Changes in my practice

This year I have been participating in the Mindlab Postgraduate Certificate in Applied Practice (Digital and Collaborative Learning).  There were 32 weeks of intensive study and a good deal of reflection on my practice as a teacher.

A deeper level of self-awareness has informed my teaching practice over the course of the year.  A significant part of this deeper self-awareness is the impact that reflective practice can have on my growth as a teacher.  At times, I have found it challenging to integrate new knowledge of pedagogy into my practice.

A lot of thought and discussions with colleagues were required to see patterns and strategies that I could utilize.  I have come to acknowledge that a reflective practice is not just knowledge acquisition but rather involves behavioural change that will led to improved performance in my teaching.

This behavioural change involves transforming how I think and act as a teacher based on sound pedagogical practice.  I have learned that reflection is more than a meditation on my own practice.  It is a practice that is dynamic and collaborative in scope (Osterman & Kottkamp, 1993).  Developing a greater level of self-awareness of my classroom teaching is the result of this practice.

The New Zealand Ministry of Education has created a resource with 12 criterion and examples to help teachers integrate good e-learning practices into their classroom (Practising Teacher Criteria and e-learning (n.d.)).  I want to look at two of these criteria in relation to my course work and classroom practice this year.

The first is Criterion 3: Demonstrate commitment to bicultural partnership in Aotearoa / New Zealand.  The Ministry of Education has identified Maori and Pasifika students as priority learners.  During this year, I have examined literature around best practice and critically examined my own behaviours and cultural awareness regarding students and their individual cultural identities.

I enjoyed reading the work of Bishop (1999) and his ideas of Maori pedagogy.  I examined concepts of Kaupapa Maori and how they relate to not only Maori but all learners.  I incorporated ideas of gamification into my classroom and ensured that the concepts of aroha-respect and tolerance, were integral elements of the gamified environment.

Incorporating elements of Kaupapa Maori into the gamified learning environment allowed students to experience the positive aspects of gamification although at the same time develop strong and collaborative skills with their classmates.

The second criteria I want to examine is Criterion 12: Use critical inquiry and problem-solving effectively in their professional practice.  The elements that make up this Mindlab course offer numerous opportunities for critical inquiry into my professional practice.

My practice is now driven by and informed by current, critically reviewed research and best practice as defined by leading academics and the Ministry of Education’s latest policy.  I have accumulated knowledge and critically analyzed digital technology and its application to pedagogy in my classroom.

My professional development is focused on holistic solutions and collaboration as applied to my own and my colleagues teaching practice.  Multiple perspectives on learning and ideas underpins my pedagogy.  Drawing on knowledge from the business world and non-government organizations has led to new understanding of leadership and change initiative strategies.  Specifically, IDEO’s The Field Guide to Human-Centered Design (2015) has help me initiate a successful change initiative.  My practice has progressed with well-reasoned analysis and understanding with new ideas and applications.

Sharing my vision of future professional development revolves around interconnectedness.  Collaboration, whether through online social networks such as Google+ and twitter or within my school or Community of Learning, will allow me to continual to acquire the knowledge, skills and essential attributes for a teacher in the 21st century.

I want to maintain a knowledge of the latest and best digital resources that are of potential beneficial in my classroom and to share these resources with my colleagues both online and within my school.

by Stewart Mckean


Bishop, R. (1999). Kaupapa Maori Research: An indigenous approach to creating knowledge. (2015).  The field Guide to Human-Centered Design.  Retrieved from

Osterman, K. & Kottkamp, R. (1993). Reflective Practice for Educators. California. Cornwin Press, Inc. Retrieved on 7th May 2015  Retrieved from

Practising Teacher Criteria and e-learning (n.d.). Ministry of Education, retrieved from

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4 thoughts on “Changes in my practice

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  1. Hi Stewart,

    Great blog post. I enjoyed reading your ideas and some peaked my interest. I’m curious how you incorporated aroha and collaboration in a gamified context. While I can see the appeal of gamification (a little competition can be quite motivating!), I find it overall a product of individualism, which seems to be contrary to kaupapa Maori. How did you do this? What did you find from your research?

    Congratulations on completing the postgrad certificate.


  2. Hi Stewart, I, too at times have found this challenging to implement into my practice. Blog posting my thoughts I have especially found challenging. I agree that with your comment about driving practice based on research.


  3. Hi Stewart, I am impressed by the clarity of your reflection and your obvious commitment to making changes that will have a dynamic impact on the way your students learn and interact. I look forward to collaborating with you as we spread the word about what we’ve learned to the rest of our colleagues, and as we work on ways we can continue to develop an holistic curriculum that helps prepare our young people for their lives ahead. Nga mea pai katoa, all the best.


  4. Hi Stewart, i agree with your comments on the work of Bishop(1999) around Maori pedagogy. This was something that resonated with me too. It’s important when working with key competencies around 21st century curriculum, such as innovation, that we don’t forget the very basis of our work as educators, i.e., to conduct our interactions with students and their learning programs, such as gamification, with aroha and mana.


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