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Te Mana Kōrero - Greymouth High School

Duration: 4:01

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In this video from Te Mana Kōrero - Strengthening Professional Practice, Teachers at Greymouth High School discuss how the professional development they’ve had has enhanced their capability to reflect on their practice and make a difference for Māori students.


Teachers who are passionate they can make the difference, tend to make the difference more often! Those who see it as a very routine job; those who see it as their job to structure the classroom so that things happen in the right order; those who see it, in terms of, my job is to try and break this material down to make it as easy as possible for the kids to learn; aren’t as successful! You’ve got to have that sense of challenge in the classroom, and if kids see that the teachers are challenged, then the kids enjoy that challenge as well.

The opportunity to engage in professional conversations around teaching and learning, raises the awareness of teachers’ thinking, their practice, and influence. Having collated student data and examined the research evidence, Greymouth High School sought further expertise to support them in improving the teaching and learning of Māori students.

Our initial professional development was very general, it was about:
learning about culture
how do you use language in the classroom
putting up posters, using stickers - bilingual stickers - and things like that.

A lot of teachers, very quickly, took that on board. But very quickly we found we were saying, ‘that isn’t enough’. We want to know how the kids learn and we want to help them to learn.

I think we’ve been working quite strongly on the relationship side, within the school and that’s been good.

I think individual students in the classroom know when you’ve got a really good relationship going with them, and I think some of them have got a better relationship just because where they buy into, and what they buy into, in the class. I certainly don’t think I’ve moved up to this end of this stage.

I know, for myself, I’m more confident about using language. I mightn’t use it as often as I should but I’m more confident about using Te Reo.

One of the things that I do like is the fact that the kids will buy into it and correct you, and help you sort it out. If you make an attempt, and it’s a genuine attempt, they’re pretty good at acknowledging it, you know, helping you get it right.

We’d had a lot of professional development about feedback and feed-forward, in general, because we had looked at assessment for learning. And we decided, right, we would take that on board and we would now make that a goal for the junior school.

The peer observations mean that teachers are quite happy with other teachers popping in and out. They don’t feel they’re being judged, they don’t feel someone’s watching them - it’s just someone there to give a hand. It has had a huge impact on the relationship between staff members. We work together very much as a team; we share anything that we do. So if you have made up an activity for your class and you’ve tried it out, you will say, ‘Oh I’ve tried this out, it seems to work, it needs a bit of jigging up or whatever, do you want to try it?’ And it’s available. So people share a lot more.

So they sorted them into two sets to start off with, so they could see what sort of shapes they were dealing with. Then they used a couple to design a shape that showed a... first up, it was a translation so they needed two of the same sort, and then they did it for reflection, like this, and then for a rotation, where they turned them round a half turn.

Teacher observation is a feature of professional development across the country. The subsequent discussion between colleagues, following the observation, helps promote reflective

I was really impressed with the quality of your feedback and your feed-forward with the students in there. Not only did you say to them which parts they got right but you talked about the improvement for their own learning.

From the last visit that I had, that’s the area that I had to work on most, was the feed-forward, and I thought it went pretty well.

Published on: 18 Jul 2011