March 23, 2006
From NZEI Te Riu Roa
For Immediate Use
NZEI Running Good Teaching Seminars
More than 300 teachers are attending a series of Good Teaching seminars organised by the country's largest education union, NZEI Te Riu Roa.
They teach in primary, intermediate and area schools and early childhood education centres throughout the country.
The first seminar is today in Wellington with the second in Christchurch tomorrow. The seminars continue next week in Auckland on Wednesday (March 29) and end in Hamilton on Thursday (March 30.)
They provide an opportunity for the teachers to share the teaching practices they're using, that are proving effective in helping students to learn. Examples include successful home and school partnerships, using digital portfolios for reporting to parents and peer coaching for teachers.
"The seminars are part of NZEI's commitment to helping teachers, and other education professionals, enhance their skills, so they can provide the best possible education to New Zealand's children," says NZEI Te Riu Roa National President, Irene Cooper.
"New Zealand teachers have an international reputation for being creative, innovative and problem solvers," says Irene Cooper. "These seminars give them a chance to share the things they have tried in their classrooms and know are effective."
The key speaker at the seminars is Professor Terry Crooks, a co-director of the Educational Assessment Research Unit at Otago University. He helps run the National Education Monitoring Project (NEMP), which measures the educational achievement of students in Year 4 and Year 8 in primary schools.
"Terry Crooks is recognised internationally as an authority on assessing student achievement," says Irene Cooper. "The information gathered by his team at Otago University is invaluable in helping teachers improve their students' learning."
The effectiveness of New Zealand's primary student assessment programme was noted at an international conference in Portland in the United States last September. It was attended by student assessment experts from the US, Britain, Australia, Canada, Switzerland and New Zealand. Professor Crooks was part of the NZ delegation.
"New Zealand was praised by the delegates at the conference," says Irene Cooper. "The other countries all have large scale national testing, and the damage this has caused to student learning was a main talking point of the conference."
Sandie Aikin, the leader of NZEI's professional team, attended the Portland conference, and will speak at the seminar about what has happened overseas as the result of national testing through education policies such as the "No Child Left Behind" programme, introduced in the United States by President Bush.
Representatives from the Ministry of Education will talk about the introduction of a revised curriculum in all primary schools in June.
"The introduction of the revised curriculum for more than 2100 primary schools is a major event," says Irene Cooper. "The teachers at the seminar will be extremely interested to hear how the Ministry's planning for this is progressing."