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					Chatroom transcript: Sue Watson, Education Advisor answers
questions about the Focus group programme
Sun, 22 June | 6pm PDT; 9pm EDT

Chatroom visitors
Education Advisor
Sue Watson

Fulbright NZ staff
Laurie Wright, Programme Coordinator
Ruth Payne, Programme Support

Fulbright Hays 2003 participant
Janeece Docal
Elisa Herrera
Jennifer Jones
Roni Jones
Kawika Makanani
Jean Smith

Ruth Payne: Hi Jennifer and Janeece

Janeece Docal:    Hi Ruth! Nice sunny day today--thankfully no storms to limit access
                  this time!

Ruth Payne:       I'm glad that you could come along this time, I am sure you will have
                  many questions to ask

Ruth Payne:       Hi Jean

Jean Smith:       Hi, all!

Jennifer Jones:   Hi everyone. Hope you are enjoying some summer weather. It is cold
                  and rainy in Connecticut.

Janeece Docal:    We have not had a rain free weekend since April 9th (here in DC,
                  MD)--but today was nice. And I still have one more week of school!

Janeece Docal:    Anyone else still teaching?

Ruth Payne:       Welcome, Roni
Jean Smith:       Hi Roni

Roni Jones:       Hi everyone!

Jennifer Jones:   We finished school yesterday. Do you normally end so late in June

Janeece Docal:    Yes we do. And we start back Aug. 28th, right away! And as I was
                  telling Jean, I have one more week here, including an assessment of
                  curriculum with NCEE (America's Choice) in Texas. Then I come
                  back to DC to get ready for NZ! I am excited!

Sue Watson:       Hi everyone

Jean Smith:       Hi Sue

Sue Watson:       I'm keen to hear from you what you think about the focus groups:
                  have you checked the web to see which group you are in?

Roni Jones:       I think the focus groups are going to be very valuable to support each
                  other getting projects done and doing research while we are there

Jean Smith:       Yes, I saw that I was mainly with other secondary teachers.

Jennifer Jones:   Groups looked good to me. Looks like a solid structure to help us
                  pursue our projects.

Roni Jones:       I am also excited to be able to share ideas for projects and materials
                  and resources

Sue Watson:       Yes - I hope so. We designed them to support you in your curriculum
                  projects and to support your learning while you are here.

Roni Jones:       Will there be structured time during the trip for us to work with team
                  members? How structured?

Sue Watson:       Yes there will be. There are about 3 times during the visit where you
                  will formally meet with your focus group to discuss your projects.
                  You will have a guidelines to follow and will share the facilitation. I
                  will also be on hand to answer questions.

Janeece Docal:    If teachers have common project ideas, is a collaborated/joint project

Sue Watson:       You must do an individual project but you can collaborate if you have
                  similar ideas and share information. Some of you have similar topics,
                  but you will apply them differently in your own context

Ruth Payne:       Welcome Elisa - we are chatting with Sue Watson, the Education
                  Advisor for the Fulbright Hays trip. If you have any questions about
                  your project or about the educational aspect of the trip, go ahead and
                  ask questions. Welcome Kawika
Kawika Makanani: Aloha kakou--tena koutou katoa

Elisa Herrera:    Okay, how do we get feedback on our individual proposals (or avoid
                  duplication of projects)?

Roni Jones:       I would like to work with my team to build on a common theme if we
                  have strengths in different curricular areas

Sue Watson:       You could start by emailing your focus group via the listserv to see if
                  they are interested

Janeece Docal:    Saludos/hola a todos. I also would like to work with the team to share
                  ideas. However, groups that I work with here are interested in my
                  project as well. It would be good to share collaborative group ideas.

Jennifer Jones:   Sue or Ruth, could you speak a little bit about what made past project
                  successful or not?

Sue Watson:       The past projects that were successful were those that did more than
                  present content information about NZ to students. They used a range
                  of teaching techniques

Janeece Docal:    Pre departure. Sue, I meet with NCEE/America's Choice at the end of
                  the week and the Smithsonian on the 30th.

Sue Watson:       Janeece: sounds great. Can you explain what the purpose of those
                  meetings is as others may be interested.

Janeece Docal:    Well, I have been working with NCEE (America's choice reform
                  model) on the author and genre studies--so I might develop a NZ
                  author study.

Jennifer Jones:   Janeece, what is the NCEE?

