Teacher in Context: EPOL-301 Course Notes

Online Collaboration for VUW Diploma of Education December 11, 2011

2 Copyright c 2011, Blair M. Smith Please copy, modify and redistribute under the terms of the GNU Free Document Licence (GPL FDL) here: http://www.gnu.org/licenses/fdl-1.3-standalone.html

1 Introduction 2 Module 1—The Teacher in Context 2.1 Professional Identity . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2.1.1 2.1.2 2.1.3 2.2 Readings—Teacher Identity . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7 9 9 9

Lecture on Professional Image . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 14 Module 1, Values Activity . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 17

Personal Teaching Theories . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 17 2.2.1 2.2.2 Readings—Personal Theories . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 21 Lecture on Personal Theories . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 24


On Importance of Motivation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 24 27

3 Module 2—The Profession of Teaching 3.1

Teacher as Professional . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 27 3.1.1 Current Issues in Secondary Education . . . . . . . . . . . . . 31


Professional Learning Communities . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 38 3.2.1 3.2.2 3.2.3 3.2.4 Professional Relationships . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 41 Strategies for Developing and Maintaining Professional Relationships . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 41 Ladder of Inference . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 44 Giving and Receiving Feedback . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 45 3



3.2.5 3.2.6 3.2.7 3.2.8

Teacher-teacher Relationships . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 47 Leadership . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 51 Showing Leadership in 20 Minutes . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 54 Summary of Module 2 so far . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 56 57

4 Module 3—Ethics and Regulations 4.1

Readings on Teacher Ethics . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 58 4.1.1 4.1.2 4.1.3 4.1.4 Code of Ethics for Registered Teachers . . . . . . . . . . . . . 58 Selected Readings on Teacher Ethics . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 62 Dealing with Ethical Dilemmas . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 67 The Human Factor in Moral Education . . . . . . . . . . . . . 70


Ethical Dilemma Studies . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 73 4.2.1 4.2.2 4.2.3 Blog Entries on “Honest Reporting” . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 79

Blog Entries on “HOD Plans It All” . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 81 Blog Entries on “School Camp” . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 81


Education Laws and Rights . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 84 4.3.1 4.3.2 4.3.3 Notes on HRC (2010)—Right to Education . . . . . . . . . . . 85 Recommendations of the Human Rights Commission . . . . . 87 Notes on Ben Mills presentation—Youth Rights and the Law . 88


Education Law Scenarios . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 91 4.4.1 4.4.2 4.4.3 4.4.4 4.4.5 4.4.6 4.4.7 Question on Privacy . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 91 Question on Threats . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 92 Question on Abuse . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 93 Question on Privacy Rights . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 95 Question on Confidential Academic Information (Privacy) . . 96 Question on Reporting Violence (breaking policy) . . . . . . . 96 Question on Right to Information (Privacy and Custody) . . . 98



4.4.8 4.5

Question on Sexual Abuse (Privacy and Disclosure) . . . . . . 98

Human Rights and Citizenship . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 99 4.5.1 Comments on the lecture by Ben Mills . . . . . . . . . . . . . 99


The Pastoral Role of Secondary Teachers . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 101 4.6.1 4.6.2 4.6.3 Registered Teacher Standards . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 102 Pastoral Care Activities . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 102 Comments on Lecture—Pastoral Care . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 102


Assignment on Ethical Dilemmas . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 104 107

5 Module 4—Twenty First Century Enlightenment 5.1

Twenty First Century Education . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 107 5.1.1 Blog Activity . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 108

5.2 5.3

Education Outside the Classroom . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 111 Outside the Classroom—Field Trips and More . . . . . . . . . . . . . 111 5.3.1 5.3.2 Notes on Lecture—Education Outside the Classroom . . . . . 112 Blog Activity—Personal Experiences of EOTC . . . . . . . . . 116


Teacher Unions . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 118 5.4.1 Notes on the Lecture—PPTA Guidance . . . . . . . . . . . . . 118


Developing Professional Skills . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 119 5.5.1 5.5.2 5.5.3 5.5.4 Notes on Cameron (2007)—Starting teaching: Survive or Thrive?119 Notes on Ferrier-Kerr (2011)—Moving into the teaching profession . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 120 Notes on Grudnoff (2011)—Getting off to a good start. . . . . 124 Notes on the Lecture—Next Steps . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 125 129

A National Administration Guidelines (NAG’s)

A.1 Planning and Reporting—Relevant Legislation . . . . . . . . . . . . . 133 B National Education Goals (NEG-1’s) 141



C National Education Guidelines (NEG-2’s) D New Zealand Teachers Council Code of Ethics References

143 145 148

1. Introduction
These are free collaborative collective course note for the 2011 online students enrolled in the VUW EPOL-301 course. Please copy and redistribute as you please, respecting the GPL-FDL copyright. I have included a lot of quotes from the online discussion forums, which has added to the length of this book somewhat. The suggestion is to not read this book serially, but to instead scan the topics and delve into the quoted paragraphs as interest guides you—that way the book will hopefully not seem too daunting to read. Also, these course notes are not intended as substitutes for the course Module notes, textbook and readings. The idea is that this book will serve as a reference and memory jog for all of our future work in education. I will state here and repeat often: my editorial comments strictly relate to secondary education and in particular to science and mathematics. Much of the VUW lecture material is more general in scope.



1. Introduction

2. Module 1—The Teacher in Context
2.1 Professional Identity

This purpose of this lecture is to guide you through a process of thinking about yourself as a teacher, your values and your beliefs. In preparation for this section please read (Ball, Russell, & Smales, 2005) and (Day, 2009).


Readings—Teacher Identity

Notes on Ball, Russell & Smales (2005)—Facing Realities of Beginning Teaching. My comments strictly relate to secondary education. It is quite staggering that here we have one of the most important and (potentially) influential professions is the entire sphere of human endeavour and we have academics worrying about the self-image, hopes, dreams, fears and reality checks that crowd the first few years of practice. What it tells me is that we have novice teachers entering an education system that is ill-suited for them. Look at the focus of this article by Ball et. al., and you see the focus is on trying to help novice teachers “survive”. This is crazy. There should be no question of survival, only question of quality, of “am I being the best I can possibly be’ ?’ Yet, the reality is as Ball et. al., , state. Teachers really do have to concentrate a lot on just survival. Why? It seems to me the answer is because the ways schools are currently run, the way curricula are managed and particularly the way the external examination assessments are conducted and overemphasised is killing the creativity of students, killing the creativity of teachers and generally making a complete mess and disaster of older child and teenage education (primarily). After my reading of Ball et. al., my feeling is that most of the issues and challenges they write about would melt away if school’s were focuses on motivational 9


2. Module 1—The Teacher in Context

learning and hacking (playful fun and inventiveness) instead of testing, standards and examinations. Teaching and learning which focuses on playful inventiveness and motivation is what I refer to as the 21st Century Enlightenment in Education or “TFCE”. It is a sad indictment that teachers who would like to operate on TFCE principles are fearful of holding their job and basically are often shut down and eliminated by the current secondary school system. Some further comments on selections from the reading (my comments in italics): • “Theory often seems impractical to some because they have not yet understood its deeper relevance to their current and future practice.” I take issue with this claim. Many colleagues know full well the future relevance of the theory taught at training college, but the school system forbids them implementing the theory. It seems impractical only because there is insufficient time to implement the theory because teachers are expected to do so much other stupid and mindless exam coaching and set topic coverage. Remove these hindrances and most teachers I bet would have a great time implementing the modern learning theories and pedagogies. Furthermore, most experienced teachers are not that much better, they hardly ever fully practice good learning theory, most of them are still tied fully and squarely into teaching-to-tests. • On “Meeting the Challenges”—institutional culture and organization, professional development and so forth.. Some of the article proffers good advice, but it is vague and general. What I think would really help a beginning teacher is to simply leave them alone and let them freely teach their classes, let them seek advice, help them when they ask for help, but otherwise leave them the hell alone for Pete’s sake. Unfortunately, “institutionalization” of novice teachers is more like a brain-washing—they are taught to follow the school way of doing things and forget about innovation. It is a gifted but rare school that gives novice teachers wings with which to metaphorically fly. • On “Establishing a sound educational programme”. “When an interesting, challenging programme which meets the needs, interests and ability levels of the learners is provided, potential difficulties are often minimized”. This is platitudinous. Sure, provide an interesting lesson and things will go swimmingly. . . unless the students in your class are active non-learners. You can provide a programme that meets their interests, but it won’t ever be approved by the school, since it won’t win them any external examination credits. Even for well-adjusted students, where are the wonderful interesting school programmes? I haven’t seen any in my teacher training so far. I’ve seen

2.1 Professional Identity


flashes of interesting stuff, but honestly assessing what I’ve seen so far, most students in the high schools I’ve seen detest mathematics and science classes. This is not their fault, neither their teacher’s fault largely, it is a systemic problem stemming from massive emphasis on standards and high-stakes tests. There is something sick about New Zealand’s education system when children can optionally take a music course and love it, while they are compelled to take mathematics and science (at least to Year 11) and hate it. In other words, when we make a subject compulsory it is delusional to believe we can also make it “interesting” and “meet their needs”. Or rather, we can do this, but then the programme would be so twisted and artificial as to be either vocationally pointless or un-examinable. For example, how do you make trigonometry meet the needs of a future lawyer or doctor when they will never use the techniques in the rest of their lives? Answer: you give them trigonometric puzzles that teach them critical and logical thinking skills. OK, that’s useful vocationally, but then will these puzzles help them pass an external exam? Probably not. So you end up drilling them with exam questions anyway because you think the exam credits are more worthy than higher level vocational thinking skills. Great. What have we then achieved? At worst we have shown a student how to fail an exam and given them many reasons to detest the subject of trigonometry, and at best we have educated a student into learning that practising exam questions is more important than having fun. • More on “Meeting the challenges”. The mis-match between theory and reality. There is too much bending of theory to meet reality and not enough bending of reality to better match theory. Teachers end up making unhealthy compromises, then they become acculturated, and then the feel they are comfortable and part of the profession. In truth, what invariably has happened, is that they have simply become bad teachers like everyone else around them, and that is why they feel comfortable. This doesn’t always happen, but it is the norm I suspect. Show me a teacher in their third year of practise who does not teach-to-tests and chances are you have pointed me to one of the rarer success stories of teacher education. If a teacher is perfectly comfortable in their first year of practise, then either they are incredibly gifted teaching genuis’ or they are so bad at teaching they do not realize it and probably never will. • On “Uncovering inaccurate self-image”. The need to reflect. Continual reflection and self-assessment is naturally a good way to overcome professional difficulties. All of the advice given by Ball et. al., is sound. Most teachers who do this, who engage in professional development, and so forth, do become better teachers. However, I cannot help worrying that in the New Zealand education system what actually happens is that many novice teachers


2. Module 1—The Teacher in Context

are becoming better teachers by compromising on the wrong things. Most likely they are adopting common practices rather than fostering pursuit of their own ideals. Why? Because the common practices help them survive, and once ingrained help them feel part of a community of professionals. Are they perhaps sacrificing a degree of independence and creativity? Notes on Day (2009)—Passion for Quality. Teacher quality is almost paramount. But how do we define teacher quality? If a teacher can get a student to pass an exam is that evidence of quality? Perhaps. If a teacher can instil a life-long love of learning in a student, and yet the student fails an exam because they’ve been doing fun stuff all year and neglected to study for their exams, is that good quality teaching? • On “Effects of quality teachers”. Good teachers have a strong positive influence on students, while poor teachers have a cumulative and debilitating effect. But what makes a good teacher? I am wary of reports that good teachers make a difference. For one thing, the performance of students on tests is often given a as a measure of the performance of a teacher. Then there is little or no meaning to statistics purporting to report that ‘low performing teachers” result in “low performing students”. It’s like saying “red paint splashed around results in red coloured objects.” What we really want to know is what sort of teaching and learning environment results in highly confident, thoughtful, studious, and creative students? But until tests are devised to measure these qualitative attributes of students no one can really say much about teacher quality that I would be interested in hearing. A good quality teacher is simply someone how can guide and help students who want help, and who can encourage students who are disinterested and who do not want help to find reservoirs of motivation within themselves. But unfortunately thee are not the qualities that teachers are currently measured against. • On “A reliance on curriculum standards and state-wide assessments”—are insufficient to gain improvements in sought-after student outcomes. This I can understand. • On “The Four Qualities of Good Teachers.” 1. Technical competencies, deep subject knowledge.

2.1 Professional Identity


2. Caring for students. 3. Reflective thinking with a strong sense of self-identity (inner knowledge of one’s own motivations, areas of strength and weakness, commitments to principle, and effectiveness). 4. Understanding of emotions within self and others (related to leadership and management). 5. Optimism, resilience, the ability to arise to challenges and bounce back after failures. These are wonderful distillations of what I think quality teaching is primarily associated. • On “Relationship with students”. At first I thought brilliant, this author really knows about education, and I was elated. Then I thought of all the experienced teachers who had told me in these very words (I call these the the old-school teachers’ dictum) “don’t smile until November”. And I was depressed. This reflects my experiences so far. When I engage a bunch of students in interesting discussion, and try to foster positive relationships I get told not to smile so much. Yet, when I teach science or mathematics I cannot help but smile. If I start to teach dry boring traditional lessons then I start to get grumpy, impatient, and the students’ generally also rebel. In short: if I try to teach like associates tell me, or if I try to teach in order to get students familiar with examination material, then I get grumpy, and students get grumpy, and everyone is worse off. • On “Care and Courage”. Care “about” students (and subject) as much as care “for” students (and subject), is important—“caring about” means going beyond just “caring for”, the former involves deep emotional commitment to people springing from deeply held personal beliefs. This is all good stuff. So why do most schools find it so hard to show students they are cared about? It is usually not the fault of teachers. It is the fact that teachers are straight-jacketed by so many rules, standards, regulations and procedures. • On “Moral Purposes”. To place the intellectual and moral well-being of students first and foremost (ahead of bureaucratic agendas and external targets). Couldn’t agree more with these sentiments.


2. Module 1—The Teacher in Context


Lecture on Professional Image

Relevance of this lecture. Graduate Teacher Standard-6 (a) states: “Graduates recognise how differing values and beliefs impact on learners and their learning.” Reflection. Before watching the lecture think about the following questions (my thoughts are in italics after each): • Why do you want to be a teacher? Are your reasons the same as they were when you enrolled in this programme last year? I want to be a teacher because I want to make a (hopefully positive and not too small) difference to the world. I think, with some more experience, I can be of tremendous benefit to the way science and mathematics is taught in schools. First I need to learn how to be an effective teacher, which is the main reason for wanting to enter the teaching profession. I doubt I will ever be a great teacher, but I hope to be able to show teachers who have real talent how to be great, and how to avoid focusing on the tests and exams, how to teach science and mathematics for the shear fun and worth of these subjects in and of themselves. Years later I hope to be able to take my experience to a higher level and transform the way secondary education works in New Zealand. Specifically, my long term goal is to show how damaging the NCEA and similar examinations are, how they are killing science and mathematics teaching and learning, and how to subvert these examinations. These are the same reasons I enrolled. Though I confess, when I enrolled I thought New Zealand schools were moving towards teaching according to the New Zealand Curriculum, and I thought therefore I would have an easy task helping to transform secondary education in Aotearoa. I was shocked at how bad things still are in the average classroom despite decades of reform. I was shocked at how insubstantial is the real science learning, how horribly the focus is still on gaining exam credits, and how little fun most students seem to be having in science and mathematics classrooms. So while my goals have not changed, they have, over the year, become extremely challenging. I wonder a lot how I will survive teaching as a PRT when there is still so much pressure on teachers and students due to the NCEA exams. The next questions was, “What sort of teacher do you want to be? What is your image of yourself as a teacher?” Here was an earlier draft response with darker thoughts. • (Take 1.) What sort of teacher do you want to be? What is your image of yourself as a teacher?

2.1 Professional Identity


I want to be transformative, not merely a transmitter of knowledge, but a facilitator of learning. Not merely a facilitator of learning either, I want to be able to show students the beauty in science and mathematics. I want my students to discover how wonderful mathematics and science are, and most of all I want to show them how these subjects can be fun and fascinating without worrying one iota about the assessments and examinations. I suspect there are comparatively few teachers who are actually doing this and who are not capitulating and teaching to the exams. I want to be in among the class of teachers who teach science and mathematics without a care for the examinations and assessments. Ideally students should be filled with a (sufficient) love of science and mathematics that they enjoy studying and learning aspects of these subjects enough to pass the examinations regardless. I am quite fully aware of all the problems when such idealistic self-images confront the cold hard reality of life in a classroom. Of facing a bunch of adolescents who would rather be somewhere else doing anything but studying mathematics and science. My job is to get these students thinking differently. I do not see my role as coercing students into learning in order to gain exam credits. If that is what a school bureaucracy requires of me then I simply cannot work at such a school. I see myself as perhaps unemployed (or at least not employed as a high school teacher) for a long time as a result of refusing to compromise. I do not have a clear image of how these hopes and dreams will be realized, since I have not yet seen a single teacher in practice who teaches in the way I would aspire to teach, who has their students motivated and self-learning in a way that I would envisage. I believe my dreams are possible, but I do not believe they will be easy to achieve. So many systemic problems in the education system conspire against the learning of science and mathematics as I ideally envisage. My optimistic view is that I will be able to give students interesting and fun challenges, guide them along, monitor their thinking skills and creative development, test them a bit on technique, and by simple encouragement and motivation with fun and interesting questions and puzzles, instil enough motivation in their hearts to want to study further, and thereby motivate them to do well in their exams. But I do not see myself as coaching them through exams unless they specifically want to be coached. I want to teach because I love science and mathematics and because I think I can help most students taste a little of this love of science. That is my only goal really, but in order to achieve it I have to figure out smaller goals and objectives that will enable me to get to such a point of professional practise. My pessimistic view is that I cannot see myself doing this successfully at any


2. Module 1—The Teacher in Context

school I have seen so far, because the institutional pressures are opposed and too great for me to overcome. I do not want to capitulate and teach the same way I see other teachers teaching—by coercion and driven by examination standards. My current image is one of someone who is a mis-fit for the NZ high school system. Whenever I try to teach like other people instruct me to teach, I get grumpy and students get grumpy. Whenever I try to teach students stuff they need to know to pass an exam I get bored and students get rebellious. When I teach things that are interesting to me, students find them interesting too, or even if not they smile and appreciate my enthusiasm and smiles. I am not a terribly funny personality, so my lessons often lack good humour. So I want to work on developing more humour. However, when I am happy and smile with student pranks and wise-cracks, or if I let a boisterous class loose a bit, I feel that none are worse off for it, and yet associate teachers will criticize such informality and chaos. For these reasons I am not at all sure if I should be teaching in the New Zealand school system. I think it would be too stressful. Teaching should be fun, just as learning should be fun. If teaching is not a fun profession then I am not fit for it. Before embarking of the Graduate Diploma of Education I had thought teaching could be fun in the modern New Zealand school. I have since found that most teachers are stressed, complain a lot, complain even more, and students find the lessons dull and stressful, and when exam time arrives even more stressful. This is not good. I want to do something about this, and becoming a teacher seems the best course of action, but if I cannot see hope for positive change then I will have to think about doing something else. Perhaps returning to research to prove how education can be fun, and then bring the research into schools some other way, such as through willing teachers. OK, so that was the dark stuff. I’ve crystallized them into a more hopeful vision, still fraught with risks though. • (Take 2.) What sort of teacher do you want to be? What is your image of yourself as a teacher? I want to be able to show students how beautiful science and mathematics can be. I envisage teaching through showing students some of the majesty of the subjects, then posing challenging problems and guiding them, acting more as a facilitator rather than a direct instructor. I envisage having fun, being playful, and showing students I care deeply about them by making sure they see my enthusiasm and passion and attempts to make the study fun and enlivening. I’m struggling at the moment to see how this vision will be realized, because all I see are systemic obstacles. I hope to find mentors who are like-minded and a school to work at that is supportive. I simply cannot imagine working

2.2 Personal Teaching Theories


for long at a school where the sole focus is on getting students good grades. I know there is some learning that takes place when students are put under exam pressure, but it’s not the kind of learning that I value nor would wish to force upon any person. So I see myself making concerted efforts not to “teach to the tests” and perhaps risking some alienation of ostracism for it, but hopefully also finding pockets of collegial support and encouragement and aid and advice on how to subvert national examinations. I do wonder if I will struggle to motivate dis-interested students. This is the one, perhaps the only, aspect of coal-face teaching that I may struggle with accepting some failure. I know most people do not find science and mathematics as fascinating as myself, although I deeply think it is largely because they know no better, and so I always have hope of being able to turn a students’ interest. If I cannot interest most students will I be able to accept the failure and march forward without slumping into depression? Perhaps not. But I won’t walk away from the teaching profession, it’s a calling, so I will instead find some other way to teach. Keep some notes of your answers—they will help you as you develop your understanding of your personal, professional philosophy.


Module 1, Values Activity

These were blog entries. We had to select a “core value” and write about how we model it in our work, relationships, and general life. My core value boiled down to wisdom. It felt very unwise writing about it. So I will not copy my entry here unless it garners some interesting feedback.


Personal Teaching Theories

In preparation for this session please read (Olsen, 2010). This lecture continues the process of developing your personal, professional philosophy of teaching and learning. Relevance: Graduate Teacher Standard-7 (d) Graduating teachers are able to articulate and justify an emerging personal, professional philosophy of teaching and learning. Over the year you have learned different theories about teaching and learning and observed a range of teaching practices. You are now asked to pause and consider


2. Module 1—The Teacher in Context

how what you have studied and what you have experienced have impacted on your beliefs. Before the lecture consider the following questions (my comments in italics): 1. How will you teach? (As usual my remarks pertain only to mathematics and science teaching.) Priority one is empowering students. Priority two is giving all students the opportunity to shine unimpeded. These are not empty platitudes, and they mean a lot. For example, to put them into practise means having a classroom that is not disrupted and in which students can always be busy with something worthwhile. But how to I see this working? Mainly by introducing fun topics and entertaining interesting questions. These could lead into formulating problems to be solved. Since problem solving is just about the only skill required for passing NCEA exams this strategy should work fairly well. My departure fro the norm is to ask more interesting questions than the usual NCEA fare. Also, I hope to encourage students to ask questions and use these as learning material. The style should be more like the IYPT and JYPT competitions. Open-ended questions that require some thinking before they can even be attempted at a technical level. The philosophy is that of modelling how real science is conducted. The goal is not to instil particular knowledge of mathematics or physics, but rather to provide students with opportunities to construct their own knowledge and to learn how to actually think a bit like a mathematician or physicists, rather than in traditional science education where students do little more than learn how to think like an exam-passer. I see myself teaching students how to manage their own learning, for example, how to catch themselves when they get tired or bored and show them how to pause, reflect and re-energize, perhaps by simply asking me or a friend for a different challenge than the one which lulled them into sleep. I see myself helping students find motivating puzzles and challenges. I also see that in the first few years this will be very difficult to accomplish because I currently have no direct experience or models upon which to base such a vision. So I am pretty sure the reality will be a struggle and in many lessons I might fail to motivate students. But I know it will not be for lack of effort. 2. What will it look like? Why? I will describe a generic approach to my teaching. My overall holistic approach is fluid and not necessarily the same day to day, so not all lessons will look

2.2 Personal Teaching Theories


like this, some will be quite formal in order to cement certain learning at key stages, mainly for honing technique. Other lessons will be more student driven. Start of lessons will be reasonably formal. Then mostly group discussion on the problem, or individual work for students who accelerate themselves. A healthy stock of good, interesting, fun, motivating problems is thus required so that faster students can keep busy. Then whole class discussion for debating merits of particular solutions or solution strategies, and for summarizing key principles and ideas. Homework would be on similar questions and would involve background reading mainly. I would monitor homework scrupulously, but for analysis, not for discipline. Likewise with class work, effort and participation. I’m keen on monitoring the meta-cognitive thinking and soft skills that are mentioned in the NZ Curriculum Key Competencies. I prefer students to find their own level of diligence, but would do things to encourage diligence and ways to praise honest effort. I would also closely monitor academic achievement, again as a reporting and analysis tool for feedback to students and parents, not for any discipline reasons. At the start of each year and term I would go over my rules and expectations. I would expect respect and honest effort. I would expect high performance, or at least no excuse for failing to perform. I would expect students to remove themselves from class if they felt inclined to be disruptive. I would expect them to respect my prerogative to remove them from class if they were disruptive or disrespectful, and I would clearly define these behavioural boundaries. I doubt my teaching style would work when I run out of steam and have no interesting challenges, and if I have to degenerate to “book work” the students would have to understand this is because I was tapped out and means no disrespect for them. In reality I suspect my first few years of teaching will be chaotic and filled with many periods where I am just mentoring students. Coverage of assigned school curriculum topics might be quite sparse as a result, but I need to figure out how to absorb such failures and pressures and learn how to focus on the positive outcomes and see that students in my care are at least progressing spiritually and intellectually in the Key Competencies. That will be my focus, but whether I achieve these goals will be hard to predict. 3. How will the students learn? By asking questions and largely by answering the questions themselves. To motivate students I will often provide challenging questions. I would not waste too much time instructing them on problem solving technique, since learning is more effective when they teach themselves the techniques. Students will learn heavily from each other, and from asking me questions more one-on-one than


2. Module 1—The Teacher in Context

as a whole class. I will try to help students learn deeply at their own pace. I want to try to minimize whole class lecturing, unless it is clearly the more efficient method. Whole class discussions will be frequent after all rounds of group work on common problems. Students will hopefully them learn by many modes—by actively doing things, listening, reading, helping. I doubt my classes will “cover” the NCEA topics in this manner, but I think it should be possible to train them to think critically and logically enough so that they will be easily able to pass any NCEA exams with perhaps a little end of year preparation. The point is I do not want my students thinking that passing an exam is evidence of solid learning. I may fail in this until I gain many more years of experience. Some of the NCEA “Excellence” level questions and Scholarship level questions are worthy of study, so these will always be possible starter questions for topics where my resources are a bit dry on. In reality I suspect the motivated students in my class will learn most through their own study, the unmotivated students might learn comparatively little depth about the subject but hopefully a lot about themselves (specifically they will learn and develop the Curriculum Key Competencies). For the latter type of student such learning is valuable but not assessed by external exams, which makes it difficult to show such students they are making good progress, so I will develop assessment resources whereby all students can assess fairly their Key Competencies in at least a semi-quantitative fashion (using say relative qualitative self-assessment scores). I can see in some classrooms, with a certain type of mix of students, my lessons may degenerate into a battle of wills,: me trying desperately to help students realize the greater benefits of learning for themselves, and the students wanting to be spoon-fed. What will I do when after a term the student fail dismally in the common tests? Honestly, I do not know the answer to this. I hope I will stick to my philosophy and continue to guide and help students realize the greater glory of independent learning. It is exhilarating and yet scary thinking about these prospects. I have gone over these questions in my mind so often now, almost every night for two years solid, that I confess to some terrible anxiety. From Teaching Experience (practicum) I know how hard it is to teach students in secondary school how to learn constructively. Most resist the method and, out of habit, want to be spoonfed. When a lesson ends in relative chaos the associate teachers will be critical even though the intent was meritorious, and this is destructive to my psyche and easily leads to depression and despair. So one of the key things I need to focus upon is how to be resilient

2.2 Personal Teaching Theories


and never give up on the dream of showing students the beauty of science. There are many tools and tricks I have looked into and have developed for helping with this challenge, but I really have no idea how it will pan out in reality. I pray for the courage to stay true to my convictions and not give up on teaching if I find the reality of year one as PRT too demanding. Further Thoughts of Personal Philosophy of Teaching I’ve written a lot more in my Reflection Journal, but here are some further thoughts that came to mind after reading some of the course material. These are things I hope to do or accomplish in addition to all the goals and plans in my Reflection Journal (in other words, these bullet points don’t even scratch the surface of what I envisage). • Use explicit ‘learning goal’ forms with which students can chart their progress. This would be a partially individualized program of action steps and concrete learning goals for each student. It would be an electronic spreadsheet. Essentially it is just a way of tracking student progress, but the important use it has in my philosophy is in given students the power of self-determination. They can edit and annotate their goal sheet and they can fill in the chart of their progress. • My developing metaphor for learning and teaching. My earlier metaphor was The Tree. I need to extend it to something like the Sadratu’l-Muntaha. The Tree of learning is infinite. It has complexity that cannot be captured by a metaphor, hence the metaphor needs some sort of fractal structure to capture this irreducible complexity. Yet at each level their is simplicity, as is necessary for any progress. Each step up the branches or through the roots is negotiable, and yet itself is infinitely finely layered representing the depth of the human mind. Like the Japanese philosophy of laziness, For the Epol-301 assignment #1 I need to integrate the above notes with those in my Reflection Journal to complete my current emerging philosophy and metaphor for learning and teacher self-image.


