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Ana Kawenga's blogs

  • Changes in Practice


    Prior to coming on board with Mindlab, my school were beginning to use digital technology in the classroom with their students. The purpose – For students to be critical thinkers and problem solvers, to communicate effective by working collaboratively with others and be creative by exploring different learning styles and techniques.  In other words, to best prepare our students with 21st Century thinking and learning. 

    However, concerns arose and quickly were identified in our inquiry that reflected on the quality of our teaching towards change and improvement for our students.  Figure 2.1 illustrates how the process of reflective practice improved the quality of my professional performance.

    Figure 2.1. Experiential Learning Cycle - As Schon described, a “dialogue of thinking and doing through which I become more skilful” (1987, p.31 cited in Osterman & Kottkamp, (1993).



    ACTIVE EXPERIMENTATION                                                              OBSERVATION & ANALYSIS


      image   image





                                                         ABSTRACT RECONCEPTUALIZATION

    Stage 1 – Concrete practice

    “A relevant problem rivets attention and arouses the need to learn” (Osterman & Kottkamp, 1993 p. 4). 

    To begin with, we identified the problem as a lack of pedagogy knowledge in digital technology to enhance student outcomes.  As a team we realised the significance of seeking out authentic professional development to assist in our own learning.  .

    Stage 2 – Observation & Analysis

    “The practitioner assumes the role of a researcher and begins to gather information” (Osterman & Kottkamp, 1993 p. 5). 

    My professional learning with Mindlab began on March, 2016 as a need to seek out genuine new information and experiences.  At first I felt like I stepped into ‘The Big Bang Theory’ where Penny first entered the home of Leonard Hofstadter and Sheldon Cooper however, with time I found my feet and began to reflect and refine my teaching practice based on the values of digital and collaborative learning.  I started seeing the world through different lenses.  Gathering, analysing and evaluating information, created a new pathway on how I saw digital and collaborative learning on a global scale.  

    Abstract Reconceptualization

    “…we consider alternate ways of thinking and acting” (Osterman & Kottkamp, 1993 p. 5). 

    Feeling inspired encouraged me to work and share, collaboratively within different teams of expertise.  This provided new and exciting opportunities to work through solutions that provided effective problem-solving, that led to better outcomes.

    Stage 4 - Active experimentation

    “…we begin to test this assumption” (Osterman & Kottkamp, 1993 p. 6). 

    Student blogging has become something that I am passionate, about during my journey with Mindlab.  My hypothesis, ‘how can student agency be further developed with the introduction of blogging in a classroom’ has provided a platform to further investigate into new behaviours and assumptions towards on-line learning.


    Two key changes in your own research informed practice in relation to the Practising Teacher Criteria (PTC) in e-learning.

    This coincides with my commitment towards the PTC under –

    • Criteria 4: demonstrate commitment to ongoing professional learning and development of professional personal practice in e-learning.  My own personal interconnection with on-line learning communities has created ways to collaborative, share ideas, thoughts, valuable resources and research on best practice.  E-learning has become a valuable source of information and expertise to inform and self-reflect as a teacher.


    • Criteria 11: Analyse and appropriately use assessment and information, which has been gathered formally and informally.  Throughout my journey I have used ‘Teacher as Inquiry’ to create and develop successful ways of using digital technology both in the classroom and in my own professional learning.  , Collecting and analysing data and other useful information to show how students learn best in using, digital technology has provided better learning outcomes.  Using Self-reflection to inform my own teaching practice, has become a daily ritual.  I continue to question and think about what works and what doesn’t in my classroom and in my own professional practice. 


    Image result for dream quote if you can dream it you can achieve it


    What’s next?  Since my journey with Mindlab, I am more determined to continue with my Masters in Applied Practice to continue to inspire others and to be inspired.



    Osterman, K. & Kottkamp, R. (1993). Reflective Practice for Educators.California.Cornwin Press, Inc. Retrieved on 7th May, 2015 from http://www.itslifejimbutnotasweknowit.org.uk/files/RefPract/Osterman_Kottkamp_extract.pdf



    My interdisciplinary connection map


    Andrews (1990) defines interdisciplinary collaboration as occurring "when different professionals, possessing unique knowledge, skills, organizational perspectives, and personal attributes, engage in co-ordinated problem solving for a common purpose" (cited in Berg-Weger &. Schneider, 1998).

