Learning Lighting in Urban Life – SchoolNews

The opportunity to work in a highly urban, mostly Maori and Pacific community attracted me to Barbara Alalatoa Sylvia Park School. That was in 2004.

“It was very tempting to turn off all the tendencies that are so often associated with societies like ours!” He told me: “For the last 17 wonderful years, I have been fortunate to be the principal of Sylvia Park School. This is the absolute joy of my life! ”

Now, under the name Barbara Ala’alatoa ONZM, this principal ensures that the joy lasts in this joint school for 1 to 8 years. Place for Aotearoa New Zealand History Curriculum. In fact, “it was an all-encompassing party,” says Alalatoa.

“It was an absolute honor and privilege to host the Prime Minister for such an important policy. Our students always love any opportunity to talk about what they love and have learned. The bigger the audience the better!

“They liked the opportunity to share what they knew about Coupe, the 500 years of Maori’s prosperous community, and the first meeting between Maori and Pakeha, among other things, with the Prime Minister of New Zealand, Aotearoa. “They shared their stories with pizza and humor, and in a way that is relevant to them here and now.”

Balloons, waiatas, banners, waving flags and a huge cake were part of the festive event, says Alalatoa, who is in every possible way to celebrate the victories of life.

“We must remember how to celebrate in shameless, solemn ways. We have so much to be grateful for right here in New Zealand, Aotearo! ”

Alalatoa has been working in education for over 40 years. This included teaching, lecturing on teacher’s education and working in the Ministry of Education. He also had the honor of being the first board of education and is currently the president of the Te Aho o te Kura Pounamu – School of Correspondence, which he describes as an “amazing school”.

Pictures: Sylvia Park School

There have been many “pretty amazing initiatives” over the past two decades at Miss Sylvia Park School. “I think what I am most proud of is our absolute commitment to be informed of the research and to be evidence-based in all aspects of our practice.

“We have never looked for silver bullets as the latest professional development offer, on the contrary, we have always relied on what we know to be excellent teaching and learning practices. The results of this practice were evident in the rich achievements of our students.

“Recently, we were one of the schools that was selected to study PIRLS. The success of all aspects of our students’ learning was deeply satisfying. The fact that they also exceeded the average for almost all questions related to the effectiveness of their reading is an absolute respect for the collective efforts of teachers and support staff who are committed to the quality of daily teaching practice. It does not get much better than that! ”

As for the new history curriculum that started at his school, Alalatoa was impressed: “The Aotearoa New Zealand History Curriculum gives us a real opportunity to create a sense of our individual and collective belonging right here in our backyard.

“The best thing about the Aotearoa New Zealand History Curriculum is that it is much more than just studying facts about past events and actions. This also applies to big ideas that are important to everyone here and now.

“Connected with the ideas of justice, conflict, participation, but a few of them ensure that our students see the urgency of knowing our past, warts and everything in history. The best thing about the new curriculum is that there is a guarantee of that All Students will learn all about the stories that make us! ”

The term is also relevant to the revision of the teaching of literacy and mathematics in the country. “The recent report on the death toll is a wake-up call for us. Unequal outcomes for Maori and Pacific students are unacceptable. There is no justification for the bad results of our people. ”

“We know a lot about what constitutes an effective teaching and learning practice in mathematics and literacy. We have excellent tools to help us know what we are teaching well and what we need to improve. We know about professional teacher surveys and their contribution to improving our children’s outcomes.

“We need to end the search for silver bullets in the form of offers of professional training and development, and instead adopt a common practice that is guided and evidence-based. We need to remember that teaching is powerful and that it can and does make a material difference to our children and people – when we get it right. ”

Art is a very visible interior aspect of Sylvia Park School, located in the suburbs, characterized by major highways, retail and industrial development. “SPS Village” includes tuatara, kiwi, solar systems, dinosaurs, as well as live art; Chickens, cats, dogs, bees and two kunekune pigs.

The colorful exterior of the school reflects the joy that radiates from within: “Our school is literally a work of art, the works of our students are evident in our school. The environment tells us about our students learning and we think it adds to our love for our school and community.

“The idea that all schools can provide their communities in a space where they can play, picnic and learn is something we should all strive for,” Alalato said.

This article is our term in issue 2, online here:

The challenges facing schools in Sylvia Park seem to be subject to a process of educational alchemy where the principal wants to use our “new normal” opportunities and dream of a bigger school. , Its students and the community.

“We have learned that if you deeply believe in these lofty strategic goals, then they must continue to shape your teaching and learning, whether we are all on the ground or online. We have maintained this front and center in the online space and made sure that they were fundamental to our practice as we transitioned to our online learning platform, ”Alalatoa said.

“We were proud of our ability to be both flexible and fair in delivering online learning. First of all, over the last two years, I have learned that our SPS Village will make an extraordinary effort to ensure that each of our students receives everything they need to be fully involved in their studies. Miharo is Kato! ”

And he’s not going to go to school and cruise in the coming years. What Alalatoa has in mind is not a small game. Bigger, more daring questions and queries for students to initiate and create amazing results are always on the horizon for us and hopefully will always be. We just want to continue to develop our curriculum and pedagogy so that our kids wake up in the morning and just can’t wait to get to school!

“We need to make sure we provide a space where people can take the time to think about all the positive things that happen when children learn to take responsibility.

“And also,” adds Alalato, “we must seriously be part of the Auckland Trail of Art!”

Learning Lighting in Urban Life – SchoolNews

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