Posted in Criterion 1, Criterion 10, Criterion 3, Standard 1, Standard 3, Teacher Registration

The Importance of Community Engagement

Earlier this year I began my Masters in Educational Leadership and Management through Unitec. For the one paper, I was required to interview my principal about how he facilitated diversity at Whangaparaoa College. This is part two of the essay that I wrote about my key findings.

The school has a diverse range of learners which represent 52 different countries. 60.6 % are New Zealand European; 11.8% are Māori; 10.6% are other European and the remaining people include African, Chinese, Pacific Island, Latin American and Middle Eastern learners. This is a huge range of learners and community engagement is necessary to support the achievement of all learners. Although my principal is Pakeha, his leadership style is cognisant of the need to “resonate with Māori conceptions of leadership…” (Hohepa & Robson, 2008, p. 31) in which communication with the whanau is valued. One of the school goals, Objective 9, is to  “create a welcoming and inclusive environment; evidenced by cultural harmony, respect, and a positive two-way relationship with whanau/community” (School Staff Handbook, 2016, p. 2). He is aware that what works for Māori will work for all but that the reverse is not necessarily true. There are many ways that the school utilises to engage with this diverse community.

There is a whānau support group that used to meet regularly once a term when the school was establishing itself and working through some issues. Recently, this has not been as well attended by local whānau. When I asked my principal why he thought this might be, he explained that 10 years ago there were growing pains and the school was establishing itself as a new school so there was more interest in what leadership was doing. Nowadays, it would seem that the school community feel more confident in the way that school is being run so don’t feel the same need to attend meetings.

The Board of Trustees also has included a member of Māori descent to represent the Māori community. This was recognised the recent 2016 ERO report,  “The co-opting of a trustee of Māori descent to the board of trustees with te reo and Tikanga Māori, and links through to the Māori community” (p.4). This member can communicate with their community to report on all the positive initiatives that are lead by the principal. Hohepa and Robson (2008) describe 4 principles of Maori leadership and Principle 4 relates to the leader being a waka and “ensuring that the status of the community is such that the people can feel proud to belong” (p. 23). The community of this school are proud and the recent ERO report of 2016 supports this: “Māori students speak very positively about the school culture and learning. They value the opportunities they have to engage in the wider life of the college. They also appreciate teachers’ efforts to be culturally responsive and to affirm their language and cultural identity. Māori students demonstrate a strong sense of belonging and pride in the school” (p. 4). It would seem that the school is providing a supportive learning environment in which learners of diverse backgrounds feel that they are able to achieve well in.

Another way that the school engages with the community is through counselling and youth workers. There are five youth workers who visit the school and hang out at break times with learners. The counsellors collaborate with the youth workers and they contact home when needed. According to Bishop, O’Sullivan and Berryman (2010), “Effective leadership that aims to sustain an educational reform needs to develop a means to spread reform so that parents, whānau, and community are engaged in a way that addresses their aspirations for the education of their children” (p. 106). By using youth workers to connect and engage with learners the school is able to help learners feel that they belong and have someone to talk to about any issues they are facing. The councillors will also connect with learners to help them develop strategies to deal with their issues. The whānau are then contacted so that they are aware of the issues. When our learners are supported in this manner, they are more able to address their learning knowing that they are supported by the school and by their whānau.

When discussing communication, my principal explained that instead of assuming that a communication was received and understood, he will go the other way and assume that it wasn’t until it is confirmed. He will check by asking a parent what their take away from the meeting is. To him, it is really important that both parties are clear. He explained that families from other cultures may say that it is clear but will sometimes misunderstand. Shields and Sayani (2005) when explaining cross-cultural leadership state, “For us, the term requires that leaders take a stand in the midst of diversity, helping all members of the community to understand it and to translate those understandings into positive and respectful action” (p. 384). By checking that both parties are clear, respect is shown and both parties can move forward in a positive manner.

