Friday, December 03, 2010

Ako Aotearoa Symposium 2010 day 3

Day 3 dawns fine and sunny for the last day of the Ako Aoteaora Academy Symposium.

First up – Christine Rubie-Davies presents ‘G + T on the rocks’ – the experience of gifted /talented undergraduate students in a tertiary environment. No systematic or planned approaches towards fostering ‘A’ students in NZ primary / secondary and tertiary systems. However, this leads to an ‘untapped’ resource. Funded by Ako Aotearoa Northern hub and run across 4 faculties with 2 staff and 4 student focus groups. Research questions on ‘how talented students defined / identified’ and support provided. Definition of talented included ‘schoolhouse giftedness’ (school grades, creativity, innate, quick learners); multiple talents; personal qualities (people skills, work ethics, leadership, initiative). Talented students identified by staff mostly intuitively/informally. Support of students included individual lecturers; early identification; providing facilitation and leadership opportunities; providing specific provisions; and importantly for students, recognition. Issues included unsupportive individual lecturers; difficult to fit in; lack of opportunity; and assessments. Plans for future include piloting a ‘intervention’ study based on findings – identify at end of first year; differentiate assignment tasks; recognition for talented students; invitation to department and staff seminars; advice on scholarships; inclusion of mentoring scheme; and talented students to act as tutors. I suspect investigation of 'talented' in the trades area will reveal different definitions.

Secondly, ‘scholarly peer review of teaching’: returning ‘quality’ to teachers - with Mark Brown. Who is defining quality and for what purpose? Played video ‘we are the people we are waiting for’ as a challenge to academy members to consider their roles as educators. Challenges to enhancing quality include the tensions inherent in education. E.G. clear standards: creative flow; externally imposed requirements :internally owned commitments; central quality police: local professional responsibility; quality compliance: quality culture and quality assurance: quality enhancement. Introduced the concept of using a ‘scholarly peer review’ to form a quality enhancement framework. Need for academics to ‘own’ quality and the process – not just imposed by institution.

After morning tea, group discussion facilitated by Paul Denny on ‘did I jump or was I pushed – capitalizing on opportunities’ with Julia Bruce, Roger Nokes, Tracey Poutama-Mackie and Marc Wilson. Each presented on how they had moved on (usually through connections fostered through the academy) beyond their award. Julia talked about her journey since the award and support provided by academy (local and committee) on her growth as a staff developer. Also provided 4 videos produced as part of the ‘good practice’ grant. Roger spoke on leading and learning as Head of Department, member of academic board and acting chair of teaching and learning committee and the challenge of representing teaching but also wearing a ‘management’ hat. Tracey presented on the history of her institute – People Potential – as it played a big part in how she has developed as a teacher and now as academic leader and staff developer as manager of youth transition services in Whangarei. “my success should not be bestowed on me alone, as it was not individual success but success of a collective”. Marc presented on his experiences on how the award has contributed to his academic life. Teaching and researching can be very isolating and preparing portfolios for awards provides opportunities to introspection. Also, accepting positions of responsibility within institution should be taken as it widens perspectives and leads to connecting and contributing to the wider university community. Including how to deal with media in a structured way.

After lunch, a session on ‘the academy and YOU: your chance to contribute’. John Hoskin presented on what has been achieved by the academy thus far and workshopped the session to work out future direction for the academy. Also provided background on the separate roles / synergistic relationships between Ako Aotearoa and the Academy. Academy is an independent voice and how can we leverage on this. For next year, encouragement to bring forward more project;, establish ‘regional champions’ to strengthen links between academy and hubs and convene more regional events; establish a ‘teaching day/week/month?’; and portfolio mining. Committee to work on creating a voice for the academy (guide to media relations, training etc).; portfolios volumes; lobbying (internal/external) – how to do this as academy members within and without our own organisations; encourage collaborations; mentoring of PBRF; commission research – effect of PBRF?; finding our kaupapa. Good discussion followed on direction forward for the academy.

The symposium brought to a close with an adapted pecha kucha session organized by the Canterbury team led by Tim Bell.

Official conference closing with mihi Tracey Poutama-Mackie.