Not Self But Service.


Our Newmarket School’s historic school moto is ‘Not Self But Service.‘ Citizenship taught as a value empowers our learners for life. With two of our student leaders we have been curating evidence of our Travelwise activities. Last year I found the group particularly interesting because our group consisted of mostly year five students. We meet every Friday for 30 minutes and basically reflect on our progress of where we are up to with our student projects. Each term we back map what we do using Google Docs.

From a piece of writing around Citizenship I decided that last year I would focus on students as participatory oriented citizens as framed by Westheimer and Kahne’s (2004) conceptions of citizenship. The Newmarket School Travelwise student leaders would unpack what this meant by identifying responsibilities such as:

  • taking skilled and active role in groups that work for the common good
  • knowing effective strategies for collaborative action

The students have worked tirelessly with several events. Some of them can be tedious such as the Back to School Campaign but diligently the children would turn up each morning on the first week of each term and hold placards and wave to the traffic.

Last year we claimed Gold for our school and I felt excited because as a student leader group we grew in understanding of our contributions and meaning of service.

This year most of the group is year 6 and again plans need to be in place to second the next generation of student leaders as this group move off to intermediate.

This year the students have continued to take a skilled and active role with their group projects that work for the common good and again what I really like seeing is when they plan using effective strategies for collaborative action for the whole school.

This years examples included Wheels day in term 1, Brake week in term 2. and in term 3 it is encouraging healthy children by walking to and from school.

We work closely with our Auckland Community Transport Coordinator and our local community officer. I have seen the students grow in confidence from public speaking, organising school events, to writing and tracking our narrative.

This year our Travelwise group featured in ‘Nurturing citizenship: road safety as a rich context for learning’ written by Rosemary Hipkins. I felt really proud because the children do work really hard for the school.

I was nominated for a Megastar Award and attended the recent celebration evening. I did not win as I know that our major next step is the walking school bus. However this year I have Hannah working with me so maybe this year we can begin to implement effective strategies to shift thinking towards healthy students rather than just being safe road users.


The children with Delia Walking School Bus Coordinator and Robyn our AT Community Transport Coordinator


Beijing in Spring

Springtime in Beijing

For the past three weeks I visited Beijing with a group of twelve New Zealand Chinese Language teachers. We applied for and won a place on the 2017 China Scholarship Programme to Beijing developed by ILEP, Confucius, Hanban and the New Zealand Ministry of Education. We were hosted by Beijing Language and Cultural University that is located nearly in the centre of Beijing and stayed in the conference centre.


Personal Goals

I had three goals for this journey. My first goal was language. I wanted to further develop communication in simple and routine tasks and to exchange information on familiar topics by building on basic phrases because I recently passed the HSK (Level I) exam. My second goal was cultural and to learn more about Chinese history and visit historical sites. Because I am also a teacher of Chinese children I wanted to learn more about where my children came from. My third goal was about connections. Making connections with other educators on the group from New Zealand as well as educators I came into contact with. I also was keen to make connections with local people.

The journey developed more than my three goals.


Daily I was immersed in the language from catching a train, shopping at the supermarket, daily routines such as passing pleasantries with staff at the front desk to asking for my clothes to be washed at the laundry. Daily I was surrounded by language from the fabulous forms of vehicle mashups and their advertising to the signs directing us to uniformed checkpoints and of course wherever we saw food. Daily connections were made with the teachers I travelled with from sharing our learning to being together in the various daily life. I spoke with local people at the historical sites we were taken to, on the trains, at the university canteen, with my home stay and with our tutors and support students. We visited a school and observed a lesson in action. I was delighted to see and hear the traditional student teacher greetings before the lesson that I had heard about. The language lesson was centred around whole group teaching with a focus on traditional poetry. As the teacher unpacked the poem she used videos to give the students imagery written about in the poem because she was aware that many of her students would not have had first hand experience with what the poet was trying to depict. After the lesson observation we had a round table discussion with some their teachers. This part of the session was particularly interesting as we had a compare and contrast discussion between our two systems. The common theme was what was best for our children.

As a group we attended a Kung Fu performance and a Beijing Opera performance so again we were exposed to language but in a different way. Both used a different type of language that I liken to when Samoan matai meet. The language used is similar but the vocabulary is quite different.

The language highlight for me was when we stumbled across the BLCU students’ end of semester talent performance. There we saw and heard language used in singing and when the master of ceremonies introduced each item.    


What I have learnt about Chinese culture is how old and steeped in history the culture is. I saw similarities with my Samoan culture such as some thatching of roofs, the openness of the buildings with the pillars, the use of patterns for effects. I also saw how the young people take care of the old people. I saw grandparents taking care of the grandchildren while parents worked. I also really liked the mishmash of old and new. There appeared to be a sense of evolving as can be seen in the scooters.

We were fortunate to research and prepare for visiting many historical places and were given the opportunity to take part in calligraphy, paper cutting and in Tai Chi Fan movement. During these sessions we were reminded of the ancient history and of how far back Chinese dynasties predates European history. This was particularly so during our time at the National library where we were able to visit the Oracle collection and view ancient writing on bones.


When we talk about language and culture we must also mention food because together everything intertwines. Our daily routine involved food. Our opening and closing days involved food. Our daily excursions involved food. There was lots of it and the price was cheap. Several meals I ate at the BLCU Canteen and the range was massive. A few times we might have paid $20.00 for an evening meal but that was the exception rather than the norm. In Beijing we were exposed to several area cuisines such as Sichuan, Fujian and Jiangsu. We ate several types of street food such as jianbing and investigated nearby eateries such as a local Taiwanese restaurant or a Japanese restaurant. However one memorable and unscheduled meals would have to be from the Nanjing provence hosted by one of our member’s brother. There I tried lotus root stuffed with rice. Our final meal together involved rice flambeed in front of us, eating Peking Duck and an opportunity to sip local spirits. Some mornings I ate yoghurt and peeled fruit rather than go out for breakfast. Sometimes when I needed some quiet time I took a container with me to the canteen and brought back leftovers and had that for dinner. Generally food involved being with people, talking, reminiscing, planning next events and activities or celebrating.