When it comes to practical methods of communicating with the community, the school has a website, an app, a Facebook page, a newsletter, and a sign near the main road to the school. My principal explained that he tries to make sure it goes out in three different ways at three different times. He said that it’s got to be in the newsletter, on the app, on the sign, on the Facebook page and on the website. This is for advertising an upcoming event such as an Achievers’ Breakfast or a Prize Giving Ceremony. He explained that to try and engage through programmes, strategies, and support methods is much more complicated but the school will keep trying and be listening. My principal believes that listening is important, and will also ask, what can we do better? According to Bishop, O’Sullivan and Berryman (2010), “Leaders of high-achieving schools are more likely to see their goals and expectations are well understood and to see that academic achievement is recognised and conveyed to the community” (p. 101). By providing so many methods of communication and being prepared to listen, engagement with the community is more effective and our learners’ whanau are aware of the progress that their young people are making.

Posted in Criterion 10, Criterion 3, Criterion 9, Standard 1, Teacher Registration

The Importance of Relationships – Whanaungatanga

Earlier this year I began my Masters in Educational Leadership and Management through Unitec. For the one paper, I was required to interview my principal about how he facilitated diversity at Whangaparaoa College. This is part one of the essay that I wrote about my key findings.

To begin, I thanked my principal for agreeing to help me with my assignment and then we began. As we progressed through the questions, I had to consciously stop myself from contributing and remember that it was an interview. This was a challenge at times as I wanted to share ideas. This was a drawback of interviewing someone from my school as I knew what he was talking about when he gave examples. Interviewing someone from another school may have eliminated this challenge. However, I am happy that I chose my principal as I left the interview with plenty to ponder and there were clear themes that arose from his answers.

The first key finding that arose from the interview with my principal was his focus on the importance of relationships. In particular, knowing and growing our learners which is one of our school goals. The school motto Together, Believe, Achieve also reflects the importance of relationships and learner achievement. When asked about strategies in place to lead a diverse population, he explained how important it was that every teacher knew their learners and appreciated their differences. He also explained how important it is to respect all learners and to lead by example. This is supported by Shields and Sayani (2005), who explain that “Dialogic interaction is the foundation of the educational leader’s ability to lead in a context of diversity. We must meet the other, in the fullness of his or her identity, experience, emotions, and actions, in order to develop the relationships that lead to sharing within diversity” (p. 388). My principal can often be seen chatting with learners, especially after school, as he likes to connect with them as they leave for the day. He will also chat with learners on his way around the school. In this way, he is able to develop relationships and understand some of the differences of our learners.

Some of the ways in which these differences are appreciated are through an International Food Festival where many different cultures set up food stalls to sell food from their culture. Staff are also encouraged to dress up in a costume that reflects their heritage. In June, the school celebrates Matariki with a concert in our wharenui. There is a variety of dance and music and anyone is welcome to participate. Also at Matariki time several ex-learners, who are of Māori/Pasifika origin, visit the school and join four to five Year Seven learners for an early morning dawn ceremony of acknowledging and celebrating Matariki by planting trees and sharing kai.

My principal also values talking and listening to learners to find out more about who they are and where they come from. In these ways, a sense of community is created that values and respects diversity and difference. As Shields and Sayani(2005) explain, “For school leaders, an understanding of dialogue as ontological and deeply relational, leading to meaningful communication and understanding, provides the focus for creating spaces and a sense of community in which all members of the school feel accepted, respected, and valued” (p. 389) Modeling communication and relationship with learners shows the staff how much our principal values members of the school and encourages us all to do the same. Building a positive and relaxed rapport with our learners is something that stood out to me when I first began teaching here last year. The learners feel accepted and acknowledged.

 The strategic plan of knowing your learners was emphasised several times in the interview. My principal explained the four Ns – Numbers, Names Needs, Next which is broken down into the following questions: Who are these kids? How are they doing? What do they need? He explained the importance of each Academic Counsellor and each subject teacher knowing something about their learners and the need for greater understanding of where the learners come from. Bishop, O’Sullivan, and Berryman (2010) found that “…teachers and leaders create learning relationships wherein learners’ culturally generated sense-making processes are used and developed so that they may successfully participate in problem-solving and decision-making interactions” (p. 98). Acknowledging difference and showing interest another’s culture builds trust and helps to develop a positive learning relationship where learners are able to achieve well. As Bishop, O’Sullivan, and Berryman (2010) also found that an effective leader will model and promote these strategies. In their summary of effective leadership, the element Leaders support the development and implementation of new pedagogic relationships and interactions in the classroom, an associated task is to “promote the cultural identity of learners as being fundamental to learning relations and interactions” (p. 110).

