Sunday, 12 July 2015

Summary of my Postgraduate Learning Journey [Activity 15]

This has been a turbulent journey!

In all honesty, I struggled to enjoy this course as much as I thought I would.  I'm more of a kinesthetic learner, motivated by practical 'hands-on' based activities.  I must admit, I was disheartened at the amount of theory based work involved in this certificate, but now that I am at the end, things are different.  I now appreciate the value of research and readings.  The importance of understanding and being aware of educational documents that circulate around the world.

If I was to complete a course like this again, I would want to be relieving or working part time, as I found my workload along with the expectations of the course were at times, overwhelming.  There were also points of my Postgraduate Journey where I saw opportunities to delve deeper into the unknown but found I couldn't because of time and work restrictions.

Below are a few of the criteria I have decided to reflect on.

Criteria 1: Establish and maintain effective professional relationships focused on the learning and well-being of all ākonga
I believe I am able to maintain effective professional relationships that are focussed on my learners. I do this by connecting to other staff and teachers alike through Twitter, Google+ and the Virtual Learning Network. I am also available va email for staff, students and families to contact me at any time.  My goal is to continue this but firmly establish effective professional relationships with the parent community.  I have started this already but I feel it can be strengthened and in some places, re-established to ensure all parties involved are on board and understand how we can best promote the well-being of our learners.

Criteria 2: demonstrate commitment to promoting the well-being of ākonga/learners.
I follow a variety of threads on the Virtual Learning Network that provide information to engage my Maori and Pasifika students in writing, with a focus on boys.  I also participate in a fortnightly meetings with our Manaiakalani Outreach facilitator with a focus on promoting the well-being of our learners through digital technologies.  I also have a fortnightly schedule of Digital CyberSmart lessons that alternative with PB4L lessons.  These cater to the immediate needs of my students especially as they work 1:1 with Chromebooks.  My goal is to further upskill myself in my understanding of Digital Citizenship so I can continue to promote this with my learners and follow it up with parent  meetings.

Criteria 5: Show leadership that contributes to effective teaching and learning.
I have continued to support in the area of ICT. Helping teachers familiarise themselves with new apps, problem solving iPad issues, participate in iPad purchasing discussions and created 'Screencasts' to help staff understand how to use Google sites and more, all in their own time.  This term I will be assisting with PB4L and I hope to use this as an opportunity to further develop  my leadership skills that will help myself and others to be effective teachers.

Criteria 7: Promote a collaborative, inclusive, and supportive learning environment.
We are a PB4L school and I continue to use positive praise with students, their families and other staff members.  As a staff we use Google Apps for Education which helps us collaborate on planning, sharing ideas and recording them.  This also occurs between students and staff and extends beyond the classroom walls via individual and class blogs.  I am often complimented on the positive and respectful class culture I develop.  My goal is to continue this in class and find ways to extend this and strengthen it in the wider school community.

Future Goals
  • To create memorable learning experiences that will be passed down through generations.
  • Provide my students with the tools they need to be successful, meta-cognitive and actively reflective learners.
  • Present and an Education Conference (ULearn, #EDChatNZ, GAFE Summit)
  • Lead my own school one day. Take on more responsibilities and leadership roles, and build my presence as a leader.  Then lead a low decile school as Principal.

Saturday, 11 July 2015

Evaluations of the Cultural Responsiveness in Practice [Activity 14]

My school is a Decile 1 and has a large Pasifika presence, yet all cultures, beliefs and understandings are used to inform the way forward with our school vision.

These are three ways in which my school is culturally responsive.
  1. Vision, Goals and Values
    Our school vision is Partnering with our community to develop successful learners who can take action to shape their future. This is being acheived though ensuring our staff work in a partnership with the community, prepare our learners to be successful and equipped with the correct tools to aid their success once they leave our school. We also address this vision by fostering our core values Whakaute (Respect), Manawaroa (Resilience), Kaitiakitanga (Responsibility), and Whakawhanaungatanga (Relationships).
  2. Policies
    We have various policies that we adhere to each day.  A few of our policies are, a 'no-fizzy' drinks policy that came into effect this year.  It was initially a questionable policy as some families found it more affordable to buy lunch packs which readily include very sugary juices or fizzy drinks.  However, this year we have been privileged to participate in the Fonterra 'Milk for schools' initiative and receive fresh milk each day.  This has helped us justify the policy and encourage parents to send their children to school with water only, provided we have milk each day and water fountains around the school.  There is a Media release policy that needs to be signed by each family upon enrollment that respects their rights to privacy and/or allows the school permission to publish their child's name and picture. We are also a PB4L school and have our 'Hay Park Way' firmly established throughout the school.
  3. Communication methods
    English is a second language for many of our students and their families.  Along with our regular newsletter, we also send newsletters out in different languages, such as Tongan or Samoan.  This is achieved by approaching our local parent community and involving them in decisions about the language used in our newsletters and asking them to translate them into their native tongue.  This regular parent consultation also allows keeps us aware of cultural issues or concerns that exist in the community,

    Another way is by arranging qualified translators to attend meetings where our parents and families struggle to understand English.  For example, I have worked alongside a mother who knows very little English but speaks fluent Urdu.  After arranging an interpreter, her confidence in helping her children and participating in school activities increased.


