Volume 9_Issue 2_2008.
VOLUME 9, ISSUE 2: 2008
Weaving educational threads. Weaving educational practice.
Gerard Mariner
Mayfield Primary School, South Auckland
Gerard is 10 years old. The design of his
artwork focuses on nature and the beautiful
country of Samoa. Gerard chose to use dye for
his work because the colours are brighter and
that was what he wanted to show about Samoa.
Apart from his art, Gerard enjoys all sports.
He enjoys watching sports and getting involved in some of them
especially rugby and basketball. Music is also a favourite of Gerard’s. He
plays the piano and bass guitar and sometimes plays at his church.
Gerard enjoys school as there are many interesting and fun things to do.
Mayfield Primary School is a Decile 1a school in East Tamaki with a roll
of approximately 500 students, 84% of Pacific Island descent and 16% of
Mäori descent. We value the cultural diversity of our school and also of
our staff, who are dedicated to their profession and to providing high
quality education for our students. Many of our students excel in the
cultural areas as well – sport, music and art. We are proud and honoured
to have the artwork of one of our students on the cover of Kairaranga.
Volume 9, Issue 2: 2008
Weaving educational threads. Weaving educational practice.
Kairaranga is a New Zealand Journal of Educational Practice
Table of Contents
Editorial, Editorial Board and Contact Details..................................................................................................................................2
Raising Your Sights Beyond Your Immediate Understandings
An interview with Emeritus Professor Keith Ballard
Roseanna Bourke and Michael Gaffney
Who are the Best Teachers of Pasifika Children?
Ezra Schuster
Position paper......................................................................................................................................................................................12
Comment on Schooling for Happiness: Rethinking the Aims of Education
Ted Glynn
Position paper......................................................................................................................................................................................14
The Importance of Educating Student Teachers in Inclusive Education
A disability perspective
Wendy Neilson and Ashlie Brink
Storied experience...............................................................................................................................................................................16
A Pacific experience
Donna Smith
Storied experience...............................................................................................................................................................................22
Are Girls Behaving Like Boys?
Rosie Arnott
An Insight into the Educational Needs of Deaf High School Students
Interviews with school staff and students
Tracey Esera
Ko te Maoopopo ko te Lima Malohi
Collaboration is our strength
Kathryn Meredith, Tim Andersen, Louella Neale, Colleen Taylor and Ezra Schuster
Storied Experience............................................................................................................................................................................... 37
Anticipated Death in New Zealand School Communities
Katherine Broughton
Practice paper...................................................................................................................................................................................... 41
Ethical Issues for an Editorial Board: Kairaranga
John Clark
Position paper...................................................................................................................................................................................... 47
Kairaranga Survey Feedback
Responses to the 2007 readers’ questionnaire
The Kairaranga Editorial Board
Kairaranga Book Reviews..................................................................................................................................................................58
Acknowledgement of Peer Reviewers..............................................................................................................................................62
Submission Guidelines ......................................................................................................................................................................63
O le ala i le pule, i le tautua..
The pathway to ownership is through serving.
Editorial Board
Alison Kearney
Carol Watts*
Cath Steeghs
Graeme Nobilo*
Dr Jean Annan
Dr Jill Bevan-Brown
Jo Cunningham*
Relationships have always been a driving force behind the
publication of Kairaranga. The journal aims to ensure an
inclusive and culturally responsive voice for a plethora of
people and provides an opportunity for diverse groups to
have a vehicle to disseminate and discuss topics of
educational interest. In doing so, Kairaranga rises to the
challenges of diversity which coincides with the focus of .
this year’s RTLB National Conference in Manukau, Auckland:
“Rising to the challenges of diversity (eke ki te Matataki o .
te Ahureatanga)”.
This issue reflects a potpourri of articles highlighting
different voices, cultures and stories. The vibrant cover .
art depicts the richness of the Pasifika, and continues the
Kairaranga tradition of showcasing the RTLB conference host
region with the second issue of the journal. Contributions .
to this issue reflect the collaborative partnership the journal
has held between RTLB, the Ministry of Education and the
tertiary education sector.
The interview with Keith Ballard gives a fascinating and
comprehensive insight into his contribution to education.
Whilst sharing his journey with the reader, his sense of
humour and appreciation of significant others is evident, .
and is commanding reading. Kairaranga is also proud to
support first-time and emerging writers. In supporting
practice Kairaranga advocates that there are many forms .
of evidence, including the Storied Experience narratives in
this journal. The opportunity to tell stories, frame reflective
positions and acknowledge those who have gone before .
are all aspects of becoming self-determining.
In 2007, a questionnaire provided Kairaranga readers with
the opportunity to provide feedback. The findings have been
summarised within this current issue as part of the Editorial
Board’s commitment to feedback and service. As always, we
hope that you reflect on the content and use it to support
your own practices, relationships and advocacy.
Senior Lecturer, Massey University
RTLB, Ngaruawahia Cluster
RTLB, Fairfield Cluster
RTLB, Fairfield Cluster
Senior Lecturer, Massey University
Associate Professor, Massey University
Educational Psychologist, .
Wellington GSE
Jo Davies
Practice Leader, Early Intervention, GSE
Mere Berryman*
Manager, Poutama Pounamu .
Research Centre, GSE
Merrolee Penman* Principal Lecturer, Otago Polytechnic
Michael Gaffney
Deputy Director, Children’s Issues
Centre, Otago University
Paul Mitchell
Special Education Advisor, Waikato GSE
Dr Roseanna Bourke*Director, Centre for Educational.
Development, Massey University
Sonja Macfarlane
Practice Leader, Services to Mäori, GSE
Dr Valerie Margrain* Kairaranga Coordinator.
Lecturer, Massey University
Vanesse Geel
Lead Practitioner, Pakuranga GSE
* Denotes current editing team
Cultural Advisor
Dr Angus Macfarlane Associate Professor, University .
of Waikato
Typesetting and Design.
Typeface, Wellington
Geon Group, Wellington
Two issues per year
Subscription Information.
PO Box 12-383, Chartwell.
Email: gnobilo@xtra.co.nz
Noho ora mai, nä
Copyright © Kairaranga Editorial Board, 2008
Carol, Graeme, Jo C, Mere, Merrolee, Roseanna
and Valerie
ISSN 1175-9232
The Kairaranga Editorial Board has made every effort to ensure
that all items in this journal are accurate and culturally appropriate.
Views expressed or implied in this journal are not necessarily
the views of the Editorial Board, Ministry of Education or the
New Zealand RTLB Association.
Raising Your Sights Beyond Your
Immediate Understandings
An interview with Emeritus Professor Keith Ballard
Dr Roseanna Bourke
Director, Centre for Educational Development, Massey University
Michael Gaffney
Deputy Director, Children’s Issues Centre, Otago University
If you look at those little children we saw this morning,
and as a grandparent now, I’m very attentive to anyone
under 5 because I want to know more about how do they
do these things. When you see a little child of the first
3 or 4 years of their life, what I see is this deep trust.
You can say “go there”, “do that” and they do. And this
is profound in terms of what it means to be human;
that these little humans have this sense of you – which
is about trust. But it’s also profound in terms of saying
something about learning and I think as an adult
learner, what I haven’t told you is that I sat U.E.
twice; obviously I failed it the first time.
When Emeritus Professor Keith Ballard was interviewed
specifically for this edition of Kairaranga, he was in a
reflective mood. The following day he was to give a keynote
address, the Herbison Lecture, at the annual New Zealand
Association for Research in Education (NZARE) Conference .
in Christchurch. That he was asked to give this lecture to .
the educational research community in New Zealand shows
the esteem in which this man is held: someone who has
achieved a large body of scholarly work in education, while
deeply caring about people and their place. That he had
entered New Zealand shores from another country 45 years
ago without tertiary or teaching qualifications showed
something equally important; Keith Ballard has, by and
large, always known how to tread with care in new terrain,
has continued to forge new pathways for himself and .
others, has taken the courage to talk about contentious
issues he cares about, and is a risk-taker searching for an
understanding of others. He has not been afraid to take the
hard road. In this interview he laughed a lot, chuckled as he
recalled various people and events, and was contemplative
as he recalled his struggles and learning over his educational
career. So what happened in those intervening 45 years
when a young man, full of new beginnings, probably hope,
immigrated to New Zealand without tertiary qualifications .
or A levels, and who at that time, had no idea what was
ahead of him? Who were the people that shaped his
subsequent remarkable influence on teaching, teachers .
and learning, both in New Zealand and internationally? .
Who is Keith Ballard?
Weaving educational threads. Weaving educational practice.
In terms of what influences how I think, it probably is quite
relevant to think about that background. My background is
West London and I left school with very modest passes in
what I think we used to call an O level and an A level exam.
I came out very weak in that and so I left school in England
and I began training as a laboratory technician. Part of why
that is an influence is that I’ve always loved the precision of
science, or what we would say now is the assumed precision
probably. But there is something elegant about chemical
analysis, for example, and about the ways in which we try
and understand the physical nature of the world. So in a
way my limited school achievements left me with two things
actually. It was this respect for the notion of science, and also
one teacher who one day said to me that I would pass the
English exam. Now I think people very rarely told me I would
pass anything, and I did pass. And English and Literature
have always been a core thing for me.
And so if you like, the next part of that story would be
coming to New Zealand and working for a couple of years
as a lab technician. Realising that this was not what I wanted
to do any longer, and there were all sorts of reasons for that,
I did a lot of work with animals and I can only do so much
of that, and that was enough. While I was a lab technician
I enrolled for University Entrance with the Correspondence
School because I wanted to see if I could pass those exams.
Don’t anyone ever criticise the Correspondence School. The
Correspondence School is a New Zealand marvel, I tell you.
The Correspondence School was the most wonderful teaching
I’d ever had, those green canvas bags, they just kept coming.
I failed it the first time and I passed it the second time. And
I’ve always looked back with great fond regard on being a
graduate of the New Zealand Correspondence School.
I then worked assembling cars in a factory for a year or more.
And you see again in terms of influences, in those days we
are talking the 60s, ordinary people could work at Ford
Motor Factory or whatever else was available and we used
to get time and a half [pay] for the first half hour of the
morning until 8am. We used to get time and a half from
5.00pm or 5.30pm, and double time afterwards. And you
would get these rates on a Saturday. So ordinary people
could have a life, a family and a house on a working person’s
salary. And that again for me was a significant part of my
memory of how a society can be. Now there were all sorts
of things about that society that were seriously problematic.
The treatment of women, the invisibility of Mäori and so on,
but I guess that memory of a society that is determined that
the economic resources of a country can be organised in
such a way that families can thrive; that to me has been
an influence.
But anyway, after I worked assembling cars for a while I went
to teachers’ college. The influence to do that again was one
person, Mavis was her name, and there was something that
we had to do where school kids would come around and we
had to explain what we were doing and I always ended up
doing that. And someone said to me, “you’d be a teacher”
and it was as simple as that, not quite as simple as that, but
I knew that I wanted to do something else. So I went to the
Wellington College of Education as an adult student and
again that has been a significant influence, because I have
always respected “oldies” who can go into an education
environment and who like myself had no experience or
background in the idea of tertiary education, none at all.
So for me it was a totally unknown world. And really the
idea of teachers’ college, as we called it, was that it was
much safer than the idea of university, I mean that was just
beyond the pale . But you’d turn up at teachers college and
Jack Shallcrass, who was one of the very fine people who I
met there, said “all of you people going to University line up
over here”, and so I did. So I did university and college work,
and this is obviously getting much more personal than I
had thought.
As we can see in the section above, people and relationships
have been pivotal to Keith’s decisions, directions and his .
way of thinking and working: “In each instance there has
been a moment or a person who has said something.” .
While he identified people who had personally and
professionally made a difference to him, his own ideas were
sharply honed by being an avid reader and in his interest .
in science. Through also holding firm to the necessity that
the issue of human rights binds all our lives and work, Keith
created a blend of ideas that were always destined to push
the boundaries. These came through in his work on
assessment, learning, teaching and inclusive education.
In those early days when studying to be a teacher, Keith
portrays a student eager to learn, willing to immerse himself
in new ways of thinking and being. Remembering that only .
a few years prior he had come to New Zealand, he was at .
this stage in relative culture shock. Two incidents described
by Keith during the interview illustrate how his vulnerability
and eagerness combined, created and forged his future.
These incidents help illustrate how a young man figuring his
way through the maze, but grasping opportunities that came
his way, was creating the something, or someone, he did not
yet know.
An English lecturer at the college simply gave us this
enormous list of books, which I thought I had to buy – so
I did. It was actually a reading list, but I thought I had to
buy them so I bought them. So I ended up owning this pile
of New Zealand literature and it was simply a revelation.
It was extraordinary literature from New Zealand about
New Zealand. Everything from Katherine Mansfield; for me
living in Wellington that made Wellington a reality for me.
And ‘Owls do Cry’, by Janet Frame, and it was just endless.
‘God Boy’, Ian Cross – the impact of that on someone
thinking about teaching was profound. So there I was,
really engaged if you like with the idea of reading and this
time someone was saying that there is actually value in this
reading, so that was exciting. Very much later in my work in
the university I then deliberately began to use the notion of
novels and poetry as a way of knowing the world, which was
as legitimate as other ways in which we make claims about
what we know and understand.
I suspect that moving to New Zealand was always seen as a
permanent thing. And one of the other things again is a
strong memory of what I now understand as culture shock.
I came to New Zealand as a white English speaking person
and there were other people that looked like me, but they
weren’t. You know the meanings and the values were often
different, there is so much that is different, and that is an
important experience; if we think about any movement in
people across countries and cultures I guess that is quite a
useful experience to have.
I think my education began at the Wellington College of
Education with people who understood education as a
process of becoming knowledgeable, so you had to know
things and become aware of ways of knowing. Which I now
think is a kind of political and ethical thing; that you raise
your sights beyond your immediate understandings. So the
college did that. It was an environment that was designed
to do that.
So the next influence on my learning would have been the
couple of years I spent at Johnsonville Primary School, which
had the most extraordinary team of teachers. I counted the
other day; I had 42 children in my first class. So I often
wonder how they are all doing. But again, that was an
astonishing time and there is nothing harder than being a
classroom teacher. I’ve never done anything before or since
that was as challenging as that. It requires enormous thought
about each child. It requires enormous commitment to do
something that will make the child’s learning happen. I think
I was really only beginning to comprehend this when I
actually left teaching after a few years.
Then I went to Victoria University of Wellington as a junior
lecturer and soon after, I did my educational psychology
training in Auckland. I was interested at that time in
retaining a practical professional practice. So that exposed
me to people like Marie Clay and Ted Glynn, who had a
great influence on my subsequent work. And so I kept on
with that career path of an interest in children, knowing
about children.
I think if I had to name the influences there, they would
be too great to name, but Marie Clay was an extraordinary
person with this deep knowledge of human development.
And also my memory of her is very much of her as a very
strong person, because her development of reading
assessment and Reading Recovery seemed to be way outside
mainstream thought. And I think Marie Clay modelled for
New Zealand researchers the notion that you need to sit
alongside children. That you need to sit alongside teachers
and that you need to be thoughtful about what it is you
are seeing.
So again if you like, coming back to the beginning of our
conversation, truth claims, what we claim to know, can
come from a number of sources. But one important source
is that thoughtful engagement with another person. You
want to know something about how they think or what they
know or what their experiences are. And indeed many years
later I worked with Lous Heshusius on our book, that was
really the core of Lous’ work was how we know in
relationship to others.
Keith Ballard wanted most to understand children in order
to support their learning. After teaching in schools for a .
few years, and then as a lecturer, he turned to educational
psychology as a way to understand how he could make a
positive difference to children’s lives. While he thought he
would find answers through his educational psychology
training, he discovered the tensions in psychometric testing
and in exacerbating testing regimes and contexts. Thus
began the forerunner of a research agenda as he set out to
question the conventional wisdom or accepted practice of
psychometric testing.
I expected to learn very specific things about how you knew
children. And I was going to use this knowledge and be
useful. And what I found was it wasn’t like that. When I came
to this requirement in our course, that we learned to give
the Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children and the Stanford
Scale, I thought, “this will be interesting, because here is a
specific thing”. And I have to say that I later thought not just
that they were absurd activities, but I actually thought that it
was inappropriate to ask children to do these things. And so
I began to look at the whole notion of where the tests came
from and the claims that were made of these tests. I mean
basically they can’t be substantiated in the most simple sense
and that is you have to challenge testing on its own terms.
And what I wrote about in a number of papers over several
years was simply using the criteria that the test makers say
are the important ones. For example, there are a number
of different kinds of validity, but the only one that really
matters is construct validity and that is the one that the
Stanford Binet and the Wechsler Intelligence Scales do not
have. What is the “construct” you are measuring? And it’s
kind of extraordinary, as what is said under that heading is
so critical.
I came across people like Stephen J Gould, ‘The Mismeasure
of Man’ and his account of the harm done by IQ testing. You
then have to have something else that you are going to use
as a psychologist and so that became, if you like, the next
challenge. And not just for me either, a number of other
people in the field at that time were looking at ways of
working that did not involve testing. But the education
system itself was strongly grounded in requirements for
Weaving educational threads. Weaving educational practice.
testing for certain purposes. So to stay in an ordinary school,
or to get removed from an ordinary school, you had to have
that test score, so I found that a very difficult issue.
I thought there would be something magic in these boxes
[that the tests came in], and what was in the box? They
were basically trivial, they were devoid of anything useful
to humanity and, in fact, vastly worse than that of course,
I honestly believe they are deeply harmful tools, because
they maintain a stereotype of human intelligence and they
maintain a strategy for labelling and segregating some
children and adults. So it is not an issue that has gone away,
even today. I find it remarkable actually that there are still
many programmes for training psychologists that would
include this kind of instrument scale. Even then, compared
to some other psychometric instruments, the IQ test on its
own terms stands up quite well, so I mean there are a whole
range of assessment tools which are so deeply and seriously
flawed that unless the professional bodies take their own
ethical standards seriously, I guess they’ll get replicated
onwards forever.
There were a number of people who were active in
developing other ways of working with children. And this is
why I think behaviour analysis, I think it was such a valuable
tool at that time where you had strategies for evaluating
both the child and its environment. So with Ted Glynn’s
approach to behaviour analysis as a strategy of evaluating
the child-environment connection, that was a strong
influence on me. I think that Ted and myself were never
strongly operant people. We could understand the argument
for the conditioning models, but I didn’t find those engaging
strategies when in fact your responsibility I think was to pay
more attention to the environment rather than just to some
particular elements of the environment; to strive to organise
the environment in a way in which it would be a more
responsive environment for the child.
To understand why people choose certain ways of working
I think it comes back to understanding the person – of the
assessor, for example. In the same way, to understand
teaching we have to understand the person of the teacher.
To understand research we have to understand the person
of the researcher.
Keith worked as an educational psychologist for a few years,
a career that took him south from Auckland to be based .
in Christchurch. While these years were not particularly
memorable for Keith, he did enjoy the Psychological Service1
and the people there.
There were some marvellous people; I mean Denis Longley
and others who were very experienced psychologists with
a strong commitment to children and school systems and
teachers. There was a lot for me to admire and strive to
be able to do the kinds of things that I needed to do as a
psychologist. As a psychologist you work with parents and
children but [back then] the work of a psychologist was
The Psychological Service was an independent service. This was disestablished and
replaced, after the 1989 Education Act, with Special Education Services, which has .
since been amalgamated into the Ministry of Education. Educational psychologists .
now primarily work for the Ministry of Education, Special Education.
pretty much trying to work out what might be happening
and providing some advice and support and, hopefully,
some strategies for teachers and parents.
I don’t think testing got in the way other than that I was
different from a lot of other psychologists, and that is not a
particularly easy thing to be. I tend to feel that we have a
responsibility if we have got an idea that we feel strongly
about then we should put it in the public arena. And that’s a
position I think we should consider taking, because it may be
an idea that could be useful to others. But equally important
is your ethical responsibility to put it out there and see what
happens. I received a great deal of criticism for the writings
that I did about IQ testing.
It’s just something that I felt that as public servants, basically
we shouldn’t hold things to ourselves. If we genuinely thought
we had something useful then we had a responsibility to put
it out there. Also, feedback might indicate that you have got
it wrong. I felt that sense of being a public servant right the
way through my career. People sneer now, “who are these
people paid by the State?”, yes we are, university lecturers
are paid for by the State. And because I feel we have a
responsibility to say “look this might be useful, see what
you think.” There are many people that have had very
substantial influence on what has happened in New Zealand,
by the way in which they have been able to explain systems,
or explain ideologies or whatever, people like John Codd,
for example and others.
When we talked with Keith about his work, both of us having
been postgraduate students of his in the late 1980s at Otago
University, we asked how he found the courage to put
himself constantly in situations where he was an “outsider”
or taking strong positions that required ongoing debate and
critique. For example, moving to a new country, working in .
a technician role and deciding to commence tertiary study,
and tackling contentious issues such as the IQ debate, and
later inclusion, where conflict was rife. We dared to mention
his courage, in taking a different path. Our discussion on
courage did not sit comfortably with Keith, and instead took
us to a key point of his work: relationships with others, and
incorporating the strengths of others to support his work.
Ultimately for Keith, forging new ground and supporting
learning is about relationships and how “we relate one to
another.” And the answers to this have come through people,
as well as through science and literature.
I think it is very kind of you to frame it like that. I’m very
reluctant to have the word “courage” used at all because
imagine how challenging it is for people who come from
Samoa or Tonga, or anywhere, to this place, compared to a
Pom. Actually one of the things I had forgotten is I never met
any Mäori after I first came to New Zealand. I kept expecting
to see Mäori people and the first time I met Mäori was on
the assembly line when I worked at Fords and so one of the
things I did at university was a Mäori reading knowledge
paper as a way of finding out about this new place I was in.
I understand what you are saying and it is very kind of you to
frame it that way but I think a reader would think “oh who is
this character?” I think it is true to say that I kind of ended
up a number of times in a minority position of views. My
views have been minority views. And I think what I would say
about that, is that it has never been comfortable. If you want
a quiet life this isn’t the route at all. I guess there is some
recent work as well, that comes into that.
Rather than say that I have chosen a difficult path and shown
courage, for me I would delete all of that, and say that what
is important to me have been particular people. You know
at each time if you like, of change or learning, each time of
a change or learning for me, there has been a person or
sometimes several persons. And I think one of the issues
there is a theme, which I am still struggling to understand,
but has always been a theme of my work, and that is this
issue of relationships. How do we relate one to another?
I think also the influence [of literature] has been
extraordinarily important, and still is to this day, this week,
where the novelist has a highly significant position, I believe,
in the human world, by telling humans about what it is to be
human, because it is such a complicated thing that you need
a poetic imagination to achieve that.
[Other influences included] students at every level who have
said something to me, who have written something, who
have asked a question and you think “goodness gracious,
how do I think about that?” And I think that student energy
that is part of being in that environment is an amazingly
privileged position to be in. Also, the university gives you
opportunity to travel and see what is happening in other
places, which is absolutely critical here in New Zealand.
It’s only when you leave New Zealand that you are reminded
of how extremely insignificant we are in so many respects.
And also you learn how good we are in some areas.
So what I did after a while was to rethink and rewrite a lot of
my academic teaching within the university and I made this
shift from a positivist behavioural position toward what I
refer to as qualitative thought. And there was a great comfort
in the sense that I could now see that there are other ways
of thinking and being as a researcher, which are in fact
extraordinarily demanding. I mean people seem to think
that what is called qualitative research, which is many
things, but qualitative research which is undertaken within
a named position of constructivism or whatever is very
difficult research to design, to meet the assumptions and
expectations of the position that you claim to be working
in and it’s very difficult to do because mostly it’s about an
engagement with someone. It’s about a relationship from
which you expect to know something. So this theme of
relationship again emerges.
I’m still pursuing an interest in how we relate to one another
as people. That is the core of what is both, I think, exciting in
terms of striving to understand what on earth that actually
means. You get some glimpse of how complex it is if you are
located into another culture don’t you? Where you have got
a language and a whole system of meanings and values that
you don’t yet know.
Have you ever needed to imagine other realities for yourself?
I think that is everything I have said. Each of those moments
has been a possibility of something different. I’m sure and
I can think of moments that I haven’t been brave enough …
I think you see things that you haven’t thought of and you
kind of imagine “oh what if?” and then you have to make
some decisions about what are the implications of that.
I mean sometimes it’s so intangible that it might not have
anything to it, but I think that other times it is a challenge
to say, “well all this time I have thought in this way and
now look.” And I’m absolutely sure that this will go on in
our lives. That when we think we know something is
probably the dangerous moment, don’t get too confident.
Keith completed his doctoral work in behaviour analysis .
at The University of Otago and subsequently worked in the
area of educational psychology and behaviour analysis .
for some years. At Otago some of Keith’s initial work with
postgraduate students in projects involving adults with
intellectual disabilities eventually took a new direction
toward qualitative research, human rights, and the study of
inclusion and its meanings. Theory and practice, combined
with the daily and lived experiences of disabled people,
became influenced by a strong qualitative and rich research
agenda for change and justice.
Where I initially found some of the most exciting teaching
was with my postgraduate behaviour analysis group. We used
to work primarily with adults within intellectual disabilities.
We’d ask them what they might like to know or learn. It
might be learning a bus route, so they could be independent
going to and from home and work. I mean we never knew
what it was that someone might say they wanted to work on,
so that was really exciting. But after some years I made a very
deliberate move into what I call qualitative thought, I felt
much more comfortable then in thinking differently about
the work that I was doing, which again was something I was
unsure of at first. And so I shifted from the psychology work
of individuals and groups to a more serious examination of
the wider notion of context. Again I think this is a personal
thing. I mean some people do important work in the area
of individual children and families, and so on, and there is
nothing critical of that, just because I shifted out of those.
It is not a criticism of that at all. It’s just that I felt this need
to, if you like it is a selfish need, the opportunity was there,
and I decided I needed to do something different, to begin
thinking in a different way. And what happened was as soon
as I opened up what is there I became very interested in
the field of disability as a contextual issue and I had an
enormous influence from Anne Bray – an unquestioned
leader in New Zealand in this field of disability.
And then somehow or another from the work I was doing
on social and ideological contexts I got invited to a meeting
in England with Mel Ainscow and Tony Booth and Roger Slee
and Linda Ware and others and this was again a life changing
experience. What became known as the International
Research Colloquium on Inclusive Education was a small
group of people who met every other year in a different
country. And we were different people at the end of it.
Weaving educational threads. Weaving educational practice.
Our assignment was to research and write something, to
send it around the group and we spent the week discussing
those writings. So we were just putting our work in front of
everyone in the group and I had never learnt more ever and
we would critique it for as long as it took. That group across
5 or 6 years was enormously important to me. It was that
kind of environment where you had a sense of respect for
each other, a sense of trust and you were prepared to ask
questions about responsibilities and understandings
in working out what inclusion might mean. And those
questions led through to the notion of social justice and
then to human rights. So if you like there is some kind
of personal connection here in terms of how a group of
researchers have found themselves working together and
learning from one another. And the same fundamental
issues of relationships come through in teaching
and learning.
One of the other significant areas of learning for me
originated with Ted Glynn at The University of Otago when
he said that we should know about the Treaty and that we
should engage with mana whenua and off some of us went.
We were extremely fortunate to have people like Alva Kapa,
Khyla Russell and many others who provided learning and
support for those of us who were striving to understand our
roles and responsibilities under the Treaty. So that when
Ted left Otago I felt that I wanted to continue with that
agenda and one of the things I felt would be valuable was
to examine what a Mäori position might be in my main area
of research at the time, which was in the field of intellectual
disability. So I tried to find out where that might come from.
And in various diverse ways I ended up having contact with
a group Te Roopu Manaaki I te Hunga Haua in Eastern Bay
of Plenty. And I did some work with them. We shared some
research ideas, we shared research projects and the leader of
that group was Tame Iti. So I had visited a number of times
in the Eastern Bay of Plenty and they provided an enormous
amount of support so that we might do the learning that we
needed to do, an enormous amount of support for us to
continue to learn.
I think that a key theme for me [in being involved with
different groups] was the constant willingness to be critical
about one another’s ideas and work. And to do that you have
to have a great deal of trust. I think many of us know that if
we are frightened it’s hard to learn, it’s even harder to get it
right. Fear is not a context for effective learning.
Keith is always reading for new ideas and directions. .
On the surface science and the arts are usually considered
world’s apart, but they both rely on people imagining .
new possibilities.
And the most recent one is a beautiful book by Lynn Hunt,
an American historian, ‘Inventing Human Rights’ and what
I love about it is that she says that in her research into how
people come to believe that there should be human rights,
that is that people should have some equality in rights, is
an act of imagination. That they begin to see that someone
else is like themselves. And for me that is a kind of magic
moment, because it takes you back to the world of literature
where constantly you see the world in another way and you
know those people are like yourself.
