Opinion

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Covid-19 202031 Mar 2020

Challenges and initiatives

NZEI Te Riu Roa is committed to ensuring every one of our members is heard and supported during the Covid-19 pandemic, using all the expertise, resources and channels we have available.

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Summer 20205 Feb 2020

Compulsory te reo in schools – what does it look like? / Ko te whakapūmau i te reo ki te kura – ka pēhea hoki?

Ah, compulsory te reo Māori in mainstream schools. It’s a grazing table for politician-elects and a fear-inducing topic for overworked teachers. It’s been on the cards since 1972, when 33,000 people signed a petition approaching  Government on the topic, but so far, it’s been a fruit too high to harvest. Compulsion for me isn’t about language, but citizenship. We’re a country at  a standstill on unified progression and, in my view, that standstill is caused by the ignorance that there’s only one single way to live a life. Ignorance leads to fear and scaremongering. The last decade or so has seen legislation questionably enacted, racism in schools and the New Zealand Police brought to light, prejudice in the legal system exposed and some pretty shocking behaviour from incoming local politicians. All these things leave just one thought in my head: if we’re going to fix what is broken, every individual in this country must be able to exercise great citizenship in their decision-making. We need to extinguish individual ignorance before it enters an institution capable of harm. To me, language compulsion seems one crucial way to ensure everyone gets some basic level of mutual communicative understanding, as well as the linguistic

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Summer 20205 Feb 2020

O Taumafa Manogi ma Aogā mo le Fanau / Nourishment for the next generation

O le Gagana, o le Fatu po‘o le Mauli lea o le Aganu‘u a Samoa a‘o le Aganu‘u, o le Fa‘asinomaga lea o le Samoa. – Tuiatua Tupua Tamasese Efi, 2018 O a ia Taumafa? O Taumafa Manogi, ua fa‘atusaina lea i le fa‘aaogaina o le Gagana e fafaga ai tama a Samoa e Faatonu, Fa‘asino, Faapoto ma Fesoota‘i ai. E leitioa fo‘i le Fa‘autaga ma le ‘au fai Tofā a fa‘apea mai: “O fānau a tagata e fafaga i ‘upu ma tala ‘ae ‘o tama a manu o fuga o lā‘au.” O la‘u gagana,o le taula lea o lo‘u olaga aoaoina, o le faavae malosi ma le mafuaaga o le manuia o lo‘u taumafai i totonu o Niusila. O se pine faamau foi o suesuega o loo faapea mai, a malamalama le tagata i lana gagana muamua, e faigofie ona fa‘aofi se isi gagana i lona olaga1. Na ou galue o se faiaoga i Samoa ma sa fa‘aaogaina le Gagana Samoa o le Gagana fa‘atonu i aoga. I le galue ai i Niusila nei, na faigofie ona feso‘ota‘i, tusitusi ma talanoa i le Gagana Peretania ona o le lelei o la‘u fa‘asamoa. E faapea foi le maitau i fanau o loo autova‘a

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Lynda Stuart
Summer 20205 Feb 2020

Reflections of a president

When asked to share some reflections on my three years as NZEI Te Riu Roa President, I was prompted to think back to the very beginning of this journey. I have attended many annual meetings over the years and seen many presidents presiding over them. I would watch them weave their magic over debates and questions, and manage tense moments. I used to marvel at their skill and wisdom. In those early years, not once did I think it would one day be me in that place. The last three years have been an absolute rollercoaster ride. It wasn’t easy, but I wouldn’t trade it for the world. The opportunity to represent and advocate for our members and our tamariki locally, nationally and internationally is a great privilege. The last three years have been an absolute rollercoaster ride. It wasn’t easy, but I wouldn’t trade it for the world. The dumping of National Standards and charter schools brought us hope of change from a neoliberal and market-driven “one-size-fits-all” approach to education. The conversations about a 30-year vision for education with the review of Tomorrow’s Schools and a 10-year strategic plan for early childhood education, a focus on those children who

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Summer 20205 Feb 2020

Asking the big questions

Kia ora koutou. It is great to have the opportunity to contribute to Ako. I am really pleased that this issue is focussed on language, as it is top of mind for me. As I write, I am transitioning into the role of President after being a teacher at Ross Intermediate. During 2019, I helped lead the development of our local curriculum, and the downside to my new role is that I won’t be there to help with the implementation of it – but I back our team at school. Language became a central concept as we went through our process. We asked all the big questions – what is a curriculum, what should tamariki be learning, what is the role of parents, what is our role in preparing ākonga for high school? – and after all that, we agreed that a local curriculum needs to put ākonga at the centre. By this, we didn’t mean generic ākonga – I’m not sure if those even exist.  What we meant is that we had to develop a curriculum to meet the needs of every ākonga we are lucky enough to have come through our door. This required us to start from

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Associate Professor Sally Peters
Winter 201925 Jul 2019

Working together effectively and consistently

Children do not exist in isolation; their lives are embedded in families, communities and societies. Nested within these communities are the schools and early childhood education (ECE) services children attend. When I was a child, my experience was of little interaction between schools and their communities. Looking back, this seems due to the culture of practice within schools, more than the school gates. In the intervening years, writers like Bronfenbrenner1 have drawn our attention to the complex influences of environments – both immediate and more remote –  on development and the value of creating meaningful reciprocal connections between the different groups and settings that children are part of. Today we see attention to the role of communities reflected in our  curriculum documents. “Family and Community/Whānau Tangata” is one of the principles of the early childhood curriculum, Te Whāriki, along with the expectation that each ECE service will use the curriculum “as a basis for weaving with children, parents and whānau its own local curriculum of valued learning, taking into consideration also the aspirations and learning priorities of hapū, iwi and community”. For kura and schools, Te Marautanga notes that for learners to succeed, the school, the home, hapū, iwi and community

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Nida Fiazi
Winter 201925 Jul 2019

Fostering a sense of home in a new environment

When my mother and I first arrived in New Zealand, she was 22 and I was four. We didn’t know anyone or anything. We had to learn how to use public transport, ATMs, how to buy groceries and clothes, pay bills – all while learning a whole new language. This was very overwhelming and isolating. There’s a common misconception that the struggles of refugees end when they are granted asylum. This couldn’t be further from the truth. Settling in a new country is difficult enough – but add a background of forced migration, having to navigate foreign languages, cultures and systems while healing with trauma and you have a plethora of new challenges to contend with. When we settled into our new home in Hamilton, there was one other Afghan family in the area who welcomed us with open arms. Having people from the same country, speaking the same language and believing in the same religion was invaluable – especially in those first few years when everything was so new and unfamiliar. Their presence was a great source of strength and comfort. We were able to keep in touch with our culture and keep our traditions alive because we had people to share them

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