Woodhill Park Retreat

Conference Materials

From time-to-time, those of us who are in the business of either doing research, and/or promoting development, and/or facilitating learning, attend conferences.  We go, always to try to learn and sometimes, to deliver.  The items under this category of 'goodies' spans each of those conference dimensions as appropriate.  We've come to appreciate that there is merit in transparently and openly making available details about matters with which we've been involved including conference deliveries and/or symposia to which we've contributed and/or workshops we've facilitated.  All we ask is that anyone using these materials for academic purposes should make sure that they follow traditional conventions of citing their sources.  Just as a point of helpfulness, where the heading to a resource is coloured orange, you can double click it to go to the source document.  Happy reading.

Keynote address to Seventh Early Childhood Education Symposium at Manukau Institue of Technology, March, 2010

"Would the REAL you please stand up." The importance of Self as Teacher. 

Dr Jens J. Hansen, Woodhill Park Research Retreat

As teachers we assume a broad range of roles – we sometimes prompt learners, we are often prompted by them; we are sometimes teachers, oft-times learners; we are sometimes testers and we’re very frequently tested. We’re expected to have the soul of a leader and the mind of a manager; we have to be politically astute sensitive ambassadors but we also have to be hard-nosed, resolute drivers. At the drop of a hat we’re expected to perform brilliantly– sometimes as comical buffoons and at other times as tragic-heroes, dripping with pathos. And occasionally we even perform farcically. We need eyes in the back of our head and ears which discern more than what is being said. We even need a nose that ‘knows’! So how best might we make sense of the complex mosaic that is the teacher’s role-set? This address examines role-challenges which confront teachers – novices and veterans alike. It is reasoned that clarifying teacher roles involves knowing yourself, your values, your ethics, your ideals. That’s never going to be easy even though it’s important for your learners and for your professional self. But it can be done.

Goffman, E. (1959). 

The Presentation of Self in Everyday Life. Anchor Books 

What is shown above is the abstract for that presentation.  The accompanying powerpoint presentation, which provides more detail, can be accessed by clicking here

[Please note that the various film clips and animations which were used are not accessible in this powerpoint presentation.]

A presentation on the duality of evaluation research presented by Dr Jens Hansen and Andrew Connolly at the New Zealand Association of Counsellors Research Conference

The Evaluator and the Evaluatee: Two Sides of the Same Research Coin

Dr Jens J. Hansen, Woodhill Park Research Retreat

Andrew Connolly, Director, South Kaipara Men and Family Centre


Over the past twelve months, a Lotteries Commission funded evaluation of the South Kaipara Men and Family Centre has been completed.  The Centre was formed to deliver programmes which promote the welfare of men, young men and their families and has a staff of three part-time people.  The Director also runs a private counselling practice from The Centre.  The evaluation study appraised the work of The Centre over its first five years of operation and applied an action development model as proposed by Jenkin (2010).  A mixed methods approach to gathering data was used and ensuing data were analysed with the aid of SPSS and NVivo 8.  Findings revealed a much appreciated organisation and highly valued staff.  The community would like to see The Centre obtain secure funding so that, amongst other things, it can become a broker and a deliverer of even more services.  Wider promotion, however, could be both a boon and a blinker to The Centre and its staff.  Against that backdrop, this presentation focuses on the sometimes varying views of the evaluator and the evaluatee.  We especially want to highlight latent consequences that can emerge from evaluation research into community development and allied counselling services. 

To navigate to the condensed version fo the report upon which this presentation was based, click here. 

Involving Aiga in achieving successful educational outcomes for Pasifika learners.

My mother tells me I’m brilliant so why don’t you involve her at your centre?

Rose Penn, MIT
Dr. Jens J. Hansen, Woodhill Park Research Retreat 

In a thesis about factors which aid and hinder successful completions for New Zealand born Samoans, it was discovered that aiga/family is paramount in promoting educational success.  A further discovery was that New Zealand born Samoans retain cultural affiliations so that their lifestyle shows deep regard for Fa’a Samoan identity.  These affiliations are evident in relationships which are fundamentally vital for Samoan people.  They include kin and the wider Samoan community and each form highlights that aiga are the principal impetus to achieving educational success.  Educational frameworks must, therefore, embrace relationships with aiga/family because aiga are the cornerstone for Samoans.  Engaging with Early childhood educators to help them fully understand the role of relationship building transforms their appreciation of the value of aiga.  This means power must be shared within centres.  Staff development must, therefore, be designed and co-delivered by Samoans so that meaningful understandings of Samoan concepts and frameworks become nurtured.  Only when Early Childhood Education fully involve Samoan and Pasifika families in such processes will they be able to honour learners in culturally inclusive communities of practice. 



