|Graduates of our March 2015 intake|
Last week was a special week for The Mind Lab by Unitec in Gisborne, not only did we discover that we had been successful in our application for funding from the MBIE to support further equitable access to The Mind Lab, but we also had the chance to celebrate the success of our first 32 graduates on our local Postgraduate Certificate in Applied Practice of Digital and Collaborative learning.
This cohort was an extremely courageous group of early adopters and innovators who dove headfirst into the unknown, these were the first teachers in Gisborne to gain this achievement and they have paved the way for many educators to follow in their footsteps. They made many sacrifices along the way to gaining the qualification, and in order for them to do this they had tremendous support from whanau and loved ones, as well as their schools and students. I know all of them stepped out of their comfort zones to make a difference to the learners in front of them each day, they collaborated, questioned and reflected on all areas of their practice and the result was amazing - there were critical discussions, ah-ha moments, tears (mainly of laughter!) and sharing of some amazing practice in our schools at the moment. New connections, stronger friendships, trust and empathy built up in a small community goes a long way in creating sustainable transformation in Tairāwhiti, and the shared vision of what it means to be educated here. These teachers now have collectively raised the mana and professionalism of teachers in our region through their steps into the unknown.
The wider community has commented on the increase in confidence of the teachers on the course and several have gone on to leadership roles within school and the wider community, now the focus is on these teachers to make a difference in the future of learning in our region.
The most important steps are still to come, we have had the first wave of teachers complete the course, and to date we have over 10% of educators in the district either graduated or studying on the PG cert. However to make a real difference the target is to have over quarter of the educators in Tairāwhiti graduating from the course. This will create real momentum and the benefits will be widespread. There are further opportunities to come from this study, either to continue on further research with exciting professional development like the Teacher Led Innovation Fund, or continue on the pathway with The Mind Lab in working on our MEd in either applied practice or educational leadership.
This coming July the PG course will taking a break in Gisborne and will be travelling to Ruatoria, and working with Te Kura Kaupapa o Te Waiū o Ngāti Porou to collaborate with another inspiring cohort of educators on the East Coast.