Professional Learning in the Covid-19 Pandemic
E taru anai tāku.
This whakatauāki is credited to Wī Mahunu who, when being reproached about his focused work ethic, justified himself as a good worker by saying ‘let it be done; it’s my garden’.
This whakatauāki reminds me of the way professional development consultants and facilitators have worked hard during the pandemic to continue to support schools, ECE and kura. We’ve managed to be creative and innovative, while continuing to support kaiako and educational leaders despite the never-ending challenges.
Speaking from personal experience, this has meant hours on Zoom, changing plans at the last minute, canceled days and challenges with rescheduling... but the biggest stress of all, comes from my concern for my students - the kaiako.
For people who aren't teachers, it’s difficult to imagine the day to day worries during this time. How do you progress tamariki who've had time away? Who've been sick? Who've switched off from learning? Who've had to rebuild relationships with friends and teachers? All while continuing with their own professional learning...
Principals and senior leaders managed to navigate the fine balance between 'business as usual' and problem solving during these moments of crisis. Sick or isolating teachers, no relievers, low student numbers, sick and absent cleaners and caretakers…. the list goes on.
It’s also been clear that the Ministry of Education teams have been working just as hard to support us and the sector to manage the day to day, to prepare for the new curriculum and to keep us all engaged in the system. Tino pai!
I’m a problem solver by nature and I wanted to find a way to bring all of this together; continuing teacher professional development, wellbeing and utilising the resources created by the MOE.
When I made a list of what this WAY might look like my list of requirements was very long. Here’s my brainstorm in my beautiful Tuhi Whatukura (from www.tuhi.co.nz ) - not an ad!
Just in case you can’t read my writing easily…..here at the things I wanted:
Needs to done in their own time
Needs to be flexible
Needs to give them choices
Needs to be done as a team focus
Needs to be quick and effective
Needs to provoke discussion
Needs to be practical
Needs to reflect evidence based practice
Needs to allow them access to me (the facilitator)
Needs to be affordable and not require teacher release
Needs to be able to be revisited or shared with those who are away
Needs to be used in a teacher professional growth cycle (if they want it to)
Needs to have high impact on learners
A long list right! But I think I’ve done it!! Kau mai te wehi!
In my Reo ā-waha (Oral Language) professional development work, I always reference the fabulous and highly impactful Ministry of Education resource Te Kōrerorero. Unpacking this with junior kaiako and ECE educators is an important thing to do. In order to deliver all my ‘requirements’ I’ve developed a 9 part online course that ticks all these boxes.
Building Reo ā-waha (Oral Language) Practice consists of 9 x 10-12 minute videos and reflections that are perfect for team meetings or as flipped content for kaiako plus related readings (if you want to dig deeper). They can be watched in any order, they are informative, light and practical.
You get unlimited access for all teachers at the school or centre. You choose the time, the place and when you are finished, you get to make time with me, in person (online) for a Q and A session/discussion about your learning. I’ve also set up a closed Facebook group so we can share thoughts, questions and practice with all course participants.
I’m hoping that there will be some schools/ECE out there that will find these videos useful. Have a look, check it out and if you have any questions, just get in touch.