I sometimes feel we don’let students (and their parents) take responsibility for their own lives and learning. Some schools can be seen :

  1. Chasing up parents for notes even when they have rung the school. Parents you know the process? Schools – Why bother?
  2. Counting student credits with them to make sure they gain whatever is needed. (Can’t they or their parents count? All NZ students can access NZQA and usually the school systems)
  3. Getting risk forms completed for senior students to do a local event even after hours. Just go do it, let your parents know if necessary and don’t tell the school….
  4. Offer countless opportunities to get students credits – even if they choose to go on holiday in term or plain wag… It’s called consequences…
  5. For uniform schools – spending teaching time on enforcing grooming and uniform policy.  Just send them home at the school gate if you really mean it.

When the mollycoddling, administration and general low value work exceeds actual teaching it may be time to try a new occupation. Many teachers do – hence one reason looming teacher crisis.

NOTE: Views are my own and reflect discussions and experiences of teachers at a range of schools in NZ.


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School violence

School violence has featured a bit in the papers lately. Have to say that in the years I have been teaching at WEGC I have never seen (or heard) of a serious physical altercation between students.

That is probably a good thing as entire tomes have been written by MoE about what you can and cannot do if an incident between students occurred. At this time I have little idea what my legal obligations are with regard to constraining or not constraining a student. Probably should check this out but for now maybe calling 111 would be a fairly sensible idea…

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Strengthening Digital Technologies

Extract from above document…

By the end of Year 10, all learners should be digitally capable – able to use and create digital technologies to solve problems and take advantage of opportunities.They will be equipped to apply their understanding of digital technologies to all aspects of their lives and careers, whatever path they follow.

For Digital Technologies, this means describing the skills, knowledge and attitudes of a digitally capable learner at the end of their compulsory Digital Technologies education in Year 10, and of a learner on the path to specialization in Digital Technologies at the end of Year 13.

These statements indicate that Digital Technologies(DT) will be compulsory for all Year 9 and 10 students. How exactly schools will implement this requirement (and by no means does everyone interpret the above as a compulsory requirement) is yet to be determined. There are some scenarios that may lead ironically to a tick box exercise and/or where the teaching of DT is incorporated into several other subjects (somewhat watered down).

If a secondary school does choose to teach DT in Years 9 and 10 as a full year dedicated course there will be other implications such as resourcing and reallocation of teaching resources from other subjects to DT with subsequent flow on effects and requirement for Professional Development.

The curriculum is already crowded and frankly I would rather teach students that elect to do my subject… but if the teaching of DT properly at Years 9/10 is indeed the intent of government policy so be it – lets get on with implementation.


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“a second language?”

Will learning the language of computers count as a second language?

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MoW report : How to attract and retain girls and women in tech education

Ministry of Women final report on how to attract and retain girls and women in tech education. WEGC Year 12 and 13 students contributed to this report.

One quote…

“Many people have the misconception that software development is done in isolation and you’re on a computer all day – it’s more than that –promote it.”

While I encourage as much peer/group work as possible ultimately the assessments are all individual based.

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Enigma machine

Enigma machine, Computer History Museum, San Francisco, 2017

I had a talk to my Year 9 computing  students today about the Enigma machine, and the role Alan Turing had in breaking the enigma code. We also had a discussion about why he was arrested post war and his eventual suicide. Very appropriate given WEGC was celebrating annual Pride week.

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Pride week at WEGC

Staff photo to commemorate WEGC annual Pride week. This event has wide support from staff and students. Great initiative and all part of cultivating an inclusive, diverse and safe learning environment.

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