Readings—Personal Theories

Notes on Olsen (2010)—Teacher Knowledge.


2. Module 1—The Teacher in Context

• Research History—phases (a) teacher thinking, (b) action research, (c) critical theory. • Is teacher knowledge within people (specifically teachers) or outside of people? What’s the theory? Olsen’s discussion of usefulness of theory (background knowledge informing action consciously or unconsciously) is a good one to use for a Year 9 science lesson! • Cognitive versus Sociocultural. Olsen contrasts both these types of constructivist learning theory. I’ve never found the full-blown sociocultural constructivist theory very convincing. Human minds are the seat of knowledge and insight. One does not need other minds to think, indeed some of the best thinking is a result of isolation from the distraction or bias of others. However, learning in a sociocultural context is valuable and necessary for a well rounded individual mind. So I favour cognitive constructivism, and would tend to run my school lessons according to the recommended practise of such theories, but with a lot of student group work for balance. I would synthesize the cognitive and sociocultural theories by claiming that (a) learning occurs in the mind, whereas (b) this learning takes place within a social and cultural context. It is more than saying simply that social and cultural conditions influence learning. Using Olsen’s example of two teachers chatting away brimming with brainstorming ideas, going away with better understanding but not knowing who originated the ideas, well, to me, this is compatible with cognitive constructivism, since even though they may forget where the ideas came from, the final understanding is purely their own, it is internalized. The social context was not the learner the individual minds were the learners. They achieved the learning within a certain sociocultural matrix. • On whether “Knowledge is more ‘a thing’ or more like ‘a process’ ?”. And why this is important. A cannot see how anyone could make a distinction. Knowledge is only visible by It’s fruits. Knowledge is a quality displayed by a Mind in interaction with It’s environment. So the evidence of knowledge is definitely a process of sorts. The content of knowledge is an abstraction, a set of ideas, often linked, but to argue whether this is a static ‘thing’ or a dynamic ‘process’ is a bit academic. The fact is that every human mind or soul is a thing in constant flux. Things can evolve. So a thing can be a process. Acquisition of knowledge is better modelled as a process for sure, while knowledge itself is part of the intellectual

2.2 Personal Teaching Theories


dynamism of a thing, a self, a mind. There is no real need to try to categorize knowledge any more precisely. The distinction is important because teachers who hold a rigid cognitive view of knowledge as a thing to transmit tend to deny their students the opportunity to construct their own understanding, resulting in a parroting type of learning which lacks depth and leaves students less flexible to cope with real world problem solving. On the other hand, teachers who have an extreme sociocultural view of knowledge tend to deny their students the opportunity to memorize and cement basic facts and technique, leaving students perhaps flexible problem solvers but incapable of solving hard problems which require recall of basic facts. So for me, the holistic approach is key: use ideas and methods suggested by all valid learning theories. Use a balance of cognitive and sociocultural methods, and even old-fashioned behaviourist methods when applicable. Don’t tie your teaching to any one particular ideology or theory. Don’t be biased, don’t favour either method, try them all, and use evidence to iteratively improve and find what balance of theories and practical methods works best for a particular class. The balance may often depend on the mix of students in the class. So year-to-year you will be adapting your methods to suit the class, and refining how you go about this adaptation so that you can early settle on the right balance for this particular class of students. • On “Interpretive Frames”—the deeply embedded ideas and images we have about how we look as educators. My own current frame includes things like wanting to be subversive, wanting to show people the beauty in science and mathematics, and compromising as little as possible on creating beautiful lessons. I see my teaching as an art form to be constantly refined and perfected, and student learning outcomes as largely the responsibility of the students themselves. SO my primary goal, at least initially, is to acculturate students into the framework of being life-long learners and seekers of wisdom. If I can only teach them this then I would be wholly satisfied. • On Developing a Teacher Identity. The main thing I take from this reading is how important it is to constantly evolve and refine one’s teaching practises and assumptions (internal theories), since one’s practise is strongly shaped by internalized theories. If we want to become better teachers we need (a) a strong belief about what it is we wish to improve—our goals, and (b) constant reflection and refinement directed towards improving these goals.


2. Module 1—The Teacher in Context


Lecture on Personal Theories

Lecture key points: • Everyone has some innate ideas and internalized theories on how to teach and learn, whether we admit them r not. • It is wise to get to know yourself so that you can adapt your conscious and subconscious theories so that your actions better reflect your beliefs and so that you become a better teacher, as least according to your own standards. • Even though we know and believe we want to teach in a certain way, often when faced with classroom reality we end up defaulting to a more primitive (often a controller) mode of teaching which upon reflection we may abhor. What to do about this? • One “solution” is to capitulate and become the type of teacher we formally despised. That’s an easy option perhaps and probably a very bad idea. Bad for our own spiritual growth and even worse, if we are honest, for the children we teach. • A better solution is to accept our failures, learn from them, and work hard to turn our default mode into one we are philosophically comfortable with, which may take many years of practise and trial and failure before we reach satisfactory adaptation. • In todays schools it no doubt takes a strong willed and courageous person to act on their own priorities (playfulness, constructivism, student-empowerment) and avoid being sucked in to the vortex of pressure to conform with other people’s priorities (coverage of syllabus, exam grades, orderly or quiet classrooms). What can one say or do about this? Stick to your guns? Sounds fine, but how will this play out in reality when you are stressed and anxious? Will you be able to stick to your plans when even the students rebel against them and want to be spoon fed?


On Importance of Motivation

To me, motivation is one of the fundamental keys to learning, if not the most important key.

2.3 On Importance of Motivation


These notes were not part of the Epol-301 course, but they arose during my reflections of philosophy of learning. First, I came across an issue of The Journal of Experimental Education entirely devoted to the issue of motivation. How Teachers Can Motivate Without Stress. Whisler’s article (Whisler, 1991) provides a key. It could be called the Mental Health Model of motivation. In a sense it is very simple. Teachers need to first make sure they are in a good mental state, and this seems to wash onto students. Here are the main suggestions and findings: “The key is the teacher’s own state of mental health or level of functioning. We discuss and stress ways that teachers can calm themselves and raise their own mood levels so as to access their own higher levels of consciousness. Some guidelines for accessing and continuing to operate from a state of mental health include • staying calm; • eliminating or disengaging from thoughts that generate negative feelings; • eliminating or disengaging from thoughts that produce stress; • monitoring feelings and moods; • remembering that students have their own separate realities and are doing the best they can, given how things look to them; • not taking students’ actions and behaviors personally; • remembering that students aren’t bad, just insecure; and • maintaining a sense of humor.” “Teachers discover that, when operating from higher levels of understanding, they feel good about themselves, are relaxed and at ease, and are able to access their own common sense—thus responding to their students appropriately as each situation arises. They have more positive beliefs about their students and, more importantly,a higher level of understanding of their students’ inherent mental health and the ‘availability’ of their higher, agentic self. They naturally communicate and relate more appropriately and effectively and are able to see things from their students’ perspectives. This promotes mutual understanding and empathy. As a result, they naturally create a learning environment that fosters mental health in their students—that elicits students’ mental health or higher, agentic self. Students, in turn, feel good about themselves, are interested and motivated to learn, exhibit common sense and the ability to


2. Module 1—The Teacher in Context

make mature judgments, and are creative and productive. Their positive mental health, in turn, reciprocally fosters mental health in their teachers. Again, when functioning from their own mental health or higher self, teachers have common sense and inner wisdom available.” Cool. I might add that “ maintaining a sense of humour” might not necessarily mean being a clownish teacher, but instead simply listening to student’s and laughing along with their wise-cracks and jokes. Whisler concludes: “Students who in the past have been viewed as ‘throwaways’ are seen as inherently healthy and capable of succeeding. Teachers do not need to fix them or supply them with self-esteem or motivation. Rather than relying on strategies and tips to rectify a situation, often experiencing frustration and lack of success, teachers can relax, access their own mental health, and, in turn, tap directly into their students’ higher, agentic self. The result is students displaying their natural curiosity, motivation, and love of learning, and succeeding academically. “Although more research is needed to systematically study the effects on students, their motivation, and learning, the model and teacher training intervention presented appears to be encouraging and effective. Wherever we go and share this perspective, we are met with enthusiasm and hope. Teachers who feel stressed, burned out, and unappreciated seem to get back in touch with their initial vision for teaching—to make a difference with their students—and their deeply held ‘knowing’ that all students can succeed and be the best they can be.” In the same issue of Journal of Experimental Education (Mills, 1991) mentions success in pilot programs for at-risk youth which help the youth access their higher conscious awareness through self-reflection. “In this model, individuals’ capacity for consciousness is related to what has been termed metacognition, or the ability to recognize and experience a higher and more natural condition of mental health, that is outside the framework of conditioned ways of thinking. “This state of mind is accessed in human beings when they are in a more positive feeling state and seems to be most directly accessible when they recognize a state of unconditional esteem or realize, to greater degrees, non-contingent well-being that comes from within and is not tied to external circumstances or their past.”

3. Module 2—The Profession of Teaching
The first topics for the week are professional learning communities and professional relationships. This material will be in written format following an introductory video clip. These topics will be followed by a video presentation on teaching as a profession. Early on we strike some readings that ask whether teaching is a profession or not. This is a dumb question. Who cares! However, we can come at the question from a different angle and ask instead, “Why might it be important to regard teaching as a profession? And given an answer, is the current status of teaching living up to this importance and if not how can this be remedied? ”


Teacher as Professional

This presentation asks what is meant by teaching as a profession and to consider the contested nature of professionalism in teaching. Compulsory readings: (Vossler, 2005), (Groundwater-Smith & Mockler, 2009). Before you listen to the lecture take a few minutes to consider the following (my thoughts in italics): 1. Think about those occupations that are widely acknowledged as being professions (e.g., law and medicine). Make a list of three to five characteristics that you think professionals share. A profession: (1) Requires substantial higher knowledge—knowledge that moreover requires higher order thinking in practical use and typically requires some devotion and effort in practice—cannot be undertaken without considerable devotion of time. (2) Has a code of ethics and associated moral obligations, or 27


3. Module 2—The Profession of Teaching

similar requirements outlining good practise. (3) Has a degree of autonomy and self-determination as a professional collective. 2. Do you think teachers meet this criteria? Yes and no. When teachers are allowed to blindly follow a syllabus then the first aspect is removed, although most teachers, whether good or bad, devote considerable hours to their work. When teachers ignore the moral obligations towards their students the second aspect is removed, and many teachers are able to function without attending to moral obligations—particularly when the professional standards are not explicit. State mandated curriculum and assessment means teachers have very little autonomy in New Zealand. So I guess that is a strong score of 0.5 out of 3, but in an ideal world teaching does merit a 100% or 3 out of 3 score as a bona fid´ profession. The question e is, why can’t we make teaching more like the ideal?

Notes on Vossler (2005)—Is Teaching a Profession? Vossler concludes teaching is currently not set up in New Zealand as a profession. Teachers are more like slaves of the State. Teachers lack autonomy, they lack a professional policy making body independent of government, and they lack a healthy degree of selfdetermination. • On “Respect for the Profession”: Vossler notes teachers are accorded high personal respect, but the profession itself is not often perceived as valued by society, judging for example by teacher salaries. • On “Autonomy” (the lack of): successive neo-liberal agendas have diluted the worth of teaching by removing the freedom and autonomy teachers have in their classrooms. Vossler mentions attitudes conveyed in surveys and anecdotally, indicating teachers are more often expected to deliver a standardized product, and become more like trade practitioners rather than highly skilled and creative knowledge-economy workers. • On “Teacher Knowledge”—(pedgagogy and content) is it of a professional nature: No doubt it can be and should be, the question is whether too many teachers are not practising at a sufficiently advanced and refined level to be justified as showing the exercise of high level professional knowledge. • On “Disrespect for Theory”’: Vossler notes that many teachers express a distaste for theory, arguing that the reality of teaching is more about noting experience and accumulated wisdom through practice.

3.1 Teacher as Professional


My own view is that this attitude tends to result in poor teaching practice. Teachers get lulled into a comfort zone of thinking about “what has worked for me” as the best practice. More self-critical examination and openness to theory, willingness to experiment, might lead to short term worse performance but longer term higher quality teaching. • On “Teacher Training”: if teachers are merely trained in the skills required to teach then this makes teaching a fairly thin profession. Vossler’s notes suggest a higher professional standard might be achieved if teachers are fully and roundly educated in many arts and sciences, rather than just narrowly educated in teaching skills required to survive a first year of classroom teaching. In New Zealand in the 1990’s teacher education degenerated into the technical training mode, and only recently in the late 2000’s has revived into a more well-rounded education with a focus on encouraging life-long learning in students using more enlightened pedagogy. Yet in practice the ERO demands and NZQA demands still see too much mere technical practice with little to inspire students. • On “Dilution of Autonomy”: Vossler vastly understates the damage caused by excessive pressures and lack of autonomy. Vossler cites many examples where teacher autonomy and creativity have been stifled. “These pressures have encroached on the time and inclination of many teachers to develop their own programmes, or have encouraged the wholesale adoption of a range of solutions which have been provided and mandated externally, which may or may not necessarily meet the needs of their particular early childhood service or school.” Is Vossler kidding? There simply is no doubt that the pressures mentioned have caused a drastic decline in education and learning overall. Schools and teachers have adapted to cope, but the impact on children has been incredibly unfair. Maybe the chance children have to develop their full potential is no worse than it has eve been, but this is no excuse, we should be living in more enlightened times. The pressures that reduce teacher autonomy simply have to be removed, with some urgency. I would cite research on human motivation, e.g., the research by Dan Pink, which shows that humans are motivated by three fundamental things, (1) autonomy, (2) mastery, (3) purpose. Deny these to teachers and education is in crisis. Material reward turns out to be a motivator only for mechanical repetitive task performance. For any moderately demanding cognitive task the


3. Module 2—The Profession of Teaching

three human motivators just mentioned result in (by far) higher quality of performance. • On “the Consumer Model of Education”: parents and children as clients, government and schools as providers, teachers as deliverers. Sounds about right. It is pretty abhorrent and deplorable for an otherwise fairly liberal and enlightened country. • On “Teacher-proofing Education”: no doubt this sort of State control occurs in spades. At this point reading the article I got pretty depressed. The main trouble I think is the complete lack of autonomy in the teaching quasi-profession, and hence the almost total lack of creativity in teaching in today’s classrooms. It’s not that teachers are un-creative, it is that their natural creativity is stifled and has to be channelled towards teaching to the assessments. This means teachers are being highly creative in may instances, but the creativity is largely a waste because it is channelled into activities that students find forced or artificial and lacking relevance.

Notes on Groundwater-Smith (2009)—Developing Courageous Teachers. In the article (Groundwater-Smith & Mockler, 2009) it is argued that teachers need to be encouraged to show courage in eight essential areas. I add a ninth. 1. The courage to have a concern for procedural justice 2. The courage to engage with teaching’s moral purpose 3. The courage to be truly professional in undertaking practice 4. The courage to be progressive and take a transformative and liberating stance 5. The courage to tolerate ambiguity 6. The courage to have hope 7. The courage to ask the difficult questions and 8. The courage to propose the challenging solutions 9. The courage to truly empower students

3.1 Teacher as Professional



Current Issues in Secondary Education

There was a fun online Discussion Forum activity. The issue to discuss was roughly as follows. A school has put an expensive iPad on it’s compulsory stationary items. Much outcry at the cost and educational advantage/disadvantage created by the precedent—have’s and have-nots et cetera. The research summarized saying IT is of dubious benefit to learning, or at least hasn’t been proven as a golden wand for learning just yet. Then an interview pulled from Wired with Steve Jobs who was rubbishing the idea that Apple computers would improve education. He said that schools are mostly not teaching kids anything useful, and computers would only make teaching in schools more efficient at teaching kids useless knowledge. So anyway, the online students gave some typical contributions, such as, “Oh, I think computers are over-rated and quality teachers don’t need them.” To which I replied, “Wait a mo’, what if you want to teach students about fractals, or fluid dynamics, or find a counter-example to the Riemann Conjecture (lol). . . . ” But yeah, in all seriousness, let the rich fat cats have their iPads. We’ll do without. If it really does create a learning divide then the government will use the fat catz tax money to distribute laptops to all kids. No problemo. Then there was a lovely rebuttal of some of my comments by Isaac. He wrote: “I find myself in quite a lot of disagreement with the practicalities of Blair’s comments. “I don’t think NCEA is a system to be subverted, unless you mean summative assessment in general. I believe NCEA is a fantastic system in that it is so flexible as to allow us to both motivate and teach at the same time, and I believe it is the teacher’s job to integrate the various aspects of classroom life including teaching models, assessment and increasingly technology.


3. Module 2—The Profession of Teaching

“I also reject the dichotomy between studying related to NCEA and ‘real’ learning that you have presented. What is real learning? Why can’t you incorporate both without leaving students to fend for themselves regarding the actual assessments that will affect their grades? If you mean assessment specific areas of knowledge required, where is the evidence that they will be able to incorporate the information by themselves at home? I submit that a teacher that pursues an agenda that is explicitly in the interests of having as little to do with NCEA as possible, and expects students themselves to deal with the aspects of education that keep both the teacher accountable and the students’ own knowledge of progression, is in fact doing a disservice to the students and the profession. You’ve mentioned ‘crap’ teachers—without explaining what exactly that means—and thus you cannot expect to be able to accuse teachers who integrate NCEA successfully without also facing the real possibility that attempting to subvert NCEA instead of improving yourself professionally could also be considered ‘crap’ teaching. I’m not saying either, because I don’t believe such language is actually helpful in defining what makes a teacher effective or not. It sounds like you have an agenda to teach the way that you want to teach, rather than in a way that will actually promote passing the assessments (like it or not, that’s what needs to happen). I would be very cautious about employing your ideas without significant evidence, particularly in terms of lower-class families, M¯ori, Pasifika, and other under-served demographics of the a educational system, that it actually produces results. “Practically, not all students have access to technology outside of school time, so leaving it to students to rely on such technology is not reliable or even ethical. “On a relevant level, I don’t think we should rely on “Life finds a way” either. Graphic calculators are all the rage right now, and that started when I was about 14. My family couldn’t afford one at the time. They started becoming the foundation equipment for the course. I was a very motivated student, and was unmotivated by everyone else having a technology and me not having it, and the teacher basically left me to work out things like simultaneous equations for myself. If life finds a way, graphic calculators beat life. I find it difficult to take seriously a lot of the language descriptors and arguments you put up in the absence of any evidence.” To which I had to reply: “Wonderful response to my insanity Isaac, I really appreciate your

3.1 Teacher as Professional


thoughts. HUGE Cheers 2 u. I hope you realize in these forums we do not have the luxury of writing a thesis and backing up our assertions with references :-) So you need to read my comments and interpret them heavily to make full sense. So I will try to do justice to your criticisms without writing a thesis. “1. You say NCEA is not a system to be subverted. We disagree somewhat. This touches on a lot of other points you made. First I would agree that NCEA is flexible in principle, however in school practice I have seen with my own eyes (there’s your reference!) that students do not have the choice. Teachers and HOD’s typically decide what the school ‘will offer’ and even then the students typically sit in a class with no say whatsoever in the papers they will be allowed to study within the subject choice. They have subject choice only, which is the same choice they had under the older systems. This does not need to be so, but it is the sad reality. I seek to subvert the aspects of NCEA and any summative high stakes qualifications system that prevents full student choice. I will return to other aspects of NCEA (and you can certainly feel free to lump into this any other examinations of similar ilk) that I think make it my moral responsibility to try to subvert and undermine (this is not an imperative I demand others follow). “Besides all this, can’t you imagine a better education system? One without the artificiality of high stakes tests? One where students are assessed on an entire portfolio of work or similar? If you can, isn’t it morally reprehensible not to try to do something about subverting the current system? Granted, we have to go about this in clever ways that do not wreak havoc with the lives and fortunes of students. Practicalities yes, are a huge issue. I confess I am not a very practical person, but I am not naive about this. It worries me a lot, it causes insomnia and great anxiety in my soul. “2. I agree it is “teacher’s job to integrate the various aspects of classroom life including teaching models, assessment and increasingly technology”, but there is also a moral responsibility to go beyond merely teaching students to pass exams–I think you agree. “3. What is real learning? Here you need to assume our common knowledge from the VUW Grad.Dip.Ed course. I think we all agree that real learning is associated with deep understanding, something that springs from within a learners’ mind through desire and motivation for learning. Real learning (whatever else it may be) is something I take for granted occurs when the motive is intrinsic, not motivated by external goals such as grades. However, the two are not mutually exclusive. “4. Why can’t you incorporate both (CNEA study and real learning)


3. Module 2—The Profession of Teaching

without leaving students to fend for themselves regarding the actual assessments that will affect their grades? I hope we all can incorporate both. But you must be very naive if you think this is easy or even possible in any given school. The prevailing culture is so exam focused that it really gets in the way of what I’ve defined as real learning. Again, let me repeat, this need not be so. My examples are drawn from mathematics and science, and you may have a different perspective from other subject areas which are in healthier states. I cannot debate you on this without more of a thesis, but from the evidence I’ve gathered on TE and from visiting four other schools in my own time, the reality in science and mathematics is depressing. Schools are not listening to what students want to know in these subject areas and NCEA is exacerbating this badly. I invite you to show contrary evidence (which by the way I would love to see and would welcome with open eyes, arms and ears). I’ve also interviewed a lot of students, and there are incredibly few, maybe 1%, who do not hate mathematics and science classes. It’s not always the teaches they hate. They are smart enough, they know their teachers are hamstrung by exam and curriculum coverage pressures. “5. On “leaving students to fend for themselves. . . ”: this is interesting. I never said I would ever leave students to fend for themselves, but I think you are just provoking me here, which is good :-) “In their learning for exams I would indeed leave students alone, in a manner of speaking, and let them ask me to help them. But I would give them all the tools to study of course, and I would always be standing along side ready to help. I think most current research shows the teacher who teaches to the tests is pretty ineffective (there’s your “crap” teacher in one sense), and from my own experience over many years of private tutoring (about ten years worth) I fully know that a lot of students achieving ‘Excellence’ are studying on their own or with a private tutor. It’s not really their teacher is ‘crap”, that’s just my emotive phrase, rather their teachers simply cannot cover the exam topics in real depth, so from 50 min a day in class the students simply cannot cope, they need to study the material for themselves. So like it or not, students have to fend for themselves in a big way under the current system. You can try to prove me wrong, but I know I’m right ;-) “6. On the “practicalities” of my comments. I never said they were practical. I think my ideas are a bit insane. But if they work out then I’ll let you know. I am not an experienced teacher and I hope you take my comments in this spirit. I hope to prove to you in a few years that my methods will work wonders. However, already there is a lot of research which shows students learn when they learn for themselves. So you need

3.1 Teacher as Professional


to wake up and see the positive in letting students fend for themselves. I do not advocate leaving students unsupported, and if they truly wanted to study solely to pass NCEA then I would support them 100% in this endeavour. It’s just I would first counsel them on the things they would be missing if they adopted such a narrow focus. NCEA surely works for a few students. It does not help the majority in the way we should hope though. The evidence is almost overwhelming if you just look: pass rates are low in math and science, universities constantly complain at the uncritical and incurious nature of their first year students. (Universities don’t exactly do much more to help, they seem to expect schools to engender curiosity for them). Again, Isaac, please don’t complain that I’m not supporting these claims with evidence, because I could if you rally wanted it! I will just mention the new University of Minnesota program which leaves students to largely learn on their own or in groups, with the lecturers facilitating. I don’t know if they still sit exams, but it doesn’t matter because they are learning so much, the exams are merely a piece of paper showing some nominal attainment. The real learning within students’ minds cannot be fairly assessed by an exam, I hope you will agree. “7. On the proposition that subverting NCEA is poor teaching. Well of course it could be! The way I propose it will almost certainly be fraught with difficulties and disruptions. But my long term interests are for the health of students. So some pain is perhaps worth going through. Believe me, I do not play the agent provocateur lightly. If I didn’t think the exams and assessments were killing a love of science and mathematics that is latent in just about every child then I would not be ranting so vehemently. “The aims of schooling need to be considered, not just some hypotheticals. I would be in total awe of teachers who manage to integrate NCEA focus into whole organic deep learning teaching practise. Maybe it is different in other subject areas, but in mathematics and science the evidence is palpable that students are being dealt a harsh blow and their learning is hindered by the manifold ways the exam focused schools stifle student creativity and curiosity. Do you really need me to supply evidence? “Let me just ask you and anyone who defends NCEA whether there is a single question any any of the past nine years worth of mathematics or science exams that any student would seriously be interested in exploring? You could count the number on one hand probably. So you see, exams are a way of assessing learning, and that is a fit purpose, but when they become the focus of study, well, do I need to tell you how


