Students learn lots tramping… both key competencies and skills

This is a follow-up post to my entry “Lots to learning tramping” ie what I learned.

The students are developing bushcraft skills insofar as they have to do their own cooking, make decisions (with guidance if required), attempt to read maps etc… In terms of the NZ curriculum and key competencies, students learn:

  • Thinking – having to make decisions and solve problems
  • Relating to others – joint decision making about direction, what to cook, when to take rest stops, what pace to go to ensure no one gets left behind, assuming leadership roles as appropriate
  • Using language, symbols and text – reading a map. Reading other people for signs of fatigue,,,
  • Managing self – being responsible for their own preparation, carrying own gear, taking own rubbish out, keeping up, being tenacious ie keep going when it gets tough
  • Participating and contributing – looking out for others, taking collective responsibility for the team, redistributing others pack weight if one gets injured (happened in two groups)
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Lots to learn tramping…

View from Turere Lodge, Remutaka Forest park 

I accompanied a Duke of Edinburgh practice tramp this weekend (as the required teacher) – only one night out and 16km. Once again I had plenty to learn from experienced parents and two Year 13 students accompanying as experienced outdoor leaders (Ako in action). I learned:

  • Even at 700m on a nice day, it can be literally freezing, I see why hyperthermia is such a risk.
  • How to cross a river correctly using each other and pack straps… the way I was taught of linking arms is now out of date (improvements in pack technology allow better techniques).
  • How to put up an emergency shelter (or not)…
  • Year 10 students cannot read maps to save their lives – which is why they practice I guess.
  • Head-mounted torches are brilliant.
  • Merino wool is good but you need something substantially better for 0 degrees…
  • Buy a gaiter balaclava… would have made life more pleasant.
  • Year 10 students can survive one day with no cell phone coverage – and they seem to play a variation of Werewolf to keep themselves amused.
  • Buy and use a walking pole – great for leverage going up and avoiding slipping going down.
  • Check out the hut facilities – you may not need pots, pans, cutlery or even cooking equipment – this hut ie lodge had gas and solar lights. (Pure luxury.)
  • Year 10 students take around 2 hours to be quiet and go to sleep… next time do a two-hour side tramp up the steepest hill you can find.
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Save on reliever costs with Holiday PD… I find this mildly offensive…

The Education system seems, at times, to run on voluntary labour. Unfortunately, this is not unusual…

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$10,000 teacher

I have two students in the same class trialling hearing devices. This entails me wearing a wireless microphone around the neck, and because the devices are different, two wireless microphones.

After one fell from its flimsy mechanism and I dropped the other I decided to ask what they were worth,… $6,500 and $3,500 respectively ie $10,000 worth of gear. Which, of course, led to the question of insurance and liability… It seems the school insurance would cover me, although, in theory, the students household insurance may cover them. Could be messy.

Totally worthwhile investment from a learning perspective, both students are better engaged and levels of achievement improving… probably need to cover liability details with a little more certainty however.

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New Link Building – 7 years in the making












The first small part of the reconstruction of WEGC Main block has been completed and opened for use. These photos do not do it justice ie as an integration building. We will finally be able to move to the staff room without clambering on scaffolding hanging over the sides of buildings or on top of the gym roof… Red letter day… Buildings do not cultivate school spirit but having a special place does help. The rest will be completed hopefully by the end of this year.



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18 year old students at night clubs

One side effect of having the drinking age at 18 is that students can go to bars and nightclubs – the same places that teachers (especially the younger ones) may also go… Could be awkward?

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Why won’t Skype ie Microsoft answer a simple question about their security?

Two months on and I am still chasing Skype ie Microsoft about fraudulent transactions. I guess 4 out of 5 ain’t bad…

My last 2 emails to Microsoft/Skype have asked the following…

4. For the record then, can you formally confirm/comment on the following:
    •Given I did not initiate the five transactions on 8th March – then who did? Can you please confirm that Skype itself was not compromised – this leading to the fraud. Given you have not/can not answer the question of how my account was compromised how can I and other readers of these emails have confidence with Microsoft/Skype security.
   • Please confirm it is my problem to deal with PayPal – even though Paypal categorically state it is your issue to fix. In other words your system cannot track the flow of money and initiate a reversal that works

I have written off the 36 Euros but I have little confidence that my account will not be compromised again. How arrogant these organisations are…

If you are going to place transaction systems online then you need good processes and people to deal with issues that arise. The last email I had from Skype is detailed below. Notwithstanding the poor grammar, my questions above were completely ignored! What a joke…

Hello Edwin,

Greetings from Skype!

Thank you for your patience and time responding to us. It seems that all of the transaction made on your account was detailed.

I guarantee it that the amount that you were charged for was reflected on your bank account.

I highly suggest you to contact your bank regarding the charges.

Thank you and I look forward to your reply.


So I guess that’s it, there is no way to escalate (I asked) and no way for an individual to get this matter dealt with.

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