Dr Patisepa Vaitimu Tuafuti

patisepa

Dr Patisepa Vaitimu Tuafuti passed away last week.

Not only was she a teacher trainer, she was also a mother, grandmother, tireless community person and a dear friend.

I first met Pati in January 1995, when I undertook my first paper for the National diploma of Education. At that time Pati was Pasifika Education Advisor and worked in the Advisory service at Kohia Teachers Centre. She worked closely with Samoan teachers in the Auckland Region to establish the Ulimasao Bilingual Education Association Inc.

We became firm friends.

Over the years I learnt more about Pati and we connected through several links. Such as connections with our families in Samoa. Historically our Gafa crosses paths in the villages of Afega and Manono in Samoa.

She was one of the few people who did not hesitate to tell me if I she thought I was neglecting my learning. Through Pati’s gentle encouragement I completed my National Diploma of TESSOL whilst raising a young family and working full time. She took me under her wings and encouraged me to further my learning both academically, service to community work, and to growing my Samoan language and culture.

She helped steer me on the path of first language maintenance. When I first knew her my Samoan had become rusty through lack of use. However she encouraged me to present in Samoan and to run teacher workshops in Samoan and to speak at community events in Samoan. My oral Samoan is now very strong.

I was going through my photos of Pati and sure enough it was a real challenge to locate her as often she would hover behind. She would always pushing others to the front. That was her way. Always the mentor behind us. Push is not a strong enough word for Pati. Somehow or other I would always say yes to anything she asked of me. She had a gentle way of persuasion.

Together we visited Samoa in 2000 for the Fagasa annual conference and then visited her sister and family in Savaii and her brother and family in Afega.

We attended the CLESOL conference in Wellington in 2002.

In 2003, we co-presented at the LED conference in Hamilton.

Together we went and presented in Hawaii at the annual Fagasa conference in 2004.

We attended the CLESOL conference in Christchurch in 2004 where she was invited to be a plenary speaker and it was where she shared the earlier research of her PHD.

We were both on the Auckland CLESOL Conference Steering committee in 2000.

We were on the steering committee for both Ulimasao’s conferences. The one held in Auckland in 2002 and the second conference in 2005, one where 200 educators visited Samoa. Both conferences stressed the importance of Bilingualism but not at the expense of first language maintenance.

Over the years we have watched our children grow up. She would often attend my children’s celebrations and I would often be at hers. Over the past few years, celebrations centred around her grandchildren of whom she was immensely proud.

In 2016, Pati graduated with her Doctorate of Philosophy in Education.  Her thesis was titled ‘Pululima Faifai Pea.‘ Her expertise and educational experiences were in the areas of Language Acquisition, Bilingual Education/Bilingualism, Critical Theory & Critical Literacies, Empowerment Education for Minorities and Raising Achievement for Pacific children within the NZ educational system. Her research on bilingualism, empowerment, critical pedagogy and power relation was influenced strongly by the work of Jim Cummins and Stephen May.

‘E i loa le Samoa moni i lana tu ma lana tautala.’

You can tell a true Samoan by behaviour  and speech.

Pati was hugely influenced in fa’asamoa knowledge and epistemologies by experts such as Professor Aiono Fanaafi Le Tagaloa and Tui Atua Tupua Tamasese and many other Samoan elders. She followed their examples of service to the community. She would say to me that alongside research, one must always be an active member of the community being researched. 
Pati, manuia lou malaga ma e fetaui i le Pule muamua i le lagi.

Alofaaatu le uso pele.

 

Funeral details for Patisepa Tuafuti

Pati

Teacher Only Days- reflection

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Each year at Newmarket school we usually begin the year with teacher only days. I have been at a school that had them at the end of the year and both times have positives and challenges. This time I was ready for some learning because I have been really busy with family and my garden during the summer holidays. Usually I read heaps in the holidays but this vacation I have not done as much. Below is a summary of what I learnt


Emergency procedures

As a school Wade Harrison from RED Consultancy,  helped us revisit our ‘Emergency procedures’. We began the new year with several new members and so it was timely to go over Planning and preparing for emergencies and traumatic incidents.


PaCT Tool

Three years ago together with several members of staff, I attended my first training with PaCT at the Ministry of Education Symposium held at Ellerslie. Last year our ISL created a Hapara space on our Staff Workspace to guide teachers in using PaCT with mathematics. You can check that link here. The PaCT section is green.

