Page 1

Inside NRL watches young players Teen talent needs help when the bright lights beckon PAGE 3

Do spiders have eyelids?

Kindergartens early spark for curious young minds Developing a thirst for science and technology and even business enterprise starts in early childhood PAGE 12

Students navigate consent process

Volume 1 Number 1 September 2012

Council deals with request for kayak jetties in Henderson PAGE 16

Student voice Looking at success through a different lens PAGE 21

Iconic event now world leader A celebration of our rich cultural diversity PAGE 8

Doing a lot with a little Business skills built in class help students market their te reo skills PAGE 22

Education expo showcase for stakeholders

2 Publisher Education Today Limited PO Box 22321, Wellington ISSN 1175 9240 Advertising Rate card, media specs and general enquiries Phone 04 499 9180

Contents 3 4 5

The bounce of the oval ball Editorial group Putting children and young people first


Iconic event now world leader

2 1 14 16 17 18 19

Do spiders have eyelids? Choosing our teachers Three simple words Young students navigate consent process Behaviour is built before school starts Courtroom eye-opener Expo first for New Zealand Talking with children

Subscriptions Email Use subject line SUBSCRIBER or phone 04 499 9180 Education Today subscriptions are $49.50 inc GST in New Zealand. Overseas rates available on request. Learning Auckland is delivered free to all Auckland schools, and to education stakeholders and the wider community.

Learning Auckland is produced by Education Today to tie in with the Learning Auckland Accord, Whakakotahitanga te Ara MĂŁtauranga, as part of a wide range of collaborators working together for a shared goal. Education Today is independently owned and promotes creative, stimulating thoughts and ideas for the benefit of students and educators. Contributions to Education Today and Learning Auckland are welcome, and contribution guidelines can be obtained from production@ and/or emailed to that address. Photographs are also welcome, and where applicable must include appropriate permission sign-off from parents, students, and school principal. Photos need to be sent as minimum 1MB jpeg attachments. Sign-off form and format information is available by email. The Education Today website homepage offers free classified advertising, and also publishes student artwork which does not require sign-off. Artwork copyright remains the property of the student and it is accepted that artwork is submitted to be shown on the Education Today website with the permission of the students. To submit artwork, see the website or email Education Today content is copyright, but may be published elsewhere after gaining consent from the publishers. All care but no responsibility taken for loss or damage. Opinions expressed in this magazine are those of the writers.

0 Reading the signals 2 21 Looking at success through a different lens

2 2 24 26 27

Doing a lot with a little Measuring the digital divide Youth to earth, are you receiving me? Time to ring the decibel The secret is . . . working to plan

Our thanks to Alfriston College’s Shoulyn Singh for her photographic contributions to this magazine.

Cover Our cover is comprised of art (shown above) by year 11 Orewa College student Daniel W.S. Kim, with more artwork on the homepage slide show. Our thanks to Orewa College teacher Graeme Irving for the images of student art supplied for the website and magazines. Education Today and Learning Auckland welcome articles, art and photography from all students. Ensure images are high-resolution and send to or phone 04 499 9180 or 0277344756 for more information.


oval The bounce of the


Big money, bright lights – professional rugby league is being recognised as a career option for many talented young sportsmen while they are still at school.


he New Zealand Secondary School Rugby League Nationals have been dominated by Auckland’s St Pauls, with the school winning an amazing 14 of the 18 tournaments since it began in 1994. Only Canterbury’s Aranui College, Kelston Boys High School and 2011 winners Otahuhu College have halted St Pauls’ march. Meanwhile, Auckland Secondary Schools Rugby saw 223 teams take the field this year (up 11 on 2011) representing 45 schools across the region.

Auckland Grammar has 20 teams, and Sacred Heart 19 teams, and there are a number of new and developing schools emerging including Kia Aroha, Sancta Maria & Elim Christian School, with One Tree Hill 2nd XV Composite team featuring players from One Tree Hill, Destiny School, Michael Park School and Parnell College. Rugby Union continues to dominate the playing fields of schools in Auckland, and across the country. It is inevitable National Rugby League (NRL), which doesn’t recognise the Tasman Sea apart from a body of water to be crossed by teams taking on the Warriors on their home turf, would target the young rugby players across New Zealand as prospects for the lucrative franchise. Emerging players are essential to the NRL, and dozens of schoolboy players in Auckland alone are attracting the eye of NRL prospectors. It is considered a viable career option for many young players, with starting salaries around the $60,000 bracket. Five players in the 2011 First XV champion team, St Kentigern College, received NRL offers, some of them four-year deals. Tai Lavea is 1st XV coach and director of rugby at St Kentigern. Tai is the twin brother of former Storm and Blues player Tasesa. He told NZ Herald reporter Michael Burgess (Joining the big league, June 17) he doesn’t mind which code players choose. “I always encourage them to get good advice before they sign anything. They can be big decisions and you don’t want them to jump the gun,” Tai said. It’s a competitive environment, which is good for the young players. With management concerned at the attentions of NRL scouts, the Blues under-18 team had loyalty agreements placed

Craig Innes with Leeds in 1993. He was an All Black from 1989-91, and now manages rugby league and union players for Esportif International.

in front of them before they went to play the Rebels’ juniors in Melbourne this year. Former All Black Craig Innes works as a player agent across both codes, and he says the thorough approach by league representatives is to be admired. Craig says the NRL scouts recognise the “massive pool of talent” in Auckland schools, and across the country, and are determined to unearth it. He says the players are being targeted at a younger age each year. NRL club representatives turn up at the secondary schools tournaments, but they could sit in a hotel room and watch the best of the best on Sky’s Rugby Channel which broadcasts the top college rugby clashes. League reps have been known to watch a game in the afternoon and turn up at a prospect’s family home to chat with his parents, who may find they have to pay accommodation and other costs when their talented son heads off to take up his dream. Suspicion between the codes has been rife since the ref blew the whistle to kick off the first game of rugby league, and the disquiet some First XV coaches express at the tactics of NRL prospectors is to be expected. And while there are many success stories for teenage players, there are the ones who come home, the ones nobody hears about. Craig said the NRL has a combination of approaches, with perhaps 30 young players each year signed to one of the 14 NRL teams, and a larger number involved in development camps held perhaps twice a year. He said some Australian clubs have strong junior grades and don’t need to look elsewhere, while others such as Melbourne’s Storm look for young players, particularly from Queensland and New Zealand. He agreed schools with players who could be targeted should

develop resources to deliver essential aspects of professional sports as a career option. His company, Esportif International, acts as an agent for rugby and league players as well as other sports, and would be happy to contribute their expertise to develop such resources. “We must be careful not to build expectations. Only 15 to 20 per

cent of players with the potential to develop into fully-fledged NRL competition players make the cut, so it is a very good career choice for a small number of young players,” Craig said. The resources could be delivered as part of physical education classes, and could cover nutrition, training, physiotherapy, character development, business




management and self-management. They could also include material for the families of young players to help them avoid the pitfalls of encouraging their children to sign contracts that are not suited to them. “It can be a strong career option, with clubs also prepared to pay for university courses for players so they learn the value of having options apart from the game itself,” Craig said. “With the right approach, this type of whole-person

development could be encouraged and this expectation built in while the players are still at school.” “Self-management is an important issue, and what better place to develop that than when they are still at school? It’s vital they have a strong understanding of what is being sold to them. These contracts are not a pathway to riches, or something that means they don’t have to work again. It’s an opportunity, a foot in the door. Some families see the bright lights,

and they need to recognise the importance of having specialist advice.” “It’s about managing expectations and creating a balance. The best place to do this is at school.” New Zealand Rugby League development manager Tony Kemp said the organisation works with a number of Government agencies, including the Education and Social Development Ministries to put resources into schools. He said the focus on

professionalism can work to the detriment of students if they think that is their future and “give up on their schooling”. Tony said the Sir John Anderson’s report in 2009 underlined changes the NZRL had to make, and a significant part of that was the development of the sport nationally, with resources being shaped that were better suited to students. John Anderson played cricket for Karori, and rugby for Wellington College Old Boys among other

Editorial Group

things. New Zealand Rugby League is taking the key elements of his report and presenting a new face to the sport across the country. k Links aspx Source: cfm?objectid=10813604

Emma Chajecka


ducation Today is working with a Student Editorial Group convened from schools across Auckland to assist in the editorial content, design and distribution of the Learning Auckland magazine. This is part of the work Education Today is doing with education professionals in line with the Learning Auckland accord, Whakakotahitanga te Ara Mãtauranga, and brings the student voice to work with a wide range of collaborators for a shared goal. Education Today publisher Emma Chajecka said members of the Student Editorial Group meet with the magazine staff and members of the Learning Auckland Accord to contribute to the content of the magazine. Membership of the group is flexible, and allows the students to align their work in the group to their own learning objectives. There are currently nine members of the group. Emma said editorial, photographs and ideas can also be submitted by all students, and will be considered for inclusion in Learning Auckland magazine by the Student Editorial Group and magazine staff. The publication is filled with stories of how education is making a bigger difference to Auckland. There will be several publications each year to fit with the aspirations from last year’s Auckland Education Summit to ‘communicate the changing purpose of education to families, community and the business sector; clarify what is actually happening in learning organisations and the range of projects that are creating successful outcomes for more learners’. “The magazine is also part of the Auckland Plan strategy ‘putting children and young people first’. The Learning Auckland Accord and Learning Auckland magazine requires the close involvement of the people intended to benefit from the education initiatives – young people,” Emma said. “We’re also looking at other regional collaborations. Students at high schools in Porirua are working on their own version of the same idea,” she said. The concept applies to Education Today magazine as well, on a less formal basis. Students at all levels across the country are welcome to submit material for inclusion in the magazine which has national circulation with six editions each year. “It’s important we hear their voice. We have educators talking to other educators, which is essential of course, but we also need to know how students see their education and do what we can to build that dialogue,” Emma said. “We hope to keep some of this year’s students, and expect those moving on to further studies to ‘tag’ someone in their school to take their place. “We will be looking at more production work by students next year. It doesn’t require special software – just getting their design skills into action in real time.” k Links For more information, phone Education Today and Learning Auckland staff on 04 499 9180,

Veisinia Ha’unga, Kia Aroha College

Taylor Mitchell, Albany Senior High School

Talei Timakata, Wesley College

Sharmiela Loua, Otahuhu College

Rae Stott, Albany Senior High School

Masiu Filihia, Kia Aroha College

Luti Fakaalofa, Otahuhu College

Cheran Hawkins, Otahuhu College

Bayley Johansson, Wesley College



Project Studios took several tertiary students from Mainz as audio engineer interns recently, including Adam shown here on the mixing desk. The students worked on the studio’s Music Month project. The studio offers special rates to school bands and audio projects.

Putting children and young people first

Auckland Council used postcards to attract young people’s views for the Auckland Plan.

A strategy unit attached to Auckland Council gathered thousands of submissions from young people to the Auckland Plan. How did they do it so well?


he first strategic priority of the Auckland Plan is to “put children and young people first” and Auckland’s young people have taken Mayor Len Brown and his council seriously. More than three times as many children and young people responded to the Auckland Plan consultation than adults, with almost 5000 responses from youth compared to a little over 1700 responses from ratepayers, businesses and other organisations. Young people were not asking for more places to skateboard as some in the council expected. The comments coming back from a well-targeted campaign designed to hear the voice of Auckland’s youth showed a surprisingly mature view of their city and the challenges it faces: reduce the cost of public transport; close drug houses; limit liquor outlets; plant fruit trees on road reserves; keep streets clean, and more. Led by Catherine Fitzsimons of the council’s Community and Cultural Strategy Unit, the campaign to engage with Auckland’s youth was brilliant in its simplicity. Once they had the go-ahead from the council’s executive leadership, Catherine’s team had four days to mobilise the community and youth sector. They realised the current vogue for trying

to ‘market’ to young people and elicit their response through social media such as Facebook, would not work.

Unlikely friend “Young people don’t want to show a council as a ‘friend’ on their Facebook page,” Catherine said. “They want to be engaged, but on their terms, not by an invasion of their space.” That left face-to-face engagements through a plethora of youth organisations and people working with youth, and a clever postcard campaign using the same networks. The latter hit the lodestone. The postcards carried three questions – ‘putting me first means…’, ‘actions that will help me be the best I can be are…’ and ‘the best thing about Auckland is….’. About 17,000 cards went out. Many of the 5000 replies shared a common refrain. ‘Empower me’ came back loud and clear. ‘Don’t do it too me, do it with me’ was also plainly stated in a large number of responses. “Many responses made it clear young people want to be consulted on the things they can actually change, or influence,” Catherine said. “It was evident they don’t want to be asked about things when the decisions are already made. They are saying if you’re going to value me and put me first, to empower me and make me important, then I



Combined approaches


atherine Ftizsimons’ Auckland Plan team held sixty workshops and face-to-face meetings with around 37 youth organisations over the 14 days they had to complete the consultation. They reached out to children and youth from Wellsford to Pukekohe aged from five to 25 years and more than 124 ethnicities. They targeted engagement with kurakaupapa, kohanga reo, wharekura, marae and rangatahi groups. “We took a careful approach throughout the process and followed the youth worker ethic,” Catherine said. “We were careful not to raise expectations. The Auckland Plan addresses a ‘we’ situation, a broader picture that includes the whole of Auckland, and asks all of the agencies and stakeholders in Auckland what we can do together to help improve the lives of children and young people. “So we were quite clear from the start not to raise expectations but to ask young people ‘what do you think needs to happen to make your life better?’ What are those actions? And it doesn’t need to be council who takes those actions – it could be yourself as a young person or it could be central government, whomever.” The young people came back saying they could see there were already opportunities out there but they wanted to be able to access them more effectively. They asked about improving their access to recreational facilities, education and training and universities, by moving those opportunities closer to them or giving them better access to cheaper transport so they can get there themselves. The biggest response was ‘empower me, I can do it for myself if you help me to do that.’ “Beyond that they talked about reducing the number of alcohol outlets and pokies – they wanted what they see as harmful things in the community reduced. We could see underlying issues coming out in what they were saying.”

need to have a say in how things are developed for me. Stop doing things to me, do it with me.”

