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Showing posts from March, 2016

Manaiakalani Leaders Study Tour

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As teachers, we know that nobody is an pedagogical island: you cannot learn within a vacuum. As such, taking inspiration from other schools is an integral part of bettering our own professional skillset. Which is exactly why I was so pleased to be able to visit and participate in a teaching environment that was so different from my own.

On Friday 19th March the MDTA cohort joined our school leaders to attend a tour of Stonefields school and to participate in various workshops. This experience made me more aware of how a modern or innovative learning environment functions: my own practice will benefit from the new ideas that this trip inspired.

Making Learning Explicit

Explicit learning was the focus for the Stonefield teachers, ensuring that they have a firm understanding of the learning cycle and understand the terminology concerned with learning. Even in junior classes teachers would facilitate vocabulary lessons using the Stonefields learning words as a focus. To reinforce this unde…

Create to Learn

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Creativity is one of the fundamental ways that we, as humans, express our individuality. At this point in their lives, our children are beginning to define themselves as people within their friendship groups, the school and greater society. Essentially, creativity is a means for them to construct a sense of self.

This is perhaps why the Global Creativity Network asserts that creativity is the most fundamental of human rights, a notion supported by Manaiakalani - after all, 'Create' is part of our learning model.  As such, our students are given daily opportunities to express themselves in this way.




The first thing that comes to mind when many people think of creativity in schools is art: painting, sculpting, drawing. This is the focus of my school this year and my students participate in art lessons a few times a week.

This is, of course, a means to express ourselves creatively, but ultimately we teach the subject in a far more holistic and wide reaching way. For example, the …

Thinking Critically

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In the modern world where truth can often be concealed, we must be able to sift fact from fiction. This is also the case for our learners, who must make sense of the information presented from various sources on the internet.

During this week's MDTA PLG, we discussed the importance of teaching critical thinking in our classrooms. We considered how this could be covered in a various subject areas, including guided reading and social sciences. Caleb, an MDTA graduate, talked us through how he fostered critical thinking skills in his learners by discussing current events with them. He described how solo taxonomy can be used to support learners in developing this skill.




As I attended a professional development workshop regarding solo taxonomy at the beginning of the year, I intend to foster critical thinking through the use of this framework. I have introduced various critical thinking activities to my learners, including the hexagon task from HookED and the predict map, which support…

The Success of Many

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Some would say that racism pervedes every aspect of New Zealand culture. But nowhere is it more important to be aware of racial prejudices than in the education section. 
On Friday, Pat Snedden (chair of the Manaiakalani Education Trust) delivered a kōrero that required us to consider racism in New Zealand. He began by recounting the efforts taken by Ngāti Whātua to reclaim the land that had been wrongfully taken from them. It took great effort on the part of Ngāti Whātua, but they rose from occupying a tiny amount of land in the 50’s to reclaim their land and becoming one of the most successful iwi in New Zealand. 

This reminded us of the racism that has occurred in this country and the relevance that this has to us as educators. We cannot allow racism to present itself in our hidden curriculum and we must speak out about such matters. It is so important for our learners to feel empowered and proud to be who they are. There is still much to be done to ensure that the treaty is honoured…