Sector Soundbites: What will have a significant impact on the future of New Zealand education?



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We asked New Zealand teachers and principals 'What will have a significant impact on the future of New Zealand education?' Here is a sample of their responses.


“The new Ministry of Education four-year plan has been recently published and outlines the plan for the next four years. This plan includes the better tailoring of services to support innovation and development that will include the ongoing work that will raise the achievement of our students through better, more focused, future-centred pedagogical practice. The Government has recognised that we need to work with all sectors of the pathways a child will proceed through the educational journey from early childhood to 24 to 35-year-old citizens who need to sustain jobs in the workforce and so will need appropriate, future-focused qualifications and skills.

“So the skills, in the education sector, of collaboration and critique, innovation and growth in leadership and pedagogical skills will have the most impact on our future educational arena. Parents and students will have far more understanding and ownership in the learning process by targeted programmes in Communities of Learning. My fear is that those who actively oppose and abstain from the processes to make this happen fail their communities and students that are in their care, unintentionally disadvantaging and short-changing their school communities of an opportunity to make a significant difference to this generation of children who are in our present educational cohort.”

Colin Dale, Principal, Murrays Bay Intermediate



“The automation of jobs. Our education system currently prepares students to do jobs that won't exist when they leave school.”

Nathan Calvert, Year 1 Teacher, Kristin School 



“Consistently capturing ‘Student Voice’ to inform local curriculum design will have the effective impact teachers, leaders and school communities are looking for to lift student engagement and achievement. Listening to what our students want to learn and when in an authentic context, that they own and means something to them, will help transform the way we teach, what we teach, when and how we teach.” 

Shane Ngatai, Principal, Rhode Street School



“Relationships. What if secondary school teachers, in particular, saw themselves as leaders of learners first, and content experts second? What if we realised that the power of technology, in addition to improving access to information, lies in allowing teachers and students to learn alongside one another? What would happen in New Zealand schools if we truly put relationships first, because learning does not happen in isolation? Agency, transformation, whanaungatanga.”

Philippa Nicoll Antipas, Postgraduate Programme Director (Wellington), The Mind Lab by Unitec



“With my very limited experience of the New Zealand education system, my immediate response to improvements would be to focus on the use of key vocabulary surrounding subjects (particularly science). In my opinion, the manner in which students express themselves has/is changing, this having an impact upon their formal written and verbal expression. Key words appear to be less well learned and used and without these, the subject-specific dialogue is diminished in quality.”

Dr Cheryl Loughton, Kristin School



“The Ministry-driven promotion of ‘modern learning environments’ is just another expensive, unnecessary, passing educational bandwagon and fad, and will not make the significant impact required to improve learning outcomes for students.

“Rather, future success in any educational endeavour should be built on a solid foundation of highly trained, innovative and inspirational teachers who are passionate about teaching, training and nurturing students. It is and always has been about great teachers and teaching.

“Education policy-makers need to get their heads around how to attract and recruit quality candidates to the teaching profession. Raising the academic entry level for teacher training and selection would be a good place to start.”

Shane Kennedy, Principal, Manukau Christian School



"An understanding of the new learning paradigm – that every student, with expert teaching/mentoring/coaching, significant purposeful practice and opportunities to ‘perform’ (see **itals**Bounce** by Matthew Syed)​ – can developing a remarkable set of skills and knowledge. While schools continue in the myth that abilities are fixed – and/or blame external factors for student performance – interventions are a waste of time and money."

Alwyn Poole, Villa Education Trust



“I have some concern about the new emphasis on converting traditional schools into MLE or, as known now, ILE. We get a large number of tours through our school from schools who want to change to an ILE or a school with flexible spaces. Unfortunately, all too often they visit wishing to find out about the spaces and the furniture, not the pedagogy or the collaboration of teachers. I am regularly surprised that schools haven't considered key elements of visioning, good practice, teacher skill and knowledge, and student needs. These are the foundations of any successful change – not the furniture or the layout!”

Melanie Taylor, Principal, Golden Sands School, Papamoa



“So which politician, Ministry of Education senior leader or educational academic is going to have that ‘Eureka’ moment? That one clear and incisive thought that concludes that all teachers, all leaders and all principals, need a comprehensive ‘wellbeing-focused’ support network. Then there is a chance that an individual’s high-quality performance can be sustainable year on year. At present, an individual’s performance sustainability is based on a wing and a prayer.”

Ian Vickers, Assistant Principal, Sancta Maria College, Flat Bush, Auckland



“Measures of success for a school will lean more towards the strength of the connections and involvement of the community it serves. Strategic schools will use opportunities like BYOD policies and sports coaching to make healthy connections beyond their own controlled environment of staff and students.”

Andrew Nyhoff, Kristin School

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