All ages “Children as young as 10 or 11 were saying they want to take part of a process of designing how things work for them. A common response across all age groups was ‘let me influence things I can change – don’t raise my expectations, don’t sit down with me and talk about things you’ve already decided,” Catherine said. It’s a ‘don’t waste my time if you’ve already decided’ response – surprisingly incisive, and pragmatic. Another clear response showed many young people recognised the constraints that can surround any policy decision and responded in straightforward terms – ‘if you can’t do it, if it’s outside your control and you agree it’s good, then advocate for us.’ Again, simple pragmatic insight from Auckland’s young people.

‘Where do we grow and learn if all the decisions are already made for us?’ “They kept it simple – ‘ask us, do it, or tell someone else to do it.’ They also want access to places of information and services that are tailored towards them but aren’t patronising. They want the basic facts. It may seem like a lot of information to get from a few postcards but they really talked to us. Young people have pressures at school, being told what to do in that environment, how to act, being told about homework and how to behave. They leave the school environment and there’s more about where to walk on the road, how to drive, how to access things. “Then they get home and there’s a different set of pressures from their family – how to behave, what to do, how to speak to their elders, then they’ve got us sort of lumbering in and saying ‘come and talk to us, come and work with us on this’ and they go ‘hey, you know what, I’ve already got too much going on in my brain so if you want me to get involved then make it simple, make it short, make it snappy, and in fact only come and talk to us when you really need to and when you’re prepared to listen.’ “Young people have rules in every environment they’re in, and they’re saying ‘where do we grow and learn if all the decisions are already made for us?’ So they need to have some responsibility for the design of their services and information.”

appreciated being asked,” Catherine said. “The tight timeframe and sense of urgency worked for us. Once we got the go-ahead, we only had four days to mobilise the youth organisations and do the postcard drop and two weeks to get the responses. I think that was an advantage because everyone felt ‘this is the chance, if we don’t get youth involved in the Plan now, the opportunity will be lost.’ “I think the feeling was that we would get about 300 postcards back, but within a few days of putting the

word out that we wanted to know what young people felt about how we could put them first, we had requests from across the region for 10,000 postcards. We were getting postcards printed continuously while we were going. We could have reached many more using the same approach if we had more time.

Ready to be heard But having more time would not have changed the fact that Catherine’s team got a huge response because young people wanted to have a voice.

“They were ready to be heard. Everything can always be done better but we wouldn’t have got nearly 5000 postcards back so quickly if these young people didn’t feel like having a voice, and if the youth community wasn’t mobilised to get it. There was an urgency to the youth sector who felt ’finally, we’re being asked directly what do we want for these young people and what do these young people want for themselves.’ So we were asking the right questions and the sense of urgency came from the realisation that if we don’t get your voice then

Photo: Shoulyn Singh

On the street Catherine’s team also found their way to the street kids, hitting the pavements in the small hours and seeking out the disengaged youth. The result was surprising. At first, Catherine said, they response was ‘why ask me, I’m a naughty kid?’ ‘Who cares what I think?’ “Once we got past that and made it clear we consider them part of Auckland, they opened up and gave clear responses. Some things they sought were not directly in the ambit of council influence – things like ‘make dad stop hitting mum’, but others were. These young people enjoyed the engagement and

Getting out there • • • • • • • • • • • •

Four days to mobilise the community and youth sector Targeted engagement with kurakaupapa, kohanga reo, wharekura, marae, rangitahi groups Reached more than 124 ethnicities More than 4795 postcards received to date 138 online responses 17,000 postcards distributed across the region 4,000 postcards requested after close of engagement 60 workshops and face to face meetings attended by eight staff in 14 days 37 youth organisations involved Highest number of postcards collected by one person – 801 Questions asked on postcards: 1. Putting me first means … 2. Actions that will help me be the best I can be are … 3. The best thing about Auckland is … Youth at risk targeted with support from NZ Police and Child, Youth and Family


developed the engagement with young people further through youth-specific hearings process for the Auckland Plan using video diaries that young people produced themselves.

Formal and informal

Photo: Shoulyn Singh

it won’t be going in the Plan.” Mayor Len Brown has made a bold statement: ‘We’re going to put children and young people first.’ Who better to tell them what that means than young people themselves? Since the survey closed, Catherine’s team


The hearings process was pivotal in developing the actions around children and young people for the Auckland Plan, and helped Catherine’s team to connect with young people in a more formal way. The AUL (previous council’s urban renewal plan) was a discussion document and feedback process, while the draft Auckland Plan is a statutory consultation process with formal hearings as well as the innovative workshop approach which incorporated videos. Mt Roskill Youth Zone was one example where young people made the videos, edited them and presented them to council as part of their formal submission to the Plan, which Catherine said helped keep their voice authentic. She worked with the Foundation Youth Advisory panel to do their one. Scot MacKenzie’s In2it youth group also worked on the postcards and their own video submissions. “In2it only employs people under the age of 24, so we’re able to work with young people to access young people and to get young people’s views. The young people in these groups know how it works, they’re engaged with council and other organisations, but they also know how to help us get to disengaged youth, which is

earning Auckland aims to bring about a long-term, positive shift in educational achievement in Auckland. Learning will help all Aucklanders, not just the current 80%, to reach their social, cultural and economic potential. A success strategy to lift achievement for all Aucklanders Learning Auckland grew out of the Auckland Education Summit held in 2011. Auckland Council had signalled its intention to put children and young people first, and to recognise learning as a key way for Auckland to become the world’s most liveable city. Nearly two hundred leaders from the city’s education, social, political and commercial landscape agreed they needed to work collaboratively to turn the fortunes of the other 20%. They agreed to create and deliver a success strategy to lift achievement for all Aucklanders. Everyone can participate Learning Auckland therefore is a ground-up people movement, not an agency. No one owns it. Everyone can participate. It brings together the efforts of many people and organisations towards a common

who we need to reach. “We sent an online survey out through 37 youth organisations in a regional spread, using the same questions as the postcards and had 138 replies. We took 4795 postcards for the report and spent hours keying the data into spread sheets – ages, areas - we keyed in the responses from every postcard so we could thoroughly analyse the data, and we took that data back to about 20 young people through the Youth Advisory panel and said ‘here’s your data, tell us what it means to you.’

‘You have to get out there and engage’ Same data “The same data was given to analyst Dr Sarah Greenaway to code under various themes and we cross-referenced with what the young people told us they thought the data was showing, and her software produced virtually the same result. The young people sat around a table with us, read it, talked about it and sifted it and said ‘this is what we think it means’ and Sarah’s analysis showed the same.” Catherine said the whole project was achieved for less the $5000. “It was manpower, and determination. Remember, we have just gone through a major transition. This could

only be done through having the political will, the executive leadership support having the right people in the right jobs, and the connection back into the community. “Many communities have this ability. The Far North, for example, has tight community groups, so it could be done there. Once you have the signoff from the leadership team you have to decide what the questions will be, do they make sense, how do they apply to the vision, keep it very simple – what does this mean to you, does it mean anything at all? Never ask more than two or three questions at a time, because they just don’t want to know – even with three questions some of the kids kept me there for up to an hour, telling me what it meant to them. “Keep it simple, keep it straightforward, explain yourself as you go along. For example I had to put it in context for a group of young Muslim women, explain what it meant to give them a voice, why I was turning up in a pair of jeans and a T-shirt, and it’s okay to put you first. You need to develop briefing packs, make sure everyone working on it knows who the key contact person is who can explain all about the project, check out the risks, preparation. And Catherine’s final observation: “you won’t discover anything sitting behind a desk. You have to get out there and engage.” k

goal: making a bigger difference to Auckland through learning. It was initially shaped by a group of leaders from the Summit, with the Cognition Institute and COMET providing support and co-ordination as part of their own missions. A shared commitment to learning The first step in the success strategy is a common accord that spells out the shared commitment to learning. The Learning Auckland accord is called Whakakotahitanga Te Ara Mãtauranga. Credit goes to a group of kaitiaki leaders from across education and the community who modelled collective commitment to create the accord. Now you are invited to sign up Now you are invited to sign up to the accord Whakakotahitanga Te Ara Mãtauranga if you agree with its intent. Anyone, whãnau, education professionals, learners, communities, individuals, private or public organisations can sign up. Once registered, you will receive a certificate to record your commitment, and regular advice about collective impact activities and progress reports. You can also find out how to track progress towards shared goals and who to call to advance your own projects.

Talking to rangitahi


e also worked with our Mãori teams (Kai Hononga) at Te Waka Angamua. They helped us engage with Mãori involved in kura, kapa haka and other forms of traditional cultural groups. This group often requested te reo to be the medium they use to tell their stories so we had interpreters to translate our message and rephrased questions within a kaupapa context. We used the same methodology asking rangatahi what was important to them and for them to develop their potential. Rangatahi were also sampled within the general postcard campaign. This group in particular desired to engage in a culturally appropriate manner; however, most Mãori in the survey were accessed by postcards and not traditional Mãori cultural groups. “We got around 115 responses to specified rangitahi engagement, and when we look at the full data from the general engagement we had 433 responses – around 13 per cent from Mãori. There was about 18 per cent from Pasifika people. “We saw interesting information in that. Mãori, and Pasifika people, were more inclined to tell us that putting children and young people first should not just be about children and young people, it should be about the whole family. There was also a strong interest in the environment, and a desire for a voice, for a sense of belonging.”

Decide on an action Decide on an action you or your organisation can take that will contribute to one or more of the accord’s success measures, and if you wish, send in the details. Learning Auckland does not prescribe activities. Each organisation or network is free to make its own choices. Some will create new activities; others will adjust their ways of working. What is different is that you can now know which other diverse groups are working on the same agenda and the same measurements of results. Learning Auckland is not about everyone doing the same thing; it is about co-ordinating lots of activities towards the same goals. Share your results Over time, you can share your results and monitor the progress others are making towards shared targets and measures derived from the Auckland Plan. Collecting data and measuring results consistently ensures we can learn from each other’s successes and failures, and that all efforts are aligned. Using the same measurements widely will monitor the large scale and urgent change needed for education to make a bigger difference to Auckland. k





Iconic event

now world leader

Students love Polyfest, as do their parents and the wider community as the whole country sees the celebration of our rich cultural diversity. Hapai Te Haura (Western Springs College) on the M達ori stage.

The Cook Island crowd.



Faces of the ASB Polyfest from Baradene College.


he ASB Polyfest is an iconic annual event celebrating the pride and passion of our Mãori and Pacific Island communities through cultural song, dance, speech and art. The Diversity Stage allows other ethnic groups to be represented also. It is a place where we celebrate youth and all that they bring to the future. From small beginnings, the Auckland Secondary Schools Mãori and Pacific Islands Cultural Festival has become the largest of its kind in the world. Kia Aroha College Year 13 student

Veisinia Ha’unga spoke of the importance of the ASB Polyfest to youth saying that the festival – “allows us to show off who we are as Mãori and Pacifika people with pride and dignity.” ASB Polyfest Event Director Tania Karauria said the festival is “a unique opportunity for students to proudly promote their own culture while experiencing and appreciating that of others. For some students, the ASB Polyfest is the only opportunity that they have to develop a sense of belonging to their culture.” “The festival encourages schools to simulate the traditional learning environment that used to exist

in our communities. It is at the festival that we see the passing on of traditional customs including stories, language, beliefs and attitudes. This is so important to

the survival of Mãori and Pacific Island heritage.” In 2012 the Polyfest Trust piloted a new host school model. This involves six secondary schools hosting a stage each. The stages are Mãori, Samoan, Tongan, Cook Islands, Niue, Diversity. Gerschen van Niekerk coordinated the Diversity stage last year, and said the stage has become more popular. “I’m convinced that schools are already gearing up to exhibit their different cultural performances on this stage which is characterised by vibrancy and colour,” Gerschen said. “During the 2011 ASB Polyfest

54 performances, which included dances and music from Africa, India, Fiji, Indonesia, Sri Lanka, Philippines, China, Korea, Japan, Malaysia, Thailand, The Middle East, Tuvalu were viewed by thousands of spectators over a period of just two days. This number will increase exponentially.” Diversity stage is a non-competitive stage; however, performances are judged based on set criteria. The theme ‘My Culture Defines Me’ must be expressed in the group’s dress and music. ASB Polyfest will be held on March 13 – 16 2013, at the Manukau Sports Bowl, Manukau City.

Roshill College on the Mãori stage.

Alfriston College’s Niue group.



Traditional Tongan dance.

Samoan stage in full voice.

