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Six top teachers from early childhood, primary and secondary education sectors, including one of Indian origin, received the ASG National Excellence in Teaching Awards (NEiTA) for their outstanding contributions.
Education Minister Chris Hipkins presented the Awards at a ceremony held in the Great Hall of Parliament in Wellington on Friday, February 21, 2020. The event also marked the 25th Anniversary of the Awards in New Zealand.
Wanaka Secondary School teacher Christopher Waugh won this year’s ASG NEiTA Innovation Award which recognised his three innovations, which included handing over the control of learning to students, with the support of teachers and the school management.
An English teacher at Mount Aspiring College in Wanaka, he coaches the School’s triathlon team and has his own podcast called ‘See Me After Class,’ and other innovations to his credit.
He introduced the ‘You Choose’ student course selection scheme, which requires teachers to develop learning programmes and present a ‘pitch’ to students, who then pick a course of their sometimes based on who will be teaching. This aids the development of strong student-teacher relationships and also lets the teacher know they are doing a great job if they find that their course is popular.
His second classroom innovation was to enable students to present their work on blogs, ushering a transparent means of publishing and sharing classwork.
Christopher is currently working on the ‘Unlock Achievement’ project that will replace traditional testing in the school with access to digital credentials that students can unlock at any time on their educational journey. This will allow students to curate their learning, improving student agency, and supporting resilience as it allows them to ‘try again.’
The other recipients are: Carl McIntyre, Cornerstone Christian School (Palmerston North) Learning Support Teacher who won the ASG NEiTA Founders’ Award for Leadership; Aimee MacAskill, University of Auckland Early Childhood Centres’ General Manager; Lee Tibble, a teacher at Royal Oak Intermediate School Auckland, Renu Sikka (of Indian origin), a Teacher at Henderson Primary School (Auckland) and Catherine Broman, Acting Deputy Principal and Literacy Specialist at David Henry School in Tokoroa.
Carl McIntyre is passionate about supporting students who struggle to succeed in a normal classroom environment. He stands out as a leader on a range of important issues such as learning support and developing tailored support programmes for students with learning disabilities and helping them create successful and relevant career pathways.
Aimee MacAskill said that a good or great teacher is someone truly dedicated to the growth and development of children in all areas.
Renu Sikka has been described by her nominator as “an amazing teacher and deserves to be recognised by the community and this prestigious award for her enthusiasm and devotion to the field of education in Aotearoa.
Renuka said, “Schools that are successful in engaging parents in learning are consistent in their practice and build strong relationships based on mutual trust, respect and a commitment to improving student learning outcomes. It is a two-way street!”
ASG NEiTA Chairman Allen Blewitt said that the recipients are outstanding educational role models.
“These teachers are leaders among their colleagues in an education setting, innovators among the teaching profession, and people engaging with others within the community. I look forward to seeing how they continue to change lives through their work,” he said.
ASG Ross Higgins said that the winners represent dedicated teachers across New Zealand who genuinely care about the educational success and wellbeing of their students.
“They are education heroes in their own right,” he said.
About NEiTA Foundation
Since its establishment in 1994, the NEiTA Foundation has contributed more than $1 million in professional development grants to more than 1050 outstanding teachers in Australia and New Zealand.
The national recipients are selected by a panel of four judges comprising New Zealand Schools Trustees Association President Lorraine Kerr, John Paul College Principal and Chair of SIEBA Patrick Walsh, NEiTA Foundation Chairman Allen Blewitt and ASG Policy, Advocacy and Stakeholder Relations Manager David Michell.
The Australian Scholarships Group (ASG) is a member-owned organisation, helping to create educational opportunities for children. ASG has been helping families and their children for 45 years. During this time, more than 557,000 children have been enrolled with ASG and more than $3.35 billion in education benefits and scholarship payments returned to members.
The ASG National Excellence in Teaching Awards started in Australia in 1994 and in New Zealand in 1996. More than 40,000 teachers have been nominated by the community in the two countries.
Education Minister Chris Hopkins (third from left) with (from left) Carl McIntyre, Lee Tibble, Aimee MacAskill, Christopher Waugh, Catherine Broman, Renu Sikka and Allen Blewitt (Picture from Facebook)