Wenger, E. (1998). Communities of Practice: Learning, Meaning and Identity. New York: Cambridge University Press 

Click here to see the powerpoint presentation that accompanies this abstract.

A Model of Action Development: Using the thinking of Appreciative Inquiry with the procedures of Action Research

Action Development - a fusion of Action Research and Appreciative Inquiry

Chris Jenkin, Senior Lecturer, School of Education, AUT
Dr Jens J. Hansen, Woodhill Park Research Retreat

This presentation introduced a model of development through research which emphasises the positive approaches inherent within Appreciative Inquirey and the procedures inherent in Action Research.  In other words, it proposes that Appreciative Inquiry (Hammond, 1998) and Action Research (McNiff & Whitehead, 2005) can be synthesised.  During a doctoral study of strategies used within ECE settings to implement Te Tiriti-based curriculum, it was found that Action Research, because it was problem-based, overlooked development born from an appreciation of the positives.  Hence, an alternative approach, Appreciative Inquiry was introduced with sound effect.  This involved a sequence of developmental stages which boosted the status quo by harnessing situational positives.  Staff at the case study centre where this was trialled responded favourably to that approach.  This success gave rise to the idea that a blend of both approaches would be even more useful and that strategy has been labelled as Action Development.  Details about this emergent model are described and critical commentary will be invited. 

McNiff, J., Whitehead, J. (2005). Action research for teachers: A practical guide. London: David Fulton Publishers.

Hammond, S. (1998). The thin book of appreciative inquiry (2nd ed.). Plano TX Thin Book Publishing Company. 

To view the accompanying powerpoint to this abstract, click here.

Ensuring truth in learning stories

Trusting Parents: the potency of truly, really, really, truly Partnered Learning Stories. 

Anna Jo Perry, Manukau Institute of Technolgy
Dr Jens J. Hansen, Woodhill Park Research Retreat

In Aotearoa New Zealand, teachers are charged with writing stories about children’s learning stories.  They construct them from a professional perspective informed by and from the experience of what they see and their professional knowledge.  But when there is no language in common between the children and the teacher, more often than not, the teacher’s written perspective becomes contestable.  This presentation reconsiders the underlying purpose and methods of devising learning stories.  It does so by narrating how engagement was facilitated with newly arrived refugee parents and their children in the planning cycle.  Three lenses were used to achieve this: the child’s eye, the parents’ perspective, and finally, the teacher’s ‘informed’ viewpoint.  As a consequence, a richer deeper understanding of these children’s families and their learning needs unfolded and the potency of learning stories became appreciated afresh.  

Hansen, J., Perry A. (2007). “Ways of Seeing Revisited”: Introducing a way forward in visual analysis.  Early Childhood Convention Proceedings: 2007, Rotorua.

Hansen, J., Perry, A. (2009). Communities of Learning in Early Childhood Education: Supporting Reciprocal Relationships with Refugee Parents at the Centre for Refugee Education. CLESOL 2008 Refereed Conference Proceedings.

Once again, the abstract above provides only a modicum of material: to access the powerpoint presentation, click here

People create stories to explain and make sense of their environment and events within it.  In early childhood education, therefore, reflective practice and learning stories fulfil an important role.  This paper examines visual depictions of learning episodes within stories and how appreciation is deepened through photographic image de- and re-construction for subsequent in-depth analysis.  In the original project a series of photographs of early childhood ‘situations’ were presented twice to subjects for interpretation.  They were presented, first, as ‘gestalt’ images and accompanying written interpretations were obtained.  In the second showing, a visual grid was introduced over the same pictures.  This prompted subjects to pay much more attention to particulars, thus facilitating a deeper understanding of the photographs.  The visual grid, therefore, served as a powerful aid that enabled multiple observers to discern, distinguish and comment in greater detail upon a series of images.  In the second phase of this project, a series of photographs of their children engaged in activities in the Early Childhood centre, Centre for Refugee Education, were shown to refugee parents.  These parents were then asked to interpret what they saw.  The process was repeated with the children.  Finally the teachers added their interpretation of the events, thus forming a much more robust picture of the child’s learning event. 