This notion of imagination is perhaps an extremely
important one. Perhaps it’s an extremely important human
capacity to make something up. So I think it must be an
important basis for art which I don’t pretend to understand
anything about apart from the fact that you can look at
something and it will make you feel things you can’t
articulate. And also imagination is as Paulo Freire says
“we must imagine other realities.” Where we have got a
reality that is harmful to children and people we must
imagine something else as an alternative. So Freire is saying
that if you accept what is there and it’s harmful then you
are complicit with oppression. But humans may not at the
moment actually understand that there is a problem. For
example, look how long it has taken, and it is still not the
case that it is resolved, for the emancipation of women.
Many people cannot imagine yet the full implications of
what that might mean. I think that a notion of a critical
imagination has got a lot of work yet to be done.
• I would like to see a theme of respect for the Treaty.
• Read lots of good books and whatever your
definition of a good book is that is probably a good
book, and look at lots of art.
• We need to imagine the world differently because,
for example, there are many New Zealand children
living in poverty and we have to imagine what
alternative social and economic arrangements
would end that poverty.
Evident in the ideas he captures and the portrayal of himself
and others in learning, Keith has taken on this pivotal role of
teaching, leadership, and inspiring others in the same way
that he received through his diverse network of support.
Here is somebody who has a passion for people based on
professional responsibility and an ethic of care. For Keith, it
is within the dialogue of trusting relationships that the most
effective learning is realised. The imagined becomes a
possibility and then, a reality.
When asked for advice for educators and to readers of
Kairaranga, Keith was initially reluctant to give “advice”. .
This was in part due to believing that teachers had one of .
the most difficult jobs in education, and partly because of a
strongly held and genuine regard for people as leaders and
learners based on their own understandings and experiences.
I don’t think I can give advice really to anyone. I think my
responsibility, such as it is, is to do what I said at the
beginning and that is say “look here is something that makes
sense to me at the moment.” You may choose to read this;
it may say something to you. We have to take seriously the
profession of teaching as grounded in critical thought and
ongoing learning.
Ballard, K. (2003). The analysis of context: Some thoughts .
on teacher education, culture, colonization and
inequality. In T. Booth, K. Ness, & M. Stromstad (Eds.),
Developing inclusive education (pp. 59–77). London:
Routledge Falmer.
• [Regarding] professional ethics, professional
responsibility. It means we should be thoughtfully
critical about ourselves. The basis for our critical
thought should be ongoing attention to the literature
of our field of work.
• There is no such thing as practice without theory,
it doesn’t happen. There is always a theory behind
practice. And if you don’t know what your theory
behind your practice is you can’t be very effective in
using it thoughtfully, because you don’t understand
the basis for what you are doing. So theory is very
important. There is no disconnect between theory
and practice, they are deeply interconnected.
• I think to take seriously issues of caring for others in
whatever way one does that. It might be by doing a
good job each day as a teacher, or a researcher, or
a psychologist, that would be one way of thinking
about it. But also striving to know about what is
happening to others. For example, disability is not
an area that is well understood and yet this is an
area of serious discrimination in New Zealand.
Where families are being excluded from ordinary
schools and classrooms. Their children are often
excluded so there is a challenge, an issue of social
justice in classrooms.
Ballard, K. (2007). Education and imagination: Strategies
for social justice. The Herbison Lecture presented to .
the National Conference of the New Zealand Association
for Research in Education, University of Canterbury,
New Zealand, 4–7 December, 2007.
Ballard, K. (2004). Learners and outcomes: Where did .
all the children go? New Zealand Journal of Teachers’
Work, 1, 95–103.
Clay, M. M. (2002). Change over time in children’s
literacy development. Auckland, New Zealand:
Heinemann Education.
Clay, M. M. (2005). Literacy lessons designed for individuals.
Auckland, New Zealand: Heinemann Education.
Freire, P. (1998). Teachers as cultural workers: Letters to
those who dare to teach. Boulder, CO. Westview Press.
Gould, S. J. (1981). The mismeasure of man. New York: W. W.
Norton & Co.
Heshusius, L., & Ballard, K. (1996). From positivism to
interpretivism and beyond: Tales of transformation
in educational and social research (the mind-body
connection). New York: Teachers College Press.
Hunt, L. A. (2008). Inventing human rights: A history. .
New York: Norton.
Roseanna Bourke
Keith Ballard
Dr Roseanna Bourke
Keith Ballard
Roseanna Bourke works at Massey University as the .
Director of the Centre for Educational Development, .
Massey University. Her professional and research interests
are in learning and assessment. Roseanna is lead editor .
for Talk About Learning (2008), Pearson Education, that
foregrounds teacher professional learning.
Keith Ballard is Emeritus Professor of Education, University .
of Otago. He has a background as a primary teacher and
educational psychologist. His publications include work .
on paradigm shift in education and social science research;
classroom studies of academic and social learning; studies
with parents and teachers on inclusive education; and
analysis of the role of ideology in issues of poverty, racism
and social justice.
Contact Details
Michael Gaffney
School of Education, .
University of Otago, .
PO Box 56, Dunedin.
Michael Gaffney
Michael Gaffney is the deputy director of the Children’s Issues
Centre at the University of Otago in Dunedin. He has a wide
range of research interests including disabled children’s
experiences of school. Most recently he has been working
with Citizen’s Nursery & Preschool in Dunedin as part of the
early childhood education Centres of Innovation Programme.
Weaving educational threads. Weaving educational practice.
Who are the Best Teachers
of Pasifika Children?
Ezra Schuster
National Pasifika Manager, Ministry of Education, Special Education
This paper discusses the complexities of engaging with
Pasifika communities in Aotearoa New Zealand and
examines the assumption that the best people to provide
services to Pasifika children have to be Pasifika. The paper
offers strategies on building the capability of non-Pasifika
staff to work with Pasifika children and their families.
Pasifika children and families statistically have a low uptake
of services provided by the Ministry of Education, Special
Education. There are a number of factors that contribute .
to this which I describe as the triple-blind:
Position paper
2. Engaging with ethnically and socially diverse and
complex communities like Pasifika in Aotearoa.
Competence, cultural differences, Pasifika children,
professional training, special needs, teacher development
“Who are the best teachers of Pasifika children Ezra?”
snapped the middle-aged, overly-enthusiastic, papalagi
academic with the unidentifiable Euro-American accent .
from the centre of the front row. I had met him 90 minutes
earlier and knew he was going to be trouble.
I decided to set up early, organise my transparencies, finally
found my workshop room and discovered that I wasn’t the
first one there. He was already waiting. Tap tapping his pen
on the chair in front, flicking through the conference
programme and circling stuff. He was the first to the room,
greeted me with a huge smile and a well meaning “Talofa”.
and then asked if I had copies of my presentation – only so
he could focus on me and the presentation rather than take
notes. He had checked with the registration desk twice to
make sure my workshop was in the right place as there .
were a number of last minute room changes to the morning
programme. He was looking forward to the session as he .
was searching for strategies to better understand the Pacific
Island boys in his school – “Great,” I thought. He was one .
of those guys. I was already nervous, being my first major
presentation and a newbie to the education sector and now .
I had this guy who was hinging his whole teaching practice
with Pasifika students on me – no pressure.
I paused, wiped the glistening beads of sweat from my .
brow, took a deep breath and squeaked out my answer,
which I won’t share with you now as I’ve still got 1000 words
to write. It was 1997 and it was the first time I was asked .
that question and it remains the one I get asked the .
most – particularly when people find out my job title. The
assumption is that the best people to provide services to
Pasifika children have to be Pasifika. This certainly raises a
number of issues for a predominately papalagi workforce of
education and health practitioners when faced with an
increasingly diverse client base.
1. Untangling the stigma of special needs and raising the
awareness of special education.
3. Building the capability of a predominately non-Pasifika
workforce to work more effectively with Pasifika children
with special needs and their families.
I want to focus on the third point but briefly in terms of
special needs and disability awareness, generally Pasifika
peoples still have a way to go in terms of addressing and
changing negative mindsets, deep-rooted stereotypes and
beliefs relating to people with special needs and disabilities.
There is often an association between the person’s
impairment and the perception or belief that they have been
afflicted or cursed by their own (or parents, village, ancestors
and close family members) breach of tapu or sin – a view still
held by many people within the Pasifika communities in
Aotearoa (Foliaki, 2005). Secondly, many agencies and
organisations continue the one size fits all engagement
approach. They continue to see themselves as separate .
from the community and use language like them and us. .
The truth is they don’t fully understand the diversity and
complexity of ethnic and social communities like Pasifika,
clumping the six to seven diverse Pacific peoples into one
homogenous group. Overwhelming them with unnecessary
consultation meetings, poor and irrelevant information .
and complicated systems. Usually they are the agencies/
organisations’ processes that are imposed on these
communities. As a result families become disconnected .
and disinterested. I am proud to say it is an area we are
improving in the Ministry through the stepped up Pasifika
Education Plan 2008-2012 with its community engagement
focus where we have acknowledged that we are part of the
community, no longer separate.
Building the capability of our non-Pasifika staff to work .
more effectively with Pasifika children and their families .
with special needs is critical to achieving better outcomes .
for Pasifika children. The need for practitioners to be
culturally competent and have basic cultural knowledge .
of Pasifika families is more pertinent today given the growth
of Pasifika peoples in Aotearoa (recent projections estimate
that there will be an increasing concentration of Pasifika
people in Manukau and Waitakere over the next 10 to 15
years) and low numbers of Pasifika health and education
professionals. The situation is particularly acute in special
education because of the specialist roles. Although the
recruitment of Pasifika staff is a critical strategy, it is a long
term one with little promise of the investment because of .
the high premium on Pasifika graduates.
A key strategy for the Ministry has been the development .
of the Pasifika Cultural Responsiveness Programme (CRP)
which has been successfully delivered nationally through .
the various Special Education offices by its Pasifika staff.
What makes the programme so unique was it was developed
by Pasifika field staff for their non-Pasifika colleagues and .
a significant feature of the programme is connecting the
cultural knowledge and theory with practice – that solid,
practical, this is how you do it stuff.
Cultural competence is about the acquisition of skills to
achieve a better understanding of members of other .
cultures (Bacal, Jansen & Smith, 2006; Durie, 2001). .
The Pacific Cultural Competencies Framework for District
Health Boards (2005) defines cultural competence as ‘the
ability of individuals and systems to respond effectively
across cultures in a way that recognises and respects the
culture of the person, family, community or organisation
being served’ (p. 5). The framework further highlights that .
‘… cultural competencies are a process not an end point …
with the ongoing development of Pacific cultural competency
framework standards there is an equally important need .
for the health sector to provide ongoing training in cultural
competence and cultural awareness’ (p. 3).
Although cultural competency training and awareness isn’t
new, I must admit it does seem to be the new black with
almost every organisation, department and numerous
professional bodies requiring that its members are culturally
competent. Rightly so, considering the disparity for groups
such as Pasifika and Mäori but I am cautious about the use
of the words cultural and training in the same sentence.
Culture for starters is such an elusive and subjective concept
because it is so fluid and ever evolving. Throw in the fact that
Pasifika people are not homogenous and it does not refer .
to a single ethnicity, nationality, gender or culture and it .
is the voices of this Pasifika diaspora in Aotearoa we are
focused on – one then begins to understand the complexity
that is Pasifika.
Therefore developing cultural training programmes and
pinning a theoretical framework to them, although terribly
convenient and impressive, sometimes disguises the deeper
issues to embracing diversity. That is you, the trainee or
practitioner. You bring your own cultural identity, social,
personal and professional experiences to the relationship – .
so don’t leave them at the gate. Meaningful cultural
understanding and awareness comes about when one begins
to empathise and relate oneself to the situation over time.
Completing a two day programme certainly doesn’t make
one fully culturally competent, rather its part of a continuum
which practitioners need to supplement with cultural
supervision and further professional learning opportunities.
This may include participating in an event with your .
local Samoan community, celebrating a Niue haircutting
ceremony, learning Cook Island Mäori or attending a Tongan
church service. We’ve made a deliberate effort in the Pasifika
Figure 1. Seitapu Model.
Source: Puloto-Endemann, F. K., Suaali’i-Sauni, T., Lui, D., McNicholas, T., Milen, M., & Gibbs, T. (2007). Pacific mental health and addiction cultural and clinical competencies framework. Retrieved July 30, 2008 from http://www.leva.co.nz/page/14-Projects+Seitapu. Published with permission of Te Pou o te Whakaaro Nui: The National Centre of Mental Health
Research, Information and Workforce Development. July 2007.
Weaving educational threads. Weaving educational practice.
CRP to make participants more understanding of Pasifika
cultures in Aotearoa as well as affirming their professional
and personal skills and judgements when working with
Pasifika families – a practitioner centred approach.
There are a number of Pasifika theoretical frameworks and
models proposed by Pasifika researchers such as
• Tamasese, Peteru and Waldegrave’s (1997) concept .
of Fa’afaletui
• Teremoana Ma-Ua-Hodge’s (2000) Tivaevae model
• Jean Mitaera’s (1997) concept of the Researcher as .
the First Paradigm
• Konai Helu-Thaman’s (1992) metaphor of Kakala
• Koloto’s (2001, cited in Koloto, 2003) Pacific Cultural
Competency framework.
A recent model, and one that aligns most closely with the
practitioner centred approach that we required, is the
Seitapu model by Pulotu-Endemann et al. (2007). Developed
for mental health practitioners when working with Pasifika
clients, the Seitapu model, in the shape of a flower, places
the practitioner at the centre of the model because it is they
who will impact most significantly on the client and their
family. The model shows that ‘competency in cultural theory
and practice must work alongside competency in clinical
theory and practice. This is represented by the four petals .
of the flower’ (Pulotu-Endemann et al., 2006, p. 8).
In the ideal world we would have more skilled and .
qualified Pasifika practitioners working in the system – .
but we don’t. Although we will continue to strive for the
ideal, the development of professional learning programmes
and cultural competencies to ensure non-Pasifika staff work
effectively with Pasifika children is equally as important .
as the recruitment of qualified Pasifika students to special
education. One can’t be at the expense of the other because
they are so interdependent.
“… the best teachers of Pasifika children?” I repeated
nervously waiting for the fire alarm to sound and then it
came to me, and I repeated the words again but this time
gave as my response: “The best teachers of Pasifika children
are … the best teachers. It’s empathy, not just ethnicity,
that’s important.” Silence for a two very long seconds. .
Then loud applause from the centre of the front row
followed by grunts of support and approved nodding .
from the participants.
I’ve lost count of the number of people who have asked me
for the set of protocols or guidelines of how to better engage
with Pasifika peoples, seriously. People want the quick fix
training programme or certificate to tick the box and often
neglect their most powerful tool, themselves. Cultural
training, awareness or responsiveness isn’t just learning
about the other side. It should take into account one’s own
cultural identity and experiences and supplement one’s own
professional learning and skills. Culture absolutely counts in
providing services to Pasifika children and students – just
remember to bring yours as well.
“I didn’t realise I was a Pasifika person or an Islander until .
I arrived at the airport in Mangere, before that I was a
Samoan!” This quote illustrates perfectly the multi-ethnic
diversity that is Pasifika, Pacific, Polynesian, PI or Islander
and a caution not to use it freely or loosely to describe all
brown people. Pasifika is a collective term used to refer to
people of Pacific heritage or ancestry who have migrated .
or been born here in Aotearoa, New Zealand, Australia and
the United States. Pasifika include recent migrants or first,
second, third and subsequent generations of New Zealandborn Pasifika people. Pasifika are men, women and children
of single or mixed heritages who identify themselves with
their indigenous Pacific countries of origin because of
ancestry or heritage, family and cultural connections with
Samoa, Cook Islands, Tonga, Niue, Tokelau, Fiji, Solomon
Islands, Tuvalu and other Pacific countries.
Pasifika people are not homogenous and Pasifika does not
refer to a single ethnicity, nationality, gender or culture.
Bacal, K., Jansen, P., & Smith, K. (2006). Developing cultural
competency in accordance with the Health Practitioners
Competence Assurance Act. New Zealand Family
Physician, 2006, 3(5), 305–309.
Durie, M. (2001). Cultural competence and medical practice
in New Zealand. Australian and New Zealand Boards .
and Council Conference, November 2001. Wellington,
New Zealand.
Helu-Thaman, K. (1992). Looking towards the source: .
A consideration of (cultural) context in teacher education.
ACCESS Critical Perspectives on Education Policy, 11(2),
Koloto, ‘A. H. (2001). Towards Pacific cultural competency
at South Auckland Health. A background document
prepared for the Clinical Board. An unpublished paper.
Auckland: South Auckland Health.
Ma-Ua Hodges, T. (2000). Ako pai ki Aitutaki: Transporting or
weaving cultures. Research report of field experiences to
the Cook Islands. Wellington, New Zealand: Wellington
College of Education.
Mitaera, J. (1997). The researcher as the first paradigm.
Unpublished presentation to the Masters course:
Research as praxis Mäori and Pacific nations education.
Wellington, New Zealand: Victoria University of
Pacific Cultural Competencies Framework for DSD funded
NASCs. (2005). Adapted with permission from the .
work of Lita Foliaki. Retrieved July 30, 2008, from .
Puloto-Endemann, F. K., Suaali’i-Sauni, T., Lui, D.,
McNicholas, T., Milen, M., & Gibbs, T. (2007). Pacific
mental health and addiction cultural and clinical
competencies framework. Retrieved July 30, 2008 from
Tamasese, K., Peteru, C., & Waldegrave, C. (1997). O le taeao
afua – the new morning. A Qualitative Investigation into
Samoan Perspectives on Mental Health and Culturally
Appropriate Services. A research project carried out by
The Family Centre.
Ezra Schuster
Ezra Schuster
Ezra Schuster is the National Pasifika Manager with the
Ministry of Education (in Auckland) and manages the newly
formed Northern Region Pasifika team working right across
the education sector. He led a special education project to
Tokelau in 2007 with the follow-up later this year. Ezra has
been involved in the education sector, both domestic and
international, for a number of years and more recently in
national leadership roles. Ezra has travelled extensively .
and has lived and worked in Thailand, Japan and the .
wider Pacific region. He sits on a number of advisory .
boards and has developed several educational and .
youth leadership initiatives, with a focus on working .
with Pasifika communities.
Weaving educational threads. Weaving educational practice.
Comment on Schooling for Happiness:
Rethinking the Aims of Education
Professor Ted Glynn
School of Education, University of Waikato
This commentary by Professor Ted Glynn is in response to an
article published in the last version of Kairaranga – Schooling
for Happiness: Rethinking the aims of education, written by
Dr Tom Cavanagh.
It is refreshing to read Cavanagh’s article which focuses our
energies onto re-visiting the wider socio-cultural goals of
education. The article tries to move our thinking beyond
current concerns focused on accountability of teachers and
students to meeting specific achievement standards and
curriculum objectives. While these concerns are certainly
appropriate and important, and deserve the careful attention
they are now receiving from educational professionals and
the media, Cavanagh’s article reminds us that we may be
losing sight of much of the wider educational picture.
We might be losing sight of the educational implications of
the rapidly increasing diversity of social and cultural values,
beliefs and practices within our student communitites and
within our schools. This diversity is not well-reflected or
represented in our pedagogies. There is a great deal of
professional and media attention on the problems and
challenges posed by all this diversity, and much anxiety
about how and where we will find the knowledge and
expertise to address the problems and challenges it presents.
However, there seems to be little understanding and
appreciation that both the knowledge and expertise are
located within the diverse communities we are concerned
about. We need to engage with this diversity in ways that .
are both affirming and responsive. We need to learn from it.
We might learn, for example, that our educational aims and
goals, particularly those concerned with equity and inclusion,
are not as responsive to cultural and linguistic diversity .
as we think. Our students are presently in our schools not
simply there to be “prepared” for a future life and learning
after school, but to participate in shaping a happy, safe, .
and satisfying life and learning culture here and now. .
They are also there to learn how to understand, critique .
and challenge the values and practices of the society in
which their schooling is embedded, and which has shaped
the curriculum and pedagogies they experience.
Key pointers to increasing the responsiveness of our
educational aims and goals are found in Cavanagh’s .
pleas for the central positioning of caring, respectful and
inclusive relationships within classroom and school learning
communities. These are the kinds of relationships that
enable students both to “engage” in learning and to “belong”
within learning contexts that are safe and supportive.
Relationships within effective classroom and school learning
communities are characterised by the affirmation and
inclusion of the different cultural and social identities and
knowledge bases that students bring with them into their
classrooms and schools.
Socially and culturally important goals such as creating
inclusive learning relationships and inclusive learning
communities, in my view, can be achieved when all teachers
are willing and able to engage in “inclusive teaching” practices.
Rather than continuing to worry about how on earth we
could possibly become sufficiently knowledgeable and
competent in the many different cultures represented .
in our classrooms and schools, we might instead try to
collaborate with our students and their communities to
create a new classroom and school culture where everyone .
is safe “to be who they are”. Such a classroom culture would
demonstrate collaboration in identifying preferred values
and ways of learning, behaving, interacting, and of setting
goals and defining learning tasks. Inclusive pedagogies in
such classrooms would be those that respond to those
collaboratively-defined values and preferences in ways that
do not privilege any ethnic or cultural group, particularly .
the dominant group. Teaching practices might embrace, for
example, collaborative learning, inquiry learning, reciprocal
learning (where teacher and learner roles are interchanged
freely among all participants) and holistic learning (where
learning goals encompass intellectual, social, emotional and
spiritual wellbeing).
If more teachers, management personnel and policy makers
made greater use of inclusive teaching practices, we might
be able to leave behind our duplicity in “talking inclusion”
while maintaining two separate systems of education, one
“regular” for those who can meet our specific learning and
behaviour standards and expectations, and the other
“special” for those who cannot, or do not. For example,
Resource Teachers: Learning and Behaviour (RTLB) were
trained in accord with the Ministry of Education’s 1996
inclusive policy for special education, Special Education
2000, in a distinctly “teacher support” role. RTLB are trained .
to understand learning and behaviour from an ecological
perspective (which highlights the importance of learning
“contexts” as well as teaching strategies). They are trained .
to collaborate with teachers and schools and assist them to
improve learning and behaviour outcomes for students with
special needs. However, a considerable number of RTLB
appear to have been relegated by their school and cluster
management to work largely with individual students in .
a traditional withdrawal and largely exclusionary manner,
which has little or no impact on the pedagogical values and
practices of the rest of the school.
Inclusive education and inclusive teaching are not well
served by resorting to exclusionary practices such as .
zero tolerance. I have a real fear that zero tolerance for
challenging behaviour, for example, might pave the way
towards zero care and zero responsibility. Our role as
professional educators would be sadly diminished if our
major strategic response to challenging behaviour were to
become one of “crime and punishment”. Tom Cavanagh’s
article leads us to think not just about defining specific
curriculum aims and goals, and assessing students’ progress
towards these, but to think also about the nature of the
classroom and school contexts we need to create, and the
part that these contexts play in shaping learning and
behaviour appropriate to those aims and goals. The article
also provides us with a timely reminder to examine the
short-term as well as the long-term goals we set for ourselves
and for our students. We need to keep asking ourselves
whether these goals represent and position us as educators
who know and care about our students, who respect and
affirm what our students already know, and who engage
with our students to improve the effectiveness of classroom
and school learning contexts.
Author Profile
Ted Glynn
Professor Ted Glynn
Ted is Foundation Professor of Teacher Education at the
University of Waikato and a fellow of the Royal Society of
New Zealand. He has a wide background in applied
behaviour analysis, inclusive education, and Mäori and
bilingual education. On his father’s side Ted has whanaunga
links with Ngäti Porou (Te Whänau a Rakairoa). Ted is a
member of the Ministry of Education, Special Education,
Poutama Pounamu Education Research Centre in Tauranga.
Cavanagh, T. (2008). Schooling for happiness: Rethinking the
aims of education. Kairaranga, 9(1), 20–23.
Ministry of Education, (1996). Special Education 2000.
Wellington, New Zealand: Learning Media.
Weaving educational threads. Weaving educational practice.
The Importance of Educating Student Teachers
in Inclusive Education
A disability perspective
Wendy Neilson
Teaching Fellow, School of Education, University of Waikato
Ashlie Brink
Senior Tutor, School of Education, University of Waikato
In schools today inclusion involves a challenge to attitudes
and expectations within educational communities.
The New Zealand Disability Strategy (Minister for Disability
Issues, 2001), is a guide for government action to promote .
a more inclusive society. Out of its 15 Objectives, Objective 1
encourages and educates the community and society to
understand, respect and support disabled people. Objective
3 looks at providing the best education for disabled people.
Objective 5 fosters leadership by disabled people. The
summary states that New Zealand will be fully inclusive
when it’s ‘a society that highly values our lives and
continually enhances our full participation’. Educators .
must be committed to The New Zealand Disability Strategy
because its main focus is about a fully inclusive community.
Often, through role models, strong messages challenge
negative assumptions and prove that there are alterative
ways of looking at the world. Generally those who are the
most critical to implementing inclusion, such as teachers, .
are introduced to the notion by individuals for whom it is .
a theoretical, rather than a lived concept.
This article involves a sharing of experiences of two women
who are involved in teaching inclusion at tertiary level, who
live with physical disabilities and who have proved this to be
a powerful combination in changing attitudes.
Storied Experience
Classroom practices, disabilities, inclusive education, special
education, teacher attitudes, teacher education.
Parents and educators continue to express concern about the
provision of education and ongoing staff development for
the diverse classrooms of the 21st century, and in particular
with relation to disabled students (Morton & Gordon, 2006).
The question continues to be asked: how can teachers come
to understand the importance and value of an inclusive
classroom? This understanding can occur as part of ongoing
professional development or it can be part of tertiary
education of teachers.
In this paper we argue that inclusive education is an
important part of any initial teacher education programme.
Teachers must understand the issues associated with
supporting any child with a special need. It is vital that
beginning and student teachers are challenged to assess their
own attitudes and values before they can get the correct
messages across to fully understand the inclusive perspective.
As Lunn quoted when reviewing Linton’s writing (who herself
is an internationally renowned writer, consultant and public
speaker on disability issues) ‘… it is the way we have been
taught to think about disability, or taught to ignore disability,
that has played a part in perpetuating a divided society’
(Lunn, 2003, p. 151).
At the University of Waikato, School of Education, we are
members of the teaching team for the compulsory Inclusive
Education paper and we are two women who are qualified
and experienced teachers and who also live with congenital
physical disabilities. In this paper we, Wendy Neilson and
Ashlie Brink, share our perceptions and understanding .
of how our lived experience adds value and impact to .
our stories and experiences. We aim to emphasise the
importance and relevance of inclusion and to show how
everyone can reach their full potential. Our message
promotes to future teachers the principle that all children .
in their classrooms, irrespective of their abilities are worthy
of the teacher’s time and attention and must be provided
with the opportunity to reach their full potential. The
message to children with disability is that they too can
achieve whatever they set their minds to.
Our stories
When Wendy was born with a congenital disability her
parents were encouraged by medical professionals to leave
her in Wilson Home (an institutional setting) and “get on”
with their lives. They would not accept this and throughout
Wendy’s childhood she was encouraged to strive to achieve
all she set out to. Wendy always believed she would be an
independent career woman but that she would never get
into a relationship. She successfully achieved and balanced
both. At the end of her 7th form (year 13), Wendy applied to
become a teacher, but her application was declined as the
selection panel believed that she would not cope. After this
set back, she tried different study options but when she was
about 22, made a second attempt to gain entrance into
teacher training with the aim of teaching in a hospital
school. She was accepted immediately, qualified with a
Diploma of Teaching, and gradually completed her Bachelor
and later her Master of Education. Wendy has two children
and four grandchildren. She takes a leadership role in many
national disability groups and firmly believes she lives the
reality of all that the Inclusive Education paper, that she
contributes to, advocates.
Issues, 2001). One of the most relevant and significant
documents for people with disabilities in New Zealand .
today is the Disability Strategy: Making a world of difference.
This strategy aims to eliminate barriers wherever they exist. .
It is a framework that is set to ensure that government
departments and their agencies consider and consult with
people with disability before making decisions.
Ashlie too, was born with a congenital disability, but this was
only diagnosed at two years of age as the doctors believed
her parents were neurotic and in their words “typical first
time parents”. Ashlie, who completed all her schooling in
South Africa, was the only student with a visible, physical .
and long term disability attending her local primary school,
despite professional educators’ pleas for her to attend a
special school for people with physical disabilities. Ashlie .
was compelled to attend a special secondary school, but
firmly believes it was to her advantage and has made her .
the strong person she is today.
