Whale is Watching

Marlene is nervous.

How is this for evidence. You bet you are being watched.


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  • Pdubyahnz

    “He’s just a right wing ignorant git who needs a bit of quality education”

    Which he won’t get at your school Melanie Dorrian will he, nor will my children by the way you react to anything. Nice to know you’re there to teach not preach.

    • Miss

      My target audience regarding National Standards is the people who can read evidence that discusses best practise in the classroom and can vote for a quality public education system. I’m unsure Pdubyahnz if you are able to search for balanced research that discusses best practise…. so perhaps you might refrain from reading or commenting on my comments.

      Yes, Whale Oil is able to protest, he has that right. But I challenge him to come up with a piece of published recognised research that Tolley is on the right track…

      Ooops, there is none, because she refused to do the research prior to jumping on this bandwagon. She refused to trial this trainwreck before setting in it motion. And then when NZEI gets a quality researcher to do the research, Tolley spits the dummy!!!

      And in my class I don’t have time to preach Pdubyahnz…. I’m too busy teaching a quality reading, maths and writing programme that challenges my kids to think and problem solve and work together. I have a challenging inquiry programme, and I am ready to facilitate the childrens’ learning and challenge them to extend themselves.

      I will not teach to the test…. I believe in well rounded and skilled learners who enjoy learning, are challenged and do not turn off.

  • Anonymous

    If they think Whale is the biggest ‘watcher’ of what they’re doing, they are deluded. After the amount of press about how much information Facebook keeps for ever and ever you’d think they would only use Facebook for the blandest of Labour Party promotion activities…

  • Be afraid the Whale Army; be very afraid. The NZEI has declared war!

  • coge

    Reading the Coley st school newsletter you linked yesterday, it said some of the children grow up to become “greenies”. Interesting thing to say. That comment was clearly not directed at Mrs Tolley, but intended to activate the green parents into getting involved. So the comment was unabashed third rate left wing political activism. IMHO.

  • Anonymous

    You’ve gotta love the hypocrisy:

    We live in a country that has a right to free thinking, free speech and the right to protest.

    Free thinking, yet refuses to explore anything of the VRWNLLWC – i.e. not Labour or union sanctioned.

    Free speech, except apparently Whale isn’t allowed his free speech. He’s just a right-wing ignorant git…

    The right to protest, which again is pretty much what Whale is doing, but it’s nasty, and sneaky when someone else does it.

    What I do when I leave the school grounds is my business.

    Well, I think if someone left the school grounds and – just saying, like – ran around the Urewera’s throwing Molotov cocktails, if I were a parent of a student I think I might like to know about that… So I can withdraw my child from that school.

    What’s in the mind comes out at the school classroom – The Mercury Bay Area School classroom…

    • Miss

      I sorry, excuse my ignorance, but what is VRWNLLWC?

      And I can assure you that I’m not running around the Ureweras (note that it does not require an apostrophe as the Ureweras do not own the ‘throwing Molotov cocktails) throwing Molotov cocktails.

      Rather, I am seething at the fact that people who know little about education are going to ruin thousands of childrens’ education due to their naivity and lack of research skills. Start looking for yourself.

      I’m also doing perfectly normal things, like the groceries, washing and planning quality educational experiences for my class that involve them developing thinking skills, research skills and problem solving skills so they can find things out for themselves and make their own informed decisions, and not be suckered into doing or thinking something just because someone tells them to.

      • Miss

        correction: I’m sorry. ;-)

      • Anonymous

        Yes, anyone can make mistakes with grammar, can’t they…

        David Farrar coined the VRWNLLWC term after some of Clare Curran’s rantings (and yes, she does possess the rant). It’s better if you read the entire context there.

        It’s clear you see National Standards as ruining thousands of childrens’ education. It may even be true that National Standards isn’t the best solution. However there is no escaping the fact that in the last decade there was an increasing number of children leaving school unable to read and write properly, or calculate change. Arriving at university unable to deliver to lecturers anything coherent.

        Principals, boards of trustees, the PPTA, all the responsible parties were clearly doing nothing about it. I have friends who were being told their child was doing fine, then took them to a private independent assessor who told them that they most certainly were not. Who then moved their children to another school and saw marked improvement in achievement levels. I don’t think its unfair say that the previous teacher was threatening to ruin that child’s educational achievement.

        I believe children need these basic skills. One of the first things that needs to occur is being able to identify them so that extra help can be given. The example above shows that (some) schools by themselves are not. No-one knows which schools until it is too late. So a mechanism to identify children who are threatening to under-achieve needs to be developed. If as a by-product it also identifies the school and the teacher, so be it.

        In the absence of anything from the teachers, teacher unions, PPTA, Principal’s Association et al, Tolley really had no choice. If there is a better solution it should have been advanced years ago. All that has been happening instead is nasty, vitriolic, personal attacks of the kind bandied about by supporters of Sue Bradford’s S58 legislation.

