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2013 Teachers

In 2013 eight teachers from across the Manaiakalani schools participated in the inaugural Manaiakalani Innovative Teacher Academy. 

In announcing the successful candidates, Manaiakalani Education Trust chair, Pat Snedden, had this to say;
"We found their propositions very refreshing and bold. The (selection) panel were unanimous that their projects were bold in scope and would lead to great outcomes for this community should they be successful."

Links to these teachers' Inquiries during 2013 and outlines of their areas of innovation are provided further down the page and via the Table of contents (right).

 In December 2013 each of the MITA teachers made a short video reflection.
The thumbnails are below. These will enlarge to full screen HD viewing.
Helen King
Nick Major
Juanita Garden
Sarah Gleeson
Chris Marks
Helen Squires
Joy Paton

Helen King

School: Pt England School
2012:    Teaching a Year 5 class. Class Blog link here. Class Google Site here. 
I have trialled elements of Visible Learning© (John Hattie), and creativity through movie making
2013:    Teaching in a Year 7/8 class. Class Blog link here. Class Google Site here.

Proposal: Classroom Culture, Ownership of Learning and Effective Reflection (see here)
What correlation is there between a student's progress in key competencies and their academic achievements?

Nick Major

School: Tamaki College:  
2013:    Teaching Junior Science (Yr 9, and Yr 10 ), level 1 Science (y11) and level 2 Biology (y12). My Google site is at    and my blog where my Inquiry is shared is here.  
Proposal: Social networking- speaking the same language as our students (see here to read the outcomes shared online during 2013)

I am currently trialling the use of social media with my classes as a means of communication and also as a collaborative space for teaching and learning. I am specifically interested in the use of Edmodo ( ) but also would like to trial Twitter, Facebook and also Google+ as a means of staying in contact with students; especially outside of classroom hours. I already use all of these networks, but I would like to utilise them more with students.

Helen Squires

School: Pt England School
2013:    Teaching a Year 7/8 class. Class Blog link here. Class Google Site here.

Proposal: Can giving children more ownership over their learning lead to their increased motivation for learning, better understanding of content, greater creativity and quality outcomes? (To read more about this Inquiry see here)

I would like to explore children taking more control over their learning. This will include them having the opportunity to share their learning and understanding in a variety of possible ways i.e. movie, presentation, song, animation, spoken word poetry etc. Part of this will involve experimenting with a different timetabling system to allow children to have more independent learning time of their own choice, and also include a greater focus on sharing.

Juanita Garden

School: Pt England School
2013:    Teaching in an experimental open learning environment with Year 5/6 students along with two other colleagues.
Class Blog link here. Our class site is here.

Proposal: (see here to read the outcomes shared online during 2013)
Traditional learning spaces and management don’t allow for the creative potential of ubiquitous learners on a one to one device. 
I want to investigate what an effective learning space that allows for ubiquitous learning might look like, and how it is best organised?

Ria Tuala

School: Pt England School
2013:    Teaching a Year 3 class. Class Blog link here.

Proposal: Teu Le Va’ (see here to read the outcomes shared online during 2013) 
How can I create online and interactive resources to bridge and raise literacy achievement, for Pasifika ESOL children entering school?

Talofa lava, Kia orana, Fakaalofa lahi atu, Talofa ni, Mālō e lelei, Ni sa bula, Greetings, Tēnā koutou katoa.The Samoan notion of ‘Teu Le Va’ means to bridge the gap. My aim is to increase the academic success of our bilingual students in their formative schooling years (from ECE to Primary School). As a New Zealand born Samoan, I am extremely proud of my dual heritage. I am particularly passionate about raising the academic achievement of bilingual students through blended Learning. In 2013, I will be investigating the use of interactive online literacy and numeracy resources that will support the transition of bilingual students using their own languages.

Sarah Gleeson

School: St PIus X Catholic School
2013:    Teaching a Year 5/6 class. Class Blog link here. Class Google Site is here.
Final summary of research can be read in full here 

Inquiry:  (see here to read the outcomes shared online during 2013)
How can the Special Character of a school be integrated across the school curriculum?

Sub Questions:
How can the Religious Education teaching be enhanced in an online environment across the curriculum?
To what extent does the Special Character of a school impact on the teaching and learning of the curriculum?

Chris Marks

School: Pt England School
2013:    Teaching in an experimental open learning environment with Year 5/6 students along with two other colleagues.
Proposal: To investigate what motivates boys to write. (To read my blog, see here)

Investigate what motivates boys to write?
  • Personalised learning?
  • Choice about learning?
  • Specific contexts?
I will compare the difference in quality and quantity of writing when task is pre determined verse learner chosen.
  • I will also evaluate if there is a difference in their behaviours - on task or off?
  • As a byproduct I would like to develop or propose a process for giving boys choice in writing.

Joy Paton

School: Panmure Bridge School
2013:    Teaching a Year 5/6 class. Class Blog link here. Class Google Site here

Proposal: From Zero to Hero in one year (see here)

What difference can I make when children at Year 5 level enter a 1:1 digital learning environment and what skills are developed over time?
I am planning to inquire into the difference I can make when children enter a 1:1 netbook digital learning environment for the first time. This project aims to look at the transition made into a new digital learning environment and the digital skills gained over time. I plan to target the needs of the Year five and six students, promoting them to be successful, confident, skillful and independent learners. At present the current Year 4 students have had minimal blended eLearning experience at working independently on digital projects and have limited knowledge and skills in using Web 2.0 applications in the classroom. Students need to have solid grounding and scaffolding in using a netbook successfully, before they reach intermediate and secondary level. They need to have the knowledge and fundamental skills in using digital tools confidently in a digital learning environment. It is important these students are confident with the pedagogy of: Learn, Create, Share from an early age.