• Objective 1 which encourages and educates for a
non-disabling society;
Like Wendy, Ashlie has always wanted to work with children
in a hospital setting, ideally as a paediatrician, but realistically
as a teacher. She too has completed her Diploma of Teaching,
Bachelor of Education and a Master of Special Education.
Ashlie is also a member of various national disability groups
and believes strongly that, as an educator in a tertiary
setting, she can make a difference to the lives of children
with special needs through the students she teaches in her
Inclusive Education classes at the University of Waikato.
The literature indicates very clearly that attitudes present .
the biggest barrier for people with disabilities (Ballard, 1994;
Davis, 1997; Hillyer, 1993; Munford, 1994; Woodhill, 1994). .
It is the negative attitudes of individuals that so often create
the barriers for those out in the community who experience
the joys and challenges of diversity. ‘People’s assumptions
and expectations about disabled people often form the
biggest barriers’ (Disabled Persons Assembly, 2004, p. 8). .
It is imperative that in today’s world we create awareness
amongst children in classrooms and those who teach them,
and that everyone deserves to be recognised and valued for
their individuality and diversity. The United Nations (2007)
emphatically states that it is not one’s disability that hinders
full and effective participation in society, but rather it is the
attitudinal and environmental barriers. Disabled people seek
to be fully included in all aspects of society and the economy
and thus, it is essential that children are taught from an early
age that like most people, disabled people just want to live
everyday lives (Disabled Persons Assembly, 2004). It is this
principle that underpins what we teach but more than this, .
it is a principle that we live by as women with disabilities.
For our students it is more than rhetoric, it is reality.
New Zealand legislation and policy on equity and rights for
people with disability includes the Human Rights Act (1993),
The Education Act (1989), Building Act (1991), NZ Building
Code 4121 and the Disability Strategy (Minister for Disability
Weaving educational threads. Weaving educational practice.
The Disability Strategy has 15 objectives. However, the most
applicable in this context are:
• Objective 2 ensures the rights of disabled people;
• Objective 3 looks at providing the best education .
for disabled people and within this theme are eight
aims; and
• Objective 5 fosters leadership by disabled people.
(Minister for Disability Issues, 2001)
The summary of the Disability Strategy (Minister for Disability
Issues, 2001) proposes that New Zealand will be fully inclusive
when it is ‘a society that highly values our lives and continually
enhances our full participation’ (p. 1). Again, we are living
this reality as members of the team focusing on inclusive
education, and it is essential that we are committed to the
Disability Strategy because its main focus is about having a
fully inclusive community in the future. Slee (2001) emphasises
that those who argue for social justice in education should
continue to validate the ideas of justice in education for
disabled people.
The New Zealand Education Act (1989) enables “all” children
from 5 years of age, the right to attend their local school
until the end of the year in which they turn 20 (Department .
of Education, 1988). Within this Act, children with special
education needs have the same rights to enrol and to .
be educated at state schools as other students. This has
created challenges for schools, teachers and students. .
Prior to the Act, an increasing number of children with
special education needs had been “mainstreamed” into
New Zealand classrooms, based on the assumption that they
would “fit” in without any major adjustment to meet their
special education needs (Moore et al., 1999). Slee (2001)
maintains that schools were never really meant for everyone,
but inclusion speaks to the protection of rights of citizenship
for all. In 1998 the Ministry of Education developed the
Special Education 2000 policy framework where the main
focus was on inclusion (Ministry of Education, 1998). The .
aim of the policy was to develop schools to fit, nurture and
support the education and social needs of every student
(Moore et al., 1999). Currently the Special Education 2000
policy (Ministry of Education, 1998) guides teachers, pupils
and parents towards inclusion with the ultimate aim, .
‘… to achieve, over the next decade, a world class inclusive
education system that provides learning opportunities of
equal quality to all students’ (Ministry of Education, 1996, .
p. 5).
That decade is nearly over.
Inclusive Education
Role Models
Initial teacher education in the 21st century must be
comprehensive enough to fully equip an individual to .
meet the opportunities and challenges of the inclusive
classroom and school. It is essential that those designing .
and delivering these programmes as well as those receiving
them, understand the complexities of individual difference
in the classroom (Morton & Gordon, 2006).
As tertiary educators, we believe that teachers hold the
future in their hands. Teachers generally are the role models
who influence how children see the world and how they will .
react to it. It is imperative in today’s world that we prepare
children to value and celebrate the diversity that they will
experience in the classroom and the world, when they
become adults. As we prepare the teachers of the future, .
it is vital that we guide them to have ‘both a concern for
equity and recognition of diversity’ (McKay, 2002, p. 162).
New Zealand is a country of approximately four million
people with a range of state supported and a number of
privately operated teacher education institutions and a
number of privately operated education providers. Students
from some of these organisations receive limited coverage,
sometimes only three hours of a three year paper, in
inclusive education (Morton & Gordon, 2006). Some providers
offer no direct content in inclusive education, while others,
such as the University of Waikato, offer a single compulsory
full paper on the topic. Slee (2001) acknowledges that ‘we
should strive against the notion that compulsory special
education units for trainee teachers is better than nothing’
(p. 175). Where there is little coverage of diversity in the
classroom during their teacher education, we have had
personal feedback from many teachers that they feel lost,
totally overwhelmed and totally unprepared when they .
face children with specific learning and behavioural needs.
Wylie’s (2000) review of the Special Education 2000 policy
recommended all teacher education providers be required .
to incorporate inclusive education papers in their core
training. In addition, she recommended the appointment .
of a coordinator in every school to provide ongoing support
and professional development, to keep resources up to date,
and to network with other educational professionals and
organisations. These recommendations have not been
implemented (O’Brien & Ryba cited in Fraser, Moltzen &
Ryba, 2005).
At the School of Education at the University of Waikato, the
compulsory Inclusive Education paper covers a wide and
varied range of student diversity in its content. The focus .
is on encouraging the student teachers to value difference
and to celebrate diversity. As is true of all areas of teaching,
teacher passion and commitment is a crucial component .
in determining how the learners engage with the content.
However, effective teachers also know their subject matter
well. Therefore, in essence mathematicians are suited to
teach mathematics, and an artist, art. In the same manner,
the perspectives and experiences of those who know the
realities of inclusion are well placed to advocate and educate
about how to include. Unlike curriculum subjects, inclusion
is not an area that a classroom teacher can focus on for an
hour a day. Each student teacher is challenged to examine
their own attitudes and consider how, as leaders of the
classroom, they can influence children’s understanding and
acceptance of diversity of difference. Knowing that students
and some teachers have developed techniques for dealing
with students with special needs through special education
practices will make regular teachers more inclusive (Slee, 2001).
In so many areas, whether it be sport, media or education,
the value of role models is acknowledged as a very effective
and a very powerful way of getting a message across. Positive
role models show how challenges can be overcome and .
how people can achieve great things. Often through role
models, strong messages challenge negative assumptions
and demonstrate that there are alternative ways of looking .
at the world.
As a child with a disability growing up in the 1950s and 60s,
there were several role models that Wendy felt had a real
impact on how she saw the world. Among these people .
were Helen Keller, June Opie, Douglas Bader and Theodore
Roosevelt. Wendy can remember their stories inspired her to
feel that the sky was the limit and that any barriers she felt
might stop her aiming high were all in her own mind. These
people all had significant disabilities that had not stopped
them becoming high achievers.
Ashlie does not remember having such role models when .
she grew up in South Africa. She was always encouraged by
her family to try everything and anything she wanted to as
she was the only one who knew her own limits. However, .
as a young child Ashlie was inspired by a movie based on a
true story called “Caroline”. Caroline was from a very wealthy
family and was never encouraged to do anything for herself
because she had cerebral palsy. She wore callipers on her
legs and was extremely spoilt and pampered not because .
of her family’s wealth, but because of her disability this was
compensated for with gifts. Caroline loved books, but could
not read, this was perceived as impossible for a young girl
with a disability. She was never taught how to read because,
in her day, people with disabilities were not “teachable”. .
It was her 24-hour caregiver who secretly taught her to .
read because she would be dismissed for trying to teach their
daughter – she was “sick” and it was not fair to get her hopes
up and to believe she could amount to anything. However,
Caroline’s caregiver made her believe she could do anything
with her life, despite what her parents said. Caroline went on
to become a school teacher and is today a principal at a top
American secondary school.
For the child in the classroom who lives with the challenges
of diversity, a teacher with the right positive and accepting
attitude can make or break the learning experience for that
individual. If that teacher is a person who lives with disability
the impact of them “being there and doing that” sets very
positive impressions, which can have class and school wide
implications. Creating positive attitudes can remove barriers
so that each child can have a much better chance to reach
their maximum learning potential. As women with disabilities,
teaching the topic of inclusion, the students can and do ask
us about any issues and concerns they may have about
teaching in an inclusive classroom and we also use our lived
experience to help explain how it can be in the classroom.
What better way can the objectives of the Disability
Strategy (Minister for Disability Issues, 2001) and government
recommendations be met than by encouraging people with
disabilities to train as teachers? When we engage in lectures
and tutorials with our student teachers our passion and
commitment to what we are talking about speaks for itself.
The students understand that we speak from the heart .
and from the “power of knowing” and they value that
perspective. It is very important to state the rest of the
teaching team come from a considerable background of
experience and depth and are absolutely committed to the
philosophy and importance of inclusion. It is just that for
Wendy and Ashlie, theirs is a lived reality.
When working with our student teachers
In our compulsory paper the student teachers are challenged
to become aware of the range and diversity of the children
that may comprise their classroom. The issue is that they will
have to be prepared to teach children from different racial,
cultural and ethnic groups, different levels of ability and
disability and different socio-economic backgrounds,
different behavioural expectations, or children who live with
abuse. Nearly always, the student teachers express fear and
concern about how they will cope with such diversity in their
future classrooms. As part of their preparation these future
teachers will need to become familiar with the range of
syndromes, disorders and disabilities that constitute the
population of students with special needs (Slee, 2001).
However, probably more importantly, their attitudes are
challenged, they also consider various behavioural and
learning strategies, cover New Zealand educational policy,
look at the value of collaboration, using Individual Education
Plans and the impact of sensory challenges. This paper also
looks at the specific needs of Mäori learners (Macfarlane,
2004) and the challenges of children with special abilities
(Moltzen & McAlpine, 1994).
Feedback from beginning teachers who have previously
completed this paper highlight that they constantly reflect
back to their Inclusive Education paper and value our
straight-up approach to disability and the realistic examples
we are able to offer as well as what is deemed politically
correct and what is not. In the Inclusive Education paper we
deal with the realities, give them simple coping strategies
and help them to understand that their own attitudes have a
significant impact on how they could be effective and caring
teachers in their own classrooms. The way the teacher deals
with every child in his or her classroom is a role model for
the rest of the class and the way each child might respond to
his or her peers. It is so important that teachers never forget
this. Many teachers who have graduated from the University
of Waikato’s initial teacher education programmes have
expressed how valuable the Inclusive Education paper has
been for them (student feedback, 2007).
When preparing teachers of the future, our prime interest
and responsibility as teaching staff relates to how children
Weaving educational threads. Weaving educational practice.
who personally experience diversity, or special needs, can
most benefit from how we prepare their teachers. There is .
no empirical evidence to support our perspective, but there .
is qualitative feedback from teachers in the field which
supports our contribution. For example, with some Resource
Teachers: Learning and Behaviour (RTLB) they emphasised
that during their own teacher education, classroom diversity
and children’s special needs had not always been addressed.
They reported from their work with teachers in the classroom
that teachers’ attitudes have an extremely powerful impact
on each child and the atmosphere and attitude of acceptance
in the classroom. This in turn affects the child’s self esteem
and confidence and consequently their learning potential
(Macfarlane, 2004).
If a child experiences diversity and difference it can have .
a real impact on their self-esteem, confidence, whether .
they are able to set goals, how they see themselves in their
own world and whether they can plan for their future with
confidence. This is borne out in the early years when most
youngsters have not been influenced by negative events and
children tend to just accept their peers with no questions
asked. As children mature and listen and watch the world
around them, so they are influenced to see things differently.
This is where the teacher can have such a big influence by
creating positive role models of acceptance and by valuing
each and every member in the classroom, and by not
tolerating any behaviour that is negative. For the child who
lives with diversity, this helps them to feel they are valued
individuals, achievers in their class, or just another individual
where everyone has a place.
Although the philosophy, focus and intent of inclusion in .
our schools today is challenging and changing attitudes and
expectations of all the students it serves, it still has a long
way to go before those involved in education are committed
to valuing the diversity of every child in the classroom. If we
are to celebrate and value inclusion in the wider community,
the classrooms of today need to be the models of the world
for our future. Teachers must be prepared to set the example
of acceptance along with valuing each and every classroom
There is an obligation for teachers to embrace and value the
diversity of every child in their classroom. However, it is the
attitude of the teacher that most strongly impacts on how
every child is valued.
In New Zealand today, and looking into the future, teacher
education must continue to develop a strong inclusive focus,
and have this reflected in all teacher education programmes
throughout the country. To enhance and value this, the
teacher education providers must encourage and support
more people with disability to train as teachers because
these are the individuals who can best show how people .
with disability are more like everyone rather than different.
If these teachers can then go on to be part of an inclusive
education teaching team for beginning and student teachers,
they can then also add the value of their own .
lived experience.
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Disabled Persons Assembly. (2004). Inclusive communities:
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health boards. Wellington: Disabled Persons Assembly
(New Zealand).
Fraser D., Moltzen, R., & Ryba, K. (2005). Learners with
Special Needs in Aotearoa New Zealand (3rd ed.).
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Hillyer, B. (1993). Feminism and disability. Norman OK:
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Inclusive Education in Aotearoa/NZ classrooms. (2007).
TEHD220-07C, Hamilton, New Zealand.
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of Waikato.
Keefe, E. B., Moore, V. M., & Duff, F. R.. (2006). Listening to
the experts. Baltimore: Paul.H. Brookes.
Lunn, M. (2003). Claiming disability: Knowledge and
identity. New Zealand Journal of Disability Studies,
10, 151–153.
Macfarlane, A. (2004). Kia hiwa ra! Listen to culture: Mäori
students’ plea to educators. Wellington, New Zealand:
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on a changing culture. British Journal of Special
Education, 29(4) 159–163.
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disability strategy: Making a world of difference
Whakanui oranga. Wellington, New Zealand: Ministry .
of Health.
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New Zealand perspectives. Palmerston North,
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Timperley, H., Thomson, C., & Glynn, T. (1999). Caught
between stories: Special education in New Zealand.
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Aotearoa: What are we doing in initial education,
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(3rd ed., pp. 9–21). Palmerston North: Dunmore Press.
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New Zealand Government Printer.
Slee, R. (2001). Social justice and the changing directions in
educational research: The case of inclusive education.
Inclusive Education, 5(2/3), 167–177.
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notices for Inclusive Education TEHD 220 07C. Messages
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classforum/final farewells.
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with disabilities: Report of the special rapporteur on
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Rioux & M. Bach (Eds.), Disability is not measles: New
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Education 2000. Wellington: New Zealand Council for
Educational Research. Retrieved June 10, 2007, from
Wendy Neilson
& Ashlie Brink
Wendy Neilson
Wendy Neilson, JP, MEd(Hons), DipTch, is a Teaching Fellow
at the School of Education, University of Waikato. She has
also taught at primary, secondary and other tertiary levels.
Wendy lives with disability and is actively involved with
disability issues at both a personal and political level and .
is on a number of national boards/councils including
Workbridge, Podiatrists, SPARC and DPA. In her “spare” time
Wendy and her husband love gardening and hosting friends,
but her greatest joy is being a grandmother.
Ashlie Brink
Ashlie Brink, MSpEd(Hons), BEd, DipTch, is a Senior Tutor .
at the School of Education, University of Waikato. Ashlie .
who lives with Rheumatoid Arthritis has taught at primary,
secondary and tertiary level. She is passionate about teaching
and has extensive training and experience working with
people with acquired brain injury. Ashlie is a member .
of various disability organisations and feels very strongly
about standing up for those that are unable to make
themselves heard.
Weaving educational threads. Weaving educational practice.
A Pacific experience
Donna Smith
Team Leader, Cook Island Disability Action Team, The Cook Islands
This paper is a personal perspective about the disability
issues within the Cook Islands. It looks at how the needs of
children and adults with disabilities have been addressed
over the years and the vision of many people who have
worked towards building an inclusive society, starting with
mainstreaming in the schools to full inclusion. It discusses
the challenges along the way and the challenges that
continue. This paper hopes to convey a message to all
readers which promotes inclusion in the Cook Islands, and
that with inclusion a strong base can be developed in all
individuals about acceptance and understanding of one
another’s needs. To achieve this, one needs to be exposed .
to people’s differences and to value people’s differences.
However, for this to be successful, the appropriate supports
need to be in place and it is vital that all work towards the
same vision.
Storied experience
Competence, cultural differences, Pasifika children,
professional training, special needs, teacher development
Paradise! That’s where I live, blue oceans, white sandy
beaches and generally lots of sunshine. Oh yeah, did I
mention the wonderful sunrises and sunsets? Absolutely
fantastic! Yes, the Cook Islands are definitely a “heaven on
earth” and a wonderful place to live because the people are
beautiful and they are caring. I know this to be true as I work
with people with disabilities in the Cook Islands and have
seen the love and devotion shown. However, I have also seen
the struggles and frustration by many family members and
caregivers dealing with supporting their loved ones who were
born with a disability; struggling to care for these people
with limited support and understanding of these issues on
the island. Family members often feel quite isolated having
to solve the caregiving problems by themselves. The same
holds true for individuals who have obtained a disability due
to accidents or traumas. Family members have to deal with
the changes that saw their loved ones living independently,
and then becoming quite dependent on them for their daily
activities. If the families and caregivers struggle, then one
must think about what the individual with the disability is
experiencing and how this affects them personally.
Until recently, people with disabilities and their families
received little or no support in the Cook Islands. In the past,
the only available service was a small disability pension
provided by the government, and the Cook Island Disabled
Persons Centre organised by volunteers catering for all
children/adults with disabilities. There were some excellent
programmes within this centre that had been put in place
over the years. However, the programmes didn’t last and
prior to my return to the Cook Islands 9 years ago, the adult
programme had not been in operation for at least 7 years. .
A satellite classroom had begun in a mainstream school for
the children. Within the community, there appeared to be .
a mind set that improvement in an individual’s abilities is
limited with a common belief that generally people with
disabilities do not have much potential for learning or
change. Therefore, until recently, our children with
disabilities were kept at home. How can a population of
people accept or understand people with disabilities if they
do not see them out and about in their community, being a
part of the community’s ebb and flow? Similarly, how can
families or caregivers lobby for support when most do not
actually think that there is any need, because the attitude is
one of “what can be done at the end of the day”? From my
perspective, there seems to be little understanding and
awareness in most Cook Islands families who have loved
ones with disabilities which potentially means there is
generally less of the same in the larger community.
Over the years, many successful programmes have been put
into place based out of the disability centre. Programmes
included life skills, vocation/prevocational, preschool and
school age. These programmes were run at different times
throughout the day catering for the different age groups. .
I remember working as an assistant in the very early stages .
of one of these programmes and was overwhelmed by the
amount of work that was carried out by the coordinator, who
was a New Zealand-trained occupational therapist. She did it
all as there was no one else trained in the area, but she had
great support from the committee at the time that was the
driving force behind this programme. Unfortunately these
programmes have not continued over the years;
sustainability being a real issue.
Sustainability is probably one of the most important areas .
to address when looking at establishing and providing
programmes and services. This is particularly so in the initial
stages, as it is important that services remain not only
constant, but also reliable. In my opinion, stable service
delivery means that those with disabilities are more likely .
to achieve their goals. Much of the work carried out with
people with disabilities has been organised or developed by
volunteers, both Cook Islanders and people from overseas,
who were relied on heavily to continue this work. This may
be one of the reasons why programmes did not survive as it
was a huge commitment to expect of a volunteer.
Our committees are made up of volunteers, most holding
down their regular jobs throughout the day, meeting to
manage the programmes after work hours. These committee
members are generally the people who find the funding,
employ the staff and oversee the whole programme. It is .
this committee that would have first identified the need for .
a particular service, so the initial set up would have been
required, and then the continual follow up. Our minimum
wage here is $5.00 an hour (it was a lot lower years ago), .
so to find staff that were trained in this area and competent
would be challenging in itself. The committees also change
membership every two years during the annual general
meetings, which gives others the opportunity to be voted on
the committee, and some voted off. Changes in committees
can sometimes mean changes in vision which can be either
positive or not!
An example of a programme reliant on volunteer
contributions was that of a satellite school, with the idea
being first suggested in the mid 1990s. This was a wonderful
forward thinking concept for a small country, bearing in
mind that our population at that time was 18,000 people.
The proposal involved placing a satellite classroom within
one of our local primary schools, the intention being to
mainstream children into the regular school, supported by .
a team of one teacher and volunteers. Although a wonderful
plan, I believe, the team was too advanced for the rest of the
country at the time, and received minimal financial support
from the mainstream education system. Therefore this group
of dedicated people had to rely primarily on fundraising and
donations to support their programme. When I think about
the ideas and plans they had put into place at the time, one
must really admire the efforts, the outcomes they achieved,
and appreciate the challenges that were experienced. Given
the nature of disability is broad, it was not uncommon to
have a range of children in the programme including those
who were deaf, had severe multiple disabilities, learning
difficulties, or a physical difficulty. Whilst some of our local
teachers were sent to New Zealand or Fiji to be trained, .
it was a big ask of staff to be expected to work with the .
broad range of disabilities with minimal external support.
Today, the Ministry of Education is fully onboard and the
Cook Islands are fully inclusive with all students attending
the mainstream schools. The change from volunteermanaged programmes to what currently happens began .
by the Ministry of Education employing a special needs
adviser, with one of the main goals to develop the special
needs policy. A private school had already taken the initiative
and had three children with special needs enrolled at their
school, and privately funded a teacher aide (who was a
qualified occupational therapist) who worked one-to-one
with these children. This school (Te Uki Ou1) took the lead in
mainstreaming, continuing to expand by enrolling children
who had cerebral palsy with quite high needs. At the time
there was no formal funding for teacher aides, so volunteers
were used which included parents and Global Volunteers (an
American organisation who regularly sends volunteers to the
Cook Islands). The school relied heavily on Global Volunteers
for the first two years who worked with the children in
wheelchairs, with volunteer parents providing the continuity
of services between one team leaving and the next arriving.
This initiative of mainstreaming was driven by the first
principal of Te Uki Ou School, and progressed down through
her team of teachers who were all dedicated to teaching .
“all children”. The school privately funded a special needs
teacher to work with children who required extra supports,
as well as at a later point privately funding teacher aides .
for the student. The new principal who took over the
management of the school, along with her husband,
personally built the ramps into the classroom and around
the school to enable better access for the children. Initially
all required resources and supports for the children with
special needs were received as donations, including a
separate building for individual lessons or personal care as
appropriate. Our Cook Island Red Cross Society was given a
van by Rotary, and they transported our children to school
daily, relying on donations to fund the petrol costs.
From this early start in just one school, we now have teacher
aides for most of our children with special needs throughout
the whole of the Cook Islands, with teaching hours being
applicable to the child’s needs, plus teacher aides who are
also assisting with Reading Recovery programmes. We have
one high school that has a satellite classroom (which was
donated) and a special needs teacher who oversees the
programmes of the children in this school. There is another
learning resource teacher at our National College with a
special needs adviser who oversees the whole of the Cook
Islands. These services are now all funded by the Ministry of
Education. New Zealand AID (NZAID) has played a large part
in assisting the Cook Islands with developing special needs
and inclusive education within this country. NZAID funding
contributed towards employing teacher aides, specialist
training, specialist teachers and resources. Without this
support from and partnership with our Ministry of Education,
this degree of progress would not be evident today.
One issue that continues to arise is that of stability .
of teachers and support staff. The Cook Islands is a .
transient country with a reasonably high turnover of
teachers; movement of staff can result in differing ideas
predominating as new staff enter the programmes. Not all
staff are for inclusion as some teachers feel it means more
work. Again, this is an understandable response as teachers
are expected to do much nowadays, however, if our teachers
don’t teach all our children, what will happen to our children
who have extra needs? Are they to move back into segregated
schools where yes, they could probably make good
improvements in some areas IF we had the qualified people
to work with them, but what about socially? What about
emotionally? What about the opportunity for all children to
learn and accept each other’s differences? Most importantly,
what about what the child or the parents want? We really
need to ask ourselves these questions and come up with .
an answer that is encompassing these children’s needs, and
not just our own, and find that balance and compromise to
fulfil both.
Informed consent has been obtained from Te Uki Ou School management to share this
storied experience.
Weaving educational threads. Weaving educational practice.
We also have to ask, when did we start to differentiate
between our children in terms of those who should be
taught, and who shouldn’t be taught? I guess that is why .
we have equal rights laws now, stating “equal rights for all”.
These laws we must all, worldwide, advocate for strongly.
Nonetheless, our education system here in the Cook Islands
needs to be congratulated in regards to the work that has
been achieved for our children with special education needs
so far. We have an existing special needs education policy
which was drafted and implemented in February 2002.
Currently there is a move underway to review and refine the
policy into an inclusive education policy that both reflects a
wider meaning of inclusivity and will also guide the process
of bringing about changes, through school-level action. All
our primary and high schools are officially mainstreamed.
The Ministry of Education has provided us with teacher aides
and learning support teachers. Our Cook Island teachers
training college also has an inclusive education component,
with graduate teachers coming out into the workplace with
an understanding of how to work as an inclusive teacher.
Unfortunately our training college has closed down this .
year, as there is no need to train more teachers although .
it is hoped that this is only temporary. Sure, there are .
many teething problems, as is to be expected with any new
initiative, and ongoing training and education and support .
is still required for our teachers, teacher aides, and staff, .
as well as the parents. But it is the first step.
To achieve a successful inclusive society, we must start within
the school and all within the system must support. Support
must start with the head of the ministry, through to
principals and the teachers. I have found that it can just take
one person to not fulfil their responsibilities for inclusion for
a child to totally “miss out” on the “normal” experiences of
an average person, that of an education and the opportunity
to socialise with their peers. Our community also has an
important part to play as it needs to embrace the inclusive
concept for this to be successful, ensuring the environmental
and social opportunities are accessible to everyone. It would
be a shame to see the hard work that has been achieved by
all those dedicated people from the past, whose vision was
to see equality within our schools and the community, lost .
in return to segregation and isolation. As a teacher, a parent,
or a member of society, it is our job to develop our children’s
knowledge base. What better way to start than by promoting
inclusiveness, socialisation, understanding, and acceptance
of each other for who they are and what they stand for,
regardless of our personal belief systems. However, for
inclusion to be realised within the schools, and then follow
on into the community, more understanding is essential. .
It is great having teacher aides in the schools, but are they
well trained to work with the children? Are the teachers
supporting the teacher aides? Who is supporting our teachers
and do they have a solid understanding of working with
children with varying needs? Do they want to work with
these children? Do our children within the schools
understand the difficulties some of our children have? .
Have the children at the school received education toward
increasing their understanding and awareness? Are the
parents actively involved in the child’s programme planning?
Do our children have Individual Educational Plans? Are our
children learning or are they just sitting in the classrooms?
All these questions need to be addressed and with one
inclusive educational adviser to oversee the whole initiative,
we can quite confidently say there is still a lot more work
required to ensure this is successful. It has only been six
years since our inclusive education policy was introduced, .
so we are still very new and much more needs to happen.
A case study
Inclusiveness offers opportunities for individuals to develop
and strengthen their personalities and character by learning
from each other and imitating their peers. If surrounded by .
a supportive environment, both human and non-human, the
individual gains confidence and self-esteem and generally
feels good about themselves. I have found that our people
here who have a disability generally do not have a “voice”
and that decisions are often made for them. The actual task
of thinking for oneself or making their own choices is not
something that is commonly done. When an opportunity
does eventually arise to do something that is possibly
community focused, many barriers begin to emerge as the
individual doesn’t know how to socialise with others well, or
how to behave in an appropriate manner. Some individuals
with disabilities have been brave enough to ask that they be
considered a “normal” not disabled person. With this belief,
the individual may not want to be involved in any activity
connected with being labelled disabled. They appear to want
to disassociate themselves from being labelled disabled. .
Let me illustrate these points with the case study of Ina2.
I once worked with a wonderful young man named Ina. .
Ina is 21 years old now, and was in an accident when he was
8 years old. He was sent to New Zealand straight after his
accident, then returned to Rarotonga a year later. However,
he never returned to school as, at the time, accepting
children with disabilities within the mainstream system .
was not common practice.