Hay Park School. (2015).  Vision,Goals and Values.  Retrieved from vision-goals-values on 12 July 2015.

Friday, 10 July 2015

Indigenous Knowledge and Culturally responsive Pedagogy [Activity 13]

When I first started my teaching degree in 2009, indigenous knowledge and culturally responsive pedagogy was undefined for me.  I believed everyone learned at their own pace and if you struggled to learn, it was due to a disability or lack of motivation.   It wasn't until I attended a lecture through university that clearly defined what culture means.  I now understand it to mean a way of life, not your ethnic background.  I used to say that, I am Cook Island Maori but was brought up in a very sheltered lifestyle, where knowledge was handed to you through books, TV, interactions with adults and school.  From here I realised I was making a sweeping generalisation that all Cook Island Maori people are brought up rough around the edges.  But in fact, my culture was simply different to other peoples cultures.  Professor Russell Bishop discusses an example of learning achievements in the Maori community and people believing that the poor results in this area are due to the Maori people themselves (, 2015). This is exactly what I used to do.

From this I made sure my teaching practice was based on a deeper understanding of the learner.  Not solely on their assessment data, but based on Mason Durie's Whare Tapa Wha model. (Durie, 1998). Really getting to know the learner and understand their own unique culture without any bias or predetermined criteria.  Allowing them to approach their learning in a way that suits them and letting me gain an insight into how they learn, and ways that I can promote further learning (, 2015).

Durie, M. (1998). Whaiora: Maōri Health Development. Oxford University Press.,. (2015). A culturally responsive pedagogy of relations | EDtalks. Retrieved 9 July 2015, from

Wednesday, 8 July 2015

Code of Ethics [Activity 12]

In your opinion are ethical codes of conduct reflective of societal norms or essential principles of humanity?
Based on my profession and the Code of Ethics provided by the New Zealand Teachers Council (2004) I believe they are reflective of societal norms as they relate to the exchange of commitment from between us, learners, society, community and families. However, they also align themselves with some of the basic principles of humanity such as, respecting the privacy of others and promoting the well being of our learners.  These being governed by four principals, Autonomy, Justice, Responsible Care and Truth.

What are the advantages and disadvantages of having a Code of Ethics?
They provide us with clear expectations as professionals and help us align our practice with these principals.  Its also protects us from accidentally imposing on any unethical boundaries, especially those who are new to the profession. If an Ethical issue were to arise between staff and/or families, we would have a document that provides us with accountability for our actions. However, this can lead to society viewing us as lawful citizens who do no wrong and holding very high expectations of us as a profession.  This can lead to pressures outside of work hours, where we must continue to uphold these Ethics and make them a part of our everyday lives.  This makes us accountable for a lot of things that may be viewed as a societal norm for most people.  Whereas an advantage to this would be the regulation of appropriate behaviors in the Education sector, particularly when we have the safety of our learners at the forefront.

In your own field to what degree are ethics concerned to protect individual rights and to what degree do they exist to minimise organisational risk? How is the balance between the two distributed?
I believe these are both addressed equally throughout the Code of Ethics, where it states that we have a commitment to our learners, society, profession, community and families. (New Zealand Teacher Council, 2004).  These commitments highlights the degree in which individual rights are upheld and applied in an educational setting.

These Ethical principals also minimise organisational risk as decisions can be based around these Ethics ensuring all parties are covered and held accountable where necessary.  It also provides a foundations for leaders and management to judge teaching applicants upon and making Ethical judgements.

New Zealand Teachers Council. (2004). Code of Ethics. Retrieved on 7 July 2015 from

Monday, 6 July 2015

Applied and Professional Ethics [Activity 11]

There are a range of methods associated with Applied Ethics which was in a steady decline throughout the 1960's, until prompted by pressing issues in Medicine (Collste, G, 2012. p,g 3).

Collste (2012) discusses a few reasons which have led to the development of applied ethics. Such as a shift from 'moral heteronomy' to 'moral autonomy', new technologies and policy vacuums.  There are also different methods that can be used to approach Ethical issues, also termed as Ethical Inquiry.

Collste (2012) also mentions that the chosen method of approach is determined by the question at the heart of the inquiry.  So when I think the Implications for Education this makes me think about the way in which school management and staff should approach 'Ethical' situations.  As an aspiring leader, it has helped me understand the importance of knowing these methods like the back of my hand.

This brings me to the Code of Ethics provided by the New Zealand Teachers Council (2004) which is a document that governs how educators should carry out their practice.  These are instilled in us from University onwards.  The importance of upholding these Ethics are crucial, especially with the shift that we can see going towards 'autonomy' (Collste, 2012) both inside and outside the classroom walls.

