The New Zealand Global Competence Certificate (NZGCC) is a research-backed certification that teaches cultural self-awareness, empathy for other cultures, and ways to build bridges in multicultural settings. Education New Zealand provided the Foundation with full scholarships for the Champions to take part and the programme, which was delivered by facilitators from Massey University.
Jane Bassett, a Foundation Champion and food technology teacher at Havelock North Intermediate, says connecting with the overseas teachers (from South Korea, Indonesia and Vietnam) was a highlight of the course.
“Participants shared unique and personal experiences to enable others to understand one another on a deeper level. Between us, we gained insight into topics from a range of different cultural perspectives with an authentic Asian context.”
It is a sentiment shared by fellow Foundation Champion Corin Armstead from Arahoe School in New Lynn, Auckland. She says talking to the teachers in Asia and learning about their cultures not only enlightened her to their unique cultural perspectives but also revealed to her something about her own culture and cultural assumptions.
“Sitting in an online class with colleagues from Indonesia, Vietnam and Korea has been amazing - hearing how their lives are similar and different to New Zealand has opened my eyes and helped me further understand myself as a New Zealander.”
Corin: "[The course] has opened my eyes and helped me further understand myself as a New Zealander.”
Adrienne Smith, who teachers a Year 3 class at Western Heights Primary School in Rotorua says the course led her to reflect on her own practice as an educator and question how well she is preparing her own students with the ‘soft-skills’ that will be so valuable for them in years to come. She says the course could serve as a model for what could be developed for students.
“The course certainly highlighted for me why these skills are so important. I believe I am able to take what I have learned into my classroom and school and share them with those I teach and those I work with. These skills are both relevant and necessary to all in this culturally diverse world in which we live.”
Jane Bassett: "We need to ensure that our students are equipped to be global citizens.”
Jane also says she will take what she learnt on the course and use it to help inspire her students and develop global competence in them.
“The course showed that it’s really important for our young people to develop many of these soft skills so that they can interact with others in their everyday lives, at work, at school and beyond.
“The world is now globalized and we are all part of it. We need to ensure that our students are equipped to be global citizens.”
The Foundation’s newly established Champions programme is a professional and collaborative initiative for educators to build their Asia knowledge and to act as amplifiers and role models to ensure Asia competencies are valued in New Zealand schools.
Education director Sean O’Connor says developing Asia competent teachers is crucial to ensure the next generation of New Zealanders are prepared for a world in which Asia is increasingly important, no matter where you live.
“For New Zealand to make the most of the opportunities Asia presents, we need teachers who recognise the importance of the region and ensure they are supported to develop their knowledge and share it with students and colleagues.”