#NZAREtop10: Our top 10 most-read posts of 2018

2018 was a great year here on Ipu Kererū! With 61 blog posts contributed by our fabulous NZARE members, we had lots to learn, think about, discuss and share. We also had readers from all corners of the globe – from Australia to Argentina, Canada to Cameroon, South Africa to Saudi Arabia, and Vanuatu to Zimbabwe.

We are proud to share this collection of our top 10 most-read posts of 2018. We value all our posts and acknowledge the importance of all aspects of education and educational research – but we share this collection as a ‘window’ into our blog and a ‘thank you’ to all our contributors.

The posts below span a range of topics and come from contributors at all career stages. This breadth and inclusiveness is part of what we think makes NZARE so special. We’d love to work with YOU to publish your blog contributions in 2019! Check out the information for contributors here, or contact us at blog@nzare.org.nz

1. How should we group students in primary maths classrooms? (link)

Group work DMIC 2

Read over 11,000 times, our most popular post of 2018 tackled a pressing question faced by school teachers across Aotearoa NZ: classroom grouping practices. Professor Bobbie Hunter, Dr Jodie Hunter and Professor Glenda Anthony challenged traditional ability grouping practices and discussed what more effective and more equitable grouping practices might look like.

2. Beyond Māori boys’ writing: Reading and writing our WORLD (link)

Reading our World

Our second most popular contribution of 2018 was not a single post, but a seven-part series contributed by the Warrior Researchers of Kia Aroha College. Mentored by NZARE member Dr Ann Milne, these remarkable Year 12 and 13 students engaged in youth participatory action research as they conducted a critical examination of racism within the NZ education system and the Kāhui Ako | Communities of Learning initiative. The blog posts were based on the Warrior Researchers’ symposium presentation at the 2017 NZARE conference in Hamilton.

3. From the rākau to the ngākau: Exploring authentic approaches to leadership, policy, and pedagogy (link)

Māori values

In the context of increasing national efforts to ensure that educational policy and practice are culturally responsive, Associate Professor Sonja Macfarlane and Melissa Derby offered some challenging insights in our third most popular post of 2018. They questioned whether schools’ efforts to incorporate kaupapa Māori values remain little more than words – or whether these values have permeated to the very heart (ngākau) of school life and practice.

4. Children starting school: Research-based advice for parents, whānau and teachers (link)

back to school

Our fourth most-read contribution was a two-part series summarising research-based advice around children’s transition to school. Ipu Kererū co-editors Dr Katrina McChesney and Associate Professor Jenny Ritchie offered one post aimed at supporting parents and whānau and another post aimed at supporting teachers to ensure that children’s transitions to school are as positive and healthy as possible.

5. Spontaneous singing and young children’s musical agency (link)

Bronya cover image

Dr Bronya Dean’s doctoral research formed the basis of our fifth most popular post. She investigated the ways young children engaged in spontaneous singing within their everyday home lives. In this post, she specifically highlights the sophisticated ways that the children in her study used singing to influence themselves and others and to make sense of their place in the world.

6. Creative thinking and the new Digital Technologies curriculum (link)

01 blackboard idea

NZ’s new Digital Technologies curriculum was launched in 2018 and will be implemented across Years 1-10 in all schools by 2020. In this post, Chris Petrie explores the ways this new curriculum might offer opportunities for creative thinking, play and exploration, drawing on principles from Mitchel Resnick’s book Lifelong Kindergarten.

7. The war against cluttered classrooms: Do our classrooms impact negatively on children’s ability to learn? (link)


In our seventh most read post, Nicola McDowell reports on her master’s research into the impacts of visually cluttered classroom environments. She asks teachers to consider whether an overload of visual stimulation might be negatively impacting on children’s learning and behaviours.

8. Joining the pieces of the tivaevae to enact strength-based mathematics learning for Pāsifika students in Aotearoa New Zealand (link)

Tivaevae model

This four-part blog series was based on the NZARE-supported symposium at the 2018 American Educational Research Association conference in New York. Professor Bobbie Hunter, Dr Jodie Hunter and Professor Glenda Anthony report on their work within the Developing Mathematical Inquiry Communities project, specifically focusing on teachers’ and teacher educators’ learning and development related to culturally responsive practice in mathematics.

9. ‘Forced fit’ or belonging as Māori? (link)


In this post, Professor Mere Berryman critiques the NZ education system’s lack of space for the aspirations and identity, reviewing the mandates for change in this area and the evidence we already have to indicate what sorts of strategies and practices will bring about the changes we need. She looks ahead to a vision of an education system in which rather than trying to ‘fit in’, Māori students know that they truly belong.

10. ‘Slow education’ and its links to sustainability (link)


Our final post in this collection also offers a re-visioning of education. Dr Anita Mortlock introduces the philosophy of ‘slow education and highlights a selection of pedagogical practices that align with the slow education philosophy: the privileging of deep relationships, connections to the natural world, and loose parts play.

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