This week’s hot topic: National Standards

With school charters and national standards information due tomorrow there is much concern over the issue. The vast majority of schools will be delivering results to the Ministry. There are however, a few hundred schools from around the country which are  refusing to hand over the information.

Whether you are of the opinion that National Standards will raise achievement across the country and add in a layer of accountability that was lacking. Or think that National Standards endangers the flexibility in the curriculum and compromises the enjoyment of education. The fact remains that this issue continues to be a 'hot button topic'. 

Related news articles:

Training your kid to cross the road is harder than you think

There are many courteous road users in the provinces compared to the main centres of New Zealand but its not always the most helpful.

Understanding traffic and road safety doesn't necessarily come naturally. We need to teach our children how to be safe pedestrians. It's not just about telling them what to do - children learn from what adults do, so you need to model safe behaviour.

So with that in mind we took to the streets this afternoon. Whilst trying to train my 5 year old to cross the road with care I got somewhat frustrated by the number of drivers who saw I was with a child, slowed to a stop and waved us across.

They are good and kind people but I do not want to give my child the impression that cars stop for you when you are wanting to cross the road. Under no circumstances do I want him to be under the illusion that it is the drivers’ responsibility to ensure his safety.

We walked the city centre of Hastings looking for crossings and opportunities to talk about ‘sneaky driveways’, different places to cross and dangers of parked cars. I’m hoping he is a little wiser today but the trick to this is to take EVERY opportunity your can to reinforce these lessons. Here’s hoping we can take five more minutes in our journey to do it right.

Little eyes are watching and learning from actions.

Resources are available to assist us in educating our kids:

MADE Awards 2011 update1

MADE Awards are pleased to partner with Noel Leeming this year. It means there will be thirteen ipads up for grabs at the awards ceremony. They will be giving away one ipad for every winner in the movie categories, as well as six HD digital cameras for the digital image category winners.
Weta Workshop were so impressed with the MADE Awards in 2010 that they have agreed to be the judge for the Supreme Award for 2011 and are contributing to the Supreme Award prize (as well as another ipad of course!)

So get creating in your classes and be in to win some fabulous prizes for your school!

Dates to remember:
  • Closing Entry date - 4pm, Monday 3rd October, 2011 (Term 3, Week 10)
  • Finalists Announced on - Week 1, Term 4, 2011
  • Awards Ceremony at Baycourt, Tauranga - 7pm, Thursday 10th November, 2011 (Term 4, Week 3)
Watch the website for details…
We will be updating the page as the online registration becomes available…

Global Gender Gap Index 2010: New Zeland

Patricia Lara, Wellington, New Zealand
 'Do you think there is a need for more emphasis on women’s rights in your country?'

"Yes, I think here, [New Zealand] the women have … more opportunity for study and for work. I think in a company it’s not very different—the salary of a man and a woman. But in my country [Chile] for the same work, the woman is always paid less."
Wellington, New Zealand
Patricia Lara, 30, Chef from Chile

Although it has experienced a decrease in economic opportunity, political empowerment, and health equity, New Zealand remains No. 5, its rank for the past two years. It has eliminated 78 percent of its gender gap (down from 79 percent in 2008 and 2009) and has been in the top 10 since the beginning of the index. It has fully eliminated its education equity gap and is ranked No. 9 in economic opportunity, No. 91 in educational attainment, and No. 8 in political empowerment.

New Zealand is ranked fifth in the world reducing the gender gap and as quoted below is classified as having eliminated its education equity gap - if only it would be so on the 'Global Ethnic Gap'. 

Howick residents turn up the pressure

It seems that politicians are no longer in control of the political agenda which could prove costly in November.

Residents of Buckland Beach have rallied again last night in their attempts to have the Special School in their backyard relocated. The issue appears to not want to go away and has continued in the public eye for quite some time.

The school has to go somewhere, that much is clear. Buildings in Buckland Beach are already owned by the Ministry of Education and lie dormant. However, the replacement of a primary school facility for children with physical disabilities has a vastly different impact than the proposed secondary school aged children with behavioural issues, the community has every right to be concerned for their own children's welfare.
Read more…

Further update: 
Hundreds of parents, teachers and residents are outraged at the plan.
They fear for their children's safety and are disgusted at a total lack of of consultation.
But the Ministry of Education is forging ahead with the $6.3 million project.
Read even more...

