CompetencyWorks is heading to New Zealand in September to try to learn from how they think about learning, schools, and the system of education to push our thinking and spark our imagination of what is possible. Based on her experiences in 2016, Susan Patrick recommended that we turn to New Zealand to help us build a deeper understanding of what state systems and approaches might look like. (Given our all-things-education-are-local approach, it’s best to focus on states with the assumption that states can work together to create regional and national structures when needed.)
As I prepare for this trip, reading everything I can about education in New Zealand, I have been working to hone the questions that will guide the investigation knowing full well that I will encounter ideas that will take me to new lines of inquiry. The focus of the investigation includes questions such as:
- How does New Zealand think about what makes effective instruction and assessment?
- How are teachers prepared and supported in developing their professional knowledge and skills?
- Given the policy for autonomous schools, how does New Zealand ensure consistency in credentialing learning? What are the systems supporting moderation?
- How did New Zealand develop inclusive education strategies that integrate the Māori and Pasifika cultures with the Pakeha (i.e., white European) culture?
New Zealand is wrapping up a national reflection on the National Certificate of Educational Achievement with community conversations across the country. I’m hoping that this will be a perfect time to look under the hood of the New Zealand education system: To learn what New Zealand education system is all about as well as the unintended consequences and operational issues.
To launch our investigation New Zealand Inspirations, we’ll start with a few articles written by Denise Airola from Arkansas about their trip to New Zealand last year.