project focuses on helping young people to successfully manage their mental health and wellbeing. The Youth Mental Health Project includes a package of initiatives that are delivered in four different settings such as schools, online, in families and communities,

Subscribe

now

and in the health system. Some of the initiatives build on already existing programmes, and new ones have also been introduced. Moves have been made to better equip schools to help identify students with mental health issues sooner. Over the next three years, extra nurses will be embedded in all decile 3 secondary schools, expanding the nurse-led School Based Health Service (SBHS) to a further 18,000 students. Prior

to this, SBHS was funded only for decile 1 and 2 secondary schools. Youth workers trained in mental health issues will be put into selected low decile schools to work alongside nurses. The youth workers are expected to cover an estimated 20,000 students in 27 schools. This initiative builds on the MultiAgency Support Services in Secondary Schools (MASSiSS) service currently provided in 17 schools in South Auckland, Porirua, and Flaxmere.

To subscribe ... Online

Email to production@educationtoday.co.nz using the subject line SUBSCRIBE. Please include the following information: • Name/Title (contact person) • Phone • School/Institution/Company • Fax • Address • Email • Area Code Subscription fee - $49.50 for one year Make payments to: Education Today 03 0713 0407775 00 showing school or company name across the particulars, reference and code fields.

EDUCATION TODAY T H E E D U C AT I O N M A G A Z I N E O F T H E F U T U R E www.educationtoday.co.nz

By phone

Call Education Today - 04 499 9180 Post cheque to PO Box 22321, Wellington.


16 LEARNING AUCKLAND How to help a friend with depression DO

www.educationtoday.co.nz

Spend time with them • Listen rather than talk – let them tell you how it is for them • Learn about depression - how it is treated and what you can do to help recovery • See yourself as part of their support team • Understand how depression is affecting their daily life • Help the person to recognise and understand ways of dealing with things that are worrying them • Help and encourage them to lead a healthy life, to exercise and to do things they enjoy • Support and encourage them to keep getting

I worried about what they would think about me and whether they’d even still be associated with me

whatever support or treatment is offered • Take any thoughts of suicide seriously – it’s okay to talk about it. • Don’t leave someone alone if they feel unsafe. Contact a health care provider or a crisis phone line. DON’T Tell them to ‘snap out of it’ or ‘harden up’. People cannot ‘will’ themselves better from moderate or severe depression • Encourage excess alcohol and drug use as a coping strategy it can make things worse • Avoid them – they already feel isolated and this can make their depression worse • Assume the problem will just go away

• Judge or criticise them for what they’re going through • Lose hope - they need you to believe they will get through this • Give unhelpful advice – for example, ‘just think of people who are worse off’ Quick message If you are someone going through depression, you are truly not alone. I, the author of this article, am still fighting

depression and I know many others going through it too. No matter how alone you feel there is always some you can talk to and people do care and people do want you get better. BE SAFE! LINKS

Hear how young people got through www.thelowdown.co.nz www.depression.org.nz/ waythrough/help+services There are a number of Help Services you can turn to if you want to talk with someone about how you’re feeling; or if you know someone who may need help www.depression.org.nz/ Helpline 0800 111 757

Slideshow celebrates creativity

Artwork is always special Education Today has a new website with student art featuring on the homepage in a slideshow. Send jpeg photos of students’ work, including student name, age and school to production@educationtoday .co.nz

Artwork and photos of sculpture and other art projects are welcome from all age groups. Education Today accepts the artists’ permission has been given before the artwork is sent to us. All work remains the property of the artist.

‘Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once he grows up.’

-

Pablo Picasso

EDUCATION TODAY 04 499 9180 www.educationtoday.co.nz


LEARNING AUCKLAND 17

When the media is anti-social MATHEW DITCHBURN from Massey High School says the popular, and burgeoning, social media is often less than social in its effect on young people.

C

hildren are energetic and playful.

We always see them running around and socialising while they’re young. A child’s main part of the day is made up of learning, lunchtimes, after school activities – like sports – and sleep. What if one of these key parts was lacking due to the evergrowing technology in our society? I was always a sporty child, so I would spend much of my time doing extra-curricular activities. But how do these technological advances hinder the less sporty children in our society? Since I was a kid, technology has advanced dramatically. Kids these days have X-Boxes or iPads or even full blown computers to play on, not to mention cellphones. Is this just

unnecessary access to social media? Social media is one of the largest things in our society today. We have gone through the generations of people that talked face to face, then via home phones, and now we are into the many different options, namely the internet. Children are being provided with access to the internet through all of the latest devices. We all know the dangers of the internet – as teenagers we were once warned of the perils of social media. The problem is, none of us take the warnings seriously. We are part of a generation that I will label “careless”. Everyone knows we shouldn’t swear or post pictures of us partying, or message anything inappropriate to others. “One day it will come back to haunt you”, is a term commonly used to describe this.