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much harm that causes to cultivating deep understanding? One problem is that the exams are so predictable, they don’t encourage students to endeavour to understand things deeply. “7. You wrote: “It sounds like you have an agenda to teach the way that you want to teach, rather than in a way that will actually promote passing the assessments (like it or not, that’s what needs to happen)”: doesn’t everyone want to teach the way they want to teach? Wouldn’t it be immoral and dishonest not to? You must be mad to think otherwise, but I assume you are not. But this is a false dichotomy. I certainly do desire any students under my care to achieve what they wish to achieve, and if that is passing an exam then as I wrote before, this is what I would help them accomplish. My subversive activities are aimed at improving the lot of students who do not want to be constrained by exams. Don’t you dare think otherwise! :-) “8. On the remark “I would be very cautious about employing your ideas without significant evidence, particularly in terms of lower-class families,”: I will be also cautious. But someone has to start somewhere improving the system. “Can I ask you if you are prepared to experiment and take risks? Sure, no one wants to botch up a student’s life for the sake of a pedagogical experiment. I doubt any school or PRT programme would allow it anyway, there is almost no fear whatsoever since there are so many constraints and bounds in the system to prevent innovative experiments in teaching. It’s laughable to think my ideas would be allowed to be applied without scrutiny and supervision (I gather you’d agree, but I’m just stating this for the record). So while you might be cautious, it behooves some of us to risk more, and yet such are the pressures and regulations one cannot really do too much damage. “Another thing, I’m not at all sure what you mean about insinuating some hazard for “low-income families. . . ”. I would never make expensive equipment compulsory. If I cannot use IT to help students ace their exams then I will find other ways. There is no question about this in my mind. I’m kinda’ hurt anyone would think I could be so callous as to wilfully adopt teaching practices that disadvantage lower-income families. 9. So I agree with you completely about the ethics of using technology outside of school. 10. I am sorry your teacher left you to work simultaneous equations out for yourself. That wasn’t the technology’s fault. One cannot blame the graphic calculator. I am also sorry I was so flippant in my language. I honestly never meant to infer that students who struggle in a class-

3.1 Teacher as Professional


room without technology which other students possessed were too dumb to “find a way”. To me this is a case of inhumanity. If all students cannot access the same equipment then any lesson based on the equipment should be canned. I think most of us on this forum agree that the technology does not enhance learning in general, it only makes certain tasks easier or harder, and there is no way that a teacher should ever feel constrained by having to run a lesson that necessitates a certain technology other than the human sensory perceptions. Even a blackboard or whiteboard is often unnecessary, depending upon the topic or mode or learning. “My comment about “life finding a way” simply meant that when someone is at a disadvantage the human spirit seems to find alternatives, but not that this always works out swell. I’m not sure how it worked out in your 14 year old case, but if anything it taught you a great lesson in how not to teach! Am I wrong? Are you not better off for the experience? When since has solving a simultaneous equation been of any great advantage in life? Or when has any lack of practice at solving simultaneous equations done you harm, haven’t you since figured them out? (I’m not trying to be facetious or condescending here.) My point is that if solving this or that really meant anything to you other than an exam grade then I bet ANYTHING you will have figured it out since, and probably in a deeper way than the other students who had the graphics calculators. If not, then I sincerely apologise for my earlier flippant remarks. “11. Isaac, you wrote a stinging last line, “I find it difficult to take seriously a lot of the language descriptors and arguments you put up in the absence of any evidence.”: Fair enough. Language descriptors need not be taken too seriously in some of my comments. I do however hope you have fairly assessed the deeper import of my arguments and give me some allowance for withholding full evidence due to the restricted nature of this forum. “This is a discussion forum, not a court of law. I hope you can loosen up a bit and take my more extreme remarks with suitably mild milk. However, have you justly appraised the deeper intent of my comments? Surely I wanted to spark some debate and ferment. I did not write anything that I cannot defend of course. But the reply you wrote (and plenty of the other comments I haven’t yet had a chance to read) were brilliant! I love your thoughts so much Isaac. You have given me a wonderful challenge with which to refine and hone my ideas. So whether you think any differently about my posts in this forum or not, I thank you from the depth of my heart for your contribution. It really means a


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lot to me to get such thoughtful critical feedback.” There was more debate and it was good. Some other issues that arose follow. TWIG–Teaching with Immersive Gaming. Neuroscience studies suggest gamebased learning is highly effective. It grows grey matter. The direct cause of grey matter growth is learning, but apparently gaming is a very good way for children to learn. Studies on youth and adults is lacking. Brain Boosters—Drugs that Enhance Memory. Ritalin and modafinil seem to be drugs that some people are taking to improve their cognitive performance. Modafini for example demonstrably focuses the mind and improves memory, planning and reduces impulsivity. The online discussion forum was about the use of computers in schools and the potential this would create a two-tiered education system. If the issue is the cost of the learning enhancements and the fact some kids won’t therefore get access, then the use of expensive cognitive enhancing drugs presents another potential for increased educational inequality.


Professional Learning Communities

Aims of this section: 1. To consider the nature of professional learning communities and professional relationships. 2. To explore factors that impact on teachers’ contribution to and participation in professional learning communities Among the “Registered Teacher Criteria” there is a key indicator of one of the professional relationships and professional values criteria, which is that fully registered teachers should: “Actively contribute to the professional learning community” —(New Zealand Teachers Council, 2009) So what is a professional learning community? Read the following chapter (Hipp & Huffman, 2010) which introduces this concept.

3.2 Professional Learning Communities


Notes on Hipp (2010)—Demystifying Professional Learning Communities. • On “Shared Values and Goals”: a school community cannot be an effective learning community without a shared vision everyone buy into. The leadership cannot be sole dictator, all must feel they have a stake. • “Improving Student learning”: whatever the form and methods, this is the ultimate goal of the school professional learning community. A ‘PLC’ modus vivendi is thus in brief, improving teacher learning to improve student learning. • On “Support, Community Collegiality”: a superb PLC must have more than simple collegiality, it must go beyond such base ideals and aim for true caring of each member. “Supportive conditions are the glue that hold the other aspects [of a PLC] together.’ • On “Making Time”: to build an effective PLC requires allocating time, time enough to build relationships and get on with progress towards the goal of improving student learning. • On “Relationships”: it takes time, as just noted, but shouldn’t a great PLC be so much fun that all involved try their darnedest to make the time? That requires more than great leadership, it requires inspired leadership. The lecture notes add to all this. Other educationalists (reference is cited but not given as ‘Stoll and Fink (1996, p. 151)’) also discuss professional learning communities and suggest that effective professional learning communities: • Treat teachers as professionals. • Promote high quality staff development. • Encourage teachers’ leadership and participation. • Promote collaboration for improvement. • Develop ways to induct, include and develop new members. • Function successfully within their context. • Work to change things that matter. • Have processes and procedures that elicit trust.


3. Module 2—The Profession of Teaching

A similar concept to that of professional learning communities is learning organisations. A learning organisation may be characterised by the following: • People feel they are doing something that matters. • People feel free to take risks and be creative and innovative. • People work collegially and there is mutual trust and respect. • The organisation has a shared vision. • People work together rather than as individuals. Think about organisations you have been part of either within or outside of the education sector and whether they could be described as learning organisations. Not all educational setting function effectively as professional learning communities. According to one author1 , organisations learn if they can detect and correct errors (individually and collectively) and if the practices they use to do this become embedded in the culture of the organisation. Organisational culture can be described as “the way things are done around here” or as “beliefs, values, habits, and assumed ways of doing things”2 . There can be a mismatch between the observable aspects of culture, the values that are espoused or articulated and the underlying beliefs held by people in the organisation. Reflection Activity. My comments in italics. • Reflect on what you believe are the important indicators of professional learning communities in your sector. Fun and eager awaiting to attend staff or departmental meetings. Wonderful camaraderie. Tangible benefits to teaching practise and student learning. A sense of being part of something way bigger than yourself. • Reflect on and think of examples of how the educational settings you went to on your teaching experience fitted with the indicators you have described. There was a will, but drowned by pressures and a rushed uninspired syllabus. Glimpses of inspirational leadership, but the better leaders were in subordinate positions unable to gain wide support. There were faint, dim, glimpses of fun at meetings, mostly from jokes and wise-cracks. Often however staff meetings were seen as obligations, or necessary business, rather than opportunities for inspiration.
1 2

Cited as ‘Cardno (2010)’ but not referenced. Cited as ‘(Hargreaves, 1994, p.165)’ but not referenced.

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Professional Relationships

The nature of the professional relationships between teachers is an important indicator of an effective teaching culture sometimes known as a critical teaching culture. Within effective teaching cultures the following may occur: • Teachers regularly discuss practice in terms of current theory and research. • Opportunities are provided at meetings to share understandings and discuss issues. • Teachers regularly give each other honest and constructive feedback. • Reading, joining in professional discussion and taking part in professional development are encouraged and expected. • There is a willingness to accept new ideas and make changes when appropriate. • People feel comfortable to disagree with one another and challenge each other’s views. Engagement in appropriate professional relationships is an expectation for a registered teacher. The first criteria under ‘Professional relationships and professional values’ states: 1. Establish and maintain effective professional relationships focused on the learning and well-being of all ¨konga. a The key indicator of this is: • Engage in ethical, respectful, positive and collaborative relationships with: akonga; teaching colleagues, support staff and other profession¨ als; whanau and other carers of ¨konga; agencies, groups and individuals a in the community. —(New Zealand Teachers Council, 2009).


Strategies for Developing and Maintaining Professional Relationships

Developing and maintaining professional learning communities is all about relationships. According to the literature, there are a number of skills that are necessary to build and maintain effective professional relationships. These include:


3. Module 2—The Profession of Teaching

• Building trust. • Having open-to-learning conversations. • Giving and receiving feedback. • Coaching or taking the role of a critical friend. Building Trust. The importance of developing trust in professional learning communities has been emphasised by (Hargreaves, 2007) who suggests that an atmosphere of trust allows emotional issues to be surfaced. Four interpersonal qualities: respect; integrity; competence; and consideration for others influence how trustworthy others find us (Robinson, 2007). Trust is developed when relationships are characterised by reliability and honesty (Hunter, Bailey, & Taylor, 1999). The impact of an absence of trust is shown in the following diagram (Fig.3.1) by Lencioni taken from his book “Five dysfunctions of a team” (Lencioni, 2002). Elaborating on these:

Figure 3.1: Five dysfunctions of teams.

3.2 Professional Learning Communities


• Absence of trust stems from team members being unwilling to be vulnerable within the group. • Team members who are not genuinely open with each other about their mistakes and weaknesses make it impossible to build a foundation for trust. • Teams that lack trust are incapable of engaging in unfiltered and passionate debate of ideas. Instead, they resort to veiled discussions and guarded comments. • Lack of commitment results when debate is not passionate and open. • Because of a lack of commitment, team members develop an avoidance of accountability. • Failure to hold one another accountable can lead to inattention to results. This happens when the needs of individuals come before the needs of the team. Reflection Activity—Teams. How does this model fit with your experience of teams or relationships you have been part of? Use any form of team or relationship for your reflection not necessarily one in an education context. It pretty much fits perfectly in both positive (good teams have trust) and negative (poor teams lack trust) experiences. Though there are shades of grey and the cause of initial distrust can vary greatly. Sometimes it can stem from misunderstanding and can be repaired. Sometimes distrust is just endemic and would require almost rebooting the ‘team’ entirely to repair. Sometimes it requires two or more team members to thoroughly change their personality, which is not easy. Strategies for building trust. Building trust requires shared experiences over time, multiple instances of follow-through and credibility, and an in-depth understanding of the unique characteristics of team members. It is important that the leader demonstrates genuine vulnerability in order to build trust.3 If trust exists in a learning community then it is more likely that robust conversations (unfiltered and passionate debate of ideas in Lencioni’s words) will occur. In the “School Leadership and Student Outcomes: Identifying What Works and Why: Best Evidence Synthesis Iteration” (Robinson, Hohepa, & Lloyd, 2009), the concept of open-to-learning conversations is discussed. The following chart explains the guiding values and key strategies behind such conversations. (Table 3.1).

Cited as ‘(Lencioni, 2002)’ but not referenced.


3. Module 2—The Profession of Teaching

Table 3.1: The guiding values and strategies of an open-to-learning conversation (from: Robinson, Hohepa & Lloyd, 2009, P. 193).
Guiding values Increase the validity of information. (Information includes: thoughts, opinions, reasoning, inferences, and feelings.) Key strategies • Disclose the reasoning that leads to your views. • Provide examples and illustrations of your views. • Use the ladder of inference. • Treat your own views as hypotheses rather than taken-for-granted truths. • Seek feedback and disconfirmation. • Listen deeply, especially when views differ from you own. • Expect high standards and constantly check to see how you are helping others reach them. • Share control of the conversation, including the management of conversations. • Share the problems and the problem solving process. • Require accountability for collective decisions. • Foster public monitoring and review of decisions.

Increase respect. Treat others as well-intentioned, interested in learning, and capable of contributing to your learning.

Increase commitment. Foster ownership of decisions through transparent and shared processes.


Ladder of Inference

The ladder of inference (Fig. 3.2) referred to above can be explained as a common mental pathway of increasing abstraction, often leading to misguided beliefs and as, “A powerful tool for helping people to recognise their tendency to make claims about the world that they assume to be true, and, therefore, expect others to accept without question. By using the ladder, people can become more aware of what led them to make those claims and of the possible ways they could be wrong. When people realise that their claims are not self-evident, and that other interpretations of the same behaviour of events are possible, they become much more open to learning from others” —(Robinson & Lai, 2006, p. 45).

3.2 Professional Learning Communities


Figure 3.2: The ladder of inference. A useful tool to keep in mind for avoiding forcing your world-view upon others.


Giving and Receiving Feedback

Giving and receiving feedback is an important activity for those involved in professional relationships. Constructive feedback is particularly useful as it increases our self-awareness, offers us options on how we can act and relate to others, and gives us the opportunity to change our behaviour (McGill & Brockbank, 2004). This can be related to the Johari window model introduced in last week’s module. Effective feedback reduces our blind spots and increases the shared information. The following are a list of guidelines to bear in mind when giving feedback: • Be clear about what you want to say—consider the purpose of your feedback. • Be honest and explicit—don’t generalise and do try to use examples. • Focus on the behaviour not the person. • Be descriptive rather than evaluative. • Be respectful. • Be direct—to the point. • Be timely—find an appropriate time to communicate your feedback. • Give the other person the opportunity to say what they think/feel and encourage discussion on future actions.


3. Module 2—The Profession of Teaching

Reflection Activity—Feedback. What sort of feedback did you receive on your teaching experience and how helpful was it? Were you asked to give feedback to your associate teachers? I received sensible feedback, tough it was not useful for developing my own philosophy of teaching. It did help me appreciate the difficulties teachers have and how to overcome most of them. For example, how to deal with an unruly class be remaining calm and without shouting. How to use the imperative effectively without shouting. I was able to give feedback to associate teachers, though normally I was not critical enough to really help them. I felt too subservient. It wasn’t so much that there was lack of trust but more a lack of mutual understanding of teaching philosophy. The registered teacher criterion with regard to professional relationships specifies a number of specific relationships including those with students; teaching colleagues, other professionals; whanau; agencies, groups and individuals in the community. These different relationships vary in nature and closeness. In terms of relationships with students, the most effective teacher’s relationships in the VITAE study (Day, 2009), differed from those who were simply effective in the following ways (Table 3.2):
Table 3.2: Relationships of teachers.
Effective Praise and feedback Rapport Boundaries More Effective Develop individual relationships Building self esteem Engender trust and respect

The following quote taken from Day’s article gives a student voice on the nature of effective relationships with students: “The good teachers are the ones who know how to listen as well as talk, who don’t make you feel that your opinion isn’t worth anything. It’s not age that’s important, it’s their attitude to young people. There are some who don’t seem to enjoy what they’re doing, and there are others who seem so enthusiastic about their subjects. It’s brilliant being with those sort of teachers.” —(‘Gillian’, in White, 2000, p. 18)

3.2 Professional Learning Communities


Ka Hikitia, the M¯ori Education Strategy, also emphasises the importance of strong a relationships. According to this document Ako incorporates two aspects: 1. Culture counts: knowing, respecting and valuing who the students are, where they come from and building on what they bring with them. 2. Productive partnerships: M¯ori students, whanau, hapu, iwi and educators a sharing knowledge and expertise with each other to produce better mutual outcomes. (Ministry of Education, 2008, p. 20)


Teacher-teacher Relationships

Relationships between colleagues can also differ in nature and may include PRT/mentor relationships, peer coaching relationship and those of critical friends. Each of these will be discussed in the next section of the module. Coaching is being seen as an important skill for a professional teacher. Coaching does not involve telling someone how to act but rather helping them set and achieve their goals. Costa and Garmsto’s (2000) conception of coaching is different from that of a sport’s coach; they suggest that: “To coach means to convey a valued colleague from where he or she is to where they want to be.” Carr, Herman & Harris (2005) have developed the following list of characteristics of an effective coaching relationship. • Trust. • Confidentiality. • Listening without judgement. • Supporting reflection through the use of open-ended questioning. • Using communication strategies to promote thinking and learning. You will notice that the emphasis on trust and confidentiality. Another important coaching skill and one necessary for all professional relationships it listening. Active Listening in particular is seen as an essential coaching skill and is one of the first requirements of effective dialogue (Robinson, 2002).


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“To listen actively we must set aside our own concerns temporarily. Are you listening or are you just waiting for your turn to speak?” Another important skill is the use of questioning. The place for questioning comes after listening without judgement so that some trust and confidence has been established. The use of open questions allows people to develop their own strategies for action as being questioned by others encourages reflection as it can jolt the learner into deeper thinking. The following table 3.3 has a list of types of questions that might be used in a coaching conversation. Note that the thinking, vision and planning questions focus on future possibilities while the detail, problem and drama questions can lead to negative thinking as the person being coached may focus only on details and problems.
Table 3.3: Questions used in coaching conversations.
Focus of question Thinking Vision Planning Detail Problem Example How clear are you about this issue? What do you want to achieve here? What is your plan for achieving this? Tell me about what you have done so far? What is going to get in the way of you achieving this? Tell me what will go wrong if you dont resolve this issue?


Reflection Activity—Coaching Questions. Here are some further examples of thinking questions—bear these in mind for use in your critical friend pair activity later on. Here I use italic comments to imagine I’m answering these questions about the very issue of finding a supportive mentor teacher. • How long have you been thinking about this?

3.2 Professional Learning Communities


I often think about the peer or mentoring coaching relation. I worry I will not find a suitable mentor. I worry that if a deep friendship cannot be found then all this relationship theory will have to be brought to bear. I think with a deep friendship most of the relationship theory follows naturally, but without friendship it can all be a struggle, even when the theory is clear. • How clear are you about this issue? Clear on the objectives, purpose, theory, but not clear on where I will find a good mentor. • How committed to resolving this are you? Quite committed, though of course a lot depends on how willing and far I am prepared to search. • What impact is thinking about this issue having on you? It is worrying me enough to cause insomnia. • How do you feel about the resources you have put into this so far? Not adequate. I need to get out an talk to more people. • What is your plan for moving forward on this issue? Finish studies then actively phone and visit schools, talk to principals and recommended teachers. • So what does a critical friend relationship look like? It’s got to be honest and devoted, like you are on a journey together and will help each other through thick and thin. It cannot be a fragile relationship. You need a shared vision, although you don’t need to be socially close, just intellectually close. Now read the following article which explains this concept (Costa & Kallick, 1993). Notes on Costa (1993)—Critical Friends. You will notice that critical friends need to have many of the same qualities and skills as coaches. The role of critical friend has also been linked to the tuakana/teina relationship4 . The tuakana role can be seen as coach, mentor, advisor, supporter and challenger to a teina and is similar to that of a critical friend. The tuakana/teina roles can be interchangeable as can those of critical friends.

Cited as ‘(Te Kopae Piripono, 2008)’ but not referenced.


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• A trusted person who asks provocative questions. • Fully understands the context of your endeavours. • An advocate for the success of the endeavour. • Listens, asks for clarification, understands your complexities. • Does not critique for judgement or assessment (unless asked), only for advice. • Responds with integrity, not casual disinterest. Costa goes on to establish a more formal recommended practice for the use of a critical friend: 1. Learner describes an endeavour and requests feedback. 2. Critical friend asks questions to clarify and understand the issues (which, let’s face it, might not be totally understood by the learner). 3. Learner sets desired outcomes, is in control of feedback format. 4. Critical friend provides immediate feedback—ideally praising the good aspects. 5. Critical friend then raises other questions critiquing the endeavour, nudging the earner to see things for a different perspective, or even just playing devil’s advocate. Fro example, “what’s your evidence?” or “do you want to do that more concisely?” or “do you want to use a timer?” or whatever. 6. Both learner and friend reflect on their conference and take notes. The learner: “what have I learned?” “what’s the core take-home messages here?” (thought the critical friend should’ve made these things quite explicit). 7. The learner does not need to respond to the critical friend’s feedback. The criticism is for their refection. the learner does not have to defend their work. Other key points: • Critical friends could form a group, as in Japanese style Lesson Planning. • Use of the critical friend concept need not be restricted to teachers, but could extend to administrators and between departments as well (preferably in fact). • It’s about seeing the word from a different point of view (q.v. Feynman!)

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In the VITAE study referred to in Day’s article, great importance was attached to staff relationships and the commitment and effectiveness of others. Staff relationships were particularly important to newer teachers. Another factor mentioned as important to their commitment by 76% of the teachers in this study was leadership. Take a minute to reflect your understanding of the term leadership before reading the next article (Robinson, 2004). To me leadership is about going where you wish others to follow (physically or intellectually), doing this with a clear purpose and communicated vision. Showing courage, winning trust through deeds not merely words. It is not always about success. It is about sharing a vision and building up confidence in others so that they could take over the mantle. It also means showing wisdom and not leading a group into disaster that could have been avoided with true consultation and planning. Notes on Robinson (2004)—New understandings of educational leadership. • On “Difference between Leadership and Coercion”—Robinson writes that it is the different source of influence that distinguishes leadership from coercion. • On “The Picot Report”—This led to a damaging market view of education in NZ in the mid 1980’s which has unfortunately largely persisted. School principals are seen more as managers than people interested in children’s learning. (Many school principals thankfully remain interested in children’s learning despite the market model of schooling.) • The swing back to pedagogy—in recent years there has been a renewed focus on educational leadership rather than simply managerial leadership. • Expectations of educational leaders—the modern demands are, – they know the curriculum, – they know theory of teaching and learning, – they know practice of teaching and learning. • Practice more Important than Style—in leadership terms, style is an easy category to label a manager, whereas assessment of a leader’s practice is more complex, and their practice is really what counts, not their style.


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• Distributed leadership—education leaders do not need to be expert on every single facet. they do need to know enough about curriculum, pedagogy and human relationships to be able to proffer and advice and effectively manage their institutions, by effective management we mean not just financially but in terms of helping students learn. • No Heros—the romantic hero model of a saviour school principal is disappearing. Perhaps more form lack of need than any change in schools. I would add that there still are heroic principals who are needed, in some schools, sadly. * * *

The Epol-301 lecture notes continue. The importance of educational or pedagogical leadership has come through the recently published “School Leadership and Student Outcomes: Identifying What Works and Why. Best Evidence Synthesis Iteration” (Robinson, Hohepa & Lloyd, 2009). Leadership dimensions and leadership knowledge, skills and dispositions have both been derived from the research synthesised in the BES. Leadership dimensions impacting on student outcomes. 1. Establishing goals and expectations. 2. Resourcing strategically. 3. Planning, coordinating, and evaluating teaching and the curriculum. 4. Promoting and participating in teacher learning and development. 5. Ensuring an orderly and supportive environment. Leadership knowledge, skills and dispositions. • Ensure administrative decisions are informed by knowledge about effective pedagogy. • Analyse and solve complex problems. • Build relational trust. • Engage in open-to-learn conversations.

3.2 Professional Learning Communities


Definitions of leadership. The definition of leadership used in the BES is that it “involves influencing people to think differently and act differently, either directly (through face-to-face encounters) or indirectly (by creating the relevant conditions).” —(Robinson, Hohepa & Lloyd, 2009, p. 68). This definition does not restrict leadership to those in formal leadership positions such as principals or head teachers and opens up the possibility of distributed leadership. This involves leadership being distributed across group members and is characterised by interdependence and cooperation. As Lambert, 2002, p.37 asserts5 : “Everyone has the right, responsibility, and ability to be a leader”. Another related concept is that of teacher leadership. According to Harris, teacher leadership “engages all those within the organisation in a reciprocal learning process that leads to collective action and meaningful change” —(Harris, 2003, p.46)6 Teacher leaders are “those whose dreams of making a difference have either been kept alive or have been reawakened by engaging with colleagues and working within a professional culture” —(Lambert, 2003, p.33)7 These notions of collective leadership do not mean there is not an important role for positional or professional leaders. Harris (2008)8 sees their role as one of coordinators: “The responsibility of those in formal leadership roles . . . is to ensure that informal leaders have the ability to lead at appropriate times and are given the necessary support to make changes or to innovate.” —(Harris, 2008, p. 174).9
This quote was also not referenced by the Epol-301 course notes. Cited but not referenced. 7 Cited but not referenced. 8 Cited but not referenced. 9 Cited but not referenced.
6 5


3. Module 2—The Profession of Teaching

This shared and supportive form of leadership is what Hipp and Huffman referred to when discussing the type of leadership seen in professional learning communities. Reflection Activity—Leadership. What leadership practices did you observe while on your teaching experiences? Look back at the list of leadership knowledge, skills and dispositions listed above—which of these did you see? I saw a fair amount of the technical qualities of leadership, especially in principals and HOD’s, i.e., those first four things listed under the paragraph headed “Leadership dimensions impacting on student outcomes.” I did not see good use of the spiritual qualities of leadership such as the supportive environment dimension, nor the trust and openness dispositions listed under the paragraph heading “Leadership knowledge, skills and dispositions”. In other words, I saw some outward technical qualities of leadership in schools, but not deep caring and support for all without bias. I did not see a brave leader facing up to the pressures that rob students of the full potential of creative teachers. I saw a lot of caving in to pressure and satisficing. But I would not damn these leaders, for they were probably doing their best.