This week we had Nadine Sorresen from evaluation associates run a days professional learning with us using PaCT.

The session with Nadine was just in time learning for me. She took us through the power of PaCT and reminded us about its interrelationship with the Learning Progression Framework.

To explain it simply PaCT is the engine that unlocks algorhythms when we make Overall Teacher Judgements using the Learning Progression Framework.

The Learning Progression Framework Illustrates the Curriculum visually.

Three key words from PaCT to know are

  • Aspects
      • Aspect are the big ideas within each curriculum areas.
      • Some aspects have smaller sets and this indicates smaller increments.
      • The aspects cover learning from Year 1-year 10.
      • They do NOT Correspond with curriculum levels and do NOT increase year by year.
  • Sets
      • Sets are within the aspects and break down those big ideas into smaller increments of learning.
      • Help with decision making as illustration examples are wide and varied.
  • Illustrations
    • Are visual examples of learning at each level so that as teachers we can track and confirm our judgement before using the PaCT tool to give a clearer picture.

Below are the Aspects we make Overall Teacher Judgement on

Writing across the curriculum

  • encoding
  • text features
  • vocabulary knowledge
  • think and organise for learning
  • communicate knowledge and understanding
  • literary purposes
  • influence others

Reading across the curriculum

  • processing system
  • text structure
  • vocabulary knowledge
  • reading critically
  • organise ideas and information for learning
  • using information and ideas in informational texts

My Takeaways

  • All of the Illustrations within a Set weights the Aspect.
  • PaCT does not happen at one sitting but as evidence is gathered over 1-2 terms across the curriculum. Nadine spoke about Naturally Harvesting.
  • Several week before confirming the final indicator within a PaCT a teacher can see where gaps still need to be gathered from.
  • PaCT works well when completed twice a year and is ongoing annually
  • PaCT can be anniversary collated for our year 1-3 reporting cycle.
  • Teachers can track progress of
    • Individual students
    • Class
    • or other groups

Overall PaCT supports teachers to understand how students develop their expertise in learning. Currently PaCT is set up for Reading, Writing and Mathematics.

As we naturally harvest learning we look across curriculum for evidence to help us make our overall teacher judgement.


Belonging

Last year I worked with a group of students to look at planning for 2019.

Together the children came up with the overall theme of Belonging.

We used SOLO Hexagons to clarify thinking around what we believed to be important ideas for learning. The children wanted to know more about our local history and wanted to know stories about our school and area.

As a school we were fortunate to make connections with Pāora Puru from the Ministry of Education who was then invited to share his historic knowledge about our Maunga, Maungawhau.

As a staff we were going to have the session on the mountain itself however the weather had other plans. So Pāora came to school. Pāora helped define what is unique and distinctive about Auckland.  We garnered information not just about our local area but the whole of Tāmaki Makaurau. He shared rich historic heritage. This heritage reinforces our sense of belonging, our identity as Aucklanders and a sense of pride in our beautiful city.

As a green gold endorsed school this learning enriches our knowledge and pride about our environment.

During his session we had two visiting teachers from Parnell School who are working alongside us as a Green Gold Endorsed school. In addition we had Nicky Elmore our liaison from the Auckland Regional Council.

I cannot wait to share some of the stories I learnt with our children. Every two years we visit our local marae of Orakei and this year is our year so again there will be more to learn and to share.


Teacher only days are usually days of professional learning. At Newmarket School I always enjoy them because of opportunities that are created to make connections with each other. Our Senior Leadership team always ensure that we are well fed and watered both physically and mentally. There are always next steps through Goal Setting and that will come soon. These days give us the chance to reflect on what is coming and to set in motion ideas and opportunities for learning.

This year I am in class with a beginning teacher, I have our support staff programme to oversee and coordinate, I will continue to look at the trends in our ethnic and learning data, I have my across schools role for ACCoS, and I will continue to support the staff wherever I am needed.

I have had a good break and feel refreshed and excited for the new year.

Message for my son

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Photo by Margaret

O le a lou manatu i le uiga o le savali i le pogisa faaleagaga?

What do you think it means to walk in spiritual darkness?

