Friday 23 June 2017

A broader perspective: TeachNZ Study Awards

Brendon Marshall is HOD Science at Onehunga High School and last year received a TeachNZ Study Award to complete his master’s degree in educational leadership. He talks to Education Gazette about his study and why he would recommend that other teachers apply for a study award or sabbatical.

What motivated you to apply for a TeachNZ Study Award, and what did you research?
I applied for the award to allow some dedicated time to complete my master’s degree in educational leadership, through Waikato University. I’m just finishing off my dissertation as we speak!
My dissertation looks at ‘coaching conversations,’ with a focus on improving students’ learning and achievement.
Coaching conversations take place between two teachers. One teacher brings along data from a particular class, and that data is used as a starting point for the conversation. The coach asks the teacher (the coachee) questions to encourage them to inquire into the data, in terms of how they can improve the learning and achievement of the students.
What inspired you to become a teacher in the first place?
I’ve always been interested in, and enjoyed relating to, young people. I’m interested in helping young people to develop to their full potential. That’s about helping identify students’ interests, passions and strengths to help them achieve success and reach their potential in those things.
Now that I’ve been working in the leadership role within my school, my interest is in how I can help other teachers to develop their potential as teachers. It’s the same theme but a slight shift.
I help my fellow teachers identify their strengths to become the best teachers they can be.
In my studies, I was especially interested in learning more about the latest neuroscience research about education – how the brain works in term of learning, and how students learn and how adults learn – the differences and similarities. So in forming coaching conversations, it’s about looking closely at the relationships between coach and coachee, and the teacher-student relationship too.
What would you say to fellow teachers thinking of applying for a study award?
I would definitely recommend the experience. I believe there’s a lot of value in stepping out of your immediate context and gaining a broader perspective on your teaching.
During my study, I enjoyed the interaction I had with other educators – from both similar and really different backgrounds. I got the chance to mix with others, from early childhood teachers to tertiary educators, and think about teaching and learning from different perspectives.
It can be very easy to focus on what we’re doing in our own particular situation, but it’s helpful to get a wider picture. I also really appreciated having the opportunity to read and study academic literature and research that relates to what we do in the classroom.
When I’m in the swing of my teaching I’m very much focused on planning lessons and marking and responding to the day to day job. But it was really valuable to have the time to read and think about academic research – I hadn’t realised there was so much out there about what we do.
It was a really good experience, and I’m grateful to my school, the board, Waikato University, TeachNZ and my research participants for the opportunity to undertake my study.

 
TAKE TIME OUT FOR A 2018 TEACHNZ STUDY AWARD OR SABBATICAL
Applications are now open. Please check the 2017 closing dates as they will differ, depending on whether you are an area, secondary or primary school.
The Ministry of Education is committed to supporting the professional development of teachers and principals.
The TeachNZ Study Awards are part of the negotiated union collective agreements which provide paid study leave to complete part-time or full-time study in an educational priority area. The length of study leave awarded is based on your proposed study. Sabbaticals give teachers and principals the opportunity to spend three, five or 10 weeks completing a professional learning activity, and a chance for reflection and rejuvenation.
AREA SCHOOLS and SECONDARY SCHOOLS
Closing date for applications is Tuesday 6 June 2017.
A total of 29 study awards and sabbaticals for area teachers and principals are available.
·         7 full-time teacher equivalent (FTTE) Area Teachers Study Awards (AT) – closes
13 June
·         12 Area Teachers Sabbaticals (ATS)
·         10 FTTE Area Principals Sabbaticals (APS)
·         A total of 175 Study Awards and Sabbaticals for secondary teachers, principals and managers are available.
·         75 FTTE Secondary Teachers Study Awards (ST) – closes 13 June
·         50 Secondary Teachers Sabbaticals (STS)
·         40 FTTE Secondary Principals Sabbaticals (SPS)
·         10 Secondary Senior Managers Sabbaticals (SSMS)
PRIMARY SCHOOLS
A total of 230 Study Awards and Sabbaticals for primary teachers and primary principals and managers are available.
Closing date for applications is Monday 10 July 2017.
·         50 Primary Teachers Sabbaticals (PTS) are available
·         105 Primary Principals Sabbaticals (PPS) are available
·         75 FTTE Primary Teachers and Principals Study Awards (PT) are available
·         To apply now and for more information,
go to TeachNZ.
govt.nz/studyawards.
·         The Study Support Grants will open next month.