The numbers game.

I am always interested in numbers and am always thinking about how we track what we do. I wore a FitBit and my daily step average was 16,384. By the end of the trip I had walked approximately 250 kilometers and I have walker’s blisters to show for this.

We visited historical sites to learn about history and places of interest where we could observe traditional arts and crafts happening.

  •  Water Cube & Birds Nest: 4.8km
  •  Tiananmen Square: 16 Km
  •  Mutianyu Great Wall: 67 KM
  •  Forbidden City: 14 KM
  •  Summer Palace: 9.6KM
  •  Nanluoguxiang/ South Luogu Alley: 12 Km
  •  Oriental Charm Market: 23km
  •  Sun Park: 16 Km
  •  Pearl Gardens: 36 KM
  •  Zhujiang Dijing (Host Family): 25 km
  •  National Library: 8.7 KM
  •  National Museum of China: 16 Km
  •  Hanban Confucius Headquarters:
  •  Tianjin City: 149km
  •  Liyuan Theatre: 15 KM (Beijing Opera)
  •  Red Theatre:  (Kung Fu Show) 21 Km

My highlight was visiting the Great Wall at Mutianyu. The journey there took us nearly two hours because we were caught in traffic. However once I stood on the wall I felt emotional and a part of something very big. I spent time on my own walking parts of the wall and reflected on my Chinese learning which like the Great wall has been massive. Parts of my learning is crumbling from lack of use and parts are stronger from teaching. Part of my learning is growing as I continue to focus on my goals.  I took the chairlift up and the luge back down because my feet were problematic with blisters. Some of the teachers walked up and down the wall and the feedback we gave was to provide more time at this amazing place.


Overall during the journey to Beijing I had travelled 1000 kilometres by bus, by taxi, by subway and by high speed train. In addition I took just over 1300 photos to help capture part of my learning.


I saw rejuvenation happening. I believe that language and the environment go together and have a belief that the current challenges that Beijing is having with natural resources will continue to improve. When I check new environment I look at the air quality, water quality and soil quality.

We were there in the spring but apart from the blossoms there was no other evidence. The air was as warm as summer because of the low ar quality. There was no spring rain for all the time we were there and I missed the rain. I saw patches with trees and escaped to these sections when I could. However the dust and thickness of the air could not be masked by the greenness of the trees. The sky was quite blue, often cloudless but was generally hazy in the distance. When it was warm and seemed clear I would check the readings and usually went out with my mask.

Water was a premium and I hesitated to eat fruit or vegetables with no skin. So I generally ate imported fruit and ensured that I only ate cooked vegetables. Toilets were interesting because paper was placed in a nearby basket and not flushed down. At the same time I could see that already water was given priority as we were encouraged to keep waste materials separate. For drinking water I initially tried boiling water until the metallic taste put me off. So I switched to bottled water and and churned through nearly four litres daily. It wasn’t enough though because my skin was dry as sandpaper and I found I needed full body moisturizing twice daily.

The soil looked parched and stripped of all goodness. I wondered about what I was eating so stuck to what local people ate. Generally vegetables are eaten cooked. Therefore I did the same and avoided uncooked vegetables.

The birds gave me hope and I would look out for them as I walked to class each day. When we visited sites I would also look out for them. They are indicators of how healthy the environment is. The main birds I saw were the indigenous magpies. They had magnificent colours of an azure green, kind of like our tuis. I also saw one woodpecker.


I am a travelwise lead teacher so am always interested in public transport and in how cities move people. I loved the Beijing subway system. I found it easy and user friendly. Beijing did not have a separate bus lane like we do in Auckland. However I loved how cycles and electric scooters had their own lanes and how pedestrians had their own lanes and these appeared just as important as cars and buses. I loved seeing the mashup of electric scooters. Some looked like mini trucks, some looked like mini cars and some looked like normal scooters. Everyone using them did not wear helmets and like the cycles seemed to have the same rights as pedestrians. One highlight was catching the high speed train, with a colleague, to Tianjin a nearby city of 19,000,000 people. A city I had never heard of until the week I visited it. Another highlight was activating an Ofo account using wechat. Ofo was one of the bicycle systems we saw. There are several but Ofo caught my eye first because of its bright yellow colour. I had 100 yen transferred to my wechat account from a local resident because I believe a Chinese bank account is  needed to activate wechat wallet. I then needed help to activate Ofo because all the instructions were in Mandarin. Once activated I could ride an Ofo bike for one yen (.20c NZ) for 30 minutes. When I reflected on how successful this would be in New Zealand I realised that it would not work as well because helmets are not compulsory in China.

The challenge that Beijing has is traffic. Like every large city cars are everywhere. Travelling on motorways takes a long time and if you plan to take the motorway then ensure extra time is always accounted for.

Internet access

Well where do I begin with this one. The internet is as important to me as natural resources. Coming from New Zealand into Beijing I had to make several adjustments. One was leaving Google behind. That was the most frustrating because I am used to the ease of google for searching, for collaborating and sharing, for site translating, for storage of photos and videos, maps with marker locations. Over the time in Beijing I learnt to adjust to other tools and just had to get on with it. I missed twitter the most because I could not keep up with general education news. I used viber to communicate with family but even that died in my final week. I was determined to cope as a local would without a VPN but maybe I should have ensured that it was working well before I left. I could still get school email on the phone but could not access it via online. I am sure that staff I work with were happy to have a little peace from me.

However the positive was WeChat. We used WeChat as a form of group communication and this worked really well. We could share photos, ask questions and confirm information. I learnt to push out information too using WeChat. For example creating PDFs from powerpoint and uploading them using my computer version of WeChat. I observed how WeChat was used to purchase grocery items, restaurant food, pay for petrol, movies etc. In fact in New Zealand I believe this is definitely an area that is still in early stages. We have to download a movie app to buy tickets, download a petrol app to pay for petrol and so on. But we have yet to develop a system that does all this within one app.