Ina’s family were loving and caring and supported him well,
and he had good family contact and socialisation. He was
pretty much the centre of their environment, being raised
well-protected and loved. However, as he got older his
personal needs changed and he eventually attended the
Creative Centre3, a programme for adults with disabilities. .
It was here that Ina began to experience life in a broader
sense. He had a staff member who worked individually .
with him to help him achieve his personal goals. Although .
he was not totally comfortable being in a place for people
with disabilities, Ina appreciated what they offered and the
support he received.
This programme gave Ina many opportunities that he had
not previously had, and it was the first step into a bigger
social environment, even though it was disability orientated.
A goal he had worked hard to achieve unfortunately did .
Informed consent has been obtained from Ina and his family to use Ina’s name and tell
his story.
Informed consent has been obtained from the Creative Centre management to share this
storied experience.
not eventuate, and our Disability Action Team (a technical
assistance initiative funded by NZAID to support the
implementation of the national disability policy) was
approached to see if we could assist in any way to alleviate
some of the disappointment he felt. It just so happened that
at that particular time I was taking a team away to compete
in an international sporting competition. After some
discussion with Ina and the staff from the Creative Centre,
Ina reset his goals and it was decided that he would travel
away with us to compete in a sport he had not previously
tried. We had a month to train him. As I was travelling with .
a youth team, the ages of Ina and the team weren’t that far
apart. The staff member who worked alongside this young
man at the Creative Centre was also recruited to work with us
to help maintain some form of continuity and support for Ina.
Overall, this trip gave Ina a new perspective on his life,
because he mixed well with the rest of his team mates,
trained hard, and gained so much from being accepted .
as a member of the team, rather than the guy with the
disability. On our return, he was adamant that he wasn’t
going to return to the disability programme, and wanted to
get employment. I believe this shows a very positive outcome .
of the work the disability programme at the Creative Centre
achieved, as they prepared this young man for the life within
the community, and now, that’s where he wants to stay
which reinforces the aim of inclusion by the disability
programme. Work was found, by Ina going on our local
television news programme to “sell himself”, and telling the
public what his skills were. We received a phone call straight
after he appeared on television, and Ina has been working
for this company ever since. He is still not keen to do much
advocacy work for the disability sector, or to be involved .
at all, but has helped out on occasions. This awareness of
himself I think is something to be commended, as Ina has
made his decision on how he wants to be perceived by .
the community, which is the way he perceives himself.
Person first!
Inclusion in the Cook Islands is beginning, buildings are
slowly becoming more accessible, and people with
disabilities are becoming more visible, with children now
included in regular schools. Although the process has been
slow, it is happening, and we can only now begin to
appreciate the hardship and exclusion that this minority
group has lived through, and for some, continue to live
through. Acceptance is a basic human need which we all
strive for yet, for some reason, it can be hard to give. Let us
start early and develop these qualities with the young, and
hopefully they will become our role models for the inclusive,
accepting people of the future.
Kia orana e kia manuia.
I would like to thank Merrolee Penman for all her help and
support that she gave me for this article. Also thanks goes .
to Christina Newport, Lai Merumeru, Oropai Mataroa, Aunty
Charmaine Strickland, Fredericka Smith (my mum), Bob
Kimiangatau, Rebekah McCullough, Aunty Ake Lewis, June
Hosking and Tressa Trott for all their individual feedback. .
To New Zealand AID who has generously supported disability
projects throughout the Cook Islands towards developing an
inclusive society for all. Special acknowledgement goes to Ina
Little who continues to be an inspiration as he finds his way
in life.
Donna Smith
In this paper I have written about my personal experiences
here in the Cook Islands. I have seen some wonderful
progress throughout the years, even though it has been
inconsistent. It is hoped that disability programmes that
have recently been developed continue to move forward and
that they follow the vision that our Ministry of Education has
taken the lead in, which is “inclusion” by mainstreaming our
children with special needs within the schools. The ongoing
financial support that has been received from NZAID for
these projects has made it possible for this vision to develop
and strengthen over the years.
The same philosophy has been designed for our adult
programmes, with the goal to develop individuals’ skills and
get them out into the community. The Cook Islands is a small
country and we have the potential to become a leader in
“inclusiveness” as we are small enough and caring enough.
We just need to work together and keep the vision of an
“inclusive society”.
Donna Smith
Donna is an occupational therapist and team leader for the
Cook Island Disability Action Team. Her current role is the
implementation and coordination of the Cook Island
disability policy and action plan which is a project initiated
and funded by NZAID and AUSAID in partnership with Cook
Island Internal Affairs and Cook Island National Disability
Council. Her past employment has included being the local
special needs advisor within the Cook Islands Ministry of
Education, and a special needs teacher/classroom teacher .
at Te Uki Ou School, Cook Islands. Donna also worked in .
the late 1980s as the assistant supervisor at the Cook Island
Disabled Person Centre, which has given her a good
understanding of progress to date for people with disabilities
in the Cook Islands.
Weaving educational threads. Weaving educational practice.
Are Girls Behaving Like Boys?
Rosie Arnott
Professional Development Facilitator, Learning Media.
This article explores some of the issues that have given rise .
to the perception of an increase in aggressive behaviour by
females. It asserts that merely comparing girls’ behaviour
with that of boys, especially the claim that “girls are behaving
like boys”, trivialises the very real issues associated with
females and aggression. This paper will refer to recent
research into girls and aggression and will also propose that
the prevailing discourse of gender dualism contributes to the
lack of early identification and support services for girls at
risk of severe aggression at adolescence.
Research Paper
Adolescents, aggressive behaviour, gender differences, girls,
sex roles, stereotypes, youth justice.
There is general agreement, across a wide range of
disciplines including developmental psychology, social
psychology, psychiatry and criminology, that in most cultures
males far outnumber females in terms of anti-social or
aggressive behaviours (Baillargeon et al., 2007; Batchelor,
2005; Moffitt, Caspi, Rutter & Silva, 2001). However, over .
the past 20 years, there has been a growing perception .
that females are becoming more aggressive and that this
aggression is becoming more violent and overt (Batchelor,
2005; McKnight & Loper, 2002; Pate, 2002; Ringrose, 2006).
This perception is supported by court statistics which indicate
an actual increase in the number of females charged with
serious offences of aggression, and over the past 20 years
countries such as England, Scotland, Canada, United States .
of America, Australia and New Zealand have reported a
significant increase in convictions (Batchelor, 2001; Leschied,
Cummings, Van Brunschot, Cunningham & Saunders, 2000;
Ministry of Youth Affairs, 2002; Pate, 2002).
Whereas historically, academic studies, journal and other
media articles about aggression have focused almost
exclusively on males and male aggression, there has been .
a significant increase in academic publications, popular
stories, media articles, film, television and video games that
feature aggressive adolescent females (Pate, 2002; Ringrose,
2006). The media has presented girls’ aggression as a growing
problem, with headlines such as ‘The rising tide of female
violence’ (Brown, Burman, Tisdall & Batchelor, 2002), ‘Pitbull
Women: A new breed’ (McLeod, 2006) and ‘Alarm over rise in
violent crimes by young women’ (The Press, 2004). At the
same time, these publications undermine serious debate of
the issue by publishing trivial and sensationalised accounts
of “raunchy” teenage girls engaging in sexually at-risk
behaviour (see, for example, Mann, 2007). A recent example
of this has been a string of diverse articles in the Dominion
Post newspaper that have focused on adolescent girls and
alcohol. These articles do include a serious discussion of .
the issues, notably a recent research study from Wellington
Hospital (Quigley, 2007) which supports anecdotal evidence
of a significant increase in the number of young women
admitted for alcohol-related difficulties. However, these
articles also include trivial and sensational front page
headlines such as ‘Blokettes told to behave like ladies’
(Nichols, 2008). The latter article was published alongside a
photograph of anonymous, apparently drunk, barely-dressed
young women, staggering along Courtney Place. Additionally,
serious media stories of child abuse and death remind the
public that New Zealand has the highest level per capita, .
in the developed world, of mothers who kill their children.
However, this issue is frequently sensationalised by
publications such as the June 14th, 2003, issue of New Idea
which featured a shallow and sensational article entitled
‘Women Who Kill’, ironically presented in its “good read”
section (Ramsland, 2003).
In addition to the sensationalised media coverage mentioned
above, the perception of an increase in adolescent female
aggression has also been fuelled by popular culture and the
increasing availability of technologies such as the internet
chat rooms and mobile telephones, with their capacity for
sending text messages and images rapidly to a large number
of people (Raskauskas, 2007). Several popular books have
been published over the past few years that have highlighted
this aspect of “typically female” aggression (Dellasega &
Nixon, 2003; Simmons, 2004; Wiseman, 2002). Television
reporters, like the newspaper and magazine reporters noted
earlier, have a tendency to embellish their news stories .
with unrelated sensational images, as in the story about
female adolescent bullying behaviour that was presented .
by Television New Zealand news recently. It related the
individual account of a young, Auckland female victim of
bullying being escorted home by a security guard. This story
was given additional background visual titillation, with
mobile telephone film footage of a gang of unidentified,
female adolescents fighting. The fact that this was American
footage and these were American girls and the story
completely unrelated to the Auckland teenager was .
not mentioned.
With such powerful promotion, the perception of a tidal
wave of adolescent female aggression is hardly surprising.
However, statistics are notoriously unreliable and media
stories all require further investigation (Batchelor, 2001).
Many academic studies into the topic bemoan the lack of
understanding of female aggression, particularly the
assumption that females who behave aggressively are
behaving like boys (Batchelor, 2001; Pate, 2002; Pepler,
2003). As ‘most explanations of violence are based on studies
of mens’ violence ... female violence is either “masculinised”
or seen as a manifestation of madness, hence the view that
violent women must be either trying to be men or just crazy’
(Brown et al., 2002, p. 1). These researchers challenge the
assumption that more girls are behaving more aggressively
and call for further research into the aetiology and social
contexts specific to female aggression. They point out that
the denial of female potential for aggression and the
historical lack of academic interest on the topic has meant
that there is a severe shortage of gender-specific early
intervention and support strategies for those few girls at .
risk of serious aggressive behaviour.
women who behave aggressively. They point out that, as
adults, these girls are more likely than boys to experience
internalising disorders such as anxiety, depression and
suicidal ideation (Pepler, 2003). They are also far more .
likely than males to select antisocial partners; increasing the
likelihood of ongoing aggressive interactions (Leschied et al.,
2000). These alliances frequently result in teenage parenting,
domestic violence and female depression, creating a poor
outlook for the next generation (Moffitt et al., 2001).
In 2001, findings from the Dunedin longitudinal study of
1000 males and females (Moffitt et al., 2001) were published.
These findings identified two main causes of anti-social
behaviour: the first being a relatively rare, life-persistent,
early childhood onset, neuro-developmental disorder most
commonly experienced by males; and the second being
adolescent-limited of short duration, as common in females
as males and emerging in the context of social relationships.
The study emphasises the similarities between males and
females who experience this latter form of anti-social
behaviour, claiming that:
As previously stated, severe aggressive behaviour is far more
common in young men than in young women. However, it .
is the contention of this paper that there have always been .
a small number of girls whose behaviour could be described
in this way. In 1974, Maccoby and Jacklin wrote that:
We have been emphasising male aggression to the point
of allowing females to be thought of, by implication, .
as either angelic or weak. Women share with men the
human capacity to heap all sorts of injury on their
fellows. And in almost every group that has been
observed, there are some women who are fully as
aggressive as the men. (p. 247)
For a number of reasons, including male dominance of
historical studies of aggression (Miller, 2000), aggressive girls
have been seen as “other” (Ringrose, 2006) and those who
have been acknowledged have been variously demonised,
pathologised, or both (McKnight & Loper, 2002). In other
words, because female aggression challenges stereotypical
notions of femininity, historical studies of aggression and
violence have simply ignored females. The result of this bias
is that the descriptive vocabulary and understanding of
female violence is limited and so females who do behave
aggressively have been described as “unfeminine”,
“unnatural”, “unhinged”, “hysterical” and “pathological”
(Brown et al., 2002). Throughout history, characters such as
Myra Hindley, the notorious British “moors murderer” and
New Zealand baby killer Minnie Dean, have been depicted .
as the epitome of evil, at once feared and despised. Girls .
who do display physical or overt aggression are frequently
rejected by their peers (Arnott, 1998) and tend to drift out .
of school early and into mixed sex relationships with deviant
males. ‘Without a vision of their career potentials and a sense
of their rights for safety, aggressive girls may default to a
trajectory of early pregnancy and victimisation at the hands
of a deviant partner’ (Brown et al., 2002, p. 48). Many studies,
including the Dunedin longitudinal study (Moffit et al., 2001),
highlight the ongoing difficulties experienced by young
Weaving educational threads. Weaving educational practice.
sex differences with this form are negligible; for .
example, the anti-social activities of males and females
are especially alike when alcohol and drugs are involved,
near the time of female puberty, and when females .
are yoked with males in intimate relationships. .
(Moffitt et., al., 2001, p. xvi)
A Canadian review of the literature regarding female
adolescent aggression (Leschied et al., 2000) partially
supports this theory of similarity, but suggests that ‘it is .
in the emerging set of differences that the implications .
for these findings reside’ (p. 36). These writers point .
out that the degree of female aggressiveness has been
underestimated in previous studies, largely because the
particular forms of aggression relevant to girls’ peer groups
have not been assessed. Referring to studies by Crick and
Dodge (1994, 1996) and Pakaslahti, Spoof, Aplun-Peltola .
and Keltikangas-Jarvinen (1998), Leschied et al. (2002) state .
that ‘aggression with girls is more likely to be reflected in
indirect or relational as opposed to overt forms’ (p. 37).
Batchelor (2001) expands on this argument, stating that:
A common understanding of violence is of an
intentionally harmful, interpersonal physical act such .
as punching or kicking ... (a notion) challenged by .
many of the girls that we spoke to, who maintained .
that verbal behaviours (such as name calling, threats .
and intimidation) were often intended and experienced
as potentially more hurtful and damaging than physical
violence. (p. 1)
Girls more than boys are socialised in the culture to value
and define themselves within relationships (Artz & Nicholson,
2002), therefore girls who manipulate others to attack the
victim or, by other means, make use of social structures .
in order to harm another person are seen as acting in
aggressive ways (Leschied et al., 2000, p. 37).
Moffitt et al. (2001) suggest that females are more likely .
to express their aggression “behind closed doors” or in the
confines of family and close relationships (Pepler, 2003). .
It is only recently that the extent of female-instigated
domestic violence has been reported and acknowledged
(Connor, 2002; Fergusson, Horwood & Ridder, 2005) and
most studies now indicate that women initiate violence at
least as often as men (Goodyear-Smith, 2004). For example,
in 2003, an Auckland University of Technology study claimed
that 50 per cent of the 1400 Pacific Island women surveyed
‘admitted to violent behaviour in the home, with nearly 50
per cent saying they had attacked their partners by kicking,
biting, strangling or using a weapon’ (p. 1). Much publicity
has been given to the suggestion that females are just as
likely to be perpetrators of domestic violence. Websites have
been established to support the “new victims of domestic
violence” (see, for example http://www.batteredmen.com/).
There is, however, considerable correlation between female
victimisation, both physical and sexual, and adolescent
aggressive behaviour (Pate, 2002). Studies indicate that
aggression for these girls is adaptive, and may be viewed .
as a means of avoiding subsequent abuse or victimisation.
Artz and Nicholson (2002) suggest that these females see
themselves, and all females, as less important than males,
and view other females as competition for the attention .
of “their” male partner. Similarly, Ayduk, Downey and Kim
(2001) suggest that aggression in females is frequently linked
to fear of rejection and Hennessy and Wiesenthal (2005) note
that fear, anger and perceptions of provocation have been
found to heighten the potential for female aggression.
Research from the field of neuropsychology emphasises the
biological differences between males and females, but also
indicates that aggression in both sexes is due to a complex
interaction between genetic predisposition and known
environmental risk factors (Ridley, 2003). It appears that
early puberty is particularly significant as this not only sets
girls apart from their peers but also exacerbates the gap
between biological, cognitive and social maturity (Gluckman
& Hanson, 2006). ‘Without the ability to reason, plan and
understand long term consequences, those experiencing
early puberty are especially vulnerable and in both boys .
and girls, early pubertal development has been linked .
to increases in deviant behaviour including more norm
violations, sexual precocity, contact with the law and .
truancy’ (Magnusson 2000, cited in Miller, 2000, p. 21).
Despite the media hype, many recent studies challenge this
assumption, noting that, despite the increased publicity and
awareness, there is still considerable misunderstanding of
both the aetiology and social contexts for adolescent female
aggression and a consequent lack of early identification and
intervention for girls at risk of developing seriously aggressive
behaviour (Leschied et al., 2000).
As indicated earlier, statistics can be misleading, and may be
skewed by factors such as changes in legislation, in priorities
within the justice system, in social expectations and in
demographics. For example, because the number of young
females apprehended for aggressive behaviour is very small,
any numerical increase will appear as a very large percentage
increase (Batchelor, 2001). Pate (2002) recounts a story from
a Canadian provincial newspaper which cited a 200 per cent
increase in female crimes of aggression. On investigation she
found that there had only been an increase from one case .
to two cases over a period of three years. In New Zealand,
despite an apparent increase in the number of young women
apprehended for serious offences, the Ministry of Justice
statistics summary states that ‘When the population increase
is taken into account, the apprehension rate for both young
males and young females actually declined over the period’
(Chong, 2007, p. 2).
Many researchers now suggest that the increase in
convictions reflects a sharp increase in the criminalisation .
of young women’s survival skills (Pate, 2002; Ringrose, 2006).
Pate (2002) cites inequalities in support systems for young
women and systemic bias in the judiciary system as further
factors to be considered. She claims that the relaxation of
traditional social controls has led to increased use of the
juvenile justice system as a way of managing the
“unmanageable” behaviour of adolescent girls. Lashley .
(2002) notes that an increase in the number of females with
authority in the judiciary and the police has recently led to
women being treated as ‘fully functioning adults who are
responsible for their behaviour’ (p. 90) and that the female
prison population is growing as a result. A study from Kansas
State University reports that the judiciary in the United States
of America is ‘cracking down on women’ (Dominion Post,
Friday 2nd December 2005, B2) Other studies claim that
media responses to women’s violence have increased
dramatically since the 1970s, with a “new mythology” linking
feminism and the women’s movement to violent offending
by women (Phillips, 1999). Following a spate of reports of
female violent offending in the United States of America, .
Fox News reported that, ‘the gender equality efforts over .
the last twenty years – coupled with a general increase in
mean-spiritedness – have pressured girls to become more
aggressive to the point of violence’ (Beaucar, 2001).
Ringrose (2006) blames a backlash against feminism for .
the current “moral panic” about adolescent female
aggression, claiming that ‘The dual dynamic of both fear .
and repudiation of feminism (painted by McRobbie) is
indicated by the enormous panic girls’ aggression incites’ .
(p. 419). In discussing the unprecedented media attention .
to girls’ aggression, she states that the ‘vulnerable girl .
has recently been replaced by the “mean girl” in public
consciousness’ (p. 406). Chesney-Lind (2002) states ‘As young
women are demonised by the media their genuine problems
can be marginalised and ignored. Indeed, girls have become
the problem’ (cited in Pate, 2002, p. 5).
This article contends that historical denial of females’
potential for aggression stems from the belief that such
behaviour is biologically unnatural, challenging the gender
stereotype of females as naturally gentle and nurturing.
Many studies have demonstrated that boys’ aggression is not
only indulged but may be actively encouraged (Gross, 1996)
and the statement “boys will be boys” used to excuse such
behaviour. Little girls, on the other hand, are encouraged to
be good, quiet, and compliant (Middleton & Jones, 1997).
There are certain types of characteristics usually associated
with males and females (Ridley, 2003). In general, males are
associated with adjectives such as adventurous, determined,
opinionated, rational, serious, and tough, whereas women
are more likely to be described as cautious, emotional, fickle,
modest, frivolous and weak (Williams & Best, 1994). Gender
stereotyping increases between the ages of 5 and 8 years and
continues to increase throughout adolescence whilst the
diversity between cultures decreases as children get older;
that is, stereotypes become more similar across cultures with
age (Williams & Best, 1994). This gender dualism pervades .
all aspects of life across all cultures, and ‘The seduction of
binaries such as male:female, boy:girl often prevents us from
seeing the full range of diversity and differentiation existing
in one gender as well as between categories of male and
female’ (Reay, 2001, p. 159). Girls at risk of serious aggression
at adolescence, particularly those who have been physically
or sexually abused, are known to internalise their difficulties
until puberty and do not come to the attention of teachers .
or other authority figures until that time (Arnott, 1998). It is
the contention of this article that the girls who are noticed
prior to puberty are the physically active and challenging
“tomboys” who deny the stereotype and enjoy the rough and
tumble games of their male counterparts (Reay, 2001). This
opinion is informed by the personal experience of the writer.
As a child, the writer certainly did not fit the gender
stereotype for little girls. She was boisterous – bigger and
tougher than the other girls and her best friend was a boy.
Together they made up fantastic role play games, took her
sister’s dolls apart to see how they worked, climbed trees,
played cricket and made models from Meccano. At school,
teachers found this behaviour challenging and she was
frequently blamed for behaviour that she did not commit.
Her extended family called her a tomboy; described by the
Oxford Dictionary as “A bold or immodest woman” (Fowler .
& Fowler, 1979) and by the Penguin Dictionary as “A girl .
who behaves like a boy” (Garmonsway, 1979). However, in
common with most tomboys, she became a confident and
flexible adult, able to ‘reap important benefits in adulthood,
such as better psychological adjustment, and higher self
esteem’ (Van Volkom, 2003). In adult life she worked at a
residential therapeutic community, where she witnessed
severely aggressive adolescent female behaviour which bore
little resemblance to the rough and tumble physicality of .
the “tomboy” that she had been. These girls had such severe
emotional and behavioural problems, expressed as
aggression towards other people, objects (usually windows)
and themselves, that they were unable to live safely at home
or in the community. In accordance with the theory of
victimisation discussed earlier, these girls all had histories .
of childhood sexual abuse yet had not been identified as in
need of help until they reached puberty. On the contrary,
they had internalised their difficulties, indulging in acts of
self-harm and self-medication, such as cutting of arms and
legs, inhaling substances such as butane gas lighter fuel and
aerosol propellant, and sexual promiscuity.
The behavioural patterns of these girls support the theory
suggested by Moffitt et al., (2001). Their aggressive behaviour
did not become apparent until puberty, from which time .
the severity increased dramatically. They regularly abused
Weaving educational threads. Weaving educational practice.
alcohol and other substances and all of them created .
strong attachments to older, deviant males. Many of the .
girls developed such extreme psychiatric difficulties that .
they were committed to secure accommodation for their
own and others’ safety. There is an enormous qualitative
difference between the behaviour of these girls and the
raunchy “ladettes” portrayed by the media. This article
contends that the current media focus on “mean girls” and
“ladettes” does nothing to inform understanding of female
aggression but only serves to entertain and titillate a mainly
male audience.
The suggestion of a dramatic increase in the number of .
girls behaving aggressively is based on perception, and not
empirical data. This perception is influenced by a range of
factors including the historical denial of female aggression
and the sensational manner in which the various media
currently represent adolescent females (Ringrose, 2006).
Relational aggression has been identified as a gender-specific
form of violence and has spawned a whole industry of .
films, publications and parental support groups for a
predominantly white, middle-class audience (Ringrose,
2006). Reported incidences in the number of young women
convicted for crimes of violence have increased, but, for a
number of reasons already discussed, are unreliable as a
gauge of the actual increase in incidence. What is apparent .
is that the circumstances that have been identified as likely
to correspond with adolescent female aggression have
become more problematic. Puberty is the time when serious
aggression is most evident in females and this is occurring .
at an increasingly early age (Gluckman & Hanson, 2006),
increasing the potential gap between physical maturity .
and the cognitive ability to make sensible decisions. Alcohol
abuse is another major contributing factor and several
studies report an increase in hospital admissions of girls as
young as 13 for alcohol poisoning (Needham, 2005; Quigley,
2007). This issue has become particularly noticeable since the
lowering of the drinking age and the introduction of sweet
“alco-pops”. Party pills and the easy availability of cannabis
in New Zealand exacerbate this issue. The physical changes
that occur at puberty conspire to make girls look older than
they are, increasing the differences between them and their
age peers. It also increases the opportunity for access to
drugs and alcohol and the likelihood that girls will become
involved in relationships with older males; another indicator
for aggressive behaviour. As Moffitt et al., (2001) state, ‘the
social stimulus consequences of females’ puberty for their
peer relationships, the opportunities and contextual
motivations that promote illicit activities surrounding drugs
and alcohol, and the special situation of abusive intimate
relationships and assortatively mated offender relationships
are of key importance’ (p. 405).
For most young people, adolescence is a time of optimum
health, fitness and energy as well as emerging intellectual
capability, and these individuals maintain close and warm
relationships with their parents (Dahl, 2003; Gross, 1996;
Lerner, 2002). However, young people who already
experience risk factors for aggression when they begin
puberty, those for whom there is a wide gap between .
their physical and sexual maturity and their cognitive
development (Lerner, 2002; Moffitt et al., 2001) and those .
for whom the combination of developmental factors occurs
simultaneously are more vulnerable (Leschied et al., 2000). .
It is this relatively small group of at-risk young women that
contributes to the ‘soaring rates of serious accidents, suicide,
homicide, aggression and violence, use of alcohol and drugs,
emotional disorders and health consequences of risky sexual
behaviour’ (Dahl, 2003, p. 17).
As previously mentioned, the prognosis for young women
who behave aggressively is grim and it is more likely to be
grim for their offspring and so on into the next generation.
Earlier identification and intervention for such young women
may help to break the cycle of aggressive behaviour because
‘Avoiding the issue of women’s violence represents as much
of a threat as we previously felt talking about it did’ (Miller,
2000, p. 7). Helping teachers and other authority figures to
recognise and understand the particular circumstances of
young women at risk of seriously aggressive behaviour is the
first step. Keeping these girls in school and offering early
intervention and support to them and their families, may
help avoid the ongoing cycle of aggression and abuse.
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Author profile
Rosie Arnott
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committing more violent offences? Retrieved May 10,
2008, from www.elizabethfry.ca
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Weaving educational threads. Weaving educational practice.
Rosie Arnott
Rosie Arnott is a Professional Development Facilitator with
Learning Media Ltd., in Wellington. She has a long history .
of working with young people who experience emotional
and behavioural difficulties. Her two masters degrees explore
the inequalities in funding and provision for girls. She has
worked as Head of Learning Support in high schools in .
both England and New Zealand, as Deputy Director of .
a therapeutic community for adolescents, in London, .
and as the School Focus Service Manager for the Ministry .
of Education, Special Education, in Wellington. She is .
currently completing a doctorate in education, entitled .
A Girls’ Eye View of Adolescent Female Aggression, .
through Massey University.
An Insight into the Educational Needs of
Deaf High School Students
Interviews with school staff and students
Tracey Esera
Educational Psychologist, Ministry of Education, Special Education
This article provides an insight into the educational needs,
experiences and school support for deaf1 high school
students attending a mainstream school, from the
perspectives of the deaf students themselves, their teachers
and support staff. Themes emerged from interviews with the
students and staff around learning, communication, school
culture and social interactions. The gathered information
highlighted that the deaf students’ ability to communicate
directly with the school staff and their peer group formed a
central part of their educational experience. This article also
provides an insight into the practical strategies perceived as
effective by the students and staff, which were discussed and
highlighted to ensure an overall visual approach can be
employed when working with deaf students.
Deaf education, inclusive schools, communication, social
interaction, school culture, secondary school students.
Listening to students’ voices can provide educators with
powerful insights into their own experiences and it can
highlight that students can and should be involved in
planning their own education (Iantaffi, Jarvis & Sinka, 2003;
Royal National Institute for the Deaf, 2002). This current
research project was based on a study in the United Kingdom
which looked at deaf students’ personal experiences of
attending mainstream schools, including the perspectives .
of the deaf students themselves and the perspectives of
hearing students who had deaf students in their classes
(Royal National Institute for the Deaf, 2002). The practical
strategies which emerged from this UK study demonstrated
that students themselves are a key source of information .
in relation to “successful inclusion” in a mainstream school,
whilst also highlighting the importance of involving students
in the monitoring of the educational successes for deaf
students within the school system.
Listening to the voices of students and staff to gain their
“insider” perspectives in relation to the education of deaf
students can provide us with a wealth of practical
information, which can be brought together with the wider
1 In this article the lower-case form “deaf” is used to refer to the deaf participants including
those who share a language (New Zealand Sign Language) and cultural values that are
distinct from the hearing society, and those who may not use New Zealand Sign
Language fluently but may still have culturally- and linguistically- diverse experiences.