Whānau is the principle of extended family structure and whanaungatanga is the forming of groups that are treated as an extended family (Bishop, Ladwig, and Berryman, 2013, p. 189).  Bishop, Ladwig, and Berryman (2013) found that Māori learners attributed good quality relationships and interactions with their teachers as an influence on their educational achievement (p. 191). They also saw a supportive learning context as one where their teachers established caring relationships. “In effect, the context that Māori students saw as being supportive of their learning was one where teachers establish caring and learning classroom relationships that they described in terms of whānau-like relationships, whanaungatanga” (p.191). So there is plenty of research to support the importance of knowing your learners and growing whānau-like relationships with them to help them achieve well.

Hohepa and Robinson (2008) examined whether the conception of educational leadership was inclusive of Maori perspectives on leadership. They explain that relationships are built into all of the eight dimensions of leadership. “Relationships can play a significant part in developing knowledge of and respect for individual and cultural identities” (p. 34). It is important to know our learners and understand their experiences so that we can create a caring environment for them to learn well in.

Hine Waitere (2008) found that, “… leadership is not only a call to action but rather it is a call to relationship. A relationship with people, processes and principles embedded within the socio-political contexts that do indeed require foresight, courage and critical engagement” (p. 45). From the interview with my principal, I have learnt that he values relationships highly and sees them as the foundation for positive learning outcomes for our students. The valuing and promotion of positive relationships is part of creating a successful environment as explained by Robinson, Hohepa & Lloyd (2009): “Leadership can facilitate the achievement of important academic and social goals by creating an environment that is conducive to success” (p.42).

Posted in Criterion 10, Criterion 3, Standard 1, Teacher Registration

Maori Language week 

Maori Language Week ran from 11 – 17 September this year and our department chose to celebrate it with our learners by creating presentations about our favourite whakatauki. The wonderful Christine Emery created a resource for us to use which I modified slightly:

As my learners entered the class I greeted them with ‘Morena!’ and, after calling “whakarongo mai!’ explained what we would be doing. My learners really enjoyed this activity and engaged in it wholeheartedly. Once learner even created some poi which we had fun with. It was great to have a break from the activity we had been working on for a few weeks.

Posted in Criterion 10, Criterion 11, Criterion 3, Criterion 4, Criterion 6, Criterion 7, Criterion 8, Criterion 9, Standard 1, Standard 3, Standard 4, Teacher Registration

Year 9 Priority Learner Progress

Have I seen any improvement in the learning/behaviour of my PLs so far this year?

I have 9 priority learners in my year 9 English class, there were 11 but 2 have been moved to a different class. They comprise of a mixture of Maori, Pasifika and Pakeha learners whose curriculum level ability range from level 2 to 4. I have definitely seen an improvement in the behaviour of this group this year. One of my learners was very disrespectful at the beginning of the year and now we have a positive relationship. They are all completing their learning and four out of nine have passed their first common assessment test. Four did not submit the test and one failed.

Explain the possible reasons for this. What did I do that worked/didn’t work?

I am happy that four learners passed their assessment and I attribute this to the task they were given which was well scaffolded and easy to understand. I have also developed positive relationships with these learners and have given regular feedback/feedforward on their learning. Using Google Classroom has been effective as it means that I can check on what learners are doing by looking at their document in the Classroom folder in Google Drive.

I am disappointed that so many learners did not submit their assessment even though they had completed some of it and I had seen it. I sent a letter home to these learners and did receive some supportive replies from parents who said that their child would complete the assessment and send it to me but only one of these did this. The learner that did submit their learning achieved well.

Where to next?

