Acknowledging the learning process: TeachNZ Study Awards

Issue: Volume 96, Number 13

Posted: 24 July 2017
Reference #: 1H9deZ

Blair Poulter is HOD Careers and Transition at Timaru Boys’ High School and last year received a TeachNZ Study Award to complete his diploma in career guidance. He talks to Education Gazette about his study and why he recommends that other teachers apply for a study award or sabbatical.

What motivated you to apply for a TeachNZ Study Award and what did you research?

At Timaru Boys’ High School, where I teach, I had moved into a role in careers and transition and this required a lot of new knowledge and thinking to perform in this position.

I had been studying part-time towards my Diploma in Career Guidance and found the time management of this, my work and my young family tough. I saw the opportunity to gain additional support, in terms of dedicated time to study, as beneficial.

My focus was to complete the qualification I had been working towards in career guidance to help me become more effective in my role as a careers advisor.

What inspired you to become a teacher?

I completed a PhysEd degree and did some tertiary teaching whilst running the gym facility at what was then Christchurch Polytechnic. I enjoyed sharing what I knew (and what I did not!). This was when the saying ‘To teach is to learn twice’ first resonated with me. So two years after completing my degree, I completed my Diploma in Teaching at Christchurch Teachers College.

How have you integrated the focus of your award into your teaching practice?

The diploma provided me with new and relevant knowledge. In particular, it prompted reflection into how I approach the counselling aspect of my role.

Theory about career guidance, personality assessment, stages of career development thinking and the history of career guidance helped me to develop and broaden my philosophy of the role that career guidance plays in schools.

Suffice it to say, I am a very strong advocate of the importance of access to career learning, thinking and guidance for all students as much as any curriculum area within our schools.

What would you say to fellow teachers thinking of applying for a study award?

Do it! To support, motivate and be role models to our students, we should ourselves acknowledge and ensure that we are still learning.

The Ministry of Education is committed to supporting the professional development of teachers and principals.

Take time out for a 2018 TeachNZ Study Award

The TeachNZ Study Awards are part of the negotiated union collective agreements that provide paid study leave to complete part-time or full-time study in an educational priority area. The length of study leave awarded is based on your proposed study.

Most of the collective study awards and sabbaticals are closed with the exception of the study support grants. These are currently open, and close on 18 September:

  • 100 Secondary Teachers’ Study Support Grants 
  • 12 Area School Teachers’ Study Support Grants.

To apply now and for more information, go to: 

TeachNZ(external link)

BY Education Gazette editors
Education Gazette | Tukutuku Kōrero,

Posted: 6:00 am, 24 July 2017

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