Tuesday 13 February 2024

2024 Here we go

 Hello! I'm thrilled to be here and reintroduce myself as your passionate Across Manaiakalani Scott Mansell. As we embark on this educational journey together, I want to share a bit about who I am and my commitment to fostering a love for history within our student body.

With a genuine enthusiasm for the past and a dedication to creating meaningful connections with my students, I aim to make the study of history not only informative but also engaging and enjoyable. I firmly believe that history is more than just a collection of dates and events; it is a rich tapestry that weaves together the stories of people, cultures, and civilizations.

My journey into the world of education began with a deep-rooted passion for history and a desire to share its wonders with others. Armed with 12 years of teaching at Tamaki College, I have honed my skills to provide students with a comprehensive and insightful understanding of the past. My goal is to empower students to think critically, ask questions, and develop a lifelong curiosity about the world around them.

One of the cornerstones of my teaching philosophy is the belief in building strong, positive relationships with my students. I understand that each student is unique, with individual learning styles, strengths, and challenges. By creating a supportive and inclusive classroom environment, I strive to make history accessible to all, fostering an atmosphere where students feel comfortable expressing their thoughts and opinions.

I am excited to be a part of the Manaiakalani community, and I look forward to inspiring and guiding each student on their academic journey. Whether exploring ancient civilizations, analysing pivotal moments in history, or delving into the stories of remarkable individuals, my aim is to instill a deep appreciation for the subject and equip students with the critical thinking skills necessary for success in their future endeavors.

I encourage students to approach history with an open mind, ready to uncover the fascinating narratives that have shaped our world. Let's make history not just a subject to study but a journey to experience and enjoy together. Here's to a fantastic school year filled with discovery, growth, and a shared passion for learning!

Tuesday 7 November 2023


Teaching in a secondary school in Glen Innes it has become clear to me that collaboration among teachers is essential and can improve the educational experience for students. 

Collaboration does not need to be intimidating. Many believe that it can add to work load, and given how time poor teachers are, it can be resisted. However, the exchange of ideas, resources, and teaching strategies creates a dynamic learning environment that transcends individual classrooms. It also can empower students to see learning across different areas. This not only strengthens their subject knowledge but also promotes a culture of continuous learning, which is essential in the ever-evolving field of education.


As teachers work together, they leverage their collective expertise to enhance curriculum design, instructional methods, and student support mechanisms.

Traditionally, teachers often worked in isolation within the confines of their classrooms. It is this silo approach to teaching and learning that many students struggle with. Recently I asked a year 9 class their thoughts. Comments included “I think having a teacher works together will be more consistent because I will learn more each day”. One student even noted that “I like it when I feel that my teachers are all working together to make my learning more understandable and consistent.

While collaboration offers numerous benefits, it is not without its challenges. Time constraints, differing teaching styles, and logistical issues can hinder collaborative efforts. My advice is to start small, and informally. Even working with one other subject - English and Social Studies for instance, can be a good place to start. 

Wednesday 3 May 2023

Inquiry 2023

 For many of our students, motivation and engagement are a challenge. Are we doing everything we can as educators to ensure that our students are best set up for success.

Consider a year 13 student doing 5 subjects.  Let's say each subject has 4 assessments. Each assessment is 1000 words (some are more). That's an expected 20,000 word output - the same as a postgraduate dissertation. Is it any wonder that so many of our kids are struggling to pass? Struggling to reach their true potential. And when you add in external factors

Is there an opportunity for teachers to collaberate around common topics, for example local curriculum, in order to both work together as well as make it easier for our students. Could the same piece of work be assessed in multiple ways?

Consider the following

"Collaboration amongst teachers provides the opportunity for collective ownership of the local curriculum, which in turn leads to a sense of belonging and purpose for both teachers and students. This sense of belonging is linked to improved wellbeing and achievement outcomes for students."

New Zealand Ministry of Education, 2020

"Collaboration amongst teachers is essential for ensuring that the local curriculum is tailored to meet the needs of all students. By working together, teachers can identify and address the unique needs of their students, leading to improved engagement, motivation, and achievement."

Dr. Rachel McNae, Senior Lecturer at the University of Waikato, New Zealand.

I look forward to exploring this as inquiry in 2023

Wednesday 15 February 2023

2023 Goals Wishes and hopes

 Kia Ora, and welcome to 2023

I am excited to be back working in Manaiakalani as an Across Kahui Ako Teacher this year. As with 2022 my focus will be on the understanding of an the implementation of the Aotearoa Histories Curriculum. I do feel I come into the year with a greater focus and appreciation for not only the "lay of the land" but also more understanding of the opportunities that the new curriculum present both schools and learners.

