Growing the next generation of readers and critics
18 September 2020
The rebirth of an established programme aims to grow the next generation of literary critics in Aotearoa and get them talking about books.
A system shift will provide greater clarity and direction on teaching and learning for literacy and communication and maths, says the Ministry of Education.
The Common Practice Model (CPM) is an opportunity to reimagine the future of teaching and learning literacy, communication and maths.
All New Zealanders want an equitable education system in which every child and young person can flourish. Literacy, communication and maths are foundational to future learning right across the curriculum, from early learning through to senior secondary school. The CPM is about helping kaiako be confident in the pedagogical approaches and practices that work and support all learners to progress.
The CPM incorporates evidence-informed pedagogical approaches and practices that will better support all educators and address inequities in education. It is being developed collaboratively and reflects sector experiences, evaluation and research findings. As the development process proceeds, there will be further opportunities for kaiako from around Aotearoa to be involved.
Since term 4, 2022, two contributor groups (one for literacy and communication, the other for maths) have been developing principles and identifying pedagogical approaches which will be the basis of the model. The contributor groups represent a broad range of experience and expertise from classroom teachers to academics, researchers, and initial teacher education (ITE) providers.
Together they have listened, reflected, challenged and supported the development of the CPM. Group members share a drive to ensure that whatever is developed is both culturally sustaining and acknowledges the critical role of Te Tiriti o Waitangi in providing quality teaching and learning experiences for all ākonga.
Education Gazette spoke to some members of the two contributor groups. They say that discussion in the groups has been robust, challenging, thoughtful, considered – and a privilege.
Dr Naomi Ingram is Associate Dean of Initial Teacher Education at the University of Otago’s College of Education. She’s passionate about growing students’ and teachers’ relationships with maths. As an experienced teacher, she has taught maths in Aotearoa and overseas – mainly at secondary level. She now lectures in secondary teaching programmes and does research in maths education which is often classroom-based research in primary and secondary schools.
“According to results in international assessments, we have a problem with maths. Being low compared to other OECD countries is a concern, but we don’t train our students for these assessments, and we would often not choose to teach maths the way these countries do anyway,” she says.
Naomi believes that many teachers in Aotearoa lack confidence in teaching maths, which is not helped by media attention on the international results. She argues that, if teachers are not confident about their own maths and the teaching of it, they will turn to step-by-step PLD programmes, but she doesn’t see these as being the answer.
“If teachers have good support with their pedagogical approaches like the CPM will provide, and a range of high-quality and centrally available resources and professional learning support, our teachers are so capable of being able to make good decisions for their students.”
An advocate of a small ‘pink book’ published in 2007, Effective pedagogy in maths by Glenda Anthony and Margaret Walshaw, Naomi conducted research with a team using data from the National Monitoring Study of Student Achievement, comparing practices teachers used with the pedagogy in the book.
“All teachers surveyed were good at establishing an ethic of care in their classroom, which is a strength of New Zealand teachers. However, the teachers who more frequently used pedagogies known to be effective according to the ‘pink book’, also had higher mathematical content knowledge, more professional development and were more confident in their maths teaching,” she explains.
Naomi’s vision for high-quality practice is teachers who can support students to grow their relationships with maths, at the same time as doing maths themselves and modelling their own confusion.
“Every student has a right to encounter challenge and experience confusion within a supportive learning environment, and they need to know that these are a normal part of doing maths. Teachers need to balance this with consolidation work, careful lesson sequencing, and opportunities for reflection.
“The CPM is a touchstone that will support teachers to reflect on their embedded practices as well as assess new ideas for teaching,” she says.
Associate Professor Dr Pania Te Maro (Ko Ngāti Pōrou te Iwi, ko te whānau a Pōkai te hapū) is Kaihautū Māori for Te Kura o te Mātauranga, and Associate Dean Māori for the College of Humanities and Social Sciences, Massey University. Her research focuses on Māori immersion education, social justice for Māori through maths and pāngarau teaching and learning, success as Māori for Māori students in kura and kaupapa English schools, and adult numeracy. Pania has been a lead writer for the refresh of the maths and statistics New Zealand Curriculum, and the Hei Raukura mo te Mokopuna te reo matatini me te pāngarau strategy.
