Tuesday, 6 October 2015

Who helped me dream BIG?

Who are the inspiring leaders, educators and legendary bloggers that have helped me dream BIG?

The quote that keeps me moving forward and thinking about meeting the needs of the students in front of me is

"If we teach today as we taught yesterday, then we rob our children of tomorrow" (Dewey, 1926)

....as poignant now as it was almost a century ago!

The people.........

Barbara Cavanagh, @barbjcav  Learning Leading Learning Principal at Albany Senior High School. Who could ask for a better principal? A truly inspiring leader who is passionate about growing teachers and leaders and providing opportunities based on someone's potential.

Grant Lichtman @GrantLichtman (thank you Steve Mouldey

for introducing me to The Falconer last year) and Grant sorry not to have had the chance to meet you whilst in NZ - and thank you soo much for taking the time to google hangout with my product design students last year. It meant so much to the students and made me realise that, digital gremlins aside, hanging out globally isn't that challenging and should be done far more often. Additionally, reading The Falconer set me on the path of recognising the importance of questions and questioning. The Future of K-12 Education is a regular in my inbox.

Tony Wagner - Creating Innovators. A great read and a site worth dipping into. Really resonates with what I've been exploring in terms of "4C's; Collaboration, Critical thinking, Communication and Creativity and the student led Impact Projects we run at ASHS

Tait Cole @Totallywired77 - Nevermind the Inspectors - Here's Punk Learning. This book is at the top of my re-read list with multiple folded over corners to earmark "re-read here". Yes! I love the references to punk lyrics throughout the book as much as the great ideas designed to engage sullen teens........ Follow his blog here

Nicole Price, @NicolePriceNZ  Team Solutions, Technology Advisor - Auckland and Northland. - My go to person to check whether my risk-taking, wacky ideas are in line with meeting assessment requirements. Nicole thank you for your encouragement and support. You rock! Nicole can be found on google+

Other blogs/people I follow are:-
Bo Adams  @boadams1 its about learning   
Mary Cantwell  Deep Design Thinking
Lisa Palmieri @Learn21Tech remake learning
Steve Mouldey @GeoMouldey and his blog

Mindshift and Edutopia

It's all very well being connected, being inspired and dreaming but for change to take place we have to just get on with it -  "walk the talk".......and "seize the day"


Please note that all the musings in my posts are purely my own ideas and not that of my school and employer.

How has my teaching practice evolved?

How has my teaching practice evolved?

I'm blogging as part of a challenge laid down as part of Connected Educator Month NZ #cenz15 #EdBlogNZChallenge to try and force myself become a regular blogger...........

The first challenge is to respond to the following.....
  • How has my teaching practice evolved?
  • What am I currently working on developing in my practice?
  • What tools am I using during this inquiry?

Here goes........
My practice is continually evolving, influenced by a number of things; the students I have in front of me, what I've read, colleagues best practice and probably the biggest catalyst is being fortunate enough to be part of the first ever Mindlab/UNITEC Post-Graduate Certificate in Collaborative and Digital Learning (we officially graduated last week - Whoop! Whoop!). 

Two areas which particularly resonated with me and started to explore as I was undertaking the Mindlab PGC were "Design Thinking" and "4C's"; Collaboration, Communication, Critical Thinking and Creativity". The confidence I gained through the Mindlab PGC has helped me to experiment with elements of both "Design Thinking" and "4C's" in my learning environments this year. This has been exhilarating, challenging, a lot of fun and at times scary...... I have been developing this  predominantly in a multi-year "product design"  class consisting of years 11, 12 and 13 and also a level 3 "social anthropology" class - a new subject for me this year. But heck! If I want my students to challenge themselves on their learning journey then I have to "walk the talk". Things I've introduced (and are by no means polished) with plenty of room for improvement in 2016 include:-