It is contended that this piecing together of multiple perspectives with the accompanying value and honour given to the people who engage in them is a marked feature of the Community of Learning in the ECE at the CRE and that it has a marked effect on the relationships that form and the individual identities that are shared.  The full paper will be published in the CLESOL conference proceedings but a stand-alone PDF version of the paper can be accessed by clicking here.  In addition, a power point show of the presentation can be accessed by clicking here.

If not A, then B and C won't follow: The role of research in an institutional success algorithm.

Dr. Jens J. Hansen and Miki Roderik – presentation at the ITP Research Conference, October, 2008.

Institutional research success, highly effective teaching, and student academic excellence are interrelated but just how, if at all, can this interrelationship be explained and harnessed?  This paper proposes that a rich and active institutional research culture is actually a necessary pre-condition to growing effective faculty teaching and, consequently, to promoting improvements in scholastic standards.  We note that far too many personal student stories and far too many NZQA audit reports indicate that research remains the Cinderella of the ITP sector.  Consequently, a persuasive argument can be made which proposes that academics teaching diploma and degree qualifications are unlikely to attain maximum academic effectiveness until they become adept researchers themselves as well as consummate teachers of how actually to do research.  This means academics need to learn about the why, when and how of undertaking research rather than merely learning about how to tell students about research projects that have been completed by others.  This paper, therefore, proposes strategies that need to be adopted by tertiary institutions in order to develop a realistic research culture.  We conclude that to be an effective learning organisation, institutions concerned with higher education, must first become developed so that they are research organisations.  Otherwise the algorithm for success won't work. The accompanying ten item slide show can be accessed by clicking here

Dr. Narottam Bhindi, University of Wollongong, NSW, Australia (Project Leader) with:

Dr. Richard Smith, Auckland University of Technology, Auckland, New Zealand;

Dr. Jens Hansen, Woodhill Park Research Retreat, Auckland, New Zealand;

Dr. Dan Riley, University of New England, Armidale, NSW, Australia.

Below is the abstract of a paper about some research that is still in the making.  The paper we presented at the most recent NZEALS conference in Auckland, early in 2008 was a preliminary consideration of a study of authentic leadership. That study will involve academics from Australia and New Zealand and fieldwork will likely be undertaken during the first term of 2009.  


Authentic leadership is emerging as an alternative perspective on leadership in different organisational settings including education (Bhindi & Duignan, 1997).  The presenters draw upon the extant research and commentary on authentic leadership and its relevance to leaders engaged in human service organisations, especially education.  Missing/unacknowledged dimensions of the current leadership literature will also be identified with respect to authenticity.  By analyzing a blend of survey data and focus groups findings the researcher intend to map teacher perceptions of authentic leaders.  Specifically, they want to determine the dynamics needed to promote authentic rather than contrived collegiality.  It is contended that authentic leaders will empower communities of learners through the creation of vibrant, safe, fulfilling schools. 


To view the paper, click here and to see the powerpoint show, click here (please note that because this was a highly augmented AV, it is very possible that film clips and sound bytes may not work.)

Key Note Address to National Hui of Community Houses, Aotearoa New Zealand: Are Community Houses in Aotearoa New Zealand Poor Houses?

In early October, I enjoyed the privilege and honour of being the inaugural key-note speaker at the inaugural National Hui of the Community Houses of Aotearoa New Zealand.  One of the most interesting things I discovered during my surfing of materials prior to preparing the presentation was that the concept of community houses appears to be firmly nested in Western culture.  In other words, houses which are used by members of communities and neighbourhoods do seem to be a mainly Eurocentric construct although I have no doubt that marae and fale are Maori and Pasifika equivalents.  And doubtless there are others…

Interestingly, some of the essence of just what a community house might be was traversed at a panel discussion during the morning session.  At the time I summarised the threads of the very wide ranging discussion by seeking to extract the very kernel of what the panellists were saying and after having shared it with the conference attendees, I promised I’d put it onto this website.  Accordingly, I've reproduced that summary here and I have to say that despite revision, I'm not yet sure that I've done justice to what the contributors had to say.  However, I think that what the panel said has substantial value so all I've tried to do is to capture, condense and concentrate their collective messages - with integrity!  Fundamentally, it seemed to me the people on the panel proposed that...