        My final comment (of my original post) is to suggest that if you are so consumed with anger about National Standards, then it is almost impossible for that to not manifest itself in your classroom. Which is bad for the children. It ends up manifesting itself in school newsletters, which is appalling behaviour.

        • Miss

          Ha ha….. one of the best pieces of satire writing I’ve read in ages!!! Thanks for the link!!

          I would agree with you that not all teachers are made equal.

          But I point out that 86% of our children are succeeding and can read and write and do maths at age appropriate levels.

          So why should 86% of children who do not need their curriculum narrowed suffer for the 14% who need extra help?

          It would have been better to target the money that has been used for National Standards to those 14% rather than what Anne Tolley has done. And NZEI has been advocating for those 14% for years…. it’s a shame no one listens.

          One of the unfortunate things that has come out of the funding being redirected towards National Standards is the loss of professional development that is meaningful for teachers to improve their practise as teachers. Telling teachers to test and assess is not going to improve the practise of teachers and consequently help their students succeed.

          Until 2009, there was a wonderful PD programme called the Literacy Project. It focused on teaching teachers how to effectively teach reading and writing, and it was researched and involved the teachers using meaningful assessment to find out what their students could do and target their teaching accordingly.

          Unfortunately Mrs Tolley axed this programme in favour of National Standards. It is a shame, because it was one of the best things that has helped me improve my practise during my career. I fear for all the teachers who have entered the profession since 2009 or those who didn’t get the opportunity to get this wonderful PD.

          But it is not just this PD that is gone. The National government wiped out professional development for ECE and primary and secondary teachers when they slashed and burned the public service. Now PD is much harder and more expensive for schools and teachers to access, so that is also going to affect student achievement.

          Did anyone think about that when it happened?

          • Anonymous


            Why is anyone’s curriculum narrowed? Having a minimum standard does not equate to it being the maximum standard. That kind of thinking is retarded. Any teacher that intends doing that should be sacked.

            I expect teachers to be teaching right up to the maximum the child can achieve, and in doing so identify kids that are having trouble and directing resources to that child.

            Before you say that this is what happens, we have children that come out of school unable to read and write properly so clearly it is not. My friends had to move their child because the teacher at the previous school was not. That teacher was drifting along saying “It’s all right, he’s fine” when he was not.

            Testing and assessing is what should be happening anyway, otherwise all you are doing is drifting and hoping. All principals are being asked to do – and are paid extra to do – is collate and report. You know, like just about every other professional has to do, myself included, in order to have a salary review conversation. Oh, that’s right, you don’t need that cause you just strike for it.

            Why does there need to be an extra professional courses to “teach teachers how to effectively teach reading and writing”? That is what the four years of paid learning at Teachers College is supposed to do for crying out loud. Reading and writing are so fundamental and basic that I would be dumbstruck if it wasn’t 101 when learning to be a teacher. You really start teaching at a school not knowing how to teach kids how to read and write? I know plenty of parents who have taught their kids how to read with absolutely no training. Oh. My. God…

            If you redirected all the energy you are putting into opposing collating and reporting results into furthering the interests of children everyone would be better off.

          • Miss

            In education, new research comes along. We research stuff to improve how we do it. That is why professional development is so important. Would you want a 60 year old still teaching the way they were taught at TCol over 40 years ago today when they could have learnt from the new research?

            That’s like asking an accountant to use an abacus instead of getting training on how to use the latest wing bang accounting programme on the computer!!!

            Do you think Graham Henry still trains the All Blacks like Fred Allen trained the All Blacks in his day? Ofcourse not!!! Graham Henry researched and gets in experts to help him learn new ways of coaching and refining his expertise.

            Yes, we did learn to teach reading, maths, etc., at University….. but the times have moved on and expectations in the teaching of reading and maths and everything else have stepped up…. so therefore you get something like the Literacy or Numeracy Projects where the facilitators came into schools and worked on teachers improving their practise. They observed the teacher, they demonstrated, they worked with the whole staff so everyone got the same message… that’s how you improve teachers and improve learning.

            Sadly, good programmes like this have gone. So tell the accountant to get out his abacus, and tell Graham Henry he already knows all he needs to know.

            And just because principals get extra money to collate National Standards data still does not make National Standards sound educational practise. I could pay my vet to remove my cat’s claws, but would that be sound vetinarian practise?

          • Miss

            Check out this link to find out what has been happening in the USA with their policy ‘Race to the Top’ and how it is affecting their education system and narrowing their curriculum, stunting the innovation and creativity of US school children and consequently the future of the US:  http://pegwithpen.blogspot.com/2011/10/americas-got-talent-not-under-corporate.html

            Did you note that China is moving in the opposite direction?  Singapore is too.