Festival background shows humble beginnings GAIL TENNENT BROWN traces the history of Polyfest

T Backstage at a Niue performance.

his annual event, now the largest Polynesian Festival in the world began at Hillary College, Otara in 1976. Students, Michael Rollo and Mata (Te Kii) Raela, and staff members, Mr Bill Tawhai, Mr Hone and Mrs Heni Green, envisioned the festival’s potential success. Another outstanding figure was the late Ach Lee Fong Ah Chong, initially involved as a student, and later as a teacher. The festival’s purpose was to demonstrate the students pride in their cultural identity and heritage and bring schools and the different cultures between them together. When the first festival was held at Hillary College it was supported by students, staff and parents. This included the Parent Teacher Association of the school, led by Mrs Nan Terewi who took responsibility for the organisation of food – a hangi and tuckshop. Even though only four schools took part, the festival attracted a large audience. The then mayor of Manukau, Lloyd Elsmere welcomed the competitors and guests from Seddon High School (Western Springs), Aorere College and Mangere College and host school Hillary College. Mãori, Cook Islands and Samoan groups took part and the competition was won by Mangere College with Hillary College coming second and Seddon third. From this small beginning, an exciting annual event developed, moving from school to school for many years. For example, Mangere College hosted it in 1977, with competitive and non-competitive groups. Each year saw more schools involved and more cultures so that in 1981, when Hillary hosted the festival again, there were 26 schools involved and two stages up on the top field. By 1991, when Hillary again organised the event, 38 schools were involved, five stages were needed and the Asian community added its cultural performances to the programme. The festival was rapidly becoming so large that it was beyond the capabilities of a single school to manage, so the venue was changed in 1996 to the Manukau Valedrome where it was possible to establish stage areas for different cultures and manage the public and parking more easily. Since 1976, the following schools have acted as hosts to the festival:

Kia Aroha College at the launch.

1976 Hillary College 1977 Mangere College 1978 St Stephens School 1979 Rutherford High School 1980 Nga Tapuwai College 1981 Hillary College 1982 Henderson High School 1983 Otahuhu College 1984 Birkdale College 1985 James Cook High School 1986 Nga Tapuwai College 1987 Nga Tapuwai College 1988 Hato Petera College 1989 Auckland Girls’ Grammar School 1990 Rutherford High School 1991 Hillary College 1993 Nga Tapuwai College 1994 Mt Albert Grammar School 1995 Mt Roskill Grammar School

1996 Hato Petera College 1997 Hato Petera College 1998 Queen Victoria and St Stephens School 1999 Mangere College 2000 Mangere College 2001 Hillary College 2002 Tangaroa College 2003 Tangaroa College 2004 Otahuhu College 2005 James Cook High School 2006 James Cook High School 2007 James Cook High School 2008 Wesley College 2009 Wesley College 2010 Sir Edmund Hillary Collegiate 2011 Sir Edmund Hillary Collegiate 2012 Kia Aroha College

Links - Copy notes from:

The University of Auckland Samoan stage.


Cook Island hula.

Finding a big family King Vuniyayawa


joined the Niuean group which performs at Polyfest in year 9, and I’m now in year 13. I was a foundation member when the group first performed in 2008. I experienced a whole new culture and met a lot of new people. It was like coming up with a group and turning these individuals into a big family. My journey with (teacher) Ms Ikiua was fantastic because each year we learn new songs and have a theme for our performance. Ms Ikiua composes all of our songs and we never do repeat performances. The most significant aspect of the Niuean group is the way Ms Ikiua has brought us all together as brothers and sisters, and that is really fun. As a Fijian boy, joining the group allowed me to perform with different cultures and learn not only Niuean but also embrace other cultures. At Polyfest we watch other performances and give our ideas to Ms Ikiua. It is amazing how we talk about it in class and make connections to Niuean culture. For example, we watched the Mãori stage and saw how the haka is performed and incorporate that style to the Niuean takalo, the Niuean dance. It was great for us to learn and develop these ideas. As Ms Ikiua says: “Plant the seed and the ideas will grow”. Throughout the years I have been involved with the Niuean group, there has always

Niue stage action.

Colour and culture with Waitakere College African group.

been the great atmospheres Ms Ikiua creates. Even though Polyfest is finished in term 1, Ms Ikiua keeps tabs on us so we don’t get under her radar. The commitment we show in the group is the same as the commitment we apply to our learning. At times we do stray, but it doesn’t take long before Ms Ikiua is calling us up . . . and then we are back on track.

Keen to learn Elijah Te-Namu


y mum is Niuean and Mãori, but she was adopted at birth and has never known her Niuean culture. I have always been keen to learn about my culture even though I will not know anything about my Niuean grandfather. When I changed schools I discovered there was a Niuean group at Alfriston College, so I would try out. Through Polyfest I developed a strong relationship with my matua/tutor Ms Ikiua which made me even more determined to learn about where I come from, so I enrolled in the Vagahau Niue classes. Each year at Polyfest I went to the Mãori stage and would sometimes pass the Niuean stage but didn’t pay much attention to what was going on. Through the Vagahau Niue classes I gradually started to learn more in terms of increasing my vocabulary, and I learnt more about the Polyfest performance group. My Niuean vocab

Action on the Cook Island stage.

increased and I can now say simple phrases. Although the Niuean culture failed to pass through to my generation, my matua Ms Ikiua has helped me in terms of identity. I am blessed to learn this culture not only for myself but for my mother as well, and I pass on what I learn to my mother using simple phrases at home. I’m able to say I am Mãori Niuean - I can say where I’m from and show this side of me.

Courage and confidence Liana Oltaches


olyfest has been around for as long as I can remember and, being a New Zealand-born Cook Islander, I grew up thinking I would be on the Cook Island stage showcasing my culture, which wasn’t the case. As a year 9 student at Alfriston Vagahau Niue was one of my subjects and still is. Being able to learn Vagahau Niue has been a great opportunity and has allowed me to enjoy many cultural activities. In year 11 I finally had enough courage and confidence to join the Niuean group for Polyfest. It’s been a great journey. I’ve learnt a lot about the Niuean language and culture through traditional dance and music. Now in year 13 and having the role of leader has made this journey even more special. I believe Polyfest is a way for family and

friends to preserve culture and language through a variety of dance and music. The highlight of this journey has been the strong bond we’ve developed with each other and our tutor Ms Ikiua.

Share with others Zavannah Fuli


olyfest is an annual event giving learners the opportunity to perform and share their culture with others. The festival helps serve education by giving students a sense of belonging and being proud to participate, which helps keep them focused at school. You can only be part of a group if your attendance is good. Alfriston College is one of two schools with Vagahau Niue, and Polyfest helps the participants learn the language more extensively. Participants show commitment and enthusiasm in learning and performing the cultural dances. It also allows parents to see what their children are interested in and allows them to see their children in another light. Parents are also involved by offering feedback to the group which gradually allows them to feel part of the group. The Polyfest experience helps bring out another side of students, enabling them to take risks and try new things. It doesn’t matter what culture you are, it allows you to embrace culture and share it. k




laying the foundation

Do spiders have eyelids? Children explore, think and reason to develop working theories in order to make sense of their world. New Zealand Kindergarten Incorporated chief executive CLARE WELLS underlined the crucial role early childhood education plays in fostering inquiring minds, and laying a foundation for science learning in particular, in her address to the recent Supporting Innovation through Technology and Science Education Forum in Wellington. Clare said she chose the ‘spider’ title because it is a great question and represents a curious, inquisitive young mind. “How we keep those minds enthused and engaged is why we are here.”


arol brought a bird to kindergarten. “We weren’t sure what sort it was . . Dylan noticed it couldn’t stand up, and that it was soft. He wondered if it could still fly. Talia found out that the eyes were closed, and Jesse remembered that birds don’t usually stay so still when people are close. Talia and Jesse decided to take lots of pictures with our cameras so we could remember this bird . . . we couldn’t keep it at kindergarten long.” The children in this kindergarten set to examining the bird, noticing the length of the tail feathers, the stripes and colours, its jointed toes – “just like our fingers”. “We did wonder what sort of

finch it might be so we took him over to the laptop to look at google images of finches. We found out straight away that it is a chaffinch by comparing a picture to our bird.” The children discussed what birds liked to eat and how young birds were fed. “Jesse remembered that birds like worms too and the babies might like that . . . Reuben asked us to listen carefully as he could hear a bird singing . . . Morgan said that ours doesn’t sing. Tobias agreed and offered that ours doesn’t hop either. Evie thought this meant it was definitely dead.” Reflecting on this interaction the teachers said: “the group investigating the finch changed composition over this time children set themselves roles to explore aspects of the bird

that interested them the most. A group explored the real object and took charge of documenting their observations using digital technology. A group took the leap to represent what they had discussed and discovered using art media. A group investigated the idea of being dead and needed the video footage to compare with the ‘behaviours’ of the real article to conclude that it was dead and not likely to revive any time soon. Some compared characteristics and developed some theories about classification due to colours, similarities, differences, physiology, behaviours, textures, and prior knowledge from other contexts. At all times discussion was focused, engaged, and on task.” The next example shows children exploring force and motion. The kindergarten was given a car garage with a ramp. The children added block ramps and plastic guttering and cardboard tubing, and strips of bendy ply. They took small cars and trucks, then marbles and other objects, observing and discussing how the objects moved, experimenting and testing hypotheses. Over time, balloon boats and rubber-band propelled planes were included. Teachers introduced new terminology and concepts – propulsion, acceleration, velocity, gradient, friction. They commented on the children’s interactions - explaining, instructing or demonstrating to others, working together negotiating and problem solving.

A kindergarten teacher explains an engineering example: “We were given a large box of cardboard tubes . . . We decided to put them outside on a table and encourage the children to have a go at building with them. There was much perseverance, trial and error as the children experimented with how to make the tubes stand up, stay still, hold the weight of other tubes, balance etc. Some interesting designs and constructions were made with the children positively commenting on each other’s work.” The pre-school service to children and their families goes far beyond child-minding. Research evidence shows the importance of qualified teachers working with young children in teacherled services: more meaningful

interaction, improved cognitive instruction, and greater social competence in children. Of the 60,000 or so qualified teachers in New Zealand, almost a quarter teach in early childhood settings. In kindergarten, qualified and registered teachers work with the curriculum to extend and develop children’s understanding in exactly the same way as teachers in the wider education sector. While the environment and routine may look different, the expectations around teaching and learning are no fewer or less than for teachers in schools. Problem solving, taking responsibility, leadership, respect and tolerance, and awareness of the consequence of actions are some of the social competence skills learned and attributes



laying the foundation

interpreting and anticipating results • understanding life processes, ecology and evolution • sharing ideas and observations about the sun and the moon • exploring physical phenomena such as movement, electricity and magnetism Maximising the benefits of participation in early childhood education in a kindergarten setting relies on our ability to ensure those learning outcomes are met - that we provide the optimal environment for children’s learning. In the early years, science is largely about ‘discovery’ but not solely. In their publication

Supporting science, design and technology in the early years, John Siraj-Blatchford and Iain MacLeod Brudenell say “. . . some of the beliefs that children develop turn out to differ markedly from accepted scientific knowledge [which] has important consequences for science educational approaches that are based on the notion of children finding out things for themselves . . . Left entirely to their own devices, children will learn about the world around them, but the trouble is they will often learn to understand it in idiosyncratic (and less useful) ways.” Children need some background and information about

established scientific ‘rules’ or misconceptions may never be corrected. John Siraj-Blatchford and Iain MacLeod Brudenell say we need to provide young children with practical ‘hands-on’ experiences, and draw their attention to some of the scientific theories, and to explain these experiences. The researchers say it is also achieved by answering their questions and telling them stories about significant developments and discoveries. To do this well, they argue, teachers need to “. . . build up our repertoire of appropriate stories and develop our knowledge of everyday phenomena . . . We also need to

help children understand how it was that these ideas came to be discovered. The best way of doing that is to carry out some investigations with children ourselves.” In its evaluation report Science in The New Zealand Curriculum: Years 5 to 8 released in May, the Education Review Office (ERO) identified the common features found across schools with generally and highly effective science programmes. These features included: • flexible and responsive programmes clearly connected to students’ interests and daily lives • hands-on, cooperative learning

Fostering science in young minds


he 2010 Ministry of Science and Innovation research on public perceptions of science looked at attitudes among mainstream New Zealanders toward science. They asked a series of questions including on the origins of attitudes towards science and technology, specific attitudes and perceptions of science and technology, the role of science in ‘mainstreamers’ daily lives and how to better communicate science. One of the key findings of the study was that “science needs to look at ways to foster and grow early childhood interest in science.” NZ Kindergarten CEO Clare Wells said “it is in our collective interests, and certainly in the interests of young children, to forge stronger connections between early childhood education and schooling, and with a broader community around science and technology”. Clare provides five ideas for starters: 1. The research and our experience shows teachers need to continue to build their confidence and knowledge. Professional development and leadership focused on building the expertise and resources to support that learning need not only be for teachers in schools. This could be collaborative activity across the profession.

Making early years count T fostered in young children at kindergarten. These are the same set of skills identified by the Prime Minister’s Chief Science Advisor Sir Peter Gluckman to assist children to deal with issues in later life and support the successful transition through adolescence. The early childhood curriculum, Te Whariki, has strong links with the New Zealand Curriculum (NZC), and the outcomes in Te Whariki are familiar to those working with the NZC. In science and mathematics for example: • number strategies and knowledge: counting, grouping, sequencing • ordering and comparing objects or events by length, volume, mass; sorting, position and orientation • conducting investigations -

here are just over 4,400 licensed early childhood education services in New Zealand. Around 194,000 children attend a service, almost a third of them four year olds. Early childhood education services operate all day or part day. They can be teacher-led as is the case for kindergarten or parent-led as is the case for Playcentre. Children might attend a service from when they are a few months old – others when they turn three for example, and some will have attended a number of different services by the time they start school. Some may have attended an ECE service for one, two – perhaps five years before starting school. Services can be home-based or centre-based. Some are immersion such as nga kohanga reo, or bi-lingual. Our diversity of services is a strength offering a range of experiences to young children and their families and whanau.

