To promote the teaching of English at all levels of the education system and beyond, and to unite all members in a common purpose
To act as a forum where all teachers of English can share ideas and experience;
To encourage continuity and liaison in the teaching of English from pre-school to primary to secondary to tertiary levels;
To encourage and foster research;
To publish material relevant to the teaching of English;
To speak authoritatively on behalf of all members on matters of concern related to the teaching of English;
To make appropriate representation on matters of concern related to the teaching of English;
To lend support to the activities of all teachers of English and their associations;
To promote liaison with the international organisations and with other National Associations for the Teaching of English;
To promote and facilitate travel to New Zealand by visiting overseas speakers and to encourage and facilitate travel abroad by New Zealand teachers of English.
Past President's Reports
NZATE President -November 2013
Take time to read two pieces of correpsondence that I have sent recently - one to Min Parata and the other advising PPTA of NZATE's stance on Charter Schools and the staff that choose to work in them.
The November report will follow soon...
Dear Ms Parata
I am writing on behalf of the New Zealand Association for the Teaching of English (NZATE), in relation to the recent decision to stop funding the National Co-ordinator Secondary English positions. The roles provide invaluable support for English teachers, English Departments and local professional bodies.
This decision comes at a time when we have already lost the provision of resources and direct curriculum support through the removal of subject specific advisors and free best-practice workshops. This decision will further erode the provision of support and direction for English teachers already dealing with increased pressure from sector reform. Currently the people in these positions provide support, resources and networks for isolated and struggling teachers as well as those who wish to pursue excellence in their teaching practice. They organise workshops, answer questions and provide information on curriculum changes and how to respond to them effectively. Without this support the English teaching profession in Aotearoa New Zealand will be less robust.
The current co-ordinators visit isolated schools and areas to provide professional learning in areas where it is most needed. They provide a benchmark against which teachers can confidently assess student work against national assessment standards. This ensures that the unique New Zealand Curriculum is being implemented consistently so teachers can support students to succeed. Across New Zealand they provide prompt responses to questions and issues which arise as well as building networks between teachers coping with similar problems.
The disestablishing of these roles undermines the Government’s restructure of the Teachers’ Council and the drive for a higher level of professionalism in our schools. It is disingenuous to require more commitment from teachers to subject specific professional learning while dismantling the structures in place to facilitate this learning.
NZATE President’s Annual Report 2012-13
E nga reo, e nga mana, e nga iti kahurangi. Rau rangatira ma e huihui mai nei, tena koutou katoa.
My report last year was delivered a month or so before the Novopay debacle began. What a mess. The only thing that hasn’t been a disaster is that for the first time I can remember, there’s been media sympathy for teachers. I may be prejudiced, but I think, actually, that our profession has covered itself in glory – we’ve continued to do our job in extremely trying circumstances – no walk out or strikes, just continued to put students first.
Another way English has featured in the news recently is because of Auckland University’s decision to raise the entry bar for prospective students. I wonder about the sense of this decision – it seems to me a more logical process would have been to see how the new literacy requirements work, before deciding on further changes. Presumably Auckland were part of the process – so NZATE would be interested to know why the University decided to impose another set of criteria – there was certainly no consultation with us, your subject association. In terms of our schools and classrooms, I’m ambivalent - on the one hand it certainly validates our subject and asserts its importance – but on the other, it means we will continue to have reluctant teenagers sitting in our classrooms being force fed our subject. We are supportive of the government led changes to literacy: we will not be advocating changes to those. However we will be making a submission to Auckland University regarding the further changes they’ve made.
Another issue concerns all teachers, not just English, but is important to be aware of. This is the review of the Teachers Council, which contains proposals that, if implemented, will make sweeping changes to our professional body from 2015. These changes will have major consequences for all of us. NZATE sees three key issues:
It’s of critical importance that all teachers are aware of and respond to this review – it’s an issue that goes beyond our subject association.
Two other issues that have affected English teachers this year are NZQA related. The first is that we’ve heard from teachers concerned about the timing and availability of Best Practice Workshops in their region. NZQA believes that clarifications, annotated exemplars and moderator newsletters are giving teachers the required support, so we all do need to make sure that we keep up to date with these. We felt, however, that it was important that face-to-face PD continues, and continues to be as useful as possible. Consequently, on your behalf, NZATE made a submission to NZQA regarding what we felt was the best model for these workshops: that they be early in the year, concerned with the examination and discussion of grade boundaries through student exemplars, aimed at leading or at least experienced teachers and that there are enough facilitators, and enough workshops, to ensure effective learning by participants. It’s worth noting that, in our experience, NZQA can be responsive to requests from regional organisations.
The second issue also indirectly concerns the Best Practice Workshops – specifically the information teachers are receiving at them about assessment and how this sometimes seems to conflict with exemplars on the NZQA website. Our advice in all cases would be to first consult the standard and the Conditions of Assessment guidelines. THESE, not tasks or exemplars, should be your ‘bible’. Remember that the exemplars in many cases were collected when the standards were still in draft form – and that best practice is always evolving. In some cases it’s also worth remembering that cost, technology and time constraints meant that limited possibilities are available as exemplars - for example connections exemplars don’t demonstrate that non-written responses are valid.)
There continues to be uncertainty about MOE and NZQA led PD opportunities.
All these issues do highlight the importance of strong national and regional subject associations.
Our job is to advocate for issues of concern to the English teaching community. and to support your own efforts to be the best teachers of English that you can be, in healthy departments with strong regional presences and associations.
Jo Morris, President
Phil Maw, Vice-President
Helaina Coote, Treasurer
Helen Almey, Secretary
Jude Maw, representative for Otago/Southland
Alison Cleary, representative for Canterbury/ Upper South Island.
Laura la Page, representative for Wellington
Yvette Krohn-Isherwood, representative for Central North Island/Waikato
Karen Beaumont, representative for Central North Island/Waikato
Matt Griffiths, representative for South Auckland/Tai Tokerau
David Taylor, representative for Auckland
Steve Langley, English in Aotearoa editor
Jo Morris President
Helaina Coote Vice President
Moira Scammell Secretary
Karen Beaumont Treasurer
Barry Banks Central North Island
English in Aotearoa
We are very proud of our journal, which provides invaluable resources and PD in every issue. Steve Langley continues to do a superb job of editing, helped this year for the March issue by Yvette Isherwood as guest editor. Steve is constantly on the look out for articles and resources that will appeal to classroom teachers and would be very glad to hear from you.
Next year’s Conference will be at John Paul College in Rotorua.
Creation of Resources
We’re proud, this conference, to be launching “Sound and Sense’, our exemplification of poetry at Level 2. Later this year, the last in our oral exemplar series will be completed and you can pre-order it here at the conference at the NZATE stand. We’re hoping for delivery during Term 3. These resources represent a significant financial investment by NZATE in the professional learning of English teachers. We aim not to lose money on the production of these resources – some, for example the ones that involve filming students and teachers, are expensive to produce and so cost more to buy – and for all, we aim to have highly qualified people contributing - but all are, we feel, excellent value for money!
PD and Regional Associations
If you haven’t already met your rep, please make a point of doing so after this meeting.
(NOTE for readers: please contact your regional representative through our website: http://www.nzate.co.nz or facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/NZATE . An important message throughout the conference was how much we’d like to connect with more English teachers in more regions, and help set up local associations. So please do contact us about how we can help you.)