Fuelling focus: TeachNZ Study Awards

Issue: Volume 95, Number 9

Posted: 23 May 2016
Reference #: 1H9d24

Dance teacher Louise Fielder received a TeachNZ Study Award to enrich her work as a dance teacher at Paraparaumu College. Education Gazette asks Louise about the focus of her research and how she has integrated her study into her teaching practice.

What inspired you to be a teacher in the first place?

"My passion for the arts and interest in working with students, specifically through dance and theatre, inspired me to be a teacher."

"My particular passion is to create a safe and supportive creative environment for my students – an environment that values subjectivity and encourages problem solving. I am also interested in the way reflective practice engenders growth, confidence, group skills and independence."

What motivated you to apply?

"I had a desire to research and develop ideas stemming from how the students and I work together in the studio. I was motivated to develop an innovative process – a strategy to enhance learning – potentially applicable to others and other subject areas."

What is the focus of your award, and why did you choose it?

"My current research is focused on exploring the construction of identity and the deconstruction of positivist stereotypes in a dance space through dance and choreographic dialogue, framed in Kaupapa Māori principles."

"I am investigating the potential of a practice-based, ethically responsive process to support current Ministry of Education objectives."

"The journey that led me here began in 2003 in Taupo when I was a teacher at Tauhara College. I was awarded a TeachNZ Study Award to undertake MA level papers at The University of Auckland, such as Māori Performing Arts under Ngapo Wehi, Pasifika studies and choreographic language lecturer at The University of Auckland."

"This award led to the opportunity to design and implement the Royal New Zealand Ballet’s education programme in colleges, tertiary educational environments and communities across New Zealand/Aotearoa."

"I had the fortunate experience of working with wonderful people and students from a broad spectrum of cultures. These experiences went on to shape and develop my teaching practice and philosophy. This, in turn, led me to apply for a TeachNZ Study Support Grant to study papers at Victoria University of Wellington."

"I undertook this study under Associate Professor Dr Kabini Sanga and Dr Ocean Mercier. This was in preparation for my current PhD project, which I have been fortunate to start with the help of the TeachNZ Study Award at the University of Surrey."

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

"By creating a class/studio ethos and environment that supports and values subjectivity and supports a practice where embodiment, problem solving and critical reflection are central."

"Because the space itself can have a positive effect on the process, I instigated the design of changing classroom space into a black box theatre."

What do you say to other teachers thinking of applying for a TeachNZ Study Award?

"I would encourage teachers to apply, especially if they have an educational idea they would like to pursue, or an area they would like to develop."

"My award has enabled me to train under and work with leading international lecturers in my area of interest. It has also given me the opportunity to begin my own research."

What do you think needs to be done to lift success and achievement?

"Sometimes, sustaining our energy and passion for our subject areas, while balancing the many roles of a teacher, is a challenge."

"Maintaining our passion enables us to be positive, enthusiastic role models, and this, in turn, lets us motivate, engage and support students more effectively."

"Having the time and support to undertake this study and research has re-energised and enhanced my focus as a teacher. It has allowed me to start investigating potential strategies to lift and support student success and achievement."

Take time out for study or a sabbatical

Applications are now open for 2017 TeachNZ Study Awards and Sabbaticals for Area, Primary and Secondary Schools.

There are 12 Secondary, Area and Primary Study and Sabbatical Awards available for the 2017 school year. These awards were established in negotiation between the Post Primary Teachers’ Association (PPTA), New Zealand Educational Institute (NZEI) and the Ministry of Education. They are tailored to meet the requirements of teachers and principals intending to study part-time, full-time or undertake a sabbatical.

To apply or find out more, go to www.teachnz.govt.nz/studyawards(external link)

BY Education Gazette editors
Education Gazette | Tukutuku Kōrero, reporter@edgazette.govt.nz

Posted: 10:35 PM, 23 May 2016

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