    Who may I have the interdisciplinary connection with?

    Potentially working in collaboration with the range of outside education experts for example, social workers, and speech and language therapists etc. to support and assist the well-being of students will enabled us as collaborators to share our range of expertise through mutual trust and respect.  Our determination will be driven towards enabling our students to become “independent, confident individuals who ‘learn how to learn’ and develop lifelong learning skills” (Duerr, 2008, p.177 cited in Jones 2009).  

    How might the joint planning, decision-making, and goal-setting take place?

    Creating a conceptual model for successful interdisciplinary collaboration (adopted by ACRLog, 2015), will require three aspects that will enable for joint planning, decision-making and goal setting to transpire:

    1. Qualities/Attitudes
    2. Common Goals
    3. Workplace Conditions

    These three aspects will allow for joint planning, decision-making and goal-setting to transpire. I have added my own thoughts and ideas under each sub-heading.


    Common emotional qualities will enable collaborative relationships to remain responsive and creative (ACRLog, 2015). Using the 3Rs of Respect – for one another’s ideas, expertise, pedagogy knowledge and contribution; Responsibility – taking responsibility in decision-making and actions; Reflection – (inquiry based) on what worked, why, why not and what’s next. These are ideal for all roles to be of equal significance.

    Common Goals

    There are many approaches of how we interpret discipline as it varies from different points of view. However, most theorists see the disciplines “as necessary stepping stones between current curricular approaches and truly integrated models of curriculum” (Jacobs, 1989; Drake, 1991 cited in Mathison & Freeman, 1997 p. 10). Our goal setting will be motivated, through shared interests in pedagogy knowledge, critical thinking and setting educational goals for students based, on shared qualitative procedures in education.  This will enable all parties to create a clear pathway towards future planning and decision-making.

    Workplace Conditions

    I believe communication is key that enables, changes within a collaborative approach to occur.  On-going meetings throughout the year will allow for regular feedback, be part of the decision making process, share ideas and resources, plan, evaluate, and set new targets resulting in better outcomes. 

    What are the benefits and challenges of interdisciplinary practice in relation to my identified connections?

    The benefits of interdisciplinary practice will enhance the way we interconnect with one another.  Opportunities are created opening up to new learning of pedagogy, to inform our practice in education thus, enabling our students to view the world holistically through various lenses and from different perspectives (ThomasMcDonaghGroup, 2011). According to Youngblood, (2008 cited in Jones, 2009) interdisciplinary techniques will lead to a future of discovery and innovation.   However, as being new to the interdisciplinary approach there is an awareness that it may become too time consuming causing both a lack of interest among members of the group and causing inconsistencies. Therefore, the need to be reverent towards, the idea of using interdisciplinary techniques will enable students to develop “advanced thinking skills, leading to discovery and real-world problem solving” (Staples, 2005, p.16 cited in Jones, 2009).



    Berg-Weger, M., &. Schneider, F. D. (1998). Interdisciplinary collaboration in social work education. Journal of Social Work Education, 34, 97-107.

    Jones, C. (2009). Interdisciplinary approach - Advantages, disadvantages, and the future benefits of interdisciplinary studies. ESSAI7 (26), 76-81. Retrieved from http://dc.cod.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1121&context=essai

    Lacoe Edu (2014, Oct 24) Interdisciplinary Learning [video file]. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cA564RIlhME

    Mathison,S.. & Freeman, M.(1997). The logic of interdisciplinary studies. Presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Educational Research Association, Chicago, 1997. Retrieved from http://www.albany.edu/cela/reports/mathisonlogic12004.pdf:

    ThomasMcDonaghGroup. (2011, May 13). Interdisciplinarity and Innovation Education.[video file]. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kDdNzftkIpA

  • Using social online networks in teaching and/or professional development

    How much have I utilised the social media in my teaching practice? In what way?

    “Cyber-enabled interactions foster the development of weak ties. Weak ties are important for bringing in new ideas and connecting people so that information can travel through a network” (Schlager, Farooq, Fusco, Schank, & Dwyer, (2009).

