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An interesting article in today's Press

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Started by Andy Ashworth 09 Sep 2015 9:59pm () Replies (1)

Departing Myross Bush School principal Tim Lovelock considers himself a pioneer rather than a settler, which goes a way to explaining his school's approach to teaching children.

Lovelock, also the outgoing Southland Primary Principals Association president, is moving to Taupo with his wife and three children to take up the principal's job at the 500-student Waipahihi School.

But he leaves behind a school which has undergone change; its teachers have been working in pairs in the classroom for the past couple of years in a bid to meet the needs of the children.

The method is a break away from the traditional one-teacher classrooms, but Lovelock believes it works.

At Myross Bush School, on the north eastern outskirts of Invercargill, they have paired up classrooms and teachers.

Two traditional classrooms of kids are set up as one learning space with two teachers.

Two heads are better than one, Lovelock says, with two teachers able to work as a team to ensure the children both enjoyed their learning experience and soaked it up.

If kids and teachers were engaged and had some ownership of the programme they had a great environment for teaching and learning, he said.

The two teachers shared ideas and took on different tasks in the classroom; they made the learning environment more flexible for the children, and that included making it more fun.

"These [teaching pairs] are all day working and flexibly challenging the programme as they go with each other ... you have got two people who know the learning needs of your kid instead of one," Lovelock said.

The teachers at the school had made the two teacher classrooms a success, he said.

He does not adhere to having kids sitting at a desk for 50 minutes per lesson; kids should be learning to work in a variety of ways and learning zones, he believes.

"If a kid is bored at primary school you have lost them at high school."

The aim was to meet the needs of the modern child and set them up for high school so they would be "ready to fly".

Schooling set ups were changing in different stages across Southland, he said.

"When you step out of the box you challenge the idea of what school is for people."

Myross Bush School Board of Trustees chairman Keith Brown said the board was in favour of the team teaching concept.

It was a key driver in the school's goal to develop a culture of active learners at the school, he said.

"Team teaching means the teaching pairs and the whole teaching staff have to work collaboratively, and together they are continually reviewing and reflecting on best practice. All of the teachers have bought into the concept, and we are starting to see real benefits."

Lovelock's role as Southland Primary Principal's Association president will be taken over by Ascot School principal Wendy Ryan until a new president is elected in November. 

The new Myross Bush School principal will be Jamin Lietze who starts in term 4.

Lietze, who grew up at Kelso in the Clutha district, has been deputy head of primary at Bethlehem College near Tauranga.

 - The Southland Time

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