So in order for access, we purchased a local simm card as soon as we could. I could not get a data only plan so went with a month phone plan. Back on campus I also purchased a month’s internet access. Both were adequate for my requirements.

The phone plan gave me access to wechat and maps. Using maps I could navigate the bus and subway systems. I was also able to use the GPS systems to always identify where I was. On campus internet was slower than what I am used to.

Daily routine

Supermarket shopping was part of the regular routine because of the need to buy water. However it was also an excuse to stock up on snack food such as nuts and fruit. What I noticed was alcohol was very cheap. For example a local 1 litre bottle of beer was 90c NZ.  Wine however was not cheap. I often bought pistachio nuts, salted plums and dried mangoes. I usually did a daily load of hand washing and was grateful for the hindsight to bring a portable washing line. The bigger items were taken to the local laundry where they would be washed and dried within three hours. I had taken coffee sachets but had not quite taken enough. Coffee was a daily luxury and I limited myself to one sachet. When we were out and about we looked out for café’s that might sell coffee. We did find a starbucks but the coffee was still not that wonderful. Generally coffee came in long sachets with powdered milk and too much sugar. For the first few days I needed a daily nana nap because jetlag affected me but I soon was into the Beijing rhythm.


For our final session we were instructed to present a reflection about our time in Beijing. I waited to go last because I had created mine a little differently focusing on some funny moments. However as I sat listening to my new friends share their highlights I felt the connections as I nodded and laughed recapping on an incredible three weeks learning. For one of my slides I have put all the highlights together to emphasise what a cram packed cultural and language experience we had. Together we collaborated to create a preparation lesson for each of the sites we visited. We created a variety of debriefs to show our learning and as a resource to use back back in our programmes. We reflected on what we learnt through our highlights presentations and we have returned to New Zealand tired but at the same time rejuvenated in our efforts to teach and share about Chinese language and culture with our students and our peers. However for me the greatest taonga I bring back are the memories of my time with my colleagues as together we navigated our way around Beijing and learnt more about a different culture and language. We have come home with a greater appreciation of our own country and the importance we must give to its environment, culture and language. Highlighted for us is the importance of people whether we are learning in a city of twenty two million people or teaching in a country with four million people.

My daily journal

Throughout my 21 days in Beijing I kept a daily journal that had similar focus areas each day. I kept a record of the air quality, daily temperature and short snippets of activities and places we might have visited. Each day I looked for a cultural element and each day I tried to identify new phrases I had learnt.

Probably my greatest learning was from the other Chinese Language teachers in the group. As part of our brief we needed to create a preparation lesson for upcoming places we would visit. Through them I learnt more about vocabulary and phrases I would need, I learnt about some cultural aspects such as an explanation about the appropriateness of using chopsticks. I also  learnt that no matter where we are on our language learning journey we still have some things to learn and with a little research we can still teach in unfamiliar areas.    


Overall Statement

Overall the purpose of the scholarship was to grow our understanding of Chinese Language and Culture and also to rediscover interesting aspects of our own cultural identity. I believe that together with my goals I have certainly looked at who I am. One beautiful highlight was when I wechatted my Chinese ‘daughter’ living in Shanghai and her young daughter was learning to say Ni hao nǎi nai. (general term for grandmother). My heart is already made up of many bloods and this moment confirmed that there is also a bit of Chinese there. This journey was unbelievable. I have grown as an intercultural educator and return to my school rejuvenated with my work. I am excited to return to my weekly language classes to continue growing my Chinese and look forward to sharing this once in a lifetime experience with the children that I teach and with the teachers that I work with. There are many people and organisations to thank for this opportunity. First and foremost thanks to Fu Jiwei the Chinese National Language Advisor who first alerted me to the programme. He also came with us in a supporting role.  Also to ILEP for coordinating the programme.To Liu Hongyuan and Beijing Language and Cultural University for hosting us, providing us with two exceptional guide students Hu an and Siqi and for organising the sites we visited and the cultural activities we took part in. Thanks to our Ministry of Education, Confucius Institute and Hanban for approving the programme. Finally special thanks to Dr Wendy Kofoed and Newmarket School Board of Trustees for giving encouragement and approval for me to go.

I give a shoutout to these amazing Chinese language teachers who helped create fabulous Beijing memories:

Jenny, Elly, Nickie, Jordy, Lizanne, Olivia, Juliet, Karen, Lynn, Ann and Natalie


Participatory Oriented Citizens:

In October of 2012, I attended Ulearn as an attendee. From the flood of information that washed over me I set two goals.

The first was to run a TeachMeet in New Zealand using Google Hangouts to provide a space where teachers can share their stories. That goal has eventuated and has grown into a curated resource for education that currently has over 70 teacher stories in 3 minutes.

The second goal was to to have our children collaborate on a Global project. This second goal is drawing closer. This year a school global project will be launched that was developed as part of my #FlatConnect Global Educator outcomes.

In the past we have coordinated and run two global projects and have taken part in a few others. Our coordinated projects involved hosting an author in the hot seat. The first session was hosted face to face at the National Library and we hosted Sandra Morris. We had six New Zealand Schools involved and one came in via Skype. Most of the asynchronous communication took place via email. Except for two teachers via twitter. During the global event we used synchronous communication such as Skype and the children used the ‘author in the hot seat forum’ on Superclubsplus to ask questions of the author.

The following year in May 2012, our children took part in a Global Project coordinated by the BBC. You can read more about that here. The asynchronous  tools used were email and youtube. Later that month we ran anothercoordinated global session using Superclubsplus and this time directly from our school. We hosted Ant Sang, kiwi graphic artist extraordinaire.  The story was featured on TKI as part of the Snapshot For Learning series. The link can no longer be located so have added the link to the shared doc used to create the entry. Virginia Kung our assistant principal was the driving force behind this project as part of her inquiry and I coordinated the tool supporting her. Again our synchronous tool was the ‘author in the hot seat forum’ on Superclubsplus. Note here, Superclubsplus is now known as Skoodle.

