This morning a group of twelve year 5 and 6 students at Muritai School came together for their first day of an 8 week enrichment programme. These students will be coming together one day a week to learn through Mantle of the Expert. They will create belief in a fictional company called 'NZ Documentary Designs' and their roles as principal researchers and documentary designers. We are going to be investigating the early 1950s and the Tangiwai Disaster. This blog will record our learning journey. To check out more about 'Mantle of the Expert' see the links on the right hand side of this blog page.
SETTING OUR GOALS
The first thing we did this morning after welcomes, introductions, and some warm up games, was to co-construct some goals about what we will be doing over the next 8 weeks. This is what we came up with together:
To be involved in a different way of learning called Mantle of the Expert
To do some drama
To learn to work in role
To have belief in our roles and to create a story together.
To learn about the Tangiwai disaster including the people who were involved, the place where it happened, and the science behind the Lahar that caused the tragedy.
To be creative and inquiring
To have the chance to make decisions about how we do things – like adults in real jobs
To learn how to work as a group, learn when to lead and when to follow
To have fun
THE NEXT THING WE DID WAS TO HAVE A GO AT BEING IN ROLE
“It’s 8 o’clock in the morning and there is a group of people who will be starting a new job this morning. They are all at their houses packing their bags for their first day at work…they open their bags and start to pack the things they will need on their first day.
I wonder what thoughts these people have as they pack their bags….”
Photos of the students frozen at a moment when they were packing their bags. When they were shoulder tapped they spoke aloud a thought that was running through their heads in role.
The spoken aloud thoughts:
“I really hope my new boss isn’t strict”
“Oh no, where’s my laptop?”
“I wonder if this top goes well with these pants…I want to make a good impression”
“I wonder where my phone is?”
“I hope they have snacks at the office”
“I shouldn’t have slept in”
“do I look good in green?”
“I hope I don’t mess up”
EXPLORING THE SPACE OF A FICTIONAL COMPANY
Fictional Staff Notice Board: Newspaper articles, Qantas Film and Television awards for winning documentaries, ratings information, letters from companies wanting to advertise during screening of documentary, and letters from the public in response to documentaries made by 'NZ Documentary Designs'.
Fictional DVDs made by NZ Documentary Designs.
The next thing we did was explore a fictional company space to look for clues about what kind of company it was, what kinds of people worked there, what kinds of work the people who came here everyday did, and whether the people who worked there were good at their jobs.
We learnt that this space belonged to a group of researchers who worked for a company called 'New Zealand Documentary Designs'. We learnt that this company valued intelligent research, creativity, honesty and accuracy of facts, unique research, ability to present information that was interesting to both young and old audiences. We also learnt that this company made award winning documentaries on interesting topics. The team that worked here was of a very high calibre!
We then agreed to believe, that in the story we create over the next 8 weeks, we are going to be stepping into role as this team.
In the afternoon we came together for a discussion/'think tank' around the following question:
Is there such a thing as a New Zealander today?
Here are some of the thoughts that were shared:
“yes there is. New Zealanders are people who are born here”
“also people with New Zealand citizenship”
“it also has to do with blood relations, if you are born overseas but your parents are from New Zealand you would still be a New Zealander”
“having different cultures and races in New Zealand doesn’t mean you are not a New Zealander, that is what makes us unique and different”
“Paul Henry got in lots of trouble because he said ‘is the next Governor General going to look like a New Zealander’ – it was really rude”
“it was an embarrassment for New Zealand”
“he had to apologise to India”
“you can’t look like a New Zealander cos we all look different”
“New Zealanders speak a certain type of English that is different from other countries that speak English – kiwi English”
“we sound different”
“we have an accent”
“we have lazy, short vowels”
“we are different because we are a small country, we have a small population”
“we are quite a new country we don’t have big towers and castles”
“people can tell you are a New Zealander by the way you act”
“New Zealanders are easy going”
“New Zealander is a term for someone who represents New Zealand”
“we lead the world in dairy”
“A New Zealander split the atom and climbed Mount Everest first”
“we were the first country where women could vote”
“There was Yvette Williams who was a famous sportswoman in the 1950s”
“There is Valerie Adams, she throws her discuss 20 metres and the next closest is 16 metres”
“Ryan Nelson is one of the best soccer players in the world"
A WORD FROM JOY COWLEY TO FINISH UP
To finish up we looked at an article written by Joy Cowley who ponders the answer to a question that an American professor once asked her:
“You have such a small population,” he said, “and yet if you take the top ten names in the world in any field – sport, medicine, education, music, whatever-one name will be a New Zealander. How do you explain this?"
Joy Cowley says:
“I can think of a number of contributing factors: isolation, a small population, a pioneer-do-it-yourself attitude, opportunity. But the main indicator for excellence it an education system that encourages creative thinking” (From 'Education Aotearoa' Spring Issue)
Lots of food for thought! Next week we are going to begin work on our first job as principal researchers for our company 'New Zealand Documentary Designs'. We will be exploring the early 1950s to see if we can unearth any New Zealand heroes or heroic events. Having discussed whether there is such a thing as a New Zealander today we will consider whether there was such a thing as a New Zealander in the 1950s.