In any one year, tens of thousands of children farewell their friends in ECE and head off to school, some excited, some a little bit scared, most taking a bold step into new environments, with new people, new relationships, routines, expectations, challenges and opportunities – confident and competent in who they are in the world. The benefits for all children of participating in high quality early childhood education are well documented and evidenced. For children living in challenging circumstances, the benefits are even more significant. The economic and social benefits are well recognised – for every $1.00 invested up to $17 is saved in the long term: children stay at school longer and are more likely to succeed, to find employment, have better health outcomes, and make a positive contribution to society. What happens in these early years matters.

2. A regular feature of the school programme could be to work on projects with younger children. Older students could contribute their knowledge and skills, leading in their area of expertise, helping to build the ‘circuitry’ as a solid base for more complex learning. 3. Invite presentations or exhibits from young scientists, ICT specialists and mathematicians for display at fairs and publications. Dunedin Kindergarten Association kindergartens participate in the Otago science fair each year. 4. Encourage partnerships between business and early childhood education. NZK for example, has a long standing partnership with IBM and the Kidsmart programme which provides technology hard ware and programmes for young children, and professional development for teachers in kindergartens in low decile communities. 5. Invite the community’s grandparents to share their experience and expertise with children from the local early childhood education centre and junior school. Retired mathematicians, mechanics, engineers and scientists are in every community.



laying the foundation

Circuits build circuits


activities that engaged students with teachers acting as facilitators as students influenced the direction of their own learning • the successful integration of science with literacy and mathematics learning, and with an inquiry learning approach These are the features of teaching and learning in early childhood education. At these schools, teachers successfully integrated science teaching with literacy and

mathematics teaching to provide students with the specialist language and mathematics skills supporting their science learning. The ERO report talked about professional leaders with a passion for science, on-going professional learning and development opportunities to raise teacher’s confidence and competence in science, and clearly defined, expected learning outcomes for students. “High quality science teaching and learning requires teachers to

be enthusiastic about teaching science, have sound pedagogical and subject knowledge and set high expectations for student achievement,” the report said. Although focused on later years, ERO reflects John SirajBlatchford and Iain MacLeod Brudenell concept of building a repertoire of stories and scientific knowledge.

ast year’s report by the Early Childhood Education Taskforce An Agenda for Amazing Children talks about the increasing body of evidence on brain development, particularly focusing on infants and toddlers. It talks about the architecture of the brain: constructed before birth and changing rapidly in the first few years of life. The brain is more plastic during this time than it ever will be again so the quality of experiences during these years are crucial if children are to reach their potential. In 2007, the Harvard University National Scientific Council Center on the Developing Child brought together leading neuroscientists, developmental psychologists, pediatricians and economists to present a critical review of the literature in their fields and consensus about what we know about development in the early years. The goal was to influence policy to make a significant difference in the lives of all children. The group, chaired by Jack Shonkoff, summarised its thinking in the publication The Science of Early Childhood Development. It draws on what science tells us about brain architecture and the foundations of learning, behaviour and health. It lists the core concepts of development, specifically that both: “brain architecture and developing abilities are built ‘from the bottom up’,

with simple circuits and skills providing the scaffolding for more advance circuits and skills. Because so much that shapes how children relate to their world happens in these early years, the report argues the placement of “. . . need to address significant inequalities in opportunity, beginning in the earliest years of life, is both a fundamental moral responsibility and a critical investment in our nation’s social and economic future”. In other words, much of what children rely on as they participate in early childhood education, transition to school and on to study or training and/or employment, and into adulthood, how they relate to and understand the world is ‘hard wired’ in these early years. The Council explains that the brain circuits that process basic information are wired earlier than those that process more complex information. Higher level circuits build on lower level circuits and adaption at higher levels is more difficult if lower level circuits are not wired properly. They use the example: the ability to understand and then say the names of objects depends upon the earlier development of the capacity to differentiate and reproduce the sounds of one’s native language. The knowledge we have about child development and how they learn is multi-disciplinary, not solely through an education lens, and this knowledge and understanding shows that what happens in the early years matters – it matters a lot.

Choosing our teachers

A Cheran Hawkins says students value teachers, and want to have more say in how they are chosen, and trained.

uckland’s population of young people is increasing, and education is important to us. We spend most of our adolescence in the learning environment and recognise the importance of setting and controlling the standards of teaching. As a society we value the importance of maintaining a high standard of teaching; however, just because a teacher is able to obtain their teaching qualifications it doesn’t necessarily mean they will be able to connect with us as students. From the Ministry of Education perspective qualifications are among the most important aspects of being a teacher, but as students we believe it’s the teacher’s ability to consociate with us that makes the difference. As students, we are critical on how a teacher performs. We judge them on their ability to communicate, to convey ideas, how well they

are able to connect with us on a personal basis, and contribute to the student’s drive and desire to learn and achieve higher education. But if this sense of wanting to be in a classroom and wanting to help us as young people cannot be felt by students, then we are quick to disregard the importance of what the teacher is ultimately trying to do. If this happens then interest levels will begin to decrease, often dramatically. Losing interest in the teacher can lead to losing interest in the subject, and the aspect of keeping the students engaged and wanting to learn is lost. We can alleviate this by allowing students to have a stronger influence on potential teachers at a more foundational level. This could be achieved by involving students into the process of training as we can directly tell these teachers what it really means to be a good teacher. If a teacher is becoming a teacher

just for the money and not for the passion of wanting to help kids achieve their potential, then they need to change their approach to teaching, or change their profession. I would suggest that principals look for these things when employing a new teacher: Personality: what they are like in a conversation, and how well you think that they will be able to relate to the students. And their general ‘likeability’. Willingness to learn: their acceptance of the fact that they don’t know everything and that there is a possibility that students may be able to teach them something, rather than thinking they know everything. Ability to adapt: to be able to take knowledge that they have gained to their new environment and effectively change themselves or teaching style to better engage and enhance the students.


laying the foundation

the mat


e know that high quality early childhood education makes a difference. But how does this happen? The early childhood education curriculum Te Whariki is unique to New Zealand. It is envisaged as a mat or whariki, woven from four key principles and five curriculum strands or essential learning areas. At its centre are four broad principles: • whakamana – empowerment • kotahitanga – holistic development • whanau tangata – family and community • nga hononga – relationships The essential learning areas or curriculum strands are: • mana atua – well-being • mana whenua – belonging • mana tangata – contribution • mana reo – communication • mana aoturoa – exploration Te Whariki sets out our aspiration for children “to grow up as competent and confident learners and communicators, healthy in mind, body and spirit, secure in their sense of belonging and in the knowledge that they make a valued contribution to society”. This is the framework within which in an early childhood education setting, children make sense of and contribute to their world. Te Whariki is about the individual child. At the centre is the learner and the curriculum recognises the knowledge, skills, and attitudes that the child brings to their experiences. It builds on the learning in the home, focusing on the child’s interests. Te Whariki says: “Each community that children belong to makes its own specific curriculum demands: the community of learners who will be able to respond to challenge and change; the community of children who have individual needs and rights; and the community of New Zealanders who are gaining knowledge of the nation’s languages and are developing skills in using cultural tools such as art, dance, mathematics, music, reading, science, technology, and writing”.

Te Whariki provides the framework within which ‘circuits are built and skills learned’. Hard-wiring not only the content knowledge and understanding, but also the enthusiasm and excitement for science, mathematics, engineering and technology – literacy, the arts, and other curriculum subjects - starts here in the early years – long before a child enters school. Monitoring ice melting, tracking wind direction, researching what frogs like to eat, establishing whether the same amount of water in this tall thin bottle will fill this wide shallow bowl, planting and harvesting vegetables, measuring ingredients for scones, constructing a multi-story car park out of planks and blocks, ducting water from the water tank to the sandpit, feeding the worm farm, taking responsibility to make sure every child has been offered a drink, examining spiders under a microscope - is part and parcel of a young child’s day. This is what young children do. It is what they are given the space, the opportunity and the support to do – and much more besides. The weaving of the principles and strands of Te Whariki reflect and respect that learning happens in different ways, at a different pace, and according to the child’s experience. While we can focus on specific curriculum areas, in reality there are multiple responses – exploring time and motion for example is not only about science but also mathematics, problem solving, literacy. Let’s take one of the strands of Te Whariki – exploration. Implicit in the concept of the child as explorer is the importance of respect for the environment. “Children learn by doing, by interacting with others, by setting up theories or ideas about how things work and trying them out, and by making purposeful use of resources”. Within this strand there are four goals: Children experience an environment where: • their play is valued as meaningful learning and the importance of spontaneous play is recognised; • they gain confidence in and control of their bodies; • they learn strategies for active

exploration, thinking, and reasoning; • they develop working theories for making sense of the natural, social, physical and material worlds. So what might this look like – goal three: strategies for active exploration, thinking, and reasoning. Children develop: • confidence in using a variety of strategies such as in setting and solving problems, looking for patterns, classification, guessing, trial and error, thinking logically and using comparisons, asking questions, explaining to others, observing • ability to identify and use information from a range of sources including using books for reference and electronic medium • confidence to choose and experiment with materials, play around with ideas, explore actively with all senses • ability to present their discoveries, using creative and expressive media and the technology associated with them. And goal four for example: • the ability to enquire, research, explore, generate and modify their own working theories about the natural, social, physical, and material worlds • an understanding of the nature and properties of a range of substances such as sand, water, ice, bubbles, blocks and paper • spatial understandings and ways it can be presented such as maps, photographs, diagrams • familiarity with stories from different cultures about the living world including myths and legends • working theories of planet earth and beyond. These are (mentioned previously) Shonkoff’s first stage circuits and skills. While young children have different ways to express their growing knowledge and understanding – not only through discussion and conversation, but also through story telling or dramatic play or the creative arts for example – the learning is no less significant. k

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

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




Three simple words Talei Timakata from Wesley College says her peers could turn the question ‘who am I?’ into a statement about their identity.


ho am I? Three words. Three simple words that start to define “Me”. Defining, searching and locating myself means knowing my background, my culture, my history; knowing where I’m going and where I’ve been, knowing what I need, knowing that my voice counts. Today’s younger generation has ample opportunity with free access to public libraries, extra-curricular activities at school, youth camps, holiday programs and much more.

Talei (left) is pictured with Wesley College friend Bayley Johansson at the student editorial group meeting for Learning Auckland. But there are also those who are constantly stereotyped as “typical teenager”, “emos”, “useless” and many of these teenagers are left to cope with their troubles on their own. In their heads, the sentence plays non-stop like a scratched CD . . . ”Who am I?” I think we could rephrase the question as a statement: “Who I am” in a way that links into our history, our background, our voices, our needs. “Who I am” defines me. Every day ordinary people are bullied, abused, raped, abandoned. Many are gripped with

fear over tiny errors. I think part of the solution for the identity search of many young people means not being stereotyped, and not being put down. We have voices; we count towards in the making of history. Giving us a chance helps us realise, “Hey, we’re actually worth something to those people”. So I speak for the forgotten. I speak for those who can’t. I speak for “Who I am”.

Young students navigate consent process Te Atatu’s Flanshaw Road School students want to put a jetty on a waterway near their school. LEARNING AUCKLAND looks at the adventure two classmates had with the resource consent process needed to realise their idea.

Philipa Malua (left) and Mahinarangi Kino have been navigating the channels of bureaucracy so students can enjoy kayaking on the river near their school.


few years back, students at Flanshaw Road School at Te Atatu prepared a book about Twin Streams and Henderson Creek, waterways near their school. Soon after the book was put together in 2005, the students began tidying walkways and

planting trees around Henderson Creek. Last year, the efforts were taken a stage further by students who wanted to use the tidal wide tidal stream for water activities and hoped to put two jetties in place to make it easier to use their kayaks. Two Year 6 students, Mahinarangi Kino and Philipa Malua, took the

proposal to Auckland Council Youth Programme adviser Sarah Finlay for advice on how to gain the necessary resource consents for the jetties. Philipa said she and Mahinarangi had been involved in planting the trees and caring for their Project Twin Streams area, so they were

chosen to find out about the resource consents for the jetties. They showed Sarah photos of the planting the students had been doing, and took the book the students had prepared in 2005 to show some of the history of the school and its nearby waterways. “We want two jetties to make it easier to get on to the river and to get out of the river and we showed Sarah maps with four options for jetties and where they could be,” Mahinarangi said. “We showed here what it is like on the riverbank where we have planted native bush and the tracks and work we’ve done. Last year the senior students made statues and designs, and we painted them. We had blessings for the plantings and the statues and unveiled them, the juniors and middle school helped with weeding and planting. We took all the photos and showed Sarah what we’ve been doing.” The girls said Sarah would help them with the resource consent process, and they now have to ask neighbours who could be affected by the jetties and their plans to use the river. “It’s their back yard, so we need their consent as well. There’s about 10 neighbours, so a teacher might take us door-knocking,” Mahinarangi said. We’ll send a letter first to say we’re coming, and we’ll probably do the presentation again and show them why we hope they will agree.” The two girls and six other students are working on the project. They said they’ve done some kayaking on the river to see what it’s like, and they collect any rubbish they find on the tracks.