    Image result for using on-line social media

    Social media has become more important to me in my teaching practice because it allows me to connect, collaborate, professionally develop and form professional relationships.  Most importantly it provides a ray of opportunities and curiosities towards student learning.  “Digital is where students are at” according to Tvoparents (2013) referring to students living in, what I like to call the ‘wondrous’ world of the internet. Therefore, I want to create a learning environment that is student-centered, rich in context with authentic tasks that is meaningful for my students.

    I am currently in the beginning stages of using student blogs as a means to enhance student agency in the classroom as “technology presents new opportunities for drawing out and leveraging student agency” (Corbett, Koedinger, & Anderson, 1997, in Lindgren & McDaniel, 2012 cited in Gerstein, 2013 p.1). The benefits my students would gain is the opportunity to share their work, thoughts, ideas and opinions with their parents/whanau, community and like-minded people.  However, I did face some challenges, prior and during the process of using social media with my students.

    The challenges of utilising social media in my teaching practice?

    Image result for quote knowledge is power

    My professional development in on-line learning is constrained by the operational budgets at my school.  Due to lack of or no funding, I have had to source and fund my own professional development.  As a result I am actively utilising the use of the VLN (Virtual Learning Network) social network site and Mindlab (pioneer in digital and collaborative learning) as effective education tools in my professional learning.  VLN and Mindlab has allowed me to engage in professional discussions, to seek out specific digital themes, to share ideas and resources, to blog and to collaborative with others world-wide.

    Teachers will only embrace social network sites if there is evidence that they are effective (Dwyer et al. 2009 cited in Melhuish, 2013)

    Another issue I am currently working on is establishing a safeguard around what and how on-line social media is used with my students. The New Teachers Council (2012) deliberates on the importance of establishing a clear purpose of social media used in one’s practice. They go on to say that, teachers need to reflect on the purpose, the benefits, and ways in using the technology to communicate with young people.  Communicating with others’ in my school including the community is another approach, I am working towards to ensure the use of the social networks is used in a safe manner.   

    How I Use social media to support my engagement with the professional development?

    Image result for social media

    Being active on social media whether it is via face-book, twitter, google+, VLN and so forth has allowed me to engage, collaborate, converse, learn, seek information and develop a deeper knowledge in my own professional learning.  Such communities have created opportunities, for me to “produce something of value that is then accessed by another person, as enabled by the socio-technical network” Dwyer et al. 2009 p.16 cited in Melhuish). In doing so, others like myself, have benefited and have been exposed to the range of educational programs that are user-friendly and add value to ones’ own personal growth.   

    Image result for quote about being connected to people


    Gerstein, J. (2013). Learner Agency, Technology, and Emotional Intelligence. Retrieved from https://usergeneratededucation.wordpress.com/2013/01/04/learner-agency-technology-and-emotional-intelligence/

    New Zealand Teachers Council. (2012). Establishing safeguards.[video file]. Retrieved fromhttps://vimeo.com/49216520

    Schlager, M., Farooq, U., Fusco, J., Schank, P. & Dwyer, N. (2009). Analysing Online Teacher Networks: Cyber Networks Require Cyber Research Tools. Journal of Teacher Education, 60(1), 86-100.

    Source: p. 36-44 in Chapter 3 of Melhuish, K. (2013). Online social networking and its impact on New Zealand educators ‘professional learning. Master Thesis. The University of Waikato. Retrieved on 05 May, 2015 fromhttp://researchcommons.waikato.ac.nz/bitstream/handle/10289/8482/thesis.pdf?sequence=3&isAllowed=y

    Tvoparents. (2013, May 21). Using Social Media in the Classroom.[video file]. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=riZStaz8Rno

  • Week 29 - PRACTICE - Influence of Law and Ethics

    As a third year teacher social media determines, how I communicate, learn, research, play games, investigate, innovate and to teach with and alongside my Y0-1 students The preface of digital resources, digital platforms and how they are used to communicate teaching and learning, conveys the opportunities to enhance student learning in and beyond the classroom. 

    My interest in student blogging has become a high priority since my literature review to explore, ‘how can, student agency be further developed with the introduction of blogging in a classroom’.  I see technology as a means to present new opportunities for drawing out and leveraging student agency (Corbett, Koedinger, & Anderson, 1997, in Lindgren & McDaniel, 2012 cited in Gerstein, 2013 p.1).

