Changes in my Practice

Titiro whakamuri, kokiri whakamua – Look back and reflect, so you can move forward Whakatauki – Mind lab – Week 32

Reflecting on my personal 32 week learning journey...

Winning startsThe Mind Lab journey begins and I wasn’t too sure what to expect.  I suppose I wanted to explore digital, leadership and collaborative practices to help support my teaching.  I reckon this course has certainly done that, so much so, that I plan to continue learning even after this course is done.  I knew some stuff before Mind Lab, but doing this has opened up a whole lot of new learnings for me, things that I would never had explored had I not been a part of this. I find now that the research I do, allows me to explore further. I am fascinated with anything new, unexplained and look to find out more.  My head is filled with places to go and things to search out. Ostermann & Kottkamp (1993) state that an increased awareness creates opportunities for professional growth and development. This has been very true.  I have confidence now to explore 21st century approaches and resources. Having to digest, research, implement and practice everything in 32 weeks doesn’t seem long enough, but perhaps just enough to at least look at key areas that could be used in my current practice.  It has certainly been food for thought, and despite the stresses of work, study, tears, late nights and life in general, the 32 weeks has been well worth it.

So what have been the biggies for me?

Research – This is big business.  The investigation of stuff.  Not just the reading but the unpacking of the reading, the establishing of facts and the evidence that has been collected and realising that it all makes sense, although sometimes not.   

People – realising that we, as teachers, are here for the same reasons.  Willingness to share, to collaborate, to teach, to talk about issues, discuss, laugh, stress and so much more.  Even though it has at times seemed a lonely road (for me), the blog thing has been enlightening, and all the clever things that teachers do have been awesome to read and follow.  Lurking, reading, responding, participating and contributing – it has all been great fun and something I feel much happier being a part of!

Key changes (focus) in my own research informed practice in relation to the Practising Teacher Criteria (PTC) in e-learning. 

I include the three criteria listed below as my focus in my Professional and Teaching practice moving forward.  The area of well-being of akonga and responding effectively to the diverse and cultural experiences of individuals and akonga, are very dear to me and an aspect of my practice that I will enhance.  As a middle leader I look forward to contributing to our school’s Professional environment and sharing my learnings from this course and teaching experiences, with all staff at SMC.

  • Criterion 2 : Demonstrate commitment to promoting the well-being of ākonga.
  • Criterion 5 : Show leadership that contributes to effective teaching and learning.                                 Professional knowledge in practice
  • Criterion 9 : Respond effectively to the diverse and cultural experiences and the varied strengths, interests, and needs of individuals and groups of ākonga

So where to from here?

I will be on a cultural responsiveness journey from November, and since it’s fairly new in our school, it will definitely be an adventure.  I plan to persevere with Year 8 – 150 of them in 2018, with a redesigned learning environment, a more digital friendly programme of learning and interdisciplinary connections with their homeroom teachers and topics in Social Studies, as well as crossing boundaries with Science & Business studies with my Food Technology students.

you will get thereIn doing this I believe that from the Standards for the Teaching Profession, that meeting Professional Learning, Learning focussed Culture, and Teaching will be attained (among other things).

Thank you Mind Lab.

Kia manuia frangipani




Osterman, K. F., & Kottkamp, R. B. (1993). Reflective Practice for Educators Improving Schooling Through Professional Development Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data, 3711(78). Retrieved from

10 thoughts on “Changes in my Practice”

  1. What a great read Prue. I am also a head of technology in a secondary school. I was encouraged to study with Mindlab this year by some of my colleagues (who did not complete the course) and have been very grateful that they did. I was unsure what I was getting into but have been so amazed with the wide variety of digital and collaborative learning tools and strategies that we have had the opportunity to experience. It has been so challenging and I agree with you at times quite lonely, as those assessments loomed! I am glad that the 32 weeks are coming to an end and agree they have gone quite fast and at times there has not been enough time to learn and practice all that was needed for Mindlab stuff. What has happen though, as you have identified, I have learnt a lot about the importance of evidence based research and that change should occur based on valid research. I have really enjoyed the learning around leadership and particularly valuing all teachers as potential leaders.It has also frustrated me as I continue to seen the potential in our staff being lost to poor management and leadership decisions. We as teachers have so much to offer and I can certainly see how effective management and leadership of us can promote this or have a negative impact. My challenge now is to make those critical changes to my practice and get others to do the same. Quite a challenge when they have not done the study like we have and their mindset is not one for growth. Thanks again Prue and all the best for implementing positive changes.


    1. Thank you Craig. I am very pleased to have persevered and despite the busyness of things this year am glad I kept going. We struggle in our area of technology to keep staff and while we are doing ok, its the replacements of great teachers that is the issue. Last year we had a DVC teacher go overseas with his family, then next month a specialist Hard Materials Technology teacher (who is superb) leaves to become an HOD at a school nearer to where he lives. It’s hard. Developing the Growth Mindset of both teachers and students is so important and willingness to try new things to benefit our students (and ourselves) is key. I have been asked to provide a short ‘Why do Mind Lab?’ thing at staff briefing tomorrow, as the school had not realised I was doing this ‘alone’ this year, and had asked staff to indicate interest last week, but to no avail. So on realising I was on the course, I was then approached on Friday to see if I would ‘advertise’ it… of course I would do that because I see the learning from the course so relevant and essential for 21st century learners even if its just for the teacher – if they don’t have the growth mindset when they start, they will by the end of it! If they are not willing to change, then they wont complete the course. I have kept a journal of quotes, readings and interest thoughts a long my Mind Lab journey to use when it is needed, the research I have read and the blogs that have been shared have all been so inspiring & awesome – such a talented bunch we are. I’m thinking of a break from study next year then on to finish my Masters – I’d like to use 2018 as a year of implementing change … all the best to you and your after Mind lab adventure …


      1. Thank you for your comments and thoughts. I have really valued the time I have spent with inspiring teachers during my mindlab studies.I have realised the value of this more as the year draws to and end. All the best for next year and those future masters studies.


