Category Archives: Whats new

Building Cultural Capability

Category : Whats new

Vision Education team supports schools to strengthen and build better relationships with whanau and community.   We encourage and support teachers to use a range of suggested tools, engage in critical reflective tasks and access to current research to guide and grow their knowledge base to better improve student outcomes with a key focus on Māori and Pasifika students.

The STEM/STEAM Design Process

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Category : Whats new

STEAM is an approach to learning that uses Science, Technology, Engineering, the Arts and Mathematics to guide students through the  inquiry process, as they engage in critical thinking and deep discussion about their learning. Similarly, STEM education emphasises the integration of knowledge and skills found in science, technology, engineering and mathematics as real life contexts and authentic tasks are used to design and apply solutions to problems. 

Collaboration is integral to this problem-solving approach, as students work together to take educated risks and learn through experience.  STEM focuses on innovation and the applied process of designing solutions to complex contextual problems using current tools and technologies (Granshaw, 2017).

Students collaborate to develop their own solutions to authentic problems through the design process. This process focuses on solving a problem by deconstructing it (breaking it into smaller parts), analysing the data and creating solutions by using a series of ordered steps. These steps are:

o   Empathize – develop a deep understanding of the challenge

o   Define – clearly articulate the problem to be solved

o   Ideate – brainstorm potential solutions; select and develop a solution

o   Prototype – design a prototype (or series of prototypes) to test all or part of the solution

o   Test – engage in a continuous short-cycle innovation process to continually improve the design                                                              (Bertolini, 2019)

Questions asked and answered at each step of the process empower learners to define, reframe and generate ideas, before identifying the final solution.  These include:

o   Empathize – tuning in – What questions could we ask? What things should we consider? What could we do to find out more? What are the needs of the stakeholders? What is important? What is not important?

o   Define – What is a meaningful statement of the problem? What actions might we take?

o   Ideate – What are some possible solutions? What is our proposed solution?

o   Prototype – Create a prototype

o   Test – How well did this work? How will we change the solution to improve it?                                                        (Bertolini, 2019)

Links between integrated inquiry learning, and the design process in Technology (NZ Curriculum) can be made, as learners move through each step to develop and apply their solution to a problem. 

While STEM/STEAM courses can be designed in different ways, to meet the needs of students in each school context, certain elements should always be addressed.  Projects should integrate learning goals, relevant knowledge and skills, pedagogy and assessment. Higher order thinking processes, such as problem solving, critical thinking, synthesis, analysis, and evaluation of knowledge, are integral to learning in STEM/STEAM.

Learning in STEAM encourages students to “explore the world around them, develop and create innovative solutions to problems, think deeply, work collaboratively, and communicate their results” (Centre on Standards and Assessment Implementation).

Vision Education provides centrally funded PLD for STEM/STEAM. Schools and Kahui Ako can access PLD, in class coaching and mentoring and leadership support to develop and implement STEM/STEAM programmes.

For information contact Alana Cantley at


Bertolini, Adrian, ‘STEM AND STEAM: Experiencing STEM and Design Thinking’, Hawker-Brownlow Conference, Melbourne, 2019

Centre on Standards and Assessment Implementation, USA Departments of Education and WestEd, retrieved from

Granshaw, Bruce, ‘STEM education for the twenty-first century: A New Zealand perspective’, Australasian Journal of Technology Education, 2017 

Leadership Capability Series -Coaching and Mentoring

Coaching and mentoring can improve attitudes, practice, efficacy and student achievement. Coaching and mentoring makes an impact, done well, it makes a significant impact. What support do you have in place to ensure coaching and mentoring are thriving in your kura? Have you started down this journey and would now benefit from active and differentiated support to further develop this skill set? The Vision Team are passionate about empowering teachers and leaders to achieve their goals, increase momentum and ensure a relentless focus on improving educational outcomes for all learners. Contact Dr Alison Davis, Vision Education Director if strengthening the coaching and mentoring toolkit of your learning landscape is a priority for your school.