    Therefore, blogging would allow my students to display student work, devise project tasks, hold student discussions and give feedback, encourage collaborative learning and provide links to other related blogs. However, what I hadn’t taken into account was the schools responsibility to the parents/guardians and family.  Their reaction maybe similar to the video below relating to commitment to parents/guardians and family https://vimeo.com/49804201.


    At my school it is required that parent/whanau permission must be obtained if I am wanting to share photos or personal details of a student when using any type of social media including student blogging.  Therefore, what possible issues/concerns might this scenario raise for potential negative consequences for me as a teacher, the students and the school and or community? Such detrimental trepidations can cause  

    1. The revealing of confidential information i.e. sharing information about a student that will now be distributed to the wider community, which in itself, may violate any privacy laws.
    2. Mistrust from the family/whanau and the wider community.

    What are some positive outcomes or measures that can be put into place to ensure the students, parents and the school be protected?

    As a registered teacher in NZ my teaching practice is governed by the current Code of Ethics for Certificate Teachers (Education Council, (n.d).that recommend:


    • Involve them in decision-making about the care and education of their children
    • Establish open, honest and respectful relationships
    • Establish open, honest and respectful relationships
    • Respect their rights to information about their children, unless that is judged to be not in the best interests of the children.

    These guidelines are a great source of knowledge and a learning curve for me as a teacher embarking with and alongside my students as we start out in the world of blogging.

    ‘A captain of a ship, no matter his rank, must follow the book.’

    (‘Star Trek’ Space Philosopher Captain Kirk)



    Education Council. (n.d). The Education Council Code of Ethics for Certficated Teachers. Retrieved from https://educationcouncil.org.nz/content/code-of-ethics-certificated-teachers-0

    Connecticut’s Teacher Education and Mentoring Program.(2012) Ethical and Professional Dilemmas for Educator: Facilitator’s Guide. Retrieved from http://www.ctteam.org/df/resources/Module5_Manual.pdf

    Gerstein, J. (2013). Learner Agency, Technology, and Emotional Intelligence. Retrieved from https://usergeneratededucation.wordpress.com/2013/01/04/learner-agency-technology-and-emotional-intelligence/

  • WEEK 27 - The Broader Professional Context

    Priority learners are groups of students who have been identified as historically not experiencing success in the New Zealand schooling system” Education Review Office. (2012). Māori and Pacific learners, children from low socio-economic and children with special needs are among many, who tend to fit into the category of Priority learners in my school.  As a whole, many are leaving school without the necessary qualifications required to sustain and contribute towards the economic growth here in Aotearoa, New Zealand. 

    This issue is not only affecting our tamariki (children) right here, in Aotearoa but to enjoy, the economic security and contribution towards the economic growth is affecting all children world-wide. Research shows that in America there is a growing number of teachers who work with vulnerable and underprivileged students that leave ill prepared with little or no understanding of what must be accomplish (Darling-Hammond and Sykes, 2003).

    So what is causing our tamariki to fail in education? ERO, (2012) argues that innovation, creativity and responsiveness should be the norm in all schools and for all students. Therefore, schools need to:

    • Place the students at the heart of learning and teaching,
    • For schools to implement responsive curricula
    • Schools need to engage in assessment and evaluation processes to know about, and plan for, students’ learning (Education Review Office, 2012). 

    So how does my school ensure the success for priority learners, build and develop the necessary skills to enable them to become valued contributors to society? 

    1. Shifting the focus to student-centred learning.
    2. Building on students’ interests, strengths and abilities that are rich in pedagogical content and knowledge of the New Zealand Curriculum.
    3. Laying the foundation for future achievement and engagement (Education review Office, 2012).

    At my school, our priority students are heavily engaged in using social media whether to tweet, snapchat, face book, instagram or to find the next Pokémon as a means to communicate, socialise, research, meet/greet and ways to learn in and beyond the classroom.  These are likely to be referred to as digital literacies in a technological realm (Gilster, 1997; Inoue et al., 1997; Pool, 1997 cited in Duffy & Burns, 2006).

    In Term 1 2016 our school identified the need to upskill in being digitally adept.  The purpose, to enable students to be future-focused digitally literate learners in the 21st century education system and to raise the achievement for our priority learners. This has encouraged our priority learners to take ownership over their own learning and how they learn best.  As teachers this has provided a more in-depth knowledge and understanding on how our learners learn best.  We have become stronger in understanding the curriculum content and goals as well as, pedagogical knowledge and knowledge for teaching diverse learners.

    As a school we believe computer technology contributes towards creating a more powerful learning environment providing, rich contexts and authentic tasks meaningful for the student where autonomous learning is motivated (Smeets, 2005 cited in Hermans, Tondeur, van Braak & Valckep).  Thus, creating and fostering co-operative and collaborative learning catering for individual learners.

    “Ko te Tamaiti te Pūtake o te Kaupapa” The Child is the Heart of the Matter


    Darling-Hammond, L., & Sykes, G. (2003). Wanted: A national teacher supply policy for education: The right way to meet the “highly qualified teacher” challenge. Educational Policy Analysis Archives, 11(33). Retrieved from http://epaa.asu.edu/epaa/v11n33/

    Duffy, P. & Burns, A. (2006). The Use of Blogs, Wikis and RSS in Education: A Conversation of Possibilities.  In Proceedings Online Learning and Teaching Conference 2006, 31-38. QUT ePrints.

    Education Review Office. (2012). Retrieved 5 May 2015, from http://www.ero.govt.nz/About-Us/News-Media-Releases2/The-three-most-pressing-issues-for-N

    Hermans, R. Tondeur, J., van Braak, M., & Valcke, M. (2008). The impact of primary school teachers’ educational beliefs on the classroom use of computers.  Computers & Education, 51, 1499-1509.



  • Week 26 - Current issues in my Professional Context

    What makes my school unique?

    I currently work at a Decile 4 Roman Catholic Primary School (Year 1-6).  Pastoral care has its foundations in Gospel values for policies and practices. In accordance with the national requirements, literacy and numeracy continue to be the main focus of curriculum development throughout my school. My school monitoring systems have been well-developed to ensure sustained progress, by identifying special needs and catering for the learning of each individual student. As of 2015 our decile rating went from a decile 3 to a decile 4 school.  Our funding has further dropped and as a result our school regularly fundraise each term to help and support students to cover extracurricular activities.  The majority of our families/whanau are from the low end of the socio-economic scale. 

    What does our school value?

    My school values are founded on providing education of the whole person, based on Gospel values, with the support of school, family and parishThe NZ Religious Education Curriculum is followed in all classes, led by our Director of Religious Education. The philosophy of the programme is integrated throughout class programmes and the school environment. We encourage our students to express Christian attitudes and values in their daily lives as they experience and learn about God.  According to Stoll (1998), a school’s culture is shaped by its history, context and the people in it. St Pius is rich with history since it was established in 1954 to serve the Titahi Bay Catholic Parish.  Though, the school was originally staffed by the Brigidine Sisters.

    Our school has a high percentage of both Māori and Pasifika ethnicity who attend our school.  Where our Maori students are approximately 40% as well as our Pasifika students who are also sitting at 40%.  Our school has always strived towards being culturally responsive building strong relationships with our whanau/fanau - raising the academic achievement levels for both our Māori and Pasifika students.  As part of our school vision we believe that if parents and teachers are partners, their child will receive the best education possible. Judith Warren Little, (cited in Stoll 1998) identifies four types of collegial relations the fourth being most evident where form, joint work is most likely to lead to improvement. Examples of joint work include team-teaching, mentoring, action research, peer coaching, planning and mutual observation and feedback. These are stronger because they create greater interdependence, collective commitment, shared responsibility.  As a school we strive based on the needs of our students, their whanau and our community.

    Our school is currently working towards more 21st Century learning focus collaborating and using digital technology strengthening the partnership between the home-school. Our Teaching as Inquiry project plan provided a framework to introduce digital technology to enhance student agency and student learning outcomes for Y3-6. As a result we required team leaders to lead this new initiative. Therefore, the professional learning goal for our team leaders was to upskill their IT capabilities to lead changes in learning through digital media as part of our Annual Strategic 2016 plan. Stoll (1998) describes the role of leadership in relation to school culture is central. Our team leaders paved the way by bringing technology into the classrooms working towards the goal where students, have access to 1-1 devices.