Where to next? 

As 2015 begin, I think about how our next global project will eventuate. As a Travelwise school with a focus on reducing traffic at the gate, we will take a leading role in this Flat Connect global project and this time I want the children much more involved at the connecting, collaborating, creating and sharing process. I have observed some of the global work we have been involved in and have led and have identified the one offs. Using SOLO Taxonomy this is multistructural in thinking and in order to move to relational thinking we need to create learning experiences that last longer than a one off synchronous session. The skype in the classroom our students were recently involved in was another example of these one off sessions. I regard these one off sessions like a tourist hopping on and off the bus. ‘Stop, take a photo- here is the evidence I have been here and taken part.’

At Newmarket School the #FlatConnect Global Project Travel2School for children will focus on students as participatory orientated citizens as framed by Westheimer and Kahne’s (2004) conceptions of citizenship. We will unpack what this means by identifying responsibilities such as.

    • take skilled and active role in groups that work for the common good
    • know effective strategies for collaborative action

Connections between students will be more than a one off communication session. Collaboration between students will involve students working with others outside their own schools. Across schools an artefact will be co-created that will make a difference to school communities. The students will celebrate learning by globally sharing and reflecting on their part in the process. Underpinning this project will be citizenship. You can read how my thinking is evolving around the term citizenship here.


Routledge.Westheimer, J. and Kahne, J. (2004). Educating the “Good” Citizen: Political choices and pedagogical goals. American Political Science Association

O Lau Malu

O lau Malu
‘Talofa lava, malo le soifua ma le lagi e mama. O au o Sonya Van Schaijik. O lou aoga o le aoga tulagalua o Newmarket, i Aukilani, Niu Sila. O lou galuega, o au o le faiaoga mo tamaititi e lua gagana. O lou pito ata mai o le faaogaina o le tekonolo ma tamaiti ma faiaoga.’

E iloa le tagata lona tulaga i upu e tautala ai
My tattoo journey begins with my Grandmother a treasure of our family. She was not blessed with a malu but her mother Simeaneva was. So in my family, the malu skipped two generations. I am conscious that I am the ‘uputi’ of Nana’s ‘laau.’

O au matua o mea sina mai le Atua
When I asked my parents if I could get my malu, my mother’s response was initially why?
My fathers was, are you sure sweetheart. Are you aware of how hard it will be to remove?
I said I am not asking for your permission , but I am asking for your blessing. They both gave their blessing.

O lou tina tausi
My godmother however was totally supportive. She said, ‘Good on you girl. I am so proud of you. If I was young again I would join you.’

Teu le gafa
The why part is interesting. I have huge pride of being Samoan. I am aware that on the outside I do not look Samoan, however on the inside my Samoan blood is thick and pure. I know who I am and where I come from. I know my ancestry thoroughly because I am one of the family genealogists. Through that work, I learnt that my great grandmother Simeaneva Fonoti from the village of Le Pa in Falealii had a malu.

O au mamanu
Before I undertook my malu, I spoke at length with Noel McGrevy who had interviewed Samoan Tufuga and collated their photos and stories. I learnt about the malu patterns and the difference between female and male Mamanu.

Le Mata o le Malu
I specifically asked for some male patterns because of my knowledge and identity. I am a
mother of sons and the atualoa is associated with my two sons. I have a stylized mata o le malu unique to me. In addition, I have the upega as my connections to my aiga, my gafa and in a way the way I connect online.

Tufuga Ta Tatau
When I first approached my tufuga, his response was ‘E ta muamua lou laulaufaiva na ta lea o lou tino.’ Meaning was I committed to my Samoan language and culture? Now when I meet Tuifaasisiga Tuloena Sua, I meet my other father. When I meet any of his other subjects, we are brothers and sisters of his family because together we spilled blood under his tools.

E le o se mea e tau faaalialia
Some Samoans say ‘Show your malu when it needs to be shown’. Only someone with a malu
can really respond to that statement. When I first had mine done, I would flash glimpses of it whenever I could. I was so proud and excited about having being blessed that I wanted to show the world my gift. However with age comes quieter pride. So you might only see it when I think you need to see it.

Process of Tatau
I placed my trust into my tattooist. My body was his canvas. I undertook the pain for 36 hours. six hours per day over six days. My tufuga and I both were both responsible for my tattoo. His is the job and mine is hygiene and taking care of myself during and after the sessions as the skin heals.

A leai se gagana, ua leai se aganu’u. A leai se aganu’u ona po lea o le nu’u.”
-Aione Fanaafi Le Tagaloa
There was a huge responsibility to complete my tattoo because I did not want the shame of a pe’a motu – the unfinished tattoo. With the blessing comes the responsibility to my language and culture. “Without language there is no culture. Without culture, darkness descends’,  Aiono Fanaafi Le Tagaloa

O lau Malu o Mea Sina mai Samoa
There are obligations of being a Samoan tattooed female, knowing what it represents and what it means. For me the malu sums up an old Samoan saying. ‘O le ala o le pule o le tautua.’ The path to leadership is through service. In my school of Newmarket I identify stronger with our historic motto: Not self but service.

Uso ma aiga
A malu is something that’s not undertaken on a whim – it takes focus and bravery. While the
tufuga tattoos you, a ‘solo’ wipes off the excess ink and blood. In addition I was surrounded by family and friends singing along to encourage me as I lay half exposed while one third of my body was being tattooed.

Ta Tatau
As the ‘au’ bit into my skin and the ink forced into the wounds, I could hear and feel the vibration in my bones. The feeling is indescribable. Each ‘Tufuga Ta Tatau’ has a rhythm and I coped with Tui’s rhythm by singing in a monotone to the rhythm of the ‘au’ and had holders grip my head, ankles and wrists.