  2. You have hit the proverbial nail on the head with your comment about the ‘stresses of work, study, tears, late nights…’ but, I agree, it has been an amazing journey of learning. Like you, I feel like this is a journey that is just begun but I know that I am so much more reflective in my practice now and , like you, see so much value in the research process and using the evidence to support my teaching. It’s so great that the next group of Mindlabbers in your school will have you to guide and support them when they feel overwhelmed or lost – I have been through this process with another colleague which has been invaluable and we have been nurtured and encouraged by an amazing woman who did Mindlab last year. She was our rock when the pressures of school and study collided and was so patient in helping us pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off and carry on. Thanks for sharing your story – it’s given me the encouragement I needed for the last few weeks of study. Best of luck with the onward journey.


    1. Thank you Heather. I certainly appreciated your comments and am pleased it has helped you along your journey as so many others I have read have helped me. I have enjoyed this part of the course. I have gained so much more confidence from it, and of course what we shared earlier in the course has also contributed hugely to my understanding of stuff. Put together it has given a balance to what we do for our students in our classrooms, preparing us (kind of) for the future. We are fortunate to have the years and the ‘maturity’ on our side and with the interaction of students this is what I believe 21st century learning is all about. I look forward to a break – to sort myself out over the ‘summer’, to achieve the changes I have written about for 2018, and then perhaps try the Masters programme because I have a funny feeling that I am going to miss the research and learning, as we have all done over the past 32 weeks. Best wishes to you on your onward journey as well.
      Nga mihi nui.


  3. Hi Prue
    I am also a Head of Technology and have enjoyed reading your blog. Your comments on Research resonated with me on a personal level (after the Literature Review we did) and for my students. You said, “Not just the reading but the unpacking of the reading, the establishing of facts and the evidence that has been collected and realising that it all makes sense, although sometimes not.” I realised on my journey that this is time consuming and a skill that we often expect students to have. I have learnt the importance of giving myself time to enjoy the readings and reflecting before committing to paper.
    As you say, working with others and collaborating is powerful and enlightening. I personally enjoyed the first part of the course when we met face-to-face with other teachers. As for blogging … the jury is still out for me!

    Best of luck on the remainder of your journey.


    1. Thank you Jo. I started the second part of the course dreading this blogging thing. However, I have come to enjoy it. I have realised that it is ok to have your say, but one thing Mind Lab has taught me is that if you need to say it, make sure you can back it up. While the blogs have been mostly personal stories, I now know that somewhere out there someone else has shown it to be true or untrue, or there is evidence there to justify the reasoning. This is what I have found interesting. I have also enjoyed the sharing and have the confidence to just do that. It is ok to let people know what you think & Mind Lab has helped create that confidence in me. It has been a huge learning, fun and enlightening journey. Best wishes to you as well on your onward journey’.


  4. Hi Prue
    I have read a few of your blogs – I love them. I also agree with so much in them. I enjoy the readings and see the value in thinking them through and trying to apply the messages to our own contexts. I wonder how we will access academic material if we are not enrolled in a tertiary institutions. I worry about finding things that ‘reasonate’ but do not actually make a difference to students or will with hindsight me nothing but fads.
    There have been lots of ideas to consider over the course of the year and I have found the commitment level heavy. I am nearing the end and feel a real sense of relieve at that but hope that something sticks and after all of the work I am ‘better’ at this than I was before!!
    Great job on the blogs Prue!!


    1. Kia ora and thank you Anne for sharing your thoughts. I totally agree on the points you have made here. I have made a note of links and research that has been shared through Mind Lab to go back to when I can. I have promised myself that I will. I am enrolled for more tertiary study in 2018 and apart from my teaching, our son’s wedding in April and the cultural responsive group I am leading,(and working on the fitness!), I will make good on all the Mind Lab stuff I have collected, ready to read & review. I am looking forward to looking back, as well as going forward on my adventures through 2018, but using reflective practice to improve myself as a teacher practitioner, so I continue to ‘grow’ and learn through my final few years of teaching. I want students to be passionate learners, to realise the importance of classroom and group culture, school culture and being engaged in learning for its intrinsic value. Well that’s the dream. I never dreamed I would do a Mind Lab digital applied practice course and look at me now having done it, along with so many others. The numbers continue to grow so Mind Lab definitely are onto a good thing. Mind Lab has also enabled discovery – this blog thing, white papers to read, Lit reviews, I find it all interesting now, whereas pre-Mind Lab I wouldn’t have bothered. So many good resources around and people to share with – but I think go with something you are passion about yourself and keep on developing that focus. Mine is culture – of people, of mindfulness, of behaviour, of learning – it is such a huge area. I am pleased that you too feel ‘better’ at this than before – knowing and being able to do things is empowering.


  5. Kia ora for sharing Prue! Like you I have been on a cultural responsiveness journey. I started the year knowing it was important, but not a clue what it would look like in practice. I think this is a common thread for many teachers – at my school teachers are crying out for readings and resources to help them to reflect and improve their own practice. For me Milne’s ‘Colouring in the White Spaces’ was an eye opener, and I continue to use it to reflect on what the implicit white spaces are in my classroom, how I can foster belonging and generally value the learner. Another useful reading was Bishop’s (1998) ‘Freeing ourselves from neo-colonial domination in research: A Māori approach to creating knowledge’.

    What a massive year of learning for us all. I knew that I was going to learn and take on board new concepts this year, but I had no idea how profound the shifts would be.



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