Showing Leadership in 20 Minutes

The extra reading for the Epol-301 course revealed this gem. Anecdotal for sure, but powerful nonetheless. “Sometimes, there is serendipity in the way an idea comes to us from several different places at about the same time, making it seem like something that relay requires our attention. In the last couple of months, I’ve had three different reminders of the difference that teachers can make to the futures of students, especially in high schools, and often with a remarkably small investment of time and effort. It seems that in many cases as little as 20 to 30 minutes of supportive adult attention can move a student from the wrong path to the right one. “My first encounter with this idea was in a conversation with Amanda Cooper, a high school teacher who is now a graduate student at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education. She recounted talking with colleagues about working with students in difficulty. At one point in their conversation, she asked the group how much time they needed

3.2 Professional Learning Communities


with a student to change that student’s trajectory in the school from negative to positive. The group concluded that quite often 20 minutes of concentrated time with a student was enough to make a significant change in the student’s attitude, outlook, and behavior. “Then, last March at the American Educational Research Association conference, Susan Nolen, a friend and professor at the University of Washington, said she asks teachers working with her to spend 30 minutes out-of-class time - for example, during the lunch hour - just getting to know a student with whom they don’t relate very well. She reports that teachers overwhelmingly say this simple step not only gives them a deeper and more positive understanding of the student, but often dramatically alters the way the student engages in their class. Once students feel that the adults involved actually are interested in who they are, their willingness to make a positive contribution increases. “The third instance of the same idea was in the September 2008 issue of Educational Leadership. An article on seeing the best in students cited work by Ray Wlodkowski about something he calls a ‘two by 10’ strategy (Smith and Lambert 2008). For two minutes a day for 10 consecutive days, a teacher has a personal conversation with a difficult or challenging student about something the student is interested in. The authors report that this simple strategy will almost always yield noticeable improvement in the student’s attitude and behavior in the class. “These are remarkably similar and remarkably encouraging conclusions. When evidence from different sources points in the same direction, it increases confidence that the findings are truly valid.” “. . . Of course, it’s not as simple as finding 20 or 30 minutes for each struggling student. Sometimes, 20 minutes will not be nearly enough, and many times one “dose” of attention won’t be sufficient. Some students have challenges that are much more severe. Some students will test us as adults repeatedly, just to see whether our commitment is more than rhetorical. Some students will fall off the path repeatedly, and some will engage in behavior that no school can tolerate. “Moreover, caring itself is not enough. Students still need to develop real skills, and we do them no favor if we pretend otherwise. Schools will still have to pay attention to curriculum, pedagogy, and support services. Students need us to push them to do more and better work, to do and be more than they thought they might be capable of. This requires effective pedagogy, engaging curriculum, good assessment practices, outreach to parents and families, and opportunities for students to improve their skills and knowledge through practice and feedback. Here, as in every other area of education, there is no magic bullet for student success.


3. Module 2—The Profession of Teaching

“Still, the idea that there are many students for whom a single conversation, or two minutes a day for 10 days, will make a real difference to their futures should give every educator pause. Our words and our attitudes to students really do matter! This should be an idea that is both exciting and frightening, since it speaks both to the impact and the responsibility of every educator. Who are those kids in our class and our school? How can each of us be confident that our interactions with students are moving them toward the right path? It’s a question we should keep in our sights as we work with young people, with all their potentials, delights, and frustrations, each day.” —From (Levin, 2009)


Summary of Module 2 so far

As a result of completing this module we hope you have become more aware that: • Active participation in professional learning communities and professional relationships is an expectation of registered teachers. • This involves knowledge, skills and commitment and is supported by effective leadership and a culture which trusts, values and supports teachers.

4. Module 3—Ethics and Regulations
The diagram in Fig. 4.1 shows you which areas of the course framework are explored in this week’s learning module. There are several streamed presentations this week.There are obligatory readings that you should browse while finishing the first assignment from Module 1. It is recommended that you listen to the ethics lecture before completing the blog exercise. The second assignment for the Epol-301 course involves the theme of this module on ethics.

Figure 4.1: Module 3 scheme, ethics and regulations.

You are invited to discuss your second assignment with a critical friend in order 57


4. Module 3—Ethics and Regulations

to clarify your thinking and planning. This is optional and we will not be asking for evidence however it could be very helpful. Some questions are posted at the end of the module to assist you in this process. As you work your way though this module please note the compulsory aspects: 1. A two part streamed ethics lecture and an ethics reading. 2. Blog postings related to two of the ethics scenarios relevant to your sector (to be posted under the scenario headings). 3. A reading on Human Rights and two streamed presentations from Youth Law—the first for primary and secondary and the second for ECE and primary. 4. A presentation on ECE policy and regulations with accompanying audio for ECE only. 5. A streamed presentation on pastoral care for secondary only. In addition we invite you to post your thoughts on any of the streamed presentations either in your blog or in the discussion forum. A specific discussion forum will be set up related to the Youth Law presentations in which you will be able to interact with Ben Mills.


Readings on Teacher Ethics

These are rough notes, they do not cover all the content, just highlights I thought were interesting. First up we copy the New Zealand Code of Ethics for registered teachers (verbatim from (NZTC, 2011a)).


Code of Ethics for Registered Teachers

Principles: Four key principles form the basis for the code of Ethics. • Autonomy to treat people with rights that are to be honoured and defended, • Justice to share power and prevent the abuse of power, • Responsible care to do good and minimise harm to others, • Truth to be honest with others and self.

4.1 Readings on Teacher Ethics


Application of the Code of Ethics shall take account of the requirements of the law as well as the obligation of teachers to honour the Treaty of Waitangi by paying particular attention to the rights and aspirations of M¯ori as tangata whenua. a 1. 1. Commitment to Learners The primary professional obligation of registered teachers is to those they teach. Teachers nurture the capacities of all learners to think and act with developing independence, and strive to encourage an informed appreciation of the fundamental values of a democratic society. Teachers will strive to: (a) develop and maintain professional relationships with learners based upon the best interests of those learners, (b) base their professional practice on continuous professional learning, the best knowledge available about curriculum content and pedagogy, together with their knowledge about those they teach, (c) present subject matter from an informed and balanced viewpoint, (d) encourage learners to think critically about significant social issues, (e) cater for the varied learning needs of diverse learners, (f) promote the physical, emotional, social, intellectual and spiritual wellbeing of learners, (g) protect the confidentiality of information about learners obtained in the course of professional service, consistent with legal requirements. 2. 2. Commitment to Parents/guardians and Family/wh¯nau a Teachers recognise that they work in collaboration with the parents/guardians and family/wh¯nau of learners, encouraging their active involvement in the eda ucation of their children. They acknowledge the rights of caregivers to consultation on the welfare and progress of their children and respect lawful parental authority, although professional decisions must always be weighted towards what is judged to be the best interests of learners. In relation to parents/guardians, and the family/wh¯nau of learners, teachers a will strive to: (a) involve them in decision-making about the care and education of their children, (b) establish open, honest and respectful relationships, (c) respect their privacy,


4. Module 3—Ethics and Regulations

(d) respect their rights to information about their children, unless that is judged to be not in the best interests of the children. 3. 3. Commitment to Society Teachers are vested by the public with trust and responsibility, together with an expectation that they will help prepare students for life in society in the broadest sense. In fulfillment of their obligations to society, teachers will strive to: (a) actively support policies and programmes which promote equality of opportunity for all, (b) work collegially to develop schools and centres which model democratic ideals, (c) teach and model those positive values which are widely accepted in society and encourage learners to apply them and critically appreciate their significance. 4. 4. Commitment to the Profession In the belief that the quality of the services of the teaching profession influences the nation and its citizens, teachers shall exert every effort to maintain and raise professional standards, to promote a climate that encourages the exercise of professional judgement, and to achieve conditions which attract persons worthy of trust to careers in education. In fulfillment of their obligations to the teaching profession, teachers will strive to: (a) advance the interests of the teaching profession through responsible ethical practice, (b) regard themselves as learners and engage in continuing professional development, (c) be truthful when making statements about their qualifications and competencies, (d) contribute to the development and promotion of sound educational policy, (e) contribute to the development of an open and reflective professional culture, (f) treat colleagues and associates with respect, working with them co-operatively and collegially to promote students’ learning, (g) assist newcomers to the profession,

4.1 Readings on Teacher Ethics


(h) respect confidential information on colleagues unless disclosure is required by the law or serves a compelling professional purpose, (i) speak out if the behaviour of a colleague is seriously in breach of this Code.

Thoughts on the Code of Ethics. I guess my main comment regards the glaring incompleteness of the Code. The incompleteness relates to the clauses: 1.(a) ‘best interests of learners’; 1.(e) ‘varied learning needs’; 4.(i) ‘serious breach of this Code’.

On ‘best interests of learners’. The Code does not define what is in the best interests of learners. Maybe this is deliberate and left to the autonomy of a teacher to determine. Yet the external exams at senior high school level seem to violate this clause, since surely they are a contrivance and a convenience designed for nationwide assessment purposes and are not truly in the best interests of students, certainly not all students.

On ‘varied learning needs’. Similar to the previous clause (1.(a)), the learning needs are not defined.

On ‘spiritual well-being’. Similar to the other two clauses, the spiritual wellbeing is not defined. Nor for that matter is intellectual well-being. These concepts could potentially be highly culturally dependent and sensitive.

On ‘seriously in breach’. What if a colleague is in breach of the Code but perhaps not seriously? What counts as a serious breach? Shouldn’t the Code include a clause guiding one how to deal with minor or near serious breaches of the Code? I have my own views on the answers. Firstly, the Code is certainly incomplete, but it’s hard to tell if this is deliberate or an oversight. Secondly, the thing to do, I believe, consistent with the est of the Code, in case of a minor or near serious breach of Code would be to first talk to the person involved, seek a third mediator, and resolve any issues that arise. There are other problems with the Code, mainly in how it can be defended, but these are my main concerns. At least the Code of Ethics formalizes a lot of the essentials of modern ethical practise relevant to teaching.


4. Module 3—Ethics and Regulations


Selected Readings on Teacher Ethics

These are just the personal highlights. Notes on Hall (2008)—Teacher Ethics. The reference is (Hall, 2008). Main ideas in bullet-point italics, then my comments in italics on separate paragraphs. • Two ways teacher professionalism may be breached1 : 1. Lack of necessary knowledge and skills to be competent. 2. Breach of ethical obligations. • Formal requirement for education from age six to sixteen.—Though home schooling is counted as a formal education in New Zealand. Home-schooled children have to sit some sort of exam similar to public school students. • Teaching is an intentional act of helping someone to learn.—I like this quasidefinition. • Teacher registration is not mandatory.—although in practise, in New Zealand2 , it is hard to get employment in a primary or secondary education institution unless one is registered. • Parental aspects of teaching.—Teaching is not at all like parenting, but does share a number of common qualities. There is a nice table of the contrasts, see Table 4.1. One consequence is that teachers who are also parents are constantly needing to make adjustments in their relationships with children. They cannot afford to be in ‘teacher mode’ when at home. They have to switch to a more detached mode when at school. This is pretty tough on the soul. • Teaching as Work.—Public school teachers are under contract. Positives: makes teachers accountable. Negatives: tends to encourage minimal work ethic—doing the minimum to satisfy the contract. Encourages litigation. The ‘clients’ (i.e., children) can become secondary in importance below the teacher’s self-interest, as for example in other professions that use binding contracts such as law, medical, or construction. The contractual nature is necessary, but I agree with William May that a better model for accountability would be a covenant. A covenant is more ‘giving’ than a contract. A contract can also, in some circumstances, lead to less
1 2

This is cited in (Hall, 2008) from Covaleskie & Howley (1994). And most other countries (being suitably vague about where registration is not a norm).

4.1 Readings on Teacher Ethics


Table 4.1: Distinctions between parenting and teaching. (From ‘Katz (1980)’ as cited in (Hall, 2008).)
Role 1. Scope of functions 2. Intensity of effect 3. Attachment 4. Rationality 5. Spontaneity 6. Partiality 7. Scope of responsibility Parenting Diffuse and limitless High Optimum attachment Optimum irrationality Optimum spontaneity Partial Individual Teaching Specific and limited Low Optimum detachment Optimum rationality Optimum intentionality Impartial Whole group

effective teaching. For example, if the curriculum is overly-prescribed, and freedoms are curtailed, then teachers invariably become less effective teachers. • Teaching as Profession.—Public school teachers are under contract. • Existence of inequality does not justify inequality.—parents must surrender to the regulations on compulsory education. If they do not choose the home schooling option (and many are logistically unable to do so) they must then surrender to an available school and typically have no say in who will teach their child. This entails an ethical responsibility on the part of teachers to address potential inequality by treating all students equally. I would note that treating students equally does not mean treating them the same. If one student is particularly struggling then they will need preferential treatment. The professional and ethical equality in teaching practice is thus found obliquely in treating the learning difficulty equally, not the students. What the students should understand is that they have equal rights. If they are struggling as much as another student then they should expect, and be given, equal measure of teacher help—should they want it (they may always refuse). • Power and trusteeship—Teachers have power over certain aspects of a classroom, while increasingly students have power over teachers through exercise of their rights. This modern lack of absolute power of teachers can cause classroom conflicts that would not exist some decades ago. Teachers have always, and continue, to be placed in the position of trustees.


4. Module 3—Ethics and Regulations

• Promoting moral development.—Often this is not explicit in a curriculum, and usually entirely absent in a school syllabus. But it is nevertheless a societal expectation of a role that teachers should fulfil. Teachers should ‘practice what they preach’. Yet the existence of a so-called hidden curriculum is an admission this does not always happen. • Registration Requirements—applicants for registration in NZ must: 1. Be of good character. 2. Be fit to be a teacher. 3. Be appropriately qualified. 4. Be likely to be a satisfactory teacher. Reviewed after two years, thence every three years. • The Continuum of Profession.—the two ends of the continuum of professional occupation are outlined in Table 4.2. Teaching is supposedly somewhere between these two extremes.
Table 4.2: Restricted and extended models of professional occupations. Cited by (Hall, 2008) from ‘Hoyle (1975)’.
Skills derived from experience Perspectives limited to the immediate in time and place (Classroom) events perceived in isolation Introspective with regard to methods Value placed on autonomy Limited involvement in (non-teaching) professional activities Infrequent reading of professional literature Involvement in in-service work limited and confined to practical courses (Teaching) seen as an intuitive activity Skills derived from mediation between experience and theory Perspectives embracing the broader social context (education) (Classroom) events perceived in relation to (school) policies and goals Methods compared with those of colleagues and with reports of practice Value placed on professional collaboration High involvement in (non-teaching) professional activities (especially teacher’s centres, subject associations, research). Regular reading of professional literature Involvement in in-service work considerable and includes courses of a theoretical nature (Teaching) seen as a rational activity

4.1 Readings on Teacher Ethics


Individual teachers can slide almost anywhere along this scale. It is noted that the more extended the teacher the more likely they are to seek ongoing professional development and be involved in school decision making. The more restricted professional teacher has more autonomy and may be (will probably need to be) very technically competent. • Code of Ethics—visited upon professionals from their own members. In New Zealand this is the New Zealand Teachers Council (NZTC) Code of Ethics, http://www.teacherscouncil.govt.nz/ethics/code.stm. • Ethic of Care—this is an expectation that goes beyond the Code of Ethics. The Education Act (1989) refers to a “duty of care” expected of teachers, but is less than the unofficial Ethic of Care. It comes about from modern ideals inspired by the feminist movement. The basis for the Ethic of Care is the fact that teachers are paced in positions of trust and power of other peoples children. It’s not just that the teaching profession involves care of others, so much as care of other’s children. This is a fairly unusual professional position. Even doctors aren’t expected to care for your children beyond the role of caring for their physical health. A doctor is under no obligation to take an extended interest in the child’s well-being beyond the practice room, yet teachers are called upon to take an interest in children beyond the classroom. • Public versus Private Ethics—Teaching is a public activity, and so a teacher’s personal moral views are often called upon to be suppressed in favour of public moral standards. • Ethical Dilemmas—some practical issues arise that do not have a clear ‘right’ answer. This is fairly common in most ethical practices. general codes of ethics are therefore often value and ambiguous, proving no clear course of action. When conflicts arise between two or more ethical principles the professional practitioner is called upon to simply make a justifiable, defensible, choice (rather than an arbitrary course of action). • Philosophy of ethics—there are roughly three schools of thought. All have flaws (italicized). 1. Virtues based ethics—such minded practitioners ask “what principle to act on is the highest good?” Who decides what is the highest good? What if the decided higher good leads to an abhorrent action or does not distinguish an action? If you are given the chance to murder someone who is about to murder many others, is it the higher good not to commit murder yourself ?


4. Module 3—Ethics and Regulations

2. Consequential based ethics—practitioners ask “what action is likely to lead to the greatest good?” What if the action is morally dubious, even though it may lead to good? Is murder of one justified to save the lives of others? 3. Golden Rules based ethics—or the ethics of Kant, the categorical imperative. Treat other people as we would have them treat ourselves. What if the way you like being treated is abhorrent to someone else? The Golden Rule is not really so beautiful in practice as many people like to believe. Say I’d like to kill myself to relieve the burden on the planet, does the Golden Rule not give me licence to kill everyone else first? In practice a wise ethicist employs a blend of each of these principles, which is ethical eclecticism. Where possible satisfying all three at once. Maybe in one situation giving precedence to one over the others when a conflicting choice occurs. • Ethical case analysis and role playing—This is a practice recommended in schools (and other professions) whereby teachers use professional development forums to act out various situations requiring ethical and moral actions. They discuss the cases an hopefully learn from each other and become more aware of the moral ambiguities and complexities involved in day to day teaching. This is cool. The idea is to set up play-act situations to gain experience and anticipate possible real world situations, in a friendly non-threatening and safe atmosphere. Thus gaining some primer for dealing more effectively and rationally with them when they do arise in practice. • Recommended Practice Dealing with Ethical dilemmas—see the list below in Section 4.1.3. • Part of the Community of Practice.—Ethical problems need never be dealt with in isolation. A teacher should always consider their colleagues, and the wider community or students and parents, as partners in preventing and resolving ethical problems. • You are in the Public Eye.—So like it or not, if you teach for long enough you will be making decisions that are open to full, frank, and open public scrutiny. It is important therefore to at least make ethical decisions that yo can justify. You may regret your decisions, you may wish to have the decision moment back to redo, but if you had a valid justification then a lot of stress can be avoided.

4.1 Readings on Teacher Ethics


• Watch out for Embedded Unethical Practices.—An entire school for example may have a culture that demeans students regularly, e.g., the staffroom atmosphere might be toxic to students. Such institutional issues need to be combated at every opportunity, not ever accepted. • Being the Junior Critic—Junior teachers may have a hard time voicing criticism of senior colleagues. Sometimes it is prudent to think carefully about how to raise criticisms, find safe yet legitimate channels. Find a wise senior teacher to confide with, without passing the buck or negating your ethical responsibilities. • Reflection is an Ethical Imperative.—This is an interesting modern development of ethical teaching studies. It seems almost like a reaction to the realization the main role of teachers is a moral one. A moral educator is one who is always looking to improve their practice, to improve the outcomes for students, and improvement requires thought about one’s past actions. Thus reflection, for teachers, is a moral act.


Dealing with Ethical Dilemmas

This list of recommended discussion and reflection questions help when dealing with ethical problems. Three types of questions are helpful: (1) analysis, (2) tactical and (3) reflective. First there are analysis type questions. 1. What is the problem? Try to identify the core principles breached and principles for correction. 2. Who are the main people of interest involved and why? Try to isolate a minimum number of essential parties. Avoid judging on whether an individual is less important than a group. 3. Who should be prioritised and why? Identify the person or persons who need to be brought in for either consultation or for de-brief. It may be necessary to consult with groups and individuals separately. Those are the analysis questions. Next come the tactical questions: 4. What are the possible courses of action? Brainstorm before deciding, before prioritising. One initially perhaps desirable action might turn out to be less desirable or even change to undesirable when other options are considered.


4. Module 3—Ethics and Regulations

5. Which actions are least acceptable and why? The why aspect is important, when considered it can change the desirability one way or the other, or it may at least help people think of further possibilities. Think also of both short-term and long-term actions. 6. How to implement the course of action? There are good and bad ways to do things, even if simply informing someone of a decision. There are tactful (personal phone call or visit) and downright rude ways (txt message, internet posting) this can be done. Role playing amongst decision makers can help to figure out details of the implementation. Lastly, but not least, reflective questioning: 7. What have we learned from this ethical problem? Always review the process. It may help make things go smoother next time a similar situation arises. Accompanying the above list of tactics are jkey strategies for solving ethical problems. • Distinguish clearly between public and private value. Between your personal values and your preferences on the one hand and professional obligations on the other. • Test appropriateness of actions by asking “What would happen if everyone did this?” For example, you wouldn’t want to think that white lies are great time-savers, since if everyone used little white lies soon there’d be an epidemic of falsehoods. • Vary the variables. Would recommendations change if the student was an adult, was of a different gender, if the parents were from a different culture, socioeconomic background, et cetera. • Restate the problem. That is, in terms of what teachers owe to their students, to their students’ parents, to the profession and to themselves. The point being that rather from thinking of perhaps a student’s behaviour, or a colleagues behaviour, as aberrant and punishable, it might pay to think about the full context and whether a fault lies somewhere in the system, either in addition to the individual behaviour or as root cause. For example, instead of just stating so-and-so’s behaviour was unacceptable, you could ask, what were the forces that led up to this incident? It might not mean anything different for the consequences for the individual, but it might throw up wider issues that could prevent similar situations occurring in future.

4.1 Readings on Teacher Ethics


• Nurture dissent. While unity of purpose and final action is desirable, in getting to the decisions and actions dissent should be nurtured. This helps avoid the perils of groupthink. The spark of truth often arises from the clash of differing opinions.

Notes on Groundwater-Smith (2007)—Teaching challenges and dilemmas. The reference is (Groundwater-Smith, Ewing, & Le Cornu, 2007). Main points plus my comments in italics. • “No Easy Decisions”—a bit of a mantra, but of course most decisions in teaching day-to-day are very easy. It’s the hard ethical dilemmas that we remember most that make it seem as if teching is a constant barrage of hardto-make decisions. Do I dismiss the student from class denying them their right to education? Do I need to step in physically in a potentially damaging situation? Do I reprimand or report on a colleague? • Australian Teacher Code of Ethics—the article talks about the Aussie code of ethics, which is very similar to the Kiwi version. • Some Interesting Ethical Dilemmas—these are always fun to think about, especially before they happen to you! (my comments in italics): (a) You observe another teacher publicly humiliate a child who is known for their bullying behaviour. Do you say anything? Of course. Calm the confrontation. Console the child. Have a ‘quiet word’ with the teacher in a spirit of enquiry—why the humiliation, was it really justified, would we do things differently next time?. (b) A colleague tells you in confidence that she has just been diagnosed with a medical condition which may cause her to lose consciousness at times. She also tells you that she is not going to take the prescribed medication. The information has implications for the safety of the children in er charge. What do you do? Safety of children trumps her rights to privacy. So I’d risk being sued under privacy law and get her to consult with Dean and Principal, to work something out. First, why is the medicine an issue? Then maybe arrange a teacher aide, or a responsible student in each class who will call for help.


4. Module 3—Ethics and Regulations

(c) You disagree with a colleague who is expressing a particular view publicly at a parent-teacher night. What do you do? Depends upon the ‘view’. If it is clearly a private opinion, then provided it is not obnoxious it could pass. If obnoxious call in the Deputy Principal, or Dean in charge, to quell this teacher. Not my/our role to start a dispute just because we may disagree, but a staff debrief might be in order to discuss the issue and reach some teacher unanimity if it involves school policy. (d) Is it ethical to give grades? Sure. But there are ethical and unethical ways of giving students’ grades. My own view is that the grades need to have a clear purpose, should reflect assessment fit for that purpose (a very high standard most grades would fail I suspect), and should under no circumstances be used to humiliate or put-down students. (e) Is it ethical to use rewards? Does this apply to all rewards? Same as with grades, yes and no. Most learning will involve intrinsic mastery rewards for students, and they will hardly ever need external reward. Rewards use is ethically dubious in my view if used as incentive. Rewards should be after-the-fact, not even mentioned at the outset. Rewards for purely motor-mechanical tasks are fine, since evidence from research suggests they are a good motivator. Rewards for cognitive tasks on the other hand, generally lead to declining performance, and are hence a bad idea. NB: Those comments are not definitive recommendations, just my present knee-jerk responses.


The Human Factor in Moral Education

This section considers the reading (Snook, 2003), which is a pretty good quality overview of ethical and moral issues teachers need to grapple with, both professionally (in the public eye) and privately (in their personal life). Notes on Snook (2003)—The personal in eduction. The reference is (Snook, 2003). Main points plus my comments in italics. • Teachers and Personal Relationships—personality intrudes upon teaching, and

4.1 Readings on Teacher Ethics


can hence be used for either good or bad. Ethical teaching practice demands we try to – use our personality for good, – which means knowing our personality and knowing or figuring out how to use it for good; – this will mean different things and practices for different teacher personalities. • Ethic of Duty and Ethic of Being—duty is ‘what should I strive to do?’ and being is ‘what kind of person sold I strive to be?’. The ethics of being is often called ‘virtues ethics’. This leads to two big questions concerning teacher ethics: 1. What kinds of relationships should there be between teacher and students— is a personal relationship necessary or is a professional relationship sufficient? 2. What kind of a person should a teacher strive to be—are there, for example, certain qualities of mind and heart which teachers should have—or is it perhaps more important when selecting teachers to concentrate on their intellect, their achievements as human persons rather than their achievements in examinations? • Teacher Professional and Personal Distinctions—these are not as easily made as in other professions. The doctor or lawyers private life is generally totally separate from their professional role. Teachers however often bring more of their personality, and hence life-experiences, into classroom learning. There are three main reasons for this: 1. Educating children requires a personal relationship (in all but the most nerdy student cases, and even probably for high degree nerds and geeks a warm relationship is desirable, if only to inspire them more and broaden their geek horizons). Effective teachers share their love of their subject. 2. Teaching involves making moral judgements—“which students need more of my time?”. It cannot be divorced from intellectual activity. 3. Schools have a clearly defined purpose in law, to (i) educate and (ii) keep children safe. Both jobs require more than academic learning, preparing children for roles in future society is crucial, especially according to the new NZ Curriculum. • In Loco Parentis—male teachers are often in the position of filling father-figure gaps in student’s lives, whether consciously or deliberately or by default.


4. Module 3—Ethics and Regulations

• Issues of Abuse of Power —by law the rights of children are enforced. This addresses the clear physical power imbalance in schools. Children have remarkably wide ranging rights. However, they can still be abused, so it is essential for teachers to 1. Educate students in their rights. 2. Educate students how to challenge authority and exercise their rights. 3. Be vigilant in protecting the rights of children who cannot always recognize when their rights are being abused. • Conflicts with Personal Morality—this touches upon the second big question of what virtues teachers should be expected to uphold. As an example, a teacher who indulges in reading pornography is not violating any ethics, but they would be if their actions (first type of ethics) were using school resources to access pornography. The wider question is whether this clear violation of acceptable virtues should debar such people from the teaching profession. It is not an easy call for a board of ethics, partly because a lot of virtues ethics are subjective and not open to inspection unless the associated behaviour ethics impinges on the person’s public role. The law does not deal with these issues, but school Boards of Trustees can pass legally binding bylaws dealing with these issues, they have quite wide powers, along with the Principal. So issues of unacceptable personal morality are largely school, and school-community decisions. • Ethics of Assessment—Snook (p. 88) asks some good questions here. “Ethically we should ask of any type of assessment: 1. “Does it do harm? ‘Harm’ includes lowering self-esteem, development of bad relationships between student and between student and parents. 2. “Does it do good? a surprising amount of assessment is carried out purely to satisfy bureaucratic requirements and without any benefit to the learner. 3. “Is it based on a correct description? (in he technical literature this is called validity). 4. “Is it based on stable information? (in he technical literature this is called reliability). “Any defect under any of these headings will cast ethical doubt on the assessment.” • Particular Assessment Concerns—Snook identifies particular scrutiny needed for,

4.2 Ethical Dilemma Studies


1. Standardized tests (harm, good, reliability). 2. Intelligence tests (validity). 3. Personality tests (harm, good, validity, reliability). 4. Honesty tests (harm, validity, reliability). • Values Education—occurs in schools in five ways, 1. Decisions of Boards and Principals, particularly on behaviour and public outreach policies. How is he school promoted?—by exam results? or by quality of student community outreach? 2. Power relationships—how power is handled, to what extent expressions of piety are actually put into practice, not just preached. (It can be worse for values education if high moral principles are only preached.) 3. Rules—they are models for student behaviour. 4. Upholding universal principals and rights—to what extent a school upholds freedom from prejudice, freedom from harm, freedom from abuse, freedom of speech. 5. Reflection on morality—to what extent a school provides time for schoolwide focus on critical moral issues, such as debating, consultations, and so forth. • Competition—Snook rightly identifies academic competition as a harmful thing in schools. It damages human relationships. My own view is radical: competition is only ever desirable in sport and games. Of course, both these outlets for competitiveness naturally occur in schools. There is absolutely no place for competition in academics. Co-operation is known to lead to higher quality learning (see, e.g., research on total quality management (Scholtes, 1997), (Deming, 1986)). Snook (page 93): Though schools prepare people for work, they are not obliged to prepare them for competitive work.


