Are schools accidentally encouraging bullying?


As a deputy principal, it is my role to oversee the more serious issues that crop up with a particular grade level. That grade level just happens to be a lovely group of 350 14-year-olds. My experience and that of others in my school, know this to be the most challenging age for bullying and in particular cyberbullying. At 14, social media becomes an accepted norm for all, a growing number start to challenge the systems around them, and most start to seriously become concerned about identity and where they fit within various social circles. The statistics and my own experience both confirm it is significantly bigger problem for girls. To combat this, school policies and environment must have a holistic approach towards restoring relationships. For this reason, I have for a while connected bullying in schools with the need for a school restorative justice philosophy.

To start with, I…

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‘The greatness that already exists’


‘The gaps exist because somebody created the gaps

Throughout its history New Zealand’s education system has both shaped and been shaped by the legacy of colonisation in the country. Esther Rakete (Teach First NZ 2013) shares her personal experiences navigating that system as both a student, an educator and as a Māori (Māori are the indigenous people of Aotearoa New Zealand).

1 – The conflicting pathways of success 

‘It’s better to be something else.’

Reflecting on her experiences at school Esther remembers feeling like ’there was a hole inside of me’. She felt like her self-worth had been limited to the grades on her report card while her culture, her identity were not considered valuable. She couldn’t see herself reflected in her education and felt a deep sense of internal conflict. There seemed to be two different pathways of success – the one she saw reflected in her culture…

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Warrior Scholars – Decolonising education #KiaArohaCollege


‘What is colonisation? What is assimilation? How has that impacted on me?’ 

Aotearoa New Zealand’s education system was created as a ‘deliberate, intentional tool of colonisation, and after colonisation assimilation’. In 1847 the Education Ordinance Act was introduced to ensure schools forcefully assimilate Māori (the indigenous population) into White European culture. Children were beaten for speaking their own language and Western European culture and knowledge was presented as ‘civilised’ and superior to the cultures and knowledge of the Māori. As a result multiple generations were conditioned to internalise an imposed cultural and racial hierarchy that still persists today.

The modern education system in Aotearoa New Zealand is considered to be one of the best in the world, and it even leads much of the world in the way it has begun to partially acknowledge Māori culture, language and identity as part of the curriculum. However it is often seen as an add on…

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Critical Pedagogy – My number one from #uLearn17


This post would normally be a overview reflection on the three day conference I have just attended, this time being uLearn in Hamilton, New Zealand, but the final keynote by Dr. Ann Milne made nearly everything at the conference seem rather trivial. I love moments like this, when someone or something sparks a new passion in my heart and brain. Ann Milne, backed-up by Karen Spencer’s post, inspired in me a new drive for developing a school culture based around critical pedagogy. I saw a few very good presentations and workshops this week but it was this last keynote that came across with more power, conviction, and meaning than all the activity of the three days combined.

A Game-changer

Image by Michelle:

I saw Ann Milne, the principle of Kia Aroha College in South Auckland,  speak two years ago on the same topic and knew she was…

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