Monday, July 19, 2010

Ako Aotearoa Tertiary research in progress colloquium 2010 - day 1 afternoon

After lunch, I presented on the project 'belonging, becoming & being: first year apprentices' experiences of the workplace' supported by Charles Hayworth from the Boating ITO & Loretta Garrow from the Building & Construction ITO from 2 of the 7 ITOs participating. Good feedback from the audience with some questions contributing to enhancing the project.

Next up, 'Tertiary bridging tracks: holistic teaching & learning practices of Pacific PTEs' from Lindsay Huthnance and Tautalo Fiso from the NZ Institute of Sport. The project draws on existing literature to build on recommendations for using more holistic approaches of teaching and learning to engage Maori and Pasika people. Firstly to identity approaches which epitomise holistic approaches, then to evaluate how effective these are and to then recommend the approaches which work best. Project has just begun so an overview was presented.

Then Professor Mike Thomas & Barbara Kensington-Miller & Dr. Hannah Bartholomew of Auckland presented on a TLRI funded project -  'mathematics undergraduate teaching: perspectives & interactions' . The project studies lecturers and how they develop as teachers (Lecturer's component); interactions which assist with student learning in the lecturing environment lecturing interactions component); and approaches students take to engage with material presented during lectures (student perspective component). It uses Schoenfeld's Knowledge, Orientations & Goals (Schoenfeld's website), framework to analyse the decisions made by teachers. Mike provided an example of how to apply the KOG in discussions with lecturers on video of their lecture. Barbara provided method used to explore student perspectives and some interview transcripts, exploring students' identity and their relationships with maths. Also the ways in which lecturing can engage students, improve mathematical understanding and find out how questioning strategies may help student understanding of maths concepts.

Following was 'building kaupapa Maori in early childhood education' by Ngaroma Williams, Te Pari Puna Ora o Aotearoa & Mary-Liz Bradley from the Open Polytechnic. This project, which has just begun,  is to develop good practice models & frameworks for student & registered teacers / practitioners to learn and apply cultural competency within the NZ early childhood context. The project will be carried out using kuapapa Maori methodology for all aspects. Tikanga research team guidelines include, a call to find knowledge. In order to support this search, support required from all participants via mentorship and organisational support.

After afternoon tea, Professor John Bitchener from AUT & Dr. Martin East from the University of Auckland. Their presentation was on 'best practice in the types of feedback given to thesis students in NZ universities. There seems to be a gap in the literature on response/feedback on thesis drafts. Areas studied included strengths and weaknesses of students' writing; aims and priorities in providing feedback; nature/focus of the feedback and how feedback is provided; expectations and student experiences to feedback; feedback effectiveness; nature of supervisor training and recommendations to new supervisors. Similarities and differences within and across disciplines and between native and non-native writers also considered. An overview of findings, challenges of the project and recommendations for further research was presented.

Last presentation of the day from Mike Hay from Trade & Commerce Ltd. who presented on 'strength-based learner engagment'. Three PTEs involved with Tertiary Opportunities programmes (TOPs) in various areas including trades, computing, alternative ed., retail and automotive. Generally with students with no school qualifications and disengaged from school. Approach is a facilitated programme called 'My Voice' that builds on student abilities to help them discover, explore and understand their strengths. based on work undertaken in the Uk, USA and NZ on positive psychology. This project evaluates tools designed to faciliate strength-based education and involves student/tutor questionnaires and focus group discussions. Tutor provided with training on using the strengths based approach. Comparisons made between cohorts of students who had learning using strengths based approach & students not exposed to approach at all. In general cohort with embeded strengths based approach had more positive learning experiences.

Day closed with Justin Sampson promotion of Ako Aotearoa website and a short reflection fom Peter Coolbear on day 1 session before much anticipated time for drinks & nibbles and time to refresh over the evening for tomorrow's sessions.

A very full day!! Learnt just as much from the questions which came after each presentation, many of which added different perspectives to each project. A good range of projects with several projects exploring similar aspects of student learning including enhancing student engagement, feedback and need for continual teacher professional development albeit in different contexts and with different approaches/ lenses.