#NZAREtop10: Our top 10 most-read posts of 2019

2019 was a great year here on Ipu Kererū! Our fabulous NZARE members continued to contribute posts on a wide range of topics, sharing their research findings and their opinions on educational issues in Aotearoa New Zealand and beyond. Our blog audience also continued to grow, with posts reaching researchers, teachers, tertiary students, educational leaders, journalists, and community members in NZ and around the world.

We are proud to share this collection of our top 10 most-read posts of 2019. 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 2020! Check out the information for contributors here, or contact us at blog@nzare.org.nz


1. The Tomorrow’s Schools Taskforce Report series

Tomorrow's schools review

It is fitting that our most-read contributions of 2019 related to one of the most significant reviews undertaken in NZ education in the past 30 years. In this four-part blog series, Professor Martin Thrupp and Dr Katrina McChesney considered and critiqued the recommendations made by the Tomorrow’s Schools review taskforce as well as the processes and conversations that surrounded the review.

2. Reading Recovery fails too many students every year

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Our second most popular contribution of 2019 tackled an important issue in the New Zealand schooling sector: the persistent number of students whose reading difficulties are not addressed through the widespread Reading Recovery intervention. Professor James Chapman argued that Reading Recovery is not achieving its purpose and is now out of step with new knowledge about how children learn to read.

3. Phonics and decodable readers: A u-turn or not?

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Our next most-read post also related to children learning to read, following a Ministry of Education announcement that they would begin providing decodable readers to support literacy instruction. In their blog post, Associate Professor Alison Arrow and Professor James Chapman reviewed research (including their own) about how children learn to read and the role of explicit, systematic phonics instruction.

4. What’s the problem represented to be? A policy analysis tool designed by Carol Bacchi and some recent applications in the area of early childhood education policy

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In our fourth most-read contribution, Dr Suzanne Manning introduced a policy analysis tool that is relatively unknown in Aotearoa New Zealand but that provides a useful approach to examining and disrupting the ways problems are represented in policy. Suzanne then shared three practical examples of how the tool has been used in relation to early childhood education policies in Australia and New Zealand.

5. The Hikairo Schema: Culturally responsive teaching and learning in early childhood education settings – an overview

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Our fifth most popular post of 2019 was based on a new resource that was developed to support culturally responsive practice in ECE settings. In this blog post, Professor Angus Macfarlane, Associate Professor Sonja Macfarlane, and Benita Rarere-Briggs introduced their Hikairo Schema (comprising seven dimensions of culturally responsive practice) and signalled how each dimension relates to ECE practice.

6. Teaching mathematics creatively: Using problems and rich tasks

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Pedagogical practice in mathematics is always a hot topic. In our sixth most-read blog post of 2019, Judy Bailey explored some of the key shifts involved in teaching through rich tasks and problem solving, and provided some practical suggestions and resources for teachers who are beginning or already on this journey.

7. It’s still racism: Benevolent racism harming Māori students

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In this post, Dr Melissa Derby tackled the sensitive topic of benevolent racism, where well-meaning actions towards members of a marginalised culture actually do more harm than good. Melissa shared an example of benevolent racism in an educational context and called on all of us to maintain high, strength-based expectations for Māori students and remember that excellence is a cornerstone of Māori learning both traditionally and today.

8. What’s on top? Current research in Aotearoa New Zealand education

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This special blog post highlighted a virtual issue of the New Zealand Journal of Educational Studies (NZJES), NZARE’s official journal. To create the virtual issue, the NZJES editors selected six recent articles from the journal that represent important issues that have been discussed in the journal and that have been of interest to readers. Together, these articles give us a window into “What’s on top?” at present in educational research in Aotearoa New Zealand. The blog post introduces each of the six articles and contains links to the published versions.

9. Ko te kai a te rangatira he kōrero: Discussion is the food of chiefs

melissa & awa

In this post, Dr Melissa Derby reported on her doctoral research into early literacy development among Māori children and their whānau. Building on strength-based views of Māori tribal groups’ historic adoption of literacy in the 19th century, Melissa designed, implemented, and evaluated the impact of a culturally responsive early literacy intervention set within Māori children’s home environments.

10. Whose story counts? Enacting a state narrative of biculturalism in New Zealand education

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Our final post in this collection challenged how narratives of biculturalism and harmonious race relations are enacted in New Zealand classrooms. Dr Liana MacDonald drew on her doctoral research to argue that everyday classroom interactions sustain a view of biculturalism that upholds state versions of the Treaty narrative but undermines Māori realities. To move forward, Liana argued that schools must move beyond sanitised narratives and, instead, tackle ‘difficult knowledge’ that more accurately reflects the lived experiences of Māori.


In addition to celebrating the 10 posts listed above, special mention must go to three posts from 2018 that continued to attract large numbers of readers throughout 2019:

How should we group students in primary mathematics classrooms?
Professor Bobbie Hunter, Dr Jodie Hunter, and Professor Glenda Anthony

Group work DMIC 2

From the rākau to the ngākau:
Exploring authentic approaches to leadership, policy, and pedagogy

Associate Professor Sonja Macfarlane and Dr Melissa DerbyMāori values

The war against cluttered classrooms:
Do our classrooms impact negatively on children’s ability to learn?

Nicola McDowell

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A big THANK YOU to all our wonderful contributors, and to you, our readers! We look forward to another great year for Ipu Kererū in 2020.

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