Wednesday, July 20, 2011


Being involved in a Carpentry department, which is already renowned as one of the top in the country, is very exiting. My job from here on in is to make sure, through education and good collaboration by way of working together with my fellow lecturers and sharing resources, we continue to keep up with our current reputation. A big part of this is ongoing support and professional development from the Otago Polytechnic, keeping in touch with our other partners such as BCITO, and keeping up with industry expectations. Most importantly this means not losing site of student-centred and flexible learning through respect, passion, innovation, challenge and excellence.  

Durie, Mason. (2003). Ngā kāhui pou launching Māori futures. Pp.200-2001.        Huia Publishers: New Zealand. retrieved on:                           13/04/2011., retrieved on: 12/07/2011., retrieved on: 17/09/2010.

Where to From Here

Being involved in a department that is very advanced in modern thinking and being leaders rather than followers I would like to take time to inform you about where  the carpentry department is heading by way of introducing even more technology as part of learning;
·        E portfolio- This is where our senior staff have introduced the students to record keeping by way of electronics through visual photos taken daily and weekly entries making up there personal portfolio both for evidence and future reference.
·        Clickers-These are wireless hand held units which results are known instantly by the facilitator. We are about to set up some question sheets with six multi choice answers.
·        Net-books –Recently purchased a class set in order to help carpentry be more independent with the ability to look up information as a group to get the latest rules and regulations as often students don’t need to retain all knowledge but just know where to find it.
·        Tool Safety - In conjunction with some I.T students we have set up some power tool safety, maintenance and correct use footage which is to be used in a format suitable for iPhones and iPads along with a computer version. This is very exciting as some of this we can load onto You Tube and it also shows how innovative we are.

Culturally Sensitive & Indigenous Learners

The Otago Polytechnic has a very good relationship with both local and international students. They are very good at tutor training with treaty workshops and making tutors aware of being culturally sensitive and catering to individual needs and learning styles.
This is underpinned by the Māori Strategic Framework by Mason Durie’s (2003) vision for Māori Education:
“To live as a Māori- In short being enabled to live as a Māori imposes some responsibilities among the education system to contribute towards the realisation of that goal.
To actively participate as a citizen of the world -There is a wide Māori expectation that education should open doors to technology, that economy, the arts and sciences, to understanding others and making a contribution to a greater good. This does not contradict the goal of being able to live as a Māori. It simply recognises that Māori children will live in a variety of situations and should be able to move from one to another with relative ease.
To enjoy good health and a high standard of living- Education should be able to make a major if not the major contribution to health and wellbeing and to a decent standard of living. Education achievements correlate directly with employment, income levels.....”(Durie, 2003).
I enjoyed Kate Timmens-Deans’ explanation on indigenous learners and her four main orientations that support the learner and there ability to learn;

Spiritual –Do I believe I can do this?
Physical- Do I have the resources to do this course?
Social/Family- Do I have the support of my family?
Cognition- Can I cope with the demands?

These are important factors that can assist all of our students learning. We should endeavour to find assistance to give everyone an equal opportunity to study and learn for their future benefit and make their time here at Otago Polytechnic a pleasant experience.
Carpentry and the construction industry has a very unique culture were it is largely involving creative people working together to build and re-build houses, factory’s, offices, towns and even cities. It is a very satisfying career which can take you where ever you want to go. For a project to be ready on time and on budget (which does happen occasionally) many people have had impute to make it happen and can dually be proud of there combined achievements.

Adult Education Theory

My aim as a carpentry lecturer is to do the best job I can in giving our students a good learning environment so they can have an enjoyable and productive learning experience.

This will be possible if I can develop as a lecturer and offer a blended and varied delivery of quality information. I will use the  aid of You Tube for some practical and manufacture detail, good effective power points and our main practical based learning by way of our project houses, so our student have the opportunity to learn both kinaesthetically and reader writer as set out in Neil Fleming’s (2001) VARK learning model.
After reading Michael Lueck’s teaching philosophy I feel he has a great foundation to emulate and his base for teaching goes like this;
“My Teaching Philosophy is based on five main pillars Respect, Passion, Innovation, Challenge and Excellence. All five pillars are seen as equal and mutual i.e.; from the students and the teachers perspectives. They are closely linked, and cannot be separated.
RESPECT- I strongly believe that providing a relaxed learning environment is the most effective way of teaching. When the instructor respects students and their opinions, it is very likely that students in return have respect for the instructor
PASSION- Passion is arguable the most important ingredient to every good teaching. This can be twofold; Passion for teaching and passion for the subject area.
INNOVATION-While I believe that it is vital to have a personal touch in every class and in-class lectures cannot be replaced by information technology I equally believe that the rapid development of I T offers an enormous chance for instructors to improve teaching.
CHALLANGE- Teaching at tertiary level should not only be the transfer of knowledge it should also encourage critical thinking and challenge students intellectually. From day one of every paper, I explicitly make sure that students know that they shell not see everything I say as a rule and the only solution.
EXCELLENCE- Teaching is more than providing a lecture. It involves lecturing, interacting, supervising, marking, guiding and to a degree counselling. I believe that a teacher in every class I learn as much as my students do. It is my aim to strive for improvements in teaching with every new semester (, retrieved on 12/07/2011).

Teaching Plan for Carpentry

My teaching plan in the Carpentry Department is to try to give every student who comes through the doors the very best opportunity to learn as many quality skills as they can for there future. Hopefully these skills are in the trade or good trade knowledge that will make them good husbands/wives/ fathers, mothers and generally good handy people to know.

I feel that students all enter our course with good intent but some realise that for whatever reason it is not for them. The ones that stay focused and enjoy the course really grow and enjoy the practical based learning project house along with making them far more employable as they graduate with a level four Certificate in Carpentry which is the theory complete for their whole apprenticeship.
Flexible learning already forms a significant part of our teaching, as an example when we teach the unit on wallboard it will involve a You Tube video of the manufacture of wallboard. This ten minute clip explains in depth what components make up gib-board and how they get different textures and bracing, water and fire resistance through changing the components. To visit the factory with twenty students in Christchurch would be near impossible, whereas this clip works as a great substitute.
Power point presentations also form part of the lesson to show things like cutting techniques and installation. All of this usually happens prior to the students getting to put it all in practise on their own project house.
This type of teaching seems to fit well with Kolb’s (1984) Experiential Learning Theory which states;
“Kolb’s learning theory sets out four distinct learning styles (or preferences), which are based on a four-stage learning cycle. (Which might also be interpreted as a training cycle)? In this respect Kolb’s model is particularly elegant, since it offers both a way to understand individual peoples learning styles, and also an explanation of a cycle of experiential learning that applies to us all” (1984).
Kolb includes this cycle of learning as a central principle in his experiential learning theory. This is typically expressed as the four-stage cycle of learning, in which immediate or concrete experiences provide a basis for observations and reflections. These observations and reflections are assimilated and distilled into abstract concepts producing new implications for action which can be actively tested, in turn creating new experiences.
Kolb says that ideally (and by inference not always) this process represents a learning cycle or spiral where the learner touches all the bases, i.e., a cycle of experiencing, reflecting, thinking, and acting. Immediate or concrete experiences lead to observations and reflections. These reflections are then assimilated (absorbed and translated) into abstract concepts with implications for action, which the person can actively test and experiment with, which in turn enable the creation of new experiences.
Kolb’s model therefore works on two levels- a four stage cycle;
And a four-type definition of learning styles,(each representing the combination of two preferred styles, rather like a two-by two matrix of the four-stage cycle styles, as illustrated below), for which Kolb used the terms;
Diverging (CE/RO)
Assimilating (AC/RO)