Literacy to You

CORE Education in conjunction with South Pacific Press have developed a new online professional learning programme which begins shortly. The Literacy to You programme focuses on increasing teacher knowledge of how to effectively teach reading comprehension strategies to students in the middle years (ages 8-13).

The Literacy to You programme offers each participant:

  • 10 modules on in-depth literacy learning
  • Individual support and feedback from expert facilitators
  • Access to a wide range of digital texts for classroom use
  • Strategies to increase student engagement
  • Instruction to meet the needs of diverse classroom settings
  • Increased knowledge on interaction and reflection during literacy
  • Practical classroom approaches grounded in the latest research

Harmony: A New Way of Looking at Our World

I have finally got to a book that I’d been waiting a while for Harmony: A New Way of Looking at Our World. HRH Prince of Wales puts together a touching account for the need for change on a global scale. Some aspects of the book are heavy, other somewhat pithy. There certainly is a need for this consideration of the weighty things and who better to put his mind, and heart, into this project than His Royal Highness. ‘Harmony: A New Way of Looking at Our World’ seems to get the balance right especially when you consider the opinions vary from ‘[He’s] completely off the wall’ to ‘is he radical enough[?]’

Prince Charles is right to speak up on climate change, but some of his ideas are completely off the wall says Rowan Moore.

Prince Charles is calling for a revolution – but is he radical enough, asks Terry Eagleton

The father/son bond

With a three weeks remaining  of solo parenting gig I'm beginning to wonder what it is that makes may connection with my son so strong. He was born with the same hair as me and the eyes of my wife. At a month old it was totally the opposite. He shares my ridiculous sense of humour. He is honour bound to laugh at my silly antics, but the connection goes deeper.
Although he is five now and in school there were many nights, when he was first born that he spent asleep on my chest beneath the blanket. I have often thought that those precious moments sealed a bond between us that is like no other. But I may be wrong. Te cause could be more basic than that, more biological, more neurological.

Brian Mossop, from Scientific American states:
"Since there's no clear physical connection between a father and his child -at least not like the one seen with mom and baby- researchers are starting to look deep in the brain for better clues to understand the power of this relationship. A recent wave of studies are starting to bear fruit: We are now learning that in the first few days after birth, changes occur in the brains of both the dad and the baby, depending on whether the father is around or not. Perhaps neuro-scientists have finally cornered the elusive father-child bond, and found the biological hook that makes sure a father sticks around after birth."
Related links:
Questions arising about the teenage drink problem
Parents still control the future

Positive discrimination in education

Teachers throughout New Zealand are required to complete a ‘class profile’, identifying the learning needs and foci of their charges. The object of the exercise is to make distinctions along gender and ethnic lines in a bid to focus professional knowledge and experise upon the correct groups within your school. The research suggests that Maori and Pacific Islanders are, educationally, at a disadvantage and need positive and purposeful interventions to allow them to succeed.

Even as I write I sense the tone in this last paragraph which smells of racism. Positive discrimination, to be sure. But is that not PC racism.

A teacher should KNOW their learner; as individuals not as collective, discrete groups. The needs of learners are individual. Streaming, differentiation and grouping are all tools which are employed by teachers to support classroom management. These approaches are not to replace of personalized learning but are a means toward that end.

Teaching and Learning are not mutually exclusive. If they are then teachers have failed.
Learning without the teaching is unstructured, disorganized, chaotic, unmanageable and un-measureable. Teaching without Learning fails to meet the needs of students and does little for motivating learners toward independence.

Balance is required and the professional judgment call as to what that balance should be comes from knowing your learners.

Related articles:
Raising achievement rates of Maori and Pacific Islanders
Our kids should be choosing life

Poor financial literacy is costing us big

Thousands of kiwis are struggling with personal finances and its costing the country dearly.

WestPac and Massey University have begun two new initiatives supported by the government.

  • The New Zealand Centre for Personal Financial Education has designed a certificate programme Finance Educators
  • The Centre will also undertake a 20-year study to identify why so many Kiwis struggle with their finances.

The new programme and longitudinal study will help improve the quality and access of education on personal finance and identify knowledge gaps and how they can be addressed.