Uppercase “Deaf” is used in referring to the Deaf community and Deaf culture.
school system in order to help support a positive learning
environment. Within a mainstream classroom, the teacherbased instruction and learning tasks are established on the
assumed knowledge and communication experiences of
hearing students (McKee & Biederman, 2003). Therefore,
insight into the adaptations and accommodations that .
can support deaf students’ educational needs within a
mainstream classroom can be highly beneficial for staff
working with deaf students and for the deaf students
The New Zealand Sign Language Act (2006) recognises
New Zealand Sign Language (NZSL) as an official language .
of New Zealand and gives it equal status to that of spoken
language. The recent launch of New Zealand Sign Language
in the New Zealand Curriculum (Ministry of Education, 2007)
may extend opportunities to hearing students to learn .
NZSL, to learn about Deaf culture, and to also interact with
other users of the language and enhance participation in
education by those whose first language is NZSL (Ministry .
of Education, 2006). This current research project was timely
due to this recent advancement towards supporting an
inclusive New Zealand society and education system.
Staff and students involved in the education of deaf students
at a local college were interviewed to examine the
educational experiences, needs and school support for .
deaf students at the college. The local college has a total roll
of 924 students (Education Review Office, 2006). The Deaf
Resource Class, which is situated within the Learning Support
Centre at the college, had a roll of six deaf students at the
time of the research project, who attended classes within the
Deaf Resource Class and in the mainstream. This project was
undertaken in 2007 as part of the postgraduate Diploma in
Educational Psychology. The objectives of this project were .
to document the experiences and perspectives of the deaf
students, teachers and support staff at this college with
regards to the educational needs of deaf students, and to
identify any themes that emerged from the interviews.
The participants consisted of five deaf students ranging from
13 to 18 years of age attending an urban secondary school,
two teachers of the deaf who work in the Deaf Resource Class
at the school, two support staff (teacher aide/communicators)
who work with the deaf students in the Deaf Resource Class
and out in mainstream classes, and two teachers who work
with deaf students in mainstream classes.
Three out of the five deaf students identified as being “Deaf”,
in relation to their hearing loss, whilst also adding that they
have a degree of hearing or speech. For example:
• “Deaf, I can do both speak and sign.”
• “Deaf, that’s it. Sometimes I can hear a loud bang.”
• “Deaf, with a little hearing.”
One student identified as being “Half deaf, just a normal
thing”. One student identified as being “Half deaf and half
hearing, because sometimes at night time I can hear noises.”
Four out of the six staff members described themselves as
being “Hearing”. One staff member identified as being
“halfway between Hearing Impaired and Deaf”, and one staff
member identified as being “born Deaf … I am full Deaf and .
I use Sign Language.”
The project used semi-structured interview methodology
where the data was collected through one-to-one interviews
with the participants. The advantages of using a semistructured interview, which is informal but guided, allows
natural conversation to flow, freedom for the interviewee to
explore thought, and flexibility of the interviewer in selecting
aspects to follow up on (Coolican, 1999). The interviews were
conducted using the participants’ preferred mode of
communication (for example, spoken English, NZSL). Four
out of the five interviews with the student participants were
conducted using NZSL by the participant and the researcher,
and one interview was conducted with the participant and
researcher using spoken English supported with visual
communication strategies (for example, key signs, gestures).
The interviews with the staff participants consisted of one
interview being conducted using NZSL, one being conducted
using spoken English supported with visual communication
strategies and four interviews being conducted using .
spoken English.
Informed consent was gained from the participants .
which included the interviews conducted using NZSL to .
be video-taped for transcribing purposes, the opportunity .
for the participants to review notes taken during the
interviews and the generalisation of the participants’ .
views according to the themes that emerge, so that no
participants were identified.
By capturing the voices of the deaf students and the staff
that work closely with them, it was expected that an insight
would be provided into the educational experiences of the
deaf students attending various classes throughout the
school. The research carried out by the Royal National
Institute for the Deaf (2002) formed the foundation for the
themes that this research project was based on; the aligned
themes that emerged from the interviews illustrating the
educational experiences of deaf students at the college.
Weaving educational threads. Weaving educational practice.
• Learning
• Adapting modes of communication
• School culture
• Social interactions
Support Staff
Support staff are seen as central to the deaf students’
learning at the college. Four out of five students reported
that the support staff explain the learning material and
content clearly to them, which was perceived as vital,
especially in the mainstream classes. Providing in-class
support was perceived by the deaf students as helping them
understand the work and providing them with assistance if
they are having difficulties. The support staff’s ability to be a
good signer, to interpret the learning material into NZSL in
the mainstream classes and to communicate the learning
material in a variety of visual methods was also reflected in
the students’ responses. One student said: “They write things
down, draw diagrams, give examples and show different
ways of doing things.” Interestingly, three out of five students
commented that there were no unhelpful aspects of what
the support staff can do in relation to supporting their
learning. Potential barriers to learning, in relation to support
staff, were when students believe that the support staff are
too busy to provide assistance at times when working with
more than one student, or if the support staff’s level of
signed communication was inferior to the signing deaf
student’s. Comments from the staff also support the view
that clarifying and explaining as much information as
possible, noting down the learning material and providing
feedback to the classroom teacher and teachers of the .
deaf that reflect any areas of difficulty the deaf student .
may be facing, are helpful strategies for support staff to
employ to support the deaf students’ learning. Unhelpful
learning-supports that support staff can do were reflected .
by the teaching staff as including the support staff not
communicating enough of the lesson content for the signing
deaf students, answering questions out loud in class and
creating a sense of dependence between the deaf student
and the support staff member.
Direct Communication
Direct communication between deaf students and teaching
staff was identified as important to the deaf students’
positive learning experience. The supports that the deaf
students perceived as the teacher communicating directly
with them included:
• “If the teacher does some signs, a little bit of signing,
like “tree”, “rain” etc, that helps me.”
• “Teachers can write things down, when explaining
things to me.”
• Using pointing and gestures when there is no teacher
aide present.
Strategies for communicating directly with deaf students .
in class were perceived by the teaching and support staff to
include using more of a visual approach and to “chat” with
the deaf student occasionally, instead of only communicating
via the support staff. A member of the support staff
suggested:“… it would be quite nice if [the teachers] actually
knew the sign names of the students just to make .
it a bit more personal.”
Staff and students spoke of barriers to communication
between deaf students and mainstream teachers. When
mainstream teachers did not communicate directly to
students this could be viewed by the students as teachers .
not understanding their needs:
communication, not feeling isolated and a shared
understanding. These feelings are illustrated in the following
quote: “deaf and deaf is the same as two hearing people
talking to each other.” The majority of the students
commented on altering their methods of communication
with their hearing peers, which included writing things
down, using the support staff to interpret, or using a few .
key signs: “there is a deaf way and a hearing way, which is
different … It’s like a “hearing” road and a “deaf” road and I
go down the middle changing from road to road.”
Communication during group work in mainstream classes
was acknowledged as being fairly limited, for example the
deaf students reported on:
“Some teachers just leave me and some teachers don’t
know about me – they don’t talk to me, or help me.”
“Miscommunication. It’s hard. I stay back and don’t
“I go up to the teacher if I want to ask a question about
the work. I go up and say “hi,” and then ask the question.
Teachers don’t come up to me.”
“I will sit near the teacher aide. I never communicate
with the hearing students, only the teacher aide.”
However, certain mainstream teachers were identified as
initiating communication with deaf students by using eye
contact, simple gestures and also disciplining the deaf
student when they misbehave: “Whether it be to discuss
something, to point something out or, you know, to treat
them like any other kid.”
Effective strategies to accommodate the deaf
students’ learning needs
The students reported many ways in which mainstream
teachers supported them during lessons. These support
strategies could be perceived as simple but clearly effective
and were seen by the deaf students as worth reporting:
The staff identified the deaf students as also being isolated
when involved in group work with other hearing students,
adapting their communication modes to go via the support
staff or using pen and paper. However, communication and
social skills shared by both the hearing and deaf students
were recognised by the majority of staff members as .
being an influential factor for communicating with their
hearing peers:
“[X] has less difficulties with that because some students
know some signing, and she is more socially adept at
fitting in.”
“I think it depends on the relationship between the two
teenagers and their communication skills … and if the
deaf student can understand, read lips, or if the hearing
student can sign.”
• not talking for too long
• electronic access to the course material and online
discussions with the subject teacher
• using practical activities in the classroom
• “write on the whiteboard and I can copy it down.”
These strategies suggested that the teachers need to be
aware of the deaf students’ educational needs and to adopt
appropriate strategies in the classroom. It is interesting .
that the majority of these strategies could also be seen .
as important for all of the students in the class. The staff
members also reported supportive learning strategies for .
the deaf students, which included the use of visual resources
and ensuring that the speaker’s face is visible for lip-reading.
Examples of the supports that are in place within the .
Deaf Resource Class, which the deaf students perceived .
as beneficial to their learning, included it being easy to
request help, having the support staff and teachers of the
deaf present and being able to communicate with fellow
classmates about the class work.
The mainstream staff at the college perceived the
communication between the deaf students and the staff in
the Deaf Resource Class as the “model communication” for
deaf students in the rest of the school. Communication is .
not alleged to be perfect within the Deaf Resource Class;
however the communication tends to be free-flowing with
shared understandings. Due to the ease of communication
and the close knit community created within the Deaf
Resource Class, some issues were identified with students
crossing the boundaries that are apparent between a staff
member and a student.
School Culture
Having other deaf students at the college was viewed by .
the deaf students as a positive part of the school culture, .
by raising the deaf students’ sense of well-being as well .
as increasing the level of awareness amongst the hearing
students and staff:
“I like it because we’re the same, we have grown up
together, known each other for a long time and we .
like the same sports – we have a good relationship.”
“It’s good. A nice family here. It’s like a family and .
good friends.”
Adapting modes of communication
Most of the students agreed that being able to communicate
with other deaf students and staff in the Deaf Resource Class
had some distinct advantages, such as ease of
When discussing the positive aspects of having other .
deaf students at the college, a couple of the students also
commented on liking the presence of the hearing students at
the college as well.
The hearing students learning Sign Language was perceived
as a significant factor for raising the deaf awareness in the
school. This was identified across the responses from the
students and staff. The students perceived themselves as
raising the deaf awareness in the school by teaching hearing
students from their mainstream classes some NZSL: “I teach
Sign Language, that’s good. I teach three other students from
my mainstream class.” The NZSL classes held some
lunchtimes in the Deaf Resource Class, meeting other deaf
people, and seeing the support staff interpret information in
class were identified as being examples of raising deaf
“It’s amazing how many people ask you things – “how do
I sign this?” or “how do I say that?”, which is good. And
also some of the teachers … [Teacher] now signs “thank
you” and it’s quite nice.”
Social Interactions
The deaf students reported that they could communicate
more easily with their deaf peers and felt that they were the
peers who understood their needs and situation. The deaf
students stated that the social interactions with their hearing
peers involved talking “in little bits”, with few opportunities
for in-depth conversation. For example, they often talked
about “rude things, because [the hearing students]
understand the rude signs.” The deaf students identified
things that they cannot discuss with their hearing peers as:
• “All things. With hearing peers it’s like using baby
sign. [I can’t talk about] what happened in the
weekend, fun things, going to parties etc.”
• “The Deaf community.”
• “Sometimes people don’t understand the
communication and I have to find someone who .
can understand.”
• “Sometimes signing is hard and different so I write
stuff down.”
The staff members identified communication as being an
immense barrier for deaf students’ social inclusion. Social
interactions between the deaf students and their hearing
classmates were identified as being dependent on the
individual’s personality, however the support staff
acknowledged that they are used a lot of the time to
communicate between the deaf and hearing students: .
“Well, they look at me really; they just turn to me and .
start talking so that I have to sign to the [deaf] students.”
Some students identified that the majority of the deaf
students live far away from school and have little or .
no social interactions with students out of school times:.
“I don’t socialise with other people from school.” A couple .
of students identified social interactions after school
occurring on the bus, or through attending a party at .
their friend’s place.
Weaving educational threads. Weaving educational practice.
Deaf students’ ability to communicate with staff members
and their peer group at the college appear to form a central
part of their educational experience. The practical strategies
currently used in some classes were perceived as effective .
by the students and staff. Ensuring that more of a visual
approach is employed, acknowledging the deaf students’
mode of communication and supporting their access to .
the classroom lessons will continue to support a positive
educational experience for students at the college. The
findings indicated that teachers acknowledging that the
student is deaf and being “deaf aware” are viewed as crucial
to the deaf students’ learning and positive school experience.
Deaf students being able to communicate effectively with
other deaf and hearing students at school was also viewed .
as enhancing the educational and social experiences of deaf
students. Hearing people who have knowledge of some Sign
Language and visual communication strategies, having other
deaf students at school and having a Deaf Resource Class .
are significant factors to support communication. It was
apparent that the deaf students felt a sense of belonging in
the school due to these factors and they perceived school as
an enjoyable place to be.
Relationships depend upon good communication and
therefore for deaf students there are likely to be issues .
with this area (Royal National Institute of the Deaf, 2002). .
A statement by a deaf student at the college, “… because .
we talk lots, that makes a good relationship” is reflective .
of the perception that communication is central to social
interactions and building relationships. This can also be seen
in relation to the communication between the deaf students
and the mainstream teachers. It was identified that the
limited communication between some of the deaf students
and the mainstream teachers impacted on the quality of
their relationships and the students’ feelings of being
Four out of the five deaf students identified strategies they
use to help them to interact with their hearing peers, such as
writing things down, or teaching their peers some key signs.
The majority of these strategies were consistent with the
effective teaching strategies mainstream teachers can use to
support their learning. Practical strategies used consistently
by mainstream teachers can enable deaf students to access
lessons more effectively (Jarvis, 2003). The practical strategies
identified in this project could be perceived as straightforward
and simple, but were considered as effective by the students
and staff and therefore are important to report on.
Future research in this area may include a focus on the
specific practical strategies perceived as effective by the
students and staff, with the objective of developing a
practical guide for educators. A guide for educators around
adapting and accommodating the deaf students’ educational
needs would be highly beneficial in order to further support
positive classroom relationships between deaf students, .
their teachers and peers, whilst also supporting access to .
the curriculum. Extending the project .
to all deaf students who attend mainstream classes
throughout New Zealand and the supports that will
encourage them all to have a positive educational experience
is a further area for study within the New Zealand context.
In summary, for education to be successful for deaf students,
the learning environment and curriculum is required to be
genuinely reflective of, and responsive to, a student’s specific
cultural background (Leigh, as cited in Beattie, 2001). As with
many students, positive relationships are developed with
some teachers better than others. However, in the case of
deaf students, this seems to be based on whether or not
teachers use strategies in the classroom which support
interactions with the deaf students and allow the deaf
students to access the lessons (Royal National Institute of .
the Deaf, 2002). This was a predominant feature for the .
deaf students in the current research project, where
acknowledgement that the student is deaf and being .
“deaf aware” is viewed as crucial to the deaf students’
learning and positive school experience.
Beattie, R. G. (Ed.) (2001). Ethics in deaf education: The first
six years. San Diego, CA: Academic Press.
Coolican, H. (1999). Research methods and statistics in
psychology (3rd ed.). London: Hodder & Stoughton.
Education Review Office. (2006). Education Review Report:
Newlands College 2006. Retrieved July 1, 2008, from
Iantaffi, A., Jarvis, J., & Sinka, I. (2003). Deaf pupils’ views of
inclusion in mainstream schools. Deafness and Education
International, 5(3), 144–156.
Jarvis, J. (2003). It’s more peaceful without any support: .
What do deaf pupils think about the support they receive
in mainstream schools? Support for Learning, 18(4),
McKee, R., & Biederman, Y. (2003). The construction of
learning contexts for deaf bilingual learners. In R.
Barnard & T. Glynn (Eds), Bilingual children’s language
and literacy development: New Zealand case studies (pp.
194–224). Clevedon, England: Multilingual Matters.
Ministry of Education. (2006). New Zealand Sign Language in
the New Zealand curriculum. Wellington, New Zealand:
Learning Media Limited.
Ministry of Education. (2007). The New Zealand curriculum.
Wellington, New Zealand: Learning Media.
New Zealand Sign Language Act (2006). Retrieved July 1,
2008, from http://www.legislation.govt.nz/act/
Royal National Institute for the Deaf (2002). Inclusion: What
deaf pupils think. University of Hertfordshire: Author.
Author Profile
Tracey Esera
Tracey Esera
Tracey Esera works for the Ministry of Education, Special
Education as an Educational Psychologist. Tracey has an
interest in the education of deaf students in New Zealand
due to her bilingual-bicultural background. Tracey is a
hearing coda (Child of Deaf Adults) and is a fluent user .
of NZSL. She was raised amongst Deaf family members .
who share culturally and linguistically diverse experiences
within the Deaf community and has spent time working .
in Deaf education.
Ko te Maoopopo ko te Lima Malohi
Collaboration is our strength
Kathryn Meredith
Speech-Language Therapist, Ministry of Education, Special Education, Wellington
Tim Andersen
Special Education Advisor, Ministry of Education, Special Education, Te Tai Tokerau
Louella Neale
Adviser on Deaf Children, Ministry of Education, Special Education, Lower Hutt
Colleen Taylor
Physiotherapist, Ministry of Education, Special Education, Otago
Ezra Schuster
National Pasifika Manager, Ministry of Education, Special Education, Auckland
A delegation from the Ministry of Education, Special
Education (GSE) went to Tokelau in 2007 in response to a
request from the Tokelauan government to help establish
services for children with special education needs. The team
was led by Ezra Shuster and made up of a special education
advisor, a speech-language therapist, an advisor on deaf
children, and a physiotherapist. This article discusses the
work of this team and describes their unique, challenging
and incredibly fulfilling experience.
Storied experience
Cultural values, Pasifika children, Pasifika communities,
service provision, special needs.
Malo ni ki te mamalu o na kaufaigaluega i loto o akoga mo
te fehoahoaniga o fanau. Greetings to colleagues working in
the area of special education.
In October 2007, a delegation from the Ministry of Education,
Special Education (GSE) went to Tokelau in response to a
request from the Tokelauan government for help establishing
services for children with special needs. The goals for the trip
were developed in close consultation with Lili Tuioti, Tokelau’s
Education Advisor, and the Tokelau Department of Education.
They included raising public awareness of special needs
education, starting a database of children with special needs,
and providing individual assessments for children whom the
schools had identified as at-risk. The team was made up of
Tim Andersen, a special education advisor in Whangarei;
Kathryn Meredith, a speech-language therapist in Wellington;
Louella Neale, an adviser on deaf children in Lower Hutt and
Colleen Taylor, a physiotherapist in Dunedin. The team was
led by Ezra Schuster, National Pasifika Manager. Some of the
most valuable work was done in the pre-planning stages in
Wellington, Auckland and Apia. The majority of the
Tokelauan population lives in Wellington and numbers
approximately 5,000. We were able to visit Tokelauan
preschools in the area and meet with people who told us
about the way of life on the atolls. Our boat journey out to
Tokelau took on a life of its own through these stories and
meetings and it was hilarious to watch a preschooler acting
out the memory of his own trip by swaying around and
falling over.
Tokelau is 500 kilometres north of its nearest neighbouring
country Samoa, and is accessible only by sea. Tokelau is
made up of three tiny coral atolls which are each very
remote. The three atolls are Fakaofo, Nukunonu and Atafu
and they have a total population of approximately 1450. The
culture is influenced by Samoa and Tuvalu due to missionary
work, with some influence remaining from the era of
Peruvian slave ships.
Before leaving for Tokelau, we anticipated feeling
overwhelmed by being in such a remote location. The reality
was there wasn’t a lot of down time to reflect on the solitary
nature of the islands, and technology has made links with
New Zealand and the rest of the world reliable and
accessible. Also, the population density on the islands further
belied any sense of the isolation we had expected. There
were, of course, many quiet moments spent on boats in the
Pacific Ocean. It took 26 hours on the MV Tokelau for us to
reach the first atoll, and 80 hours on the MV Samoa Express
to return from the furthest atoll. Between these two main
journeys we also travelled between the atolls and to smaller
outer motu1 within each atoll.
The hours spent on the ships were rich with experiences. We
experienced the enjoyment of motion and motion sickness,
the fear, relief and exhilaration of trying to jump from a
dinghy to a larger unanchored ship in large swell conditions,
and awe at the expanse and depth of the ocean (at one stage
Weaving educational threads. Weaving educational practice.
the bottom of the ocean ceased to register on the navigation
equipment which only measured 1.6 kilometres below). It
was delightful to see dolphins, green turtles and flying fish
which distracted us from our desire for land and our
favourite foods. The journeys by ship were a new experience
for us, but a familiar experience for Tokelauans and it gave .
a sense of how strongly the people are connected to the sea.
For people in Tokelau, the sea is an instrument of existence
rather than of leisure as it tends to be in New Zealand. .
The shipping timetable is influenced by the weather and
people on the atolls are reliant on incoming supplies of
supplementary food and medicines. Access to specialist
services and emergency medical supplies, and services are .
a minimum of 26 hours away.
Arriving in Samoa, we spent a short time in Apia before
departing for Tokelau. The cultural learning we experienced
in trips to Samoan villages, church, government departments,
families and schools was extremely powerful. As a team, .
we were given a gentle introduction to Pacific ways of life .
in Samoa and we all felt incredibly humbled by people’s
hospitality and openness. The importance of a culturally
respectful and hospitable introduction to our services for .
the families we work with, was highlighted. As professionals
we frequently introduce families to our system and services
and we also do understand that it is paramount to develop
relationships with Pacific families before getting down to
business. However, the reality is that we are under time
pressures which cause us to rush and it is rare that .
we truly spend time building relationships in introductory
sessions. As a largely non-Pacific team we were on the
receiving end of being introduced to a different cultural
system. People in Samoa and Tokelau were generous hosts,
placing as paramount our comfort and welfare. Our purpose
was important, yet equally prioritised was the personal
connection between us. Our introduction to Pacific life .
in Samoa gave us the time to adapt a little to a new
environment and prepared us for the fast pace of our work
in Tokelau. The foundation was laid for us to be able to work
at the level of intensity needed to achieve our objectives,
which was incredibly pressured by the boat schedule which
allowed a specific and often short amount of time on each
atoll. On each of the atolls after our initial community
discussion, the list of people wanting to see us increased
hugely. We frequently worked into the night and caught .
up on discussions and paper work on the deck of the MV
Tokelau as we travelled between the atolls. We had to put
the laptops away if the swells were too big because the ship
had an open deck.
At each of the atolls we first met with the Taupulega, the
village elders who govern the atolls. We discussed our .
plans with them and received their blessings. Villages are
structured so that the Taupulega have ultimate control over
the running of the island. There is the Fatupaepae2, and the
Aumaga/Taulelea3 who take responsibility for the tasks that
need to be done on each island, whether it is building,
cleaning, providing for the needy or administration. .
The Fatupaepae is the women’s village working group. The name of the group has been
taken from the role of the female within the extended family. The Fatupaepae is the
person that is responsible for the welfare of the extended family, for example, pastoral
care, advice and importantly the distribution of resources to all members of the family.
The Aumaga/Taulelea is the men’s working group.
Tokelau has a cultural system called inati which essentially
means sharing of resources, such as the daily catch of fish, .
so that all people are provided for.
Education is important to Tokelauans and there are high
attendance and literacy rates. Each atoll has a school and
preschool on it and caters for students up to year 11 (year 12
education is being introduced in 2008). Some of the schools
were in quite poor physical condition and are now in the
planning stages of rebuilding. This provided an extra
opportunity for our contribution to ideas about the best
physical structure to give access for all children. On most
occasions the children nominated for assessment were
systematically seen by all members of the GSE team. Usually
we saw children in schools and preschools. We often worked
after school had finished using either makeshift clinics in a
room where we were staying, or in government buildings
and the occasional home visit. We gathered comprehensive
assessment data and delivered strategies that informed both
the individual and collective needs of children in Tokelau.
Our approach took the form of a trans-disciplinary model
which was a real key to our success in gathering information
in a time-intensive way. We worked in pairs or individually
with children, teachers and families and learned a lot from
working with each other. Our respective disciplines and
experience all added to the collective knowledge of the team.
Sitting as a group to discuss our findings was valuable and
informed a truly ecological perspective for each child. As well
as giving information back on an individual level to children,
families, the doctor and teachers, we held meetings on each
atoll and discussed our findings with the communities. These
were fantastic opportunities to feedback to almost the entire
population. It was a great forum to discuss a range of topics
including ear health, importance of communication between
health and education services, attitudes to children with
special education needs, early identification of needs,
inclusion in schools and communities, and multilingualism.
We experienced the warmth of people at these meetings who
often ended by thanking us through music.
As professionals it has been hard for us to return to
New Zealand knowing that we are walking away from
children whose needs cannot yet be met in Tokelau. There .
is a balance between providing support at an individual level
and providing systematic support which will enhance service
and resource provision in the long term. One success we
have had since our return is in the securing of funding for
three individualised wheelchairs and pressure care bedding
for children on the islands. We also take solace in the fact
that this trip was only the beginning of support for children
with special education needs in Tokelau.
A lasting impact for us all is in our confidence to work with
Pacific families here in New Zealand. Living with a Tokelauan
family allowed us to closely observe the importance of .
family life, church, dress, personal conduct and food. .
We all appreciated the cultural insights and guidance given
to us by Ezra. Our first-hand experiences in Tokelau and
Samoa have increased our cultural understanding of families
in New Zealand who come from Pacific Island countries. .
For all of us this was a unique, challenging and incredibly
fulfilling experience.
Author Profiles
Kathryn Meredith
Kathryn Meredith
Kathryn is a speech-language therapist working in early
intervention in Wellington. Kathryn has travelled and .
worked throughout Asia and the Pacific and has strong
interests in cross-cultural work, child development and
education. Kathryn is currently studying towards a Masters .
of Development Studies and is researching inclusion in
education for children with special education needs in
developing countries.
Tim Andersen
Louella Neale
Louella Neale
Louella has been working in special education since .
the 1970s. She has worked in Australia, England and
New Zealand as a teacher of both deaf and blind children
and a range of students with special education needs.
Louella has also worked as a RTLB and a teacher. Louella .
has a keen interest in early intervention and working with
families. Louella has worked as an adviser on deaf children
since 1995.
Colleen Taylor
Tim Andersen
Colleen Taylor
Tim works for the Ministry of Education, Special Education .
as a special education advisor in Te Tai Tokerau district. .
Before joining special education, Tim worked as a primary
school teacher in New Zealand, The United Kingdom, Malawi .
and Ukraine. Tim is currently involved in doctoral studies .
at the University of Auckland; his research is focused on
school culture and school-wide behaviour intervention.
Colleen is a physiotherapist working in the school focus .
team for the Ministry of Education, Special Education in
Otago. She holds a particular interest in the relationship
between the health and education system for students .
with special education needs. Originally from Wellington,
Colleen has been working for the Ministry of Education,
Special Education since 2006, after graduating from .
Otago University in 2005.
Weaving educational threads. Weaving educational practice.
Ezra Schuster
Ezra Schuster
Ezra is the National Pasifika Manager with the Ministry of
Education, Special Education (in Auckland) and manages the
newly formed Northern Region Pasifika team working right
across the education sector. He led the special education
project to Tokelau in 2007 with the follow-up planned later
this year. Ezra has been involved in the education sector,
both domestic and international, for a number of years and
more recently in national leadership roles. Ezra has travelled
extensively and has lived and worked in Thailand, Japan and
the wider Pacific region. He sits on a number of advisory
boards and has developed several educational and youth
leadership initiatives, with a focus on working with .
Pasifika communities.
Anticipated Death in New Zealand
School Communities
Katherine Broughton
Few resources seem to be available to support school
communities that have a child whose death is anticipated.
The present article draws on the experiences of school staff
and special education employees who have been involved .
in New Zealand school communities where a child was
terminally ill and died. These experiences could help other
school communities to provide optimal support and avoid
pitfalls. Schools could use this article to develop a plan to .
fit their own unique situation.
Practice paper
Crisis management, death, inclusion practices, Mäori culture,
parent school relationship, school role, terminal illness,
traumatic incidents
The death of a student impacts significantly on the school
community. This is evident in the many resources available
both nationally and internationally for helping schools
respond to the unexpected death of a student. Many of these
traumatic incident resources have been tailored specifically
to New Zealand schools (Edwards, 2002; Meakin, Allen &
Hanifan, 1995; Ministry of Education, 2002; Rivers, Hornbrook
& Allen, 1993). This article sets the scene for ideas to guide
New Zealand schools that have a student whose death is
anticipated and reports findings from New Zealand teachers
and Ministry of Education, Special Education staff.
