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Unitec Working With Schools


Unitec Auckland

On Wednesday 20 October UNITEC's School of Education is launching
UNITEC in Schools, a unique initiative in teacher professional

"Existing approaches to professional development in schools have been
about dousing fires - they're reactive and short term," says the
Director of UNITEC in Schools, Phil Coogan. "What we're offering is the
sprinkler system - a structure to deal with issues as they come up."

UNITEC in Schools involves UNITEC consultants working as facilitators
in schools to implement an action learning model which identifies and
addresses school-specific problems.

This year UNITEC began piloting the scheme, and already have a number
of successful case studies. Examples of issues addressed include
student under-achievement and low staff moral in specific departments,
changing a school's management structure and incorporating ICT into the

"We're meeting real demand," says Phil. "And that demand is increasing
with self-managing schools."

Phil says the key to the UNITEC in Schools model is that it's ongoing.
"We take an action learning approach, which begins with in-depth
problem analysis. From there we create an action plan that includes
consideration of resources and has measurable outcomes. The contract
isn't finished until we've evaluated what changes have taken place.
That means high accountability for us and for the schools."

"Our aim is to work with schools to a point we're they're able to
manage their professional development for themselves."

Another important feature of UNITEC in Schools consultancies is that
they employ the skills of practising teachers who have strengths in the
area of concern.

"We take on these 'expert practitioners' for short term contracts to
work with us in schools," says Phil. "This offers recognition to
successful teachers and provides a mechanism for them to share ideas
and model best practice."
UNITEC in Schools also places a strong emphasis on incorporating
information and learning technologies into school action plans.

At the same time as helping to solve internal school problems, UNITEC
in Schools' initiatives can be tied into professional qualifications.
UNITEC programmes such as the Diploma in Education Technology and
Certificate in School Middle Management can be delivered on-site in
schools. In the near future, teachers working with UNITEC in Schools
will also be able to complete a Master of Education paper titled
Applied Professional Development.

UNITEC in Schools is a centre within the UNITEC School of Education,
which is headed by Professor Carol Cardno. Carol has been a primary
teacher, secondary principal, directed school leadership, management
and performance appraisal contracts and is currently engaged in school
contracts for school self-review, team development and dilemma
management. Phil Coogan, the UNITEC in Schools Director, has a wide
background in secondary education including departmental leadership,
school management, pre- and in-service teacher education,
qualifications and assessment and contract direction.

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