“We had lots of help from our teachers,” Mahinarangi said. “Other students could do what we’ve done, and they could look at what we did to see the proper way to do it, and they could make improvements on what we did.” Sarah’s role with the council as a programme adviser doesn’t deal with the actual consent process but she helps in familiarising applicants with the workings of the council and in connecting applicants with others. “The students were extremely well prepared, and presented a great story of their involvement. They demonstrated good understanding of the role of local boards and how they might help,” Sarah said. “There are a number of follow ups from a council end that we still need to do, so it’s too early to talk the outcomes just yet.” Sarah said the council has a new youth advisory panel, with local boards forming their own local methods of youth engagement. k

Links Youth Advisory Panel en/ourauckland/news/pages/ callingaucklandsyoungpeople.aspx For more information on establishing a regional and local youth participation programme, check the report to the Regional Development and Operations Committee of Council: www.aucklandcouncil. aboutcouncil/advisorypanels/ foundationyouthadvisorypanel reportestablishingyouthparticipation anddevelopmentprogramme.pdf


Behaviour is built before school starts

JEAN ELMER is the Education Advisory Manager at KiNZ Early Learning Centre. Jean says the Incredible Years Parenting Programme, developed at the University of Washington and adapted for this country, can make a difference in the escalating pattern of disruptive behaviour in our schools.


isruptive behaviour among New Zealand children is escalating and sadly it is evident among younger and younger children. This disruptive behaviour takes a serious toll on the child, their peers, their teachers, their parents and families and society as a whole. The early years are considered to be the most important developmental phase throughout the lifespan. Parenting is probably one of the hardest jobs an adult will undertake and possibly also the one for which they have had little training or preparation. It can be a difficult time for Jeam Elmer children as well as parents. Children need security and affection but they are also learning to be independent. They need to be able to test the limits in their home, and their wider environments such as kindergarten and school to discover what will, or will not be tolerated. Parents often find their child’s reactions and behaviours surprising and sometimes difficult to handle. There is concern over how much discipline or control they need versus how much freedom. It is recognised that there are no quick fixes. It takes a long-term view to ensure that changes in behaviour are sustained. With this in mind the Ministry of Education (MoE) introduced a five year ’Positive Behaviour for Learning Plan’ in 2010

and developed strategies to address challenging behaviours which include the implementation of ‘The Incredible Years’ teaching and parenting programmes. It is built on the foundation that positive behaviour can be learnt and difficult and disruptive behaviour can be unlearnt. The ‘Incredible Years Parenting Programme’ was developed by psychologist and nurse Carolyn Webster-Stratton at the University of Washington. The programme is aimed at children aged 3 to 12 years and aims to: • Promote positive parenting • Improve parent-child   relationships • Reduce critical and physical   discipline and increase the use   of positive strategies • Help parents to identify social   learning theory principles for   managing behaviour • Improve home – school relationships This training model has been successfully implemented in a dozen countries and randomised control trials show positive results across cultural groups including ethnic minorities. It provides parents and teachers with strategies to help turn disruptive behaviours in children around and create a more positive learning environment. Auckland has a population of over 1.3 million residents of whom 25 per cent are of Mãori or Pacifica ethnicity. All of us – families, communities, and teachers want our children to reach their full potential.

Collaborate for success


ew Zealand’s education system is among the best in the world, yet a significant proportion of students have not achieved well. Large scale social change requires broad cross sector coordination. Learning Auckland comprises a cross section of those with a stake in how learning can make a difference to Auckland. It aims to bring about a long-term, positive shift in educational achievement in Auckland. The Auckland Kindergarten Association (AKA) is the largest education provider outside the tertiary sector in New Zealand and is widely respected after 100 years of operation in the Auckland community. Over 9,000 children are enrolled at their 107 kindergartens and 4 full-day early learning centres throughout Auckland. In 2010 the Auckland Kindergarten Association was selected by the MoE to offer ‘Incredible Years’ teacher training programmes. In the past two years they have run 29 programmes resulting in over 450 teachers completing intensive training in behaviour management strategies over a five month period. A key component of the programme is to build stronger relationships with each child’s family. Parents are kept informed about strategies used to support children’s social competence and were

reporting positive changes in their child’s behaviour at home as well as the kindergarten. In 2011 the Auckland Kindergarten Association offered parents the opportunity to participate in ‘Incredible Years’ parent training programmes. There is no charge to attend the four month programme which run over a four-month period, merely a commitment to attend the weekly workshops which run for about two and a half hours. Participation levels have remained high as parents report increasingly positive outcomes for their children and gain confidence in their own parenting abilities. The Auckland Kindergarten Association report optimum positive results are achieved when ‘Incredible Years’ parenting programmes and teacher programmes are held concurrently for the same community. This helps to build stronger home and education connections and united strategies to decrease behaviour problems in children. Genuine, productive relationships among children, parents, teachers and the wider community will ensure Auckland’s future economic and social harmony.

Parents say: Parent responses on completion of the Incredible Years Parenting Programme include: “I feel since coming to this course I can see things I need to work on and getting the tools I need from this course.”

afraid of my son, to work with him not be scared to try to help change his behaviour. Best for us all in the home”

“I wish it was around for my first child. I could have had this and Plunket – a double dose”

“Thank you for the gift your programme was to our family. I wish it could be made more widely available to all families, because most parents need support when their children are little”

“The most changes are in me, just the little things like being more positive and having fun. It is helping my confidence and my relationship too.”

“This course gave me lots of confidence and I am now having a great time with my daughter. Will definitely recommend to others. Want my husband to do it too.”

“I’m not stressed out like before when I used to think ‘these kids are driving me crazy’. Now I can even take them out and they are good”

“I felt I couldn’t take my children anywhere. There were times I could just tear my hair out. I’ve had to basically reset myself and relearn how to be a parent”

“The programme helped me to understand that I am in control. Learning not to be

Psychologist explores early childhood

Incredible Years leader Ruth Ham (left) with Dr Carolyn Webster-Stratton.


r Carolyn Webster-Stratton is Professor and Director of the Parenting Clinic at the University of Washington. She is a licensed clinical psychologist and nurse-practitioner and over the past 30 years has conducted numerous randomized control group studies to evaluate the effectiveness of intervention programs

for promoting social and emotional competence, school readiness skills and preventing conduct problems in high risk populations. She has also evaluated teacher, parent and child treatment programs for children diagnosed with Oppositional Defiant Disorder, Conduct Disorder and ADHD. Dr Webster-Stratton developed the Incredible Years Series which include separate training programs, intervention manuals and DVDs for use by trained therapists, teachers and group leaders to promote children’s social competence, emotional regulation and problem solving skills and reduce their behaviour problems. The objectives of these interventions are to help parents and teachers provide young children (0-12 years) with a strong emotional, social and academic foundation so as to achieve the longer term goal of reducing the development of depression, school drop out, violence, drug abuse and delinquency in later years. k

“ I used to hear this same voice, my voice, saying the same thing over and over – ‘How many times do I have to say, “stop fighting, stop fighting” and I’d think ‘Is there anything nice that comes out of my mouth?’ I don’t hear that voice anymore. Positive praise now comes naturally to me – I even do it with other people’s kids”

Ministry delivers Incredible Years


ncredible Years is a 14-18-session programme for parents of children aged 3-8, which helps parents turn behaviour around and create an enjoyable and harmonious family life. Parents come together each week and develop approaches to use at home with problem behaviours, such as aggressiveness, ongoing tantrums and acting out behaviour, such as swearing, whining, yelling, hitting and kicking, answering back and refusing to follow rules. The programme coaches parents in ways of: • making time to play and spend time with their children and letting their children lead the play • encouraging the behaviours they would like to see, through setting clear rules and boundaries and using praise and encouragement • selectively using consequences such as ignoring, loss of privilege and time out. A core element of the programme is about parents learning from and supporting each other. The programme is delivered by Ministry of Education, Special Education staff and by 51 nongovernment organisations (NGOs) contracted to deliver the programme in partnership with the Ministry. Eleven of the NGOs are Whãnau Ora providers. Many are also providing a range of social services to families funded through the ministries of Health or Social Development or other agencies.

Links Direct link to MoE website OurWorkProgramme/PositiveBehaviourForLearning/ProgrammesForParents.aspx KiNZ Early Learning Centres - Auckland Kindergarten Association -




Courtroom eye-opener Luki Fakaalofa describes a day spent with Principal Youth Court Judge Andrew Becroft. Luti Fakaalofa, Otahuhu College, and Rae Stott, Albany Senior High School at a student editorial group meeting.’


eing a lawyer is something I’d love because I love helping others. I believe everyone should be heard because everyone deserves to have a voice. Judge Andrew Becroft gave me the opportunity to be with him in a few court cases to get a feeling of what goes on in court. This was such a rare opportunity and I had the privilege to take part. Early in March this year I went to Manukau District court where I met Andrew. Before I met him my tummy was filled with butterflies - I was so nervous to meet him and go through the whole process of the court cases. I’ve always known that dealing with the law is really serious and especially meeting the top youth Judge in New Zealand, but at the

same time I was excited to meet him. He introduced himself and I did the same. That feeling of meeting someone who takes a

huge part in taking care of New Zealand is special. As the day went by I learnt so much, sitting in court during every case watching and listening to what the lawyers say and do, but mainly Judge Becroft because he has the final say.

‘I was amazed by the teenagers’ attitude, how they commit such crimes and think they can get away with it’

Judge Andrew Becroft

I was amazed by the teenagers’ behaviours and attitude, how they commit such crimes at an extremely young age and think they can get away with it. I’ve been taught that there are always

consequences to the actions I take but it certainly seemed like these teenagers did not know. Knowing their wrongdoings worries me about the effect they will have on other young teens because they are the generation that matters and are the future. Andrew inspires me with who he is and what he does. He’s very calm and approachable which made me feel comfortable about asking him questions. One of my questions was: “Was it hard getting to this point where you are at now as a judge”? He said: “I’m not going to say working through as a lawyer to where I am now as a judge is easy because it’s not. Everything you do needs a lot of effort. At the end of the day it’ll all be worth it.” I understood what he said and remembering it will help me

succeed in life, because it came from a person full of experience and who is trusted. This experience really pushed me and has given me strength to become a lawyer and help out those in need. I got to see and feel what it’s really like, and it made me sad that youth have to go through rough times due to their own stupidity. This is something that can be fixed but they just need an extra hand to put them on the right path. I feel blessed and thankful that I was able to get this remarkable opportunity to experience and learn from Judge Andrew Becroft. Whenever you get a chance with anything you want to accomplish in life, grab it with both hands and hold on to it. You’ll be amazed with what you experience, learn and get out of it.

Expo First for New Zealand E ducation expos are common in the UK, Europe and US, but not in New Zealand or Australia. Opus Learning is bringing more than 200 education suppliers together in Auckland in September the first expo of its type in this country. The exhibitors cover all aspects of goods, services and resources schools use, and includes a wide range of seminars and workshops. Lea Campbell from Opus Learning was at the annual UK Education show in Birmingham and said teachers and administrators there consider the expo the one event they must attend “It’s the forum for exchanging ideas and information within the education industry. NZ conferences and expos are subject or technology specific. Knowing that one event that brings everyone together is considered the most valuable and relevant experience overseas makes launching NZ-ED an exciting challenge,” Lea said. Working from their experiences at overseas events, international companies such as HarperCollins have been quick to book exhibition space, and others have welcomed the concept as long overdue for NZ. “NZ-ED seems to be exactly what

people have been looking for,” Lea said. “It will showcase and support New Zealand education at all levels from early childhood to tertiary. “It will be a one-stop show for all educators and administrators and represent the full range of products, resources and services that support New Zealand schools. Professional development workshops and launches or demonstrations will run concurrently in rooms alongside the exhibition hall,” Lea said. The inaugural show will present a broad range of resources and ideas, bringing together educators and education supply businesses. There are opportunities for networking; professional connections will be made with fellow educators across different levels of education, across subject areas, with associated organisations and support networks. These connections extend through the Pacific and the world. Educators who attend the show will have the opportunity to learn, share ideas and interact with new resources and innovations for teaching and learning. Professional associations and other groups can book rooms and use NZ-ED as a backdrop for a regional or national meeting. The bonus is an extensive trade fair onsite, showcasing

materials to meet the needs of the school and classroom. Set to become a permanent fixture on the educational calendar, education stakeholders will be able to build relationships and establish ongoing professional rapport between educators and educational supply companies. The concept is modelled on the UK Education Show developed by the British Educational Suppliers Association (BESA) in the UK, who are about to celebrate their eightieth year as a trade association. BESA Director General, Dominic Savage will open NZ-ED. “The expo gives educators a costeffective way to view products and services under one roof, allowing them to get advice and experience, to compare and take advantage of show specials and offers. This makes effective use of staff time and school money,” Lea said. “The show is not open to the general public so schools will have full access to specialist resources. The entry fee is low, with $30 per day allowing access to all PD sessions, the trade exhibition hall and guest speakers which include Nigel Latta and Debbie MayoSmith. Practical seminars and workshops will run over the three-day programme, presented by


educators and industry experts covering a wide range of subjects, and designed to be informative, hands-on and practical. Examples include Sciencein-a-Van’s session, which will encourage teachers in science education and arm them with experiments to do the next day. Young Enterprise Trust will offer sessions on financial literacy across the curriculum and experiential enterprise education, and show how schools can achieve

the NZ Curriculum vision of creative, energetic and enterprising students. Compared with many conference fees, the cost of this event allows all educators from schools around the country to attend any single or all of the days and have access to the PD plus the expo. Opening hours Thursday and Friday 10am – 6pm allows after-school attendance and Saturday 10 – 4pm allows classroom teachers to attend. k

