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Patsy's story

Duration: 04:33

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Patsy’s story: Being supported through Te Kotahitanga prompted this teacher to reflect more critically on her own practice and make effective changes for student learning. Within this process of critical reflection she soon made room for the students to participate more fully in teaching and learning.

Patsy's story from Ministry of Education on Vimeo.


Read the transcript.

Key Content:

Comments are provided by a Social Science teacher on the need for and value of critical reflection.

This includes comments about:

  • using Te Kotahitanga observations as the catalyst for critical self-reflection
  • taking new learning into one’s own pedagogy and planning
  • planning to better cater for all students
  • developing skills at using feed-forward questioning to support learners
  • utilising cell phones purposefully within a learning context
  • making connections between learning in classrooms and the ‘real’ world.

"What I wanted and what I was getting, was two different things" (Teacher)

"I knew my students well; I just didn't know me. It wasn't until I knew what I was doing that I could become more effective with the students" (Teacher)

"When we are working we constantly need to look at what we are doing and appraise what we are doing, we need to reflect on what we are doing..." (Teacher)

"...when they can connect to the real world that's when achievement also starts to shoot up..." (Teacher)

Things to think about:

Question Focus - Those new to Te Kotahitanga

  • What understandings do you have of effective teaching from this DVD?
  • In what ways did Patsy critically reflect on her own practice? How did this change her pedagogy and what were the results?
  • What aspects of this DVD would you like to discuss further with Patsy?

Question Focus - Participants in the Te Kotahitanga Professional Development Programme:

  • What are the links made to the Te Kotahitanga Effective Teaching Profile (ETP) in this DVD?
  • What changes did Patsy make to her theorising and practice that indicates her repositioning to a more agentic discourse?
  • How might some of Patsy’s teaching strategies maintain relevance with other classes of different year group and abilities?

Question Focus - In-school Facilitators and Senior Leadership Team Members:

  • How could you use this DVD to share Te Kotahitanga amongst staff or with the wider school community? What aspects would you want to highlight and why? What aspects would you see as less important?
  • In what ways is it important for teachers to reflect critically on their practice in the way that Patsy shares with us in this DVD? What are the implications for others who hold Te Kotahitanga leadership roles in the school?
  • The school principal was seen in this DVD to be actively observing classroom practice. What are the wider implications of these actions for others, both teachers and students, in Te Kotahitanga schools?



Patsy Richardson-Flood (Social Sciences Teacher): “I walk into the classroom, my movie is already playing. I’ve planned my lesson, I see my lesson, I know how my lesson’s going to go or so I think. I know what I want but what I wanted and what I was getting was two different things. I started to wonder why my teaching wasn’t effective, I was losing my students a lot of the time, my students weren’t, um, engaged in what they were dong. They were getting restless and it was through talking with our Te Kotahitanga staff that I started to really think about what it was I was doing in my classroom. When I took on board some of the observations that were done on my teaching it was a wakeup call. I rethought my lessons, I re-planned my lessons, dissected them and started to chunk them into what was more appropriate for my students. Because I knew my students well but I didn’t know me well. It wasn’t until I knew what I was doing that I could become more effective in what I was doing with the students. I realized that students have a attention span of about seven minutes of listening to a teacher ramble, so I had to watch my timing and it wasn’t until I actually effected that that my students actually started to ask me questions.

“They have the power to think but only when you put forward a question that feeds their mind and starts a little, a little flame, and then the flame will grow bigger. When I question, if I get a yes/no answer I know my question’s no good.

“It’s delving into what they know, first finding out what they know. If they’re lost then I re-phrase my question, if they’re lost with that then I‘ll re-phrase it again. They can ask me what is it that you mean fire, and I can say to them well what do you mean? And then suddenly we both have a click moment and we both go oh I see and they go oh I see, I’ve learned something, they’ve learned something. And I say to them, ‘If an employer came up to you and said what is your strength, what can you say? What is your weakness, what will you say?’ When you, when we’re working we constantly need to look at what we are doing, and we need to appraise what we are doing. We need to reflect on what we’re doing, we need to say what we have done well or what we can do better.

“If you’re pairing and you pair two friends together, sometimes it doesn’t work because the honesty factor falls out. I like to pair out of comfort zones. I have always discovered that when I do the cross gender the honesty factor works. When they can connect to the real world, that’s when you see achievement levels also start to shoot up. When they can see that what they’re doing has a purpose. A lot of the time students have said to me oh why are we learning this? Now that we’ve made connections in our learning they look at the world differently, they watch TV differently, they watch movies differently, they see the wider picture.”

Narrator: “Principal Alan Liddle stops by just in time to see students bringing their own prior knowledge and experiences to their learning of spelling, in the form of the purposeful use of cell phones.

“The student’s expertise with cell phones also provide Patsy an opportunity to become a learner herself.”

Patsy: “Before I even get the second letter out they’ve already done it. When we did the cell phone for spelling, they were not allowed to use predictive text, it had to be the correct spelling.”


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