Serving a community: Study Awards

Issue: Volume 95, Number 15

Posted: 22 August 2016
Reference #: 1H9d3o

Martyn Reynolds is a specialist classroom teacher at Wellington College who recently received a Study Award to pursue his PhD.

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

"I became a teacher, at least in part, with the idea that an enjoyable education should be available to all, and that no one should have to stop being who they are to achieve this. There was a vaguely-formed idea that I might have a contribution to make to this through teaching."

What motivated you to apply for a Study Award?

"I have always loved study because I know there will always be something more to learn. The chance to be supported through the Study Award allowed me to build quality and sustained effort into study at the highest level that previous study opportunities had not."

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

"The focus of my award is to take a strength-based approach to Pasifika education."

"I have been researching in the area of Pasifika success using Pasifika voices, concepts and theory, and have been supported in this by the Pasifika community of my school, and through wider networks."

"There is a clear difference between success of Pasifika and success as Pasifika. They may not be exclusive, but we know a lot about one and less about the other. In a limited and local way, I want to use the facility of the award to serve the Pasifika community."

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

"I have learned a lot about ‘va’, a relational concept which is usually seen in Tongan and Samoan lives, writings and research literature, although similar concepts are present elsewhere. Va offers an alternative way of understanding relationships and the obligations which come with them."

"As a result of this part of my learning, I become more self-aware as a relational person and professional in my work."

"I have attempted to share power more in my class, to behave in welcoming ways, and tried to create space for students to bring themselves to class with confidence they will be accepted. These things have a part in both student comfort and student achievement. The research which the award has supported has been designed to be a catalyst for change, and the professional development it produced seems to have offered the staff involved similar opportunities to learn, with similar positive results."

"By learning from rather than about Pasifika people, I have gained some insight into how many areas of practice might be perceived from positions other than my own."

What would you say to fellow teachers thinking of applying for a Study Award?

"Study is good if it helps you understand yourself. But in my case, I’m both inspired by and apprehensive about the question ‘Is your Pasifika educational research making a difference?’"

"This was the title of a conference presentation a few years back made by Heleen Visser and others."

"Find a topic which will help both you and a section of your community to grow. Life is about contributing, and study in a critical area can be part of that."

Take time out for study or a sabbatical

The Ministry of Education is committed to supporting the professional development of teachers and principals. You could complete a qualification, take time off each week to study while teaching, move to another curriculum or subject area, or take time off to research a topic of interest.

TeachNZ Study Awards 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.

Sabbaticals give teachers and principals the opportunity to spend three, five or 10 weeks completing a professional learning activity, and a chance for reflection and rejuvenation.

Applications are open for the 2017 Education Workforce Study Support Grants for area and secondary school teachers.

There are 100 Secondary Teachers Study Support Grants and 12 Area School Teachers Study Support Grants available.

The closing date for applications is Monday 19 September 2016.

You can find out more information on the Education Workforce website. 

Study Awards – Education Workforce(external link)

BY Education Gazette editors
Education Gazette | Tukutuku Kōrero,

Posted: 6:21 pm, 22 August 2016

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