As a one-time tumuaki of a kura ā-iwi and a self-confessed lover of maths, Pania felt she had real success in teaching the subject. She believes that high expectations and whanaungatanga were key to nurturing a love of maths in ākonga in a total immersion setting.
“I have always found maths easy, so there wasn’t a ‘they’re Māori, so they can’t do it’. I really believed everyone could do it.
“Also, because I moved through with students, they knew me really well and I believe they felt safe to say ‘whaea, I don’t do it like that’ and I knew them well enough to say ‘so, how do you do it?’ And we could have discussions,” she says.
When involved in Initial Teacher Education for bilingual kaiako at Te Herenga Waka – Victoria University of Wellington, Pania was annoyed to discover that while she had a deep knowledge of the basics of maths and te reo as a tool to get into maths, there were concepts that she had not been taught.
“I was really good at the basic stuff and got an A in School Certificate maths, but I missed out deeper conceptual learning where I could play with maths. We want to bring the joy and creativity back to maths teaching. One thing we can do better is to support teachers to have content/conceptual knowledge that allows play,” says Pania.
“While I call for equity for mātauranga Māori, I also want equity for maths, and not just rote learning where ākonga don’t get to dive really deeply into conceptual understanding,” she adds.
Pania says that both a cultural mātauranga approach and a western approach to maths are valid and valuable – but different.
“I think we can manage the dichotomy as well as the interfaces and realise that difference exists and that both things can be done in the same space: that’s what’s going into the curricula. There’s a Māori way of doing things and you can talk about the maths in it. For example, a weaver doesn’t do maths, they are doing mātauranga Māori to do weaving, but when we’re doing maths, we might say ‘look at the symmetry; or is it a rotation? A reflection?’ We can use those artifacts to deepen understanding of maths.”
Professor James Chapman is an experienced researcher and university teacher based at Massey University. As well as having over 150 publications in peer-reviewed journals and books on learning disabilities, literacy learning issues, dyslexia/literacy difficulties, and cognitive motivation factors in learning and achievement, James is an advisor for the University of Canterbury Better Start Literacy Approach research and was a member of the Ministry of Education Literacy Experts Group.
A trained secondary school teacher in history, geography and social sciences, James’s PhD focused on ākonga with learning disabilities who are often hampered by inner self beliefs. For more than 40 years, James and Professor Bill Tunmer, who is an expert on reading acquisition, have had a productive research partnership to explore what is wrong with Aotearoa’s approach to literacy instruction and how it can be fixed.
“To some extent, what New Zealand has done well is to establish an international reputation with aspects of our approach to beginning reading instruction. The use of rich and authentic stories for children to read has been a contribution, but it has also become a hindrance to 20–25 percent of children who don’t immediately benefit from that largely middle class approach to literacy instruction.
“There is an unequal weighting of children from low SES [social economic status] backgrounds, low decile schools and disproportionately larger numbers of Māori and Pacific students who are not benefiting from that type of instruction which we’ve had now from the late 1970s,” he says.
James says the CPM is an opportunity for the Ministry of Education to provide strong leadership based on the work of the common practice contributors and the research they are feeding into the process that will then go out in a useable, digestible form to be used by teachers and specialist teachers involved in interventions.
The end goal is for all ākonga to feel valued, accepted and to be able to read and engage in literacy activities so they can have much more success in learning as they progress through the different stages of school and post school, he says.
Heemi McDonald (Ngati Mutunga, Rangitane ki Wairau, Ngati Apa ki te Ra Tō) is a deputy principal at Rototuna Senior High School in Hamilton. He has experience developing literacy and communication strategies, and is currently undertaking a Master of Education with a particular focus on designing inclusive learning environments embedded in mātauranga Māori. Heemi is an experienced English and literacy teacher, school leader and has worked on projects designed to incorporate mātauranga Māori in English-medium learning experiences.
