Professional Environment and Supports for my Digi-Tech Teaching

 

Organisational Culture:

Teaching staff are divided into two syndicates, Primary and Secondary, and these are overseen by an Assistant Principal and Deputy Principal respectively with overall governance across both accorded by the Principal.

One aspect of the organisation (that was only recently introduced by the Principal about 2 years ago) that has noticeably contributed to the positive environment of the school is a reward system for all students (both primary and secondary) using cards given out and accumulated like tokens. These ‘ASPIRE’ cards (known as ‘STRIVES’) have the words printed on them that are based around our school values and mission (http://www.amuri.school.nz/our-school/visionmissionvalues):

The ‘ASPIRE’ acronym means AMURI, Self-Discipline, Pride, Integrity, Respect and Excellence.

So all teachers have the ability to reward any positive student behaviours – not just academic – across a wide spectrum around the school at any time for any age level. Such is the success of the scheme that even Year 13’s value the scheme and react positively when they receive such tokens. Hence, I feel that this has had a real system has had a real impact across both schools and lifted the positive feelings of both students and teachers involved. As we all tend to learn in life, little things can mean a lot and I feel that such a system of tokens would serve well at almost any other educational institution.

It worth noting here that the school runs a ‘vertical’ form system where all students from year 7 upwards are mixed together with students from other levels. In my opinion, this makes any pastoral work so much more achievable across the school (remember that it’s both primary and secondary at the one location) and also provides more opportunities for regular contact between student leaders and the other students compared to a horizontal system.

My Professional Environments include

  • include membership to my secondary subject association ‘NZACDITT’, NZ Association for Computing, Digital and Information Technology Teachers. This is an important association to me and indeed, I doubt whether I would be able to function properly as a Digital Technology teacher without the support and information that I get through this online portal. I would refer to this community of around 150 teachers several times a day by email and would confer with individuals within it many times pr week. It would be impossible for me to carry out my job technically correctly if I did not not have access to this many-layered resource-bank of current NZ secondary practitioners, many of whom are experts in their field.
  • The use of SOLO (Structure of Observed Learning Outcomes) taxonomy across both schools to deliver learning gives the staff a common goal regardless of their subject or level of teaching. (A ‘taxonomy’ is any kind of ordered classification system and there are a variety used in education to classify learners). This school-wide approach give a shared structure for classroom instructional outcomes and provides greater collegiality through the opportunity to speak the same teaching ‘language’ regardless of age level taught.

{SOLO provides a simple, reliable and systematically hierarchical way of describing how a learner’s performance grows in complexity when mastering any academic task (Biggs 1999). By describing gains in the structural complexity of a learning outcome as the student learns, it provides both a structure and a process for learning.” (Hook, 2016, [8])}

  • The increasing use of digital technologies (both hardware and software) across both schools to deliver learning and increase student engagement. This also gives the staff another shared goal and many common experiences (and occasionally frustrations!) regardless of their subject or level of teaching. Digital technologies are essential as, when correctly used, they have been shown to produce better student outcomes, more in keeping with what is happening in the classrooms around the developed world. There are six stages in the adoption of digital technologies (as identified by Knezek and Christensen, Computers in New Zealand Schools, Nov 1999) and students are increasingly gaining a sense of confidence in using digital technologies for specific tasks.

Socio-Economic Background to my School:

Decile rating = 8 (*1)

“Socio-economic decile (also known as Socio-economic decile band or simply decile) is a widely used measure of socioeconomic status in New Zealand education, primarily used to target funding and support to more needy schools. A school’s socio-economic decile is recalculated by the Ministry of Education every five years, after each Census of Population and Dwellings using data collected during the census.” (*1)

The other statistics behind my school are:

School type: Composite Year 1 to 15

School roll: 300 approximately

Gender composition: Boys 55%; Girls 45%

Ethnic composition:          New Zealand European/Pākehā 79%;

Māori and Pacific: 12%;

Asian: 3%;

Other: 6%

The student roll is affected each year by the movement in and out of the area of families working in the dairy industry, which contributes to increasing numbers of students with different cultural backgrounds attending the school.

(*1) (for an explanation of decile meaning see: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Socio-economic_decile )

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