To begin this year I thought I would put together my educational thoughts for 2019.

Focus on Student Well-being
Over the last few years student well being has been an important part of New Zealand education. Schools are far more aware of the mental health of their students and offer services such as counselors and youth workers. The main area of growth I think will come from more integration within the classroom. This will see teachers and leaders providing more emphasis around positive psychology, resilience and mindfulness to their students.

Focus on Teacher Well-being
With the stress levels of many teachers reaching breaking point and the current teacher shortage, I believe schools will be forced to improve how they look after their staff. This will see more surveys, discussions and for some leadership teams, ‘head scratching’ about things they could do. I think/hope there will be some schools providing a range of innovative initiatives to help with teacher well-being, teacher development and teacher retention. Innovative schools might even look to the private sector for ideas on how to do this.

Development of MOOCs
This is probably more of a hope than anything. However, having done a little reading around MOOC’s as part of my Mindlab study, I believe these are an under used area of our education system. 2019 might be the year they explode. MOOC is an acronym for Massive Open Online Course and are common in high levels of education. Basically they are free course that anyone can take to show mastery within a certain subject area. With the opening up of education and a strong emphasis on student agency, could certified online learning courses will become more common?

A Growing Divide within Education in New Zealand
Finally I think we are going to see a continued divide within our society around education. I see this happening on two fronts.
Firstly, I see a growing divide between the government and teachers. With both NZEI and PPTA still negotiating around their next collective agreement, I cant see this being a easy ride. Both groups seem a long way apart and solutions will be costly. There are also issues around governance of schools and the role of Boards of Trustees which I cant see being resolved amicably.
Secondly, I see a growing divide between teachers and the general public. Most likely teacher strikes will take place in 2019 and there is only so much goodwill a working parent can give teachers. Parents see teachers as getting generous holidays, reasonable pay, no weekend or evening work and flexible work hours. On top of this I believe there is an undercurrent within our society that the new ILE and open planned schools are not good for education.
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