The internet is not something that will benefit children. They are too susceptible to the poison that seeps through the social media sites they no doubt will be on. I wasted enough time not being a kid when I was younger; this generation of kids is growing up too fast. Kids should be innocent and they should be kept away from the terrors of social media. These terrors include (but aren’t limited to) ‘R’ rated content, violent content, and strangers. Who says that your child couldn’t just search up something they think is funny like “tits” on Google. I know whenever someone said something inappropriate when I was eight it was hilarious. This experience, however, will definitely not benefit your child. I know many popular YouTube videos now have bad language in them, which could potentially influence your innocent child. The sad thing is, I searched up ‘little kids swearing’ on YouTube and got 97,700 results. On the recommended list if you type in ‘little kids’, you get the autocomplete recommending you a list of horror. Little kid fight, little kid dougie, little kid smoking, little kid swearing. These are the most searched terms in YouTube under little kid. Do you want your child to be anywhere near this trash? Setting examples for your child can be hard for your child, but the internet turns a mission into a nightmare. Not even bringing up violence or strangers I have covered a full list of how the internet is dangerous for your children. Loss of innocence is a common theme in many novels, because it makes for a great enemy. In The Hunger Games, Katniss loses her innocence very early – at 12 when her father dies – which makes the Capitol a great enemy. This is directly applicable to the internet.

Education Today publisher’s son Maksymilian is three years old and likes game and toy reviews on the computer, clicking easily from one to another. Emma uses the addons.mozilla link shown below to block all advertising and unwanted intrusions to his time online.

Of course you may wonder, well what would I do as a teenager if I didn’t have the internet? Some replies were sport, homework,

We don’t want this

A

recent study for The Children’s Commissioner for England has found a direct link between exposure to extreme images at a young age and a marked increase in risky and anti-social behaviour, and even health. The study was conducted by the universities of Middlesex, Bedfordshire, Kent, and Canterbury Christ Church. The findings of this and other studies quoted in the research found direct links with explicit material and “higher acceptance and engagement in sexually permissive behaviours” and attitudes to sex that are “casual and hedonistic rather than affectionate”. The study also found a link to under-age sex, smoking, alcohol consumption and taking drugs. A Swedish study showed a 25 per cent of young people exposed to pornography regularly had at least one sexually transmitted disease. A Dutch study showed exposure to sexually explicit online material was “significantly related to the belief that women are sex objects”, partly caused by the fact boys were much more likely to be exposed to pornography than girls. Children’s Commissioner Dr Maggie Atkinson warned that “violent and sadistic imagery” was easily available to “very young children” because of easy access to the internet on mobile phones and home and tablet computers. Many children from the age of 10 accidentally accessed “violent and sadistic imagery” while doing legitimate study research.


18 LEARNING AUCKLAND socialising, reading and drumming. These results don’t lie; the internet makes people LESS productive. Young kids don’t need to become less productive; they should be energetic and sporty and happy. Just writing this article alone, I have procrastinated two days just playing games and I have spent about an hour on various forms of social media in “breaks”. That’s horrific, and I am not the worst of the procrastinators.

internet each day, and should be constantly monitoring the sites their kids visit. Kids may not like this in the near future, but in the long run it will benefit kids’ lives greatly. We can’t allow young, innocent children to be subjected to the internet in the way that our generation of teenagers have been.

Comments from people I have interviewed include: “The internet has driven me away from sport, and has taken a lot of time out of my schedule” “I’m at home from 4pm and awake till 1am. Most of this time is spent on the internet” These two examples show the severity of the internet’s flaws. The internet can of course benefit kids, but the censorship it requires is just astronomical. We all know the internet is not good for us, but we are so careless that we aren’t prepared to change. It’s actually an addiction. The internet can cause loss of innocence, inactiveness and anti-social behaviour. Parents should be restricting the time that kids can spend on the

E

very two years secondary student councils can nominate outstanding teachers and leaders in their school community who inspire learning for the ASG Teaching Awards and Cognition Education Leadership Awards. Parents, boards of trustees, parent associations, and community organisations can also make nominations.

Ryan Rust.

Lauren Black.

Nominate inspiring teachers and leaders

Mathew Ditchburn

Links

Children’s Commissioner press release www.childrenscommissioner. gov.uk/content/press_release/ content_505 This software will monitor or to block certain sites. www.qustodio.com/ Blocking unsavoury advert pop-ups https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/ firefox/addon/adblock-plus/

Terry O’Connell, chairman of the NEiTA Foundation facilitating the programme, says the awards are an opportunity for the “consumers of education” to acknowledge teachers and leaders whose inspirational approach stimulates student learning and success. “Your nomination demonstrates recognition of outstanding teachers and leaders at early childhood education centres, primary,

intermediate and secondary schools nationwide who provide children with the desire, confidence and enthusiasm to learn and do well,” Mr O’Connell said. Nominations are open until September 30 2013. Nominate online at www. neita.co.nz or download a nomination form. Forms are also available at schools and early childhood education centres, or through the NEiTA Foundation on 09 308 0576 or email mventer@asg. co.nz Nominated teachers and leaders receive a NEiTA Certificate of Nomination once verified, with 20 area representatives receiving regional awards in May 2014. From these, ten will receive national awards and professional development grants of up to $5000 at their schools or centres later in the year.