Le Pea ma le Malu
When I was growing up, I hardly saw anyone with a pea or a malu, However that has recently
changed as more of us take this step of cultural pride. I am Samoan. I have royal blood so yes I have the right to wear a malu. From Simeaneva Fonoto descendents I am one of 5 who has been blessed with a ‘tatau.’

Samaga Pea
We celebrated the completion of my malu with the gifting of fine mats to the ‘Tufuga’ and special visitors. With this is a connection to my Grandmother Matalaoa as several mats came from her funeral via my parents. My sons were part of this process therefore paving the way forward for who they are.

Taofi mau i au mea sina
There are different kinds of malu and you can usually tell by the spacing between the skin. Mine is ‘gigii’. There is not much space between my patterns. A malu is completed when the hands are blessed. That will be the final stage of my malu. My Malu is a covenant between myself and my culture I hope to do that before ‘Tui Fa’asisina’ becomes too old. ( I give a shout out here to my friend Vaemasenu’u Zita Martel who has also been blessed with a malu. She lives and breathes her covenant. )

So where to next, the next time I share with you I will share my digital tattoo and describe my digital journey. Just as the ‘tatau’ journey ended in Samoa at the village of Falealupo in Savaii, so do I end my personal tattoo story with you . But before I finish –
Lea la ou te faalele lou pea malu ma outou e faitau lau tala manatua lou fesili. E ta sou malu?.’

If you want to make contact with Tuifaasisiga Tuloena Sua, here is his contact cell in New Zealand, 021295 6482.

My descriptive week.

On Tuesday I was part of a team of presenters presenting with Julie Lindsay at the Global Education Conference.  I shared about #TeachMeetNZ the New Zealand project that I host on google hangouts.

In addition I shared about #EdBookNZ where 10 New Zealand bloggers collaboratively wrote a chapter to unpack current generic education terminology.

Here is the recording from the session hosted by Julie from Flat Connections.

On Wednesday we had the final session for our ESOL area cluster group. The session was held at Stonefields School and after the meeting we were given a tour by @KirstyPanapa.
I was interested in seeing their new building.

That evening I supported Virginia with our Chinese dance group who performed at the Auckland Town Hall as part of the Auckland Primary Principals Association Festival.

On Thursday I presented the final part of a Trilogy. I had set a goal to present three times this year at Eduignite and I have fulfilled that goal.
The first presentation was my Personal Tattoo, the second was my Digital Tattoo and the third was on Citizenship. In addition I had set a final presentation goal which was to present without notes by talking from the slides and I did.
If you want to find out more about Eduignite then follow the twitter hashtag. I wrote about presenting at Eduignite here.
This Thursday’s Eduignite had some fabulous presenters as we normally do and they were @digitallearnin @DianaWilkes @CaroBush @BridgetCasse @f_leaupepe @HmsMoore. It was great to catch up face to face with educators who have also presented with me on TeachMeetNZ.
This time we sent through our slides to @cowieandrew as link on twitter so that there was smooth transition between presenters.

Digital tattoo 

Then on Friday night some of us from school attended our Mandarin Language Assistant Graduation held at Confucius centre at Auckland University. Bingqin has been with us for nearly the whole of 2014. We share her with two other local schools.

Finally on Saturday I attended another learning session with Julie Lindsay with our #FlatConnect cohort. I enjoy these sessions as I know I am learning so much from my team mates about being a Global educator. We were given our final task of designing our own global project and I am keen to begin the framework for our Ningbo sister school in China.

So in all another busy and fun learning week.

Global Digital Citizenship

The most important variable in collaboration is people. I keep coming back to the phrase that before collaboration can take place people need to make connections. Dr Wendy Kofoed and myself are presenting this very topic at Ulearn.  If you have questions for us you can add them here to our Q &  A Padlet.
Over the past two months, I have been making connections with three groups of educators as part of Connected Educator Month. I have been practising digital citizenship. I have been struggling to make sense of digital citizenship because I believe that citizenship is a strong enough word on its own. Why do I need to add digital in front of it to make it something other than what it is. I want to present this idea at my final Eduignite series where I hope by then my thinking is clearer. Monika @BeLchick1 has agreed to take on the challenge defining Citizenship as part of our #EdBookNZ project and I will be catching up with her soon to find out what she has been reading about on this very idea. Myself I agreed to work on connected educator and you can read about my thinking on connected educator here

In September I joined the second cohort of the Flat Connections Global Educators under the guidance of Julie Lindsay @julielindsay I am aiming to become a certified global educator by the end of this year. The outcome of that would be that I have led a global project and I would have worked with a group of #FlatConnect educators from around the world. I have taken part in several global projects and hence why I coordinate #TeachMeetNZ because here in New Zealand we are in still in the infancy stages of having our teachers working together nationally on national projects. Like the teachers blogs that have surfaced, evidence shows we are still in the early stages of collaboration. I have started to see some evidence of our teachers taking part in global projects with their classes but again I can count that on two hands. Some of that work you can see when I run the second TeachMeetNZ session this month as part of connected educator month.

Already I have adapted the work I do online with #TeachMeetNZ to align better with what I am learning. On reflection I know I have not given enough opportunities for the teams I work with each quarterly to make connections and to get to know each other. This is called a handshake activity. Therefore for this connected educator month I have set up a padlet for my handshake activity because I would like to implement what I am learning.
The first collaborative assignment involves Digital Citizenship –concept and practice? I am working with Ann Rooney @AnnRooney6 and you can read her blog post here on her current thinking around this. Julie gave us the term and a few guidelines as to how to go about carrying out the assignment and the rest is up to us.

So the first thing I do when I am writing is to activate a SOLO Taxonomy rubric and I have chosen an analogy map to help clarify my thinking. You can activate your own rubric from Pam Hook’s site. Virginia Kung, my SOLO  mentor at school  will be proud because that is always the first question she asks me, “Where is your rubric, Sonya?”
From the four years I have been using SOLO taxonomy in my teaching and learning I know that first step is to define my key idea.
So here goes. 