“As an English teacher, school leader and a teacher of literacy and communication, I recognise the importance of having schoolwide literacy strategies founded in practices which will make a difference. These practices must reconcile the need for schools and centres to provide learning environments which acknowledge, sustain and respond to the cultural contexts of ākonga.
He says that the Common Practice Model will kick off a process designed to provide clear, coherent and unambiguous guidance on how to deliver effective literacy and communication teaching and learning experiences. The model will seek to acknowledge what global and Aotearoa New Zealand research recognises as the most impactful approaches to improve literacy and communication outcomes.
“The goal has been to empower educators across early learning, primary and secondary with the knowledge and confidence to adjust or continue with practices which are proven to support quality, life-long literacy and communication outcomes. Ensuring the entire system is ‘in sync’, functioning coherently and for the benefit of all ākonga throughout their learning journey, is fundamental to the work of the CPM,” he says.
Heemi’s vision for high-quality teaching practices for literacy and communication is for schools or centres to take a whole system approach and practitioners who are confident in making timely, impactful decisions that enable ākonga to progress in literacy and communication learning outcomes.
“High-quality practices require regular reflection, evaluation, adjustment and improvement. Educators can’t do it on their own. A whole system approach will ensure that, within each context, school or centre, leadership aligns strategic priorities and supports with practical support for educators on the ground. It requires an iron-clad commitment to ensuring all ākonga are able to access quality literacy and communication teaching and learning experiences.
“The CPM is an endeavour to highlight that high-quality literacy and communication practices don’t happen by chance, but are deliberate, purposeful and require everyone to be ‘all in’,” he says.
Kylie Te Arihi (Ko Ngāi te Rangi rātou ko Tapuika ko Waitaha ngā iwi) is a lead teacher in learning support, and a literacy practitioner with experience in bilingual and Māori-medium contexts. She is also president of the Waikato Literacy Association and has a national role in supporting the purposes and operation of the New Zealand Literacy Association with particular attention to the requirements of Te Tīriti o Waitangi.
She is an experienced learning support coordinator and provides coaching and mentoring support to build teacher capability with a focus on inclusive curriculum design and equitable literacy outcomes for all ākonga. She has also taught initial teacher education literacy papers for English-medium and Māori-medium undergraduate and graduate programmes at Te Kura Toi Tāngata/University of Waikato.
Kylie brings life experience of te ao Māori and deep knowledge of literacy pedagogy and inclusive curriculum design to her work across both Māori-medium and English-medium educational contexts.
“The majority of poor readers in our current education system still show an over-representation of ākonga Māori, with little evidence of widespread change. Research clearly shows this need not be the case. I know our ākonga Māori can be good readers too.
“The CPM draws a focus to the pedagogical approaches needed to underpin the teaching and learning practices for all ākonga to have equitable access to text to enjoy literacy and communication learning experiences and success,” she says.
She argues that it is the linguistic right of ākonga to be able to see themselves reflected in the language and the content of the curriculum. The linguistic realities of ākonga are significantly diverse and there are many benefits of an additive approach to language learning for themselves, their whānau, their communities and future self.
The CPM will affirm these different realities and provide the pedagogical knowledge and understanding needed for leadership, resource teachers and kaiako to progress first and second language learning with confidence, within the teaching and learning of communication and literacy.
“This essential service for ākonga is not just for ESOL teachers or learning assistants which excludes the importance of te reo Māori learning. Te reo Māori is a linguistic right for our ākonga. It is visible in the CPM as a heritage or target language and seen as a critical part of literacy and communication learning.”
Kylie’s vision of high-quality teaching practices for literacy and communication is that all children are visible and can see themselves and their languages in the teaching and learning of literacy and communication from the early years through to primary and secondary.
“The ultimate vision for our ākonga Māori, is for equitable outcomes in literacy and communication to be the base line not the goal.”
Education Gazette has featured the mahi of contributor group members Dr Jodie Hunter and Sue McDowall.
You can read more about the Common Practice Model and Literacy & Communication and Maths Strategy here:
BY Education Gazette editors
Education Gazette | Tukutuku Kōrero, firstname.lastname@example.org
Posted: 8:54 am, 23 February 2023
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