Building Vocabulary Knowledge

Category : Whats new

Language occurs all around us therefore young learners cannot avoid picking up the language around them.  Teachers can teach vocabulary effectively by using a range of approaches, strategies and ideas to improve students reading and writing.  Our current work in schools is to enable teachers to understand, know and teach explicitly – about vocabulary. We use a range of research tools, suggested texts, evidence based activities and tasks proven to increase students vocabulary knowledge, and to  lift reading and writing levels. Dr Alison Davis provides vocabulary tools, research and tasks via her resources available through the link.

Building Effective and Innovative Practice – literacy across the curriculum

Category : Whats new

Self-regulation is an important part of building student agency. This is especially so when working with students to improve their motivation and engagement towards writing. Thinking critically, seeking and responding to feedback are important elements of all processes of composing text – including when preparing to write. When students plan – considering task, purpose and audience – they choose to use a range of language features and structures. Describing these, explaining their choices and seeking feedback from others builds knowledge and confidence towards a task right from the planning stages. See Effective Writing Instruction Alison Davis (2013) for lots of other examples of agentic teaching and learning.

Email us for more information at

Unpacking professional readings – Building Cultural Capability

The Vision Education team works alongside teachers and leaders to identify personal professional learning needs of culturally responsive practices. We have a range of tools to help teachers and leaders unpack Tātaiako as a framework to support professional learning and to self review their own practices and beliefs in relation to the five competencies described in Tātaiako. We are excited with opportunities to support schools to engage with whanau to determine the cultural competencies that are particular to their communities. We work closely with teachers to coach discussion of professional readings.

Email us for more information at

Supporting and Growing Leaders

Category : Whats new

  •     Leadership

Vision facilitators work nationwide with Kāhui Ako.  Part of this work is supporting and growing the leadership capability at all levels. We have the privilege of working with a variety of existing and new leaders who bring a lot to this work.  Our leadership learning is practical, collaborative and fun. We enjoy seeing our leaders grow in confidence and skills during our work.

Email us to find out more at

Special needs podcast featuring our facilitator Justine Brock.

Category : Whats new

Our Facilitator, Justine Brock, had the privilege of being interviewed for the Connect Inform Support programme on Free FM.

Their blurb says
“A show created and hosted by Parent to Parent – the not-for-profit organisation supporting families and whanau of babies, children, teens and adults with any type of disability or health impairment. The show focuses on services and help available and also discusses issues and news of interest and importance to those families.”

Beginning Teacher Workshops

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Great opportunity for your beginning teachers
6 literacy focused workshops plus a copy of 2 of Alison Davis’s text – Teaching Reading Comprehension (2016) and Effective Writing Instruction (2013)
Total cost $650 per beginning teacher
Contact or see details on flyer below



Alison leading literacy workshops focused on accelerating achievement

Category : Whats new

Alison leading literacy workshops focused on accelerating achievement

Alison leading literacy workshops focused on accelerating achievement

Alison leading literacy workshops focused on accelerating achievement

Alison leading literacy workshops focused on accelerating achievement

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Skillful and Strategic Professional Learning

“Our Vision facilitator (Justine) built positive relationships with everyone she worked alongside and skillfully aligned her sessions with what we needed to develop in our practice based on our strategic aims.  Her professional development with staff has grown teacher knowledge, improved practice and accelerated progress for our learners.”

Tracey Bennett
Hautapu School

Knowledgeable and Authentic Professional Development

Benneydale School has been working with Leitia for 2 years in a wide range of capacities. Leitia has run a number of Teacher Only Days focusing on effective literacy practice in the classroom and she has modelled and supported best practice related to differentiated learning programs that support accelerated learning. Leitia has worked alongside teachers in the classroom providing feedback and support on teacher effectiveness. She has supported planning meetings with teachers and worked with them to refine their programs through using a coaching model. Evidence of teacher growth due to these coaching sessions can be seen in class practice. We have found Leitia to be very knowledgeable, quick to understand our needs and work with us to create our own PLD journey. I would recommend Leitia as a facilitator for any school wanting to provide authentic opportunities for staff to challenge their thinking and work towards enhancing their practice for the benefit of all learners.

Vanessa Te Huia
Benneydale School

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