Janeece Docal:    NCEE stands for National Center for Education and the Economy,
                  they are America's Choice--a school reform movement based on
                  performance standards

Janeece Docal:    As for the Smithsonian, I also do curriculum consulting with them.
                  And they asked me to make my NZ project part of their website on
                  HERITAGE and IDENTITY (who am I, where am I from, rituals, oral
                  traditions, etc.)

Elisa Herrera:    Janeece. These are core themes that I use in my year long studies with
                  my students as well.

Janeece Docal:    GREAT! Are we in the same group? That would be fantastic!

Elisa Herrera:    Are you in the middle school or elementary group?

Janeece Docal:    High School
Sue Watson:      I like the idea of using some of the NZ material to help students in the
                 US to think about their own experiences and lives

Janeece Docal:   Thank you Sue--it would also allow me to ask bigger questions of
                 how NZ teachers structure their curriculum and make decisions for
                 multicultural education

Sue Watson:      Janeece- you will have lots of opportunities when you visit schools to
                 ask teachers about that. You will also meet with curriculum experts at
                 Christchurch College of Education. You can also share ideas with folk
                 from other focus groups. We have some ‘whole group’ meetings
                 where we could make time for folk with similar project focuses to get

Elisa Herrera:   Multicultural education is a huge issue in my classroom as Atlanta has
                 such a diverse history and the CDC brings so many international
                 students to the school

Elisa Herrera:   Sue, do we visit other settings besides schools?

Sue Watson:      Yes. Colleges of education, Ministry of Education, universities. You
                 can also use your research time to set up appointments

Janeece Docal:   Yet the specific project isn't hammered out yet...I think the meetings
                 will help. Yes, Elisa, we must have similar school populations. My
                 school is Bell Multicultural HS in Washington, DC.

Janeece Docal:   Will you help us set up these appointments or will contacts be easier
                 than I am imagining.

Sue Watson:      Some of you are already working on that. If there is someone you
                 need to get hold of, you can email me and I can try to assist you. Have
                 any of you started organising your research contacts in NZ?

Elisa Herrera:   I have not started organising my research contacts in NZ. What is the
                 process to set that up? What role do artists play in NZ schools? Here
                 a lot of schools have artists in residence programs if they don't have
                 art/drama departments.

Sue Watson:      I can give you a lead and an email address or web address . It is up to
                 you to get in touch and organise a time.

Elisa Herrera:   Does that need to fall into our free time slots?

Sue Watson:      Yes. Check the itinerary to see when those are

Elisa Herrera:   Sue, I will email you later. I didn't book any additional activities, so
                 time won't be a problem.

Janeece Docal:   The lessons we teach with our partner teachers can be in creative
                 writing and further develop our projects right?

Sue Watson:      Janeece: by partner teachers, do you mean in NZ schools?
Janeece Docal:     Yes. I heard from the last chat that we are to teach a couple of
                   lessons. And I was thinking that I would like the NZ student’s
                   responses to a few creative writing prompts I do with my students
                   around identity and heritage. I am bringing my own student’s writings
                   as well, then they can get a sense of place and culture.

Sue Watson:        Kawika: can you talk about your approach to research?

Kawika Makanani: I know a number of educators in NZ, and a few more I have yet to
                meet but have contact data. Whatever meetings I set up, any one else
                is welcome to come along, depending on the logistics involved.

Elisa Herrera:     Thank you Kawika, what is the focus of your project?

Kawika Makanani: My general focus is the colonial impact on indigenous peoples, and
                the latters' initiatives to regain their self-determination, including in
                education. Thus, Pakeha-Maori, Hawaiian-Dominant American
                educational issues.

Kawika Makanani: Elisa, Dianne has also indicated an interest in Maori art so I've begun
                to develop some contacts for her; I'm sure she won't mind you joining

Sue Watson:        There will soon be info on the web about the school visits that will ask
                   you to contact teachers to ask about teaching a lesson. You can make
                   suggestions if you have an idea.

Janeece Docal:     Yes, it should help our projects, but more importantly--I want to fit in
                   with what the teacher needs.

Sue Watson:        Sharing the work of your students with NZ teachers and students is a
                   great idea. You may also be able to establish ongoing email contact
                   with NZ teachers to maintain when you return to the US.

Janeece Docal:     That was one of my ideas. My students wrote to the NZ students to
                   accompany their writings.