Community Houses are diversely responsive not-for-profit agencies which variously deliver three key dimensions of service to their communities of interest:

  1. They provide space for community resources and services.  This means they serve as a meeting hub for the communities of interest and communities of practice which operate within them.  The size of the operational footprint that each house serves seems to determine the extent to which space is needed.  For large pockets of population such as in cities, larger shared buildings, often comprising a multitude of small spaces, appear to operate for a kaleidoscope of stand-alone agencies.  However, for smaller population pockets such as neighbourhoods, small cottages with many fewer spaces seem to be the norm.  And within cities where community houses are located in neighbourhoods, the size of buildings varies from medium to small depending upon the size of neighbourhood and population being served.  Irrespective of size, a reasonably useful indicator of the effectiveness of all such spaces seems to be not so much the numbers of people coming in and out of a building, but rather, the percentage of time each of the discrete spaces within those buildings are used.
  2. They offer learning and development activities.  These programmes can be structured (non-formal programmes of learning) or unstructured (informal and incidental learning episodes).  They may involve facilitated learning exchanges, information giving and receiving, problem solving and/or conflict resolution, social development and knowledge creation and/or distribution. They are offered to people of all ages - young children (as per Plunket) through to the aged.  Moreover, the learning and development activities offered by community houses are open to all, irrespective of culture, ablility, disability and status.  Community Houses are, therefore, educationally egalitarian in outlook and seek to be so in practice - they are agencies which are led by practitioners and facilitators of lifelong learning and development.
  3. They provide servant leadership.  This involves the facilitation of development so that individuals and groups may grow; it also involves the provision of remedial services which can ameliorate community inequalities and address injustices.  The provision of servant leadership is the means by which resources become marshalled and programmes of development delivered.  It is the flux which binds together the successful operations of community houses. 

Importantly, Community Houses seek to ensure that the developmental futures of the numerous communities of practice with which they are connected are assured. Community houses seek to enable individuals and groups to flourish with independence and integrity.  These groups and individuals must be allowed to do so at their pace and in their own time.  They must be able to prosper not only in places and spaces governed by community house members, but equally, they must be helped to operate within spaces which are more familiar to client settings.  This means that the remit of those working from community houses ideally extends beyond the walls of the house into all of the community.


I especially enjoyed what the panel had to say because, in many ways, it blends well with the ideas about Etienne Wenger's communities of practice I introduced during my presentation.  So if you have a closer look at the final slides of the powerpoint show that follows, you'll see some congruences between the two sessions.

When I prepared the key-note, I created a power-point show within which were displayed a number of hyperlinks.  These hyperlinks were internal links to WebPages which I'd saved to the hard drive on my laptop.  (I'd done that in case there'd been no capacity to hook up to the Internet.)  In the spirit of enabling, which is another hallmark of community houses, I've uploaded the slideshow onto this site.  But because the hyperlinks which were embedded within the slides have been removed, the slides don't link to anything external.  If you want to have a look at what was produced, though, click here.  And as always, feedback is very welcome. 


Dr. Jens J. Hansen, Woodhill Park Research Retreat,
Dr. Richard J. M. Smith, Senior Lecturer in Education, AUT University

Adequate government research and development funding within the tertiary sector may seem to be an oxymoron.  In part, research funding is elusive and scarce because government coffers do not unfurl largess.  Hence entrepreneurial tertiary leaders necessarily explore alternative funding sources.  They increasingly seek support from benevolent agencies (trusts, endowments, Iwi Authorities, etc.).  They unhesitatingly broker partnerships with industry and/or the not-for-profit sector and/or with government departments.  And sometimes, triadic arrangements between government, industry and consortia of tertiary agencies are formed to capture mighty research dollars!  This presentation explores the catch-22 nature of the contemporary tertiary research funding pursuits across two tertiary institutions.  The imperatives of staff being research active, increasing layers of managerial costs, bourgeoning demands on staff time and a comparative absence of comprehensive research skills by academics, are issues with which tertiary leaders need to grapple.  We tentatively conclude that ways in which research funds are currently pursued and priced disadvantages tertiary institutions by inflating costs whilst undermining potential for quality scholarship.  In-depth scholarly research seems to have become replaced by quick-fix solutions or alternatively, projects become farmed out to commercial agencies who can do it cheaper but, we venture, not necessarily better.  We, therefore, propose some possible strategies for consideration. There is a slide show that can be accessed by clicking here but please note that because the augmentative AVs are not embedded, they are unlikely to activate.