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The last 24 weeks of study have challenged, affirmed and revised my pedagogy, leadership and practice. 

Three things I've learnt about myself as a learner

I love being able to read other peoples research but I need time to be able to process, analyse and revise what I have read so I can make a more informed conclusion. That is why doing the literature review was so rewarding and provided the opportunity to explore answers to the following questions:

  • How does technology support the educational needs of students with special education needs?
  • What makes the iPad a good choice to support the educational needs of students with special education needs? 
  • Does the iPad give students with special education needs a measure of independence when doing their work?

My dominance of visuality as my preferred way to learn has meant that the delivery of course content in using videos and pictorial images has meant that my enjoyment of the course and uptake of knowledge has been better than when I was sitting in big lecture theatres with 300 other people listening to the lecturer talk, with the occasional power point presentation thrown in. The time given to collaborate, create, communicate and critically analyse material all in one session meant I was never bored.

Having the choice to present my work in ways other than the traditional essay meant my motivation in doing the assessments increased tenfold and this was reflected in the quality of my work and rewarded by the marks I received.

Three key changes in my practice:

Stommel (2015) states

"Digital pedagogy is not equivalent to teachers using digital tools. Rather, digital pedagogy demands that we think critically about our tools, and demands that we reflect actively upon our own practice. So, digital pedagogy means not just drinking the Kool-Aid, but putting the Kool-Aid under a microscope."

In my practice I have become even more willing to take risks with using technology to enhance the learning of the special needs students I work with, as I often support and ask my students to do. For the students I work with who have special education needs problem solving, collaboration and communication is important for each student. My challenge is to align the technology intentions to intended learning outcomes and focus on applications that will enhance these three skills. I have learnt that one of the best way to do this for these students is that they work together as one group, using each other's strengths to reach a common goal.

I have taken on board the seven habits and they feature strongly in my thinking and in my approach to leadership and teaching. Covey's 7 habits are based upon timeless principles that underpin society, such as fairness, integrity, potential and dignity. The same principles that I base my teaching philosophy on. The 7 Habits gave me a framework to support my leadership roles and teaching style.

The Principles of Kaupapa Māori closely follow the principles I believe apply to all populations of society especially for those marginalised by society. Having them structured this way has brought them into my consciousness and I replaced the word researcher with educator and Maori with disabled.

Tino Rangatiratanga - The Principle of Self-determination
allowing Māori to control their own culture, aspirations and destiny.

Taonga Tuku Iho - The Principle of Cultural Aspiration
Māori ways of knowing, doing and understanding the world

Ako Māori - The Principle of Culturally Preferred Pedagogy
teaching and learning practices that are inherent and unique to Māori

Kia piki ake i ngā raruraru o te kainga - The Principle of Socio-Economic Mediation
This principle asserts a need for Kaupapa Māori research to be of positive benefit to Māori communities.

Whānau - The Principle of Extended Family Structure
This principle acknowledges the responsibility and obligations of the researcher to nurture and care for these relationships and also the intrinsic connection between the researcher, the researched and the research.

Kaupapa - The Principle of Collective Philosophy
The research topic or intervention systems therefore are considered to be an incremental and vital contribution to the overall 'kaupapa'.

Te Tiriti o Waitangi - The Principle of the Treaty of Waitangi
The Tiriti therefore provides a basis through which Māori may critically analyse relationships, challenge the status-quo, and affirm the Māori rights.

Ata - The Principle of Growing Respectful Relationships
building and nurturing of relationships.

Covey, S. R. (1990). The 7 habits of highly effective people: Restoring the character ethic. Australia: The Business Library
Covey, S. R. (1992). Principle-centered leadership. New York: Simon & Schuster.

Stommel, J. (2015). Learning is Not a Mechanism. EML Newsletter, Vol. 1, No. 80. Retrieved from

Smith, G. H. (1990). Research Issues Related to Maori Education, paper presented to NZARE Special Interest         Conference, Massey University, reprinted in 1992, The Issue of Research and Maori, Research Unit for Maori Education, New Zealand: The University of Auckland.;
       Retrieved from

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Comment by Lorraine Makutu on June 4, 2015 at 20:49

This is really interesting to read because in life itself or in the communities we live in, Kaupapa Māori is used in an everyday perspective only like you have used it, in the context of your world. Its so enriching to know that we have had similarities in our professional growth. How do you see this working with leading change in your context? Is this evident with your colleagues at present, knowing that they are trying to separate you and your TA?

Comment by Lorraine Vickery on June 4, 2015 at 9:46

Absolutely,  Critical reflection means I hardly ever teach something the same way twice as the needs of the students I work with change because of the knowledge, skills and confidence they gain as the year progresses. Even after teaching for over 20 years in my current role, each year is like starting again as I form relationships with them and get to know my students so I can cater for their individual needs.  

This video will answer your question How do you feel the 7 habits are supporting your leadership and teaching style? Covey's influence on my teaching and learning

Comment by Hazel Owen on June 3, 2015 at 20:04

It's great to read what a positive impact that the opportunity to choose has had on your learning experience :) Are you finding that reflecting in this way is also helping to shape how you design learning experiences for your students? I'm also really curious: how do you feel the 7 habits are supporting your leadership and teaching style? (sorry - questions, questions, questions ;D)!!

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