Instilling good financial habits into our children is essential for securing their futures. I would be interested if anyone can tell me how this vital area of education is provided for within the secondary curriculum.

Related articles:
Contributing to people's human capital?- Yeah right!
Financial illiteracy


Breakfast in Christchurch

with Cathy Wylie

Chief Researcher - NZCER

"Building learning identities: what we've learnt from the Competent Learners' longitudinal project"

Breakfast Seminar
Friday, 21 June at 7.45am

Cathy Wylie is a Chief Researcher at NZCER, and is currently the J.D. Stout fellow at Victoria University. She has led the Competent Learners' project as it has followed a sample of students from the wider Wellington region from their final early childhood education days through to age 20. She is currently co-editing an international handbook on student engagement. She also researches the impact of educational policy on schools and learning opportunities, including the ways in which schools can engage students.

The Competent Learners' project provides a rare opportunity to follow the development of individual students through primary and secondary schooling. In the age-20 phase of the project, we see out how earlier experiences and performance levels on both cognitive and attitudinal measures related to some of the Key Competencies, influence secondary school engagement, achievement, and what happens post-school. We also see the kinds of learning opportunities and support, in and out of school, that can make a positive difference.

This session will discuss key findings from the age-20 phase of the Competent Learners' phase. To find out more information about the Competent Learners' project click here.

This CORE breakfast session will :

  • Discuss the factors that allowed students with low levels of performance at age 8 to achieve well at NCEA
  • Show the importance of Key Competencies in gaining NCEA Level 2
  • Discuss the importance of the period from age 10 to age 14 in terms of forming or maintaining positive learning identities
  • Question the reality of 'second chance education' for those with low engagement in secondary school or low qualification success

This session will be particularly useful for school leaders, classroom practitioners, and policy advisors.

Breakfast will be served at 7.45am, with Cathy beginning the discussion at 8am. She will wrap things up around 9am but you are invited to stay and chat with Cathy, CORE staff and one another after the seminar.
Click here to register online.

Russley Golf Club
428 Memorial Avenue
$30 including GST

Today! (17 June)
Register online
Click here to view our cancellation policy

Is this the future of the book?

Multimedia capability is going to supersede the written word. There is a thought out there that the ability to read and write will become obsolete in a generation. Oral language and technology literacy will be all that is required for a successful, fulfilled, economically productive existence. Communication will be via video, audio and image manipulation.

However IDEO has an interesting take on the future of the written word.

The Future of the Book. from IDEO on Vimeo.

Does lack of fluency in te reo make you a bad teacher?

A quick straw poll from NZHerald has shown that the majority of readers agree with the President of the Secondary Principals Association when he poo-pooed the idea of making Te Reo compulsory for all secondary school teachers.

As sad it as it may be but the older one becomes the harder it is to learn and maintain a second language. To make your ability to know and speak Te Reo a reflection of how great a physics teacher you are seems nonsense.

The idea is noble, the implementation complicated and questionable, the cost involved, huge. This would become a massive time commitment for staff with the potential of such damage to educators credibility that some would become further disheartened by the profession. Then it could sway so much with the political climate that it becomes an unreal expectation.

Current teacher training institutions deliver Te Reo and Maori studies as compulsory units toward a teaching degree, ensuring new grads have an awareness of the language at the very least if they have not been able to become fluent.

Asking my 58 year old Chemistry teacher to become fluent goes way beyond reasonable expectations.

Further reading:

Te Reo training needs resourcing

Principals welcome compulsory te reo

Rock the Vote in New Zealand

So what's to be done to ensure these apathetic teenagers will go into the election with enough political knowledge to make a sound decision regarding the running of our country? Ideally, political studies and voting systems would be a compulsory aspect of the High School curriculum, if not standing on its own then through Social Studies or History.- Georgina O'Reilly

Politics, voting, elections, parties. These are not things with sexy titles. These are hardcore issues. Some would say essential to the future. My fear is that Georgina O'Reilly is right, but not just about her peers but the general public at large.

She ponders what would kindle the flame of interest in such issues.

The reality is that politics in New Zealand is dry and dull. John Campbell, Mark Sainbury and even Guyon Espiner can do there best but honestly, it never sounds that interesting at the best of times let alone for the 17 year olds.

