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Education in Post-Anthropocene Aotearoa

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With “the enviro-reckoning” taking place at the close of the 21st Century the world in which people live has radically changed. Humans finally recognising that how we co-exist with the planet had to do things differently if we were to have a planet to live on at all. 2100 marked the beginning of what was to be recognised as “c age” where humans attempted to actively undo the devastating impact they had on Planet Earth. This also marked the beginnings of “global decolonisation” as humankind recognised the need to move from globalisation and controlling other countries to localisation and leaving others be. In Aotearoa, established values and ways of being in Te Ao Māori flourished. Humans stopped travelling, exporting and importing and instead turned to technology to connect, to experience the world and to produce what was needed locally. Humans endeavoured to consume less, living smaller lives, in smaller spaces. Economic growth was recognised as a damaging concept and linear economie…

Upholding education: Why we need unions AND the council

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It has been disappointing to see over the last couple of weeks that the education sector has become increasingly divided, with the unions and the associations coming out (for the most part) as adversaries against the Teaching Council and the fees increase announcement. I totally get teachers being upset about having to pay more, but the vitriol being thrown around online is massively disappointing from a sector who wears their professional status with pride.

I think the thing that makes it most disappointing is that it simply doesn’t make sense. In order to uphold the sanctity and the status of the education sector in New Zealand we actually need both - we need the unions and we need the council and we need both to be independent and independently funded so as to ensure they function effectively. Both the unions and the council have an important part to play in ensuring that we have safe classrooms with competent teachers and teachers who are well protected, well supported and paid w…

Introducing PPSTACK and what I believe it takes to implement effective change and enable learner agency!

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The last few days (and weeks) has had me reflecting on many things: what did it expose in terms of social and digital divides; what did it expose in terms of school systems and leaders and their agility and agency; what have we learned from teaching and learning over lockdown, and what do we need to change moving forward so as to harness the opportunities and how do we ensure change we introduce is effective?

Time and time again I found myself wondering what our recent experiences would have been like had the government of the day taken up the recommendations of Nikki Kaye's 21st Century Learning Reference Group? This was a group I was lucky to be part of back in 2013-2014 and as a group we came up with the report Future-Focused Learning Connected Communities which recommended the following:

Commit to meeting the needs of 21st century learnersAchieve equitable access to digital devices for every learnerInvest in people and innovationCreate future-focused learning environmentsInves…

High School 2.0 - It’s time to prepare for a new normal

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The last week or so has been an interesting one for school leaders. One week we were planning for when and if we might have to close, come Monday, it was all on - schools closing the next day for most students and closed for all students by the end of Wednesday. Schools across the country were to go “full remote mode” by Thursday morning. So how did our schools fare? It is safe to say that schools around the country sat somewhere on a long continuum ranging from “we got this” to “sh#t, we better start planning”. The reality is that, for the most part, schools and educators have rallied together and have managed to patch together an okay plan for the time being.

And therein lies the problem - a) It was, for many, patched together and b) nearly universally, it is a plan that will suffice for the time being.

Over the last week it feels like our understanding of what we are dealing with and going to be dealing with is becoming increasingly clear. This is not going to simply be a four w…

Is now our opportunity to REALLY reimagine NCEA and definitions of success?

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There is one thing for sure. We are living in complex times. As teachers, and educational leaders we are in the throes of planning how we might deliver remote teaching and learning when and if we need to. Personally, I am quite excited as to how we are going about this and get the sense that whatever the outcome, whether we go remote or not (I very much suspect we will), the kind of urgency this situation has created is exactly the context needed for innovation and all teachers willingly becoming agents of change. Don't get me wrong, I am not thankful for the crises we are experiencing, I am simply thankful that teaching and learning has the potential to be moved forward and improved exponentially in the coming months.

But what about NCEA? Would now be the perfect opportunity to alleviate a whole lot of pressure on students and teachers alike whilst also imagining a definition of success that is actually fit for purpose?? I say - HELL YES!

What could we do?

Let's get rid of Le…