Lessons learned from lockdowns in 2020 have helped Te Wānanga o Aotearoa kaiako prepare themselves and their tauira for this year’s extended period of learning online.
Salote Panapa, who works with He Korowai Ākonga tauira in Tāmaki, says after last year, they ensure tauira knew what to do in the advent of further lockdowns.
“My team here in Tāmaki are flexible and adaptable, and we’ve been able to do that successfully with online delivery. We prepare our tauira and ourselves so that if this happens, we can go to plan B,” she says.
“We’ve always taught our tauira that we could end up in this situation.”
She says teaching online from home has as many challenges as learning from home does.
“Teaching from home is not easy, my husband is also working from home so we take shifts with the kids.”
“But I take my hat off to our tauira, a lot of them are mums with small children and I’m so proud of every single one of them. They’ve jumped on and continued with their mahi.”
Tauira have organised amongst themselves times when they are able to come together online, usually in the evenings.
“They have organised study times when they have the time, often when the kids have gone to bed. Around 8.30pm is when most of them are free and have some time to complete aromatawai.”
Each cohort has a dedicated kaitiaki who has regular online sessions with them while Salote also has scheduled times with each cohort and uses it to keep them updated and engaged with their learning.
“I reiterate where we are at, and update them or even just talk. It’s an opportunity for them to offload and just to be together. The whakawhanaungatanga we had at the start of the course was really important, so they know their kaiako are here and ready to support them in any way we can.”
“Zoom is the best we can do at this point, so I remind them why they started this journey but I also give them space, because it’s not just about them, it’s also about their whānau.”
Salote coordinates the teaching practicums for tauira and says that’s been particularly challenging, with schools closed.
“We are working hard in the background to do whatever we can to support them.”
However, the lockdowns have also had unexpected benefits for tauira, she says.
“Losing out on face-to-face teaching and learning is hard, but in terms of upskilling, they are now familiar with remote teaching and that gives them an advantage because remote teaching might well be the reality for them, so in some ways they get a head start.”
“It’s a balancing act but I am very proud of them all.”