Highlights from the Ako Aotearoa facilitators’ retreat
Ako Aotearoa’s inaugural professional development facilitators’ retreat held in January was opened by the Deputy Director Maori Dr Joseph Te Rito and facilitated by the Deputy Director Sector Services Helen Lomax and hub managers.
Guest speakers Dr. Stanley Frielick and Derek Wenmoth gave insights into new directions for professional learning and development.
The 23 facilitators and four Hub Advisory Group (HAG) members who attended were treated to inspirational addresses and group activities.
“Director’s Directions” – where the PD portfolio has been, where it might be going - Dr. Stanley Frielick
Key strategic insights were:
- Professional standards and accreditation
- Contextual/subsector specific learning
- Alignment with qualifications and benchmarks
- Communities of practice
- Modalities; digital, face-to-face, blended
- National network of organization
- Kaupapa Maori / Pasifika PLD
Core Education – Insights on Professional Learning and Development and ‘what works’ to engage the educators - Derek Weymoth
Key points were:
- Measuring success
- PLD; link to qualifications and credits
- What is the role of external facilitators
- Making your philosophical framework learner centered
- Who is PLD meant to be for?
Derek also discussed blended model ideas that provided fuel for the workshopping sessions.
‘Participant pod’ discussions and brainstorming considered the need for an Ako Aotearoa professional learning and development (PLD) philosophical framework with founding principles to strengthen Ako Aotearoa’s approach to PLD.
Discussions also centred on innovation and potential developments in the areas of blended learning, facilitator accreditation and expanding areas of market penetration.
In one exercise, participants worked in groups to design an award-winning PLD course and develop innovative techniques for extending practice.
ITO literacy and numeracy specialist Mike Styles led another pod looking at students driving the nature of their learning with their own “teacher’s toolbox”.
Other key themes explored were mentoring and coaching, Ako Aotearoa’s and facilitator involvement in co-creating a community of practice as part of PLD innovation and a barriers vs enablers/opportunities list for framing future activities.
The Director, DDSS and hub managers are progressing these ideas through regular project meetings.
Their first meeting explored ways to link qualifications/accreditations to Ako Aotearoa’s workshops, expand outreach in the sector to canvas consumer needs, improve responsiveness and change implementation, and identify and build on the knowledge domain of professional development.
They also resolved to continue to involve high calibre key speakers at upcoming workshops.