Collins Big Cat gives reading new life Reading for pleasure is at the heart of every book published under the Collins Big Cat series. Aimed at 3-11 year olds, there are over 400 books in the series. They’re ideal for independent and group reading in class, but also a great resource for sending home for reading practice. Collins Big Cat contacts: Auckland Central, East ,South Carol Gilling Ph: 64 9 533 5336 Mob: 027 442 5407 Email: carolJG@xtra.co.nz

Manawatu, Gisborne, Hawkes Bay, Sue Dawson Ph: 06 3288809 Mob: 027 2461947 Email: DAWSON.AT.ADSWON@xtra.co.nz

Auckland West, North Shore, Northland Jenny Vergottini Ph: 64 9 479 9519 Mob: 021 856 617 Email; javergottini@xtra.co.nz

Wellington, Hutt, Kapiti, Horowhenua, Wairarapa: Marcel Jacobs Ph: 64 4 586 4506 Mob: 027 301 1141 Email: carolyn.marcel@xtra.co.nz

Coromandel, Bay of Plenty to Opotiki, south to Turangi Sheryl Cade Ph: 64 7 579 4885 Mob: 027 447 5409 Email: baycades@clear.net.nz

Kaikoura, Marlborough, Nelson, West Coast Nicki Green Ph: 64 3 545 7590 Mob: 027 452 2476 Email: n_green@clear.net.nz

Waikato,south to Taumaranui Ginny Ashmore Ph: 64 7 871 3197 Mob: 021 612 700 Email: ginnyashmore@xtra.co.nz

Christchurch, Canterbury CHRISTINE KANE Ph: 03 342 3307 Mob: 027 825 8001 Email: chris.kane@hotmail.com

Taranaki, Wanganui Christine Burton Ph: 64 6 759 7421 Mob: 027 460 3370 Email: christineburton@xtra.co.nz

Southland, Otago JOY BROWN Ph: 64 3 214 4476 Mob: 027 498 0646 Email: jbrown@southnet.co.nz

To find out more about the Collins Big Cat series, including information on the Phonics and Progress ranges, plus links to download free apps, visit www.collinsbigcat.com


LEARNING AUCKLAND 19

Products and services Q&A

Beyond the pain Healing is a gift – and then you learn the art. Chiropractors save patients a lot of angst, pain and even unnecessary drug use by knowing how to put bits where they should be. LEARNING AUCKLAND looks at the chiropractic vocation.

M

att Bentley is in his third year at the New Zealand College of Chiropractic (NZCC). Here he shares why he chose a career in chiropractic – and why he’s pumped about the future. Q: Why did you decide to study chiropractic? A: Because I wanted a career where I could make a positive difference to others. Most people think chiropractic is just about treating back pain, but it’s actually about total wellbeing. I’ve experienced this myself - I spent most of my teenage years with really low energy due to a health problem. Eventually I tried chiropractic care, and I’ve felt like a new person ever since. I know that so many people could benefit from seeing a chiropractor, and I want to be part of that. Q: What is it like studying at the New Zealand College of Chiropractic? A: The NZCC is where it’s at. I’ve been to university before, and this is by far the best experience I’ve had. Lecturers know who you are, you’re not just another number. And the student vibe is awesome. Q: What are your top tips for students finishing high school? A: Just go and do what makes you happy. Find that thing, work hard, and don’t be afraid to fail. Live the dream. Q: What is chiropractic? How does it work? A: Most people think that a Chiropractor is someone who deals with back and neck pain. That’s true, but there’s a lot more to it. Chiropractic is about achieving excellent overall health and wellbeing – so you feel great and can get the most out of life. Q: So how does it work? A: In a really healthy body, nerve messages flow freely from the brain to every part of the body. That’s the way our bodies are designed to operate.

The spine houses and protects the central nervous system. Sometimes the stresses and strains of daily life impact the balance of the spine, causing nerve messages to get blocked or distorted. If nerve messages can’t get from your brain to a certain part of your body, you’re going to experience a problem in that area.

whether they choose to go into general chiropractic practice, to specialise in a field such as sports performance, paediatrics or animal chiropractic, or if they opt for teaching or research. The College is accredited by both the Council on Chiropractic Education Australia (CCEA) and the New Zealand Qualifications Authority (NZQA).