One word for 2019

Wairuatanga

Mā te whakapapa tūhonotia ai ngā mea katoa, whai māramatanga ai hoki ngā kōrero atua, kōrero tuku iho, ngā hītori, ngā mātauranga, ngā tikanga, ngā āria me ngā wairuatanga ki tēnā whakatipuranga ki tēnā (Te Ara 2015). / Whakapapa binds all things and clarifies mythology, legend, history, knowledge, customary practices, philosophies and spiritualities and their transmission from one generation to the next.

(Maori Dictionary)

Every year, I think of a Maori word that I hear in my educational context but do not really understand. I take that word and find out as much as I can about it to deepen my understanding. This year my one word is Wairuatanga.  In Samoan the word is ‘Faaleagaga.’

Last year, I learnt to use my Samoan language to help with unpacking Maori concepts. The challenge I have is that I am not of Maori blood. However I am Samoan and historically we share ancestors and traditional spiritual practices that are intertwined with our environment.

When I refer to the introductory statement in Samoan I think back to Fanaafi, when she wrote:  ‘A leai se gagana, ua leai se aganuu, a leai se aganuu ona po lea o le nuu.’ When you lose your language, you lose your culture and when there is no longer a living culture, darkness descends on the village.

Yesterday at my nephew’s wedding, my eldest son shone a light on our Samoan culture as he proudly stood up in his ‘ie faitaga’ and his ‘ofutino elei’ wearing an ‘ula fala’. He had been practising a translation in Samoan to say at the wedding. And he did it. As a Samoan mum, I could not have been more proud. He had also made some Ula Lole and made a big fuss with presenting them. The couple received 2 strands each and one strand had $10.00 notes in between. So if you can visualise this very handsome young man calling ‘Tiuhoo’ and racing up before the ceremony began to present his gift. Behind the couple we faced the beach so Tagaloa was our backdrop. In front of the couple the ‘Uo ma Aiga’ had gathered and were seated. So we have all the next generation witnessing something like this for their first time and therefore the transmission of a practice. Around us we have our ‘Faalupega’ both living and deceased so there is live history happening.  

At a wedding, the focus is always on the newly wedded couple. However if we dig deeper we can see the occasion as an opportunity to revitalise who we are, make connections to our past, our ‘gagana’ and our ‘aganuu.’ The chance is there to do something about ‘Wairuatanga’. If you just think about it,  the moment to act is soon gone.

The backdrop of Tagaloa is a timely reminder too to act. The wedding allows us the opportunity to reflect about what we say and do. Tagaloa and who we are as Pasifika are so intertwined. As inhabitants of the Pacific Ocean our islands are drowning in plastic and so the reminder is there to look after our natural resource.

So my son our customary practice of gifting ‘Ula Lole’ does need a revamp. Maybe our next ones do away with all the plastic and we just weave money into natural materials. As we sat making them you and I discussed how creating these gifts sets a benchmark for the next wedding in your generation. So let us take up the challenge together and see if we can create something just as stunning, but with a lot less plastic. At the same time, hold your head high. As a young man, you already have all the qualities we hold dear. Your knowledge of our legends, our family history, our customary practices, philosophies and ‘faaleagaga’ holds you up as a light in my heart.

SOLO Taxonomy and reflecting

Yes I know multistructural as in have just listed my reflections. However I am OK with that. So far I have had a lovely break. Caught up with family.

Been riding the busses with mum and that is always heaps of fun. Slept in most days past the dreaded 5.30am alarm.

Major life events that happened over the year;

Notable challenges or mistakes;

  • Lost and regained weight
  • Letting go by building the expertise around us
  • Was really sick
  • Took on Travelwise again for my 7th year.
  • Both boys shifted away
  • Did not escape to Tiritirimatangi because of tooth.

 

Notable successes.

 

Parent Engagement and Participation

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I learnt how to use this fabulous tool on youtube where the transcript can be extracted. Earlier this week our Across School Leaders in the Auckland Central Community of Schools (ACCoS)  presented their years work as a short video. I exported the transcript into a spreadsheet, removed the times, copied and pasted the text into a doc and then created a word cloud using https://voyant-tools.org.

What came through strongly in the key terms used were agency, teacher, student and school. Other words to be expected were learning, leaders, professional, collaboration, feedback.

However the word I would love to see appear was parents. But this was not. I know in our  Pāngarau/Mathematics  Initiative which I led, we had parents as one of our key areas.