    We also introduced the BYOD initiative and though there is a disadvantage (based on affordability) from our students who are at the lower end of the socio-economic scale, we worked hard through fundraising and receiving funding from our Archdiocese which enabled, all our Y3-6 students with 1-1 digital devices. 

    As I approach my third year in teaching it has been a real eye opener to see the issues/challenges that my school has embraced.  I believe that Teachers shape the culture within their school/classroom and community (whether they realise or not). Our school continues to enable our student to create, initiate and innovate within a caring learning environment where students grow and become life-long learners. 



    Stoll. (1998). School Culture. School Improvement Network’s Bulletin 9. Institute of Education, University of London. Retrieved from http://www.educationalleaders.govt.nz/Culture/Understanding-school-cultures/School-Culture






  • Week 28 - Indigenous Knowledge and Cultural Responsiveness

    Indigenous knowledge and cultural responsiveness in my practice

    My understanding about indigenous knowledge and being cultural responsive in my practice is embracing what our ākonga (students) brings (prior knowledge, relationships, experience, and cultural identity) and building on what they know and how they learn best. I firmly believe that by building genuine relationships with our tamaiti (child) and their whanau by acknowledging and understanding who they are (identity) and where they come from (their whakapapa - genealogy) is the greatest thing of all. 

    “Cultural identity is crucial to children‘s growth and success” (Milne, 2013).

    My school firmly values our school moto signified through our WAKA which stands for Whanau (Our connectedness with our families/whanau), Atua (Continuing influence from God,), Kura (We learn together), and Aroha (Love).   

    Russell Bishop a Professor for Māori education, talks about the issues on Māori achievement or the educational disparities in New Zealand which is also common with other indigenous people around the world (Bishop, 2012).  Bishop highlights that it is the ‘agentic teachers’ who make an impact towards Māori student’s achieving.

    Te Kotahitanga research and professional development project (led by the Māori Education Research Institute at the School of Education, University of Waikato), aims to improve the educational achievement of Māori students in mainstream education, (Gutschlag, 2007). 

    A key outcome of participation in Te Kotahitanga is teacher participation towards change in Māori students’ educational achievement. Bishop, Berryman, Cavanagh and Teddy (2009) emphasise the importance of student-teacher relationships in culturally responsive teaching. It is suggested that the learners’ culture needs to be considered and integrated into their learning activities.

    In addition, evidence is pointing more to the relationships between teachers and Māori students as the major issue – it is a matter of cultural relationships not socio-economic resources (Hattie, 2003).

    ‘Teachers are not only agents of change they are, to all intents and purposes, the sole agents of change’       (Gutschlag, 2007).

    My Practice

    As a Year 0/1 Māori teacher I understand the values, beliefs, prior experiences, knowledge, the importance of whanau and whakapapa (connection to their maunga (mountain), awa (river), waka (canoe), iwi (tribe) and hapū  (sub-tribe) each of my Māori students bring with them as they look at me all starry eyed on their very first day of school.  I believe building genuine relationships with our ākonga and their whanau is the key to success to enable our tamariki to thrive.  One of our successful methods of communicating with all our students and their family/whanau is using student voice i.e. learning maps as a means to understand how our students learn best and what their next learning steps will be.  We also involve the family/whanau and their aspirations for their tamaiti within the learning environment.  This can be seen through waiata (song), karakia (prayer), pepeha (genealogy) or simply beginning our day with a mihi (greeting). 

    As I plan activities and lessons to support the many diverse cultural backgrounds and languages in my classroom, I often feel some of my work colleagues a little whakamā – shamed or embarrassed when incorporating Te Reo Māori me ona Tikanga in their daily routines and rituals due to wrong pronunciation, lack of confidence, bad experience, or the norm of a Māori teacher leading and modelling.  I see it as an awesome opportunity to share my cultural heritage, knowledge, pedagogy and experience with my work colleagues as a new learning journey.