I have been doing some reading about how to help Maori/Pasifika learners to achieve and, as these strategies will work for all learners, I will apply some of these principles. I will focus on teaching until my learners understand as I sometimes can get impatient and not do this.



Posted in Demonstrate commitment to bicultural partnership in Aotearoa New Zealand., Mindlab reflections, Respond effectively to the diverse language and cultural experiences, and the varied strengths, interests and needs of individuals and groups of ākonga., Work effectively within the bicultural context of Aotearoa New Zealand.

Indigenous knowledge and cultural responsiveness


“…the most common positions taken by Maori students, their families and their school principals were those which identified classroom caring and learning relationships…” (Savage et al., 2011.)

The relationships we develop with learners and their families is important. On this foundation, we can have high expectations of our learners. They are more likely to listen to and act upon feedback if a positive relationship has been formed.

Showing interest in a learner is a great way of establishing a relationship. Greeting them each lesson and interacting with them demonstrates that you care. Once a relationship is built, we know more about their learning preferences and can develop appropriate activities.

A settled and well-managed learning environment, activities that encourage learner-led activities and social learning are also important so that learners can share and learn from each other. (Savage et al. 2011, p. 186)


Some of the strategic goals for Whangaparaoa College for 2014-16 are:

  1. To ensure learners achieve their potential
  2. Further  improve positive relationships with whanau/community

The specific objectives addressing these include:

Objective 1: challenge and support all learners to give of their best and achieve their best (tutuki) in their learning and the other areas that they pursue.

In the classroom, this is reflected by expecting our learners to aim for excellence. We support this by encouraging and giving feedback/feedforward. Scaffolding is provided for less able learners. In Academic Counselling time, goals are set and learning is reflected on to plan next steps.

Objective 7: Work with Maori, Pasifika, Special Needs and GATE learners and their whanau to help them achieve their potential

We regularly keep in contact with the whanau. At the beginning of the year whanau are contacted by the Academic Cousellor in an introduction capacity. During the year whanau are invited in for a meeting if there are issues. Learner led conferences are conducted throughout the year.

“Maori whanau, leaders and teachers meet regularly to strengthen bi-cultural partner ships.” (ERO report, Ministry of Education, 2013)

Objective 9: create a welcoming and inclusive environment; evidenced by cultural harmony, respect, and a positive two-way relationship with whanau/community

“The school ethos of learning together in a supportive, respectful environment is helping students to engage in learning and to achieve. Maori students express very positive attitudes to school and learning. They are well represented in school leadership roles.” (ERO report, Ministry of Education, 2013)

Even though our learners are supported and valued, there is room for improvement. ERO (2013) suggested that we, “strengthen and improve the planning and evaluation of initiatives.” We also need to develop a school wide plan for Maori success so that our efforts are coordinated. They have suggested that we use The Measurable Gains Framework,  Ka Hikitia: Managing for Success and Tataiako to further promote teachers’ cultural responsiveness.

Learning Activities

In the English Language department, year 11 learners research Matariki to identify similarities and differences with their own cultures. In English we study some texts that are written/directed by Kiwis. Our juniors research Matariki and create presentations to demonstrate understanding.

We need to teach more Maori and Pasifika texts in our department as none are taught at senior level and the junior texts we teach are short stories or poetry. This is something that will be addressed for next year. It was awesome to see Taika Waititi’s film, The Hunt for the Wilderpeople, it is a film that I know my year 9 classes will love.


1.Savage, C., Hindle, R., Meyer, L., Hynds, A., Penetito, W., Sleeter, C. (2011) Culturally responsive pedagogies in the classroom: indigenous student experiences across the curriculum. Asia-Pacific Journal of Teacher Education, 39(3), p.183 – 198

2. Ministry of Education. (2013). Whanagaparaoa College Education Review Report. Wellington, New Zealand: Author.

Posted in Criterion 10, Criterion 11, Criterion 12, Criterion 2, Criterion 3, Criterion 4, Criterion 6, Criterion 7, Criterion 8, Professional Development, Teaching As Inquiry