            And I have seen this for myself when I taught in England.  By then they had had their national testing for several years.  These kids would not take risks, unlike our kids in NZ, because these kids had been taught to the test.  Something as simple as asking them to draw a picture about a story I read them had the English kids in panic, demanding I draw it for them.  My class of kiwi kids love to draw about the book I am reading – and there are no pictures in a chapter book.  The kiwi kids draw their understanding of the text, and it helps them to comprehend what is happening.

            In England I encounted kids that could regurgitate a lot of information about the reproduction system of a flower, because it was in the curriculum to teach year after year because it would be in the test at the year of certain years.  But none of them had actually planted any plants and looked after them or could describe how a plant develops in real life, unlike the kids at many schools in NZ who have gardens and look after them and use the produce.

            And I would like you to consider this….

            Jesus said the poor will always be with us.  Unsurprisingly, over 2000 years later, the poor are still with us.

            Well, not every person is academic.  Many children will find learning different aspects of academic work challenging, just like others find anything sporting difficult, some kids will sing dead flat, some can’t draw or dance or act to save themselves.  Teachers will strive to give every child the opportunity to learn these things, give them extra help, find another angle to come from to help these kids…. and sometimes BANG! it works… sometimes it will click the next year or with another teacher… and on rare occasions…. well…

            But all is not lost as this article on Friday in the Herald demonstrated:  http://www.nzherald.co.nz/education/news/article.cfm?c_id=35&objectid=10755334

            So don’t slam a teacher just because one kid didn’t get it.  For every one kid who didn’t get it, twenty others did.  And not every kids learns at the same pace as every other kid does.  That’s what makes us humans individuals.  We just have to keep giving that child opportunities to achieve in what they struggle at as well as what they succeed at. 

            And good on the parents who do get extra help for their kids.  I’ve actually found with some kids it helps them click it all into place.  I may have planted a seed, but someone else has got the right fertiliser and watered that seed at the right time to helpt that child grow.  Because sometimes there is more than one way to skin a cat.

            And to finish…. check out:  http://www.facebook.com/#!/photo.php?fbid=271566262865100&set=a.108657752489286.10937.100000351862832&type=1&theater

            This graphic snippet says a lot.

  • Cadwallader

    Teachers in NZ are such a bunch of unionised losers they wouldn’t recognise freedom if it hit them.

    • Orangenz

      How is that comment different from “He’s just a right wing ignorant git who needs a bit of quality education”? Can’t we just go back to bashing comedians?

    • Miss

      If it wasn’t for unionism, we wouldn’t have achieved the 40 hour week and 8 hour work da (but that’s kind of gone out the window since National’s education reform!). We wouldn’t have health and safety measures in the work place.

      I agree that many times in the past that some unions have milked the system, but this is a different time now.

      NZEI is not merely a union. Note that the word ‘union’ is not mentioned in its full title: New Zealand Education Institute. The ‘institute’ refers to teaching being a profession. NZEI is committed to the ongoing professional development of teachers (primary and ECE) and support staff to improve the education system in New Zealand. NZEI engages in research and participates in areas such as the new Curriculum when it was developed.

      Unfortunately, Anne Tolley did not want to listen to anyone else but her little group. She needed no consultation, because she had the flawed policy she wanted to put out.

      Interestingly, education groups (including individual schools) weren’t the only ones who ceased to be communicated with once the National government came in. It is the same in every other sector – health, social issues…..

  • Anonymous

    Well, Miss you are doing a great job of moving the conversation away from what the original point was. Lets get back to that, huh?

    The point of the original post is the group of teachers and principals agitating against implementing the law seem to be unhappy that the nasty puerile thoughts they are carrying around and posting on Facebook might be observed by others. Because one particular person is making it his business to observe what is being said, he is labelled an ignorant git. Nice.

    In addition, these teachers and principals are expending an extraordinary amount of energy resisting some simple reporting requirements of their employer.

    No-one is being asked to change their teaching method. No-one is demanding that the curriculum change, or that the targets be changed. 

    All that is being asked is that the assessments be reported so that the Ministry of Education can make some informed decisions about education.

    Most of us parents would prefer it if you just got on and did it.

    • Miss

      The point is Rouppe that the data will be flawed because the Standards themselves are flawed.  That is the whole point of teachers and prinicipals and educational academics opposing the Standards and consequently National Testing (which I can assure you National already has in the pipeline – tenders are being called for as we write), and then will come league tables. 

      No good has come of similar programmes in other countries – we have the data to back that up.

      Does Anne Tolley have the data to back up her assertions that National Standards will fix her perceived ‘crisis’ in education?

      No, she doesn’t.  Because she had no research done on these Standards, no trials.

      Our New Zealand Curriculum had research and trials to back it up before it was introduced – and it is being relegated to the back room by the flawed Standards.

      Rouppe, I take it you have children… 

      So would you let the doctor give your child a medication without it being trialled, tested and researched? 

      I don’t think you would.  So why would you let your kid’s education be toyed with by something that has not been tested?

      And check out my links.  You might be surprised what you learn about teachers and how they teach and why.