Talking with children

Teachers and parents are important role models for children to learn to speak and think well.


hildren starting school need support so they can talk to teachers, talk to friends, talk to learn, talk to have their needs met, talk to share their ideas, and talk before, during and after reading and writing. Talking is an important way for children to understand the world. It is easier for a child to learn to read and to write well if the child has good oral language. Teachers help children to join in conversations. They choose ways to talk that are best for young children to learn ideas and language: not too simple, not too difficult, not too fast, not too slow, not too long, not too short . . . what we call ‘in the Goldilocks zone’. This means children can understand and also learn to use the language they hear. They can then try out how to say what they mean and what they hear. At school, teachers model how to talk. That’s why they use a mix of simple and more difficult words and sentences. A child can understand the talk well enough and can learn new words and ways of saying something. Teachers share talking turns with children. They really listen to what the child says. They encourage children to say more, not just speak one or two words. What the teacher says back to the child is connected to what the child says, maybe by adding more - something extra or new. This way, a child practises what they can already say, and grows

ideas and language at the same time. We call this support ‘scaffolding’ gifting something more or new to a child. In the classroom, every child is encouraged to speak their ideas for all to listen to. Listening and talking go together. At home, parents and whanau are the teachers of language. Your child learns how to use language from you. Just by talking with your child you are helping them grow their language. No matter how old or young your child is, or whether your language is English or another language, like our teachers, you can: • Have conversations with your child about anything. Both you and your child take turns to speak and

listen. You share and your child shares. Really listen to what your child is saying and gift back to them something more or new. • Try out new words and different ways of putting sentences together with your child. You are the model for how your child learns to speak. • Talk with your child in a way that shows you value and enjoy what they have to say. A child’s thinking is special. Enjoy this and use it as a way of knowing your child better and for your child to learn new ideas, new knowledge, and new language. • Read as often as you can with your child, with lots of talking together before, during and after reading the book. Talk about the

title, the pictures or photos, the ideas in the story, the different words used in the story and what they mean. Book talk is important to help your child better understand the meaning and words of the story. It helps your child’s thinking, speaking and reading to grow.

k For more: Read the book: Expanding Oral Language in the Classroom: or an article: Expanding expression, expanding cognition; Clear communication for all kids; Talking the talk. Have a look at: Contact:


alking practice is so important for a child. By talking a lot and often, children learn to share confidently what they know and are thinking, and get better at speaking. Help children build oral language skills by using language with your child that is . . .

. . . not too simple. . . . not too difficult. . . . not too fast. . . . not too slow. . . . not too long. . . . not too brief.


Survival kit In 1976, British playwright Arnold Wesker published Words as a Definition of Experience. Wesker put forward the idea that teachers could make a selection of about a dozen ‘concept-building words’ such as intimidation and irony, and explore two such words a year throughout students’ school life. Wesker noted that an attribute common to children failing the school system was their inability to communicate verbally. His idea was that by using art, literature, history, technology, politics and more to explore each word, students would build a ‘language survival kit’ that allowed them to describe to themselves and others how they felt about the world around them and their place in it. The debate could be what words to choose for Wesker’s ‘survival kit’, and why.




Photo: Shoulyn Singh

Reading the signals It seems obvious that how a teacher feels about a student will be communicated to the students and could affect the student’s performance. Christine Rubie-Davies and Penelope Watson say there is scant research to support this and they, along with their colleagues Elizabeth Peterson, Annaline Flint, Lynda Garrett, Lyn McDonald and Heather O’Neill, have embarked on a study of how teacher expectations enhance student achievement.


ifferences in student outcomes have been attributed to many factors, among which have been differential teacher expectations. Teachers can transmit success and failure to students through their interactions such that students learn what their teacher’s expectations are of them. Teacher expectations are ideas teachers hold about the potential achievement of students. They determine the level and types of instruction teachers plan for students and can have a substantial impact on student outcomes. Previous research has shown that teachers behave differently towards students for whom they hold high expectations, compared to students for whom they hold low expectations. Furthermore, these behaviours signal clearly to students what sort of expectations their teacher holds for them.

Teacher phenomenon Researchers have asked what it is about individual students that means their teacher has high or low expectations for them? In contrast, the current project asks: What is it about teachers that means they have high or low expectations for all students? The focus of this three year study moves from viewing expectations as a student phenomenon - something about the student creates the expectation in the teacher - to conceiving of expectations as a teacher-related phenomenon. The beliefs and characteristics of teachers are the key focus - some will have high expectations for all students while others will not. Seen in another way, the study

proposes that students are not viewed as the ‘cause’ of low expectations; teachers are led to confront their beliefs and to change practices. This study will challenge teachers to alter not only the ways they have traditionally viewed students but also how they have taught. It is expected to contribute substantially to theoretical understandings of teacher expectations as a teacherlocated rather than student-located phenomenon.

‘This . . . large scale intervention study . . . will make a major contribution to understanding how to enhance teachers’ expectations’ Raising expectations This study will evaluate for the first time whether teacher expectations for all students can be raised experimentally and then sustained. Teacher behaviours that have most effect on student outcomes have been revealed to be those related to the affective (emotional) and instructional classroom environment (whole class factors). Further, particular teachers affect student outcomes differently; teacher beliefs are moderators of teacher expectations. Some teachers (high differentiating) treat high and low expectation students quite differently; other teachers (low differentiating) interact similarly with all students. Outcomes for students are different depending on whether they have a high or low differentiating teacher.

Beliefs and practices In New Zealand those teachers who have correspondingly high or low expectations for all students have been identified. Students with high expectation teachers significantly improve achievement in one year compared with students of low expectation teachers who make few gains. These student achievement differences are attributable to identifiable distinctions in the beliefs and instructional practices of high and low expectation teachers respectively. This suggests that if teachers could be taught the specific teacher behaviours and beliefs of high expectation teachers, student outcomes could increase substantially. In the current large-scale study, teachers were randomly assigned to control and intervention groups. The study is primarily aimed at significantly lifting the expectations of the intervention group and introducing them to the beliefs and innovative practices associated with high expectation teachers.

Six key areas These beliefs and practices related to six key areas of instruction: grouping, learning experiences, evaluation, motivation, student responsibility for learning and classroom climate. In the first year of the project, those in the intervention group were introduced to the specific teaching areas in which high expectation teachers differ markedly from low expectation teachers. The effects of raised teacher expectations on student academic and social outcomes across this initial year are currently being analysed. During the second and third years, the research will track whether

teachers’ altered expectations are sustained and whether their beliefs about and expectations of students change when positive student outcomes result from the innovative practices. Students in the classes of the intervention and control classes will also be tracked for the next two years, in order to determine whether the enhanced outcomes of the students with the experimental group teachers are sustained as they move into more traditional classrooms. A further objective of the research is to measure longitudinal differences in outcomes between the students who were with the control and experimental groups of teachers in the first year of the study.

Sustained intervention During the second year of the study in 2012, the degree of change among teachers is being measured, and the intervention teachers have assisted the control group teachers to alter their own practices. The monitoring of student outcomes and teacher beliefs and practices across three years will allow the researchers to determine the sustainability of the intervention. The main aim of the current study is to raise teachers’ expectations of, and beliefs about, what can be expected of all students in every classroom. This is the first large scale intervention study in the teacher expectation field and it will make a major contribution to understanding how to enhance teachers’ expectations. This project has the potential to influence both theoretical understandings in the field of teacher expectation research as well as having practical implications for primary school teachers, and the way core subjects such as reading and mathematics are taught, not just in New Zealand but also internationally. k

Photo: Shoulyn Singh



Looking at success through a different lens Veisinia Ha’unga says Kia Aroha College has changed her outlook on life, and her measurements for academic and social success. only to gain academic success, but to gain skills, knowledge and to become creative thinkers. As a Tongan born person raised in Aotearoa I’ve encountered many obstacles and challenges in finding my place in the world and my purpose in life. I believe if I didn’t know what my true identity was, I would not be where I am today and would not have accomplished so much.

‘Young people in South Auckland don’t only want to survive - we want to thrive’

Mendenhal Ting (left), Veimau Lepa and Christine Saulala working hard in class.

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rom age five to 17 we are away from our parents all day, five days a week and we are effectively raised by the ed ucation system with often little connection between our home, school and community. At a mainstream school we are constantly working to the test score or exam that helps to reach the standards where our potential is judged by what we can remember. As a Pacific Island student this standardized method of testing doesn’t work. We are isolated from everyone else in the class and made to sit alone in silence, and we get assessed on our ability to remember

knowledge without any of the usual tools we would normally have access to. Kane Milne, who is the director of learning at Clubhouse 274 says: “You work hard all year but because you aren’t hard wired to excel in an exam situation, you’re deemed a failure.” Our education system doesn’t encourage us to be a leader, unique, creative or to think outside the box. It conditions us to be to like robots, each child must think and act the same way. So how can the education system expect us to succeed when everyone is exactly the same? This reminds me of a quote from the movie What a girl wants: “Stop trying to fit in when you were born to stand out”.

God made us all unique and different for a reason. It’s about working together as whanau to not only gain credits but to gain skills and knowledge. I believe this is where mainstream education lacks, and if we continue to prevent children from showing their true potential and hidden talents, then we are failing them. The current education system, according to my understanding, teaches each student to learn a set of subjects and each student is expected to think and act in a certain way. I am completely against this. Education to me should be about thinking outside the box, while preserving my culture and identity and being who I am. It is about working together as a whanau not

Kia Aroha College has shaped my life in so many ways. The unique learning model at the college has made me a staunch advocate for my people and has made me embrace and nurture my culture in all aspects of life. In an average Tongan household the children are indoctrinated with the belief that the only way to succeed in life is through education, through the medium of English, and this is probably common in every other household for people of colour. When I go to school each day, not only do I go for myself, but also for my family. My home and school whanau are the people who motivate me. I study hard because I am conscious of all the sacrifices my parents made when they decided to leave their homeland for a better life in Aotearoa. My family and people are the driving force of my education. Kia Aroha College has a unique motto, which is ‘Developing Warrior-Scholars’. A warrior scholar is someone who can achieve both academically and culturally and at the same time understand their rights and responsibilities as a youth. A warrior scholar can also question and critique issues that affect them in their daily lives. My cultural identity is acknowledged and embraced at school and I have built huge confidence in myself and have done everything in my power

to become a warrior scholar. The unique learning model that our school adopts is called the ‘power lenses’ which consists of three main learning areas. The Blue Lens which is school learning mandated by the Ministry of Education; the Red Lens is the ‘self-learning’ which values the child’s cultural identity, knowledge, customs, traditions and language and allows them to embrace this; and thirdly the Green Lens is the global learning which is what connects us to the rest of the world. Attending Kia Aroha College has changed my outlook on life. As I was growing up I believed that if you did not get good marks or grades at school then you would not be able to get a good, decent job and therefore would not live a happy life. Our school’s approach to social justice and critical pedagogy has taught me otherwise. I now realize it’s far more than that. Employers are looking for people who can do the work but also communicate effectively, work as a team, solve problems, and are able to think creatively and to think outside of the box. Young people in South Auckland don’t only want to survive - we want to thrive. I truly believe my school is close to what education should look like in the 21st Century. Help make school an enjoyable environment to learn in so that we have equipped ourselves with the tools to become successful people who contribute to making this country a better place culturally, economically, socially. As Whaea Manulani Meyer says “Education is not separate from us, it is us. We must begin to be clearer on what intelligence means. We have to be clear that standardized national tests do not summarize the life force of true intelligence of a child.” We must rethink, develop, broaden, adjust, review and fix the current standards of what success is considered to be. I am a student who hates studying but loves learning.

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enterprise in education

Doing a lot with a little Enterprise is alive and well growing at a tiny West Auckland school with a history of overcoming sizeable challenges.


ga Kakano Christian Reo e Rua Kura has a kaupapa of doing a lot with a little. Creative enterprise is embedded in the school’s ethos. Founders Te Rangi and Veronica Allen deliver education to some of the more marginalised students in the country and achieve almost 100 per cent success with them. Nga Kakano has a strong record of winning sports events, and academic and speech competitions against much larger schools, and they do it with almost no public funding. Less than 15 per cent of the school’s operating budget comes from the Ministry of Education. The school survives on small fees paid by parents, and careful, innovative management. Building on this initiative, the school’s students and their parents have recently embraced the newly-established Education for Enterprise (E4E) curriculum to lay a stronger and alternative foundation for their students’ future employment.