Gamification and Assessment


The research topic area that will be addressed is the impact of gamification on assessment results. In the reading that I have completed there is much evidence of improved engagement and motivation when game based learning and gamification are utilised in the classroom. “On the one side, experiment qualitative analysis suggests that gamification can have a great emotional and social impact on students, as reward systems and competitive social mechanisms seem to be motivating for them…” (Dominguez et al., 2013, p. 391). However, there is not much evidence to prove that these strategies improve higher order thinking. “…On the other hand, researchers have indicated that merely accessing learning content via playing games might not be sufficient to engage students in higher order thinking, such as analysis, evaluation, organization and creation.” (Hwang, G. J., Hung, C. M., & Chen, N. S., 2014, p. 130).

I have a very weak year 9 English class who have written essays that have not gained many marks higher than Not Achieved or Achieved. Higher order thinking is necessary for higher grades. I am hoping that the use of the game, Classcraft, will help provide motivation to improve engagement and the effort required to improve essay results. Classcraft is a gamification website in which learners complete their learning in groups that are set up by the teacher. Each learner can set up their own profile and choose to be a Mage, a Healer or a Warrior.

Points are rewarded based on the behaviours that the teacher wants to encourage. I have created a list based on the Key Competences and 21st Century skills.  In a study of the use of 1:1 devices to improve maths achievement it was found that, “…the use of 1:1 mobile devices showed promise to assist students in 21st-century learning skills…“ (Carr, 2011, p. 278).  One way of encouraging these skills is through gamification and rewarding their use with points. Points can be deducted for being late to class, not handing in an assignment and disrupting the class. Essentially Classcraft is a behaviour modification tool which extrinsically motivates learners to engage, work collaboratively and be motivated to learn. If getting a better result is about engagement, motivation and more effort then the use of Classcraft will be worthwhile. However, I have read that gamification is not successful for all learners, so it will be interesting to see whether it does lead to consistent engagement for all. “These good results don’t happen for everyone though… In some cases the system was even discouraging, as some students don’t find it fun to compete with their classmates for a rank in the leaderboard.” (Dominguez et al., 2013, p. 391).

21st century skills graphic


  • How might the use of Classcraft increase engagement, motivation and lead to improved essay writing results?
  • How might extrinsic motivation lead to consistent engagement and improve the results of less motivated learners?


  • Tino Rangatiratanga: The Principle of Self Determination

The skills rewarded in Classcraft that relate to this principle are persistence, managing self, and participating and contributing. These are the skills that are needed for self-determination and independence. Points will be rewarded for using initiative and learning independently.

  • Whanau: The Principle of Extended Family Structure

Classcraft encourages family involvement by providing a parent code for each learner so that the whanau can see how well their young person is doing. The data and evidence will also be shared with the whanau and they will be invited to respond and share any feedback they may have.

  • Ata: The Principle of Growing Respectful Relationships

Learners will play Classcraft in teams which will require respect, effort and energy, and discipline. Points will be rewarded for interacting positively with others and collaborating effectively.

  • Mahi Kotahitanga: Co-operation

Learners will co-operate and consider each other as they learn and play. Points will be rewarded for participating and contributing, interacting positively with others and collaborating effectively.

  • Ngakau Mahaki: Respect

This is a core value of Whangaparaoa College where learners are expected to respect themselves, each other and the environment. Points will be rewarded for respecting and understanding cultural diversity.


The communities that I will be engaging with in this project are my Year 9 learners, the staff in my department, and the whanau.   It is hoped that my Year 9 learners will see this as fun and therefore want to put in more effort to gain points and level up. They are mostly quite weak learners whom I have had difficulty engaging and motivating, especially with using their devices. They have mostly preferred to use pen and paper and a few learners did not bring their devices to school until they could see that many of their classmates were enjoying making websites to showcase their learning. From previous experience at Orewa College, I know that using devices is a key to better quality writing, especially among less able learners as they do not see it as such a chore and happily write 500 words in an essay where previously they struggled to write 200 words on pen and paper.  It is hoped that by teaching these learners to become more confident in using their devices effectively by participating in Classcraft,  that this will lead to better quality writing.

