Matamata Primary School teacher Carma Maisey credits the University of Waikato’s Poutama Pounamu Blended Learning for encouraging her into Masters level study.
“It has been a completely unique, uplifting and life changing experience,” says Carma, who has been teaching for 11 years.
Poutama Pounamu is a 12-month professional learning development (PLD) programme run by the School of Education at the University of Waikato.
The blended learning course supports leaders and teachers to do professional development while still working.
Carma is just one of a number of kaiwhakaako (teachers) who have gone on to complete their Masters after doing Poutama Pounamu Blended Learning in 2020. Another student from an earlier cohort has recently enrolled to do his Doctor of Education (EdD).
“The support, kindness and encouragement the Poutama Pounamu tutors gave me was absolutely critical in my decision to continue with my study and enrol in the Masters of Education,” says Carma, who was awarded a Ministry of Education TeachNZ Study award to complete her Masters at the University of Waikato this year.
Poutama Pounamu provides a supported pathway into Masters level study wherever you are in New Zealand. Benefits include the ability to credit two 15-point papers and a $1000 scholarship towards a summer school paper at the university.
The fifth cohort of 86 new kaiwhakaako started their Poutama Pounamu blended learning in February, with wānanga taking place in both the North Island and South Island.
Their first wānanga was held at Te Āwhina Marae in Motueka on February 25 and 26, and at Huria Marae in Tauranga on March 22 and 23.
Professor Mere Berryman said it was exciting to welcome these kaiwhakaako back into academic study and was looking forward to seeing where their learning journey would take each one.
“This course is proving to be a successful and innovative way to get teachers and other educators back into tertiary education, while still teaching and working,” says Professor Berryman. “It provides an incentive for kaiwhakaako to carry on and complete their Masters by proving that studying at tertiary level again is achievable while working.”
Designed to indigenise and decolonise teaching practices, schools and communities, the blended learning comprises five online modules, two face-to-face wānanga over two days and one virtual wᾱnanga.
“By learning through and in te ao Māori (Māori world view) contexts blended learning encourages people to deepen their understandings, knowledge and confidence about historical events that have led to disparity for Māori and how this continues through our colonial education system,” says Professor Berryman. “Learning about racism is an important related aspect.”
Kaiwhakaako receive regular feedback throughout the programme, and share their learning with colleagues in small groups back in their schools and centres.
“It’s great to see how Poutama Pounamu Blended Learning has reignited the passion for learning among kaiwhakaako,” says Professor Don Kilnger, Pro Vice-Chancellor of Education.
“For some teachers, it’s also been the incentive to kickstart their higher education journey.
“Their knowledge and personal development will benefit them personally and professionally, as well as their schools, students and wider communities. The Division of Education at the University of Waikato is delighted to support our teachers in this way.”
For more information about the Poutama Pounamu programme or studying education at the University of Waikato, see visit the Poutama Pounamu Website.