School says YES

In November 2011 Aroha Vause and Dr Peter Mellalieu showed parents and caregivers a video of a business workshop involving Nga Kakano students led by Aroha and her Unitec student team. The parents and caregivers recognised the seeds of entrepreneurial vision emerging in their children and gave their support for Enterprise for Education becoming part of the curriculum for all senior students at Nga Kakano. The long-established Young Enterprise Scheme (YES) was chosen as the model through which the E4E curriculum would be implemented at the school. Over the summer holidays Nga Kakano relocated to larger premises adjacent to public sports grounds. Groundwork for establishing the school’s YES teams had also begun, at the recommendation of Unitec’s Nick Kearns, so the pupils could spend their summer generating ideas for possible businesses. Another feature of the proposed implementation of YES at Nga Kakano was that the students would spend two half-days per week during school time working on their YES companies. In contrast, many schools participate in YES as an optional, extracurricular activity.

letting grass grow under their feet. Their businesses are underway and their products have value to others. Mohi Allen, CEO of Nga Puawaitanga, said people should buy their music CDs because they “positively reinforce Mãori culture”. “Our music is funky and clean, the lyrics are meaningful, the beats are

real fresh and original. It lifts up Mãori culture and helps rangitahi be proud in their own skins,” Mohi said. “We will promote our product through a CD launch, word of mouth, door to door sales, gigs, Facebook, and CD stores in most malls.

“We’re also signed with RevrbNation which gives us the opportunity to sell our product through 34 different stores online. We’ve had an offer from an experienced band manager who has managed bands in both NZ and the UK because he thinks our performance is good enough.”

Above and below; staff from Unitec ‘speed coaching’ with Nga Kakano companies at ATEED in West Auckland earlier this year.

Te Reo skills

Dr Peter Mellalieu, above, and Aroha Vause, below, worked with students at Nga Kakano.

By March 2012, drawing on the strong Te Reo skills fostered at the school, the Nga Kakano pupils had formed two looselycoupled companies under the YES programme: Rangatahi Productions and Nga Puawaitanga. One business was focused on providing a Mãori cultural experience to new immigrants and tourists. The second business was originally purposed to write and record songs for performance by the first company. In March a large meeting for about two dozen YES school companies based in West Auckland was held at the Henderson Trusts Stadium, organised by Auckland Tourism, Events and Economic Development (ATEED), an Auckland Council organisation.

Ready to network

During this event, a ‘speed coaching’ method was used where business mentors and Unitec business teachers constructively critiqued each of the companies’ business proposals. The companies from Nga Kakano were among the more advanced school companies in that they had a presentable business plan, interviewed well, and were the only team to arrive with business cards ready to ‘network’. The Nga Kakano students completed the day with a sense of confidence that their business concepts were appropriate and recognised as worthwhile. Despite their early success, Nga Kakano’s students have avoided

Nga Kakano Christian Reo e Rua Kura principal Te Rangi Allen, in background, with parents discussing the YES plan.



Where to now?


Share tikanga

Nga Puawaitanga production manager and songwriter Kelsey Oliphant said the eight students had formed the company to “share our tikanga and talent through music with the youth of Aotearoa.” “We’re doing this through an album inspired by our original genre of funky Mãori reggae based on the theme of our beloved Aotearoa,” Kelsey said. The students’ associated company, Rangatahi Productions, originally aimed to provide Mãori cultural

experiences to new immigrants and tourists. Following feedback from the ATEED ‘speed coaching’ event, this company has now refined its focus with educational books and CDs targeting children aged three to eight years. Rangatahi CEO Kausalya MartinMoore said their business idea came from watching Trade Minister Tim Groser on the television show The Nation, where the minister discussed the benefits of teaching Te Reo Mãori to five-year-olds. “Ranginui Walker also said children

who learn Te Reo Mãori were able to learn two or three other languages more easily. If our book is successful we will look at publishing and entire series, and look into a new market segment,” Kausalya said. k

ccording to Unitech enterprise development professor Peter Mellalieu, Nga Kakano has successfully adapted an Education for Enterprise programme into its curriculum. “Education and skills development for New Zealand’s long-tail of ‘disadvantaged’ young people is rated a high priority for government and Unitec’s policy,” Peter said. “The public:private partnership model could offer funding opportunities to Nga Kakano in partnership with a state school. Nevertheless, Nga Kakano in the short term faces urgency in broadening

its funding base beyond its parents.” With Nick Kearns and Peter Mellalieu, other teaching staff at Unitec and the business community are noting the value of the Nga Kakano initiative and provide their support as mentors to the school. Senior pupils from Nga Kakano are participating in ‘try it for a day’ classes in the Unitec business school to help them consider advancing their studies of business in the tertiary education sector. Anticipating how the Nga Kakano approach might be upscaled to other schools is now also a matter for development by Unitec’s Department of Management and Marketing.

Links Innovation & chaos ... in search of optimality - Peter Mellalieu Nga Puawaitanga CD on Facebook!/ArohaVause/posts/46105373057584 The single ‘People’ available at Reverb Nation

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Learning Auckland shares what works in education, exchanges dreams for the future and helps create a forum to bring about a long-term, positive shift in social, cultural and economic achievement. Education Today’s unique Student Editorial Group ensures much of the content comes from students themselves. Learning Auckland grew from the Auckland Education Summit held in 2011. Your participation joins the Auckland Council intention to put children and young people first, and recognises learning as a key to Auckland’s future.

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Measuring the digital divide Orewa College is a leader in the one-to-one digital device revolution in New Zealand schools. With contributions from Year 10 students Anne Harrison and Hannah Coyle, Year 12 students Ellen Lear and Aviva van den Heever report on the Bring Your Own Device conference held at their school recently.


echnologically advanced devices are now crucial in today’s society, especially in the learning and teaching environment. These devices allow us to evolve the way in which we perceive the things we are faced with on a day to day basis, and they bring complex issues as well as benefits to our modern life style. Teachers are discovering new learning methods and in some schools children are being advised to bring a one-to-one device to school to help improve their education. Orewa College is a leader in bringing New Zealand schools to become part of the oneto-one device revolution. The purpose of the recent conference at Orewa College was to help satisfy interest in this initiative and to provide a place for people to share their opinions, ideas and concerns about using one-to-one devices in schools. Orewa College’s programme began earlier this year

Writers Ellen Lear, right, and Aviva van den Heever, centre, discussing the conference with Jasmine Bishop. and has created much interest in local and international schools and institutions. Approximately 200 representatives from schools across the country attended the conference and more joined from Christchurch via an internet conference link. Opening the conference was key note speaker and MP Nikki Kaye, who is the driving force behind the parliamentary inquiry into the development of the role technology plays in schools. Ms Kaye said there are multiple aspects to the digital device revolution. “It is not just about the device, it is not just about the investment in technology, the schools that are leading the world in this area are the ones that invest in their teachers,” Ms kaye said. Ms Kaye congratulated the teachers for their courage in embracing the risks and challenges of these new teaching methods. She also highlighted the opportunity New Zealand had to lead this initiative on a global scale and the

Yr 9 students helping with the catering

Jayden Henderson Yr 11 Sound and Lighting manager progressive nation we are with some of the best teachers in the world. However, Ms Kaye also noted the risks involved in adopting this digital reform and recognised that it was the start of a long journey. Orewa College principal Kate Shevland’s futuristic and positive perspective outlined the importance of being confident in the change and not succumbing to “paralysis by analysis.” Ms Shevland said the way to achieve the full potential of the devices was to prevent preconceptions from clouding future innovations. She discussed the importance of the children owning their own devices as “personal ownership is a powerful incentive to look after them”. Ms Shevland also acknowledged that we cannot rely on the government to provide devices for all 300,000 students in New Zealand. She said policy needs to be put in place to ensure those who suffer from financial difficulties will not miss out.

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MP Tracey Martin discussed concerns about the impact these devices have on social interaction and face to face communication skills. “It will be necessary to make sure that there is some down-time from devices,” Ms Martin said. Further research would be needed to gauge the social and health risks of the devices, and employing a PE instructor specifically assigned to lunchtime activities to engage students and ban on devices at break times were also being tested. Considering the multitude of opinions and questions raised, it may well be that the only ones who can truly provide us with objective feedback are the ones using the devices. The teachers at Orewa College spent nine months using and developing new teaching methods to ease the students through the transition. One of the Year 9 students, Mark Stevens, said there is educational benefit in the devices, “but some kids do take advantage of the devices and use them for the wrong

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reasons.” Mark said the skills he had obtained would benefit him in his future career. At a question and answer session with some Year 9 and also Year 10 students, a number of questions were raised. The students felt that the one-to-one devices benefited them across all subjects. They also offered advice for teachers new to this concept, saying that in the early stages they may need to just take things slowly as some students adapt quicker than others. They also said it was important to keep students actively working throughout lessons as the devices can present distractions. As senior students at the school, we are not part of this digital transformation in learning, although we can see it is the way to go for future generations. Our schooling has been quite traditional and although most of us own oneto-one devices, in class we feel a certain nostalgia for pen and paper. However, this programme has stimulated interaction and involvement in classes, which can only be a positive result. Overall, the ‘Bring Your Own Device’ conference was a success, and everyone we spoke to expressed how much they had got out of the day. It was a learning curve for us, and we found that having the Year 9 students and teachers on hand was a good idea. Principal Kate Shevland said she was satisfied with the outcome of the day and hoped it becomes an annual event at Orewa College. k Links Initial planning and reading: https:// ipadsatorewacollege.wikispaces. com/ BYOD Conference Resources at: WebSpace/5071/ Prezi:

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South Pacific Educational Courses Ltd South Pacific Educational Courses Ltd is a New Zealand owned organisation established in October 2007 to provide successful learning outcomes for students who require an alternative pathway. The SPEC courses are now well established in over 164 schools and centres throughout New Zealand. • The ethos and principles of SPEC match perfectly with the New Zealand Curriculum. • The courses are centred on a self directed approach to learning encouraging students to take more control, making ‘good’ choices and in turn raising self esteem and self confidence. • Completion of the SPEC Awards leads to THREE NZQA approved Certificate Qualifications that sit on the Kiwi Qualifications framework for the development and demonstration of the Key Competencies. • The courses encourage students to take an active part in all aspects of

their learning from the planning stages to the self reflection and building up a portfolio of evidence of their achievements. • The courses accommodate different learning styles and have a flexible time frame. Schools have received encouraging feedback from ERO on positive student engagement and the course’s flexibly in accommodating individual learning needs. • The course materials have relevant content for teenage interest and reflect New Zealand culture. • There are opportunities within the Mainstream certificates to accrue unit standard credits at Levels 1,2 & 3. All unit standards are taken from the core generic sector. •The guidelines for the new literacy/numeracy unit standards fit perfectly with the delivery style of the SPEC courses with many schools starting to use the SPEC Awards to generate the authentic evidence particularly towards the literacy unit standards. • There are also Supported Learning courses that provide equal opportunities for students

with a range of ‘complex or multiple’ learning needs. • The SPEC organisation has a team of experienced Regional Facilitators who help and support other SPEC teachers. • Initial and ongoing training and professional development days form part of the success of the SPEC courses, along with regular moderation meetings run nationwide twice a year. Positive outcomes for students include : success and achievement, raised self esteem and motivation, a positive learning experience, a more positive

attitude in school with a ‘can do’ attitude and formal recognition of their achievements. Positive outcomes for schools include: meeting the learning needs of individuals, providing a meaningful and relevant course to ensure students reach their full potential with positive attitudes filtering into other classes and better attendances recorded. Students are engaged in a meaningful course ensuring development of life long learning skills and a smooth transition into the adult world.

NZQA Approved Certificate Qualifications for: 112993 Certificate in Mainstream Studies Level 1 • 111295 Certificate in Mainstream Studies Level 2 • 111 296 Certificate in Learning Support Level 1


Media Specs 2012

Contact: Carolyn Baines Phone: 06 877 7410 Mobile: 027 252 2598 Email: South Pacific Educational Courses Ltd

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Youth to earth, are you receiving me?

Taylor Mitchell, left, with Veisinia Ha’unga.

Young people are often asked to contribute their perspective to issues facing our communities. TAYLOR MITCHELL looks at one example to see if those seeking the student voice are simply ticking the ‘consultation’ box.


ach year across New Zealand you will find a plethora of events calling on youth to have their say on local government, schools, wider global issues, and even simply on the lives they are living. Yet young people invariably come away from these events buzzing, engaged and excited only to find their ‘valuable’ contributions ignored or filed away as those originally keen to hear them move on to more important issues; their youth PR done for the year.

I have followed an example of one such document sought from young people, and its reception among the various organisations and individuals it was handed to. UN Youth New Zealand (the youth branch of the UN Association of New Zealand) is an organisation run by youth for youth that builds on the interest that more and more young people are having in regards to their opinions and knowledge of not just their country but the global situation itself. It regularly runs Model United Nations events where students represent a country and its views

on a series of topical discussions, and these events consistently pull hundreds of the so called “disinterested and disconnected” youth of today. Each year this organisation runs a popular conference called Youth Declaration, where 150 young people get together to create and debate a document outlining the youth of New Zealand’s views on topics ranging from Health, to Law and Order, to Economic Development. In short, the topics cover the sort of decisions our politicians and local governments are making that affect the people of New Zealand and offers young people a chance to express their ideas where they normally would not be able to. The conference culminates in a document detailing their ideas and recommendations, which is handed out to a few MPs, the local councils and youth NGO’s like UNICEF. What happens to it from there? Is the four days of hard work, negotiation and idea sharing taken and shared by those it is passed on to or is it noted only in a token form, a sign-off on required youth consultancy for the year. I posed this question to a number of those who were handed the Youth Declaration in 2011 and some who were given it at this year’s conference in the April school holidays. Out of the half dozen individuals and organisations I contacted that had been involved with Youth Declaration, it was the nongovernmental organisations that made an effort to reply; not the MPs and local government members

who have been elected to represent us. Despite that, the feedback received from the Human Rights Commission, Office of the Children’s Commissioner and UNICEF New Zealand was reassuring and exciting from a youth perspective. Chief Human Rights Commissioner, David Rutherford addressed the root of the dilemma and frustration young people experience when their thoughts and supposedly valuable, yet repeatedly ignored.