What is Digital Citizenship?
I am reflecting on citizenship through: all those online and offline experiences; conversations shared over scrambled eggs and bacon and through the screen; and books read online and by turning the paper pages.
Pam Hook – Personal Communication over scrambled eggs and bacon breakfast at Altar Mt Eden 3rd October 2014
“Any action that makes a positive difference to the common good can be construed as an act of citizenship. Enabling students to think critically about their own lives and society as a whole is a powerful way of making citizenship visible to them. To develop what Hayward (2012) refers to as a democratic imagination, motivation and involvement, students need a context where they have a voice and feel like they belong, matter and can make a difference. A context where they can value, and act in ways that promote, community and participation for the common good. A context where they can experience agency and demonstrate the rights and responsibilities they have as citizens.” Hook (2014 in Press) – Transport as a context for encouraging skilled and active citizenship) Pam Hook is writing about using the road as a commons – a shared space – as a context for citizenship but her arguments can just as easily be conceptualised through the use of digital technologies.
Pam’s question is: How might we build students’ democratic imagination, motivation and involvement as “digital citizens”?
At breakfast Pam talked about the different types/categories of citizenship – and how these might be helpful in thinking about building digital citizenship – referencing the work of Westheimer and Kahne
She asked what each of these might look like in  the context of digital citizenship.  We talked about how these categories might be expressed by students and educators – 

We think it might look something like this (draft thinking only).

Personally responsible citizens:
Participatory citizens:
Justice oriented citizens:
act responsibly
obey rules and laws
take skilled and active role in groups that work for the common good
know effective strategies for collaborative action
seek social justice, equity, human rights and moral rightness
take skilled action for social change
know effective strategies for changing existing practice
Newmarket School
Curriculum connection:
Not Self But Service- Newmarket’s first Motto
Newmarket School Curriculum connection: Student Leadership Programme at Newmarket School
Newmarket School Curriculum connection:
Students taking on a glocalisation project to benefit our local environment.
EG:I would like to see here what we are doing to minimise traffic around our inner city school.
Digital citizen example:
Educators volunteer to take part in an online project where they act in ways that will benefit others.
An example here would be the GlobalClassroom chats I have hosted and co-hosted on a variety of topics.
Digital citizen example:
Educators take a skilled and active role in a group that hosts and or organises online projects for the benefit of others.
An example here would be the #EdChatNZ conference that has taken place recently
Digital citizen example:
Educators experience a form of context collapse – and exercise “pedagogical activism” to understand whose voices are amplified – and whose voices are muted or not heard. They work to include in the conversation those whose are excluded by the process and or the technology that enables online projects  – They ask what are the unforseen consequences of online projects – e.g. Postmans questions – who is advantaged – who  disadvantaged and who remains unaffected by online projects – and then they work to find clumsy solutions to address this
eg: where are the Pasefika educators hiding online. I plan to host a TeachmeetNZ totally in Samoan as part of Samoan Language week in 2015.
Digital citizen example:
Students taking part in the Skoodle Badge system (or equivalent) – or using SOLO rubrics for blog commenting – learning how to behave online for the common good
(A teacher has just created a badge system for her class.)
Digital citizen example:
Students setting up a FaceBook group to support other students in their year group – course – church or social group
Digital citizen example:
Educators and students  develop knowledge, skills, attitudes and behaviours about and for
·       technology access, 
·     technical awareness, 
·     individual awareness
·       social awareness
·       cultural awareness
·       global awareness for personally responsible citizen outcomes  
Educators and students  develop knowledge, skills, attitudes and behaviours about and for
·       technology access, 
·     technical awareness, 
·     individual awareness
·       social awareness
·       cultural awareness
·       global awareness for personally responsible citizen outcomes  
Educators and students  develop knowledge, skills, attitudes and behaviours about and for
·       technology access, 
·     technical awareness, 
·     individual awareness
·       social awareness
·       cultural awareness
·       global awareness for personally responsible citizen outcomes  

Flattening Classrooms, Engaging Minds: Move to Global Collaboration One Step at a Time 

Part of purchasing the course book gives me access to further online resources including access to a glossary and this is what this is what I found on Pearson’s resource site.
Digital Citizenship is the ‘Norms of online behaviour. A person practising effective digital citizenship understand the technology and can relate his or her behavioural choice according to social cultural and global norm.’ 

I am not sure if ‘norms’ necessarily captures citizenship – what it is to work for the common good. Couros suggests that – ‘Digital Citizenship needs to concern itself much more with social responsibility and social learning than is currently being addressed.’ Dr Alec Couros  Flattening Classrooms. Engaging Minds, Pg 97
The observations by Couros are supported by the conversations with Hook – see above.
When educators are connected to resources and create learning environments to help students form educated opinions and behaviours for online safety they are acting as citizens – acting in ways that promote the common good. 

There are five areas in which personally responsible, participatory and justice oriented citizens can act to promote the common good in and with online environments. These are: technology access, technical awareness, individual awareness, social awareness, cultural awareness and global awareness. From Flattening Classrooms. Engaging Minds Chapter 5, Citizenship, In the enlightened digital citizenship model. I will take these terms in turn and use them to better understand what I do when I act as a participatory citizen with TeachMeetNZ. (refer ticks in grid below). I note that there are other elements that can be addressed. So already I can see how to make what I do online even better.

Type of citizenship
technology access
technical awareness
individual awareness
social awareness
cultural awareness
global awareness
personally responsible citizen
participatory citizen
justice oriented citizen

Technology Access: Tools for Collaboration. In order for collaboration to take place the educators that I work with must have access to Asynchronous Communications such as twitter, and google+ communities and via gmail because we are using a google product. Communication takes place asynchronously in that the participants do not generally communicate concurrently. However when we move to the live streamed event, we use synchronous tools such as google hangout and even twitter. Therefore communication takes place in real time. When the session is over we move back to asynchronous communications such as twitter, a blog reflection and commenting on each others blog and a wind back of the hangout via youtube. The  educators that I work with develop their presentations using a communication conduit such as google presentation and the group wiki through which ideas flow between themselves and me on their presentation. I can see their slides develop as they are being built and can give feedback. The communication conduit happens too via the google + community and via twitter where we use the #TeachMeetNZ. I have added a facebook page too but at this stage I still find twitter the best place to pass messages through. 