Mail drops and flyers are hardly the most engaging media for today’s society.
What New Zealand lacks is two things:
A quality drama that engages and touches on political issues. – Similar to these offerings perhaps?
A top quality, comedian with an eye on the political arena – A Jon Stewart or Stephen Colbert after all America “hangs on their every word and statistics show that a great number of people in North America actually get their daily and political news from these comedians.
The pool of politicians is small in New Zealand, they all can’t have affairs, spit on babies accidentally or have their cars totalled by a flash mob of angry farmers and their John Deere…
New Zealand as a whole needs waking up to politics. There is far to much of the ‘it doesn’t impact on me”. But the reality is that it ALL impacts on you.

Just from today (pdf):
Smoke-free Environments (Controls and Enforcement) Amendment Bill – This Bill seeks to over turn previous legislation which banned smoking in public places.
Airports (Cost Recovery for Processing of International Travellers) Bill – This Bill is a move by lobbyists of International airlines to shift payment of ‘administrative roles’ from the Airport tax they have to pay squarely on Auckland/ Wellington and Christchurch rate payers.
Child and Family Protection Bill- The success of this Bill will mean that Fathers who have sole custody of daughters will have to be subjected to frequent and random visits from CYS workers even if they have no prior convictions of domestic violence or child abuse.
New Zealand Security Intelligence Service Amendment Bill – This Bill will give the Security Services unrestricted right to bug and monitor any person or persons within New Zealand whom they deem to be ‘persons of interest’.
Television New Zealand Amendment Bill – This Bill has been written to reestablish the need for TV licences in New Zealand. As Freeview becomes the primary delivery system of TV broadcast to lower income homes licencing will ensure the future of New Zealand OnAir.

These are items which appeared on todays ticket for debate and consideration in Parliament. How I described those Bills, is that what they are really about? I don’t know. Can I find out? Not easily. Have I the time to put into investigating these Bills? Probably not. Have I voted in persons who I think can best represent my view? Yes.

The point is we have to have our say at election time or we have no right to winge and moan about the news for the next four years... or is it three??

VOTE and have VOICE


Values, keycompencies and virtues... start with a video

Virtues, values and key competencies are essential in the New Zealand curriculum. Teaching and enthusing students about these abstract qualities can be quite a challenge.
Below is a list of videos created by SSBCFusion.


still more...

31 days in May: The Playlist

The 31 Days in May came to an end last week and I've sorting through all the material and getting ready for presentation. Part of that process has been to create a playlist.

See below.

What I am wondering, though is whether the playlist should remain in numerical order or whether the order should reflect the most popular. Or perhaps the order should begin on the 1st May rather than go in reverse order as it does at the moment.

Let me know if you have a favourite episode and why. Enjoy.

Alex presents...

Mama Hope is a non-profit organization focused on building self-sufficient communities in Sub-Saharan Africa. Mama Hope partners with Community Based Organizations and invests in high impact, cost effective projects, that meet their fundamental needs for food, water, education and health care. Mama Hope's successful projects to date have directly benefited over 76,000 people.

Alphabet taught to kids nowadays

Performance related pay

Mike Hosking is off on one of his rants today. Normally I listen and move on but today he talks about the teaching profession and the idea of performance related pay.

I, personally, am now one step removed from the day-to-day classroom experience but it was only last year when I sat amongst my colleagues in the staffroom and discussed the progress and behavior of our charges.

Mike makes a few valued points in his argument and I’m interested to hear of opinion on this issue from both teachers and parents.

He states:

  • There are good teachers and dodgy one.
  • There is no reward for good performance as a teacher so there is a lack of motivation.
  • Is there another job anywhere where talent and individual expertise are ignored and not rewarded?
  • This model of 'one size fits all' is damaging to the profession.
  • The argument that allegedly teachers can’t cope with being in the staffroom knowing that they might be paid different amounts depending on their performance is a monumental indictment on the maturity or lack of it in your average teacher.

Then he  ends with..
“And the concept that it’s a vocation, it’s a calling and you should be simply grateful to polish young minds is a tired old excuse for not actually dragging the profession into the real world.”

There are two lines of argument about wages and bonuses.

  1. That it is essential to pay staff sufficiently so the worry of finance is removed and the focus can be placed upon delivering quality service.
  2. The use of financial gain as a key motivator in the drive toward providing quality service.