Anticipated death
Anticipated death occurs when medical professionals have
predicted that a person does not have much longer to live.
During this time there is an opportunity to begin to come .
to terms with losses of the past, present and future (Gilbert,
1996; Knott & Wild, 1986; National Cancer Institute, 2005). .
As the health of a child declines he or she can become
vulnerable to isolation (Winston’s Wish, 2003) due to a
number of factors including grief (Gilbert, 1996; Knott & Wild,
1986; National Cancer Institute, 2005) and frequent absences
from school (American Society of Clinical Oncology, 2005;
Holland, 2003). It is important to acknowledge the illness but
not allow it to become the focus of relationships with the
child. Students can help by making cards, writing letters, and
drawing pictures for him or her, making a video with the
child (American Society of Clinical Oncology, 2005), and
Weaving educational threads. Weaving educational practice.
visiting the home or hospital (Meakin et al., 1995). .
The Ministry of Education High Health Fund is available .
to students whose poor health means they need help
accessing the curriculum and their health would be likely .
to deteriorate further without the support of a teacher aide
(Ministry of Education, 2006).
When there is warning before a person dies it provides
opportunities for loved ones to say goodbye to show the
dying person how much they are cared for, and to begin .
to come to terms with the loss. Those involved have an
opportunity to put things right before death occurs (National
Cancer Institute, 2005). Loved ones begin to let go of the
future with the person, yet continue to invest in the present
relationship. The pain of the situation (Winston’s Wish, 2003)
sometimes results in people detaching themselves emotionally
from the dying person while continuing to care for their
physical needs (Knott & Wild, 1986). This can make the .
dying person feel uncared for and abandoned (Gilbert, .
1996; Holland, 2003). People are in a particularly vulnerable
position when they expect a child to die and he or she .
takes longer than anticipated, or unexpectedly recovers
(Knott & Wild, 1986). The difficulty people experience with
reinvesting emotional energy into such a relationship is .
well documented and is known as “The Lazarus Syndrome”
(Knott & Wild, 1986).
When a school student is expected to die, this has an impact
on everyone involved. There are opportunities for the school
community to support the dying child, his or her family, and
friends in their grief. The anticipated death is likely to have .
a significant impact on some of the school staff and students
as they experience grief of their own. People respond to grief
differently depending on their developmental level (Rivers,
1994; Silverman, 2000; Tonkin, 1995; Worden, 1991),
previous experience with losses, and skills already learned .
for responding to grief (Tonkin, 1995). Death can trigger
strong emotions about losses that people have already
experienced in their past (Alberta Department of Education,
1992; Holland, 2003; Klass, Silverman & Nickman, 1996;
Meakin et al.,1995; Tonkin, 1995).
Responding to the death
The forewarning of death does not mean there will be less
pain or grief for loved ones who are faced with living without
the child (Gilbert, 1996; Knott & Wild, 1986; National Cancer
Institute, 2005; Rainbow Trust, 2005; Silverman, 2000).
Schools are best supported by a well constructed, established
support plan. The main areas relevant to the anticipated
death support plan are communicating the information .
and providing support. It is important to communicate .
with the family, teachers, students, and other parents about
the death. Schools should maintain up-to-date contact
information for students, school staff, other service providers,
and support organisations in case they need to be contacted
quickly (Ministry of Education, 2003a). When a death occurs,
principals would usually contact the family to offer support,
get consent to share information with staff, students and
parents, and prepare a written statement (Dean, 2006;
Ministry of Education, 2003a; Rivers, 1994; Rivers et al.,
1993). The principal would then usually arrange for
previously identified people to be contacted via a telephone
tree including close friends of the child (Alberta Department
of Education, 1992) and those whose own child or sibling
had previously died (Tonkin, 1995). It is important to
encourage these people to go to school as staying in a
familiar routine provides support to those in grief (Meakin .
et al., 1995). Leaving members of the school community .
out can have a negative impact on the school community
(Ministry of Education, 2003a).
A spokesperson for the media may be designated and .
should only be able to give information provided in a .
written statement. It may not be appropriate to discuss the
incident with the media (Rivers et al., 1993). The principal
may arrange relief teachers who are made available to
teachers from the start of the day. A designated staff member
such as the deputy principal may circulate the classrooms .
and monitor which teachers need time away from their
classroom. The principal should convey news to staff in .
a school meeting as soon as possible (Rivers et al., 1993).
Consideration should be given to teachers who would .
usually have responsibilities such as sports coaching after
school. It may be appropriate for other teachers to take over
these roles temporarily to reduce the demands on the staff
who need extra time to be with others, or on their own
(Ministry of Education, 2003b; Rivers et al., 1993). Teacher
aides, under the New Zealand Educational Institute (NZEI)
collective agreement (2005), are entitled to 4 weeks of pay
after losing their job for any reason including the death of
their student.
After school staff have been informed about the death, it
would be appropriate to inform the students. A teacher or
the school principal could inform the students class-by-class
so that the children have opportunities to ask questions
(principal, 09.03.06; teacher, 14.03.06). School staff should
only tell the students what is in the written statement (Rivers
et al., 1993; Ministry of Education, 2003a) and ensure that
confidentiality is maintained about information that is not
specifically provided by them for the school (Ministry of
Education, 2003a; Rivers, 1994; Rivers et al., 1993). When the
children talk about the loss it may be necessary to reduce
ideas of self-blame (Ministry of Education, 2003a; Rivers et
al., 1993) and increase physical closeness among the students
by playing games with physical closeness such as duck, duck,
goose (Rivers et al., 1993). Teachers could read the book
about death after a terminal illness such as Brodie by Joy
Cowley (2001) and discuss it with the class.
Maintaining routines can help prevent extra stress (Meakin .
et al., 1995) but avoiding talking about grief does not make .
it go away (Holland, 2003; Meakin et al., 1995; Perry 2006,
Tonkin, 1995). In contrast, this can lead to people developing
psychological, behavioural, and/or social difficulties (Alberta
Department of Education, 1992; Ayyash-Abdo, 2001).
Children are in a particularly vulnerable position when
someone they know dies as they may not have yet developed
skills to respond to grief in healthy ways (The Dougy Centre
for Grieving Children and Families, 2004; Perry, 2006).
Developing skills to respond appropriately to grief can
benefit people at the time that they are grieving and when
they experience losses in the future (Tonkin, 1995). In most
cases, the support that is most effective comes from natural
groupings within a community (Rivers, 1994). Teachers can
help children develop skills for dealing with grief by sharing
some of their own thoughts and feelings (Perry, 2006).
Teachers need to be aware that normal grief reactions in
children can include behaviour that is unsettled, disruptive,
attention-seeking, sad, moody, inattentive, and withdrawn
for a time (Rivers et al., 1993). While their academic
schoolwork may also deteriorate (Holland, 2003; Perry, .
2006; Tonkin, 1995), their desire to express their thoughts
and feelings through art may increase (Tonkin, 1995). .
Some people may react immediately while others may .
do so weeks or months later (Rivers et al., 1993).
Mäori perspectives on wellbeing
A Mäori perspective of health (or wellbeing) is considered to
comprise four vital areas, te taha hinengaro1, te taha tinana2
and te taha wairua3, in the context of the family and
community (te taha whänau). Known as Te Whare Tapa Whä
(Durie, 1994), these areas are represented as the four walls of
a house, each of which must be kept strengthened for the
overall wellbeing of the person. If a person is lacking in one
area the whole “house” is no longer strong. In this context,
many iwi4 compare the transience of human life with the
permanence of whenua5.
Mäori perspective: Loss and grief
When an anticipated death involves Mäori, be sure to include
tangata whenua6 to provide guidance and support for the
school community’s response (Ministry of Education, 2003b;
Rivers et al., 1993). Mäori approaches in such circumstances
are guided by kaupapa Mäori7 perspectives. Therefore,
actions such as reciting a karakia8 at the beginning of a
school assembly could serve to strengthen te taha wairua .
of those connected with the student. Likewise, expressions .
of awhi9 would serve to strengthen the bonds within te taha
whänau10. The giving of a koha11 to the whänau such as food
or money would enable te taha tinana to be strengthened
(Durie, 2006; Ministry of Education, 2003b). Schools would be
considered discerning if they were to maintain a putea12 for
the purposes of offering koha, so as to enable the provision
The mind.
The body.
The spirit.
Tribal entities.
Local Mäori.
Mäori cultural practices.
Help and support.
The family and community.
of food, or a money donation, to replenish whänau resources
(Ministry of Education, 2003b). The overarching criterion is to
abide by tikanga13 as it pertains to respective iwi. Tikanga
will determine how the interactions and protocols should
transpire in relation to individuals and groups of all ages.
Other cultural and religious backgrounds
In addition to discussing Mäori cultural and religious
backgrounds it is important to ask the family if they identify
with any other culture or religion. For example, the family
may be Mäori on the paternal side, Tongan on the maternal
side, and they may identify as being Catholic. It would be
helpful to discuss cultural and religious backgrounds and
beliefs with the family whether they are Mäori or non-Mäori,
how these impact on their perspectives of death, and how
they would prefer to be supported.
Most schools have a crisis response plan in place for
incidents such as sudden death, injury, or natural disasters
(Ministry of Education, 2003a; special education field staff,
04.04.06). This can be used as a tool to prompt those
involved to do important actions that may otherwise be
forgotten about in the midst of the crisis (school staff,
09.03.06; special education field staff, 21.02.06) so that
optimal support can be given to those involved (Ministry of
Education, 2003a; Rivers, 1994; Rivers et al., 1993; school
staff, 09.03.06). Schools adapt the crisis response resource
prior to a crisis to provide the maximum support in case of
the child’s death. They do this by taking into consideration
their school policies, the culture of their school, and supports
that would be available (Ministry of Education, 2003a; school
staff, 09.03.06; special education field staff, 21.03.06) and
they update it as they go (school staff, 09.03.06).
The anticipated death resource is unique in that it is
specifically for schools that have a child whose death is
anticipated. The writer was unable to find any resources .
for schools that catered for this need. As with a sudden .
death it is important that the school has a plan to follow so
that decisions can be made in advance and more effective
support can be provided prior to and after the child’s death
(Holland, 2003). A current project involves the development
of a resource based on professional literature and the
experiences of New Zealand schools. This resource is
intended to assist schools with providing an optimal level .
of support for all those involved. Consistent with the views
expressed in several New Zealand traumatic incidents
manuals (Meakin et al., 1995; Rivers 1994; Rivers et al., 1993),
the resource will provide guidelines for schools to adapt to
their own school culture and situations within it.
Procedures for the development of the resource
The following steps were taken in order to gather
appropriate information for the anticipated death resource.
A memo was sent out to special education staff asking them
to identify potential schools where an anticipated death had
occurred. They were also asked about their willingness to
contribute to the resource. Several special education staff
responded to the memos and provided helpful information
about their own experiences in schools with anticipated
death and sudden death. They gave the names of two
schools that had anticipated deaths several years earlier .
and the principals of these schools agreed to take part in
interviews for the anticipated death resource and a teacher
and a teacher aide were also interviewed. School staff and
special education field workers were directly involved in this
study but parents and children were not. This was due to .
the sensitive nature of the research. During the interviews
the school staff were invited to share their own experiences
around the death of the student who had been expected .
to die and what they would suggest for other schools
experiencing a similar tragedy. This was done through .
the following interview questions:
What did staff and students do to support________and his/
her family during this difficult time?
What did staff and students do to support each other?
What did the school staff and students do in response to
news of________s death?
What guidelines would you recommend for other schools
with a terminally ill student?
What other information do you think would be useful in a
resource for schools responding to an anticipated death?
The interview responses were summarised and linked to
relevant literature where appropriate.
Ten special education field staff (three managers, two Mäori
field staff, and five New Zealand European field staff from
various parts of New Zealand), and four school staff (two
principals, a teacher, and a teacher’s aide) were involved .
in providing feedback on the resource, and the resource .
was adapted where appropriate.
Anticipated death
When four school staff members were interviewed about
their experiences of having a student whose death was
anticipated, they emphasised the importance of including
the child as much as possible in the classroom (school staff,
06.03.06, 09.03.06, 14.03.06) and playground (school staff,
06.03.06, 14.03.06). It is important to be aware of this need
because as their health declines the child can become
vulnerable to isolation (Winston’s Wish, 2003) due to a
number of factors including frequent absences from school
(school staff, 14.03.06), grief (American Society of Clinical
Oncology 2005; Gilbert, 1996; Knott & Wild 1986; National
Cancer Institute, 2005), feeling unwell, and looking and
behaving differently (special education field staff 10.03.06).
Although they acknowledged the physical condition, they did
not allow it to become the focus of social interactions with
the child (American Society of Clinical Oncology 2005; school
staff, 09.03.06).
School staff and Ministry of Education, Special Education
field staff gave a number of examples of children who
continued to be included in the school community as their
Weaving educational threads. Weaving educational practice.
health deteriorated. For example, a child who was confined
to a wheelchair due to her deteriorating health was involved
in games in the playground such as “tag”, where other
students hopped instead of ran. In the classroom, school
staff provided support for the child’s changing learning and
social needs through an Individual Education Plan (IEP) with
the help of a teacher aide (school staff 14.03.06). Teacher
aide funding may be available through the Ministry of
Education High Health Fund if a student’s poor health means
they need help accessing the curriculum and if their health
would be likely to deteriorate further without the support .
of a teacher aide (Ministry of Education, 2006). At a school
where several students were suffering from terminal
illnesses, their peers made video diaries for each of them. .
These were presented to the families who said that they
appreciated the thought put into them and the record .
of their child at school (special education field staff,
28.02.06). Making videos for terminally ill children was also
recommended by the American Society of Oncology (2005).
When a student’s health deteriorates s/he may spend long
periods of time away from school. Their classmates could
continue to involve them in the classroom activities by
making things specifically for them such as drawing pictures
or writing letters (American Society of Oncology, 2005; school
staff, 14.03.06), and by giving them work that they did as
part of regular class activities, for example balloon creatures
they made during art. These would have been brought to .
the children when they were at home or in hospital by a
designated member of school staff. It may be a good idea .
for children to visit their ill classmate at home or in hospital,
especially when s/he is absent from school for long periods
of time (school staff, 14.03.06). However it would be
important to check with the family about the appropriateness
of visits (Meakin et al., 1995) because it is important to be
aware of the family’s need for both support and space
(school staff, 14.03.06). It may be necessary to designate a
liaison person to monitor the number of visitors to prevent
stress to the child and his or her family (special education
field staff, 31.03.06).
It may be appropriate to inform the other children about .
the child’s deteriorating health and how it may impact on
the child. A parent (school staff, 06.03.06) or someone such
as a relative, hospital staff member, or social worker could
come into the classroom and give a brief explanation to .
the children to prepare them for changes in the way the
child functions and/or looks (special education field staff,
10.03.06). For example, explaining to students that when .
the child gets back to school after cancer treatment he may
have no hair and he may not feel as energetic as he used to.
It may be appropriate to tell students that the child is not
expected to live as long as they are (school staff, 14.03.06).
This would need to be done after checking with the child .
and the child’s caregivers about accuracy of information and
what they want to be shared at school, respecting their need
for confidentiality (Dean, 2006; Ministry of Education, 2003a;
Rivers, 1994; Rivers et al., 1993). The caregivers and their
child may not want other children to know that s/he is likely
to die. It is not advisable to tell the school community how
much longer the child is expected to live because this would
set them and the child up for additional stress (Knott & .
Wild, 1986). Students are likely to ask how long the child is
expected to live so it would be appropriate to respond by
saying something such as ‘We hope Emily is comfortable .
and with us for as long as possible. No one knows how .
much longer she has to live’ (special education field staff,
As part of their response plan for anticipated death, schools
should maintain up-to-date contact information about
students, school staff, other service providers, and support
organisations in case they need to be contacted quickly
(Ministry of Education, 2003a). It may be appropriate to
involve agencies such as the Ministry of Education; Special
Education; Barnardos; tangata whenua (special education
field staff, 10.03.06, 27.03.06; Ministry of Education, 2003b)
and church (school staff, 14.03.06) for guidance and support
(Rivers et al., 1993; school staff, 09.03.06). It may be helpful
to establish a relationship between the school and a
kaumätua14 who would be available to provide Mäori
cultural support and guidance where appropriate. Schools
can do this by contacting the Ministry of Education, Special
Education which could connect them with relevant people
(special education field staff, 10.03.06, 27.03.06) . It is
important to remember that some of these people may .
be unavailable, so including back-up people would be
helpful (Ministry of Education, 2003b). Information about
other organisations can be easily accessed on the internet.
For example, Skylight is used by school staff and special
education staff and can be found on www.skylight.org.nz.
Response to death
Although the children had been diagnosed with health
problems and were not expected to survive until adulthood,
their deaths came as a shock (school staff, 06.03.06, 09.03.06,
14.03.06). This is consistent with the literature which indicates
that even when the death of a child is anticipated, this does
not make it easier than it would have been if it was unexpected
(Gilbert, 1996, Knott & Wild, 1986; National Cancer Institute,
2005; Rainbow Trust, 2005; Silverman, 2000). The school .
staff who were interviewed indicated that their school’s .
crisis response plans were used after the anticipated deaths
of their students so that the family, teachers, and students
would receive optimum support (school staff, 06.03.06,
09.03.06). The school principals contacted the families to
offer support and prepare a written statement. They then
told the teachers about the death, offered grief counselling,
and provided relief teachers (school staff, 09.03.06, 14.03.06).
Schools found it helpful to designate a staff member such as
the deputy principal to circulate the classrooms and monitor
which teachers needed time away from their students (Rivers
et al., 1993; school staff, 09.03.06, 14.03.06). In one school, .
a special assembly was held where all students were
informed about the death together (school staff, 14.03.06). .
In another school, students were informed class-by-class and
given an opportunity to ask questions and weep (school staff,
09.03.06, 14.03.06). If students have access to mobile phones
in class, this could potentially result in some children finding
out about the death via text rather than from a supportive
adult. In this case, informing the classes simultaneously
would help reduce this risk.
Mäori elder
It is important to note that people respond differently to
death depending on their developmental level. Letters were
sent home to inform parents about the death, that it may
impact on their child, and that support was available to their
child at school (school staff, 09.03.06; special education field
staff, 28.02.06). Teachers and their students shared happy
memories of the child, and made booklets and cards (school
staff, 14.03.06). It is important for schools to realise that they
are the best source of their own support so it may not be
appropriate or necessary to bring in counselling (special
education field staff, 12.04.06).
It is important that the principal asks the parents of the
deceased child about the school’s presence at the funeral
(school staff, 09.03.06). In the case of a tangi15 it would be
important to talk to the kaumätua and find out what is
appropriate and what is inappropriate (special education
field staff, 27.03.06). It is important to ensure that all
children going to the funeral are given parental consent to
do so, and it may help to meet with the parents and children
before the funeral to discuss it together. It is advisable that
the children attend the funeral with their parents (school
staff, 14.03.06). After the funeral, it would be helpful to invite
the family to continue their relationship and involvement
with the school community even if they no longer have
children at the school (special education field staff, 31.03.06).
When a child dies, it is possible that some members of the
school community may be overlooked during the time of
grief. If the child has a taxi driver it would be important to
inform them about the death. This would need to occur as
soon as possible to prevent the upsetting event of going to
collect the child who has died. Informing the school health
nurse about the child’s death would ensure that they did .
not come to check on their wellbeing only to find that the
child had died (school staff, 14.03.06). This highlights the
importance of including these people in the anticipated
death resource. It would also be important to remind .
schools to contact people such as the caretaker, canteen
staff, cleaners, and itinerant teachers. Leaving people out .
can have a negative impact on the school community
(Ministry of Education, 2003a; school staff, 14.03.06).
If a child has regular contact with a teacher aide, this
provides ample opportunity for them to develop a strong
bond. If the child that they have been supporting dies, it .
may result in the teacher aide losing their job and as a result
losing the support of the school community. In order to
include the teacher aide in the school’s grief process it has
been recommended that the teacher aide is invited to the
funeral, has access to grief counselling, and is invited back to
the school to grieve with the rest of the class. In some cases
the death of the child may result in financial vulnerability for
the teacher aide (school staff, 14.03.06). It would be essential
for schools to know that under NZEI teacher aides are
entitled to four weeks of pay after losing their job for any
reason including the death of their student (New Zealand
Education Institute, 2005). If the death occurs during the
school holidays the teacher aide is paid for the first four
weeks that they would have been back at school (special
education field staff, 17.03.06).
Not all schools choose to hold a memorial service or put a
memorial on the school grounds because of the difficulty .
of gauging emotional reactions from various members of .
the school community (special education field staff, 20.02.06;
school staff, 09.03.06, 14.03.06). Schools must negotiate .
a fine line between providing support and avoiding the
inherent dangers of accentuating social responses to death
(Dean, 2006). Several special education staff and a principal
noted that giving a lot of attention to the deceased can lead
to an idealistic view of death and has the potential to disrupt
a whole school community (school staff, 09.03.06; special
education field staff, 20.02.06). It has been recommended
that if a memorial service is held at the school or a memorial
is placed on the school grounds it is important to make these
standard for the death of any child regardless of how they
died (The Dougy Center for Grieving Children and Families,
2004; special education field staff, 20.02.06).
School staff and special education field workers were directly
involved in this study but parents and children were not. .
This was due to the sensitive nature of the inquiry. Future
investigation could include parents’ and children’s
experiences with a student whose death was anticipated.
This would offer a wider range of insights into ways of
providing support for members of the school community.
In summary, a resource tailored for schools that have a .
child with a terminal illness would be helpful for optimising
support in a school community when a child’s death is
anticipated and after the child dies. School staff, special
education staff, and the literature indicated that an .
effective support plan provides specific guidelines on what
information to convey and why, appropriate support for
people who are grieving, and inclusion of each member .
of the school community.
Alberta Department of Education. (1992). Bereavement and
loss manual for administrators and teachers. Education
Response Centre, Edmonton.
American Society of Clinical Oncology. (2005). People living
with cancer. An ASCO website. Retrieved March 11, 2006,
from http://www.plwc.org/plwc/Home/1.1743.00.html
Ayyash-Abdo, H. (2001). Childhood bereavement: What
school psychologists need to know. School Psychology
International, 22(4), 417–433.
Cowley, J. (2001). Brodie. Auckland: Scholastic New Zealand
Dean, D. (2006). Nayland Primary School crisis plan.
Unpublished manual.
Durie, M. (2006). Effective interventions with young Mäori:
The Aotearoa reality. Unpublished Seminar Manual.
Edwards, T. (2002). Traumatic incidents “Tool Kit”. A selection
of useful information and sample documents to assist in
the management of traumatic incidents. Unpublished
Mäori funeral.
Weaving educational threads. Weaving educational practice.
Gilbert, K. R. (1996). Anticipated losses and anticipatory grief.
Retrieved February 28, 2006, from http://www.indiana.
Skylight. (2008). Skylight: Helping young people deal with
change, loss and grief. Retrieved July 28, 2008, from
Holland, J. (2003). Supporting schools with loss: ‘Lost for
words’ in Hull. British Journal of Special Education,
30(2), 76–78.
Silverman, P. R. (2000). Never too young to know: Death in
children’s lives. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Klass, D., Silverman, P. R., & Nickman S. L. (1996). Continuing
bonds: New understandings of grief. Washington, DC:
Taylor and Francis.
Knott, J. E., & Wild, E. (1986). Anticipatory grief and
reinvestment. In T. A. Rando (Ed.), Loss and anticipatory
grief (pp. 55–60). Lexington, Mass: Lexington Books.
Meakin, M., Allen, G., & Hanifan, T. (1995). Suggestions
for the presenters of in-service courses on the
management of traumatic incidents. Waikato East,
Special Education Service.
Ministry of Education. (2006). The school high health needs
fund guidelines. The Ministry of Education, Special
Education Eligibility Unit. Retrieved April 2, 2006, from
The Dougy Center for Grieving Children and Families. (2004).
Retrieved February 21, 2006, from http://www.dougy.org/
Tonkin, L. (1995). Change, loss and grief: A unit for primary
and intermediate schools. Wellington, New Zealand:
Mary Potter Hospice.
Winston’s Wish. (2003). Winston’s wish for grieving children
and their families. Retrieved February 21, 2006, from
Worden, J. W. (1991). Talking to children about death.
Retrieved March 08, 2006, from http://www.hospicenet.
Katherine Broughton
Ministry of Education. (2003a). The management of traumatic
incidents – Training manual. Unpublished manual.
Ministry of Education. (2003b). Aue …he aitua. Unpublished
Ministry of Education. (2002). Traumatic incident
management support for schools and early childhood
centres. Pamphlet.
National Cancer Institute. (2005). Supportive care statement
for health professionals: Loss, grief, and bereavement.
Retrieved March 15, 2006, from http://www.meb.
New Zealand Education Institute. (2005). Support staff
in schools collective agreement January 1 2005 –
September 1 2006. Author. Retrieved April 02, 2006, .
from http://www.nzei.org.nz/support_staff/
Perry, B. (2006). Death and loss: Helping children manage
their grief. Scholastic. Retrieved March 02, 2006, from
Rainbow Trust. (2005). Rainbow Trust Children’s Charity.
Retrieved March 09, 2006, from http://www.rainbowtrust.
Rivers, L. (1994). Workbook: The management of traumatic
incidents. Special Education Service. Unpublished
Rivers, L., Hornbrook, H., & Allen, G. (1993). Guidelines to
assist in the management of traumatic incidents.
Wellington, New Zealand: Special Education Service.
Katherine Broughton (nee Chernishov) is an Educational
Psychologist who wrote this article during her internship .
at the Ministry of Education, Special Education, Southern
Region. She wishes to thank everyone who contributed.
Ethical Issues for an Editorial Board:
Associate Professor John Clark
Massey University College of Education
The Kairaranga Editorial Board1 is mindful of, and has .
been discussing, ethical issues. At the November 2007 .
board meeting, the author was invited to speak to the
editorial board about ethical issues of interest to the board.
This paper covers some of the issues discussed in the
presentation. The article is being published in Kairaranga .
as the Editorial Board feel it would be useful to document .
a paper on ethical issues, and this will support ongoing
discussions between authors and editing teams to ensure
that articles are ethically robust.
With academic journals, we think of the ethical aspects of .
the research contained in the articles rather than with the
journal itself. However, journal editing has its own set of
ethical concerns, which this article addresses. One is ensuring
that the anonymity of institutions and participants, in
research and the reporting of practice, is preserved. .
Another is to ensure a clear separation between “owner” of
the journal and the editiorial judgement, so that editiorial
independence is preserved. This defence of free speech is
especially important when a journal, its editorial board and
contributors, are variously associated with a government
agency or Board of Trustees.
Position paper
Ethics, informed consent, professional practice, publications,
research ethics
Editing a journal can be a demanding task. Considerable
time lapses between the receipt of a manuscript for
consideration and its appearance in published form.
Between first and last there is reviewing to be done, .
which on some occasions is effortless and on others, not.
Contributions have to be formatted, proofed, collated and
then sent to the printer. Finally, the finished journal appears:
contributors are delighted to see their article in print and
those who have produced it heave a sigh of relief with
getting one issue out of the way as they gear up to begin .
the process all over again with the next issue.
Now, if publishing journals were simply a technical matter
then life would be so much easier for those who either
contribute to, or produce them. But, as with all human
affairs, ethics has a habit of intruding on our activities and
placing constraints on our conduct, and journals are no
exception to this. This is especially so of journals devoted to
reporting on aspects of what we humans get up to. There is, .
I suggest, a common core of ethical concerns surrounding
journals which contributors and editors alike need to .
be aware of. In addition, some journals have particular
characteristics which entail further ethical duties beyond .
the common core, and Kairaranga is one such journal.
As a starting point for considering the ethics of journal
editing, we could begin with thinking more clearly about
three general positions on ethical deliberation. The first is
teleological: to determine, according to a principle, whether
an act is right or wrong, what matters are the consequences
– an act is right if it promotes more good than harm and
wrong if it produces greater harm than good. For the ethical
egoist, it is what is good for me; for the utilitarian, it is the
greatest good (happiness) for the greatest number, bearing .
in mind that the legitimate interests of some might be
sacrificed for the greater good of others (Mills, 1962). .
The second is deontological: to determine, according to a
principle, whether an act is right or wrong is given by the
inherent nature of the principle. It is the right thing to do
regardless of the consequences, for it is my duty to act in this
way or it is a just thing to do (Kant, 1964). The third, virtues,
is grounded in human qualities. A morally good person is
one who displays virtues (for example, honesty, care) and
eschews vices (for example, greed, envy) (Aristotle, 1993). .