Ethical Dilemma Studies

In this section we were asked to watch a video clip, then consider four questions. The video clips for secondary teacher trainees are summarized. The four questions to consider are repeated below each synopsis, with my comments in italics, were:


4. Module 3—Ethics and Regulations

1. School camp http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=41uz33cvgfU A teacher is rebuked by another for drinking beer with parents while on a school camp. The teacher acknowledges that she has broken the rules, but doesnt see the harm in sharing a six pack with a group of parents. The parent who brought the beer is offended by the strictness of the anti-drinking rule and says he wont attend another camp. He’s a popular parent with a lot to contribute. Who is right here—is it OK to bend the rules if there is clearly no danger for the parents? (a) What are the underlying issues in this scenario? Breach of school rules. Setting a good example and role model for children. Gossiping and inadequate reflection. (b) What underlying ethical principle (or principles) from the Code of Ethics is (are) involved? Code 2-(b) (parents & family), establishing open, honest, respectful relations. 3-(b) (society), work together to develop schools modelling democratic ideals. 3-(c) (society), teaching and modelling positive values. 4(i) (the profession), speaking out about breaches of ethics. Also 1-(d) encourage learners to think about social issues. (c) What commitments from the code are in conflict and why? 4-(i) was working against 2-(b)—the character ‘Liz’ was correct but too brazen and undiplomatic which alienated the parent. 2-(b) also worked against 3-(b) and 3-(c), (d) What actions would you recommend taking in this situation and why? We want to prevent Liz from blowing up again in similar manner without denying she was soundly applying ethical principles in aid of 3-(c) and 4-(i). The female protagonist could be more positive and invite Liz out for that beer to discuss the issue. Admitting she might have been wiser to quietly prevent the parent from opening the beer in the first place would be a good opener, but then also raising the issue of keeping parents involved as equally important. Hopefully Liz would appreciate she could be more tactful and the female protagonist and she could have been more disciplined. Both could have perhaps done better to publish the ground rules for school camps, so the parent would not have cause to feel surprised if quietly asked to keep the beer aside. They all seem to have missed an opportunity to talk to the students’ about the social problems caused by drinking alcohol. Liz might have explained to students and parents alike why she was so harsh, for example, hopefully without embarrassing the parent.

4.2 Ethical Dilemma Studies


2. Honest reporting http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B 60xSqRA-E A teacher is reluctant to give a Pasifika student a poor mark because she knows the student will be physically punished by his family if he doesn’t do well. Her colleague thinks she should ignore the likely family response, seeing it as a home problem that she shouldn’t get involved in. The colleague doesn’t want the teacher “to undermine the entire assessment system with your liberalism”. What should the teacher do? (a) What are the underlying issues in this scenario? Blatant fraud for the sake of a student’s well-being. Does the female protagonist know the truth about the student’s family life, or is she being had? Did the harder line male protagonist offer sufficient support to their colleague who was facing the dilemma? (b) What underlying ethical principle (or principles) from the Code of Ethics is (are) involved? Many principles from the CoE are involved, I’ve focuses here on just a few. 1-(a) (learners), relationships with learners based upon their best interests. 1-(f ) (learners), promote well-being of learners. 2-(a) (parents & family) involve in decision-making. 2-(b) open and honest relationships. 2-(d) respect right to information about children unless not in child’s best interest. 4-(a) (the profession) advance the profession through ethical practice. (c) What commitments from the code are in conflict and why? 2-(d) is in conflict with 4-(a) since the ethical practice of marking student achievement with integrity is compromised by the (fact?) this may harm the student’s well-being. All of the relationship principles mentioned are compromised by this fraud. The female protagonist thinks about talking to the parents, which might be getting ahead of the students’ well-being. 1-(f ) is also in conflict with 4-(d) since the student is not well served by grade fraud, especially if this leaves the greater issue of the accusation of violence unresolved. (d) What actions would you recommend taking in this situation and why? The truth about the accusations of beatings for poor grades needs to be taken seriously and investigated, first with closer open and frank yet respectful interrogation of the student—the male protagonist seems to insinuate the student is being mischievous, but this is a serious accusation to make and if he thought it might be false this needs to e addressed out in the open. If the accusation is true then it needs to be sensitively handled with the school principle and child services and police. It is remarkable the female protagonist would think so lightly of glossing over the issue be


4. Module 3—Ethics and Regulations

perpetrating grade fraud. So the male colleague also needs to raise this in a more formal ethics resolution venue. Also, the student could be told their true grade, and left to decide whether to inform their parents or not. If the parents request grades then the wider issue of the accusation of violence needs to be addressed (but should be addressed anyway) but certainly not alone by the one teacher. The issue of ethnicity raised is entirely irrelevant. Whenever such claims (whether true or false) are made they need to be handled seriously—either to remedy the character flaw that would result in false accusations against one’s parents, or, if true, to heal the existence of the claimed violence. 3. HoD plans it all http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QMDJNMKt1lw A teacher is given no curriculum flexibility by his HoD, even though he believes the HoD’s course material is boring and his expertise could improve some aspects of it. The teacher is rebuked by the HoD for telling her how to run her department. The teacher wants to make changes to better suit his pupils— what should he do? (a) What are the underlying issues in this scenario? Autonomy–lack of freedom. Seniority–accorded too much respect. Commitment to learners—wanting to do the best to help them learn and engage. (b) What underlying ethical principle (or principles) from the Code of Ethics is (are) involved? Mainly, but not touching upon all the principles I see in effect here are: 1(b) use best knowledge available about content and pedagogy. 1-(d) catering for varied learning needs. 3-(a) support policies promoting equal opportunity. 4-(f ) treat colleagues with respect and work co-operatively to promote student learning. 4-(d) contribute to sound education policy. 4(g) assisting newcomers to the profession. (c) What commitments from the code are in conflict and why? 1-(b) and (d) conflict with 4-(f ), since the learners would seem to be better served by course content informed by the expert knowledge of the male protagonist, yet respect for senior colleague is impeding this effort. For the HOD professional insistence perhaps on principle 3-(a) of equal opportunity for all learners in getting in the way of principles 1-(b) and 1-(d) which are about maximising the quality of learning. The other principles mentioned involve a few minor, but not serious, conflict. (d) What actions would you recommend taking in this situation and why?

4.2 Ethical Dilemma Studies


It sounds like the male protagonist has tried to help design the syllabus and was rejected. So his concerns about trying again are legitimate, but they should be only concerns not barriers. For the sake of the learners he needs to show more spine and put up a stronger battle and fight for his autonomy. Even if defeated again it would probably not be in vain. He seems to have caved to seniority too easily. In the end, this is not a serious ethical dilemma. The path forward is clear. Gain support from other staff who are like-minded. Research and build up his case for more engaging course content and autonomy. Respectfully present his case, with full support, to the HOD. respectfully acknowledge breach of ethics in failing to attend the HOD’s planning hui—which was the chance to get a foot into developing the syllabus. Continue offering to help the HOD develop and evolve a great course. Even a stickler HOD of senior years cannot refuse to evolve course material, if they did it would be grounds for a case against the HOD of unprofessional conduct and serious flaw in commitment to quality. The conflict of equal opportunity versus maximising learning quality could be handled by the expert protagonist offering his course resources for all colleagues to try. The big issue requiring resolution is the intradepartmental tension and respect. This needs to be brought up in consultation with the school principle who is the over-lord (ahem!) over-seer of such matters. 4. Uniform issue http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aL9PbAL-8VU The focus is on a student wearing a nose ring one teacher says the student should be told to comply with school rules and take it out, but another teacher disagrees. Cultural issues are raised is it acceptable for an Indian girl to wear a nose ring, even though other students are not allowed? Should there be one rule for all as one teacher asserts or should cultural differences be accommodated in the school environment? (a) What are the underlying issues in this scenario? School policy versus individual rights and freedoms. One rule for all versus the inevitable arguments for exceptions. Teacher unity and solidarity versus teachers who won’t play by the rules or who inconsistently apply school policy. (b) What underlying ethical principle (or principles) from the Code of Ethics is (are) involved? 3-(a) promote equality of opportunity. 3-(d) model democratic ideals. 4(a) responsible ethical practice. 3-(c) model values accepted in society and encourage application and appreciation thereof.


4. Module 3—Ethics and Regulations

(c) What commitments from the code are in conflict and why? Equality and democratic ideals 3-(a) & (d) are internally conflicting, and separately in conflict with 3-(c), since democracy implies school-wide policy should be fair and apply to all students, whereas democratic ideals also should respect diversity and cultural and religious diversity (a societal norm). Respecting diversity and religious or cultural expression is undemocratic, but the issue is one of degree. What is the boundary between a cult, culture and religion? Which are legitimate sources of exceptions to school policy? For these questions at least, none of the CoE principles are in conflict. (d) What actions would you recommend taking in this situation and why? Religion and culture cannot be given a free pass, and in any case it disrespects these elements of human tradition if the school fails to enquire into the reasons why practices of students (what they wear) may violate school policy. So it sounds as though this school hasn’t had this debate or inquiry. Where uniform regulation exceptions are allowed on cultural or religious grounds needs to be clearly understood. If not the issue will never go away. What about anarchists, or goths, or head-banger or skin-head culture? One might object to their legitimacy, which would be a school policy decision. Students who violate the school Board decisions are in conflict with the school, not with the teacher’s who police uniform violations. If policing the uniform is a big problem for teachers they need to raise it with the Board. It might be acknowledged that the unspoken culture of the school has evolved over time and is so diverse that the idea of a uniform is moronic. Whatever the case, the debate needs to be convened if the teacher’s are in such great conflict themselves, since it can start to impede the ultimate goals of harmony and learning. There should be no such staffroom debate as depicted in the video scenario, it indicates a lack of school cohesion and clarity of policy. In short, this school sounds like it needs to consult as a community about their uniform regulations, exceptions, and enforcement. Anyway, good luck to them! Uniforms are a divisive issue either way. Teachers have to suck this one up and obey their school’s policy, not go it alone on enforcement or laxness. On questions of uniforms Ben Mills gave some good guidance about the law. See the section later on Youth Law on page 90. Basically school Boards do not have much power to enforce anything outside a school’s roles of (a) education, and (b) safety of children. A uniform rules is fairly marginal but would

4.2 Ethical Dilemma Studies


probably stand up under court ruling for vague reasons of school discipline related to education, but a family wanting an exception might have an easy case to make if their reasons for not wanting to use a uniform are reasonably justifiable. Also things like hair colour are free for kids to decide, since they have n impact on education or safety. We then were asked to post our comments on our sector group blog where we would find headings for each clip.


Blog Entries on “Honest Reporting”

Here are some more responses form participants in the Epol-301 course. From Lee: “What are the underlying issues in this scenario? “A student might get whacked by his parents if he receives a low grade. Teacher might falsely report the students achievement undermining the assessment system. “What underlying ethical principle (or principles) from the Code of Ethics is (are) involved? “Responsible care.Truth. Justice “What commitments from the code are in conflict and why? “Commitment to learners: “Promote the physical, emotional, social, intellectual and spiritual well-being of learners. “Though false reporting may be a short term solution to promote these characteristics, I believe that in the long term it will do more harm. “Commitment to parents: “Respect their right to info about their children, unless that it is judged to be not in the best interest of the children. “Just because you dont want to give the correct information, I dont think you can tell them lies either “Respect their privacy “The complaining teacher is blabbing about the situation to another person that really has no business knowing about the problem. “Commitment to society: “Actively support policies and programs which promote equality of opportunity for all.


4. Module 3—Ethics and Regulations

“I dont want to have a doctor that has a license to practice based on the fact that his parents might beat him if he doesnt become a doctor. Equality means that all students must display a certain standard in order to achieve. “What actions would you recommend taking in this situation and why? “I believe that I might refer the student to the school councillor and speak with school management to find a solution.” From Catherine:

“Reporting: What are the underlying issues in this scenario? “A teacher believed a student in her class might be beaten up if he gets a bad grade in reports. The teacher is thinking of giving him a better grade than he deserves because of this. “What underlying ethical principle (or principles) from the Code of Ethics is (are) involved? “1f) promote the physical, emotional, social, intellectual and spiritual well-being of learners, “2d) respect their rights to information about their children, unless that is judged to be not in the best interests of the children. “2b) establish open, honest and respectful relationships, “4 d) contribute to the development and promotion of sound educational policy, “What commitments from the code are in conflict and why? “The teacher has a responsibility to protect the student but does this also reflect what goes on at home? The teacher should be honest and truthful. A teacher should respect the school system and educational policy and not create a mark that is not true. “What actions would you recommend taking in this situation and why? “I would speak to school management and find out if there have been any previous issues with violence at home with the family. I would refer the child to the school councillor to so he would potentially work out ways to deal with the violence. I would recommend talking to the parents and to discuss the low attainment attitudes and work on a plan with home support to get the student to obtain the desired grades in the subject.”

4.2 Ethical Dilemma Studies



Blog Entries on “HOD Plans It All”

From Lee: “What are the underlying issues in this scenario? “HOD micro-manages her department. “What underlying ethical principle (or principles) from the Code of Ethics is (are) involved? “Autonomy. Truth. Justice “What commitments from the code are in conflict and why? “Commitment to learners: “b) & c) This may not be the ‘best knowledge available about curriculum content’ as the person teaching it may have more recent, relevant, or informed experience. “e) Does the HOD know the students well enough to cater to them all? “f) If the teacher isn’t passionate or enthusiastic about the subject, how will the students be affected? Will this plan help student development? “Commitment to the profession: “a) Not responsible practice “f) On both counts, staff not showing up to hui was disrespectful to HOD, but the stiff plan outline is not respectful of teachers. Doesn’t sound like a collegial department to me. “What actions would you recommend taking in this situation and why? “This may have been diffused if staff had been open and stated what was on their mind before not showing up to the ‘hui’ planned by the HOD. Moreover, they could still get together and speak to the HOD about the problem now. Communication people!!!! Theyre acting like children rather than talking about the problem.”


Blog Entries on “School Camp”

From Anna: “Ethical dilemmas “what are the underlying issues in this scenario? “What underlying ethical principle (or principles) from the Code of Ethics is (are) involved?


4. Module 3—Ethics and Regulations

“Responsible care “What commitments from the code are in conflict and why? “Commitment to parents/guardians and family/whanau “Involve them in decision making about the care and education of their children Respect their privacy “Commitment to society “Actively support policies and programmes which promote equality of opportunity for all “Commitment to the profession “Advance the interests of the teaching profession through reasonable ethical practice Treat colleagues and associates with respect, working with them cooperatively and collegially to promote students learning “What actions would you recommend taking in this situation and why? “I believe that the head teacher was right by addressing the drinking on camp. Most school policies and the EOTC guidelines suggest a zero alcohol policy on camps. I believe that this policy is necessary in order to comply with the reasonable care principle of the code of ethics for registered teachers. I believe that the head teacher followed her commitment to society, actively supporting policies and programmes (Code of Ethics for Registered Teachers). She also showed commitment to the profession by advancing the interests of the teaching profession through reasonable ethical practice (Code of Ethics for Registered Teachers). I believe that the teacher in the staffroom condoned her commitment to the profession by not treating her colleague with respect, working with them cooperatively and collegially to promote students learning (Code of Ethics for Registered Teachers). “One could argue that the head teacher breached the commitment to parents/guardians and family/whanau by neglecting to ‘respect their privacy and involve them in decision making about the care and education of their children’ (Code of Ethics for Registered Teachers). “However I dont agree with this statement, because I feel that the actions breach the principle of responsible care.” From Lee: “What are the underlying issues in this scenario? “Offending volunteer parent helpers. Adults drinking tasty alcoholic beverages after students are in bed. “What underlying ethical principle (or principles) from the Code of Ethics is (are) involved?

4.2 Ethical Dilemma Studies


“Responsible care. Truth. “What commitments from the code are in conflict and why? “Commitment to parents: “Involve them in decision-making about the care & education of their children Should the parents not have a right to decide if drinking beer is going to affect their child’s education at camp? “Respect their privacy “The complaining teacher is blabbing about the situation (and parent helpers) to another person that really has no business knowing about the problem. “Commitment to society: “Teach & model those positive values which are widely accepted in society & encourage learners to apply them & critically appreciate their significance. Alcohol is ‘strictly forbidden at camp.’ It is a rule and regardless of who made it and what we think of the rule, it is still a rule and society has said we must follow rules. “Commitment to the profession: “Respect confidential info on colleagues unless disclosure is required by the law or serves a compelling professional purpose: “The complaining teacher is blabbing about Liz, teacher in charge of the camp, to another person that has no business knowing. “What actions would you recommend taking in this situation and why? “If I was at the camp, I would have had to say no alcohol allowed because I’m such a nerd and I tend to follow rules. Comment from Loesje: “There seems to be a discussion about which code of ethics is broken by the drinking of the beer. However the beer drinking didn’t break a code of ethics, it only broke a school rule. the code of ethics is what we need to look at in regards to the response of both Liz and the teacher. The teacher has broken a school rule. Her senior has reprimanded her for that. Yet she done it in a way that was disrespectful to the parent (she stomped and yelled) which is breaking code of ethics. The teacher in question is breaking code of ethics by discussing this with someone who has no influence in the matter. however, had she said to the male teacher: this is what happened, can you help me?, that would have been different. Blair is right, at the mo she is just blabbing about her senior, without any intent for constructive feedback, and that is unethical. Not the beer drinking itself, that’s just breaking of a school rule.”


4. Module 3—Ethics and Regulations

Response from Lee: “I agree Loesje. From my perspective there are more important ethical issues than the beer drinking. However, it is a school rule and breaking a school rule is unethical and, if it is a rule passed by the school board, it is illegal. So the teacher was drinking beer has broken several ethical rules, one being: Teach & model those positive values which are widely accepted in society & encourage learners to apply them & critically appreciate their significance. Alcohol is ‘strictly forbidden at camp.’ It is a rule and regardless of who made it and what we think of the rule, it is still a rule and society has said we must follow rules. That is the ethical concern. If we want to talk grey area, then I agree it’s not huge and the teacher was reprimanded (appropriately, I assume), but if we want to talk black & white, then it is a breach of ethics from this perspective. Reply from Loesje: “I need some help on this one. If you break a school rule, do you automatically break the code of ethics? For example, if you wear black socks to school and the rules say you have to wear white ones, is that breaking the code of ethics? or is that just breaking a school rule. I didn’t think these were the same? Brenda, can you clarify this before I start my assignment?” Response from Lee: “I reckon it can be argued either way, depending on the lawyer representing you. Unfortunately, I think the code of ethics can be bent in order to argue your point depending if you’re a Puritan or whatever the opposite of Puritan is. Whether this is right or not is another story.”


Education Laws and Rights

Ben Mills from Youth Law in Auckland is giving two presentations on campus this week which will be streamed when available. The first presentation is Education Law and the right to education and is relevant to primary and secondary students. The second presentation is Human Rights and citizenship education and is relevant to ECE and primary students.

4.3 Education Laws and Rights


We are asked to please read the reference (Human Rights Commission, 2010) in preparation for these presentations.


Notes on HRC (2010)—Right to Education

• Education is both a right and a means for realizing other rights. • New Zealand children perform well by international standards—presumably measured by PISA tests. • Barriers noted to education in NZ: bullying, discrimination, harassment, varying standards • Right to Education in NZ Involves many ‘soft’ features—these are: The right to education involves learning about rights and responsibilities. It is also about creating high-quality teaching and learning environments where there is freedom from violence, bullying and harassment; where individuality and diversity are respected; and where all those involved are able to participate fully. The right to education encompasses civil and political rights, and economic, social and cultural rights. • International Treaties further Imply. . . – Entitlement to free and compulsory primary education. – Availability of different forms of secondary education. – Access to higher education on non-discriminatory terms. – Education directed to develop individuals to their fullest potential and to prepare them for responsible life in a free society, including development of respect for others and for human rights. – Availability of accessible educational and vocational information. – Measures developed by the State to ensure full participation in education. – Availability of some form of basic education for those who may not have received or completed primary education. – Protection and improvement of conditions for teachers. – Respect for the right of parents/legal guardians to choose schools other than those established and funded by the State, and to ensure that the religious and moral education of their children conforms to their own convictions.


4. Module 3—Ethics and Regulations

– Respect for academic freedom and institutional autonomy, including the freedom to express opinions about a workplace institution or system, fulfil functions without discrimination or fear of sanction, and participate in professional or representative academic bodies. • How are these Rights Assessed? There are four proposals (the 4-A’s). 1. Availability: ensuring free and compulsory education for all children and respect for parental choice of their child’s education. 2. Accessibility: eliminating discrimination in access to education as mandated by international law. 3. Acceptability: focussing on the quality of education and its conformity to minimum human rights standards. 4. Adaptability: ensuring education responds and adapts their to the best interests and benefit of the learner in current and future contexts. • UN Convention on Rights of Children Article 14 refers to education and provides that education should be directed at: – the development of the child’s personality, talents and mental and physical abilities to their fullest potential – the development of respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms, and for the principles enshrined in the Charter of the United Nations – the development of respect for the child’s parents; his or her own cultural identity, language and values; for the national values of the country in which the child is living; the country from which he or she may originate; and civilisations different from his or her own – the preparation of the child for responsible life in a free society, in the spirit of understanding, peace, tolerance, equality of sexes, and friendship among all peoples, ethnic, national and religious groups and persons of indigenous origin – the development of respect for the natural environment [Article 29]. • National Standards Contravening Rights from the report: “human rights standards. According to a number of schools, the ability of the NZC to empower notions of diversity, identity and belonging has been undermined by the introduction of National Standards in 2010. The standards, they claim, focus predominantly on English literacy and numeracy, do not encourage full diverse human potential, and have been developed without the participation

4.3 Education Laws and Rights


or inclusion of those on which they impact.” —(Human Rights Commission, 2010, page 174). • M¯ori and Pasifika Students Disadvantaged —the report mentions several statisa tics that indicate New Zealand’s education system is not ideal nor equatable for all ethnic groups. In principle this is not tolerable according to the report. It does not mention specific remedies. • New Zealand does not Score Well —according to the 4-A’s above, Availability, Accessibility, Acceptability, Adaptability, New Zealand could be doing much better. • Student Engagement and Truancy—New Zealand does not score well on engaging children in learning, especially teenagers. • Issues with Male Achievement—mainly a secondary school problem, but concerning for the country. • Human Rights Commission Recommendations—see section 4.3.2 below.


Recommendations of the Human Rights Commission

This is taken from (Human Rights Commission, 2010, page 183). “The Commission consulted with interested stakeholders and members of the public on a draft of this chapter. The Commission has identified the following areas for action to advance the right to education: • Legal recognition of the right to education. “The right to education stated explicitly in law, thus acknowledging the inalienable right of children and young people to a quality education. • National Curriculum “Establish mentoring and monitoring processes to ensure that the human rights values explicit in the New Zealand Curriculum and Te Marautanga o Aotearoa are evident in schools’ philosophies, structures, curricula, classrooms and relationships. • Underachievement “Address underachievement by: – ensuring universal provision of quality early-childhood education


4. Module 3—Ethics and Regulations

– ensuring equitable access to quality education for all, focussing particularly on M¯ori, Pacific and disabled children and young a people – removing any financial and other barriers to full participation in education. • ECE and school environment “Support early-childhood services and schools to build environments: – that are free from violence – where diversity is respected – where all children and young people are able to participate fully.”


Notes on Ben Mills presentation—Youth Rights and the Law

Ben used characters from The Simpsons as cartoon illustrations of main points. • Why do children have rights? We have power over children. Examples of power imbalances: Parent–child. School–student. Employer– employee. State–citizen. These are seen as legitimate power imbalances. Rights have the purpose of protecting the vulnerable party from the abuse of power. If you are the party with the power then you do not need rights in the relationship. For example, since the students has little power over the teacher, the teacher does not really need specific rights, instead they have the right to exercise their power. • Do rights always come with responsibilities? No. They are separate. Responsibilities are about obligations and consequences for actions, allowing for a smooth functioning society Rights are to protect the vulnerable and innocent. • Does violating one’s responsibility break one’s rights? No. For example, a truant child will have their right to education more strongly enforced. • What about violent behaviour? A child can be denied school attendance. However they still have a right to an education.

4.3 Education Laws and Rights


• Four areas where Ministry has power to tell schools what to do: from Education Act clause 77, 1. National standards. 2. NAG’s. 3. NEG’s. Otherwise schools can do anything they like within NZ law. They are independent entities. Principals also have huge power, almost unlimited discretion within NZ law. • School rules are by-laws: signed off by quorum of four Board of Trustees. More power than local government! More power than Minister of education. School rules are laws. This gives Boards a huge amount of power over students. • Education Act 72, 75, 76: Power of schools is “subject to the law of New Zealand”. • Four scenarios where teacher power matters: 1. Right to education—Bart doesn’t want to learn, so teacher kicks him out of class. Is this legal? Answer is NO! Teachers have the power to force children to at least attempt to learn. If you do not discipline Bart then you are violating his right to an education. Removing Bart from classroom—if he wanders the school being disruptive you are then party to violating the law, or possibly school rules (by-laws). Taking the bully Nelson out of school—doesn’t fix the situation for Nelson. We do not have to like students, nor them their teachers. But teachers must make efforts to educate their students no matter what. If it is not working then you must go up through the appropriate channels to work it out for the student, but if there is no resolution then you must teach them, you are the bottom line as a teacher. 2. Freedom from discrimination—Students have “converted to Buddhism” and are claiming discrimination, they want to meditate for the current period. You can use your discretion to ask these students if they know something about Buddhism. If they know nothing it is fair to treat them otherwise. If they show some knowledge then you still have recourse to consulting their parents. If they turn out to require meditation then you can use reasonable accommodation. Most of the law is common-sense.