Five areas of awareness

This next part of my reflection involves walking the educators through the process of the TeachMeetNZ sessions and their learning framed with the five areas of awareness that develop as their online learning unfolds.The first term is technical awareness. Educators are faced with a new tool such as using google hangout to present their learning. They generally have a basic awareness of the features and functions of Google Hangout. Many of the educators I work with are also new to wikis and presenting on #teachmeeetnz is usually the first time that they have created a presentation that is Asynchronous.

Next Individual awareness evolves as the educator decides how they will create their slides for sharing with an audience. The first thing learnt is making a copy of the presentation template. They also learn how to respond to a call and learn how to use the tools.  We have three practise sessions before the min event. 

Then during the first face to face virtual practise session, social awareness takes place. I see the educators tagging and linking to each other via twitter and adding each other on google +. I also see how the slides evolve as they personalise their presentation. Some take the slides and totally rehash them, others create their own sequence and I have even had a couple choose a totally different media too to present with. From these experiences I can see my own progress in social awareness develop as I had not even thought of using some of these ideas for presenting. 

After that cultural awareness happens as the educators learn about each other, from each other and understand what they have in common. They make connections with each other via same interests, same education levels, same cities that they live in, and even same cultural background. They find out family facts and put a face to a twitter handle. Some make connections because what they hear about is new learning for them and so generally go and find out more about the topic before the next hangout practise takes place. 

Finally global awareness happens, as the hangout is live streamed and feedback comes in from countries on the other side of the globe. The educators are excited that someone as far away as Brazil, or Spain or Finland stopped by to hear their story. They realise the impact of what has happened. For me the most exciting thing is seeing what happens next. I observe several who have joined me suddenly blossom in online confidence and I see them leading other initiatives and being rewarded with recognition from the education community both nationally and globally. In addition I love reading their blog reflections of the process and several have told me that their blog readership spike after having taken part in a session with me.

Developing a democratic imagination as a connected online educator.

 An awareness of these five areas is the beginning of developing a democratic imagination online – of digital citizenship. These five areas of awareness are like a lens to look at the behaviours we demonstrate online. In SOLO I would call this outcome multistructural thinking. The teachers that I work with know what it means to be online. They are not taught about digital citizenship but through the experience of being a digital citizen – it is through participating in an online project like TeachMeetNZ where they work with educators from around New Zealand and that by living the story, this is an effective process of learning about citizenship. From reading Flattening Classrooms. Engaging Minds Chapter 5, Citizenship, In the enlightened digital citizenship model, the best behaviour filter we have is “the space between the ears of the person using a computer”.  I love this phrase and have used it even with our teachers.

This filter is created through:  

Safety, Privacy, Copyright, Fair Use and Legal compliance. As the teachers create their presentation, they ensure that the images they use do not give away their children’s personal details.  As they mash and rehash resources, they must ensure that what they used has been referenced and acknowledged. From the chapter on digital citizenship I realise that I must stress the copyright sections with the educators that I work with. By taking part in a TeachMeetNZ session they allow their work to be shared on the TeachMeetNZ wiki and with that comes responsibility to their school and the children that they teach. I remind educators taking part about transparency and ask that their slides are visible to the audience using an embed widget.

Etiquette and Respect. The teachers learn about being respectful of other educators and learn how to give and receive feedback. A thought that keeps surfacing is disruption and I think that sometimes in education we live in an online bubble and communicate with like mindedness. Therefore missing the voice that asks us the difficult question. So we can ask the hard questions and still be respectful of the educators who ask us hard questions. In fact I welcome educators who ask hard questions I call them disruptive and use that term positively. 

Habits of Learning: Responsible Management of Online Activity. This section focusses on appropropriate habits of learning in the digital age. It focusses on the students but from my lens I focus on the teachers. TeachMeetNZ is an academic space and reflects an understanding of appropriate behaviour that is different from how the educators interact socially online. Reliability is shown by having an online presence. The chapter talks about the digital footprint and I talk about the digital tattoo because I often make reference to my personal tattoo. The educators are reliable contributors and collaborators in online spaces.

The beginnings of thinking for justice oriented citizenship 

Thinking about representation and flat leadership. It is interesting to note that educators who take part in a Teachmeetnz session with me are all involved with twitter, all have a blog and all have digital spaces that they contribute too. They are leaders on the VLN, early Pond adopters. In addition they have other education communities that they are part of or lead. Personally I call this being an educator and a citizen  It just is. However, they are not representative of the wider community of educators doing great work in teaching and learning – and as connected educators and citizens we must not forget this. The TeachMeetNZ site is still dominated by me leading and I am trying to change that by encouraging other educators to lead. This is happening, but it is not fast enough for me. Using SOLO Taxonomy I can see that use of the space is currently at a multistructural level. The scary part is I can see where to take it to relational and extended abstract. But that is another blog post and that thinking is evolving using SOLO Taxonomy  and because I am involved in this certification process with Flat Connections.

Thinking about Universal Design for Learning (UDL) Hook (personal conversation) asks how we can design online groups and teach meets so that the conversations, learning materials and ideas can be accessed in multiple way – do we provide “multiple ways of presenting materials for learning”? Do we provide “multiple means of contribution – expression and action for learning”? This thinking should become our default design when thinking about initiatives for developing digital citizenship. 