Secondly, I will also keep the staff in my department informed about what we are doing in the hope that if this is successful they may adopt Classcraft as a strategy to help their learners.  Many of my department have had limited experience with using technology to enable their pedagogy but they are mostly interested in how to do this. Showing improved results and the results of a Learner Attitude survey at a Curriculum meeting will help to prove the validity of gamification to those members of the department that are sceptical. I will invite those that are interested to come and watch how I use Classcraft with my learners.

Thirdly, Classcraft has a parent code for each participant so those parents who are interested will be able to see the progress of their son/daughter and encourage them in the game. This will enable parents to see firsthand what we are doing in class so that they don’t think we are playing games that don’t add value to learning.


I have data from the essays that were written in Term 1 which I will compare with the results from the essays written in Term 2. This data will show whether there has been improvement or not. I will observe my class and their interactions with the each other to see if they are talking about their learning, gaining points and taking steps to gain those points. During the term I will ask my class to complete a Google Form which surveys their attitudes to Classcraft and their learning in this manner.


I discussed this project with Lisa White, one of our Deputy Principals, and explained it to her and then asked for her opinion. Check out the video of her response:

One of the things Lisa suggested was to have points rewarded for progress along the way and the final product at the end so I have added in 3 new categories for receiving points. I think this is a good idea and I have made the point value quite high so that my less motivated learners will think that the task is worthwhile.

Lisa also suggested asking a group of learners their opinion on my plan. I haven’t done this as I had already started the game before our discussion but this is something that I will do in the future. However, I will ask them about the kinds of rewards and prizes they would like though as I do value their voice and would like them to take ownership with me.

I asked Lisa whether she thought other teachers might be interested in implementing Classcraft and she offered some useful ideas on how to share what I will do. Sharing what I am doing and the results from it will be the best strategy as having some examples and proof of effectiveness would be more convincing than just saying that learners are engaged.

The issue of learners doing the bare minimum to get points and not necessarily doing the required learning was something that I had not thought about so having this feedback from Lisa helped me think about ways to prevent this. Her idea of rewarding milestones along the way is one that I will implement.


The potential impact of the inclusion of Classcraft with my Year 9 class is that their essay writing results will improve through the extrinsic motivation of gamification because they will be rewarded for skills such as TRUMP, collaboration, problem solving, innovation, adaptability and other 21st Century skills. This will hopefully ingrain these skills into their mode of operating and will be carried over into all aspects of their learning in other curriculum areas. I believe that TRUMP and 21st Skills are essential skills for a successful career and life.

Screen Shot 2016-04-29 at 1.38.16 PM

I am excited about this because I have been looking for a away to reward these skills for some time now and Classcraft seems to be a great vehicle for this. If the use of Classcraft is successful with my Year 9 learners then I will consider using it in my other classes. I’m not sure whether it will be as effective with senior classes as it seems to be aimed at younger learners but I could try it and see.

If this inquiry is successful it could be used by many other teachers to encourage and reward TRUMP and 21st century skills which are important for our learners’ futures as many report that the jobs our learners will do haven’t been created yet. Therefore, having these skills and being able to adapt to future environments is of utmost importance.


  • Assessing the relevance of my project

To assess the relevance of my project I will discuss it with Lisa White, one of our Deputy Principals, to gain feedback on what she thinks will benefit our learners and what other aspects I need to consider. I will also discuss it with members of my department to explain what I am doing and to get their feedback on how they think it will work.

  • Gathering the data/evidence

I will record the results from 2 essays that will be written in Term 2. These results will be compared with the Term 1 results to see whether improvement has been made. A survey of learner attitudes to using Classcraft will be completed using a Google Form and I will used the chart making part of this app to collate the data. I want to find out whether my learners found Classcraft enjoyable, helpful and motivating. This should show me whether there were any learners who did not find it engaging and motivating and the reasons why.