Few of us locate our moral life in just one of these positions.
Sometimes we anguish as we weigh up the consequences;
other times we act out of firm conviction that this is the right
thing to do (or not do); on occasions we applaud the virtuous
person for their example.
Ethical principles are few in number, general in nature, and
rather universal in their application. While other principles
have been proposed, for our purposes, those principles
identified by Snook and McGeorge (1978) will serve us well
enough, if for no other reason than they are located in .
a New Zealand context of ethical decision-making and do
provide sound direction. The principles are:
• minimise the harm you cause
• maximise the good you do
The Kairaranga Editorial Board is currently a collaborative partnership with
representatives from three sectors – Resource Teachers: Learning and Behaviour .
(RTLB); Ministry of Education, Special Education; and tertiary.
Weaving educational threads. Weaving educational practice.
• be fair to all concerned
• have some concern with truth
• do not unnecessarily impede others in their .
pursuits. (p. 16)
Other principles which could be added to the above include
personal autonomy and justice.
These are good maxims for sound ethical conduct, but they
need to be cashed out into ethical rules if we are to live our
lives in an ethical sort of way. “Maximise the good you do”
may be good advice, but how we do this in any particular
situation is open to judgement. From a principle we can
extract any number of rules and often these will be in
conflict. Hence, the moral dilemma for the individual or .
the moral conflict between individuals (as well as groups,
nations and the like).
A further set of concepts, which cut across this framework,
have particular relevance to the ethics of journal editing.
These are often presented as dualisms but in nature they are
continuums. The first concerns objectivity and subjectivity,
the second, absolute and relative.
Can ethical judgements be, in some sense, objective or are
they merely expressions of subjective, personal preference?
In the aesthetic realm of value, we say such things as “This .
is a good painting but it does not appeal to me” or “I like .
this song even though it’s not particularly good.” Here, we
distinguish between what we like as a personal preference,
which says something about our subjective state, and
qualities about that object being good according to some
criteria, which raises judgement beyond subjectivity by
appealing to something more objectively inherent in .
the properties of the painting or song. Likewise, ethical
judgement rises above more subjective liking/disliking to
claim an objective edge. Quite what this is remains open .
to debate.
The second contrast is between the absolute and the relative.
The former expresses the view that there is but one account
of what is morally good or right such that opposing views are
wrong. There is some merit to this, for all of us have some
fundamental ethical beliefs so dear to us that they would be
the very last we would give up, and in doing so we would
forgo our humanity. Yet there are problems with an absolute
stance. What if two absolute principles conflict? Take “Always
tell the truth” and “Never cause harm to others” – what to
say to a killer seeking a particular victim whose whereabouts
I know? Do I tell the truth, and the victim is harmed, or do .
I tell a lie in order to prevent harm to the victim? We cannot
have it both ways. Other things being equal, harm outweighs
truth. And all too often we are prepared to write in
exceptions, but how far down the slippery slope do we go
before at some point we draw a line? So, being somewhat
liberally inclined we accept ethical pluralism – each to his or
her own, live and let live – but this comes at a price, for the
spectre of relativism looms. If all views are equal such that
none can be judged better or worse, one’s own included,
then there is no rational justification for us to prefer our own
views over any other, so paralysis rules. Or, less severely, if
we are moved by the virtue of tolerance (accept or put up
with something even if we find if disagreeable), then how .
far do we countenance intolerance – does anything go, or to
what extent should the tolerant tolerate the intolerant who
have no tolerance for the tolerant? Most of us draw the line
somewhere between what we will tolerate and that which we
will not.
So, as we move to consider some quite explicit ethical
concerns of journal editing, we do need to ask to what .
extent our reflections are grounded in teleological,
deontological and virtue assumptions and the degree to
which we verge towards the subjective or objective, the
absolute or the relative.
Ethical Practice: Kairaranga
In considering the ethics of journal editing as this bears on
Kairaranga, a helpful starting point is to outline what the
journal is about, what it will publish and how it will review
contributed material. An editorial (Watts, Nobilo, Annan,
Davies & Margrain, 2007) states the purpose of Kairaranga
clearly enough: ‘the promotion of effective practice and
relevant research in special education’ (p. 2). The following
will be considered:
• practice papers ‘celebrating effective practice and
implementation of programmes’
• position papers ‘outlining an author’s view on a current
educational issue’
• research papers ‘summarising research studies involving
quantitative and/or qualitative analysis of data or
reviews of literature’
• storied experience papers ‘reporting the experiences of
children, parents, caregivers, teachers, support staff and
professionals in various learning settings’ (adapted from
Kairaranga Editorial Board, 2007, p. 52).
Kairaranga is a “blind” peer review journal such that ‘neither
the name of the author nor the name of the reviewer will .
be known to each other’ (Kairaranga Editorial Board, p. 52).
Noted also is a disclaimer: ‘Views expressed or implied in this
journal are not necessarily the views of the Editorial Board,
Ministry of Education or the New Zealand RTLB Association’
(p. 53).
With all of this behind us, we can now move on to explore
some ethical issues involved in editing Kairaranga. I do .
so from three vantage points: first I am a philosopher .
with a particular interest in ethics; second, I am the
Vice-Chancellor’s nominee on the Massey University Human .
Ethics Committee (MUHEC); third; I am a joint editor of Delta.
I shall draw off this to shape the account to come. I have .
also taken the opportunity to peruse some recent issues of
Kairaranga and will use several examples to illustrate the
ethical points being made.
Empirical studies
A key ethical concern regarding empirical studies, be they
practice papers, storied experience or reported research, is
preserving the anonymity of the participants, except in just
those cases where the participants, have given their informed
consent to be publicly identified in the writing up and
publication of the study. In many cases of quantitative
inquiry, the aggregated data is such that individuals cannot
be identified; but this is less clear-cut with more qualitative
investigations. Either way, anonymity can be protected by
giving a school or a person a pseudonym along with avoiding
descriptive words of geography, status, etc., which may lead .
to identification. In six articles in one issue of Kairaranga,
institutions are clearly identified by author affiliation (and
‘my school’ in the text) or mentioned by name in the article.
For example, Morris and Katon (2006) do both; so too do
Hiranniah and Mahoney (2006), Wilson and Evans (2006),
Naidoo and Maicker (2006), Mears and Stevenson (2006) and
Ellery and Trafford (2006). If the research has been through .
a robust ethical appraisal process, such as that undertaken
by Massey University’s Human Ethics Committee, then the
schools’ Boards of Trustees (BOT) would be required to give
written consent to the research being undertaken, such that
the BOTs are aware of and willing to approve the public
identification of their schools. Some journals require
confirmation of proper ethical clearance. In Kairaranga’s
case, an accompanying letter of consent from the
management of schools or early childhood services should
suffice to allay any concerns. It is important that the
Kairaranga Editorial Board keeps records that such consent
was gained from schools, early childhood services and
participants, and that authors indicate within the article that
consent was gained. Otherwise anonymity must prevail.
A related ethical worry lies in the anonymity of individuals.
Identification of a school, class level, year and so on can
sometimes lead to a rather good guess as to the identity .
of a teacher and/or student(s) and the Editorial Board does
need to be vigilant to this possibility. For example, Bourne
(2007) provides her institutional affiliation and then discusses
the case of a particular child, who is Mäori, with ADD and
who arrived at the institution several years earlier. Not many
children fit this set of descriptive characteristics. The child is
initially named as “Aroha” (with quotation marks) but
subsequently Aroha (without them). The quotation marks
imply a pseudonym but a note to this effect, as is standard
practice, would put the matter to rest. Whether the
pseudonym, in this instance, would preserve anonymity is, of
course, an open question. In fact, “Aroha” was a compilation
of several case studies and thus no single individual existed
with the specific situation described in that early childhood
centre. Nevertheless, the Editorial Board needs to be alert to
protecting the identity of participants and clear in alerting
readers to how this has been done. In the absence of an
independent peer review process undertaken by authors,
responsibility does fall on to the Editorial Board to undertake
stronger ethical oversight than would normally be required
of editorial boards which publish more traditional academic
journal articles. It is a common experience of MUHEC to find
that practitioners reporting on their own practice tend to fall
a little short of grasping the many ethical demands that
research on teachers and students place on them. This is
usually through ignorance rather than deliberate malpractice
(of not always seeing that the “researcher hat” has to replace
the “teacher hat” over access, consent, and so forth). Conflict
of interest can be reduced to a considerable extent by
Weaving educational threads. Weaving educational practice.
recognising that the ethical constraints on seeking
permission to research teachers/students in another school
are equally applicable to one’s research on one’s own
students. This is usually picked up and rectified by the .
MUHEC process.
When the Editorial Board is of the view that a submitted
article has not been subject to prior ethical review, then it .
is incumbent on the Board to obtain from the author(s) such
confirmation as is required to allow the identification of an
institution or person. With more formal research articles,
confirmation of ethical approval can be requested as part of
the review process (for example, MUHEC allocates a unique
identifier to each successful application which can be
checked with the Ethics Office if need be).
Position papers
Position papers give rise to a rather different set of ethical
problems. Whereas empirical studies describe an actual state
of affairs, position papers outline ‘a writer’s view on a current
educational issue’ (Kairaranga Editorial Board, 2007, p. 52). .
A point of view expresses an opinion, judgement, evaluation
and the like, and in doing so it tends to be rather more
prescriptive by conveying an account of what could, should
or ought to be. In short, an expressive position paper is .
likely to present a coherent argument to justify the position
advanced on a particular educational issue. It seems
reasonable, in this regard, to distinguish between those
authors who are employed by the Ministry of Education .
and those who are not. To start with the latter first. Authors
employed by universities (and other tertiary education
institutions) have a legislated right to be “the critic and
conscience of society” and to perform this duty, and to
perform it well, requires the intellectual freedom to pursue
an argument to its logical conclusion. Short of libel,
incomprehension or objectionable language, there seems to
be no rational ground for the Editorial Board of Kairaranga
to censor opinion contrary to its own or that of the Ministry
of Education. The general principle of free speech extends in
the same way to others, such as parents, teachers and the
like. The disclaimer is protection enough for Kairaranga and
its Editorial Board.
Teachers, whether they be general classroom or early
childhood practitioners or resource teacher, have the same
general right to free speech as their academic colleagues,
except in one relevant respect. There is no reason for such
teachers not to express a point of view on some aspect of
interest to them; the restitution comes only if reference is
made to their own situation that things written about their
own institution identify the institution. It is probably prudent
to exclude identifying reference to one’s own location in a
position paper.
Employees of the Ministry of Education enjoy the some
general right to intellectual liberty, except in one relevant
respect. As citizens, they, like all others, possess the right .
to express a view on all manner of issues without Ministry
restraint. This includes opinions on any and all government
policy which does not fall within the purview of the Ministry.
However, as employees of the Ministry of Education, on
matters of educational policy, the right to free speech is
curtailed. To be sure, in the formulation and evaluation .
of education policy, Ministry officials no doubt do express
their views, sometimes robustly, but this debate is private,
in-house, and not for public consumption. Once policy is
determined by the government of the day, officials have a
duty to implement it and not publicly criticise it. However,
one could resign in order to further dissenting opinion. On
the other hand, on educational matters about which there is
no official policy, or no policy in the making, then there is no
good reason to deny a Ministry of Education employee the
same right as any other individual to pass comment. If the
editorial board is persuaded of the rightness of this position
then it has a duty to defend it in the face of arguments to .
the contrary.
In addressing the ethics of editing Kairaranga, we cannot
avoid considering the Ministry of Education and what its
proper role might be in regard to two matters: the
contributions from ministry employees and the
determination of editorial policy.
From the previous discussion, a general principle can be
derived for the limits placed on the ministry in relation to
monitoring, approving and censoring the contributions .
of its employees. On matters other than education, no
interference is justified. On descriptions of empirical states .
of affairs, likewise. However, the ministry does have a
legitimate interest in ensuring that the views employees
publicly express about policy are consistent with the policy
itself. Public servants are employed to implement
government policy, and are employed on this understanding,
so it would be a contradiction to both undertake to
implement the policy yet express a contrary view to the
stated policy, such a contradiction to be resolved, generally,
in favour of the policy. The question to be asked is this: .
what role should the Ministry of Education exercise when
employees write position papers for submission to
Kairaranga? Here there will be disagreement but I would
advocate a light touch rather than a heavy hand. Persuasion
rather than coercion ought to prevail. Encourage authors to
have trusted colleagues read their manuscript for advice; line
managers, at most, should do no more than counsel authors
to bear in mind the strictures on critique of policy and the
likely consequences for doing so. There is no place for
censorship prior to publication, however well-meaning more
senior colleagues might be. If prudence and good sense on
the part of the author are absent, and publication proceeds
with predictable consequences, then and only then are there
justifiable grounds for the ministry holding an employee .
to account.
The second matter surrounding Ministry of Education
involvement with Kairaranga lies in ownership of the .
journal and what, if anything, this implies for editorial
control. The Editorial Board consists of members drawn .
from a triumvirate partnership of: RTLB; Ministry .
of Education, Special Education staff; and academics.
However the proprietorial rights over the journal are less
clear. Who owns the journal; who has the final call on its
affairs? Here are some more questions, and there may be
others. Should the Ministry of Education have any role to
play in determining which of its staff should serve on the
Editorial Board of Kairaranga? Should the Ministry have a
general right to intervene in the shaping of the editorial
policy of the journal? Should the Ministry be permitted to
exercise an over-riding veto on material published in the
journal? To each of these three questions the answer must .
be “No”, thrice. This is not to suggest that, as a matter of fact,
the ministry has ever acted in these ways, but only to assert
that it ought not do so.
The founders of Kairaranga, in an interview (Hickman, 2006),
stated: ‘the Kairaranga journey is likely to be a long one, and
its evolution and progression will occur over a much longer
period than a single year’ (p. 3). Exploring the ethics of
journal editing is one small part of this journal of discovery,
but with a difference. Some elements of editing and
publishing a journal, being technical, can be settled
relatively easily, and here one can think of journal style,
format, readership and the like. But contributors and
contributions are far less predictable; an ethical response .
is often required. But ethics is not a simple matter of a
formula, a rule or an axiom. Ethical deliberation is complex,
often gives rise to disagreement, and sometimes eludes .
final consensus. The ethics of journal editing shares these
characteristics and how the editorial board grapples with .
the sometimes conflicting demands of, for example, seeking
truth, avoiding harm, and gaining trust needs to be worked
out in an open, transparent and honest way.
Aristotle. (1993). Nichomachean ethics. New York: Arno Press.
Bourne, L. (2007). A story of transition to school. Kairaranga,
8(1), 31–33.
Ellery, T., & Trafford, J. (2006). Motueka High School storied
experience. Kairaranga, 7 (Special), 56–58.
Hickman, J. (2006). In the beginning … An interview with
Cath Steeghs, Carol Watts, Graeme Nobilo and Paul
Mitchell. Kairaranga, 7 (Special), 3–4.
Hiranniah, N., & Mahoney, B. (2006). Within our circle of
influence. Kairaranga, 7 (Special), 33–38.
Kant, I. (1964). Groundwork of the metaphysics of morals.
New York: Harper and Row.
Kairaranga Editorial Board (2007). Submission guidelines.
Kairaranga, 8(1), 52–53.
Mears, A., & Stevenson, R. (2006). Building resiliency in
students with special education needs. Kairaranga, 7
(Special), 53–55.
Mills, J. S. (1962). On liberty, and utilitarianism. London:
Morris, C., & Katon, S. (2006). A torrent of change: Enhancing
effective change in special education – one school’s
journey. Kairaranga, 6 (Special), 28–32.
Naidoo, N., & Maicker, R. (2006). Raising the bar in reading.
Kairaranga, 6 (Special), 48–52.
Snook, I., & McGeorge, C. (1978). ‘More than Talk’: Moral
Education in New Zealand. Wellington: Department .
of Education.
Watts, C., Nobilo, G., Annan, J., Davies, J., & Margrain, V.
(2007). Editorial. Kairaranga, 8(1), 2.
Wilson, D., & Evans, S. (2006) Putting enjoyment into the
lunch break. Enhancing effective practice at Ferndale
School. Kairaranga, 7 (Special), 43–47.
John Clark
Associate Professor John Clark
John Clark is an Associate Professor, School of Educational
Studies, Massey University, with a particular interest in
Philosophy in Education. He has written numerous journal
articles and book chapters on professional ethics.
Weaving educational threads. Weaving educational practice.
Kairaranga Survey Feedback
Responses to the 2007 readers’ questionnaire
The Kairaranga Editorial Board
Kairaranga operates as a partnership between the Ministry .
of Education, Special Education, Resource Teachers: Learning
and Behavior (RTLB) and the tertiary sector. The journal was
published by and for RTLB from 2000 to 2003, but the
partnership model has been in operation since Volume 5,
Issue 2, 2004.
The survey.net programme provided raw data scores for .
the quantitative questions. The quantitative data were .
also displayed by survey.net in bar-graph format and as
percentages of all responses. For example, the data from the
‘overall presentation’ question were displayed across the five
points in the scale (excellent, very good, acceptable, poor,
very poor):
After three years of collaborative journal production, .
the Kairaranga Editorial Board surveyed readers. Survey
responses were sought in order to inform editorial .
decision-making and constructively enhance the journal .
for the benefit of readers. As Kairaranga has always valued
partnership, the survey provided an opportunity to include
the voices of journal readers. This paper outlines a summary
of the feedback for Kairaranga readers.
Publications, surveys, feedback, questionnaires,
professional practice.
A questionnaire was developed following a ‘brainstorm’ .
of ideas on what information was sought from readers. .
The questionnaire was developed in Microsoft Word, and .
then transposed to an online format using SurveyNet tools
(http://www.survey.net.nz/). Some of the questions were
open-ended, enabling qualitative feedback and other
questions used a five-point Likert scale. A summary .
of topics posed within the questionnaire is provided .
in the Appendix.
The survey was included in hardcopy as a handout within
Kairaranga Volume 8, Issue 2, 2007, which was launched .
at the RTLB conference in Wellington in September 2007. .
A pre-paid addressed envelope was attached to the
questionnaire handouts. The online version was made
available at the same time, with a hyperlink provided on all
hardcopies of the questionnaire, and within the Kairaranga
8(2) journal editorial. In October 2007 and January 2008
email reminders were sent to Ministry of Education, .
Special Education (GSE) staff, with a hyperlink to online .
and Microsoft Word versions of the survey. All submissions
were received anonymously.
• The standard of editing is excellent – 48%
• The standard of editing is very good – 45%
• The standard of editing is acceptable – 7%
• The standard of editing is poor – 0%
• The standard of editing is very poor – 0%
For the purposes of this article, the percentages have been
accumulated to give feedback at each point or higher. As an
example, using the data above, the following statements can
be made about presentation:
• 100% of respondents stated that presentation is
acceptable or better.
• 93% of respondents stated that presentation is very good
or better.
• 48% of respondents stated that presentation is excellent.
• No respondents stated that presentation was either poor
or very poor.
Qualitative responses from open-ended questions and
comments were printed in full and recurring or powerful
themes were identified. Within this article many of the
themes have been illustrated with verbatim quotes .
from respondents.
Seventy-three questionnaires were received in total; seven .
of these were completed online and sixty-six were manually
completed and posted in. The fact that less than 10% of the
returned surveys were completed electronically reinforces
the idea that hardcopy is a medium that Kairaranga readers
find more manageable in their daily work lives.
While we recognise that the views expressed by respondents
do not represent those of the entire readership, the feedback
does provide some qualitative insight into the relevance,
usefulness and quality of the journal.
Of those who responded, RTLB and GSE staff were the main
readers of Kairaranga, and these readers were employed by
schools and GSE.
Occupational group
Eighty occupational identifications were made; as only 73
questionnaires were completed this means that some people
stated that they had more than one occupation. The highest
category responses were
• RTLB (25), were one third of the respondents
• Special education advisors (23)
• Psychologists (9)
• Early intervention teachers (6)
• Speech-language therapists (5)
The remaining individuals were spread across 13 additional
categories of occupational group. These occupational .
groups, with between one and five respondents for each
group, included lecturers (4), occupational therapists (3),
physiotherapists (3), researchers (2), parent/whänau
members (2), subject teacher – secondary (1), early childhood
education teacher (1), principal/tumuaki (1), district Mäori
advisor (1), music therapist (1), kaitakawaenga/GSE Mäori
liaison (1), administration staff (1), and other (1).
The largest employer cited was the Ministry of Education,
employing over half the respondents to this survey (n=43).
The next largest group was schools (n=24), either individual
schools or on behalf of clusters. The only other employers
cited were universities (n=5). One respondent did not have
an employer.
Geographic region
Approximately one third of all the respondents who replied
to this question were from the Central North Island (n=23),
with the next largest groups being Auckland (n=13), Lower
North Island/Wellington (n=11) and Canterbury (n=9). There
were six or fewer replies from each of the remaining areas in
New Zealand, and none from Southland.
• “It is all very, very academic. Some storied experiences
from RTLBs for example in everyday language would be
very acceptable. A good tool or method should be able .
to be written simply.”
• “Some articles are too lengthy. Would like this to be
addressed as people I share articles with find them
Article categories
All five categories of article were enjoyed by respondents,
and many respondents ticked most or all categories. Position
papers (n=36) and interviews (n=41) received the lowest
scores, practice papers (n=52) and storied experiences (n=54)
were strongly enjoyed, and research was the most enjoyed
category (n=64).
• 100% of respondents stated that the mix of categories .
is acceptable or better.
• 75% of respondents stated that the mix of categories .
is very good or better.
• 21% of respondents stated that the mix of categories .
is excellent.
This feedback validates the importance of each of the
categories, and reinforces the importance of continuing to
ensure a mixture of categories within issues. The statistical
responses indicate that research is endorsed as a valued
• “A good variety of topical and professional interest
articles, please maintain the mix.”
• “Keeps pedagogical practice current backed by relevant
However, although not a large number, it is of significance
that there were some comments encouraging further
practice articles, and more contributions from RTLB.
Editing and presentation
• 100% of respondents stated that the standard of editing
is acceptable or better.
• 88% of respondents stated that the standard of editing .
is very good or better.
• 43% of respondents stated that the standard of editing .
is excellent.
• 85 % of respondents stated that there is at least
something in every journal relevant to their work
• No respondents stated that the standard of editing was
either poor or very poor.
• 53% of respondents stated that at least most material .
in the journal is relevant to their work
• 24% of respondents stated that the journal content is
highly relevant to their work.
• 100% of respondents stated that presentation is
acceptable or better.
• 14% of respondents stated that only occasionally are
there articles of relevance to their work.
• 93% of respondents stated that presentation is very good
or better.
• Only one respondent stated that the journal has no
relevance to their work.
• 48% of respondents stated that presentation is excellent.
This statistical feedback indicates that the journal is relevant
for respondents, and as one respondent noted, “Very useful,
informative, important.” However, there were also comments
that some articles were too lengthy and academic, and this is
important for the Kairaranga Editorial Board to consider.
Weaving educational threads. Weaving educational practice.
• No respondents stated that presentation was either poor
or very poor.
This feedback validates the standard of editing from
Kairaranga editing teams and reinforces the expertise
developed within the Kairaranga Editorial Board. The
feedback also affirms the overall presentation style of .
the journal.
• “Very professional, I would be quick to pass on to
colleagues in education.”
• “Rigorous even!”
• “I think the appeal and design are excellent.”
One comment provided a pertinent reminder that
expectations should be high in order to positively reflect .
the professionalism of our work.
• 93% of respondents stated that a reasonable or better
range of abilities and disabilities are represented in .
the journal.
• 58% of respondents stated that a broad or better range .
of abilities and disabilities are represented in the journal.
• 13% of respondents stated that an excellent range of
abilities and disabilities is represented in the journal.
• “It needs to be really good because it is an educational
• No respondents stated that an extremely narrow range .
of abilities and disabilities are represented in the journal.
Peer review process
Although this feedback suggests that the journal is doing a
“reasonable” job in representing a range of abilities and
disabilities, it also indicates that the journal can do more in
this area. Philosophically, the journal aims to represent a
diverse range of abilities and disabilities, so this is an area in
which the journal should be more consistently recognised as
having strength.
Kairaranga has a blind peer review process. Comments about
this process validated that this is managed rigorously.
• “I found it sensitive, yet robust.”
• “Kairaranga has a reasonable turn-around period but
there is a relatively elaborate process to go through to
get published.”
Cover art
• 100% of respondents rated the cover art as usually good
or better.
• 95% of respondents rated the cover art as generally very
good or better.
• 47% of respondents rated the cover art as excellent.
• No respondents stated that the cover art ought to be
improved or was of poor quality.
This feedback endorses that readers value the children’s and
young people’s art displayed on the cover of Kairaranga, and
this should be continued.
• “It’s great having work by children and adds to the
uniqueness of the journal.”
• “I love the fact that you use art from a varied age group,
and a wide range of abilities.”
Book reviews
• 92% of respondents rated book reviews as usually useful
or better.
• 47% of respondents rated book reviews as usually very
useful or better.
• 18% of respondents rated book reviews as excellent.
• 11% of respondents stated that book reviews were only
occasionally useful.
• 1 respondent stated that book reviews were not at
all useful.
• “Cultural, educational diversity all covered. Excellent
• “[The journal needs] articles by ethnic community
members about how [they] see educational provisions .
at schools and whether their student’s needs are .
being met.”
Mäori as tangata whenua
• 96% of respondents stated that a reasonable or better
acknowledgement of Mäori values and practices are
represented in the journal.
• 64% of respondents stated that a broad or better
acknowledgement of Mäori values and practices are
represented in the journal.
• 15% of respondents stated that an excellent
acknowledgement of Mäori values and practices is
represented in the journal.
• No respondents stated that an extremely limited
acknowledgement of Mäori values and practices is
represented in the journal.
This feedback affirms that the journal’s intention of
acknowledging Mäori values and practices is evident .
within the journal. This is an area in which progress .
can and should continue.
• “Always room to do better in this area for all of us.”
• “If we are serious about this, then this is an area that .
we certainly can improve on.”
This feedback implies that book reviews are worth including,
but that not all reviews appeal to all readers, therefore these
require thoughtful selection.
• 63% of respondents stated that a reasonable or better
range of ethnicities and cultures is acknowledged in the
• “These generally keep you up to date with new trends
and new ideas.”
• 29% of respondents stated that a broad or better range .
of ethnicities and cultures is acknowledged in the
• “This is a useful resource to have access to. The reviews
need to be genuinely critical.”
One reader reminded the Editorial Board that reviews were
intended to be broader than books, and could include
resources and programmes.
Diversity of abilities and disabilities
• 6% of respondents stated that an excellent range of
ethnicities and cultures is acknowledged in the journal.
• 31% of readers consider that value for money is excellent.
• 35% of respondents stated that a limited range of
ethnicities and cultures is acknowledged in the journal.
• No readers consider that value for money is poor.
• One respondents stated that an extremely narrow .
range of ethnicities and cultures is acknowledged .
in the journal.
This feedback suggests that the journal is mostly doing a
“reasonable” job of acknowledging a range of ethnicities .
and cultures within the journal. However, the feedback .
also suggests that this is the area the journal could most
improve on.
• “There is a need for more information for professionals
practicing with Asian families as well as Pasifika.”
A broader interpretation of multiculturalism was called for
• “Especially immigrant/problems e.g. South African,
British, Russian, Middle East, Asian, ESOL/Learning
Order in which articles are read
Readers had a diverse approach to choosing the order of
articles. If a particular pattern had emerged, this would .
have guided the editing team as they ordered material in
future journals.
• 77% of respondents indicated that they wished to
continue receiving the journal in hardcopy, as at present.
• 12% of respondents indicated that they wished to
received the journal in electronic only format (PDF or
• 5% of respondents indicated that they wished to receive
the journal as a printable CD Rom.
• 6% wished to receive combinations of hardcopy, online
and CR Rom.
This feedback strongly indicates that Kairaranga readers
value receiving the journal in hardcopy format. Only a
limited number of readers wished to receive the journal .
in alternative formats.
• “I can take it home and read it at leisure. A computer
version would sit at work and not get read.”
• “I prefer hardcopy as it is ‘in your face’ and here, if it
were electronically I would probably not download.”
From those who endorsed combinations of format, it was
recognised that different formats served different purposes
and that electronic formats were kinder to the environment.
Value for money
The journal’s subscription cost is currently $25 for at least
two issues per year.
• 97% of readers consider that value for money is
acceptable or better.
• 69% of readers consider that value for money is very
good or better.
Weaving educational threads. Weaving educational practice.
However, two respondents stated that they considered value
for money was very poor.