  • In product design, all students across year groups undertaking the same two projects. The projects had plenty of scope for individualisation and different NCEA assessment opportunities based on student strengths and nature of their project.
  • Building student ownership through offering student choice, within enabling constraints.
  • Students recording their evidence digitally, predominantly blogs (product design).
  • Using google classroom.
  • Both product design projects started with a design thinking "How might we......?" question which students interviewed people, brainstormed using a range of activities (100 ideas, hexagons, new useful interesting, organising information using post-it notes) to complete their "class" question.
  • Opportunities for group activities of collaborative and co-operative nature which ranged from developing shared class resources, peer teaching, tasks with assigned roles....
  • Really exploring critical thinking and making it visible. It's all very well talking about it but what actually is it? How to teach it? What evidence do we have that students have developed critical thinking skills? I've discovered that critical thinking stems from the quality of the questions asked. Grant Lichtman in The Falconer highlighted this for me.
  • Developing graphic organisers for process-oriented tasks and also to develop critical thinking skills. This was undertaken predominantly in the social anthropology classes and became the focus of one of my Professional Inquiries. Geoff Petty, Pam Hook and Goggle Draw have all played major parts in this!

At ASHS we are fortunate that we have time set aside every week for our Professional Inquiry and the school has developed an Inquiry Cycle to follow. The Mindlab PGC opened my eyes to digital and collaborative learning and the ASHS's Professional Inquiry Cycle is the tool that has given rigour to aspects of my teaching practice evolving.  

Saturday, 28 March 2015

Wk 32 - MINDLAB - Reflection

This is the last post that has been written as part of an assignment for "Applied Practice in Context" paper which makes up part of the "Postgraduate Certificate in Digital and Collaborative Learning" at Mindlab in partnership with UNITEC 

"We do not learn from experience....we learn from reflecting on experience" John Dewey

Time to sit down with a decent coffee and reflect on the amazing journey of the Postgraduate Certificate in Digital and Collaborative Learning

How can I sum up my experience of the first ever Mindlab/UNITEC Post graduate Certificate in Digital and Collaborative Learning?

A: It has VALIDATED, STRENGTHENED, BROADENED and DEEPENED my thinking and practice and in turn my confidence as a teacher. I am now  a teacher who is confident to take risks in the learning environment (modelling the expectations I have for my students) and try new future-focussed strategies, such as working collaboratively and increasing the use of digital media, with students. I feel I am so much better equipped at being able to prepare my students with transferable skills and competencies such as the "4C's";collaboration, critical thinking, creativity and communication that will help them across contexts in a future that is uncertain and unpredictable. The 3 biggest take aways for me, which I will reflect on) are:- 

a passion for design thinking in educational contexts 
"4C's" - collaboration, critical thinking, creativity and communication 
take risks in your practice. They might just be AMAZING!

a passion for design thinking in educational contexts
Before Mindlab: Early in 2014 I was introduced to "The Falconer" by Grant Lichtman which set me on the path to learn more about questioning to help students have "deeper learning experiences". At the time I was exploring the maker movement and e-textiles. I'd heard about design thinking, did a wee bit of research (d.school, IDEO) and it stirred something within me.

At Mindlab: During the first two papers I was soo excited when I heard we were going to have a session on Design Thinking. It was like opening pandora's box; for me it was inspiring, exciting, it clicked, it resonated, I immediately knew that I could find ways to implement it into my learning environment. Conversely, some of my classmates didn't engage, didn't "get it" or didn't want to and appeared to feel very uncomfortable about the topic and couldn't conceive it's potential. This should have been a warning for me or at the least a "note to remember" when introducing the concept staff later in the year. Not long after this Grant Lichtman's second book #Edjourney came out and again I read about Design Thinking and then........I won a copy of Ewan McInosh's (2014)  new book "How to come up with great ideas and actually make them happen". Around the same time, during Connected Educators Month (www.connectededucator.org.nz) there were a couple of webinars on Design Thinking that I hooked into. No surprises that this became a recurring theme for a number of assignments, particularly the research assignments.

After Mindlab: I shared my enthusiasm for Design Thinking  with some colleagues and I got blank faces. Hugely disappointing for me. However, I should have been prepared for this after what I'd witness in class the evening before. I was not to be deterred. During our end of year professional development sessions I was asked by our school principal Barbara Cavanagh to run a focus group on Design Thinking. Scary because I'd only really read about it but.......it was only stuff I didn't know....yet! Part of the Design Thinking ethos is to "give it a go". I took the risk repeating the mantra "feel the fear....and do it anyway".  And of course those fears were unfounded as a group of 9 of us had an amazing 3 day whirlwind of Design Thinking, visiting to schools that use Design Thinking and business incubator Biz Dojo. We learnt so much, we were converts but.....when we came to share with colleagues again there were mixed reactions. People may take it on board when they are ready or see some proof of the benefits, they may see it as the latest "teaching babble fad"  and may never adopt the mindset and human-centred approach to problem solving. This year I've introduced a Design Thinking mindset and methodology into my Product Design class. The students seem to engage from the outset however, I am having to think creatively how to align the project with what is being assessed this term.

"4C's" - collaboration, critical thinking, creativity, communication

Before Mindlab: As a teacher collaboration might happen between colleagues in school, through cluster meetings, PD days or subject associations and generally revolved around sharing resources or deepening understanding of Achievement Standards. For students collaboration generally consisted of working together to brainstorm ideas and perhaps some peer teaching. On Impact Project days students collaborate more that in specialist subjects as they work in groups and have to liaise with people in the community in order to have a successful project. 

At Mindlab: We collaborated on a range of activities during sessions and collaborated somewhat on the portal although this did fizzle out as we all became more time pressured towards the end of the programme. I would have liked to collaborate more on the portal but it often came down to time and what was "the best use of my time right now" and more often than not the students I'd be working with "tomorrow" got priority over online discussions. Oh for some balance! 

After Mindlab: Thinking back on the programme I have come to understand that I am definitely energised by being around people (perhaps that's part of why I'm a teacher) and bounce ideas around with others is certainly beneficial to my learning. Of course we know have the technology to easily do this electronically. However, there is some magic ingredient when people get together in a physical space. Towards the end of last year I had another "feel the fear and do it anyway" moment and after a few technical hitches my year 13 class and I had a skype conversation with "Grant Lichtman" in the USA. By doing this once it made me realise that actually it's not that difficult and that the benefits far outweigh the fear factor. I haven't done this again with my class....yet but I definitely will. I would not have had the confidence to even consider doing this before undertaking the Mindlab courses. Since then I've had a google hangout with  Mary Cantwell (DEEP design thinking) to further explore Design Thinking in the classroom and methods of assessment. This is something that will continue as time frees up post Mindlab. I've also collaborating with a technology teacher based in Christchurch who has a future-focussed outlook similar to mine and is working within the same NCEA assessment parameters as I am. 

My composite year 11, 12 and 13 students are in a learning environment where they are being encouraged to work collaboratively where they are peer teaching, brainstorming, generating and sharing ideas and decision making together. They are all developing a garment that collectively makes up a class fashion collection. I've seem students across year groups communicating well together. The only minor disappointment I have with this project is that I thought students would embrace the opportunity to record evidence electronically however the opted that most evidence would be collected in a visual diary. This is something I will approach differently for their next project. 

Through using a Design Thinking mindset in my learning environment I anticipate that I will be developing problem solving skills (by finding the right problem to solve in the first place) which will generate much richer experiences and deeper learning for students through (perhaps) solving real problems rather than just making a dress for a cousins "fictional 21st birthday" because they don't have anything to wear as has been the general "status quo".

Take risks in your practice. They might just be AMAZING!
Before Mindlab: To some degree I took  what some would consider "risks" with my students in my teaching approach by co-constructing topic contexts and content within the parameters of NCEA requirements and really considering what the students interests were, rather than what pushes my buttons, yet still playing to my teaching strengths.

Post Mindlab:Through the experiences and associated learning and discovery journey of the past 32 weeks I feel so much more confident in stepping out of my comfort zone and trying different activities, tasks and techniques with my students. After,  being on the edge of one's comfort zone is "where learning happens".

