Here we are, nearly at the end of the road. It has been a long but satisfying journey of ups and downs. A road full of intrigue and adventure.
Seven months ago I, along with numerous others signed up to do a Postgraduate Certificate in Applied Practice (Digital and Collaborative Learning). This course is designed for teachers at all levels, a hands-on training program that shows you how to apply technology in your lessons. Over, the last few months we have shared our thoughts, ideas, and skills, with our fellow colleagues whilst developing effective teaching strategies to engage our students and achieve better classroom outcomes.
This is where it all started
I came to New Zealand 20 years ago after living most of my life in (Eboracum) York. York is a walled city in the northeast of England. York Minster, the largest Gothic cathedral in Northern Europe, dominates the city. It was here that I first started teaching over 25 years ago. My teaching career consists of working in Primary, Special Needs School and Secondary. Although I found myself drawn to teaching in senior school I always thought I would like to go back to teaching in a special needs school.
Things have certainly changed in teaching over the years, the old grammar school curriculum was relentlessly focused on preparation for O and A level, and ultimately university study. These examinations dictated the content that was taught from years 14 to 18. Now as teachers in the 21st, century we are moving into a whole new era of teaching the curriculum through a more student-centred and personalized approach.
Community of Practice Wenger defines communities of practice as “groups of people who share a concern or a passion for something they do and learn how to do it better as they interact regularly.” (“infed.org | Jean Lave, Etienne Wenger and communities of practice,” n.d.) As head of Faculty for, Technology I engage with numerous communities of practice. Ranging from subject specific ones: BCITO for Building & Construction to Competenz for Engineering, Food technology, Forestry, and Digital technologies. Business communities are also very much part of my practice as we engage with them to provide students with the relevant expertise and knowledge they require to become lifelong learners in their chosen field. Engaging with the business community allows us to collaborate on a number of levels, Firstly, we can provide future employment opportunities for our students. Secondly, it will raise the school’s profile in the business community and increase awareness and appreciation of the school achievements and provide students with alternative pathways.
My specialist area of practice is Building & Construction although I can teach in all subject areas listed under the aegis of Technology. BCITO is one of New Zealand’s largest providers of trade apprenticeships. Over my years, of teaching in New Zealand I have worked in predominantly Maori schools. Whilst we cater for students who ultimately choose to go to university there are also a growing number of students who are looking to enter the trades and become a qualified trade professional. Last year we were fortunate enough to be named the Supreme Winner of the Building and Construction Industry Training Organisation (BCITO) Build-Ability Challenge, winning all three of the national awards, including the People’s Choice award and the Best Video www.buildability.co.nz. Building on the success of working with BCITO we have managed to place students in the construction industry, where they have already been signed up as an apprentice. The second National Construction Pipeline report predicts that “building and construction activity across New Zealand will reach unprecedented levels by 2017. (“Why choose building and construction?,” n.d.) as a teacher, of Building and Construction I endeavour to teach my students through a variety of teaching styles and approaches to become the skilled professionals of tomorrow. Within the broader professional context of my job I am part of a panel of professionals seeking to gain approval to develop New Zealand Certificates in Building, Construction, and Allied Trades Skills at Levels 1, 2, and 3.
The core values here at Rotorua Boys’ High School are that we recognize the vital importance of educating our young men to successfully meet the challenges and demands of a rapidly changing world. As teachers, Mindlab is challenging us to teach successfully in a rapidly changing world.
infed.org | Jean Lave, Etienne Wenger and communities of practice. (n.d.). Retrieved May 18, 2016, from http://infed.org/mobi/jean-lave-etienne-wenger-and-communities-of-practice/
Why choose building and construction? (n.d.). Retrieved May 19, 2016, from http://bcito.org.nz/apprenticeships/why-choose-building-and-construction/