Challenging the future of education
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.