Suggested articles/topics for articles and reviews
Respondents suggested a number of ideas and topics for
future articles. These will be forwarded to the Kairaranga
Editorial Board, and while the journal content is reliant on
receiving submissions from contributors, these suggestions
can contribute to the priorities given to submissions.
The following articles were cited as “favourites” by
Kairaranga readers. The range of articles nominated
illustrates the diversity of content within the journal. .
The number in brackets following the reference illustrates
how often an article was nominated.
Stanley, P. (2007), Forty or fifty something: What we are like
at mid-life. Kairaranga, 8(2), 21–24. (x4)
Salter, J., & Redman, J. (2007). Transition to school: A pilot
project. Kairaranga, 7(1), 8–12. (x3)
Glynn, T., & Bevan-Brown, J. (2007). “We know what you need
…” and other misconceptions about Mäori learners.
Kairaranga, 8(2), 25–31. (x3)
Berryman, M., & Togo, T. (2007). Culturally responsive
whänau relations for including Mäori students in
education. Kairaranga, 8(2), 46–52. (x2)
Birch, J. (2006). Insight into an autism spectrum disorder.
Kairaranga, 6(2), 16–19. (x2)
Gilmore, B., Haslam, V., Hitaua, R., Kent, B., Tavui, E.,
Tu’ionetoa, A., & Crosswell, M. (2007). Do you know me?
E mohio ana koe ki ahau? Kairaranga, 8(2), 32–38. (x2)
Margrain, V. & Clements, S. (2007). Exemplar assessment for
all learners in Aotearoa/New Zealand. Kairaranga, 8(2),
39–45. (x2)
Bourne, L. (2007). A story of transition to school. Kairaranga,
8(1), 31–33.
Browne, J., & Carroll-Lind, J. (2006). Relational aggression
between primary school girls. Kairaranga, 7(1), 20–29.
Burrow, D. (2005). Transition in action: Targeting students
with difficulties transitioning from Year 8 to Year 9.
Kairaranga, 6(2), 19–22.
Fisher, R. & Martin, B. (200). Evaluation of the Discovery Time
programme. Kairaranga, 7(2), 31–35.
Holley, W. (2006). Stranger and stranger in a strange land:
Living overseas and how it has influenced my
understanding of students with “special needs”.
Kairaranga, 7(1), 51–52.
Stanley, P. (2004). Bringing up father. Kairaranga, 5(2), 10–11.
Sutherland, A. (2007). The comparative worlds of calves and
school bullying. Kairaranga, 8(1), 22–24.
Wastney, B., Te Kooro-Baker, G., & McPeak, C. (2007).
Parental suggestions for facilitating acceptance and
understanding of autism. Kairaranga, 8(2), 15–20.
Reasons for nomination of above favourite articles included
that articles were informative, amusing, useful, practical
and/or relevant. This information tells us that it is important
that the journal continues to include articles with these
features as they are valued by readers. However, it is worth
noting that most of the articles nominated were from recent
issues; these may have been nominated because they were
most recently read, rather than necessarily more valued than
earlier articles.
Two people also specifically acknowledged the entire 2006
special issue, which focused on the Enhancing Effective
Practice in Special Education (EEPiSE ) project.
The Kairaranga survey affirms the direction of the journal
and Editorial Board and should be encouraging to all those
who contribute to the journal in many and varied capacities,
including as editors, peer reviewers, contributors, readers
and financial contributors.
• “I always look forward to new editions of Kairaranga.”
• “Keep up the great work. It is a very professional
Areas for development identified from the feedback include
the need to ensure a balance of article categories and
contributors, coverage of useful topics, and bicultural
practices and values. An area that the journal can
particularly improve on is with regard to multiculturalism
within the journal. The Kairaranga Editorial Board will
certainly consider potential ways of enhancing these aspects
of the journal.
Thank you to the 73 Kairaranga readers who took the time .
to complete and return the questionnaire.
The questionnaire was developed by Valerie Margrain, with
the assistance of Jill Bevan-Brown, Gail Connelly, Joanna
Curzon, Bernie Holden, Sonja Macfarlane and Merrolee
Penman. Responses were collated by Valerie Margrain.
• “It reflects the work I do well!”
The Kairaranga Editorial Board
Areas of particular acknowledgement for the journal are the
relevance of the journal to readers’ work, the standard of
editing and presentation, and the variety of valued articles.
The Kairaranga Editorial Board is a collaborative partnership
between the Ministry of Education, RTLB, and the tertiary
education sector. The board are united in their commitment
to inclusion, effective practice and collaborative relationships.
The Kairaranga Editorial Board, November 2006
The purpose of the survey was to gain information to further
enhance the journal. The survey findings indicate that it is
important to readers that the following features of the
journal are maintained: professional editing, inclusion of
material that is varied and relevant to key reader groups,
availability in hardcopy, and the celebration of children and
young people’s art work on the cover. This feedback from
readers will inform any future journal decision-making.
The following notes summarise the content of the .
Kairaranga questionnaire:
1A Description of reader’s role (24 options provided).
1B Who the reader works for (11 options provided).
1C Geographic region that the reader lives in (9 options
2A Quality of the cover art (5-point Likert scale provided,
comments invited).
2B Usefulness of the book reviews (5-point Likert scale
provided, comments invited).
2C Categories of article that are enjoyed by readers of
Kairaranga (any or all of the 5 provided categories could
be ticked, comments invited).
2D Mix of categories in Kairaranga (5-point Likert scale
provided, comments invited).
2E Relevance of the articles published in Kairaranga to
readers’ work (5-point Likert scale provided, comments
2F Standard of editing within the journal (5-point Likert
scale provided, comments invited).
2G Overall visual appeal and presentation of the journal
(5-point Likert scale provided, comments invited).
2H Process readers usually adopt in deciding what to read
initially, and thereafter (8 options provided, comments
3A Reflection of diversity of abilities and disabilities in
New Zealand (5-point Likert scale provided, comments
3B Acknowledgement of Mäori as tangata whenua (5-point
Likert scale provided, comments invited).
3C Reflection of multiculturalism in New Zealand (5-point
Likert scale provided, comments invited).
4A Hardcopy/online access options for the journal (6 options
provided, comments invited).
4B Value for money (5-point Likert scale provided,
comments invited).
4C Suggestions for articles/topics invited
4D Suggestions for book or programme reviews
5 Favourite/valued articles noted, with reasons why.
6 Comments on the peer review process
7 Thanks.
Weaving educational threads. Weaving educational practice.
Kairaranga Book Reviews
Beth Wood, Ian Hassall and George Hook,
with Robert Ludbrook
As stated in its sub-title, Unreasonable Force traces
New Zealand’s journey towards banning the physical
punishment of children. At a time when some people .
are campaigning to force a public referendum to overturn
the 2007 historic political agreement passing the Crimes
(Substituted Section 59) Amendment Bill, this book reminds
us about the reasoning behind the efforts to repeal the
previous section 59 defence used by parents who were
formally charged with assaulting their children.
The book is set within a rights framework, that is, the rights
of children to ‘human dignity, to safety and protection, and
to equal status as human beings in the law’ (p. 52). While the
right of children to equal legal protection against assault and
the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child
(1989 international treaty that was ratified by New Zealand
in 1993), both provide a compelling rationale for law reform,
these authors outline the reasons why the actual campaign
for change was framed around protecting children from
assault rather than securing their rights.
The book is based around three parts of the journey .
towards law reform in this country. The first part locates the
Crimes (Substituted Section 59) Amendment Act within the
New Zealand context. Prior to reading this book I considered
myself to have a good knowledge of the new Child Discipline
Law. However, the historical overview outlined in Chapter
Two was not only fascinating and informative; it also
extended my understanding of the sequential milestones
and key influences leading up to and beyond the passing .
of the Bill into law. Many events that readers might not
necessarily know about are included in this section and .
help to set the scene for change.
The second part of the book explores the various factors .
that had an impact on the journey to end legalised physical
punishment of children in New Zealand. In particular, the
role of religion, child advocacy, media, politicians and public
opinion is clearly articulated and raises awareness of the
issues. The final part of the book offers a way forward by
discussing the implications of the new legislation and
providing possible responses and ways of addressing the
emerging issues.
The authors make no secret of the fact that they were key
advocates for the repeal of Section 59 of the Crimes Act;
however, their accounts of relevant events and perspectives
are balanced and present both sides of the argument. The
language and writing style is very readable, thus making the
book accessible to a diverse audience. Parents, educators,
advocates, politicians, policy analysts and indeed the wider
public will all find this book to be of interest.
My only criticism concerns the back cover of the book.
Section 59 of the 1961 Crimes Act is highlighted in red and
any person idly picking up the book without opening the
cover to read further could mistakenly assume that the
wording of Section 59 on the back cover applies to the new
law. Although it seems more likely that most people have
heard about the repeal (given the barrage of publicity),
nevertheless it may have been more helpful to highlight .
the new subsections 59 (2) and (3) rather than the previous
wording of Section 59 that is now repealed.
Unreasonable Force provides a timely reminder to readers
that the repeal was not about taking away the rights and
authority of parents, but rather removing excuses for assault.
I think this book contributes to the redress of common
misconceptions as a consequence of the heated public
debate. Specifically, it explains the difficulties associated .
with the Bill’s “anti-smacking” nickname. Most importantly .
it contributes to the larger societal goal of preventing and
reducing the high level of child abuse in this country.
While changes in attitude can bring about changes in
legislation, legislation does not always bring about changes
in attitude. I have high hopes that Unreasonable Force will
help to facilitate further changes in attitude.
Title: Unreasonable Force. New Zealand’s journey towards
banning the physical punishment of children..
Author: Beth Wood, Ian Hassall and George Hook, .
with Robert Ludbrook.
Publication Date: 2008.
Publisher: Save the Children New Zealand.
Price: $25.00.
ISBN: 978-0-473-13095-4
Dr Janis Carroll-Lind is a Senior Lecturer at Massey University
College of Education. For 2008 she is seconded to the Office
of the Children’s Commissioner as an Education Advisor.
Recently Janis completed her PhD on Children’s Perceptions of
Violence: The Nature, Extent, and Impact of their Experiences.
Cedric Croft
According to the Teachers’ Manual (Croft, 2007) the
‘Supplementary Spelling Assessments (SSpA) are designed .
to augment the assessments of spelling teachers make on .
the basis of how, and how well, children spell in their
writing’ (p. 6). The SSpA is therefore designed as an additional
assessment that should supplement, not replace the ongoing
monitoring procedures that teachers may already use to
assess spelling within regular writing lessons.
The SSpA has two Parts; Part 1 contains three Tests of
Achievement and Progress and Part 2 contains two sets of
Diagnostic Assessments. Part 1 Tests (i.e., Tests 1, 2, & 3)
assess various skills including general spelling ability (from
dictated words), beginning sounds (although most of these
are consonant blends, the author does not use this term),
and various tests of spelling error recognition. The Part 2
Diagnostic Assessments assess the recognition of spelling
errors, knowledge of beginning and ending sounds, the
identification of silent letters, and knowledge of
The three Achievement and Progress tests are designed to .
be used with years 4–6 students. The Teachers’ Manual (Croft,
2007, p.12) lists the year group ranges for the Progress and
Achievement tests as Years 4 (Test 1), Year 5 (Test 2) and Year
6 (Test 3). It is also suggested in the Teachers’ Manual that
the Diagnostic Assessments have been developed ‘for
students from year 5 and up who have a history of slow
progress and significant weaknesses in spelling’ (p. 45). The
Diagnostic assessment is not recommended for use below
the year 5 level, although this is difficult to understand as
many of the problems associated with poor spelling and
writing performance at year 5 could well be remedied .
earlier with effective and focused spelling assessment .
and instruction (Berninger et al., 1998; Graham, Harris, .
& Chorzempa, 2002). The recently released draft Literacy
Learning Progressions (Ministry of Education, 2007) suggest
that children should be spelling beginning and ending
sounds, for example, by the end of Year 3.
There are three sets of norms and stanine tables for each of
the three Achievement and Progress tests. The three sets of
norms allow for the tests to be used at various times of the
year. Stanines are provided for February–April, May–July, and
August–October. A separate “Student Report” summary page
is also available for the teacher to photocopy as a record for
each student’s progress.
There are several issues with items in the subtests that users
of this assessment should be aware of when scoring and
making diagnostic judgments. In the Achievement and
Progress Test 1 the second task assesses (what the author
defines as) twelve ‘beginning sounds’. However, many of
these ‘beginning sounds’ are voiced consonant blends (e.g.,
cl, dr, bl etc) so we feel that these beginning sounds should
be referred to as consonant blends. However, a more serious
issue relates to the three ‘beginning sounds’ that are not
consonant blends. These three items require the student to
insert a section of the words that may cause confusions.
Weaving educational threads. Weaving educational practice.
Three words are presented with the first two letters missing
(e.g., ___velope, ____cket, ____ndle) to represent envelope,
bucket and candle. The first word (envelope) has been split .
at the first syllable but for the child who does not already
know how to spell the word they will only be able to hear .
the sound of the letter-name of n and will, in many cases,
not include the required ‘e’.
It is also difficult to understand the rationale for the split .
at bu in bucket and ca in candle. Two similar items appear .
in Diagnostic Test 1 in which the student is required to .
insert the first two letters (bu) in button and (ca) in carrot.
The addition of the vowel to the initial consonant adds a
dimension of difficulty to the most struggling of spellers. .
In both items the letter-sound label of the initial consonant
includes the sound of the following vowel, thus the speller
who does not already know how to spell the word will not
include the vowel as they will be unable to hear it (Treiman
& Kessler, 2003). In these items a prior knowledge of the
spelling pattern is required, and thus does not assess level .
of spelling ability well.
Another issue relates to the Set 5 task (Identifying Silent
Letters in Words) in the Diagnostic 2 Assessment. The
instructions for this task are as follows. “Mark the letter or
letters in the word that do not have a sound that you can
hear”. The words include: high, right, mouse, tie, grow,
cough, crumb, phone, night, and smile. The answers that are
presented in the manual for this task suggest that (for several
of the ‘correct’ responses) the author has a confused notion
of “silent” letters, particularly in relation to the influence .
of the position-specific role that certain letters represent. .
In the words high, right and night for example, the author
considers that the ‘silent’ letters are gh. While they are
certainly not pronounced in these words, they belong to .
the unit igh which is the set of letters that comprise the
grapheme that represents the sound of the long vowel i. .
The words night and fight for example both have three
phonemes and in each word the medial phoneme is
represented by the spelling pattern igh. If the gh wasn’t
included in this pattern the i-sound would not necessarily .
be long, (e.g., nit & fit versus night & fight). It therefore
seems pointless to require any separation of these letters .
in this spelling activity for these particular words.
A third issue with this task is that the author maintains that
the gh in cough is “silent”. The word cough has three sounds
(k/o/f), so we cannot understand why the author thinks .
that the gh pattern is ‘silent’, as it is the spelling of the final
sound. We also have a problem with separating the w from
grow or the e from smile which the author maintains are
‘silent’ letters. As stated earlier, although these letters may
not be pronounced, the position they hold in the words .
play an important role in determining the sound of the
preceding vowel. In all previous tasks the focus has been .
on identification and knowledge of accurately spelt spelling
patterns, and the sudden shift to the sounds in words rather
than accuracy in spelling patterns is difficult to appreciate. In
addition, it could cause confusion for the developing speller
to be asked to undertake a task such as this.
We are also concerned about the author’s statement
suggesting that spelling skills should mainly be taught within
the context of writing and that such words should only come
from the writing needs of each individual. Croft (2007) notes
for example that
Although spelling is a skill best acquired within the
context of learning to write, there is still a place for
learning selected words (or groups of words which share
common features of spelling), provided that all words .
to be studied are necessary for each individual’s .
writing. (p.7)
This is a typical whole language comment which (like the
teaching of reading skills) maintains that children do not
require any explicit teaching of skills outside the context .
of regular reading/writing (see Graham, 2000). The problem
with this stance is that the poorest spellers require more
spelling instruction and that much of this additional
instruction must be explicit and outside the context of their
personal writing needs (Graham, Harris & Chorzempa, 2002).
This is because these poor spellers require additional skills
that would enable them to attempt words beyond their
regular but limited skill-set that they use in their personal
writing. Focusing only on words used in regular writing
would not allow for such diversification for the poor spellers.
The author focuses heavily on tasks that assess spelling
knowledge related to the initial and final units in words.
However, there is evidence to suggest that poor spellers .
(like poor readers) have problems with the medial parts .
of many words (see Ehri & Saltmarsh, 1995; Greaney, 2008).
Perhaps there might have been a balance that included
some tasks that investigate medial spelling unit knowledge.
While the author has designed the SSpA for older primary
school children (e.g., year 4 plus) we suggest that perhaps
some of the tasks may well be suited for younger children.
Likewise, we suggest that leaving any diagnostic spelling
assessment until year 5 may already be too late for .
many. Finally we note that little reference was made to
New Zealand spelling research undertaken by Allcock (2006),
Brann (1996), and Brann and Hattie (1995). The work of these
researchers would have further enlightened the author
particularly with regard to the phonemic segmentation
knowledge required when learning to spell.
Apart from these issues we see that the SSpA is a useful
supplementary assessment tool that should encourage
teachers to undertake a deeper analysis of their students’
spelling strategies and to help them design more focused
interventions to deal with the problems.
Allcock, J. (2006). Switch on to spelling. Auckland,
New Zealand: Heinemann.
Berninger, V. W., Vaughan, K., Abbott, R. D., Brooks, A.,
Abbott, S. P., Rogan, L., et al. (1998). Early intervention
for spelling problems: Teaching functional spelling units
of varying size with a multiple-connections framework.
Journal of Educational Psychology, 90, 587–605.
Brann, B. (1996). Spelling instruction in primary schools. set:
Research Information for Teachers, 1, 1–4.
Brann, B., & Hattie, J. (1995). Spelling instruction in primary
schools. New Zealand Journal of Educational Studies, 30,
Croft, C. (2007). Supplementary spelling assessments.
Wellington, New Zealand: NZCER Press.
Ehri, L. C., & Saltmarsh, J. (1995). Beginning readers
outperform older disabled readers in learning to read
words by sight. Reading and Writing: An Interdisciplinary
Journal, 7, 295–326.
Graham, S. (2000). Should the natural learning approach
replace spelling instruction? Journal of Educational
Psychology, 92, 235–247.
Graham, S., Harris, K. R., & Chorzempa, B. F. (2002).
Contribution of spelling instruction to the spelling,
writing, and reading of poor spellers. Journal of
Educational Psychology, 94, 669–686.
Greaney, K. T. (2008, July). An analysis of year 4 and year 8
spelling errors from an expressive writing task in the
2006 National Education Monitoring Project. Paper
presented to the New Zealand Reading Association
annual conference, Hamilton, July 6–9.
Ministry of Education. (2007). Literacy learning progressions:
Meeting the reading and writing demands of the
curriculum. Wellington, New Zealand: Learning Media.
Treiman, R., & Kessler, B. (2003). The role of letter names in
the acquisition of literacy. In R. V. Kail (Ed.), Advances in
child development and behaviour (Vol. 31, pp. 105–135).
San Diego: Academic Press.
Dr Alison Arrow
Dr Alison Arrow is a Lecturer at Massey University College of
Education. Alison’s research interests include the development
of reading and spelling during the transition period between
preschool and formal schooling. She teaches literacy in the
pre-service primary programme.
Dr Keith Greaney
Dr Keith Greaney is a Senior Lecturer in the Department .
of Learning and Teaching at Massey University College of
Education. Before coming to Massey, Keith was a primary
school teacher for 28 years, including two years as a special
class teacher and 12 years as a Resource Teacher: Reading.
He is also a trained Reading Recovery teacher. Keith teaches
a paper in the postgraduate Diploma in Literacy Education
course and assists with the supervision of students
undertaking Masterate research in literacy-related areas.
Title: Supplementary Spelling Assessments.
Author: Cedric Croft.
Publisher: NZCER Press.
Date of Publication: 2007.
ISBN: 978-1-877398-21-6.
RRP: $20.00
Haere – Farewell, Jack, Farewell. By Tim Tipene ‘It was a cold day when Koro Jack died.’
This beautiful, sensitive book follows and celebrates the
circle of life, making death and how people deal with it an
integral part of this natural cycle.
The narrative starts when Koro Jack dies and moves through
the tangi as the family stay with him, cuzzies arrive, Koro is
carried to the marae, photos are placed around the wall,
manuhiri arrive and food is shared at the wharekai. Stories
and memories about Koro Jack are shared through the night
and songs are sung. Koro Jack is buried in the urupa and
soon after, baby Jack is born.
This is a wonderful book for all New Zealanders. Even though
it is presented as a children’s picture book it really has an
audience of all ages. While it expresses some of the sadness
when a loved one dies, it is not a sad book. It shows how the
grief is supported by the process: rituals, ceremony and
connection with whänau and friends. It illustrates how life
goes on.
Add it to the booklist of all schools; people involved .
in working with Mäori and those interested in healthy
expression of grief. It is a finalist in the New Zealand Post
Children & Young Adults Book Awards.
The story is enhanced by wonderful illustrations by Huhana
Smith. They are soft and realistic showing emotion and deftly
supporting and enhancing the story, including showing the
shadowy outlines of tupuna. Huhana also wrote Taiawhio:
Conversations with Contemporary Mäori Artists.
Tim Tipene is already a well known children’s author having
penned Rewi Finds his Wings, Warrior Wing, Kura Toa,
Wooden Fish and Taming the Taniwha. Taming the Taniwha
was selected for the White Ravens International Youth
Library Catalogue as one of the world’s top 250 children’s
books for 2002.
Fliss Newton
Fliss Newton has worked as a Special Education Advisor for
the Ministry of Education, Special Education in Wanganui
since 1999. Most of her work has been with the Severe
Behaviour Initiative, including co-facilitating Incredible .
Years Programmes. Fliss also works one day a week for
Family Works counselling children who have witnessed
violence. Occasionally Fliss writes book reviews for the
Wanganui Chronicle. She has two daughters, one a speechlanguage therapist for the Ministry of Education, Special
Education in Auckland.
Bibliographical Data
Title: Haere-farwell, Jack,farewell.
Author: Tim Tipene.
Illustrator: Huhana Smith.
Publisher: Huia.
Date of Publication: 2005.
ISBN: 1-86969-104-0.
RRP: $17.00 from www.skylight.org.nz
Weaving educational threads. Weaving educational practice.
Acknowledgement of Peer Reviewers
The Editorial Board of Kairaranga expresses appreciation
to peer reviewers for their time and constructive feedback.
Kairaranga articles are blind peer reviewed, however approximately every three issues peer reviewers are acknowledged. The peer reviewers named below contributed to one or more of the following journal issues, and have agreed to publication .
of their names within this acknowledgement:
• Volume 9, Issue 1, 2008
• Volume 9, Special Edition, 2008
• Volume 9, Issue 2, 2008
Quentin Abraham.
Jean Annan
Fiona Beals.
Mere Berryman.
Jill Bevan-Brown.
Roseanna Bourke.
Liz Brady.
Jo Brider.
Sylvia Burch
Brigid Carroll.
Cherie Chu.
Barbra Cowan.
Ike Crous.
Joanne Cunningham.
Joanna Curzon
Jo Davies.
Vijaya Dharan.
Sue Dymock
Bruce Kent
Sandy Elkin.
Liz Everiss
Jo MacDonald.
Angus Macfarlane.
Valerie Margrain.
Avril Maxwell.
Donna-Rose McKay.
Paul Mitchell.
Missy Morton
Michael Gaffney.
Vanesse Geel.
Peter Gillies.
Sonja Glogowski
Batch Hales.
Penny Haworth.
Maria Hayward.
Bernie Holden
Alison Kearney.
Anna Kelly
Manutai Leaupepe
Graeme Nobilo
Merrolee Penman.
Eileen Piggott-Irvine.
Anna Priestley.
Jane Prochnow
Lyn Rawlinson.
Rebecca Rees.
Daphne Rickson.
Sylvia Rodger.
Iva Ropati.
Khyla Russell.
Gill Rutherford
Tanya Samu.
Craig Sharp.
Jeff Sigafoos.
Carolyn Simmons Carlsson.
Alison Sutherland
Adrienne Tomkin.
Chris Tutty
Lynda Watson.
Carol Watts.
Paul Woller.
Jocelyn Wright
Submission Guidelines
• Kairaranga considers the following education related
papers as written documents:
• Kairaranga is a journal evolving through work submitted
across the education sector. Peer review involves
constructive feedback on your written contribution. .
The suggestions made will help you in editing your final
piece of work.
Practice Papers – Papers celebrating effective practice
and implementation of programmes. (Up to 2,500 words).
Position Papers – Papers outlining a writer’s view on .
a current educational issue. (Up to 2,000 words).
Research – Papers summarising research studies
involving quantitative and/or qualitative analysis of .
data, or reviews of the literature. (Up to 3,500 words).
Storied Experience – Papers reporting the experiences .
of children, parents, caregivers, teachers, support staff
and professionals in various learning settings. (Up to
1,500 words).
*If you have the kernel of an idea that doesn’t quite .
fit the above please email kairaranga.journal@minedu.
govt.nz and you will be connected with one of our
editors who will support you on your road to publication.
• An abstract of not more than 150 words should be
submitted along with each article.
• Articles sent as hard copy should be on numbered,
separate and single sided sheets, with double line
spacing. Articles can also be emailed to kairaranga.
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and diagrams should be sent separately as tiffs, eps or
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word processing document. A disk or email version
should be saved in Microsoft Word with the filename
extension. doc.
• Authenticity of articles will be the responsibility of the
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• Minor abridgement of articles will be at the discretion .
of the editing team. If time allows, authors will be
contacted before the publication of edited articles.
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This means that neither the name of the author nor .
the name of the reviewer will be known to each other.
• Written contributions will be matched to peer reviewers
who have topic, professional or cultural strengths in the
area of the written work submitted.
• The Peer Review process is as follows:
Papers are submitted to the Editorial Board.
A decision is made by the Editorial Board to forward
the article through to peer review, with a view to
future publication.
Papers are returned to the Editorial Board.
Feedback is given to the author.
This feedback may include an offer of peer support
by the Editorial Board for amendments made to the
article submitted.
The Editorial board retains the right to decline
papers for publication. This will be reflected in .
the feedback you receive from the peer reviewer.
• Writers will receive feedback which may be:
a) accept as is.
b) minor editorial revision by the author.
c) revision of content by the author and modifications
based on this review.
d) not accepted for publication
• When papers are declined reasons will be given .
and resubmission may be possible.
• Kairaranga will retain copyright of all articles published.
• Articles submitted to Kairaranga should not have .
been published with exactly the same format or .
content elsewhere.
• Authors are asked to submit a 50 word personal profile
of themselves, their organisation, and/or other
affiliations for reader interest.
Weaving educational threads. Weaving educational practice.
• Reviewers are asked to submit a 50 word profile of
themselves, providing their professional details and
affiliations at the end of the review. This information
may also be submitted as part of the review.
• Reviewers will take responsibility for the appropriate and
correct use of people, places, companies, publishers, etc.
• Reviews will become the property of Kairaranga.
• Reviews will reach the Kairaranga address by the date
published on the letter of invitation.
• Abridgement of the review will be at the discretion of .
the Editorial Board.
• We are looking to explore many varied and potentially
contradictory views on issues relating to educational
practice which may be included within the texts,
resources or programmes. This should result in views
being expressed that do not necessarily reflect the
opinions of the Editorial Board.
Editorial, Editorial Board and Contact Details
Raising Your Sights Beyond Your Immediate Understandings
An interview with Emeritus Professor Keith Ballard
Roseanna Bourke and Michael Gaffney
Who are the Best Teachers of Pasifika Children?
Ezra Schuster
Position paper
Comment on Schooling for Happiness:
Rethinking the Aims of Education
Ted Glynn
Position paper
The Importance of Educating Student Teachers
in Inclusive Education
A disability perspective
Wendy Neilson and Ashlie Brink
Storied experience
A Pacific experience
Donna Smith
Storied experience
Are Girls Behaving Like Boys?
Rosie Arnott
An Insight into the Educational Needs
of Deaf High School Students
Interviews with school staff and students
Tracey Esera
Ko te Maoopopo ko te Lima Malohi
Collaboration is our strength
Kathryn Meredith, Tim Andersen, Louella Neale,
Colleen Taylor and Ezra Schuster
Storied Experience
Anticipated Death in New Zealand School Communities
Katherine Broughton
Practice paper
Ethical Issues for an Editorial Board: Kairaranga
John Clark
Position paper
Kairaranga Survey Feedback
Responses to the 2007 readers’ questionnaire
The Kairaranga Editorial Board
Kairaranga Book reviews
Acknowledgement of Peer Reviews
Submission Guidelines 63
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