I really enjoyed the opportunity to meet with teachers, with principals and with learners to grow historical understandings. A particular highlight of 2022 was partnering with Ngāti Paoa to deliver professional development for staff, students and local hikoi exploring the local area. I look forward to this continuing in 2023.

As we look forward to 2023 a particular focus will be growing understanding of the four strands of the curriculum. These are

  1. Maori History is the foundational and continuous history of  New Zealand. This has been a focus in 2022. 
  2. Colonisation is the central force of our history in the last 200 years. 
  3. Power is at the centre of most that has happened in New Zealand History,
  4.  New Zealand History does not occur in a vacuum. We are a connected country, and much of our history relates to how we have interacted with the rest of the world.

Also, in conjunction with this I want to enquire about how collaberation across NCEA subjects can reduce our workload of our students by using common learning themes and assessing them in multiple ways.

I look forward to working with colleagues and learners in 2023.


Sunday 16 October 2022

History Engagement

 In my time as a history teacher, and even reflecting on my time as a learner, students' experience of New Zealand History has resulted in boredom and a reluctance to learn or engage in local stories. There is a perception that “interesting” or “real” history didn’t happen locally

So as for my enquiry I decided to survey a year 9 class to determine their views on learning about local history.

Pre trip 61% felt local history was important. This rose to 87% post trip.

Pre trip 19% said NZ history was boring - 28% said maybe. This dropped to 6% and 6% maybe post trip.

There is evidence to suggest that an authentic engagement with local history via Mana Whenua lifts both student interest and engagement with the stories of the past. 

This is backed up by research overseas 

The merits of teaching local history: Increased place attachment enhances civic engagement and social trust

So now the challenge is to grow the learning beyond the trip itself into the classroom

Need to conduct some student interviews re their views on Local History in more depth

"Ka mua, ka muri" is a whakatauki that many will know means "walking backwards into the future" - the idea we should look to the past to inform the future.

There is emerging evidence that local historical understanding can build community pride as students become more aware of their local community.

Thursday 30 June 2022

Last day of the DFI

 Today was the last day of my journey attending the Manaiakalani Digital Fluency Intensive.

Our focus at the start of the day was on empowerment. Unfortunately many of the whanau of our learners exist with a lack of empowerment. This has been made worse by two years of Covid lockdowns and restrictions. Unfortunately that is reflected in many of the social statistics in modern Aotearoa. The challenge is to combat this and many of initatives that manaiakalani have are designed to combat these.

Our attention turned to the future of technology. In particular what does this mean for our young people. The world is shifting particually around the area of automation. Theere are break through technologies around the world such as Elon Musks' star link and even in New Zealand companies such as rocket lab are changing the dynamic as to what is possible. Increasingly, Robots are replacing humans and changing industries such as agriculture and manufacturing. The development of these technologies means that is crucial to have a conversation about whose world view is reflected in these platforms. Awareness is crucial of any biases that may exist in terms of Artificial Intelligence.

We were joined by some amazing year 6 students from Point England Primary who showed us real life examples of how the Manaiakalani Learn Create Share Kaupapa is embedded in their school on a daily basis. They were amazing ambassadors for their school.

An opportunity to explore coding software is always fun and I am going to challenge myself to find opportunities to use in my classroom.  The afternoon was spent exploring applications such as scratch to develop our coding skills. It was a lot of fun and I can see how students would enjoy engaging with this technology.

The DFI has been an amazing learning experiance and I feel more equipped as a teacher with my digital technology skills and look forward to embbedding this in my practice.  

Thursday 16 June 2022

Devices Day

 Day 7 of the DFI continued with a focus on Devices. Getting the opportunity to connect using the devices that our students use. 

Dorothy kicked things off remotely from Christchurch with a brief on ubiquitous learning. We have all become familiar with this as a result of the covid lockdowns and the need to learn remotely.  The idea of this is that students can have the barriers of time removed. The students can chose when to engage with their working. Students are empowered to extend learning at a time that works for them. It also enables students to live local and learn global. Students can learn at their on pace. Manaiakalani initatives such as the summer learning journey have shown that learning opportunities outside the traditional school day have shown to improve outcomes for students. 

We were then given an opportunity to use Chromebooks to explore their functionality. It was great to experiance how they operate and the various keyboard shortcuts. It is similiar (but different!) to the macbook that I am familiar with. We also got to experiance using a whiteboard style app on an Ipad which I can imagine is particually engaging for younger learners.

In the afternoon session we build a workspace - and learned how to make it engaging for learners. You can view it here