NZ Teacher - New Year, New Opportunities

January 2013


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The ads for school stationery are a sure sign that the new school year is about to begin.

It is about now that teachers are slowly turning their minds from boogie boards to blackboards, starting to prepare themselves for new students, new challenges, new opportunities.

Last year was a difficult one for education.

If you haven’t already, jump online and check out our summary online-only edition for 2012, Education in Review, which looks at the many and varied issues that confronted New Zealand education last year.

With the uproar over the proposed teacher cuts, league tables, charter schools, and Christchurch education still fresh in the memories of many, and the Novopay nightmare that won’t quit, it may be difficult to banish the cynicism that pervaded many staffrooms towards the end of last year.

Yet, we don’t need to look far to see that there is so much happening within our schools, early childhood centres, and tertiary institutions that is worth celebrating.

Stonefields School’s Breakthrough Project, allowing students regular opportunity to pursue whatever they are passionate about, has transformed life and learning for students.

The Mutukaroa programme has provided a whole new take on home-school partnerships at Sylvia Park School with amazing results.

A collaborative teaching inquiry model at Newmarket School is helping to raise achievement levels of Māori and Pasifika students. These inspiring examples, and others, are recognised within these pages.

We also probe some interesting subjects in this issue. We hear firsthand from principal Brenda Ellis on why she believes Judge Dobson’s verdict to overrule the Ministry’s decision to close Salisbury School was the right one and her fears for the future of residential special education in New Zealand.

Tracey Carlyon confronts the misconception that teaching younger students is a step down from teaching older students and looks at the effect transitioning between different levels can have on a teacher’s practice.

Kate Russell investigates why there are so few men in early childhood education and why more are needed.

The diversity of the topics in this issue of NZ Teacher reflects the rich and varied profession of teaching. Hopefully you will derive some inspiration from its content as you prepare for the new school year and all it has to offer.

Jude Barback, editor

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