Benefits of belonging

Belonging to your subject association is a great way to keep up to date with developments in your subject area and make valuable connections

Ahead of the Subject Associations Forum in April, PPTA News spoke with three subject associaton leaders about what subject associations do and the benefits of belonging.

Francis Leslie-Ellis, secretary of the NZ Association of Mathematics Teachers, is a deputy principal at Inglewood High School and still teaches Mathematics. “I love the subject and love writing
assessments, I really enjoy presenting the support for NCEA Level 1- we were a pilot school last year so I’ve got all of that background knowledge.” The NZ Association of Mathematics Teachers (NZAMT), has about 5000 members from the primary, secondary and tertiary sectors.

Key activities each year include writing camps, involving around 35 teachers from all around the motu. In January they meet in Auckland and write internal assessments for all NCEA levels and in April teachers meet in Christchurch to
write external assessments.

Sharing expertise and knowledge

“We try to get teachers from all around the country so that expertise and knowledge of the standards can go back to the regions.”

Keeping in touch with the regions, particularly the more remote ones, is an ongoing challenge for subject association, says Francis. Recently, for instance, the Association ran a seminar on the new NCEA Level 1 standards in Gisborne. “That cost us about $30K once you pay for all the day relief for teachers and travel and accommodation for the presenters.” However the face to
face sessions are extremely valuable for sharing knowledge, developments and concerns. Such sessions keep Francis and
the Association’s executive in touch with what’s going on across the motu.

The Association is using its Networks of Expertise funding to run as many face to face meetings as possible this term around the new NCEA Level 1. Weekly online support workshops are also being run by NZAMT. “Our key mantra is to support mathematics teachers.”

Membership fees for NZAMT are based on the size of schools. Small kura or area schools pay a flat rate of $50 annually
and the largest schools pay around $280. “For that fee, every maths teacher at that school then becomes a member of
NZAMT. It’s good value as there are a range of resources that they can access and they get cheaper admission to our
conference. We have a conference every two years and members get a discounted registration for that.”

Relievers or other maths teachers who aren’t based at one school can join for $30 and for that they get the minutes
of each monthly NZAMT meeting and discounted registration rates for the conference. Full membership enables teachers to access resources that are behind a paywall. Francis says the material that is most valuable is kept secure so teachers can be
confident that whatever they put in front of students will not be available publicly.

TENZ: Who are we?

Hamish Johnston, a technology teacher at Kaiapoi High School, is the Heamana | Chair of Technology Education New
Zealand (TENZ). “TENZ is organised by teachers for teachers and our aim is to enhance the learning and teaching of technology by creating a well informed, well connected, supportive, and sustainable professional community that has a strong voice and provides effective advocacy for technology education.

“We understand the importance of fostering a vibrant community of likeminded individuals passionate about technology education. Every kaiako, no matter the subject, should belong to a subject association. There are many times when we must reach out for specialist support and our kura is not always able to provide it, whether it be resources, professional development, or just advice and support.”

Along this line, TENZ membership gives teachers access to a diverse collection of educational materials, lesson plans, and tools designed to engage ākonga and facilitate meaningful learning experiences. And there is school based membership where a school can add as many of their staff as possible as well as free membership for those wanting to find out more.

Professional support and development is important, says Hamish, particularly with changes across the educational landscape. “We continue to explore innovative approaches to teaching and learning, such as one of last year’s Professional Learning and Development (PLD) Day looking at Mātauranga Māori and its effective use in technology.

Diving deep

“Our free monthly PLD webinars are here to support teachers every step of the way. We dive deep into various topics
ranging from emerging technologies to pedagogical strategies for effective classroom integration. Led by industry experts and seasoned educators, our webinars provide a platform for continuous learning and professional growth. And the recordings all go on our YouTube for anyone to view for free.”

TENZ also supports educators outside of a school setting. “We are able to draw on the expertise of teachers and the wider community to produce resources on a variety of topics. We have not only collaborated in competitions run by STEM-focused organisations but also nature based charities such as Forest and Bird.”

A highlight for TENZ last year was their Conference last year in Ōtautahi Christchurch, so many passionate educators in one place sharing their practice. Our conferences provide the perfect platform for educators, professionals, and enthusiasts from across the motu to come together, exchange ideas, and collaborate on innovative projects. We had everyone from seasoned veterans to those just starting their journey in technology education, our conference offered invaluable networking opportunities and learning to propel us forward and keep us
up to date.

This year TENZ are looking forward to more exciting things, the TESAC Conference in April, resources, PLD, and joining to support Kohara2Shine where all Wellington schools are invited to join us.

Raising awareness

Helping the education sector and public understand the benefits of learning languages other than English, is a key goal for the NZ Association of Language Teachers, (NZALT) says President, Juliet Kennedy. “Learning languages builds solid literacy
skills - we are teachers of literacy; it is the fundamental bread and butter of what we do, and this is often completely overlooked or not understood by school leaders and people making policy. We would like to see a languages policy in Aotearoa.”

NZALT is run by language teachers and university lecturers. Its support for language teachers includes: a coordinator who is available all the time to answer queries from teachers; a website with resources, information and news; regional clusters where teachers can share resources, ideas, problems, and work on different pedagogies together. Juliet says the Association also provides awards that enable teachers to visit other teachers of their language to observe and
share ideas, and awards that contribute to post-graduate language teaching and related study.

International conference

NZALT, in conjunction with its Australian counterpart, holds an international conference every two years. It also runs competitions for students, and advocates on behalf of language teachers and language education, collaborating with stakeholders to support ‘big picture issues’ around language teaching. “Our executive are actively involved in the Curriculum refresh and in setting NCEA assessments and moderation. This year, with our Ministry and NZQA colleagues we are running moderation days around the country for the new NCEA Level 1 standards.” NZALT provides a strong support network of colleagues who teach languages. “Learning languages is not valued within our education system and having this support is essential - many language teachers are sole teachers and need colleagues from other schools to
support them.”

Juliet says the Networks of Expertise funding has been extremely helpful to NZALT, enabling language teachers to attend more PLD conferences and events. “This funding allows us to provide many more opportunities for teachers to feel good about what they are doing and advance their knowledge and skills. We would like to have the security of knowing the NEX funding will continue. “NZALT is a great, positive body of people to belong to – we have a lot of fun and love what we do.”

Last modified on Wednesday, 1 May 2024 15:30