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Volume 10, Issue 2, 2013

National Editorial Board and Editorial Committee


Who was New Zealand’s Most Prolific Writer of Progressive Education Literature, Now Unknown Today?

There was one educator who was by far the most prolific New Zealand writer of progressive education literature – Reverend Dr William Morton Ryburn MA (Otago) DLitt (NZ) OBE (1895-1986). Somewhat surprisingly, Ryburn is virtually unheard of in New Zealand (at least in the area of education) while his work is still cited and used in university and teacher training courses abroad today. His books published by Oxford University Press alone include The Progressive School, The Principles of Teaching, The Organisation of Schools, Play Way Suggestions and Introduction to Educational Psychology ...



The Golden Thread: Rethinking Learning Outcomes in Early Childhood Education

Early childhood education has come under increasing pressure to describe, record and present evidence of the benefits for learning. We argue that it is time to understand children’s and families’ lived experiences in new, complex, and meaningful ways. We propose that learning narratives would benefit from a reframing of centre-based child learning narratives to a family/community-based design, which includes narratives that encompass the wider contexts and experiences of the child ...

Self-assessment: Questioning My Classroom Practice

Self-assessment activities have become commonplace in classroom environments. Just like most other primary teachers I use self-assessment activities in my classroom practice with good intentions for encouraging children to consider their own learning and achievement. Looking back, however, I see my use of self-assessment tasks served teacher and teaching purposes above student needs and the longer-term goal of developing self-directed (life-long) learners. In hindsight I believe what I was calling self-assessment could more accurately, and perhaps more helpfully, be defined as short, guided reflections. This paper questions this classroom practice and goes on to question the term ‘self-assessment’ suggesting we examine closely our meaning, purpose and practice of self-assessment in the classroom ...

The Inclusive Practices Tools: Trying to Take a Short Cut to Inclusion?

The Ministry of Education, through the New Zealand Council for Educational Research (NZCER), is currently trialling the Inclusive Practices Tools (IPT), an auditing device in which schools can measure the extent of ‘inclusive practice’ and identify areas for improvement. IPT will be rolled out nationally beginning in late 2014. Through reducing the exploration of inclusive values to a streamlined analysis of practice, there emerges the threat of limiting the aspirations of the project of inclusion. Lacking in the ‘tools’ offered to schools are essential aspects of sustainable change and professional development, notably time, reflection, stakeholder involvement, and collective exploration of values and assumptions. However, despite being handed what can be seen as a limited set of tools, teachers may use the opportunity to create more inclusive schools ...

The Issue of Mandating Literacy Assessments in Primary Schools: Examples from the United Kingdom and New Zealand

A current issue of concern in New Zealand and the United Kingdom (UK) is the thrust of both governments to mandate some forms of literacy-related assessment practices in primary schools. In New Zealand, the National Government has recently mandated the national Reading and Writing Standards for Years 1-8 (Ministry of Education, 2009), and the UK Government has recently mandated a new non-word reading test for all 6-year-olds. In both countries it appears that one of the rationales behind these policies is an attempt to raise the literacy achievement levels of all students and in particular, those who are having difficulties. However, in both countries the teachers and teacher unions have continued to strongly oppose the introduction of these assessment-related policy initiatives ...

Transformational Learning and Teacher Collaborative Communities

An abundance of literature on transformational learning and teacher professional learning communities (PLCs) exists; yet, few, in any, have linked the presence of one within the other. We believe Mezirow’s Transformational Learning Theory should be acknowledged as a viable theoretical framework for better understanding the power of how teachers work together. Evidence of its presence can be identified within the current school practices of PLCs and other collaborative activities. In this paper, we will first overview Mezirow’s theories of transformational learning and then attempt to show how the work of professional learning communities specifically and teacher collaboration generally provide a platform for transforming teachers’ understandings of pedagogy and their roles as teachers ...

Policy, Research and Practice to Improve Student Outcomes: Some Philosophical Problems

If policy, research and practice are to improve student outcomes, then the successful achievement of this will require prior attention to several fundamental philosophical problems. Failure to address these is likely to lead to a breakdown in the link between means and ends with the goals being sought coming to nothing. First, what, conceptually, is meant by ‘student outcomes’? Second, since not all student outcomes are educationally worth cultivating, judgement is required to determine which outcomes to promote and which not. Third, how are we to ascertain whether there is an improvement in student outcomes? Finally, if policy, research and practice are to improve student outcomes, it is incumbent on those promoting such policy, research and practice to empirically demonstrate how these causally bring about such improvement ...



Scaling the Peaks of Research

For many people undertaking research at Masterate or Doctorate level is a mountain too far. Yet for teachers taking on the challenge of research it can open new doors, invigorate practice and help them learn something about themselves. This article looks at the journey taken by one teacher to conquer the lofty heights of academia and the changes brought about through this journey. The teacher had to face the realisation that people often saw her in a completely different light to how she saw herself. Not only did she find that she had a value to others but that there were also expectations placed upon her which she felt obliged to meet. Yet what became most surprising to her in scaling the research mountain was that her own expectations outshone anything others placed upon her ...

Discipline-based Teaching and Identity Expansion – Teacher Education and the Tertiary Vocational Educator in New Zealand

The vocational tertiary teaching work force in New Zealand is made up of individuals from an extensive range of occupational backgrounds. When their occupational or discipline-based expertise is employed within Institutes of Technology and Polytechnics (ITPs) and Private Training Establishments (PTEs) they make up another occupational group – that of vocational education or training practitioner. With diverse work-based backgrounds, vocational educators undertake their work within the teaching workforce often without a strong sense of their educational position or function and there is little guidance in the complexities and realities of the role. This paper considers the role of vocational educators and the practices of professional development or tertiary teacher education that might support building a multi-layered identity encompassing their discipline expertise and their role as an educator ...

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