    “He kākano āhau
    I ruia mai i Rangiātea"

    I am a seed
    Scattered from Rangiatea 



    Bishop. R., Berryman, M., Cavanagh, T. & Teddy, L. (2009).Te Kotahitanga: Addressing educational disparities facing Māori students in New Zealand. Teaching and Teacher Education, 25(5), 734–742.

    Gutschlag, A. (2007). Some implications of the Te Kotahitanga model of teacher positioning. New Zealand Journal of Teachers’ Work, 4(1), 3-10. Retrieved from http://www.teacherswork.ac.nz/journal/volume4_issue1/gutschlag.pdf

    Hattie, J. (2003). “New Zealand Education Snapshot: With Specific Reference to the Years 1–13 Years.” Presentation to Knowledge Wave 2003. The Leadership Forum.

    Milne, B.A. (2013). Colouring in the White Spaces: Reclaiming Cultural Identity in Whitestream Schools. (Doctoral Thesis, University of Waikato, Hamilton, New Zealand). Retrieved from http://hdl.handle.net/10289/7868

    Source: Edtalks.(2012, September 23). A culturally responsive pedagogy of relations. [video file].Retrieved from https://vimeo.com/49992994 


  • Community of practice, what is it and what does it mean? "Since the beginning of history human beings have formed communities that share cultural practices reflecting their collective learning" Wenger, (2000). In February 2015, the Māori whanau roopu (Māori family group) was established as a change initiative at my school.  The purpose, to strengthen relationships between the teachers and whanau through collective learning and working partnership of respect in order to create an educational environment to improve student achievement. 

    Wenger further explains community of practice defines competence by examining three areas (Wenger, 2002).  

    • Joint enterprise 
    • Mutual engagement 
    • Shared repertoire 

    Joint enterprise consists where members, are bound together by collectively developed of what their community is about.

    Mutual engagement involves within the community, the members engage through interactions, building mutual trust in the relationships.

    Shared repertoire is the communal resources that the community practice produce.

    On reflection, my role during the initial process of forming the Māori whanau roopu was a joint enterprise, formed with my principal and teaching staff in February 2015. Here we determined leadership roles within our whanau and the wider community that involved on-going fortnightly meetings to determine these roles.  Whanau representatives were established to provide additional support for Māori development and advocating on behalf of all whanau to work towards achieving our 2015 strategic school wide goals.

    Mutual engagement - I believe incorporating the three R's - Respect, Responsible and Reflect are key for success when collaboratively engaging with others.   

    • Respect - Self-respect and respect for others 
    • Responsibility - Taking responsibility for your own actions 
    • Reflect - Reflection on what worked and what didn't work, why? Why not?

    The success of the change initiative came from genuine partnerships of mutual respect between my principal, teachers, students, parents, whanau and the Māori community.  Weekly staff meetings, syndicate meetings and monthly whanau roopu hui's allowed us to engage in professional conversations, receive and give feedback using student/whanau voice, reflect and make changes to our teaching practice in the classroom and with the whanau, seek and engage in further professional development in Te Ao Māori.  

    Shared repertoire - This is probably the strongest area of my teaching practice within this change initiative. My role during the initial process of forming the Māori whanau roopu, was to facilitate the collaborative change initiative by achieving the shared goals, outcomes and performance based, on my knowledge in Te Reo Māori and Māori Tikanga (Māori protocol) and cultural pedagogy knowledge. This also gave me the opportunity (as a beginning teacher) to share my knowledge with my work colleagues. However, I was also open to receiving and actively seeking new ideas and resources from students, teachers, outside agencies/professionals and most important, the whanau. 

    Passion!!! At the beginning the change initiative started with a group of people with a shared passion that were driven towards, learning and interacting with one another to make things better.  As a result, this has lead the initiative to continue to work on key issues and build stronger relationships with one another.  This is a role that I will continue to model and promote within the initiative.  

     “Naku te rourou nau te rourou ka ora ai te iwi” 

    (With your basket of knowledge and my basket of knowledge, together we will grow).



    Knox, B. (2009, December 4).Cultivating Communities of Practice: Making Them Grow.[video file]. Retrieved fromhttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lhMPRZnRFkk

    Wenger, E (2002). Communities of practice and social learning systems. Organization, 7(2), 225-246 (Available in Unitec Library).


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