It was interesting to see the comment in Saturday’s NZ Herald indicating that Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern should pay more attention to smaller business owners in New Zealand rather than look at invigorating larger businesses. This draws a very relevant comparison to education where, if we are to successfully review NCEA and apply more relevant and strategic educational pedagogies to learning and teaching, we need to take a much greater effort to provide professional learning and development for each teacher.

We remain fixed in the old educational paradigm since teachers do not know about the new research, pedagogies, and trends to provide changes in education. In the three secondary schools I have had the experience to teach in this year, I have found that teachers do not know about the need for coherence, the implications of including the Key Competencies and capabilities in teaching, and the future trends in education for the 21st century.

Students have changed and are seemingly not engaged in the effort of learning; in all three schools they have explained they only do learning at school and do not do homework; they do not want to include anything in their learning other than what is prescribed in the Achievement Standard.

It is essential that we correct this learning philosophy imbalance so that they realize that learning and achievement is relevant, exciting and necessary in the 21st century by developing a learning and assessment climate that includes a much wider spectrum of literacy, conceptual, strategic and competency-based learning that meets the needs of these new-perspective students in the 21century.

This can only be done by removing the pressure to maintain a high student success profile in each school, and changing teaching pedagogies and strategies, and that requires changed professional learning and development for each and every teacher, through both their teaching development year in university and through continued professional development and education programmes while they continue to develop their action research during their teaching. This will require radical changes to the development of a school climate, professional learning and development philosophies for teachers, cooperation, discussion and negotiation with teacher unions, changes to Teacher Council regulations and genuine support for improving teaching through compulsory programmes and greater time allocations for non-contact time and PLD time.

But it will result in heightened regard for teachers and teaching as a profession; attract more highly qualified people who are desiring to support our teenagers to prepare for the 21st century, and result in more engaged students with more relevant conceptual knowledge, improved strategies for life, and more capabilities and competencies for lifelong learning and better capabilities to make genuine, significant contributions to society and their own community.

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