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Professional Development TOD

Dr Ann Milne
Tokoroa Kāhui Ako TOD 
"Colouring White Spaces & Swimming w/ Sharks"

Today I was extremely humbled to sit and listen to our Tokoroa Kāhui Ako keynote speaker Dr Ann Milne here in Tokoroa. I found that through her prompts, questioning and the insight into the work that she had been apart of with the Warrior Researchers, some of my professional teaching beliefs were definitely being challenged. I had to delve deep into personal reflection: identifying if I am being racist and encouraging of the white space, rather than educating and supporting my students for who they are.

For me: Thinking upon my past 6 years, I believed I did not stop the racism that happened in front of me. Whilst I had began hoping for Maori and Pasifika culture to be embedded, thought of and encouraged, I found I quickly averted to the societal norms of the school - even to the point of me myself not being who I was because it clashed with parent/whānau community. I have decided that is not me. I will now lay the names of what is happening around me out on the table for all to see. I will be accountable for my students that do not have a voice. And I will start by addressing some of my own personal sharks that I have swimming within my space.


The iceberg image is always going to be a work in progress. I keep finding more sharks, or they keep finding me! We would hope that no longer would most of us accept or tolerate the overt white spaces—the racial profiling, racist slurs, hate speech, at the tip of the iceberg, although all of these definitely still occur. 

Beneath the surface however lurk the covert white spaces that are even more dangerous. The spaces that emphasise white privilege, the spaces that we think are too hard to change, if we even recognise them as dangerous in the first place.

At the moment the sharks are randomly swimming under the surface. I have resisted suggestions I should classify them in different ways – for example, the more dangerous ones frozen in the submerged ice, or those we can change first closest to the surface, because I think we will all have different ideas about importance and priorities depending where we are in our own thinking. This has proven to be true in workshops with schools recently where these hidden spaces have caused a great deal of deep discussion and questions.

Wherever we are in our thinking, the truth is we need to become super alert to the sharks because our job, as educational leaders, and Treaty partners, should be to identify, then understand, then dismantle, each and every one of them. How can we call ourselves educators if we don’t understand this is urgent?


Mary Ann Murphy & Karl Vasau
Tokoroa Kāhui Ako TOD 
"Learner Agency" & "Carrying the Tapa"

As we enter into this new way of thinking, we need to develop an understanding of what Learner agency means for us in our own spaces and contexts. We are thankful to have been lead by our Professional Learning & Development provider: Momentum Learning's Mary Ann Murphy.  To build on the teacher efficacy we have already built within our community, we focused on Learner agency and what this means for us. 

We sat together at Forest View High school in mixed groups from our Kāhui Ako schools. Already as an ASL team, we have found the walls breaking down and the silos of people sitting together were no longer competitive school based. The korero immediately drove the engagement and many of our teams already shared their wonderings around Learner Agency and how this session would impact on their teaching practices.

MAM began by taking us through a lens of secondary and shared some of the GOLD she had experienced was happening in secondary schools. The examples of learning were rich, and skill developing, and highlighted the "if they can, we can too" attitudes. The floor was opened and as people began to let vulnerability take control, they shared elements that had worked- or hadn't, within their experiences. Hearing about FVHS agency driven Wednesdays and their new timetable began the conversations around- What needed to change for this to happen? Listening to the conversations around the Raukawa Cultural Kete and implementation of this through inquiry in the classrooms gave an insight to- How can we integrate subjects through inquiry? What needs to change for this to happen? Watching others korero around the play based learning and how this changed thinking and mindsets left us wondering- Can play based learning be integrated through multiple levels or ages and stages? How do we include Reading, Writing or Maths? And what needed to change for this to happen?

In the end, it lead us down the same path- WE NEED TO CHANGE. The why was evident. And we all had a purpose. But realistically, there was something holding us back. As we explore deeper into Learner Agency, we need to have the agency to inquire ourselves. Check out the Learner Agency within our Hub to find resources that will help you to make the change and drive your understanding to benefit our tamariki.

We then ended with our second guest speaker Karl Vasau who provoked our thinking around Pasifika tamariki. 


We have such a proud and strong Pasifika community, that this talanoa resonated with us.


Carrying the Tapa was the theme of this session and Karl delivered to us in the very manner of the messages that was shared - Alofa (love), Mafana (warmth), Malie (humour) and Faka’apa’apa (respect). 


The notion of our tamariki being tapa - some a little worn and torn apart, pristine and well cared for and others needing a bit of ironing out connected with many of our educators. 


Our tamariki are these prized possessions and it is our job as educators to carry them with care and help to look after them. Although not the complete session that was planned, the ideas and values behind it all are pertinent to what we are aiming to achieve through our Kāhui Ako. The connections of this talanoa and Ann Milne’s rang true. Knowing our Pasifika tamariki and understanding who they are as the individuals and beautiful tapa that they are created to be, is important to our tamariki growth and learning.


Karl, Fa’afetai tele lava mo lou alofa.


Mary Ann Murphy
Tokoroa Kāhui Ako TOD #2
"Learner Agency"

Learner Agency Self-reflection Book

Written by Mary-Anne Murphy, this book will help you to self reflect on your learner agency journey and determine where you are at and what next steps you can take.

Learner Agency Matrix: Where am I?

Find out where on your journey you sit in Learner Agency using this rubric. 


For more learning, click in and take yourself to the next level of understanding through some of these Readings.


Watch this space...

Foetal Alcohol Syndrome PD

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