As we move into 2019 I wonder how we can include parents and whanau more into what we do as school leaders. Our initial achievement challenge document included this key area and we fought to have it included and passed for our ACCoS but it seems to have fallen under our headlights.

Maybe each initiative can include our parents and ways to include them as one of their goals when they create their Action Plans for next year.

Again I am looking at this from a leadership view across our schools  but as I dig deeper and push right down into our professional learning groups within schools or PLGs, I wonder what their improvement plans look like and if parents even receive a mention.

We are so much better at focussing on our agency with our children and now our teachers. Maybe it is time to also highlight agency with our parents and families. By stressing a focus in this area, a greater consciousness will be raised of the importance of parents and whanau in their children’s learning.

What are your thoughts? Do your parents and whanau feature strongly in your Action Plans in your Communities of Learning. Can I see this if I search for it?

 

Ulearn 2018

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This Year I attended Ulearn 18 with several colleagues in our ACCoS Kahui Ako. 

Ulearn is CORE Education’s annual professional learning conference.  The conference is suitable for teachers, facilitators and school leaders alike, from early childhood through to tertiary.

CORE set up a space where we have access to plenary speakers Bios and Graphic Sketches that were created during sessions.

This blog post is a summary of those presentations with links if you want to explore these further.

Each conference gives us access to international speakers. Often I hear inspirational plenaries and I am always super excited to see our own educators take the main stage. I believe that here in New Zealand we also have world class stories to share. This year there were three plenaries who were varied and all had the same message about the importance of humans being at the heart of decision making.

On the first day we heard Hana O’Regan from Aotearoa. Hana asked us to tell stories, stories that have not been told. Stories that were not allowed to be told in the past. She questioned the negativity within stories from our cultural legacy that our ākonga are hearing and described their potential impact on young Maori. Let us “be brave” (Hana’s words); we must reflect on the cultural narrative that is shared in our classrooms and positively override the stereotypes by telling the stories that count. Here you can read more.

On the second day we listened to Pasi Sahlberg from Finland and who is now based in Australia. Pasi reminded us about the power of small data: tiny clues through personal observations, collective human judgment, and raw instinct that can lead to big change in schools. In order for big data to work we as educators have to contribute small data to contribute to our school’s big data. Lead and think with small data first, then use in conjunction with the rest of our skillset and Big Data.

Pasi iterated that rather than develop and agree to systems that put even more emphasis on screen learning and can truly mine data for Big Data, we should be pushing for ‘face to face, eye to eye, breath to breath to get a full understanding of who we are working with.’ Here you can read more.

On the final day we had Mike Walsh beam in via hologram. Mike discussed a reality where we cannot avoid ‘big data’, analytics and ‘machine thinking’. We have to prepare our children and students for this digital world, where our services are more and more likely to be run through a digital platforms. The consequences of of big change are arriving in the world. We need to teach the coming generation about being comfortable with uncertainty / ambiguity and to be flexible in the face of change.

Mike sees great potential in digital tools, environments and artificial intelligence that can assist teachers and parents to help learners reach their own potential. In his view it will not be entirely digital or online, it will be a combination, the screens will be less visible but DATA and algorithms will be prevalent in informing decisions. Here you can read more.

The breakout sessions I attended.

There are links to the abstracts and any resources they shared. Also do follow them on twitter.

Removing specific barriers to access learning using assistive technology

 

Evaluating games for learning and teaching mathematics and the Key Competencies

 

Artificial Intelligence – New Zealand opportunities

 

Va‘atele: Creating reciprocal partnerships and digital translanguaging opportunities with Pasifika learners and their whānau

 

How to reclaim professional wisdom in schools by using small data

 

Kāhui Ako: Changing practice at Epsom Girls Grammar School

 

The importance of humans at the heart.

Ulearn conference is also the time when I reconnect with other educators from around New Zealand. I also have the chance to catch up with CORE Education efellows and hear what they have been sharing. If you want to know more, here is a link for the annual efellowship. It is now known as Dr Vince Ham Scholarship. Vince was one of the mentors for the efellows.

efellows

The conference is also time to connect with new twitter buddies via the hashtag #Ulearn18. I have to mention Tim Stevens @MrStevensAGSnz who quickly created shared docs of all the plenaries. It is time too to catch up with old friends such as Ritu Sehji @rsehji

Ritu

This year our Mathematics Team presented our initiative and work across three schools. For them Ulearn was a first time experience. I was super proud of them all and how together we collaborated to share our years work in one hour. To find out more you can check out the Mathematics tag on our ACCoS Blog.

