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The key features of professional development - Te Mana Kōrero

Filed under: Ako | Effective teachers

Tags: Te Mana Kōrero




The first Te Mana video examined the issues surrounding Māori student achievement. It challenged teacher expectations and featured a number of teachers who changed their classroom practice to better achieve outcomes for Māori students.

Tony Renshaw – Teacher Rotorua Lakes High School

I was prepared to make excuses for what they couldn't do, probably guilty of a bit of deficit theorising. Put up with just what they did, and probably didn't alter my expectations.

Trisha Turner – Teacher Rotorua Lakes High School

He felt so powerless. But after going through the project… I mean, who would want to go back there? Just moving into a position where you know you can do something is just a tremendous step.

Martin Godfrey – Teacher Rotorua Lakes High School

When I came into the programme – when I was asked to join it – I was certainly apprehensive about what was being presented. I was cynical to some extent. I was doubting that what I was being told was going to work. And yeah, I was very cynical about it – and that’s changed.


In the 18 months since Rotorua Lakes first embarked on a programme of professional development, it has been extended across the whole school to enable all members of staff to participate.

Tony Renshaw

Everyone is talking along the same lines, everyone is using the same language, everyone has got the same vision now of what we want happening in our classrooms, and what the outcome is. It’s not just a group of us who have heard the word, as it was. Now everyone can see that this is actually a concerted school effort.

Martin Godfrey

My teaching’s become more energetic I guess. Less chalk and talk type teaching, and getting around the kids more and getting their feedback and their individual ideas. Because the kids are more receptive to what you are doing, and they are more involved, and they feel that they are driving it so they want to learn and want to carry on down that path.


Some of the key features of successful professional development are: engaging students meaningfully in the learning process, and sharing the responsibility for setting learning goals. Forming positive and mutually respectful relationships with students. Undertaking focussed and sustained professional development within a collaborative and reflective learning community. Making teaching and learning decisions based on data from a wide range of sources. Using students’ prior knowledge, and local community expertise within the delivery of the curriculum and the learning process. Developing close relationships with whānau to support learning, and using ICT innovatively to promote learning. In Tony Renshaw's maths class, students are encouraged to think about, and articulate, their learning process.

Tony Renshaw

It’s the talk about the kids’ learning, it's not the talk about the kids’ behaviour. It’s about what I did with the class and it really worked well, you know someone else wants to pinch that idea, and that is fine.

Trisha Turner

But I think the other thing that has happened with the professional development is that you are more critically reflective of things you have done to improve your practice, and also quite often that you never actually arrive in this project – you just get better and better. It just seems like nothing is impossible any more. Whereas before you always sort of restricted how much you could achieve before you even tried to do it.

Russell Bishop – School of Education, Waikato University

You are seeing a maturing of the teachers in the range of strategies that they use. And in the range of inactions that they use in the classrooms, and the whole academic relationships that have developed in the classrooms, which are evident in the faces of the children.

Tony Renshaw

They are totally aware that there’s been a change of approach; that it’s obviously suiting a lot more of them, and that they are pretty happy in the classroom. And they see class as a place where there is this adult, that they've got that relationship with, that is non-threatening. That we’re trying to teach, we want them to learn, and that it’s a win-win situation.

Erena – Rotorua Lakes High School

Yeah, the difference is I've learnt more – that’s the difference that I've noticed

Tawhai – Rorotua lakes High School

The teachers have kind of got to know us a bit more and I think it’s had a good effect on us kids because we have input in what we learn and stuff. We might have a say in when we might have our test, or tomorrow we might want a revision on last week’s work, maybe we want to do some harder stuff.


Last year I wasn't really into maths, the teacher was nice but I didn't do the work. But my maths teacher this year, he’s really funny. He helps me, he, like, helps everybody in the class. And helps you as a individual – but he helps the whole class at the same time through that one hour.

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