Perhaps teachers should be paid for results based on performance indicators established by the Teachers Council and by results of standardized testing?

But then there seems to be something wrong with the motivation of money as Daniel Pink illustrates in the video below.

CORE Education Breakfast: NetSafe 'tour'

Cyberbullying in 2011
What you need to know
John Fenaughty & Sean Lyons
Breakfast Seminar
Mornington Presbyterian Church Hall
16 Maryhill Terrace
Click here for more details on the venue
Friday, 24 June at 7.45am
 Other venues:

Hamilton  7 July  "A Framework for fostering Digital Citizenship in NZ Schools"
Wellington 15 July   "Cyberbullying in 2011 - what you need to know"

Christchurch 9 August  "A Framework for fostering Digital Citizenship in NZ Schools"

Bullying has received significant media and political attention recently. Many of the high-profile bullying cases bought to public attention have involved forms of cyber bullying. NetSafe's research now indicates that cyber bullying is one of the most commonly distressing challenges faced by New Zealand young people, making it a critical issue for educator's to understand.
This presentation will:
  • Explore what is meant by "cyber bullying" including the forms it can take and just who is doing the bullying
  • Discuss the types of cyber bullying that causes distress
  • Identify the types of interventions that students say have helped them resolve serious cyber bullying situations
  • Discuss what peers and adults can do to help prevent and resolve cyber bullying experiences
This session will be particularly useful for school leaders, classroom practitioners, Deans, Guidance Counsellors and those with responsibility for supporting student welfare.
Breakfast will be served at 7.45am, with John and Sean beginning the discussion at 8am. They will wrap things up around 9am but you are invited to stay and chat with John, Sean, CORE staff and one another after the seminar.

Click here to register online.

John Fenaughty is NetSafe's Research Manager responsible for utilizing knowledge to inform practice.  He has recently completed a PhD in Psychology exploring how young people in New Zealand manage challenging situations when using online and related mobile technologies. He has managed NetSafe's role in the establishment of a National Cyber bullying Taskforce. During the past five years at NetSafe John has worked with schools and stakeholders across the education sector to produce anti-bullying resources for primary, intermediate and secondary schools.

Sean Lyons is NetSafe's Development Manager and Director of NetSafe Labs - the "production house" of NetSafe's resources. He has worked both in the IT sector and in the secondary education sector (as a science and IT teacher in Auckland). He has developed a range of online applications and websites to assist adults to understand the online world in which young people are now living. Sean's areas of interest include social marketing, user interface design, instructional design and the uses of social web applications.

Teacher's Council Newsletter: Please subscribe

The Teacher's Council Newletter for June has arrived. 
This will be the only newsletter to be published here. To view the indepth newsletter subscribe here. 

"Qualified and registered teachers have the benefit of a high quality initial teacher education programme, followed by an individualised induction and mentoring (I&M) programme that equips them with the skills to recognise learning, build and nourish it," said Director Dr Peter Lind. 

Aiming for High-Quality Services - the ECE Taskforce recommends:

1. "Regulation for a minimum of 80% of all early childhood education staff in teacher-led, centre-based early childhood education services as registered teachers, and that the remaining 20% of staff may include staff in study, or staff with other relevant expertise such as health professionals or staff with fluency in languages other than English."

Our view:  This endorses the importance of employing registered teachers to provide the education programme for children in ECE services.  The Council unequivocally supports this recommendation. 

2. "Establishment of incentives for teacher-led, centre-based services to increase their percentage of teaching staff qualified and registered as early childhood education teachers up to 100%."

Our view: Funding incentives for teacher-led services is crucial to encourage and support services to be able to employ qualified and registered ECE teachers.

The Council supports your membership of the profession through your qualifications, registration and the professional learning that is so integral to meeting the Registered Teacher Criteria.  We commend you all.

Finder's Shore Book Launch

ZERO- Death toll over Queen's Birthday weekend

The Death toll for the Queen’s Birthday weekend sits at zero.

I just want to congratulate all New Zealanders on driving to the conditions or staying put in front of a warm fire with quiet coffee.

The NZHerald article goes into enough detail about previous statistics and woeful tails of sorrow and carnage on previous holidays for me not to have to mention it now.