Maths

Auckland central schools use collaboration to drive change in Pāngarau/Mathematics

Overall Ulearn is a time for connections, for collaboration, for sharing and for reflection. A reminder to share back with your schools what you learnt and a reminder to thank your school leaders if they supported your attendance. For us at Newmarket School I am always grateful for the opportunity that our Board of Trustees and principal provide by supporting our attendance at this national conference. They have allowed me to attend every year since I have been at Newmarket school. As we continue with our ACCoS journey I know that more principals within our Kahui Ako will also allow their Across School Leaders and In School Leaders to share our work with educators in and beyond New Zealand.

Big Data & the space between the numbers.

 

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Thanks Laura for the photo.

In 2012 as a core education efellow I  researched Hyperconnectivity with the initial thinking that it was important to travel on the journey with our children to be as connected as we could possibly connect them. My thinking was that the more devices we could plug the learners into a variety of devices,  the better they would be in learning. However by the end of the year I realised how much more I needed to learn and found my thinking had shifted hugely thanks to several disruptive thinkers in education. These were names like Larry Cuban, Mark Pesce, Ulises Mejias, Sherry Turkle and of course our own Pam Hook who just kept asking the hard questions.

Search for them and you will find readings and videos that have a bit of a cautious educators edge to them. Here you can listen to my reflection as an efellow. From my learning I realised that what was not seen or could not be measured was just as important as the numbers. I changed my thinking to the human approach or as in samoa we would say Va Fealofani. In Maori they say Whanaungatanga. My twitter buddy Tahu wrote a fabulous definition here about whanaugatanga and included Me hui kanohi ki te kanohi kia rongo i te mauri o te tangata!’ It is important to meet face to face, eye to eye, breath to breath to get a full understanding of the people we are working with.’

Since I have been an Across School Leader for the Auckland Central Community of Schools I have been the person with the big data focus. I love data so when I knew Pasi would be talking about data I was intrigued. Last year I had been invited to be part of the Ministry of Educations initiative, Student Information Sharing Initiative (SISI)  and I wrote a post cautioning about how we gather data as educators which has continued to guide me and my thinking around data.

We often need educators who force us to pause what is happening and zoom in a little closer and say hey, remember that the machines are fabulous however just a reminder “whose voice can we not hear?” During Ulearn I attended 2 sessions with Professor Pasi Sahlberg with a focus on data.

Those of you who know Pasi’s work will remember his works around GERM, Global Education Reform Movement. Pasi introduced me to fabulous educators in Finland when I decided I wanted to visit the country that was highlighting extraordinary Big Data results via PISA. You can read my journey here when I visited Juväskylä- the Centre of Finnish Education.

Next: What I took away from Pasi’s sessions.

Education Data in general is run by big big data educators.  Big data does things like data mining. But does big data really make education smarter?

How does big data help schools?  There are those that think that the more we rely on big data concludes the better our education will be.

However big data often fails educators. In order for that big data to work we as educators have to contribute small data. But is small data, smart learning?

Big data often uses schools as small data and schools use teachers and their data as their small data. So as teachers we collect small data to contribute to our school’s big data. But more importantly we should be looking at the best way of using that small data to improve our practice.

We have already identified the strategies that help shift learning. But is learning all about the data? Pasi say’s ‘As educators we should trust our raw instincts of what works. Be amongst what is happening- not just observing and monitoring.’

Alongside our learning data we should be focussing on the space between the nodes. The elements that cannot be seen or measured. These are relationships. Relationships with our students and family, relationships with our colleagues both in and beyond our schools, relationships with our communities both locally and globally.

Ethically, rather than develop and agree to systems that put even more emphasis on screen learning and can truly mine data for Big Data, we should be pushing for ‘face to face, eye to eye, breath to breath to get a full understanding of who we are working with.’

To finish with (Excuse the pun 🙂

Pasi leads by example and always shares his work freely. Here you can have access to his slides.

Thanks Pasi for the reminder about the space we cannot see but yet is just as important as the data gathering.