Elisa Herrera:     I have training in theatre of the oppressed (Augusto Boal) and am
                   interested in the role that the arts play in the transmission of
                   heritage/resistance during colonialism.

Janeece Docal:     Me too. Street Theatre with Living Stage (some Boal training) in DC
                   and Nicaragua.

Sue Watson:        This is very exciting: I knew you would have so much expertise to
                   share with each other!

Janeece Docal:     Yes, a lot of energy, creativity and knowledge. Many "its a small
                   world" type feelings too. I still feel I'll walk away with many, many
                   ideas and feel difficulty in selecting one for a project.

Kawika Makanani: Good to know we may be asked to do some teaching, so we can have
                some outlines, strategies, and materials prepared.
Sue Watson:       Yes- contact the teachers first by email as you will be advised on the
                  website and together you can plan.

Elisa Herrera:    This is exciting! I can't wait to see the differences and overlaps in
                  experience we have with each other when we meet!

Sue Watson:       Having the information about each member of the focus group on the
                  web is a good way to learn about each other before you come. You
                  can also use the listserv to get in touch with others in your group: put
                  'focus group 1' or 2 or 3 in the subject line. We will also circulate info
                  about your curriculum projects so you know what everyone else is

Janeece Docal:    When will that be? I won't have a more concrete description from the
                  one I sent you until after my meetings on the 30th.

Sue Watson:       It will be in the next week or so. Some of you will update them after
                  we send it out, but that's ok.

Kawika Makanani: I will probably update mine--monitoring this chat has led me to
                decide to layer my approaches. Unlike others, I don't have a class, or
                classes, of my own, so I have unique challenges, which will require
                unique solutions. Thanks for the help, all!

Sue Watson:       Any other questions before we sign off?

Elisa Herrera:    Will the projects be posted on the website or in an email?

Sue Watson:       Not sure yet: we'll let you know. It will only be a brief summary of
                  each, with your key focus.

Janeece Docal:    If people are interested in doing a project on teacher development
                  models or assessment or curricular frameworks--bigger picture ideas--
                  how do they do that? Or is it encouraged to stay with curricular
                  lesson plans?

Sue Watson:       The emphasis is on projects that you can use in the classroom, rather
                  than broader policy projects. Check the US DoE guidelines for your
                  curriculum projects

Janeece Docal:    Sue, Ruth, all: I would like to thank everyone for their discussions
                  today/tonight. Thank you for the clarification Sue. Don't worry, I've
                  read those documents thoroughly. My confusion came from the fact
                  that it also encouraged "administrative projects"

Sue Watson:       Thank you all - be in touch with me by email if you have further
                  questions. I love your enthusiasm!

Roni Jones:       Bye all, hope everyone enjoyed their first official day of summer

Jean Smith:       Thanks, everyone, for all of your input. It's helped to focus my
                  thinking on my project and what I need to do next!
Janeece Docal:   In the application, the project guidelines are strictly
                 curriculum/classroom based. And that is fine. I think we all just want
                 to be clear, prepared, and know what is expected of us. Thank you all!

Elisa Herrera:   Thanks!

Sue Watson:      Good bye all - enjoy your evening. It just started raining here.

Janeece Docal:   Do you recommend that we not take the trips planned in advance and
                 wait until we get there? So we can make meeting dates?

Sue Watson:      It is up to you to decide what meetings you want to schedule. That
                 needs to be done as much as possible before you leave, but you will
                 also meet people and get ideas when you are here. I have to leave now
                 but happy for you to email me.

Janeece Docal:   I will thanks. Good bye!

Janeece Docal:   Ruth, are you still on?

Ruth Payne:      Hi Janeece. I hope you enjoyed today’s chat?

Janeece Docal:   The chat did go well today. However, I still have a few questions..
                 Now that I know about the teaching component of the trip, I need to
                 know what to prepare and what is expected. Now I understand we will
                 contact our partner teachers.

Elisa Herrera:   I am in the same boat.

Ruth Payne:      The teaching component shouldn't be a huge stress

Janeece Docal:   Then, I wanted to make some trips--like the "tourist ones"--maybe just
                 a few like the trek; some of my "kiwi" friends recommended some,
                 yet I don't know if I should because I am learning I need to make
                 contacts in New Zealand in advance.

Elisa Herrera:   Ruth, is it better to put off the touristy trip stuff until we get to NZ
                 (because it may take a while to get meetings set up and I don't want to
                 conflict with those.)