4. Module 3—Ethics and Regulations

3. Right to equal treatment—e.g., M¯ori taonga anecdote. One administraa tor looked up school regulations and took a pair of scissors and cut off a student’s taonga. This is a violation of the student’s rights. There will be different rules for different students. Equal treatment of differences is not about treating people equally. 4. Right to expression—Students complain they had no say in a school policy. Do students have a right to participate in decisions (administrative, educational or judicial) that protect them? Yes they do! UN Rights of Children is most widely accepted international convention. Only the USA and Somalia are not signatories. They have a human right to participate but not to dictate what happens. But you have to genuinely consider what they have to say. School’s authority does not derive from consent, it is derived from the Education Act, and applies to all enrolled students. So if uniform policy is discriminatory under section 14 NZ Bill of Rights then it is illegal. But if teachers fail to enforce the school by-laws on uniforms then they are liable. Key Point: Schools do two things only: (1) to provide an education, (2) to keep students safe. So if schools can justify a rule educationally or for safety then it is fine. But say girls want to colour their hair and the school forbids it? Well this is not a relevant area of school rules. School justification of uniform policy of “upholding reputation” is not legally justifiable. But this hasn’t gone to court yet. Probably would go in favour of school though. Hair colour would probably go in favour of student. 5. Right to freedom from search and seizure—Can teachers search and seize property of students? E.g. search for a knife in a known violent student’s bag? Absolutely not! There prior character is of no relevance in determining reasonable cause. Basically you never need to search students, you call the police and let them do it. You must even report an unreasonable search. The teacher’s role is to call the police unless the students consent is given. But teachers can ask a student to look into their bags. Teachers need prior information. Bill of Rights Sec.22.—right to freedom from unreasonable search and seizure. You are not free from reasonable search and seizure. If a teacher sees as student put a knife into their bag then this would constitute reasonable search, but your decision would be to call the police.

4.4 Education Law Scenarios


The trust and relationship building with students is more important than safety rules or search. • School Board powers:—if the school board has ratified a rule or policy teachers must enforce it or are liable. But clauses 72, 75, 76 mean it must be within the law of NZ and must be (i) educationally or (ii) safety justified.


Education Law Scenarios

Ben Mills elaborated upon many questions. Here are some of them.


Question on Privacy

Question. (a) Are registered teachers and parent-helpers equally bound by the Privacy Act in terms of passing on information about a child’s academic progress without the child’s permission? (b) I recall when working as a teacher aide being advised in a vague way not to engage in conversations about the students with other staff unless it was for legitimate, professional reasons. I guess they were referring to the Privacy Act. (c) One teacher pointed out two students in the class who had been sexually abused. I just cringed at being told this—it had no bearing on my teaching and it severely invaded their privacy. I understand the Privacy Act comes in to play here also? Ben’s reply: “The answer to your question (a) is yes. The Privacy Act applies to anyone who has information about anyone else. It has a number of general principles which overall state that nobody can pass on information they hold about anyone else to a third party without the subject’s permission. So, looking exclusively at the Privacy Act, teachers and others would be breaking the law if they passed on information about a child’s academic progress to e.g. parents without the child’s permission. “The problem we have though is that there is conflicting law. The Care of Children Act provides for parents’ ability to make decisions about how they raise their children, including which school they attend and the type and nature of their education. Parents might reasonably want to know how their child is doing in school, so might ask for grades etc. Currently, the legal situation is that it’s accepted for teachers to pass on information about grades and academic progress to parents. This is also


4. Module 3—Ethics and Regulations

supported by section 77(b) of the Education Act 1989, which you may find interesting, as it appears to directly contradict the Privacy Act as far as schools are concerned. “So ultimately, while the answer to your question is unequivocally yes, this may not help you, and this is a somewhat legally vague area. There are arguments and counter arguments that may be raised, and ultimately, the lawfulness of any given situation will be determined by a court, if a student or parent feels the need (and has the resources) to take it that far. This hasn’t happened before, to my knowledge. For further information you can also view the relevant page on the YouthLaw.” “On question (b). Yes, you are correct. Although it is the school rather than the individual who in this case is holding the information, so provided other people within the school have a legitimate need to know, no privacy is being infringed. “(c) You are also quite right with the sexual abuse disclosure—if this didn’t affect your attitude towards the students, or your interaction with them, and the teacher didn’t have a reasonable education-based or safety-based justification for pointing it out to you, then you didn’t need to know and it was likely a breach of the Privacy Act.”


Question on Threats

Question. You spoke about the situation were perhaps a large Intermediate student might threaten or indeed assault you and that that was in breach of you personal rights as an individual, not a teacher so to speak. Does this mean if you hit them back in self defence or protect yourself you won’t be charged or disciplined by the school board? I’m not planning anything, but at 5 foot 2 in most year 7’s are taller than me!! Ben’s reply: “You’re correct—your rights in the case of a threat of violence are the same as a teacher as they would be if you were walking down the street. Strictly legally speaking, your self-defence rights are identical too. Before I go on there are a couple of things I should point out (that I should possibly have done before now): “I’m not a lawyer, so nothing which I’ve said or will say is legal advice. If you need legal advice you should consult a union or the Teacher’s Council. “YouthLaw is only here to provide legal information etc about the rights of young people, rather than those of adults, such as teachers. I

4.4 Education Law Scenarios


can’t help people with specific queries that they have which would relate to their own protection rather than they of young people (although, given the lectures, the limits of this are somewhat flexible in this context). “It is pertinent in this context to explain what self defence actually means. Self defence is the minimum force necessary in order to prevent a greater harm to yourself, your property or others. E.g. someone breaks into your house to steal your TV. You wake up and wack them in the back of the head with your baseball bat. You would likely be charged for, at best, assault with a weapon. Conversely, if the burglar came at you with a knife (the Crocodile Dundee kind) and you took out his legs with said baseball bat because you were also backed into a corner, then that may well constitute self defence and you might not be guilty of any crime. “To relate this to the question again, my point is that the definition of self defence in the classroom is identical to self defence in the street. However this does not mean you can use the identical force, just the absolute minimum necessary. So the amount of minimum force necessary to deter a year 7 is likely to be much less than that which may be needed to deter a burglar with a Crocodile Dundee knife. The age of the year 7 student, their build, and their level of aggression would also be relevant, as well as other details around the situation such as your ability to escape and any obligation (or ability) to protect others. “All this only applies to criminal charges. Consequences through either the Teachers Council (your professional obligations) and through the Board of Trustees (your employment obligations) would be separate. If you broke no law but broke the NZTC Code of Ethics, you could well be struck off. Similarly you may be subject to disciplinary action if you broke a school policy in a serious way (e.g. provoked the attack in some way). If you did break a policy / Code of Ethics, but to not have done so would have resulted in you breaking the law, then to answer your question, it would be highly unlikely that you would suffer any professional or employment punitive action.”


Question on Abuse

Question. If I suspected a student of mine was being physically abused at home, would I talk to him about his rights, and actions he might take, to protect himself from abusive parental authority? Ben’s reply:


4. Module 3—Ethics and Regulations

“Legally speaking, if you have a student who you suspect of being abused, the action that you take is ultimately up to you (subject to relevant school policies). However, if it was me, I would tend to do the following: “1. Talk to the student. Sensitively ask how he/she got the marks on their body (or ask them if they have an alternative explanation for any signs that make you think they’re being abused. It may help to assume at first that there’s an innocent explanation. That way when you eliminate all other possible alternatives, abuse would seem more credible). Make sure you inform the student the limits of the confidentiality of the discussion. “2. If the student discloses that they are being abused, or if you decide that is the case, best practice would be to discuss the matter with the student before passing the information on (if you intend to pass it on). Try to persuade the student that it is a good idea to pass it on and, regardless of whether you have the student’s consent, tell the student what you intend to do and what the student can expect will happen. It is imperative that you do not make promises that you cannot be sure of keeping, or that are outside your control e.g., Child Youth and Family WILL get involved or the police WILL charge the parent or whoever. “3. Talk the matter over with a colleague or a line manager. Have sensitivity to the possible existing relationship between that staff member and the student, and any possible prejudices. You should feel comfortable discussing a ‘hypothetical’ scenario with a line manager or colleague who you trust. Insofar as the policy is lawful and professionally ethical, follow any policy in place in the school. “4. The likelihood will be that you personally will no longer be involved - a senior member of staff or a principal will likely make the calls to e.g. police or CYPS. The only reason you may have to do it yourself is if the school doesn’t think there’s a problem and you do. In this situation, provided you pass the information on in good faith, there can be no criminal, civil (meaning employment) or professional penalties for you. “5. Follow the matter up with the police or CYPS and find out where things are at. If the matter is not resolved to the child’s benefit, make another report to CYPS and continue to do so until the matter is resolved. This may take some time. It is important to seek some professional advice here, such as from a union, the Teacher’s Council, or from a community law centre. “6. A final option is that you may be able to help the student obtain

4.4 Education Law Scenarios


a Protection Order. This is a document which makes certain behaviour on the part of the abuser (who must be a family member or someone with whom the child is in a relationship with e.g. boyfriend) criminal. The person who is the subject of the Protection Order will be prevented from coming to the child’s home, school, place of work if they have a parttime job, and other places that they frequent. For more information on Protection Orders and similar, including how to get one, see the relevant part of the YouthLaw website. “7. In an emergency, the child (or anyone) should call the police immediately on 111. If the police arrive at a home where there are clearly domestic violence issues, they can issue a Police Safety Order, which is similar to a Protection Order, but doesn’t require the consent of the person being protected.”


Question on Privacy Rights

Question. I am unsure which part of the Privacy law covers disclosure of information to third parties. For example concerns raised about sexual abuse in a staff meeting, what part of the privacy act ensures that people must keep it confidential, is it security of personal info (principle 5) or use and disclosure (10 & 11) ? or is it simply the contract you have with your ECE centre? Ben’s reply:

“The Privacy Act prohibits anyone from passing on any information they obtain about anyone else without their permission, apart from the exceptions. I doubt your assignment would require you to reference a specific Principle of the Act—the legal principle that is established is that this is the general purpose of the Privacy Act—to keep information obtained about people private unless consent is obtained. “If you do need to reference a specific Principle of the Privacy Act, Principles 5 and 11 serve this purpose. “The law that allows good faith disclosures of information concerning the well-being of a child is sections 15 and 16 of the Children, Young Persons and Their Families Act 1989.”


4. Module 3—Ethics and Regulations


Question on Confidential Academic Information (Privacy)

Question. I’m working on the assignment following on from your talks and getting bogged down in the legislation side of things regarding a parent overhearing confidential academic information about two kids from a teacher (not her own). Am I right in thinking that this breaches Principle 5 of the Privacy Act? Can you point me towards any other appropriate legislation? Ben’s reply: “See the answer to the previous thread on the Privacy Act for more detail—I doubt going into the legal specifics is necessary for your assignment; I imagine the general principles involved will be enough. However, the relevant pieces of legislation are Principles 5 & 11 of the Privacy Act and sections 15–16 of the Children, Young Persons and Their Families Act.”


Question on Reporting Violence (breaking policy)

Question. Looking at a fight on the school grounds. The matter needs to be recorded as stated in the school polices. There are concerns for the safety of one of the two students (violence at home) if the parents find out about the incident. I would prefer not to report the incident following the principle of responsible care (NZ Teachers Council, 2005), but I am wondering if breaking school policies is considered illegal and consequently outweighs and ethical decision? I am wondering if school policies are considered a by-law according to Education Act 1989, Section 72). If this is the case, does the second half of the Education Act 1989, Section 72 “except to the extent that any enactment or the general law of NZ provides otherwise,” allow me to break school policy as a result of NAG 5(a) (Each board of trustees is also required to: provide a safe physical and emotional environment for students)? Is there are any other appropriate legislation to support my case? Ben’s reply: “I seem to have confused you a little I think. These matters can get a little complicated when you delve into them too much, so it’s best to take some time and deal with one issue at a time. I’ve just dealt with them in the order you’ve presented them, rather than necessarily any order of importance:

4.4 Education Law Scenarios


“Issue one—Whether the matter should be recorded or not: “If the school policy says you should record it, then generally it should be recorded. The consequence for you of not following school policy is potentially disciplinary action, or worse, that you inadvertently make a decision which results in harm towards a student. The only real reason for not following school policy is if it directly conflicts with professional ethics, law, or (I suppose) morality. Obviously this shouldn’t happen too often. “Issue two—The status of school policies as they relate to employees: “School policies, if signed off by the board, do indeed constitute bylaws for the purposes of section 72. While any student or staff member that does not comply with a school policy may technically be in breach of the Education Act, this is not normally significant—for students, the greater consequence will usually be some form of discipline, and the greatest consequence for staff could be, in extreme situations only, dismissal. “Issue three—Whether law outweighs ethics or not: “Nazi Germany was a democracy and had laws. While I’m certainly not suggesting we all routinely break the law if we feel it’s a bad law, there is a limit. Breaking a law is not the worst thing a human being can do—indeed in some parts of the world it’s the only responsible thing a human being can do. “Issue four—The impact of the NAGs: “NAGs, as you’ve identified, require the board to provide a safe physical and emotional environment. Boards do that in the first instance by employing a school principal as a CEO, and allowing him or her to delegate tasks to teachers, support staff and management. The obligation is on the board, and is only applicable to teachers insofar as they are performing the functions of the board. Were you to break / ignore school policy anyway, then it really wouldn’t matter, as NAG 5a would presumably create an obligation on the board to stop you (were they to be aware of it). “In short, I would suggest that the best course of action for you in this case would be to find a professionally, legally and ethically permissible way to comply with the school policy. Only if that’s not possible would I suggest that you consider breaking it—and risk the associated consequences for your job and occupation.”


4. Module 3—Ethics and Regulations


Question on Right to Information (Privacy and Custody)

Question. For my assignment I am working on a scenario where a 4 year old’s parents have recently split up, he is living with his mother and his father is seeking joint custody, which she is opposing. The mother asks teachers not to have any contact with his father, but he has asked to have access to all information. The scenario doesn’t specify whether the mother has official custody at present or not— am I right in thinking that it is not in her right to prevent the boy’s father from accessing information? I looked at the children, young persons and their families act, which seems to indicate this. Is there any other relevant legislation I should look at in particular, or would I be referring more to centre policy in this case? Ben’s reply: “The main piece of legislation here is the Care of Children Act 2004, which deals with the concept of guardianship (rather than custody, which is a separate concept). A child’s guardian is the one charged with looking after them, and is the one who gets to make decisions about their upbringing. So the key thing for your scenario would be who had guardianship - and the school would likely request to see evidence of guardianship before releasing information or noting someone down as the main contact person etc (or the school should do this). “If the father is a guardian, he has a legal right to information about his child (see section 77 of the Education Act). If not, he doesn’t. The mum, regardless of her own guardianship status, won’t be able to change this fact.”


Question on Sexual Abuse (Privacy and Disclosure)

Question. The way I see it, if I had good reason to believe a child in my class was being sexually abused, and yet nobody else I spoke to in the school (syndicate leader, principal. . . ) took this seriously, then while I’m not (yet) legally obliged to report this to CYPS or to the police, I am legally entitled to provided I do so in good faith, without any repercussions. This all relates to the Privacy Act and the Children, Young Persons and their Families Act. So, if I morally feel that I should report this, and can also justify it by the NZTC Code of Ethics (i.e., I am following the four values it proposes, and would be promoting the well-being of the vulnerable child, even at the expense of my commitment to and relationship with the family), then is it as simple as that? Are there any other laws or bits of legislation I need

4.5 Human Rights and Citizenship


to be considering? And, if I chose to disclose the information, in addition to calling CYPS national office (I assume I can reference you and your lecture on this point in the assignment?), can I also call the police about it? Or would I just call one of these parties? And, if I did call the police, I assume it would have to be my local headquarters? Ben’s reply: “Your first paragraph is exactly correct, and summarises the situation perfectly. “As regards your first question—is it as simple as that?—I would suggest that while these types of situations are definitely not simple, the decision as you’ve summarised it is accurately represented—in a word, yes. After a brief discussion with colleagues, there are no other laws or bits of legislation that are relevant. “You could also call the police in addition to CYPS, but as you say, unless it’s an emergency, this is likely to be your local police station. They would then be likely to refer you to CYPS, in which case you tell them you want to lay a criminal complaint. Depending on the situation and time-frame or imminence of threat, you may need to call 111. Tell each of CYPS and the police that you’ve informed the other.” * * *

That brings us to the end of this section on education law related to rights. We move on to other aspects concerning care of students and more ethical and professional matters rather than moral dilemmas.


Human Rights and Citizenship

This section follows on from Ben Mills’ earlier talk on youth law. We move more into rights and freedoms.


Comments on the lecture by Ben Mills

This lecture is more focused on general human rights, more specific on how children . Specifically how the law relates to children’s lives. How children can solve problems, with help, using the law. Ben used more characters from The Simpsons as cartoon illustrations of main points.


4. Module 3—Ethics and Regulations

• Why we have rights—Rights are in place particularly for children because they are vulnerable and relatively powerless. • Right to safety—guaranteed most significantly by the NAG’s. Safe physical and emotional environment. Schools have to follow NAG’s otherwise they are breaking the law. • Identifying problems children may have— 1. Abuse by adults/youth—neglect, abuse, of all forms, emotional, physical, intellectual. Scenario: You suspect a child is being abused, are you legally required to report this? No. But you may feel a moral obligation, which is fine if done in good conscience (make sure you are justified). If you pass on private information to a Principal or social worker (CYPS) or police then you are not liable, provided you pass on the information in good faith, for good reason. If you do so without the person’s consent then this technically breaks the Privacy Act but it is justifiable, and so not illegal, even if the information turns out to be false. Do not call local CYPS office (the event could get ignored), instead call CYPS national office (0508 number), then make sure others follow up and make the same complain independently. 2. Abuse by state agencies—cases can be less severe to CYPS but quite serious from our point of view. National standards and policies not in best interests. No point contacting CYPS now, since they might be the problem. Also, CYPS does not help children over 17 years of age. The UNROC stipulate children need protection up to the age of 18 years old. In New Zealand a murderer has no protection, which violates international law (UNCROC). 3. Peer abuse—peer pressure, bullying, disruption, psychological abuse. You can call police, put bullied students in safety. Use CYPS. Use restorative justice. For extreme bullying a school will need outside help generally. Free legal advice from Ministry of Education. You cannot expel a student for bullying. Why? This does not fix the problem, Nelson can still beat on Ralph outside of school. Plus Nelson still has a right to education. Often the victims family is compelled to move locality, this would be sad and is avoidable while keeping Ralph safe. 4. Discrimination—race, culture, sex.

4.6 The Pastoral Role of Secondary Teachers


Belief: in school everyone has equal needs and resources. Truth: wrong. Learners in more difficulty positively need more resources and more commitment and time from teachers. If you have more need you should get more help. (No scenario was offered by Ben in this category, but see some scenarios in the previous section.) 5. School abuse—coercion, humiliation, sexual abuse, search, punishment. Scenario: Bart brings a knife into school. Teachers says he does not deserve and education. Send him to another school. Conclusion: this is absolutely wrong. Bart’s rights need protecting. We must help Bart not deny his right to an education. Scenario: you are new at a school and go into a staffroom saying “kids need to be taught how to effectively challenge authority”. Most schools would laugh at you. Reality: we need to teach children from an early age how to effectively challenge authority, so that authority doesn’t get abused. Authorities like CYPS, teachers, the state, police, parents, political parties,. . . . This is a skill children need. They need to know people have power over them, and they thus need to be educated how to challenge this authority. The skill to recognize abuse and then to find safe channels to report it and do something about it, avoid it then get adults to fix it. • School time—If seniors are allowed to do what they like for certain periods, then they are no longer under school regulations. • We Can Fix the Problems—in society we can be advocates by pointing out whenever possible that children need protection from abuse by absolute authority. Teachers play a fundamental role in society in protecting children.


The Pastoral Role of Secondary Teachers

There is a streamed presentation on the pastoral role of secondary teachers. A deputy principal of a secondary school will be discussing the focus of pastoral care at her school and the teachers’ responsibilities. A PRT from the same school will then share the realities of this aspect of her work and offer practical suggestions that may be helpful for you. Pastoral care reflects an ecological systems approach to education (Bronfenbrenner, 1978) and is recognised in the Registered Teacher Standards that you will be working towards.


4. Module 3—Ethics and Regulations


Registered Teacher Standards

Registered teachers: 1. Establish and maintain effective professional relationships focused on the learning and well-being of ¯konga. a Key indicators: Registered teachers engage in ethical, respectful, positive and collaborative professional relationships with: (a) (b) (c) (d) ¯konga a teaching colleagues, support staff and other professionals wh¯nau and other carers of ¯konga a a agencies, groups and individuals in the community

2. Should know relevant legislation: There is Government legislation including the National Education Guidelines (NEGs) and the National Administration Guidelines (NAGs). Boards of Trustees must ensure their schools comply with these . You are encouraged to check them at: http://www.minedu.govt.nz/NZEducation/EducationPolicies/Schools/PolicyAndStrategy/ See Appendix B and C for the NEG’s, and Appendix A for the NAG’s.


Pastoral Care Activities

There is a video presentation on pastoral care for Epol-301. See the file 03-1 Pastoral.care lecture-video.wmv accompanying these notes. The slides for this talk are here 03-1 Pastoral.care slides.pdf The script for the mini-chat referred to in the presentation is in the file 03-3 mini-chat.pdf. At some stage you will be required by your school to take care of a ‘form class’. A form teacher job description with task details is in file Job.Description Form.Teacher.pdf.


Comments on Lecture—Pastoral Care

The video presentation 03-1 Pastoral.care lecture-video.wmv is highly worth while or the story of ‘Jacob’ who was playing up in maths class deliberately to be able to

4.6 The Pastoral Role of Secondary Teachers


go to art class to finish their portfolio. Before this was revealed there was a storm of worry about the kid. • Learning discussion evenings—better alternative to parent-teacher conference. • Workload for beginning teachers—lot of expectations, meetings, assessments, form classes. Learn to say “no” to extra work, unless it won’t impact your other priorities. • Restorative justice—better practice than classroom dismissal and punitive action. Needs students to reflect upon their wrong-doings. • Class conferences—when an entire class is not running well. Used mainly in junior classes. When class is difficult for more than one teacher. Two spell block conference. All teachers present, dean present, form teacher. Deans run the conference. Lay out the issues. Every child in turn talks about what is going right and wrong in class. Each teacher shares. Students come up with ideas for solutions. Student-driven solutions. Arrive at a class contract. Consequences spelt out for breaking the contract, and rewards or feedback for sticking to the contract. Often students want to be in class and learning, but for various reasons things aren’t going smoothly. Often a dynamic develops but he students are unhappy with t as well, they just do not know how to change it and deal with it. Te class conferences seem to successfully solve these issues. • Drugs and alcohol —use support meetings with external agencies. Focus on getting students back at school and learning. • Form classes—not an easy role. One week to call parents for thirty children. Managing all their NCEA credits. Keeping track of reports. Monitoring uniforms. The list seems endless. Key tasks for form teachers: – School Attendance systems are supported – To establish a positive form class tone – To provide pastoral care for your students – The Form Period functions smoothly and form room is looked after – Students use school diaries appropriately – To uphold the schools uniform standards – To complete administrative tasks


4. Module 3—Ethics and Regulations

– Learning conferences and goal setting is carried out – To complete form teacher reports and check reports – To attend appropriate meetings as required • Disclosed information—students may do this and ask you to keep their confidence. Before listening you must sensitively let them know you will not allow them to be kept in harm’s way, that you may feel obliged to inform someone in authority. • Ask for Help—also figure out early who is the ‘go to’ for problem X. • Remember all about students—take notes. Always have something you can chat them about. What are they really interested in? Know this, and know their names and backgrounds. • Following up—attendance needs a lot of work. Chase up after form time so they know to not skip. Get routines sorted early. • Pass on the chocolate fish—weekly cyclic activity in form time. You must give the chocolate to someone not in your group of friends, and justify their choice.


Assignment on Ethical Dilemmas

We are asked to contact a critical friend to gain feedback on the second Epol-301 assignment. This task is designed to help you assist each other think through and plan your final assignment. Read through the assignment task and relevant scenarios and chose one you find interesting. Contact your critical friend and use coaching techniques to help them prepare for this assignment. There are some suggested question prompts we may choose to use. My comments on my own choice of topic are in italics below each question. My critical friend gave the feedback in blue text. • What scenario have you chosen and why?

• How do you plan to approach this assignment?

• What legislation and/or literature do you know of that will be useful?

4.7 Assignment on Ethical Dilemmas


• Where else where you need to go for resources?

• What do what to achieve by when?

• How will you start? • What challenges could you face as you carry out this plan and how could these be overcome?


4. Module 3—Ethics and Regulations

5. Module 4—Twenty First Century Enlightenment
Welcome to the final learning module. This week there are four different areas of focus: 1. 21st century education. You are asked to watch a clip and a powerpoint presentation and then post a reflection in your blog. 2. For primary and secondary students there is a presentation and some resources on Education Outside the Classroom (EOTC) and for ECE students some suggested sources for ongoing professional learning. 3. Both NZEI and PPTA are giving presentations on campus which will be streamed when available, probably Wednesday morning. 4. The final presentation is on Developing Professional Skills and includes two readings and a lecture. In these course notes I refer to TFCE as the “Twenty First Century Enlightenment” talked about be educationalists like Sir Ken Robinson, among others. This is not the entire focus of Module 4 of these Epol-301 course notes refer to, but I thought paying homage to Sir Ken’s ideas would be a fitting way to round off the course notes.


Twenty First Century Education

Before reading the power point presentation watch this Ted Talk by Sir Ken Robinson, http://www.ted.com/talks/sir ken robinson bring on the revolution.html The purpose of this activity is to: 107


5. Module 4—Twenty First Century Enlightenment

• Reflect on the trends of 21st century. • Consider the implications for education. As you know there have been many changes in the world that impact on the lives of your students. When you watch the video and read the powerpoint, consider what the present and future trends mean for your philosophy of teaching and learning.The powerpoint slides are in the file 01-1 Future.trends 2011.pdf


Blog Activity

Note two aspects that particularly interest you and enter your thoughts on what these will mean for your teaching and for the learning of your students. Here are 2 additional video clips related to future trends in education which are optional viewing but highly recommended. • http://www.ted.com/talks/sugata mitra the child driven education.html • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zDZFcDGpL4U&feature=player embeddedSA My Blog Entry. “Task: comment of two aspects that particularly interest you and enter your thoughts on what these will mean for your teaching and for the learning of your students. “The two aspects I have chosen are, 1. Career Service NZ Indicators (High Tech and Knowledge Jobs are the ones in demand) Slide #11 2. Opinion survey on ‘School is Preparing Students for Jobs of the Future?’ Slide #13 I would really prefer to comment on Sir Ken’s TED talk. So I will. He mentions the inertia that prevents progressive reform or revolution, (paraphrasing) ‘the enemy of progress and innovation is the tyranny of common-sense. . . people who say I cannot be done any other way. . . this is the way we do it around here. . . ’. Everyone is a critic though, anyone can easily find fault with the status quo as Sir Ken has done. Even people who enable the status quo and resist change will bitterly complain,

5.1 Twenty First Century Education


sometime worse than reformers who are trying to push for change. In regard to education Sir Ken mentions (1) The Linearity Problem, (2) the Conformity Problem, (3) The Industrial Model Problem. But he does more than critique things, he offers one high level solution: change to an organic agricultural model of education where schooling is customized to suit a learners circumstances, he calls for a ”new movement” where people (students, learners, teachers) can ”develop their own solutions” and ”with external support based on a personalized curriculum.” Well this movement already exists in many form, such as the democratic and free school movements. But in New Zealand we are so far fro this type of model it is a joke. Luckily we’re not the only ones. What country will dare to take the lead? It seems no bureaucrats or policy makers, people who wield the power of funding, are prepared to gamble on the likes of Sir Ken’s ideas. They are not revolutionary ideas, they are old ideas, they just haven’t been put into practice. The entire reason I enrolled in the Grad.Dip.Ed. was to be able to actually do something to usher in the revolution Sir Kens talks about. I wanted to be on the round floor working to achieve this revolution. I’m finding the inertia of common-sense is far weightier and immovable than Sir Ken hints at. Which brings me to the survey on ”School is Preparing Students for Jobs of the Future?” for which 66% of administrators ”agreed”, and a crazy 47% of teachers agreed. How can so many teachers, of all people, be so dumb? It’s very, very worrying. It suggests more teachers need to experience the real world, get some dirt on their hands, have another job for a few years before going into the classroom as a PRT. Then they might realize how bad their school system is and they might agitate mote aggressively to do something about it. I am even further out to the right in the category ‘students with advanced technology skills’ and my opinion would weight that percentage agreement down to 0% if I had the chance. The things is, even in the subjects that schools currently offer to teach, we are doing a dreadfully poor job of training students. As usual I’m limiting my thoughts to high school and science and mathematics and IT). So even if all students wanted to study pure sciences and mathematics, (which from most syllabus formats you’d think most administrators think they should be doing) I find what we are doing in the typical school classroom, driven mainly by external assessments, is so bad, so impoverished, so lacking in spirit and humanity, that it has become my opinion that schools should be banned in New Zealand. The only reason they aren’t is because no other country of any size is doing any better, and in fact New Zealand runs the old style of industrial education model quite


5. Module 4—Twenty First Century Enlightenment

efficiently. We in NZ have somehow made the old industrial mechanical model of education quite palatable to the public. This is really shocking and depressing. “Because the high tech jobs and creative thinking jobs (biotechnology, IT, medicine, education) are the ones identified as in most demand, it is criminal that schools are not doing more to bend towards the revolution talked about by Sir Ken. “What Does this Mean for My Teaching and the Learning of My Students? “I plan to agitate and aggressively stand up for the rights of my students to study what they find interesting. However, given all the NAG’s and NEG’s we are currently looking at, I suspect this could be hard going if I want to keep a paid job. But just because the bureaucrats who design the NAG’s and the national standards are in charge of the purse-strings doesn’t mean I do not have a moral obligation to allow my students freedom of thought. If my students want to study for external assessment credits and nothing else then I will allow them to do so, but counsel them to think otherwise, e.g., by showing them talks like Sir Ken’s. “Probably what’ll happen is students might enjoy m classes but will get nervous and demand the same old exam drills they are conditioned to be used to about three moths into the school year. This is when things will start to heat up and I will need to be a bit flexible and give students freedom to constrain themselves by the exams. After a few years of experience I hope I will have systems of gradual improvement to get around these anxieties caused by the external qualifications regime. One way is to offer an even higher quality qualification that is personalized, a local school certificate that shows a personalized program of study was followed. Even if the Min.Ed. doesn’t see this as valid, it cannot stop employers and university provosts from acknowledging the record of achievement of my students. With some form of professional body auditing of this sort of local personalized school qualification I can see it thoroughly undermining systems as gross and industrial as NCEA. For example, a science certificate endorsed by New Zealand’s leading scientific Crown Research institutions, or the RSNZ, would be a start. They are way more respected than the Ministry of Education or the NZQA. It will take many years to get to this point. A lot depends on how far I can encourage students and their parents to take an interest in their future, or whether by year 9 they have already become corrupted by the system. “I see this whole long-term plan as treading very softly, with the

5.2 Education Outside the Classroom


touch of an angel, on the ‘dreams that our children place before our feet’. “In the longer term, after I’ve paid my dues at public schools, I hope to work in a private free school, or open one with other like-minded educators if we can find a benefactor. From the outlook at present I doubt there is enough innovation and support for it to keep me in public schools for more than the required duty period for my scholarship payback.”


Education Outside the Classroom

Please have a look at this website before watching the presentation: http://eotc.tki.org.nz/EOTC-home/For-teachers Next read the presentation for the topic of Education Outside the Classroom from the file 02-1 Education.outside.classroom lecture-video.wmv. A number of resources that may be of use when planning EOTC are included. • 02-2 Otari.Wilton.Bush Checklist.pdf • 02-4 Planning 3-Case.Studies.pdf • 02-5 Planning 3-Case.Studies.pdf


Outside the Classroom—Field Trips and More

The website has some good guidance. “The New Zealand Curriculum identifies five key competencies: thinking; managing self; using language, symbols, and texts; relating to others; and participating and contributing. Settings beyond the classroom are rich sites for developing, practising, and demonstrating the key competencies in a range of contexts within and across learning areas. “Teaching as inquiry is about the thinking that teachers do as they consider what is most important given: • their students’ learning needs and aspirations (focusing inquiry) • the teaching approaches they intend to use (teaching inquiry)


5. Module 4—Twenty First Century Enlightenment

• the impact previous teaching has had on their students learning (learning inquiry). “These considerations are important for all teaching and learning but are critical in EOTC because teachers need to inquire into both learning needs and safety needs. The information here provide guidance and resources to help you maximise learning and safety for your students through EOTC.


Notes on Lecture—Education Outside the Classroom

• Definitions—Education Outside the Classroom (EOTC) is any curriculumbased activity that takes place outside the school gate ranging from a museum or marae visit, sports trip, outdoor education camp, to a rocky shore field trip. More than just outdoor education. Field trips. Overseas trips. Exploration of the world in first person. • Why is EOTC Important—brings curriculum alive. You can feel it, touch it, smell it. – Embodies the experience of the curriculum. – You see students in a new light. – Students can blossom and show leadership and teamwork unseen in classrooms. – Connects learners with the environment and local community and culture. – Unifies with place-based education. – Multi-sensory aspects. – Challenging yourself and taking risks. • Curriculum Key Competencies—EOTC is a great way to develop these and let students show them in practice. – Self-managing—outside class you do need to look after yourself often. – Relating to Others—EOTC provides learning opportunities for relationships quite naturally. – Thinking Skills—lots of decision making in EOTC, lots of exploring of nature. – Using Symbols Language and Texts—orienteering, photography, film, poetry inspired by nature.

5.3 Outside the Classroom—Field Trips and More


• Stewards of the Earth—helping students become better citizens is massively aided by guiding them in experiencing the environment, and appreciate the interconnected web of nature. • Back to Basic Approach—links with citizenship building. Survival skills. Living closer to the land—just showing students little examples can help them appreciate basic living. Alternative energy is often an outdoors experience—we get it all from the Sun. • Special Needs Students—always can work to have them involved, there’s always a way. • Coverage Made Up in Motive—heavy use of EOTC must sacrifice syllabus coverage. In current schools this negatively impacts student national qualifications credits. But if EOTC is done right the motivation to learn can more than make up for the thinner coverage in class. • EOTC Guidelines—download from tki, or see my files under EOTC-Guidelines Chapters.pdf. • Balance Risks—too much is unacceptable, too little detracts from enjoyment. • Ratio of Students to Adults—no set recommendation. Can be determined by school. Should depend upon skill levels. Could depend upon equipment requirements. Could depend upon your competence. Could depend upon the environment visited. Could depend upon your knowledge of the group (skills, abilities, trust). • Who’s in Charge—external people must realize the teacher is in ultimate ‘buck-stopping’ charge. • Duty of Care Owed to Students—acting professionally. Continues as long as teachers have charge of students, inside or outside school, in school hours or out. • No alcohol, no drugs—no doubts, but must be communicated to parents and others involved. • Parental Consent—yes for high risk activities. Can use blanket consent at beginning of year for low risk activities. • Who is Liable—all of you the teacher, the Board of Trustees and the Principal. So all need to cooperate and take steps to minimize risk.


5. Module 4—Twenty First Century Enlightenment

• Health and Safety —see SPARC Outdoor Activities a Guideline for Leaders. • Negligence—is failure to take reasonable precautionary steps. So follow EOTC Guidelines. In all these safety aspects it is a shared responsibility. Students must be in on safety. • Identify Risks and Plan to minimize—always ask “what could go wrong?” Then plan what to do in each event. Risks could be physical, emotional, social, financial. • Emergency Procedures—must be planned and shared with the whole group, staff and students. These are steps to take if something does go wrong. If these are well done they should form a trip checklist. • Scenario: Getting lost—cause might’ve been poor instructions. Checklist: clear briefing, • Common Factors in Disasters—take note, – Inexperienced supervisors. – Ratios of experts to novices too low. – Level of supervision too low. – Safety management poor. – Sequenced programme poor, bad timings. – Sound educational objectives. • Preventative Measures— – Prevention and risk awareness. – Crisis management plan. – Knowledge and skills to run trip effectively. • Starting out on EOTC —helpful guidelines, – Start small and close to home (outside the classroom). – Clear management strategies in place. – Take all opportunity to build relationship with the environment—get familiar with the locality to be visited. – Have up to date knowledge and skills when leading high risk activities.

5.3 Outside the Classroom—Field Trips and More


– Sequence activities carefully to meet students’ needs. – Make time, provide opportunities to reflect on the activities. • Legal requirements—What are the requirements for first aid in schools? School boards of trustees have legal responsibilities with regard to the safety of students. These are set out in legislation and arise under the general law. Under the Education Act 1989, boards must prepare charters in accordance with the National Administration Guidelines (NAGS). NAG 5 require boards to: provide a safe physical and emotional environment for students. Under the Health and Safety in Employment Act 1992 boards have obligations as employers to the health and safety of employees, students, and other visitors to the school. Under general law, school boards of trustees, principals and teachers owe a duty of care to students to safeguard them from harm in situations where a reasonable person would have foreseen the likelihood of harm arising. • First aid coverage in schools— The Ministry of Education requires schools to have procedures in place that are consistent with best practice. Best practice guidelines require schools to ensure that students and staff have access to a qualified first aider and first aid facilities when they need it. The Ministry is not prescriptive about how schools should meet this best practice responsibility. For example, there is no law that requires a specific number of first aiders in a workplace or the type of certificate they should have. Boards need to decide what is most suitable in their circumstances. Thinksafe for schools is a pamphlet to assist schools to meet their obligations regarding the safety of staff and students in the school. It was prepared by ACC in conjunction with NZ School Trustees Association. OSH requires all employers to ensure that employees have access to first aid when they need it. OSH have Guidance Notes on providing first aid equipment, facilities and training on their website www.osh.dol.govt.nz Note: These comments do not cover the special requirements of the Health and Safety in Employment Act 1992. For further information, see also Liability FAQ. • Parting Thoughts—“If I tell you about this place will you remember it next week? If I let your experience the place in person you will remember it for a lifetime.”


5. Module 4—Twenty First Century Enlightenment


Blog Activity—Personal Experiences of EOTC

Task 2: EOTC Experiences. School camp was one. Lots of drinking and probably drugs that I was not interested in, felt a bit of a loner, but did get to have a walk at midnight with my future wife. A lot of stuff goes on at school camps that teachers may know about but choose to ignore. I don’t think I would recommend turning a blind eye to student pranks, and especially not to drug and alcohol use. However, overall they are worthwhile if they are run with clear learning objectives. One down side is that is gives popular students a chance to become even greater jerks. Most take the opportunity. Four day tramp in Tararuas. Probably better than school camp. Rugged, required some character and skills. River crossing, helping each other. A bit of hardship, especially if your sleeping bag was acceptable but not quite up to standard. From memory I think camps and tramps were all optional, but most students participated which was good. Movie outing. True. Physics teacher took us to see The Right Stuff, a movie about the early American astronauts. Can’t really justify a trip these days with YouTube and DVDs. Also had a class where we stayed after school to watch the Feynman Lectures on QED. No safety protocol or hassles required, and even the non-geeks attended. That was brilliant. Best formative moments in my secondary school experience. Yet so simple to arrange. I can think of a few other 50 minute periods outside the classroom, but inside school grounds, which were good value. I’ll use them in some way when I teach full time. Can be as simple as learning to tie knots and testing them (useful if you’re not a Scout or Guide). I’m not a great fan of day long field trips, since the time they take away from other learning opportunities is hard to justify. But I’m not opposed if they really provide insight and stimulate wonder of nature. Ski trips are borderline due to expense, and yet they do provide a natural thrill. Wonder what others think about long term field trips? Are they a net benefit? Task 3: EOTC Ideas I Would Use. Caveat: all suggestions would require a particular class, some would not be suitable for certain learners. This is just a very short list. • Definitely knot theory in practice—cross over physics and mathematics. • Visit WETA Digital. • Visit NIWA and compare their computing resources to Weta Digital!

5.3 Outside the Classroom—Field Trips and More


• Organize a demonstration and petition to parliament advocating for more freedom in learning at high school. • Not on the list—would love to do Wing Suit flying, but would never get approval. Best alternative might be hang gliding, but a bit expensive, so maybe default to . . . • rock climbing for sure. • Build a scale model of the solar system (planets in alignment) along a 16 km road. Task 4: Safety Planning Process Think of an EOTC risk scenario. Choose one thing where emergency could arise. Identity cause. What management process could have been more effective to prevent. See the files. • 02-3 Otari-Bush-FieldTrip Safety.Plan.pdf 02-2 Otari.Wilton.Bush Checklist.pdf • 02-4 Planning 3-Case.Studies.pdf • 02-5 Planning 3-Case.Studies.pdf What Could Go Wrong Example: Getting Lost Scenario • Risks: Risks could be physical, emotional, social, financial. • Causes: People, environment, equipment. e.g., poor instructions. • Management Strategy: – Clear briefings – Include timings – Define boundaries of venturing – Clear meeting places – Letter to homes – Checks for understanding of instructions • Emergency Procedures: – First step is to clear crisis area and then stop and think and gather everyone,


5. Module 4—Twenty First Century Enlightenment

– Identify information: last sightings, emotional state, clothing, equipment, etc – Collect group together and brief. – If appropriate conduct search with buddy system, clear times to report in, and areas to search. – . . . other details. – Group de-breif.


Teacher Unions

Here are links to the unions’ websites: • www.nzei.org.nz (ECE and primary) • www.ppta.org.nz (Secondary)


Notes on the Lecture—PPTA Guidance

• Register early, start the process. • Check your entitlements—beginning teacher release time (one full day per week). School has to do this before you start, otherwise might not be granted. • Fixed term jobs must be justified, school cannot arbitrarily put you on fixed term. • Sick leave—7 days per year. Accumulates, 5 days/year. • Removal provision—removal and transport costs paid by state for relocation to new job. (See Min.Ed. Resourcing.) • Salary stuff–see website. • Investigate the school culture before applying for positions—see tki website. • Bounding schemes—bonuses for working in impoverished schools. • Can only use PPTA help line if you are a member. • Put out fires early—experience suggests you can get into real trouble if you do not fix problems early. • Join PPTA as a student, it’s cheaper.

5.5 Developing Professional Skills



Developing Professional Skills

The presentation, ‘Next Steps’, reminds you of registration requirements and discusses the ongoing development of your professional skills. Before the presentation please read (Cameron, Lovett, & Burger, 2007). Also read (Ferrier-Kerr, 2011). The following optional reading is also recommended: (Grudnoff, 2011). The lecture presentation and slides are here: 04-1 Next.Steps lecture-video.wmv and the slides, 04-1 Next.Steps slides.pdf.


Notes on Cameron (2007)—Starting teaching: Survive or Thrive?

Main ideas with my comments in italics. • What Helps Retain Beginning Teachers—overwhelmingly it is the school-level practices, not national policy, which prevents teacher burn-out. 1. A collegial culture among teachers (and students). 2. Quality supervision. 3. Careful timetables—to allow beginning teachers quality time with mentor and colleagues. 4. Mentor’s committed to improving their teaching. OK, but such conditions might be rare. Do beginning teachers have the luxury to wait to find openings in such collegial schools? • Indicators of Beginning Teacher Success—regardless of student outcomes, teachers who were successful experienced, 1. High self-efficacy, or satisfaction with their job. 2. Feeling they are making a positive difference part of self-efficacy). 3. High professional expectations—like their mentors they become committed to helping new teachers. 4. A sense of mastery—of getting to grips early with their role and responsibilities, and feeling they have progressed in mastering the job.


5. Module 4—Twenty First Century Enlightenment

• Problems in Induction Programs—one of the big problems is a poor induction program and lack of ongoing professional development (PD) followed by the beginning teacher soon mentoring new teachers in their turn; the result is generally a propagation of poor mentoring standards and bad PD outcomes. – Poor quality induction programs lacking some or all of the keys to success mentioned above. – School culture lacking collegiality is a big problem, many beginning teachers in such schools move after their first year. – Willingness but lack of resources to support beginning teachers (quality mentor, time, and funding seem to be the main issues ). – A ‘quality mentor’ being someone who can develop a good relationship with the beginning teacher—echoing the relationship a teacher needs to develop with pupils. Using ‘Total Quality’ improvement systems seems a simple key to remedy a perpetual cycle of poor PD. • Indicators of a System Failing Beginning Teachers—all these factors lead to lack of teacher retention. 1. Teachers not enjoying their classroom or the school culture and contexts for learning (e.g., having to teach to the tests). 2. Investing time and energy in non-classroom activities. 3. Beginning teachers looking for a new school, sometimes school hopping for a few years. • Some Remedies for Poor Induction Programmes—some proposals, – Better funding for beginning teacher support—e.g., allowing more teachermentor time; more teacher aides; more PD time; more time when beginning teachers can observe experienced colleagues. – Better strategic use of limited resources. PD opportunities tailored to suit interests of the beginning teacher. – PD opportunities that the teacher can ultimately make use of in the classroom (i.e., not just theory, but of good practical value as well).


Notes on Ferrier-Kerr (2011)—Moving into the teaching profession

Main ideas with my comments in italics.

5.5 Developing Professional Skills


• First Steps May be Anxious—most new teachers are anxious. To survive you need to figure out how to negotiate the labyrinth before you. – Plan the first few weeks meticulously well before start of term, getting students settled into routines. – Get on top of the school calendar early. – Clearly prioritize your responsibilities early. – Figure out default lesson plans early, simple things that will engage students when you are tired or stressed. • Teacher Self-Efficacy is Most Important—‘teacher efficacy’ is defined here as “the collection of personal beliefs you have about your capability to exercise control over specific circumstances in teaching.” Note that this is a belief system. It may not even correspond to reality. So in some sense it might be very important to find a mentor who helps build up these beliefs while helping the reality reflect these beliefs. • Indicators of High Self-Efficacy—it can be measured by, 1. Greater commitment to teaching. 2. Openness to different ways of thinking and practising teaching. 3. More efficient classroom organization. 4. More efficient planning. 5. More efficient pedagogical practices. 6. High confidence. 7. Good persistence and resilience in overcoming difficulties.. • Nurture your Self-Efficacy—Find ways to nurture your self-efficacy and mastery— be kind to yourself, celebrate successes, learn quickly from mistakes. • Engage in Double-Loop Learning—in your teacher PD do not be content with feedback only, instead use double-loop learning, defined as 1. distinguishing between your espouse theories (what you say you do), and 2. the actual theories you put into practice (what you actually do). Video a few classes to check your practices. Quote from a beginning teacher ‘Mike’:


5. Module 4—Twenty First Century Enlightenment

“one of the most empowering aspects was implementing my own ideas and having them work.” • Avoid Isolation—this is a killer, personal and professional isolation is a key contributor to stress and burn-out. But what if you are an introvert? Can an introvert really be a good teacher? Yes. The important thing is your relationship with students, not with colleagues. But one way to improve your relationship with students is to see what effective teachers, whom you respect, are doing. • Five Phases Commonly Experiences—recognising and dealing with these phases can be a big help, to objectify and name your difficulties can be a first key triumph in the battle to stay committed. 1. Anticipation Phase—pays not to get too idealistic, have some reasonable achievable goals. 2. Survival Phase—workload starts to get on top, responsibilities catch you off-guard. A key step is to renew focus on the students learning and be a bit care-free about the other responsibilities, since mistakes outside the classroom will not necessarily destroy your world. 3. Disillusionment Phase—can follow very soon after survival, workload seems never-ending, and usually continues while trying to survive, which is a lethal depressive combination. Recognize this phase as a near final hurdle, take it as a challenge, an affront to your self-efficacy that needs to be vanquished. 4. Rejuvenation Phase—a consolidating stage, you become more aware of the realities of teaching and become more organized, because you have to to survive. Structure is imposed out of necessity, which may be things like disciplined set work hours. default simplified lesson style, improved and simplified classroom routines. 5. Reflection Phase—usually an invigorating phase, with further consolidation, signalling most of the trials and tribulations have been over-come or dealt with in some way. You think back and reflect regularly and start to feel you have almost made it. • Collegiality—if not present in the school you might think of devoting considerable time into forming a lesson study group or some other collegiality building practices. • Mentoring—if you cannot find a good mentor are you sunk? No, but if your PRT supervisor or department ‘mentor’ is not working out they are not a

5.5 Developing Professional Skills


mentor, rather they are more like an assigned lead weight. So best to find a new mentor. You have such rights. • Observation—a must. External feedback, whether a critical friend or as part of formal PRT assessment, this should be happening in any school you first teach at, along with mentoring and PRT/PD support it is a legal requirement of schools employing beginning teachers. • Reflection Journal —a requirement for moving from PRT to full registration, not legally but in practice you can hardly expect to gain full registration in New Zealand without proving you are reflective. This should not really be a big deal for any committed teacher since self-improvement something you will naturally strive for, however the reality is that you might not get time to devote to self-improvement. So reflection is a minimum really, whereby you log all your thoughts about improvement and progress, of yourself and your understanding of students.. • Managing Workload —Prioritizing the minimum you need to do for full registration is the key. Sort out the minimum and stick to it. There will be plenty of time in our future career to branch out into more expansive teaching roles. You have rights to negotiate your workload and not get stigmatized for it. • Work-Life Balance—keeping healthy, staying fit, eating well, not neglecting your family. Family can seem one more demand on you time as a beginning teacher, and you need to learn how to shift modes from teacher to parent— not easy. All this demands more time. The temptation is to neglect work-life balance because you have no time to attend to the pleasures in life now you are a teacher. The advice is don’t do this! Better to sacrifice some teaching quality and enjoy your family ad stay healthy, since this will benefit your teaching in the long term. Think long term. Think years out, not just days or weeks. • You Won’t Know Everything-–and will not be expected to know everything. • It’s Good to Smile—One of the nicer comments in this article, (emphasis added): “The beginning teacher should be as ready as they can be for their first weeks of teaching. Nothing should be left to chance, as first impressions matter. Clear expectations and boundaries need to be established and it helps to remember to smile a lot, for school should


5. Module 4—Twenty First Century Enlightenment

be a happy place. Preparation is critical—the beginning teacher should demonstrate they have a commitment to, and interest in, students and their learning from the first day.” • You are Not Alone—sounds obvious, but sometimes it seems you are alone, “You will have colleagues whose roles are to hold the skeins of thread that will guide you through the labyrinth.”


Notes on Grudnoff (2011)—Getting off to a good start.

There are only a few notes for this article, it was a research report style article. Main ideas with my comments in italics. • Employment Conditions have Big Impact—generally 0.8×full time PRT’s have better experiences than long-term relievers or fixed term appointed PRT’s. The job security is a psychological boost, and less stress than a part-time or fixed term job. • Reality is Your First Job More Likely to Be Fixed Term—the trend in New Zealand is towards more fixed term contracts for PRT’s. But school s must by law justify why they are not hiring you full time. • Fixed-Termer’s More Likely to Take Extra Responsibilities—the advice is to be very careful in trying to impress your boss. Taking more responsibility when you are part-time might seem reasonable, but it can crush an inexperienced teacher. • Applying for Other Jobs Detracts from Teaching—it’s a disservice to students. Tricky though, since your intent might not be so, but the reality is that teachers having job comfort is vital for student learning. • Policy Recommendations—the authors suggest schools appoint PRT’s for minimal of two years. As a PRT it is your job to negotiate a hard bargain, stick up for minimum two years even if the job advertisement was for fixed term. At very least challenge why the contract is fixed term, the school must legally justify this decision. * * *

5.5 Developing Professional Skills


Well, a lot of this seems like good general advice to any beginning professional. No doubt the demands of teaching are emotionally sometimes greater than many other professions other than trauma medicine, psychological counselling, or other psyche professions perhaps. Teaching a classroom of difficult no-learners can be every bit as demanding as the most traumatic psychological vocations. I am not sure much of the literature we read helps us prepare for the emotional bombardment. The brute fact is for teaching there is an awful lot of on-the-job training. What we teacher trainees really want to see more of is hope. How does one turn around a class of non-learners? How does one do this without becoming the old fashioned school teacher ‘dragon’ ? A lot of the answer is already having good lesson resources and some expertise from TE in how to get students using the resources effectively. Unfortunately teacher trainee courses do not seem to spend much time resourcing teachers. Leaving most beginning teachers wanting to develop new resources in their first years is tough. It takes a lot of time and contribute to high burn-out and attrition rates. There is a paradox here. Surely good quality resources exist in abundance. There are good teachers around if you look hard. So why are such resources not in widespread use and openly available? Could it be that the good teachers do not really rely upon resources, but instead are simply people who develop good human relationships with their students? I haven’t figured out the answer to this question, but as time goes by I am favouring the latter explanation. Good resources are essential aides, but they are probably not what makes or breaks a beginning teacher. Of more importance is, in my cursory view, 1. confidence in one’s ability to teach willing students, 2. fearlessly sacrificing content & coverage for unwilling students and focusing instead on motivating them to learn, 3. giving the non-learners opportunities to see they can progress and be successful.


Notes on the Lecture—Next Steps

This lecture (04-1 Next.Steps lecture-video.wmv) covers, • Understand the process of registration. • Learn about developing your practice–professional development.