Because of the relationship between the spine and nervous system, chiropractors make small adjustments to the balance of the spine to ensure the nervous system is well aligned and everything is working as it should.

Live the good life. Chiropractic offers great potential for earning well, and for work-life balance. How common is that?

Chiropractic student Matt Bentley.

About our College The New Zealand College of Chiropractic is a world-renowned chiropractic college, offering a four year Bachelor of Chiropractic degree. Students must first complete one year of science at university to enter our programme. The NZCC Curriculum balances the science, art and philosophy of chiropractic. That means our graduates are highly skilled at what they do, have an excellent knowledge base, and are great communicators. Our clinics prepare students with hands-on learning and a high level of real patient experience. The College is also known worldwide for ground-breaking research in the chiropractic field. This research feeds into our curriculum, and students have the opportunity to get involved in important research projects. Career opportunities are plentiful for NZCC graduates,

Have a career that makes a difference. Chiropractic is a fun and rewarding profession that will enable you to make a big difference to others. You’ll see incredible changes in people’s health and wellbeing under chiropractic care. Work and travel. There are plenty of opportunities to work as a chiropractor around the world. Our graduates can be found everywhere from South America to Singapore.

Chiropractic can help with so many things – from aches and pains, to stress management, to sports performance. Chiropractors are also trained to refer patients to other health professionals when this is appropriate. Everyone is different and has unique needs. It’s all about finding the optimal health solution for you.

Why become a Chiropractor?

Links

Find out more about studying at the New Zealand College of Chiropractic Email: info@nzchiro.co.nz or visit www.chiropractic.ac.nz

Be in demand. The New Zealand College of Chiropractic is a worldrenowned chiropractic college and our graduates are highly sought after. Study in a great environment. Our campus is a warm and welcoming environment, and offers state-of-the-art learning facilities.


20 LEARNING AUCKLAND

PRODUCTS AND SERVICES

New construction set is a teaching aid Children love to make things, and the attention they give to working with their hands presents many teaching and learning opportunities. HANS WEICHSELBAUM talks about how Matador Toys work for children and their parents and teachers. “Tell me, and I’ll forget. Show me, and I may remember. Involve me, and I’ll understand”.

motor skills, three-dimensional imagination, concentration and comprehension of technical concepts.

This Chinese proverb encapsulates the philosophy of Matador. Involvement is certainly the key part when children construct their models, from very basic objects to highly complex machines.

And it is fun. Children are fully immersed in an intense mental workout and manipulating real objects, not just shifting pixels around on a computer screen.

Matador could be the prototype of an educational toy: it combines movement, fine

Matador construction sets are made of untreated copper beech wood, native to Austria and grown in environmentally sustainable forests. There are three types of block sizes

catering for different age groups: extra-large blocks for the 1½ to 3 years olds, the Ki series for the 3 to 5 age group and the Classic series for the older children.

100 years ago: a father saw his children getting frustrated while playing with wooden blocks; any complex structures they tried to build simply collapsed.

It is interesting to note that Matador construction sets have been around for a very long time. They are well-known all over Europe, but were only introduced to New Zealand and Australia in the second half of last year.

Being an engineer, he designed a construction set made of blocks that could be interconnected with wooden rods. This idea took off and has delighted many generations of children.

The idea was generated over

In the late 1960s and 1970s Matador took a backseat due


LEARNING AUCKLAND 21

to the emergence of plastic toys. In recent years high quality wooden toys have made a strong comeback. Since its introduction into New Zealand last year, we had overwhelming enthusiastic response from preschool centres and schools, as well as from parents. The concept of Matador hasn’t changed over the years, except that the factory in Austria now uses the latest woodworking

technology to guarantee accuracy and precision down to hundreds of a millimetre. This ensures perfect fit and many years of enjoyment. All sets come with illustrated instructions, showing many models and encouraging children to build threedimensional structures from two-dimensional diagrams. The blocks can be put together in any way and every child will also design and construct their own ideas. Building models from various parts teaches children how to plan and how to picture the outcome in three dimensions. Complex models require patience, concentration and persistence. More often than not the final result is not what had been planned at the start. The young engineer needs to correct, dismantle some parts, or start all over again. Larger models will take days to build and this is a great way to learn discipline and even on how to overcome frustration.

The outcome will always bring a great sense of satisfaction and pride. Construction play also stimulates communication; small and large projects can be planned and built as a team. Matador has been used as a teaching aid in many schools in Europe and internationally. In fact, competitions have been organised between schools with prizes awarded to

innovative construction ideas – a concept we would like to introduce here in New Zealand, once we get together a group of enthusiastic children and teachers. Links

www.matador.net.nz.


LA 2, 2013  

Learning Auckland 2, 2013

LA 2, 2013  

Learning Auckland 2, 2013

Advertisement