Thursday, November 24, 2016

Ako Aoteoroa Academy Symposium 2016 - day 1

At the yearly gathering of Ako Aotearoa Academy - NZ excellence in tertiary teaching awardees - over 2 days in Wellington. Great to touch base with familiar friends and meet the 2016 awardees.

Dr. Joe Te Rito from Ako Aoteoroa opens with a mihi whakatau. Helen Dobson does the housekeeping briefing including earthquake preparedness. Professor Selene Mize, present president of the academy follows with official welcome including a welcome to academy members joining the symposium the first time. This year's international guests were also introduced. A video of welcome from Minister of Tertiary Education, Steven Joyce. Adrian Woodhouse summarises overview of the two days. 

Associate Professor Suzanne Pitama, supreme winner from last year, presented on her pedagogical approach - praxis makes perfect - used an interactive session and story telling of her own experiences to bring across her message. Facilitated a group conversation on how to circumvent various obstacles presented during teachIng. Good ideas shared on how to work through challenging scenarios in teaching generalisable across various teaching contexts. Continued on the theme with examples from her own teaching of how to work through the challenging aspects of being teachers and maintaining excellence. Shared her teaching practice of using practice to consolidate theory. Her medical students run clinics for Maori to experience first hand the realities of health inequities in Aotearoa. Shared her epiphany in how she redeveloped a model for understand and studying indigenous health. Presented on the various learning activities used on and off marae to help students develop cultural and clinical competence and work with diverse patients who may not always be cooperative or in challenging antagonistic situations. A good engaging session to start off the symposium. 

After lunch, we have two streams of presentation. I support the presenters from the trades or ITPs. First up, Daniel Pfyl from Otago Poly shares his experiences with project based learning in financial kitchen management. Provided details on how a strand of learning is threaded through several courses / projects. Started with how to enthuse his students with a subject they did not initially have an interest in. Difficulties in finding literature on project based learning in the financial management. Began when programme started to integrate commodities and cooking methods, finance was then also integrated rather than taught as a stand alone paper. Prompted by student feedback wanting to apply finance into practice. Project based learning with student groups working on authentic projects mean many aspects of the real world including finance can be included. Showed examples of tools and how application. Scaffold students in year 1 with group projects, year 2 as individuals and year 3 as individuals with a client to answer to. 

Then I workshos a session on 'judging the invisible: the sociomaterial aspects of learning'. In short, what is sociomateriality and how does it impact on practice. How can sociomaterial aspects of practice be identified, articulated and learnt? Is there a specific pedagogy to introduce, practice and learn aspects of and assess (formatively and summative) the sociomaterial?

Dr. Dale Sheehan then presents on 'proving that teaching has improved outcomes not for learners but for their clients'. Need to evaluate teaching practice effect on graduands' actual practice. Used project on medicine and pharmacy working together as case study. Junior doctors work with pharmacist to understand how each work and appreciation of the important parameters. Introduced concept from sports training of marginal gains, small changes to improve performance. 

Following afternoon tea, Dr. Joe te Rito and Dr Stanley Frielick, new director of Ako Aoteoroa present on the future direction of Ako Aoteoroa with 'Ako as a concept'. Ako is the lead, study, teach and advise. Whakaako is to teach, instruct, educate and coach. Akongo is to teach. Kaiako is student and also sometimes teacher. Wananga is school. Provided background on Maori pedagogy definition and contemporary development. So what is the role of Ako Aoteoroa and the academy? Stanley reflects on his initial experiences in his role and invites a discussion on the value and role of the tertiary teaching awards. Shared the Australian experience and their intended direction. UK proposal to reward teaching teams rather than individuals. Biggs also supports this view and qualifies with the aspect of shifting to a focus on teaching rather than the teacher. Discussed the continued proposals in NZ for 'registration' of tertiary teacher. Work has begun on mapping Maori kaupapa framework to U.K. Example to gauge commonalities and challenges. Also presented critiques to be taken into account. Support of teachers to become effective still important. Introduced the term counter anthropomorphism- the need to be aware of the human factor in education - Jesse Stommel. 

Afternoon key note is with Professor Welby Ings, the first supreme winner. he shares with us on 'how great teachers really influence change' with his story on 'why I fell in love with Miss Barrie'. In particular to encourage teachers to take risks, with compassion for their learners and be able to touch the hearts of learners. As usual, Welby provides a fruitful, engaging and thought provoking hour. Challenging our concepts of our teacher identity and what we now need to do to support learners. Learning requires engaging with ones heart and good teachers assist the process for learners to find their belief in their potential. Great teachers have diminished egos who value their learners. 
We close the day with drinks and dinner, a good opportunity to renew friendships and network. 

No comments: