SDG 4 - Quality Education

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UC’s first Doctor of Education

Te Hurinui Karaka-Clarke (Te Arawa/Ngāi Tahu) received UC’s first Doctor of Education qualification in 2020. “I chose this qualification because firstly it is a new qualification, secondly it was offered part-time, thirdly I could study a kaupapa or a topic that I was actually working in already, but the most attractive thing for me was the cohort model. I know my particular learning style is collaborating with others, because it means you are accountable to your group,” says Karaka-Clarke. Along with lecturing in te reo Māori in UC’s School of Education, Karaka-Clarke leads the Hōaka Pounamu Bilingual and Immersion Teaching endorsement for Māori-language immersion school teachers.

Improving Early Literacy for Pre-Schoolers

A research project launched in 2020 involves nearly 600 pre-schoolers from Canterbury and Central Otago. The project, Better Start, is aiming to improve Kiwi kids’ early literacy development. Professor Gail Gillon, Director of the Child Well-being Research Institute at UC, leads the team. Developing early literacy skills makes it easier for children to learn to read. Children who enter school with these skills have an advantage that carries them throughout their school years and into success and prosperity in adult life. Professor Gillon (Ngāi Tahu) won UC’s 2020 Research Medal, in recognition of a sustained record of research excellence aimed at improving children’s learning success and wellbeing.

Mentoring Initiative

In 2020 a new mentoring pilot initiative for high school students from low-decile schools was delivered by UC’s Student Experience team. The initiative aims to widen secondary school students’ understanding of tertiary opportunities, and raise representation in tertiary education of studies from low-decile schools. Plans are now to offer the programme to more secondary schools and extend the programme to two terms. Deputy Vice-Chancellor Academic Professor Catherine Moran explains: “The role of the UC student Transition Mentor is to connect with secondary students to inspire them to achieve their academic potential and give them the confidence to enter tertiary study. Transition Mentors serve as positive role models providing encouragement, guidance and support to help these students address barriers and achieve educational and vocational success.”


Understanding Every Learner

Every learner is unique. UC’s School of Teacher Education increases student teachers’ understanding of the variety of unique characteristics that learners bring with them into school and learning settings, and provides student teachers with frameworks for understanding each learner as a whole person. Course TEPI315 addresses intercultural understandings by challenging ideas of normality, with behaviour being viewed as a medium of communication. Inclusiveness is addressed by using an abilities-based approach and tangata whenuatanga. From a practice perspective, the course looks at what teachers can do to change and adapt their practices to meet the needs of every learner.

Excellence Award in Teacher Education

Kay-Lee Jones was recognised with a prestigious Ako Aotearoa Tertiary Teaching Excellence Award (Kaupapa Māori) in 2020. Kay-Lee has helped nurture a love for te ao Māori in over 2000 student teachers in UC’s School of Teacher Education. As graduates, they are now putting their understanding into practice in schools throughout Aotearoa, normalising Māori language and culture in everyday education. “To me as an educator teaching the next generation of kaiako (teachers), excellence means tamariki (children) to walk confidently in both Māori and Pākehā worlds,” she says.

Computer Science without a computer

The CS Unplugged programme is about capturing the learner’s imagination and addressing common misconceptions about what it means to be a computer scientist. As the name suggests, the programme engages the learner in activities that don’t depend on computers. CS Unplugged is the idea of UC’s computer science academic Professor Tim Bell. CS Unplugged offers young students a collection of free teaching material not dependent on computers, making activities available to those who aren’t able to or don’t want to work  with computers.