PARTNERSHIP, NOT THE MOTHERSHIP: PRIMARY AND SECONDARY TEACHERS COLLABORATING ON PEDAGOGY AND CURRICULUM. AN EDUCATIONAL NETWORK LEARNING COMMUNITY
Rangiora High School (NEW ZEALAND)
About this paper:
Appears in: ICERI2011 Proceedings
Publication year: 2011
Conference name: 4th International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation
Dates: 14-16 November, 2011
Location: Madrid, Spain
Abstract:An Educational Network Learning Community in operation.
This paper deals with a look at an initiative that is breaking down the barriers between a large secondary school and its 20 contributing primary schools and seeing increased collegiality between the education sectors. The establishment of “buddy" teachers and “buddy” professional learning teams(PLTs) has seen each group learning off each other to the benefit of the students.
A New Zealand Ministry of Education initiative has seen funding made available for the establishment of Network Learning Communities(NLC). The results have seen a variety of types established.
Rangiora High School, the one large secondary school has closely collaborated with its 19 contributing primary schools to establish one of these NLCs. It started with a focus on the transition from primary to secondary process, expanded to best practice pedagogy and has now moved towards a seamless Year 7-10 curriculum development. A long term aim of the secondary school is to establish a “virtual” middle school, Years 7-10.
The aim is to establish the first year at secondary school as the students 9th year of learning rather than the first year at “high school”. The NLC is using the New Zealand Curriculum Teaching as Inquiry model, the “Building Bridges” model and a NLC model established with the Glasshouse Coalition Schools in northern Queensland(Australia) as its basis. The schools are focusing on teaching and learning through a principal’s network, a teacher buddy system, and school action plans.
The improved transition from primary to secondary school has reduced the anxieties for the students, the shared pedagogy between educational sectors has seen modifications in the classrooms at both levels that are benefitting the students and the proposed shared curriculum planning is aimed at reducing the gaps and overlaps in curriculum delivery in successive years. There is a curriculum focus in two or three learning areas in each year.
The enablers for this project have been
• A willing High School and contributing schools
• A significant number of principals and senior leaders involved from the participating schools
• A lead team with the capacity to have rigorous debate and to challenge their thinking and that of the wider community.
• A willingness and enthusiasm across all levels.
The key challenge has been the sheer scale of the project and the size of the NLC.
Key ingredient is the mutual trust and respect between participants.
Objective/s and Motivator/s:
1. Laying the North Canterbury Learning foundations
2. Establish collegial dialogue across the education sectors.
3. Establish a teaching as inquiry model across the schools.
4. Share common professional learning themes and opportunities.
5. Establish an effective pedagogical model across the schools.
6. Smooth transition for the students across education sectors.
7. Establish a seamless, coherent pathway of learning for the students Years 0-13.
Rangiora High School is a decile 8 state funded coeducational secondary school located in North Canterbury, New Zealand. There is a student roll of 1750 in 2011.