Workshop Participants Questions for the Hon. Steve Maharey

"Students today are different from those of yesterday.They think and engage differently."
Hon Steve Maharey Minister of Education The New Zealand Curriculum Draft for consultation 2006

Questions collected from the ULearn06: The short and snappy, tight and zappy, brief and curt, concise and terse, succinct and tetchy, crisp and snetchy Knowledge Building workshop/s [90 minutes]

Adam Lefstein on questioning as a cognitive activity:
"A genuine question is one that problematises, i.e. that transforms commonly accepted facts or answers into problems to be explored, thereby opening knowledge up to thinking." Lefstein 2006 p5

Group #1
Do you really believe that statement?
Are teachers different too?
What do you mean by “yesterday”?
In what ways do they think differently?
In what ways do they engage differently?
How do we know children are different?
What evidence do you have for this statement?
If our education system is designing new pedagogical approaches (draft curriculum) to meet the needs of these different students, what changes do you think our health and justice system should be looking at?

Group #2
Describe two ways children think differently?
How can you teach these students?
How can schools plan for the future?
Why are students different?
Does thinking differently necessarily mean that students learn differently?
Does thinking differently mean that these students of today develop short term and long term memory differently?
How do you feel you can resource schools for these students?
Are student’s basic needs the same?
Are we still meeting student’s basic needs?
How can you teach these students?
What is your background in education?
Describe how students think differently?
What source/s of information do you base your statement on?
How does our culture support thinking?
Who are the students that are different?
Why do students think differently?
What does this mean for the entrepreneurs of the future?
What sort of workforce do we value?
How do you feel we are progressing towards improving learning?
Where does this impact on teaching and learning?
How do you think these students feel in the current schooling environment?
Who do you think will be prime minister after the next election?
What do you think are the implications of this difference in thinking and engagement for the future economy?
Where were you when you came to realise that students today think and engage differently?
When did you come to this realisation?
Are all students different?
How does the way that students engage differently impact on your role as minister?

Group #3
Do you really believe this?
Do you think this thinking differently is something to celebrate or something to be wary of?
What is the relevance of this for schools?
How do we engage the students more effectively than in the past?
What are the differences in their engagement?
How do you measure engagement?
Is engagement able to be generalised to an individual student or is it more about context?
In what ways are our students different thinkers today?
Is it possible for today’s teachers to teach these students?
How can we possibly deal with our students today when our MP’s model the behaviours of yesterday?
What changes will be made to the ops grant to accommodate this?
Who is going to give us the direction that we as teachers require?
What are the implications of the “new child” and education for the future of New Zealand!?
What will the Ministry be focussing on for our children’s education in ten years time?
How do we engage students more effectively than in the past?

Group #4
What has lead you to this understanding?
If nothing were to change what would your gut feeling about the future of New Zealand be?
When you say different what do you mean?
Do you really believe this?
What do you believe has contributed to / caused these shifts in today’s students?
Are all students changed or have some groups changed more than less than others?
Is it only students from affluent families with access to Playstations and MMORPG accounts that have changed?
How might this difference impact on teaching today?
How might this difference in thinking and engagement change the spiritual and cultural understandings of New Zealanders?
How will this difference in thinking influence what it is to be a New Zealander in the future?

Group #5
Does that mean schools need more money?
In what way do different students require different approaches to learning?
How do students differ?
How are students today different from the students of yesterday?
What resourcing are you prepared to give to schools to cater fro these differences?
How will schools manage the change?
Who do you feel will be most integral in initialising your vision?
How will we accommodate changes in pedagogy when we do not intend to change the institutional hierarchies in which these changes will play?
Does the current teacher workforce have the ability to understand the ways in which students think differently today?
What is the implication of this difference for us as a society? (as educators)
What strategies will you put in place to make the draft curriculum work?
How do you feel teachers will react to this difference in thinking and engagement?
How does this difference in today’s students change your role as Minister of Education?

Group #6
Are they really different or is the difference in what we want from students?
Or the way we look at students?
When was yesterday?
What different ways of thinking are there today – how does this compare with the range of students thinking from yesterday?
How will we tell if what we are doing meets their learning needs?
What specific changes should classroom teachers make to meet the unique learning needs of these students?
What evidence do you have for these claims?
What would thinking differently look like in a classroom?

Group #7
Define today and yesterday?
Describe how you measured thinking?
Describe how you measured engagement?
What are the causes of these shifts in thinking and engagement?
Do these differences hold all the time for individual students or are they transitory and related to the context being studied?
If students think and engage differently, do they learn in a uniquely different way?
Are students in other countries thinking and engaging differently?
What do you predict these shifts will mean for New Zealand economy?
How will the Ministry support the implementation of this?

Group #8
How do you know that they think and engage differently?
Please elaborate on what you mean by think/ engage/ yesterday/ today.
Have students always been seen to think and engage differently from their parents and teachers?
How would you classify and teach for student thinking?
What role do you believe that ICT has in addressing this different engagement?
Do you think that students think differently when they read from a screen than from a page (transmitted and reflected light) and that this has contributed to differences in thinking?

Group #9
What do you hope to achieve from this statement?
Is this supporting a Mark Prensky like “engage me or enrage me” “twitch speed” call for more ICTs in teaching and learning?
How might future students engage with their environment?
How might today’s students engage with their local communities in future if we shift our focus to connecting globally through mouse buttons, mp3 files and screens?
How do teachers feel about all the “thinking” components of the Key competencies?
How are teachers to engage students with these different needs?
Are students who think and engage differently suffering in classrooms?
Who is responsible for implementing this draft curriculum?

Group #10
How do they think differently?
What day is it? When do you think we will be dealing with tomorrow’s students?
What might the implications of this be for teachers?
How do you think students feel about this claim?
How will this affect the culture of schools?
In what way will the school environment need to change to accommodate this?
In what ways will NZ society be changed by today’s students?

Group #11
How do you measure changes in thinking or engagement?
How significant are these changes?
Hoew reliable and consistent are changes in thinking across the students attending school today?
Have these changes been noted anywhere else in the world- or is this a New Zealand only thing?
How are they going to fund the technology needed to deal with these changed students in schools?
How will teachers manage all the different cultural demands in thinking and engaging differently?
How will we recognise these differences in thinking and engagement in the mental health system?

Group #12
Do you think this sense of young people being different today is any different from how young people have been described at any other time in the history of education?
Are young people always seen as being different from those who have gone before, and if so should we turn over our whole education system to deal with this?
How/ Why do you think that this is any different from another time?
What might this mean for us as teachers in the 21st Century
Do you only learn from people who think/ engage like you do?