Sunday, 17 June 2012

Activity 11 – Cultural sensitivity & indigenous learners

I am passionate about learning how to effectively and more efficiently support students from diverse cultural backgrounds.

As part of the course we not only teach Tikaka and Te Reo Maori but we also embed Tikaka practice throughout the whole year, to create a sense of it becoming ingrained i.e. no eating at work spaces, this needs to happen at the back of the room – break times, lunch, we sing waiata to celebrate student successes, no sitting on desks and general respect for one another. 

A large aspect of this is in our planning for course, each step from application to graduation stages we create a deliberate whanau approach.

Our theories and models course not only includes the specifics for each specialty, but also Maori, Pacific and Asian models of practice.  These are taught so they can be integrated with other theory bases so students learn to practice with a wider theoretical base.

Student placement process (that I researched, developed and set up) is integral to meet the cultural needs of each student, being able to provide Maori or Pacific placements for our students who identify with this cultural group is respectful.

Addressing emails, posts on discussion forums with Maori greetings is part of the role modelling of delivering a Treaty focus, to enhance working in partnership.

For me personally it is about achieving further study in working bi-culturally and multi-culturally, a way that I am accomplishing this is by studying towards my certificate in te mata a ao Maori (which I intend to graduate with at the end of this year).  Understanding the Treaty of Waitangi in relation to my professional practice and as an educator is essential for my continued growth in this important area.

Activity 10 – Sustainable Learning

I love the concept of sustainability and we teach it in the Certificate in Human Services and have it embedded within each course.

Specifically we have a Reflective Journal piece where students reflect upon what economic, social, environmental sustainability is – then they are asked to define how they would work sustainably with clients.

The one key aspect I like to strongly emphasize is - how will they take care of themselves while they are studying, working etc. 

The following are some of the key themes I discuss throughout the course in relation to sustainability & strategies that are used to keep the course sustainable.
      Self-care – how will you prioritise this while studying (if you are unwell in any sense how will you be able to support others). What will you do to around self-care so you are energised and keep your stress levels lowered.  This one in particular links into our Health and Safety course.
      Time management – have you set up a study plan, set personal goals so that family/whanau and or work do not suffer.  Setting up strategies to handle placement.
       Encourage peer support in and outside of class.
       Provide 1-1 support with our teaching assistant for those students that are struggling
       Group work in class and some assessments completed in class time.
       Diverse use of activities.

Activity 8 – Adult learning theory

The learning theories that I have become attached to since I studied the Gaining Foundation Skills in teaching and learning back in 2010, is Deep Learning theory (Biggs, 2003).

Key points of this theory are:

Understanding via learning the key concepts.

How to connect them in a wider sense.

Utilizing prior knowledge and experience alongside teaching.

Importance of critique and logic.

As I come from a professional background of Social Service work, this theory appeals to me as it encourages reflection, shared experiences and how this can be related to teaching content.  

My specialist area in education has a strong focus on teaching students the skills to think deeper, to be analytical and to reflect upon ways to improve practice – to create best practice.

Activity 7 – OER

The term Open Education had been a bit vague for me in the past, but with further reading into this I discovered that I have been working with this concept.

How OER is being used in the Certificate in Human Services:

·    As we are now in our second year of integrating the Certificate in Human Services with the Mental Health Certificate, our focus this year was to ensure that all of our teaching modules were transferred over to Moodle Books.The aim of this was that we were considering taking on distance students to help us expand our programme. 
·         Coincidentally we ended up having 4 distance students who moved away due to personal circumstances and we have found this challenging.
·         We needed to come up with strategies fast to ensure they received support (pastoral and educational) to achieve with course.
·         Our plan involved weekly phone calls to answer questions around course material/assessments, this is also done by having the student logged into Moodle at the same time (and the Lecturer or Teaching Assistant) so that we can direct students to specific areas.
·         As we now have distance students we will be including Adobe Connect as a resource so we can communicate/support/teach these students more effectively as well as more efficiently.
·         OER is still in its infancy on the Certificate programme, but it is a concept that we welcome.
·         I am keen to learn further about OER and especially with technological advances and I will book in for training with EDC around anything that will enhance my skills and capabilities in this area.