5. Module 4—Twenty First Century Enlightenment

These are just some highlights. • First Step: Apply for provisional registration: http://www.teacherscouncil.govt.nz/. Cost = $302.57 • Second Step: at employment negotiation time apply for beginning teacher release time (one full day per week). School has to do this before you start, otherwise might not be granted. • Entitlement to be continually supported: your rights: 1. Ensure you have a job description that incorporates the Registered Teacher Criteria. 2. Negotiate an induction programme with your mentor teacher that meets your own learning needs. 3. Review and renegotiate your programme as your needs change. 4. Ask for help when you need it. 5. Keep your own record of meetings and discussions with your supervising teacher, of goals set and followed up, your own reflections on your progress, observations of your teaching by your mentor teacher, and your professional development. If you change jobs before becoming fully registered, make sure you take these records with you, so your progress can be built on in your new teaching position. • Try to meet with your mentor before school starts to negotiate you responsibilities. – Establish a time/place to regularly meet—and a process for notifying each other if you cannot some week. – How confidential are our discussions. – Should other people be involved at any stage? – Are they assessing you or just mentoring? – What if we have a conflict? • You Feel You Don’t Belong—Imposter Syndrome: What to do about this? – This is a very normal feeling, quite common when learning a new job. Recognize it and don’t worry too much (unless you cannot find help).

5.5 Developing Professional Skills


– It is a sign of having high self-expectations. Be kind to yourself. – Often what stresses you in the first year will vanish the next. – Strategically comply to the environment. – Focus on teaching relate tasks. – Focus on how students are learning. – Revisit your strengths and weaknesses and play to the former. Ditch stuff that isn’t working and off-load responsibilities you do not need to have. – Develop a patchwork of metaphors–to suit the context and you as a teacher. Finding ways to be unique and yet fit in, perhaps by complementing other teachers rather than trying to copy them. • Teacher Job Satisfaction: comes from, – Having high self efficacy (most important). Believing you are doing a good job. Most important factor so you need to build this up. See Bandura. It is not “I am the greatest”, rather it is believing you can do the job. Perceived self-efficacy is defined as people’s beliefs about their capabilities to produce designated levels of performance. (Bandura.) Self efficacy beliefs determine how people feel, think, motivate themselves and behave. (Bandura.) R.K. Rowling was rejected by multiple publishers. So was James Joyce (22 publishers). Gertrude Stein was rejected for 20 years before one poem was accepted. Over a dozen publishers rejected a manuscript by e.e. cummings. “We do not believe in ourselves until someone reveals that deep inside us something is valuable, worth listening to, worthy of our trust, sacred to our touch. Once we believe in ourselves we can risk curiosity, wonder, spontaneous delight or any experience that reveals the human spirit.” —e.e. cummings – Being able to teach effectively. – Experiencing positive affect. • Mastery is the Key: “The most effective way of creating a strong sense of efficacy is through mastery, not performance experiences.” (Ames, 1992; Bandura & Schunk, 1981; Schunk, 1980; Vansteenkiste, Soenens, Verstuf & Lens, 2009).


5. Module 4—Twenty First Century Enlightenment

– Set stretching but achievable goals. – Mastery experiences especially if attributed to internal or controllable causes rather than external like luck. Forget about performance goals (remember Demings’ principles about performance). Go for mastery, not scores. – Vicarious experiences—observing effective teachers. (Tschannen-Moran, Hoy & Hoy 1998) • Apply mastery goals: also for your students. Keep your ZPD in mind along with your students’. • Cycle of Inquiry & Reflection: Plan → Teach and learn → Evaluation → Reflection → Revise plans → Plan → ... • Goals from Four Quarters: 1. Personal goals. 2. School focus. 3. Department appraisal and goals. 4. Government demands. Discuss with mentor: what you want to work on?—how does this fit with the schools goals?—how should I keep this manageable?—how will I survive? • Learn from All Sources: make conversations happen, listen more than talk at first. But learn to say “no” when workload becomes overwhelming. Take advantage of every opportunity to learn. “ Professional development consists of all natural learning experiences and those conscious and planned activities which are intended to be of direct or indirect benefit to the individual group or school and which contribute through these, to the quality of education in the classroom”—(Day, 1999, p.4). * * *

This brings the course to completion. Don’t forget to keep up to date with the law. All the best for you and your students. Tread softly. Don’t walk all over on their dreams. AppendixNational Education Guidelines (NAG’s)

A. National Administration Guidelines (NAG’s)
These appendices include legislative guidelines enforced by the New Zealand Education Act. They and this Act provide the legally binding legitimacy for the NZTC Code of Ethics (NZTC, 2011a) (see also Appendix D), and the Registered Teacher Criteria (NZTC, 2011b). The National Administration Guidelines (Ministry of Education, 2008a) for school administration set out statements of desirable principles of conduct or administration for specified personnel or bodies. NAG 1. Each board of trustees is required to foster student achievement by providing teaching and learning programmes which incorporate The National Curriculum as expressed in The New Zealand Curriculum 2007 or Te Marautanga o Aotearoa. Each board, through the principal and staff, is required to: (a) develop and implement teaching and learning programmes: to provide all students in years 1-10 with opportunities to achieve for success in all areas of the National Curriculum; giving priority to student achievement in literacy and numeracy, especially in years 1-8; giving priority to regular quality physical activity that develops movement skills for all students, especially in years 1-6. (b) through a range of assessment practices, gather information that is sufficiently comprehensive to enable the progress and achievement of students to be evaluated; giving priority first to: student achievement in literacy and numeracy, especially in years 1-8; and then to breadth and depth of learning related to the needs, abilities and interests of students, the nature of the school’s curriculum, and the scope of The National Curriculum as 129


A. National Administration Guidelines (NAG’s)

expressed in The New Zealand Curriculum or Te Marautanga o Aotearoa; (c) on the basis of good quality assessment information, identify students and groups of students: who are not achieving; who are at risk of not achieving; who have special needs (including gifted and talented students); and aspects of the curriculum which require particular attention; (d) develop and implement teaching and learning strategies to address the needs of students and aspects of the curriculum identified in (c) above; (e) in consultation with the school’s M¯ori community, develop and make known a to the school’s community policies, plans and targets for improving the achievement of M¯ori students; and a (f) provide appropriate career education and guidance for all students in year 7 and above, with a particular emphasis on specific career guidance for those students who have been identified by the school as being at risk of leaving school unprepared for the transition to the workplace or further education/training. NAG 2. Each board of trustees, with the principal and teaching staff, is required to: (a) develop a strategic plan which documents how they are giving effect to the National Education Guidelines through their policies, plans and programmes, including those for curriculum, National Standards, assessment and staff professional development; (b) maintain an on-going programme of self-review in relation to the above policies, plans and programmes, including evaluation of information on student achievement; and (c) report to students and their parents on the achievement of individual students, and to the school’s community on the achievement of students as a whole and of groups (identified through NAG 1(c) above) including the achievement of M¯ori a students against the plans and targets referred to in 1(e) above. NAG 2A. Where a school has students enrolled in years 1-8, the board of trustees, with the principal and teaching staff, is required to use National Standards to: (a) report to students and their parents on the students progress and achievement in relation to National Standards. Reporting to parents in plain language in writing

National Administration Guidelines (NAG’s)


must be at least twice a year; (b) report school-level data in the board’s annual report on National Standards under three headings: school strengths and identified areas for improvement; the basis for identifying areas for improvement; and planned actions for lifting achievement. (c) report in the board’s annual report on: the numbers and proportions of students at, above, below or well below the standards, including by M¯ori, Pasifika and by gender (where this does not breach a an individual’s privacy); and how students are progressing against the standards as well as how they are achieving. These requirements do not apply to boards of trustees that are working towards implementing Te Marautanga o Aotearoa until 2 February 2011. For the avoidance of doubt, the first annual report to which subclauses (b) and (c) apply is that which reports on the 2011 school year, except for boards of trustees that are working towards implementing Te Marautanga o Aotearoa when the relevant report is that which reports on the 2012 school year. NAG 3. According to the legislation on employment and personnel matters, each board of trustees is required in particular to: (a) develop and implement personnel and industrial policies, within policy and procedural frameworks set by the Government from time to time, which promote high levels of staff performance, use educational resources effectively and recognise the needs of students; and (b) be a good employer as defined in the State Sector Act 1988 and comply with the conditions contained in employment contracts applying to teaching and non-teaching staff. NAG 4. According to legislation on financial and property matters, each board of trustees is also required in particular to: (a) allocate funds to reflect the school’s priorities as stated in the charter; (b) monitor and control school expenditure, and ensure that annual accounts are prepared and audited as required by the Public Finance Act 1989 and the Education Act 1989; and


A. National Administration Guidelines (NAG’s)

(c) comply with the negotiated conditions of any current asset management agreement, and implement a maintenance programme to ensure that the school’s buildings and facilities provide a safe, healthy learning environment for students. NAG 5. Each board of trustees is also required to: (a) provide a safe physical and emotional environment for students; (b) promote healthy food and nutrition for all students; and (c) comply in full with any legislation currently in force or that may be developed to ensure the safety of students and employees. NAG 6. Each board of trustees is also expected to comply with all general legislation concerning requirements such as attendance, the length of the school day, and the length of the school year. Recent amendments In October 2009 changes to NAG 1 and NAG 2 were published in the New Zealand Gazette. A separate NAG (NAG 2A) has been inserted to cover the reporting requirements that relate specifically to National Standards. NAG 1 has been amended in the following way: It refers to the National Curriculum and its two strands The New Zealand Curriculum 2007 and Te Marautanga o Aotearoa. It removes and replaces references to wording from the previous curriculum such as reference to the essential learning and skill areas. It expands the requirement to give priority to literacy in years 1 4 to years 1 8 to reflect the requirements of the National Standards. NAG 2 has been amended to include reference to National Standards in the requirement to develop strategic plans that document how boards of trustees are giving effect to the National Education Guidelines. These are: the requirement to report to parents in plain language at least twice a year the requirement to include school-level data in the boards annual report the requirement to include in the schools annual report the numbers and proportions of students achieving at, above, below and well below the standard, including M¯ori, a Pasifika and gender (where this does not breach an individuals privacy). In February 2009 the requirement to sell only healthy food and beverages on school premises was removed from NAG 5. The requirement to promote healthy

A.1 Planning and Reporting—Relevant Legislation


food and nutrition for all students remains.


Planning and Reporting—Relevant Legislation

(1) The Minister may from time to time, by notice in the Gazette, publish (in their entirety, or by way of a general description and an indication of where the full text can be obtained) all or any of the following: (a) national education goals, which are (i) statements of desirable achievements by the school system, or by an element of the school system; and (ii) statements of government policy objectives for the school system: (aa) Foundation curriculum policy statements, which are statements of policy concerning teaching, learning, and assessment that are made for the purposes of underpinning and giving direction to — (i) The way in which curriculum and assessment responsibilities are to be managed in schools: (ii) National curriculum statements and locally developed curriculum: (b) National curriculum statements (that is to say statements of — (i) The areas of knowledge and understanding to be covered by students; and (ii) The skills to be developed by students; and (iii) Desirable levels of knowledge, understanding, and skill, to be achieved by students, during the years of schooling): (ba) National standards, which are standards, in regard to particular matters such as literacy and numeracy, that are applicable to all students of a particular age or in a particular year of schooling: (c) national administration guidelines, which are guidelines relating to school administration and which may (without limitation) – (i) set out statements of desirable codes or principles of conduct or administration for specified kinds or descriptions of person or body, including guidelines for the purposes of section 61: (ii) set out requirements relating to planning and reporting including — (A) scope and content areas, where appropriate: (B) the timeframe for the annual update of the school charter: (C) broad requirements relating to schools’ consultation with parents, staff, school proprietors (in the case of integrated schools) and school communities, and the broad requirements to ensure that Boards take all reasonable steps to discover and con-


A. National Administration Guidelines (NAG’s)

sider the views and concerns of M¯ori communities living in the geographical area a the school serves, in the development of a school charter: (D) variations from the framework for school planning and reporting for certain schools or classes of schools, based on school performance: (iii) communicate the Government’s policy objectives: (iv) set out transitional provisions for the purposes of national administration guidelines. (2) Without limiting the generality of subsection (1), a notice relating to a national curriculum statement may— (a) Specify different commencement dates for different provisions or different purposes, which dates may differ according to the class or designation of a school, the group or year level of students attending a school, or any combination of such classes, designations, groups, or levels: (b) Specify a transitional period during which a Board may elect to comply with an existing curriculum statement or the new curriculum statement, and specify a date on which a Board must begin complying with the new curriculum statement: (c) Revoke any curriculum statement issued under this section, and revoke any corresponding statement (such as a syllabus) issued in the form of a notice and having effect under the Education Act 1964. 61 School charter (1) Every Board must, for each school it administers, prepare and maintain a school charter. (2) The purpose of a school charter is to establish the mission, aims, objectives, directions, and targets of the Board that will give effect to the Government’s national education guidelines and the Board’s priorities, and provide a base against which the Board’s actual performance can later be assessed. (3) A school charter must contain the following sections: (a) a section that includes - (i) the aim of developing, for the school, policies and practices that reflect New Zealand’s cultural diversity and the unique position of the M¯ori culture; and a (ii) the aim of ensuring that all reasonable steps are taken to provide instruction in tikanga M¯ori (M¯ori culture) and te reo M¯ori (the M¯ori language) for full-time a a a a students whose parents ask for it; (b) a long-term strategic planning section that— (i) establishes the Board’s aims and purposes; and

A.1 Planning and Reporting—Relevant Legislation


(ii) establishes for the next 3 to 5 years the Board’s aims, objectives, directions, and priorities for intended student outcomes, the school’s performance, and use of resources; and (iii) includes any aims or objectives that designate the school’s special characteristics or its special character (within the meaning of this Act): (c) an annually updated section that — (i) establishes for the relevant year the Board’s aims, directions, objectives, priorities, and targets relating to intended student outcomes, the school’s performance, and use of resources; and (ii) sets targets for the key activities and achievement of objectives for the year. (4) A school charter must include the Board’s aims, objectives, directions, priorities, and targets in the following categories: (a) student achievement: including the assessment of students against any national standard published under section 60A(1)(ba): (b) the Board’s activities aimed at meeting both general government policy objectives for all schools, being policy objectives set out or referred to in national education guidelines, and specific policy objectives applying to that school: (c) the management of the school’s and Board’s capability, resources, assets, and liabilities, including its human resources, finances, property, and other ownership matters: (d) other matters of interest to the public that the Minister may determine. (5) A school charter must— (a) contain all annual or long-term plans the Board is required to have or has prepared for its own purposes; or (b) contain a summary of each plan or a reference to it 62 Procedural requirements of preparing or updating school charter (1) The Board must provide the Secretary with a copy of its first school charter and every updated or amended school charter. (2) A school charter must be prepared and updated annually in accordance with national administration guidelines (3) A Board must amend its school charter as soon as practicable after it becomes aware of any information contained in the charter that is false or misleading in a material particular.


A. National Administration Guidelines (NAG’s)

63 Effect of school charter A school charter has effect as an undertaking by the Board to the Minister to take all reasonable steps (not inconsistent with any enactment, or the general law of New Zealand) to ensure that (a) the school is managed, organised, conducted, and administered for the purposes set out in the school charter; and (b) the school, and its students and community, achieve the aims and objectives set out in the school charter. 63A When school charter or updated charter takes effect (1) When the Secretary receives a school charter or updated school charter, the Secretary must consider whether the charter has been developed or updated in accordance with the requirements of this Act and the national administration guidelines (2) Unless it takes effect on a different date under subsection (5), a new or updated school charter takes effect on the 25th working day after the date that the Secretary receives it. (3) If, before the first or updated school charter takes effect, the Secretary determines that it was not developed or updated in accordance with the Act or is inconsistent with the Act or the national administration guidelines, the Secretary must notify the Board of the matters in the school charter to be resolved. (4) The Secretary must then negotiate with the Board to resolve the matters concerned and, if the Board and the Secretary are unable to reach agreement about the content of the school charter or updated school charter, the Secretary may require the Board to amend the charter or updated charter. (5) If the Secretary issues a notice under subsection (3), the school charter or updated charter takes effect(a) on the date agreed by the Secretary and the Board; or (b) on the date the Secretary determines to be the commencement date for his or her amendments. 63B Board must make copies of school charter available Once a school charter or updated school charter takes effect, the Board must make the charter available. 87 Annual reports (1) As soon as is practicable after the end of every financial year, and in any event

A.1 Planning and Reporting—Relevant Legislation


no later than a day fixed by the Secretary, every Board shall give the Secretary an annual report in accordance with this section. (2) A report given under subsection (1) must include(a) the names of all the Board’s elected trustees, appointed trustees, and co-opted trustees; and (b) the date on which each trustee goes out of office; and (c) the auditor’s report in accordance with section 87A; and (ca) in respect of the Board or, in the case of a Crown entity group, for each Crown entity in the group,— (i) the total value of the remuneration (other than compensation and other benefits referred to in subparagraph (v)) paid or payable to the trustees in their capacity as trustees from the Board (or entities in the group, as the case may be), during that financial year; and (ii) the total value of the remuneration (other than compensation, and other benefits referred to in subparagraph (v)) paid or payable to the committee members in their capacity as committee members from the Board (or entities in the group, as the case may be) during that financial year (except that this paragraph does not apply to trustees whose remuneration is disclosed under subparagraph (i)); and (iii) the number of employees (other than principals of the school) to whom, during the financial year, remuneration (other than compensation and other benefits referred to in subparagraph (v)) was paid or payable in their capacity as employees, the total value of which is or exceeds $100,000 per annum, and the number of those employees in brackets of $10,000; and (iv) a report, presented in the manner required by the Minister by notice in the Gazette, on the total remuneration (including benefits, any compensation, ex gratia payments, any other payments, and any other consideration paid or payable in the school principal’s capacity as an employee) paid to a principal of the school; and (v) the total value of any compensation or other benefits paid or payable to persons who ceased to be trustees, committee members, or employees during the financial year in relation to that cessation and the number of persons to whom all or part of that total was payable; and (d) the Board’s annual financial statements; and (e) a statement in which schools provide an analysis of any variance between the school’s performance and the relevant aims, objectives, directions, priorities, or targets set out in the school charter: (3) The annual financial statements must be prepared in accordance with generally accepted accounting practice, audited as required by section 87A, and include


A. National Administration Guidelines (NAG’s)

all of the following: (a) a statement of the financial position of the Board as at its balance date: (b) a statement of financial performance reflecting the revenue and expenses of the Board for the financial year: (c) if required by generally accepted accounting practice, a statement of cash flows reflecting cash flows of the Board for the financial year: (d) a statement of the commitments of the Board as at the balance date: (e) a statement of the contingent liabilities of the Board as at the balance date: (f) a statement of accounting policies: (g) such other statements as are necessary to fairly reflect the financial operations of the Board for the financial year and its financial position at the end of the financial year: (h) any other statements that the Secretary determines in consultation with the Auditor-General: (i) in relation to each statement required by paragraphs (a) to (c) and, if appropriate, by paragraph (g), budgeted figures for the financial year: (j) in relation to each statement required by paragraphs (a) to (c), paragraph (d), and paragraph (e) and, if appropriate, by paragraph (g), comparative actual figures for the previous financial year. (3A) In addition, a Board that is a parent in a Crown entity group must, to the extent required to do so by generally accepted accounting practice, prepare consolidated financial statements in relation to the group for that financial year. (4) The annual financial statements must be accompanied by a statement of responsibility that complies with section 155 of the Crown Entities Act 2004 but that is signed by the chair of the Board and principal instead of 2 members. (5) In subsection (2), trustee and employee include a person who was a trustee or employee at any time during the applicable financial year but who is no longer a trustee or employee. (6) The requirements of this section and section 87A as to annual financial statements also apply to a Crown entity subsidiary of a Board as if the subsidiary were a Board and with all necessary modifications. (7) Subsection (2)(ca)(iv) and (v) applies in respect of each financial year that ends on or after 31 December 2004.

A.1 Planning and Reporting—Relevant Legislation


(8) The rest of the amendments made to this section by Schedule 6 of the Crown Entities Act 2004 apply as provided in section 198 of that Act. 87A Audit (1) Each Board must submit its annual financial statements to the AuditorGeneral within 90 days after the end of each financial year. (2) The Auditor-General must audit the financial statements and provide an audit report on them to the Board.


A. National Administration Guidelines (NAG’s)

B. National Education Goals (NEG-1’s)
The National Education Goals (NEGs) (Ministry of Education, 2008b) were amended in December 2004 to include the reference to physical activity in clause 5. The National Administration Guidelines (NAGs) were also amended. Education is at the core of our nation’s effort to achieve economic and social progress. In recognition of the fundamental importance of education, the Government sets the following goals for the education system of New Zealand. NEG 1. The highest standards of achievement, through programmes which enable all students to realise their full potential as individuals, and to develop the values needed to become full members of New Zealand’s society. NEG 2. Equality of educational opportunity for all New Zealanders, by identifying and removing barriers to achievement. NEG 3. Development of the knowledge, understanding and skills needed by New Zealanders to compete successfully in the modern, ever-changing world. NEG 4. A sound foundation in the early years for future learning and achievement through programmes which include support for parents in their vital role as their children’s first teachers. NEG 5. A broad education through a balanced curriculum covering essential learning areas. Priority should be given to the development of high levels of competence (knowledge and skills) in literacy and numeracy, science and technology and physical activity. 141


B. National Education Goals (NEG-1’s)

NEG 6. Excellence achieved through the establishment of clear learning objectives, monitoring student performance against those objectives, and programmes to meet individual need. NEG 7. Success in their learning for those with special needs by ensuring that they are identified and receive appropriate support. NEG 8. Access for students to a nationally and internationally recognised qualifications system to encourage a high level of participation in post-school education in New Zealand. NEG 9. Increased participation and success by M¯ori through the advancement a of M¯ori education initiatives, including education in Te Reo M¯ori, consistent with a a the principles of the Treaty of Waitangi. NEG 10. Respect for the diverse ethnic and cultural heritage of New Zealand people, with acknowledgment of the unique place of M¯ori, and New Zealand’s role a in the Pacific and as a member of the international community of nations.

C. National Education Guidelines (NEG-2’s)
The National Education Guidelines are defined by Sections 60A of the Education Act 1989 The National Education Guidelines have five components: 1. National Education Goals, which are • statements of desirable achievements by the school system, or by an element of the school system; and • statements of government policy objectives for the school system. 2. Foundation Curriculum Policy Statements, which are statements of policy concerning teaching, learning, and assessment that are made for the purposes of underpinning and giving direction to • The way in which curriculum and assessment responsibilities are to be managed in schools: • National curriculum statements and locally developed curriculum. 3. National Curriculum Statements (that is to say statements of • The areas of knowledge and understanding to be covered by students; and • The skills to be developed by students; and • Desirable levels of knowledge, understanding, and skill, to be achieved by students, during the years of schooling). 4. National Standards, which are standards, in regard to matters such as literacy and numeracy, that are applicable to all students of a particular age or in a particular year of schooling. 143


C. National Education Guidelines (NEG-2’s)

5. National Administration Guidelines (NAGs), which are guidelines relating to school administration and which may (without limitation) • set out statements of desirable codes or principles of conduct or administration for specified kinds or descriptions of person or body, including guidelines for the purposes of section 61 • set out requirements relating to planning and reporting including • communicate the Government’s policy objectives • set out transitional provisions for the purposes of national administration guidelines. The National Education Guidelines given effect by three parts of the Education Act: • section 61 (2) which states: The purpose of a school charter is to establish the mission, aims, objectives, directions, and targets of the Board that will give effect to the Government’s national education guidelines and the Board’s priorities. • section 61 (4) (b). A school charter must include the Board’s aims, objectives, directions, priorities, and targets in the following categories: “. . . (b) the Board’s activities aimed at meeting both general government policy objectives for all schools, being policy objectives set out or referred to in national education guidelines, and specific policy objectives applying to that school.” • section 62 (2) which states: A school charter must be prepared and updated in accordance with national administration guidelines.

D. New Zealand Teachers Council Code of Ethics
There are four principles guiding the NZTC Code of Ethics. 1. Autonomy to treat people with rights that are to be honoured and defended, 2. Justice to share power and prevent the abuse of power, 3. Responsible care to do good and minimise harm to others, 4. Truth to be honest with others and self. The Code of Ethics proper are: 1. Commitment to learners The primary professional obligation of registered teachers is to those they teach. Teachers nurture the capacities of all learners to think and act with developing independence, and strive to encourage an informed appreciation of the fundamental values of a democratic society. Teachers will strive to: (a) develop and maintain professional relationships with learners based upon the best interests of those learners, (b) base their professional practice on continuous professional learning, the best knowledge available about curriculum content and pedagogy, together with their knowledge about those they teach, (c) present subject matter from an informed and balanced viewpoint, (d) encourage learners to think critically about significant social issues, (e) cater for the varied learning needs of diverse learners, 145


D. New Zealand Teachers Council Code of Ethics

(f) promote the physical, emotional, social, intellectual and spiritual wellbeing of learners, (g) protect the confidentiality of information about learners obtained in the course of professional service, consistent with legal requirements. 2. Commitment to parents/guardians and family/wh¯nau a Teachers recognise that they work in collaboration with the parents/guardians and family/wh¯nau of learners, encouraging their active involvement in the eda ucation of their children. They acknowledge the rights of caregivers to consultation on the welfare and progress of their children and respect lawful parental authority, although professional decisions must always be weighted towards what is judged to be the best interests of learners. In relation to parents/guardians, and the family/wh¯nauof learners, teachers a will strive to: (a) involve them in decision-making about the care and education of their children, (b) establish open, honest and respectful relationships, (c) respect their privacy, (d) respect their rights to information about their children, unless that is judged to be not in the best interests of the children. 3. Commitment to society Teachers are vested by the public with trust and responsibility, together with an expectation that they will help prepare students for life in society in the broadest sense. In fulfilment of their obligations to society, teachers will strive to: (a) actively support policies and programmes which promote equality of opportunity for all, (b) work collegially to develop schools and centres which model democratic ideals, (c) teach and model those positive values which are widely accepted in society and encourage learners to apply them and critically appreciate their significance. 4. Commitment to the profession In the belief that the quality of the services of the teaching profession influences the nation and its citizens, teachers shall exert every effort to maintain and

New Zealand Teachers Council Code of Ethics


raise professional standards, to promote a climate that encourages the exercise of professional judgement, and to achieve conditions which attract persons worthy of trust to careers in education. In fulfilment of their obligations to the teaching profession, teachers will strive to: (a) advance the interests of the teaching profession through responsible ethical practice, (b) regard themselves as learners and engage in continuing professional development, (c) be truthful when making statements about their qualifications and competencies, (d) contribute to the development and promotion of sound educational policy, (e) contribute to the development of an open and reflective professional culture, (f) treat colleagues and associates with respect, working with them co-operatively and collegially to promote students’ learning, (g) assist newcomers to the profession, (h) respect confidential information on colleagues unless disclosure is required by the law or serves a compelling professional purpose, (i) speak out if the behaviour of a colleague is seriously in breach of this Code.


D. New Zealand Teachers Council Code of Ethics

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