Ruth Payne:      Yes, the sightseeing trips will be organised when you get to NZ

Ruth Payne:      Organising sightseeing is what NZ Educational Tours (the people who
                 drive you around in the bus) will do. They will have a tour manager
                 on the bus

Elisa Herrera:   So we don't need to book them ahead of time? We can put that off
                 until we get there?

Janeece Docal:   So for the trips--just bring money enough for the ones we are
                 interested in, and sign up once we are in NZ?

Ruth Payne:      Yes to the money and to signing up when you are here
Ruth Payne:      Firstly, you will find when you get here that it is not a PhD-level trip

Elisa Herrera:   That makes me feel less stressed. Now I can just focus on setting up

Ruth Payne:      The teaching aspect of the trip has been added this year because last
                 year the teachers felt they went into many classes without being given
                 the chance to 'give back'

Janeece Docal:   I like that--the sense of "giving back."

Ruth Payne:      So it is more an indication that you should be prepared to stand in
                 front of a few classes and tell them about where you came from, and
                 about the US. When the opportunity to do this came up last year, the
                 group generally felt under-prepared. The other thing is that the 2-day
                 partnering that you will be doing with teachers in South Auckland is
                 more of an extended opportunity to give something back, perhaps
                 even to widen the world view of the students

Elisa Herrera:   Ruth, they aren't "traditional" lessons then, more informal sharing?

Ruth Payne:      Well, it shouldn't be seen as informal, I don't think. It will depend on
                 how ambitious you are when you are put in contact with your partner

Janeece Docal:   So sharing my students' writings, letters, and pictures is good for the
                 2-day partnering lessons. We wanted that to be part of our gift back to
                 them. And I certainly can make lessons around that.

Ruth Payne:      That sounds lovely

Janeece Docal:   Thank you.

Ruth Payne:      The thing is, we get a lot of American TV etc here, so the kids you
                 come into contact with will probably have preconceptions about the
                 US, which is where you can perhaps deepen their understanding

Janeece Docal:   Yes! I am grinning because many of my students said the same thing
                 when they first came to the US. And I know if they just watch our
                 news they would be terribly frightened!

Elisa Herrera:   Can we link the sharing with the city we are teaching in, rather than
                 our students? (School is out for us and I don't know who I'll have next
                 year yet.) I'd like to do something on Civil Rights or Martin Luther
                 King since I'm in Atlanta. Even if I don't teach it, I have materials to
                 give to whoever I end up visiting during that time.

Ruth Payne:      You will be put in contact with teachers in the 2-day programme. But
                 I think they will really appreciate topics like Martin Luther King and
                 Civil Rights

Janeece Docal:   Elisa, I like your ideas. I don't want to send the "tourist DC" lesson.
                 My students wanted to show the diverse side, the other side. When
                 will we be in touch with the teachers prior to departure?
Ruth Payne:      We are working to get those contacts right now. Hopefully you will be
                 in contact by the end of this week. I am glad you have asked me these
                 questions, because I am sure there are other people who are feeling
                 just the same

Janeece Docal:   And as for the books--can we purchase them in NZ? Or should I order
                 them with you before?

Ruth Payne:      You mean the books we have on the website?

Janeece Docal:   Yes, the book list.

Ruth Payne:      You can order them from the website. There is an email address at the
                 bottom that goes through to NZ Books Abroad

Janeece Docal:   Okay. And back to the projects...

Ruth Payne:      Just to warn you, the best person to ask about projects is Sue, which is
                 a warning because I might not be able to answer your question

Janeece Docal:   My question about the project is only that I feel I need some
                 reassurance or transparency. I just found out today people were
                 making contacts and needed to do that in advance. I don't know people
                 in NZ. Except the few I just met that are new staff at the Outdoor
                 Learning Center.

Ruth Payne:      Some people will identify contact before they come to NZ, and some
                 won't (or won't be able to) until they are here in NZ. Just remember
                 that sometimes things will come up that you won't be prepared for, but
                 we and NZ Educational Tours are here to help you when you are here.
                 But you can always email Laurie, Sue or myself if you need

Elisa Herrera:   Thanks, Ruth. That clarifies many of my areas of confusion.

Janeece Docal:   Thank you Ruth. It will be fantastic to meet face to face. Many of my
                 thoughts are clarified as well.