Chal­leng­ing the fu­ture of ed­u­ca­tion

Marlborough Express - The Saturday Express, Marlborough - - FRONT PAGE - DAVID JAMES

As the end of term ap­proaches, at least one teacher in Marl­bor­ough is al­ready think­ing about the next school year.

Marl­bor­ough Girls’ Col­lege as­sis­tant prin­ci­pal Anna Col­man will be wing­ing her way overseas for study and travel in 2018 af­ter be­ing awarded a pres­ti­gious Woolf Fisher Fel­low­ship.

The fel­low­ships, first handed out in 1960, are de­signed to send se­condary, in­ter­me­di­ate and pri­mary prin­ci­pals and se­condary teach­ers off­shore to ex­am­ine dif­fer­ent teach­ing prac­tices.

For the lo­cal girl who once at­tended the Blen­heim school, the fuss comes as a bit of a sur­prise.

‘‘I came into my desk and there was this let­ter telling me I was go­ing to get this fel­low­ship.

‘‘And I was like: ‘I didn’t ap­ply for this!’’’ Col­man laughs.

‘‘Ap­par­ently it’s not an un­typ­i­cal fash­ion in which peo­ple are no­ti­fied of their award. One day you just ar­rive at your desk to find a let­ter with your name on it.’’

The fel­low­ship will mean $10,000 worth of fund­ing and two weeks vis­it­ing six dif­fer­ent Aus­tralian schools. The award is pre­sented to those in the ed­u­ca­tion sys­tem who por­tray lead­er­ship abil­i­ties and wish to fur­ther their ca­reer in ed­u­ca­tion.

But Col­man, who has been teach­ing for just seven years, says she al­ready has her own vi­sion for the fu­ture of ed­u­ca­tion.

‘‘I def­i­nitely want to look at im­prov­ing our tech­nol­ogy cur­ricu­lum. I also have strong sup- port role for Ma¯ori stu­dents here as well. I’m re­ally keen to see what the Aus­tralian schools are do­ing for their indige­nous peo­ple. I think we are mak­ing great progress in New Zealand, so it will be in in­ter­est­ing to see what other schools are do­ing.’’

Col­man says that tech­nol­ogy is chang­ing the face of schools in New Zealand, and the fu­ture of ed­u­ca­tion is not just about chang- ing teach­ing meth­ods, but also chang­ing at­ti­tudes in the com­mu­nity.

‘‘For Marl­bor­ough ed­u­ca­tion to ad­vance in the way it needs to over the next five to 10 years, I think we re­ally need to be in a closer part­ner­ship with the lo­cal busi­nesses and in­dus­try,’’ she says.

‘‘That’s un­tapped and we could be do­ing more.

‘‘We have a huge num­ber of young peo­ple in the 18 to 25 age bracket leav­ing town. How do we re­tain them or in­spire them to come back?’’

To­day Col­man says it’s not so much about pre­par­ing stu­dents just for univer­sity, it’s about em­pow­er­ing them to make choices for their fu­ture.

‘‘Nowa­days with so­cial me­dia there is a lot of neg­a­tive role mod­el­ling. So I feel re­ally priv­i­leged to be in this role, be­cause I can chal­lenge some of the girls… We want to be in­spire our girls to get into busi­ness, to be our next fu­ture lead­ers, con­trib­ute to the com­mu­nity, which prob­a­bly wasn’t in con­ver­sa­tions when I was at school – that you could, as a fe­male, go out and set up your own busi­ness. ‘‘I say look out! ‘‘We’ve got some pretty con­fi­dent, well-con­nected girls com­ing through that will ques­tion, and will chal­lenge, and will go for those lead­er­ship roles.’’


Anna Col­man, as­sis­tant prin­ci­pal at Marl­bor­ough Girls’ Col­lege, has been awarded a Woolf Fisher Fel­low­ship for 2018.

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