Collste, G. (2012). Applied and Professional Ethics. Linköping University, Linköping, Sweden in KEMANUSIAAN Vol. 19, No. 1, (2012), 17–33

New Zealand Teachers Council. (2004). Code of Ethics. Retrieved on 5 July 2015 from

Ethical Dilemma [Activity 10]

An Ethical Dilemma I have encountered is through Google+ and Facebook.

I have had students and parents request to connect with me through my Google+ profile.  At first I was apprehensive because I wasn't sure if I wanted them to see my professional networks and communications via Google+ but I also didn't want to offend them by declining their requests.  I discussed this with other staff members and we decided it would best to ignore these requests.  This was justified by the fact that parents and students can maintain contact with me through my class blog, class site and email.  It also helps me keep my professional network separate from my networks with the community and safeguards my privacy too.

With Facebook I had a student send me a friend request.  Without question this request was rejected.  I think it is important to keep personal and work relationships separate.  I discussed this with senior staff members, who also agreed with me.

I do believe if I had a Facebook page based on myself as a teacher, with the goal of providing communication opportunities between myself, students and their families, it would be appropriate to accept friend requests.

My decisions have also been based on the purpose of me using the social media, which the New Zealand Teachers Council deems as important (New Zealand Teachers Council, 2012).

New Zealand Teachers Council.(2012). Establishing safeguards.[video file]. Retrieved from

Sunday, 5 July 2015

Legal Contexts and Digital Identities [Activity 9]

Upon enrolment each student is required to have a media release form signed.  This gives the school permission to publish the students images and also allows parents to request that their child does not have their picture published.

For our digital classrooms we also have a Kawa of Care document to be viewed and signed by parents and returned to the school as a contract to ensure the Chromebooks are cared for correctly and that parents are aware of how chromebook use is monitored by staff.

As part of an agreement for students to take their chromebooks home, parents must sign the Kawa of Care and attend a minimum of two workshops facilitated by our staff.  These workshops provide information to parents about the importance of monitoring their children whilst they are online and guidelines towards appropriate use of chromebooks as learning tools.

At present there is no social media policy for teachers, but this is currently under review and being drafted.  However, teachers are encouraged to join Twitter, join the Virtual Teachers Network and follow the NZ Teachers Facebook page to further develop their professional learning networks.

These current Social Media documents have been put in place to ensure the safety of our staff, students and families.  Upon review, I hope new documents will be developed to promote the professional development opportunities through social media, which will ensure all staff reap the benefits of social media.

Saturday, 4 July 2015

Professional Social Media Networks [Activity 8]

Twitter and Facebook have been most beneficial to my professional development.

Facebook has allowed me to connect with teachers across New Zealand through the NZ Teachers page.  I have found this more beneficial than other social platforms as it is easy to use and updated regularly.  The ease of use is also due to the fact that I use Facebook for personal and I have found that this also one of the reasons why other teachers find it so easy to share the resources through this page.  This keeps me engaged outside of school hours. Through this page I have also been able to connect to other teachers through their blogs that they have shared and gain access to a separate web page which has been created solely as a resource bank which collates all resources that have been shared through the page.

Twitter has been a great way of extending my professional network.  I have access to educators across the globe as well instant updates for professional development events.  Last year I attended my the first #EdChatNZ (twitter based) conference which was held due to popular demand and has led to #SciChatNZ and #EngChatNZ which are regular chat events where discussion is based on educational needs in these areas.

Wednesday, 1 July 2015

Social Media in Learning and Teaching and Professional Development [Activity 7]

I currently use Virtual Learning Network, Twitter and the NZ Teachers facebook page to further develop my teaching practice.  These social network platforms allow me to ask questions that enable me to inquire into my teaching and allow me access to effective resources that have been widely used by other educators to promote further learning with our students.  They also help me build relationships with other educators locally and abroad, giving me insight into different teaching models and allowing me time to reflect on these.

Key features that I believe are beneficial to teaching and learning are, the potential to take learning beyond the classroom walls and provide connections to the far reaches of the world, the ability to have access to up to date resources, research, the ability to share and collaborate instantly through these platforms and developing agency and self-efficacy (Melhuish, 2003, p.24).

The New Zealand Teachers Council posted a video that reminds us to be aware of why we are using social media and asks us to question how we are interacting with young ones through this media.  We need to have goals and clear expectations as well as keeping the community aware of why we are using such media to ensure ideas. learning and teaching approaches are not misconstrued (New Zealand Teacher Council, 2012).  This will also provide a safe and effective method of approaching social media for our students.

Joosten (2013) cites one of their quotes in a slideshare which mentions social media is a virtual place where anybody can share anything they choose to.  This highlights the importance of teaching our learners how to be safe whilst using social media, as the open access could make them susceptible to strangers or counterfeit information.

Twitter Handle @Miss_Teening

Google Plus Community

Notifications about active threads in my VLN


Joosten, T.( 2013. October 22). Pearson: Social Media for Teaching and Learning. Retrieved from

Melhuish, K.(2013) Online social networking and its impact on New Zealand educators’ professional learning. Master Thesis. The University of Waikato. Retrived on 05 May, 2015 from

New Zealand Teachers Council.(2012). Establishing safeguards.[video file]. Retrieved from