Thinking about literacy and fluency. Language in New Zealand differs. Alongside our Maori Culture we have a vibrant Pasifika Community with representatives from all islands. Being Samoan I notice online in education that Pasefika and Maori educators are few and far between. So I am always on the lookout for Pasefika and Maori educators to join me. Last July I ran a CLESOL focussed TeachMeetNZ and was excited to have representation from both groups presenting with me. In Aotearoa New Zealand particularly in Auckland we already have a vibrant cultural representation so why is this not reflected online in our education circles. Yes it is growing but again is still in early stages. My goal is to run a TeachMeetNZ totally in Samoan and one totally in Maori. So if you are of those two groups you will already know that I have been shoulder tapping you to join me. I am aiming to support a session in 2015 during both language weeks in New Zealand. 

So where is this all leading too?
The post is to clarify my thinking around Digital Citizenship, but I continue to struggle. I think the term lends itself better to just being citizenship – to ask how do we act with others in ways that enhance the common good online and offline? Yes the technologies certainly make our task of collaboration transparent and easier to coordinate but ultimately it is about people. It is about building relationships for the common good and we do this by making connections online and offline and in the between. Easier – is not necessarily better – any time, any place, must not neglect the anyone.
In Samoa I would be asked: O ai oe? O ai lou aiga? O ai lou matai? Fea lou nu’u? or Who are you? Who is your family? Who is your village leader? Which village do you come from?
In Maori we say He aha te mea nui o te ao?  He tangata! He tangata! He tangata! What is the most important thing in the world?  It is people! It is people! It is people!
Image created by students from Newmarket School.


Hayward, B. (2012). Children, Citizenship & Environment: Nurturing a democratic imagination in a changing world. Routledge.Westheimer, J. and Kahne, J. (2004). Educating the “Good” Citizen: Political choices and pedagogical goals. American Political Science Association

Hook, P. (2014 in Press). Transport as a context for encouraging skilled and active citizenship. NZTA

Lindsay, J., & Davis, V. (2013). Citizenship. In Flattening Classrooms, Engaging Minds Move towards Collaboration One step at a time. Pearson.

Lindsay, J. (2014, March 1). Digital citizenship: A global perspective. Retrieved October 5, 2014, from

Make memories and share stories

Last year I shared our story of using the HOT seat forum with our staff at a staff meeting.

Just before the term 3 holidays, I presented at Edugnite Leadership and shared our story with Auckland teachers of using a HOT seat forum on Superclubsplus.
Then our story was shared via TKI on the snapshot for learning.
Soon after that I re-shared our story globally of using Global HOT seats with TeachMeetINT where I was one of 24 educators from 16 countries sharing using Adobe connect.
Now my next step is to increase that circle to a greater audience by resharing this story via my blog and then using twitter to broadcast to an even greater audience.
Where to next, I plan to continue sharing our story when I travel to European countries as part of a TEACHNZ sabbatical in 2013. I plan to make links with other Global educators of primary school children.
Before Ulearn. I attended Pasi Sahlsberg’s session for school leaders. He spoke about the Finnish Education System and why he thought they are placed top in the world for education. He shared his views on equity in education. He shared his ideas about GERM. I made connections with Pasi on twitter so was excited to hear him speak face to face and to hear his stories about his home country. One key connection I made to his story was the importance of first language for accademic success. Here you can download an article I co-authored regarding the importance of first language.
The day before Ulearn12, I attended #GAFENZ. This was the Google apps for education New Zealand Summit. Here I heard educators share their stories on using Google for learning. I made connections with educators who used Google Hangouts but do not think we will be using that with our primary school children. However there is nothing stopping us as teachers using it to share our stories with each other.
At ULEARN 2012, each of the plenaries shared a photo from their school days and shared memories of teachers who influenced them.
Therefore as part of this blog I have located my photo taken in 1972 or 40 years ago. I was a pupil at St Mary’s Savalalo in Apia Western Samoa. My teacher was Miss Laulu. I was one of 42 pupils in standard 2. This was my last year before we shifted to New Zealand. I have that story here on my wiki. I have been in New Zealand now for just over 40 years yet I still call Samoa home. I am nostalgic when I think of Samoa. Which pupil is me? Surely you can guess? Yes I was as fluent in Samoan as I am now. My story on my wiki was the closing plenary presentation for Fagasa in 2002. Yes I shared my story in Samoan

Ulearn12 provided me with opportunities to making connections to some of the stories I heard. Most people will share connections from the plenaries. You can read all about the plenaries messages here in the shared Google docs.
However for me, the highlights included making connections with the 2013 efellows and introducing them to the coreefellows wikispace. In addition when I attend Ulearn I try and attend any Pasifika or Maori teachers sessions. This year this included Janelle Riki, Moana Timoko, Anaru White, and Togi Lemanu who shared blended elearning for Māori and Pasifika Students. They spoke about the importance of pedagogy. I especially made connections with Moana as she spoke about BROfessionalism. I also listened to Togi share his story about Pasifika Learners and the blended model that he used.
I was also privileged to listen to some stunning teachers share their learning.
These included Mary Rahiti and Tania Lako from Sutton Park speaking about Flashing Flipcharts.
I sat in on Tupou Kolo’ofa’i sharing how she uses an active board when teaching the arts.
Other stories included @arti_choke aka Pam Hook sharing about SOLOtaxonomy. 
I would have liked to hear more about the ROW and other global projects. 
I also would have liked to have heard Simon Evans Software for Learning presentation where he shared about our Skoodle Project.
I attended the launch of the Digital Citizenship project launched at the National Library. Already I have begun contributing to this collaborative project.
What ULEARN did for me was to remind me of others and to continue mentoring our teachers in the use of the tools with learning. I am conscious of the space between the nodes concept or as Moana called it BROfessionalism. I also wish to mentor a group of students as they prepare for a Global sharing. From Ulearn I have made contact with other New Zealand Global educators who have been part of collaborative work between countries and primary school children.
My aim is to coordinate a TeachMeet session here in New Zealand using Google hang-outs.

One word I took away from Ulearn was Ubiquitous computing. This is like the Internet of Things. This is machines that fit the human environment instead of forcing humans to enter theirs. 

The message that I take back for my school is ‘its no longer enough to do powerful work if no one sees it.’ Therefore create content to share your stories with other educators.

So where are your stories?