  • Sharing the data/evidence with relevant parties

Once my Year 9’s have completed 2 essays I will compare the results to the Term 1 essay results and then share this data with my class. The purpose of this will be to show them their improved results and explain how Classcraft was instrumental in helping them to gain these improved results. I will explain that TRUMP and 21st century skills are essential for success and tell them that these are the skills they were rewarded for. Because they demonstrated these skills, their results were improved.

The results and the data from the learner survey will also be shared with my department and Lisa White so that they are able to see the success of Classcraft in improving learner engagement, motivation and essay writing results. This may inspire them to try Classcraft with their own learners. Results and data could also be shared with parents in an email which would explain the whole inquiry. I would invite their feedback to reflect upon and consider for future use of Classcraft.


  1. Smith, G.H. (1990) Principles of Kaupapa Maori. Retrieved from
  2. Te Noho Kotahitanga (n.d.) Retreived from
  3. Carr, J. M. (2011). Does Math Achievement. Journal of Information Technology Education: Research, 11, 269–286. Retrieved from
  4. Dominguez, A., Saenz-De-Navarrete, J., De-Marcos, L., Fernandez-Sanz, L., Pages, C., & Martinez-Herraiz, J. J. (2013). Gamifying learning experiences: Practical implications and outcomes. Computers and Education, 63, 380–392.
  5. Hwang, G. J., Hung, C. M., & Chen, N. S. (2014). Improving learning achievements, motivations and problem-solving skills through a peer assessment-based game development approach. Educational Technology Research and Development, 62(2), 129–145.
  6. VG Business (2010) Amazing Statistics. Retrieved from:
Posted in Criterion 10, Criterion 3, Criterion 9

Our bicultural heritage

I always feel a bit concerned when it comes to meeting the requirements for this part of the Practising Teacher requirements but when I have a think about it, there are a few different ways that I do this.

1. Every Monday morning at our staff meetings we begin by say the following karakia. At first we were very timid and out of time with each other but after several weeks we are finally sounding confident and in sync with each other. It is a lovely ritual and start to the day.


2. I love to play music in class after I have introduced the lesson for the period. My students really enjoy it too as it creates a warm and relaxed atmosphere. At the start of the year I put on the Top 40 playlist on Spotify but we all became a bit bored with hearing the same songs all the time. Recently I found a NZ playlist of roots, dub and reggae. It has some relaxing and chilled music on it which doesn’t hype anyone up! Some of the lyrics use Te Reo, an example of this is Tahuri Mai Ra by House of Shem. 

3. At the ADE Institute that I attended recently we split into Geo groups. The kiwis sung a waiata for the Aussies which was well recieved. We enjoyed being able to share our culture with them.


Posted in Criterion 3

3 Ways of Reflecting Respect for our Cultural Heritage

So I’ve got my Teacher registration due for renewal again this year and I have decided to use my blog as evidence that I have covered and reflected on all 12 criteria. Hence the title of this post and following question:

How do I reflect in my professional work respect for the cultural heritages of both Treaty partners in Aotearoa New Zealand?

1. The Powhiri
At the beginning of each year Orewa College has a powhiri for all new staff and students. Beforehand we practise waiata in support of our speakers. Then we all meet on our netball courts in the cool of the morning to welcome the newcomers. It is always lovely to see new students and their parents as well as new colleagues. Our kapa haka group support us in our singing and the local kaumatua join us for this lovely ceremony.

2. Manaaki Orewa
Our school values system is called Manaaki Orewa. The image of Dame Whina Cooper walking down a dusty road holding hands with her mokopuna was the inspiration for us to embark on this journey as a school together. Manaaki Orewa involves respect for yourself, others and the environment.


There are many teachable moments for Manaaki whether it is used to remind learners to respect others when they are sharing ideas or to remind them to look after the furniture and class room environment. This year I began the year by asking all my classes to create a group presentation which answered the question: How can we create a Manaaki learning space? This was my secret way of getting them to write the class rules! It was very enjoyable and each class came up with great ideas.


3. Waiata and Pronunciation
Our staff meeting for the past year have included singing waiata and also learning the correct pronunciation of Maori vowels and words. This has been fun, it’s always good to do a bit of singing and it lifts the spirits at the end of a long and tiring day.