A thought about driving and the flip side of the major result this weekend is that the next holidays will be filled with much wringing of hands and muttering under the breath, even if there is but a single death on the roads. From Zero the figure can only get worse.

The final point here is a mystery ‘lack of information’. There is much made of the ‘holiday- roadkills’ but what are the figures for the non-holiday periods?

I can’t find them anywhere.

Further reading...

NZHerald editorial

Carol Moffatt- For Services to Education

Carol Moffatt has hit the headlines today as she has become a Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit for services to education.

However, further digging has revealed she received the order in 1997 for services to rural schools.

The CORE Education director and champion of education has spent 41 years in education beginning in Cashmere High as the head of the music department in the 1970s.

She worked as a secondary inspector, principal and has been engaged in just about every area of the education community.

Her work with the Ministry of Education between 1998-2003 involved developing two ICT strategies and building a Ministry team which developed several major initiatives including TKI, ICT professional development for teachers, laptops for teachers and Project Probe.

In 2009 she was appointed the project manager of the Greater Christchurch Schools Network – a project creating a community of connected schools, teaching professionals and educational resources around Canterbury.

Her contribution to education is far from over…

NZC Online

NZC Online has a newsletter which comes out regularly. I have identified a few lead stories but there is far more contained within each newsletter than I can reproduce here.

School stories
The NZC Online team interviewed educators at Learning@School 2011 in Rotorua about the curriculum based workshops they were presenting at conference.
Willowbank curriculum map
Jane Danielson and Julie Cowan explain how they used a map analogy to guide their curriculum development, because on a map you can go to different places, get to different points, take detours, and take different ways of travelling.

Middle schooling
Once Upon a School is a site designed to collect stories of how individuals engage with their local schools. This is a global project, inviting people to share their own stories of how 'private' individuals connect with 'public' schools.
EDtalks: Using teaching as inquiry to guide an eLearning action plan
Claire Amos is Director of eLearning at Epsom Girls' Grammar. Claire talks about how the school is using a 'teaching as inquiry' cycle to inform the eLearning action plans that will be implemented by professional learning groups in each of the school's curriculum areas.
Youth Mentoring Network - He Ara Tika
He Ara Tika is a programme that mentors Māori students, and is run by the Youth Mentoring Trust. A Gisborne secondary school has picked up this programme and, instead of using it to focus on Māori students, they have used it to give all students from year 10 upwards a teacher mentor. These mentors become the first port of call for parents, and follow the students right through their schooling.

Secondary Education Gazette stories
These articles have a secondary focus and are published in the New Zealand Education Gazette. Each link will take you through to the story on the Education Gazette website.
Secondary Literacy Website
The new secondary literacy website has been launched on Literacy Online. It provides literacy in the learning area; leading literacy in your school; professional readings; links to Literacy Progressions, NZC, ELLP; NCEA and literacy; and much more.
Understanding NCEA: A relatively short and very useful guide for secondary school students and their parents
New from NZCER, this book explains the NCEA system in plain language and includes stories drawn from the real-life experiences of students who have followed different NCEA pathways.

Things to do:
Please share this newsletter.
Encourage your colleagues to sign up for the updates.
Join our NZCOnline FaceBook  page for updates.

Getting to grips with teenage issues

Sir Peter Gluckman, says one in five young New Zealanders will face problems as they grow up that will affect the rest of their lives.

There are many issues facing teens today:
  • Suicide
  • Drinking
  • Pregnancy
  • Drug use
  • Depression

The teenage years are associated with high risk taking. That is a natural part of growing up but it is the skills and abilities that New Zealand teenagers lack that is such a concern.

Sir Peter Gluckman releases the report stating that, compared internationally, New Zealand teenagers are in pretty poor shape.

 "The solutions rely largely on preventative approaches very early in life, particularly in early childhood education years," he said.

It is essential that children as young as 2 or 3 are supported and encouraged by caregivers. The development and growth of self esteem is essential to how teenagers can cope with the issues and pressures they face. Positive self-image leads to good self-esteem and confidence in ones ability and worth. These, with the appropriate support network,s strengthen the develop self-control and the ability to act ethically and morally when faced with challenges and choices.

Gluckman hopes with the evidence included in the report, decision makers and society can set about what has been described as an "unacceptably high level of poor social and health outcomes for our young people".

The report will be released later today and further links will appear below: