Tips for teachers planning change
The team emphasised that it was a huge change. They suggest anybody working on developing their understanding of the learning area and The New Zealand Curriculum and implementing it in the classroom should take it slowly.
Here are tips from the teachers involved in this case study:
- "Taking small steps is important."
- "We revisited things, gained some knowledge, assimilated it, and went back again. It takes a long time to pull the whole thing together in your head."
- "We're still identifying little sections that we need to know more about."
- "If your understanding of technological practice, for example, isn't robust then the children will struggle to create that model in their head. However, remember that students can learn alongside you."
- "Students are not going to pull the whole thing together at the start – they'll pull out bits and pieces and then begin to make those links."
- "I've been amazed, on joining the school, at how much I've learnt from the kids as well. Year 8s have come in and brought different knowledge that has added to what we've talked about. There's no harm in using the kids to learn from."
- "Don't get despondent. You can't teach what you don't know, so do the best that you can with what you do know. We all felt that whatever we did in the last few years was better than what we'd been doing before. It was like scaffolding. We knew that we were heading in the right direction even if it wasn't really correct."
- "We needed to get that base knowledge really clear, to clarify what things meant, 'Well, I thought it meant this...' It wasn't a case of who was right or wrong, it was about putting it into a context. We wrote down questions for Cheryl so she could explain. We were building our conceptual knowledge which gave us a good base for building on the changes that were happening in our classrooms."
- "You have to have the energy and really want to make the change. These people have made a big commitment to change programmes, what they teach, how they implement it, and taking on ideas from each other."
- "I've taught in departments where there was no cohesion between teachers, we were all just teaching our own areas. Being in a situation where we can work easily with each other, feel supported, and comfortable to approach other people for help is just fantastic."
- "In the early days we told Cheryl 'Oh, but we can't teach all that, we only have the students for eight hours.' She pointed out that if they go to technology eight times a year then that's 64 hours, that if we talk together as a team then they've got the same message in every rotation."