‘Young people invariably come away from these events buzzing, engaged and excited only to find their ‘valuable’ contributions ignored’ “So much is promised and spoken of the potential of young New Zealanders that we too often forget that young people need to have their thoughts and views listened to right now,” Rutherford said. It was extremely heartening from a youth perspective to hear of the HRC using the document as a reference point for their advocacy with government and the community. Similarly, the Children’s’ Commissioner used it to showcase the role of youth in decision making and critical thinking toward their future, and UNICEF continued the

theme with their own conferences bringing the voice of youth to issues to be discussed at Rio 20+. But could events like Youth Declaration or UNICEF’s Rio 20+ talks achieve even more? Of course, and it’s up to the young people of New Zealand and those facilitating them to make sure the word gets out there. Attending youth say events is one thing, but making them well known locally or nationally is only going to increase their worth, and make sure that those attending are a strong representation of the youth of today. If I was to offer a tip to the organisers of youth voice events I would say keep your attendees up-dated after on where it has gone after the event – who has the material and what is it doing with them – because that information will encourage us to further action and involvement. And to the young people attending them - the power is also in your hands. Get the document or information compiled on the day and pester your communities, MP’s and fellow youth to get up and do something about it. It may be the harder path to walk, but as UNICEF said in response to the Youth Declaration “it is an important way of raising awareness amongst decision makers that young people not only have the right to have a voice, but also have something valuable to say.”

Links Youth Declaration 2012 UN Youth website

Time to ring the decibel BAYLEY JOHANSSON, pictured, says it often seems as though nobody is listening, and suggests ways young people can ‘amplify’ their voice.


o listen – have you ever felt like no-one’s listening? Like no-one cares what you have to say? Like no-one can possibly understand all of the amazing and wonderful and terrible and desperate feelings you want to express? Like you don’t have a voice? I believe it’s time to realise you do have a voice – a powerful one - and you not only have the right to use it, you also have the responsibility. In the blur of modern technologies and icloud and iphone and ipad and ibook, in the midst of MP3 and DVD and R&B it’s often easy to feel lost and silenced and even to think - “If I did say something, how would anyone hear me over all this racket?” In the midst of all of this STUFF, you better be more prepared to stand up and shout for what you believe in, to express those opinions and ask those questions and start those debates. Stop for a minute and think about what would have happened if Martin Luther King hadn’t had a dream . . . if Barrack Obama had said “No We Can’t”, instead of “Yes We Can” . . . or (to bring the debate closer to home) if David Lange had said “Oh yup, that’s ok America, you can do nuclear testing in Aotearoa”. We must remember our turangawaewae, our place to stand in New Zealand today. We stand on shoulders of those brave (and progressive) men and women who have had women as their primeministers and who gave voting rights to the fairer sex before any other country in the world, and who had the courage to stand up and

say “no” to international nuclear superpowers. We may be small, but we are GREAT. And as the young future of this young country, it is more important than ever to stand up and be counted, and we have never had so many ways and means to do so. If you’ve ever thought that no-one’s listening, I say – SPEAK LOUDER and here are some ways you might do so:

company, are invited to make a written submission on the mock bill, or on any of the 10 select committee inquiry topics.” www. a/6/1/00NZPHomeNews040620101Make-a-submission-to-YouthParliament-2010.htm

3. The University of Otago Sheilah Winn Festival of Shakespeare in Schools Shakespeare Globe Centre New Zealand (SGCNZ) is a life1. The Russell McVeagh skills enhancing organisation. Debating competition Essentially a voluntary, notSince its establishment in 1988 the for-profit organisation it was New Zealand Schools’ Debating established in 1991 with a major Council has worked to promote focus on education, encouraging debating in secondary schools the performance and study of around the country. The Council Shakespeare from an early age. It is responsible for the organisation has strong links with Shakespeare’s of Regional Championships that Globe in London. are held throughout New Zealand The Regional Festivals are held in in Terms I and II of the school twenty-two centres throughout New year. Teams are selected at each Zealand, coordinated nationally tournament to represent each by the SGCNZ chief executive and region at the National Finals of supported by representatives who the Russell McVeagh New Zealand facilitate each regional festival. Schools’ Debating Championships For the four stimulating days held annually in Wellington in of SGCNZ’s national event August each year.” approximately 520 students gather in Wellington to perform the 22 scenes and 22 excerpts to their 2. National Youth Parliament colleagues and the public. They “Make a submission to Youth also participate in workshops taken Parliament: Youth Parliament will by leading theatre exponents and be held on 6 and 7 July. The mock practitioners, attend lectures and bill that Youth MPs will debate is the make enduring friendships. Adult Rights and Responsibilities (Age of Majority) Bill. It will focus shakespeare/Intro/Intro.php on creating a single age of majority for activities such as drinking, 4. Mooting competition: driving and voting. The mooting competition was Members of the public, as well established by Te Piringa - Faculty as any agency, department or of Law to provide secondary school

students a taste of the law. Just as in a law court, this competition pits teams of “lawyers” against one another to argue a legal case before a judge. Each participating School can enter up to three teams of two or three students. The members of the winning team are each presented with a $3,000 scholarship to assist with the first year of study at Te Piringa - Faculty of Law. The winning team also receives the Secondary Schools’ Mooting Trophy”. Or if you need someone to listen to you personally: 5. Youthline Long established youth organisation, Youthline is working alongside the Counties Manukau District Health Board and other service providers to address concerns over an increasing number of youth suicides in the Counties Manukau region. Youthline Clinical Services Manager, Glenda Schnell says it’s the responsibility of the entire community to support young people. Glenda urges everyone who has contact with young people to be aware of warning signs and speak up if they are concerned for somebody’s wellbeing. Or if you want to dance to be heard: 6. Bring It On Bring It On is a high energy dance event primarily hip-hop focused.

It features a diverse range of secondary school, bringing to the stage five minutes of hardcore dance. It is an event that encourages participation across all spheres of life and showcases creativity and immense talent. As in past years, we encourage all schools to appoint at least two team leaders, as well as a supervising teacher. A Bring It On mentor will be appointed to your school who will work closely with your school to ensure that the positive messages of Bring It On are conveyed accurately to the students participating in Bring It On 2012. I feel now is the time for the youth of Aotearoa to speak up, speak out, and speak loud NB: Information taken from the respective websites.


learning goals

Building with good tools

The secret is . . . working to plan Marist College’s SUZANN KREFT and Oaklynn School’s SONYA DYTON describe one aspect of their schools’ approach to special education.

CAROLYN BAINES illuminates the approach SPEC brings to learning.


t Marist College, identifying learning goals and learning preferences is the basis of our Learner Support philosophy. We found South Pacific Educational Courses (SPEC) provide a clear framework for student/ teacher negotiation and the demonstration of authentic individual learning outcomes. SPEC was adopted in 2008. The school run a personal development programme known as PDP, available to years 11 - 13. The flexibility of the SPEC courses is totally relevant and suits a wide variety of students with learning needs, from a specific learning disability through to senior students who need an option without another exam subject. SPEC Awards offer the students an individualised programme of achievement which focuses their learning on the improvement of the key competencies:

thinking, relating to others, using language and symbols, managing self, participating in community. As the tasks are chosen freely by the students they “own” what they do. At Marist we have some funding to support a few teacher aide hours and the students relish this support. Students create folios of evidence of what they have done as they work through a task, they enjoy what they do and have fun in the process. We are also able to offer NZQA credits for some unit standards as we go through an award, but the thrill of achieving an NZQA approved certificate qualification in mainstream studies is a significant draw card for some of these students. Much of what they do is transferable to their other subjects and this is directly encouraged. Wherever possible we try to make obvious connections with other subject work and both teachers and students have much to celebrate when the desired outcome is achieved. For example, some students study food technology and recently visited a restaurant for a Japanese meal. They created evidence for their task on culture by demonstrating what they had learned about Japanese food. Photos, witness statements and even DVDs with sound (teppanayki chefs cooking) were produced. The students are so proud of what they have

presented in their folios. Another example of cross curricular linking is through the Gateway Programme where our students are vigorously encouraged to demonstrate in their SPEC Award what new learning has taken place in their recent first Aid course and their work placements. Students mature and grow in confidence with each task completion.

Comments from Marist College students:

Lucy said: “I really enjoyed doing a folio and being able to present it how I wanted to. I got an academic award for my year’s work; this is the first award I have ever received at secondary school.” Grace Gordon said: “I enjoy working on my tasks because I am able to choose what I want to do.” Jessica Peterson said: “I work better when I have a plan to stick to. SPEC tasks always have a plan.” Sinead Hack said: “I like putting a folio together because I can show off my work the way I want to.” Georgia said: “SPEC has immensely improved all five key competencies. My tasks always come up with problems, so I am always thinking through solutions. I have got more confidence in relating to other people, I can present my work in many different ways not just in writing, I motivate myself to finish things because I have set my own due dates and this helps me to be more organised. The tasks definitely help you get more involved with other people in your community.”

The secret is . . . validation


aklynn School was searching for a way for the learning and achievements of special needs students to be recognised and

validated. Through our links in the wider special education community, we discovered SPEC and were drawn to it, as it was New Zealand based and embedded the key competencies from the new NZ Curriculum. The framework more than meets Oaklyn Special School needs for three main reasons. 1. The courses lead to an NZQA approved certificate qualification 2. It provides a structured framework of activities and learning experiences that match the learning contexts that we already provide for our students. 3. The diverse range of courses provides further opportunity to broaden the learning experiences for all students. Mitchel is an 18-year-old young lady, who attends Oaklynn’s Green Bay High School satellite class. Here she shares

her enthusiasm about the SPEC, TRUMP programme that she has been studying for the past few years.

“It is not a tool that provides a destination (activities to be crossed off a list) but the structure and philosophy that creates pathways to last a life time.” “I like my SPEC because it’s fun, I like doing it. I learnt about keeping ourselves safe in the sun, volcanoes, monarch butterflies, Salvador Dali, learning about France and saying “Bonjour” (but I’m never going to eat snails again). I like being able to do things for myself, like my patchwork and threading the needle myself and sewing the patches. I like going on the outings to find out about things,

places like the museum, Alberton House (with the tiny little stairs), MOTAT (with the strict lady and I dressed up and we had to call the lady Miss; also the shaking machine), the Butterfly House (the butterflies were cute and one sat on my hand), Zoo (with the baby giraffe), Tip Top and Kohu Ice Cream (trying the ice cream), libraries, the beach, the Arataki Centre (the little puppets), Lopdell House (nice making clay volcanoes), MAGS Farm (feeding the lambs milk and the pigs scraps, but I didn’t like milking the cows), cafes (having hot chocolate). I like my portfolio at the end of the year to look through, it makes me feel happy and proud and Mum likes it too. SPEC is FUN!” As a school Oaklynn is currently developing its own post-18 curriculum, aligning with the tertiary competencies. SPEC is NZ based and director Carolyn Baines said the organisation is keen to work in partnership with others in the education sector to develop programmes. Oaklynn will be part of the collaboration on this project.

outh Pacific Education Courses are a way of experiencing teaching and learning that encompasses the whole person. SPEC courses provide a framework which can be tailor-made to individualise learning, excite teachers into the teaching experience and a mechanism to engage ‘others’ in our community with these experiences. It is not a tool that provides a destination (activities to be crossed off a list) but the structure and philosophy that creates pathways to last a life time. The courses are a holistic and individualised way of working with students from upper primary school until Year 13. The courses are embedded in supporting key competency development and academic achievement in all students from gifted to struggling learners and ORS funded students. SPEC courses build on the students’ knowledge and experiences and allows for self-directed learning which not only engages the student in their personal learning experience but connects them to other people and relationships both near and far. Part of the aim is to enable students to interact with practical ‘hands on’ equipment, theoretical knowledge, cultural experiences and protocols and academia. Students create a portfolio of evidence which demonstrates their planning and reviewing of their work and key competency development. The portfolio can be used to support Alternative Pathways for Literacy for senior students. The portfolio has also been used to initiate employment interviews and contracts. The portfolio also provides an avenue for confidence and personal value as students recognise the volume and depth of work they have undertaken in a year’s study. SPEC courses are NZQA approved. Students receive national NZQA Certificates in recognition of their achievement. While lively arguments still rage between education facilities on the benefits of National Standards and, with a few, NCEA, there is no debate for those who have discovered and adopted the SPEC programme. For those of us engaged in school environments with students who have special needs, behavioural needs or with students who are disengaged, SPEC has provided an enlightened approach to learning with success that can be easily measured by students, parents and teachers. The students in our care are inhibited from learning for a complex number of reasons and while these reasons aren’t always difficult to understand, we as teachers can’t solve their problems. We can, however, offer them a fresh perspective to learning. Allow them to select what they want to learn, set their own goals and plan their steps. With SPEC the student takes centre stage with their self-initiated task driven learning. Through this they discover the joy of knowledge, the empowerment of self-management, the inclusiveness of participation and the social fulfilment of contributing. It encompasses all of the key competencies and prepares them for a world where they now possess the tools to manage their future. Our students emerge achieving and better equipped to meet the challenges of adult life.



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