Time to wrap up as the coffee cup I sat down with at the beginning of this post has been drained a couple of times and what is left is now cold. The course has really brought home to me that we are always on a journey and that learning is enriched, for me, when I have opportunities to work with others, share ideas, consider the future of education and the changes we desperately need and challenge each others thinking. My next step is to grow my digital presence through blogging, twitter and google hangouts. Hmm! Doesn't this correlate with the "4C's"; collaboration, critical thinking, creativity and communication!

Wk 28 - MINDLAB - Ethics in teaching practice

This post is part of an assessment for a paper on "Applied Practice in Context", part of the Postgraduate in Digital and Collaborative Learning programme offered by Mindlab and UNITEC.

The post this week is a response to key points that arose from Applied Professional Ethics by Collste (2012) and where or how they relate to teaching practice. NOTE: All quotations are from the above article.

ETHICS is about reflecting on one's moral judgements or actions and justifying why they might be right or wrong. When decision making, one must often chose from a number of alternatives and the decision made will promote one value over others; for example, economic options over sustainable options or in an education setting PPTA union membership over effecting educational change through supporting EDUCANZ.  Reflecting on such crucial aspects of human life and social development is known as APPLIED ETHICS.

Applied ethics can be described as the art and science of reflecting on moral dilemmas and moral problems in different contexts. With applied ethics there is an interplay between theory and practice and philosophical methods to treat moral problems. It can contribute to understanding as people struggle with sustainability, animal welfare, social justice, pollution, devices in schools, school closures in Christchurch, classroom sizes and so on.....

In the latter part of the 20th century ethics has become increasingly important due, in part, to technological developments in the medical field which has created new moral dilemmas around topics such as pre-natal testing, euthanasia, stem cell research and cloning. This has led to a "policy vacuum" as "we don' t know how to handle new situations and lack moral and legal concepts and principles"  to deal with such issues. Practicing applied ethics can be used to fill this vacuum.

Using applied ethics can be described as a method used to reach a goal through increasing knowledge and insights into ethical issues and finding a "well argued position from which to act" and requires facts, methods and data from a range of sources as well as involving philosophical debate. It is a deliberative process which matches relevant principles and considered judgements. There were, and still are, ethical discussions taking place is school around digital platforms and the use of social media in school. These tend to arise around equity (not all students are able to afford a device) and personal safety (cyberbullying, privacy issues and theft of property).

REFLECTIVE EQUILIBRIUM (RE) is an inclusive method used for moral problem solving where different aspects are considered, often at different levels of abstraction and relate to different aspects of the problem. It include structuring arguments, decision making and making justifications. This multi-disciplinary research approach which requires contributions from different disciplines (doctors and philosophers for example) and other perspectives. I see parallels  between RE and  a human-centred, or empathy-based approach to design, known as design thinking; a mindset and methodology that encourages teams with diverse experiences and expertise to collaborate and prototype to arrive at a workable solution. Design thinking is increasingly being used in schools overseas and New Zealand.

DESIGNING-IN ETHICS is another approach whereby ethics can be designed into institutions or technical systems so that values are realised. An example that comes to mind in an educational context is around the use of digital devices in school. Students that don't have a device can not be educationally disadvantaged and therefore schools need to "design in" equity by providing computers or devices for student use.

PROFESSIONAL ETHICS is a response to moral problems faced by professionals in their working environment; an environment where those involved have 

  • an academic education  
  • professional degrees
  • provide an important service
  • are supported by professional associations
  • work with a certain amount of autonomy, and 
  • work within an ethical code of conduct. 

Professionals in such an environment are often required to make decisions or judgements whilst being confronted by ethical or moral dilemmas. A teacher would most certainly fit within this context. But do they have pay equity with other professionals?

I had a professional dilemma recently over whether to contact home as student wasn't working well in a subject; the expected process as this student's tutor teacher (similar to a dean). I discussed this with the student who pleaded with me not to contact home as any bad feedback from school would result in being sent away to live in another city. Rather than follow process which was NOT in the student's best interests the student and I discussed some strategies to use in class and set out some expectations and goals that would be revisited. I based my decision on the value I placed on the student's well being and learning rather than following policy - in this instance.

TASK: Are the following relevant to applied ethical or professional contexts or both and are they important in teaching? How? 

Conducting research, writing policy, professional dialogue and professional development, cultural responsiveness, language revitalisation, globalisation, the rights of the child, gender, sexuality, governance, allocation of funding, capitalism, eco-sustainability, cultural pluralism, morality, animal welfare, human rights, colonialisation, the treatment of blood and human tissues, resource depletion.
Depending on the specific context they could all be relevant to both applied ethics or professional ethics. Are they important in teaching? As a teaching professional all these issues could be important and again it would depend on the context; the role of a teacher or as part of subject content in a student learning environment. 

First Blog Post for Mindlab: Applied Practice Assignment 1

Please note that the next half dozen or so blogs are evidence for an assessment so are written in perhaps a more formal style than would be natural for me....... Nevertheless the "opinions are my own" and I have attributed the work of others accordingly - hopefully 100% of the time!

A bit about me....

I’m Katriona Main. My background is in the fashion industry here in NZ and previously in the UK. In the 'rag trade' I had various roles; part of a design team, production, quality control, promotion and tertiary education for a private organisation (PTE). Over the years I have had a number of formal and informal teaching/facilitating roles including community education computing.
Currently I am in my 5th year of  being a teacher (and learner) at Albany Senior High School; a modern learning environment on Auckland’s North Shore. It’s a decile 10 school catering for years 11, 12 and 13. We have open learning spaces, no bells and teachers are called by the first names, even Barbara Cavanagh, our principle. The school philosophy is that we (the teacher and students) are on the journey together, side-by-side, and that building positive respectful relationships and knowing the students is the key to enhancing learning. 

This year I am teaching Product Design (mostly textiles yet incorporating multi-materials) which is a composite class of Y11, 12 & 13 students and Social Anthropology. These learning environments are both communities of practice. The Product Design class has an emphasis on collaboration, co-construction and peer teaching using a Design Thinking mindset.  I’m also embracing 21st Century learning ( I  soooo dislike this term) or (as I prefer) "the 4C's" - Collaboration, Creativity, Critical Thinking, Communication. I believe in modelling what we expect of our students - taking risks to try something new. It might be AMAZING. "Feel the fear and do it anyway!"

These learning environments are just two of the communities of practice that I operate within. Ettiene Wenger defines a community of practice as a group of people who intentionally share a concern or a passion for something they do and learn how to do it better as they interact regularly. Wenger also suggests that a community of practice has a shared domain of interest which implies commitment and shared competences that distinguishes members from others. Such communities value collective competence and that the group can learn from each other. This definition describes the "product design" learning environment where year 11, 12 & 13 students collaborate, peer teach and co-construct their learning. The students' shared interest is to develop skills and knowledge in the area of product design. They are working together to each make a garment as part of a class fashion collection which represents them. This started from a “How might we develop a fashion collection that represents us?” question which students brainstormed together using a series of design thinking activities and ended up with "How might we develop a collection that is classy yet comfortable, is black with a "pop" of colour and suitable for teens to wear to a launch party at a rooftop venue in Auckland?"

Wenger describes community of practice members as engaging in joint activities such as 
  • problem-solving (which occurs over time and with sustained interactions)
  • seeking experiences
  • sharing/reusing assets
  •  co-ordination
  • having synergy
  • visiting places
  • documenting
  • mapping knowledge
  • identifying gaps
  • discussions
  • helping each other and 
  • sharing information
  • a shared repertoire of resources, experiences, stories and tools 
The above can be used to describes the class learning environment. As an example, students this week have been  attempting new practical skills and I observed students helping each other work through problems and challenges together.  

These attributes can also be used to describe other Communities of Practice that I am involved in for my professional learning such as the Team Leaders group, our Professional Inquiry group and ASHS staff. (Hodgkinson & Hodgkinson) suggest that teachers can be seen to belong to several over-lapping communities of practice; the teaching profession, the school where they work, the community of fellow specialists in a particular subject, and so on and that there are overlapping interactions. Wenger has a similar view  and  that  in education, communities of practice are increasingly used for professional development, but they also offer a fresh perspective on learning and education.

There might be an overlap of physical space but also the knowledge and skills gained in one community of practice will overlap into other communities of practice one is involved in. For example, team leaders have been working on developing a shared understanding of Professional Inquiry (inquiry cycle) which can then be shared when collaborating with learning community teams to help build their Professional Inquiry.Given the rise of social media for professional development it can now possible to collaborate and form Communities of Practice with other educators around the world. For example, #dtk12 on twitter.

I've recently been exploring the concept of "Whanaungatangawhich is all about relationships, a shared experience and sense of belonging with rights and obligations and strengthening each member of the group. To me this embraces the characteristics of Communities of Practice that Wenger and Lave describe. Whanaungatanga also incorporates the notion of knowing my students  not only as learners but also as people; their cultural heritage, their interests and their strengths. This goes for all students. Perhaps, this concept  is more appropriate for our New Zealand learning context.

As a teacher it is essential to equip students with a range of attributes and dispositions, skills and knowledge so they can positively contribute to society and lead successful lives beyond school. The rate of change in the modern world is so rapid that we don’t know what jobs there will be in the future but we do know that CEO’s of leading companies are looking for employees or grads that are able to communicate, collaborate, be creative and critical thinkers. 

My role as a teacher is to ensure that the student is at the centre of their learning and that they know what they are learning and why. In order for this to happen it is essential to plan and prepare a space and a safe environment which fosters trusting relationships so learning and risk taking/ failure; "fail early, fail often" (IDEO) can occur.

CORE VALUES articulated at ASHS through it’s organisational culture, policies and ethics can be best summed up through our school vision


This is supported by a range of statements, the most poignant for me is 

“It’s not if you are bright, it’s HOW you are bright” 

The school also values respectful student-teacher relationships entwined with the concept of AKO; to learn and to teach as a reciprocal act as "we (learner and teacher) are on the learning journey together”.  There is an open door policy at all levels. The Senior Leadership Team have an open plan office and the door is always open. As a staff we are encouraged to be lifelong learners. For example, we have 1 hour a week set aside for Professional Inquiry.

The school values are found on the school website www.ashs.school.nz and the policies a and procedures are readily available on the school intranet and wiki spaces.

The legal, regulatory and professional requirements in the field of Secondary Education in New Zealand are:-
  • A clean police record
  • Relevant Q's eg degree in specialist field and post grad dip in secondary teaching
  • 2 years as a provisionally registered teacher
  • Registration to Teachers Council
  • Renewal of Teaching Certificate every 3 years to maintain currency. Must meet a set of RTC (Registered Teaching Criteria)
  • Expectation to maintain currency through professional development. Life long learners.
Overarching this is the commitment to the Treaty of Waitangi being a bicultural country in governance and in educational terms valuing Maori learners as Maori.

I have two roles at ASHS; Specialist Subject teacher – Product Design (textiles) and Social Anthropology (new in 2015) and Team Leader, a role unique to ASHS.  This role is to lead a team of teachers from different specialist areas within an open plan learning space/community and provides an opportunity to build leadership skills and be a “leader of learning" through building capacity of the team members. Each team varies considerably as every teacher is at a different stage of their teaching journey with hugely differing skills sets. 

What next?
  • Continue to be future focussed and be a lifelong learner
  • Continue to build collaborative and digital learning environments. Link in, where possible with teachers/learners in other countries as well as in NZ.
  • Keep exploring Design Thinking in educational contexts not just the classroom but with colleagues too. Why? To discover innovative ways to approach teaching and learning through finding and solving “the right” problem. This is a possible research topic for Masters.
  • Build more of an online presence through becoming a weekly blogger and tweeter. This will require me to plan times in the week to tweet and hook into professional networks such as #dtk12. 
  • Continue to be a leader in the learning environment but also to take the ideas out of the classroom and into other environments such professional networks, other schools, within technology/product design but also across other subject areas and ultimately removing those subject silos!
Digitally sharing experiences via professional networks (such as this blog) is a great way to communicate with other educators around the world. However, it does bring into consideration the importance of maintaining a distinction between personal and professional interactions on social media. I generally use a “psudeonym” for educational online interactions. The information contained in the "guidelines for bloggers" by Susan M. Heathfield is generally common sense in respect for people’s privacy and business confidentiality. It does however, serve as reminder that a blogger must :-
  • not use trademarks and logos unless authorised
  • be respectful about colleagues
  • that the author is legally liable for any derogatory comments, misrepresentation or copyright issues.
  • write professionally, accurately and knowledgably.
 To guard against  some of these issues it is advisable for bloggers to state that the “opinions are their own”.  Additionally, something to be particularly aware of as a teacher is to honour the privacy of others and not to breach any requests for student privacy when uploading photos of class activities to a digital or social media network. 
Having a digital profile will become increasingly important for professionals so it is important to always be aware of people’s privacy include ourselves. 

Wk 29 - MINDLAB - Kaitiakitanga

This post is part of an assessment for a paper on "Applied Practice in Context", part of the Postgraduate in Digital and Collaborative Learning programme offered by Mindlab and UNITEC.

Kaitiakitanga(noun) guardianship, stewardship, trusteeship, trustee.(Maori Dictionary)

What really resonates for me with the concept of kaitiakitanga is the sense of oneness and interconnectedness with all things that underpins the notions of guardianship, stewardship and trusteeship. 

Dr Apirana Mahuika
Dr Apirana Mahuika, at the Royal Society, portrays the contrast between western and indigenous Maori views on science (medicine)by recounting being a young man contrasting his newly learned "western" medical beliefs when describing an illness and that of "Koro" (grandfather) of a sick teenager. "Koro" describes it from an indigenous viewpoint where there is an interconnectedness with the cause (family issues) and treatment (leaves and plants from a place of significance connected to his people). Koro is practicing Kaitiakitanga.

Dr Mahuika also talks of the importance of relationships over partnerships, whanau and whanaungatanga and that  "our relationship to one another is the driving force which has enabled us to survive in the past and in the future". However, "one size does not fit all" - all Maori are not the same! At ASHS we value respectful student-teacher relationships as we "are on the learning journey side by side" and students are encouraged to "be themselves" which echoes Dr. Mahuika's view.

Dr. Rose Pere, emphasises the importance of respect suggesting we have the right to be ourselves whilst respecting each other and the environment. 
"I have a right to be me; who I am. Be yourself. Be true to yourself. Don't worry how you look for others. All waters want to reflect my image!" 
"Our similarities and differences are to be celebrated. It would be boring if only Maori people existed"           Dr. Rose Pere

 In a school setting this can be reflected by ensuring that students have a right to be themselves and respected for it. That is, for example, " to be Maori and be successful as Maori". I use "eco respect - respect for the environment, community and ourselves" as a concept with my students which we explore together and co-construct a way of being in our learning environment. 

Interconnectedness is a concept that prevails, not only with Maori but with indigenous people across the globe. Centuries old knowledge and practices, or traditional science has the potential to interweave with "modern" western science which is seeking to explain "scientifically" what has been know for years. However, modern science does not accept traditional science as equal. Yet, there is potential for the two to interweave: be interconnected.  Where is the interconnectedness when we teach? Students go into one class and "do science" then go to another class and "do art" and so on.......Shouldn't we be considering breaking down these "subject silos" and helping students understand how different subjects inter- relate in the real world? Wouldn't it be fantastic if our education system could model this. It is starting to happen in some schools such as Hobsonville Point Secondary School and to some degree during Impact Projects as Albany Senior High School.

It is important that as teachers, wherever possible, we share with our students not only from the lens of a modern western system but establish links with the beliefs, customs, practices and knowledge of our indigenous people.  Within the technology curriculum (NZC, 2007) the "Nature of Technology" strand provides space for this to occur. However, it MUST not be tokenism. To avoid this teachers would (and should) be required to gain a deeper understanding of Te Ao Maori (the Maori world) and to "challenge the assumptions inherent in western knowledge, science and modern education theory" (Dr. Marie Baptiste) or at the very least give equal weighting to both.