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Otago claims Emerging Teacher Educator Award

Monday, 11 July 2016 8:59am

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Nationally recognised ... Dr David Berg.

The College of Education’s Dr David Berg has received the 2016 national Emerging Teacher Educator Award, from the Teacher Education Forum of Aotearoa New Zealand.

He says teacher education is a team sport, not an individual one.

“Here at the University of Otago College of Education I am very fortunate to be part of a wonderful team of general and academic staff that is deeply committed to supporting our students and ultimately improving outcomes for children in schools. I am delighted to receive this reward — but recognize that it reflects the work of our very special team."

Dr Berg’s citation says his excellence as a teacher educator is founded on a blend of outstanding preparation, rich personal experience, positive relationships with students and colleagues, clear and effective communication skills, and the deeply held belief that everyone deserves his very best efforts.

"He has excelled, inspiring his students with his positive and engaging manner, inclusive and fair-minded disposition, and deep belief in their ability to succeed."

During the past five years, the Lecturer and Associate Postgraduate and Distance Coordinator has developed a research programme in the closely related fields of teacher self-efficacy and the work of teacher educators.

With colleagues in New Zealand, England and the United States, Dr Berg has published his research in leading journals and presented his ideas at prestigious international conferences.

His teaching is grounded in 20 years’ experience at primary schools in the United Kingdom and Nepal — in both teaching and leadership positions — and in his close functional relationships with the University of Otago College of Education’s partner schools.

He is currently teaching at undergraduate and postgraduate levels, working with both pre-service and experienced teachers, while also mentoring doctoral and masters’ students.

In each of those settings, “he has excelled, inspiring his students with his positive and engaging manner, inclusive and fair-minded disposition, and deep belief in their ability to succeed.”

“Finally, there is the spirit and attitude that David brings to everything that he does. He has the quickest wit and is the best storyteller in the College.”

“He always has a smile on his face and is the first person to sense that a colleague might need a kind word, a bit of encouragement, or to decompress over a cup of coffee. He is universally respected; he sees the best in all of us when sometimes it is hard for us to see that in ourselves.”

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Dr Berg and the taonga (treasure) he received, made of Totara and aluminium.

To qualify for the Emerging Teacher Educator Award, nominees should have been a teacher educator for four to eight years, demonstrate excellence in teaching, and have an established record of research and publication. They also need to embody innovative practice, emerging leadership and on-going links to the profession.

As part of the award Dr Berg received a taonga (treasure) made of Totara and aluminium by Nathan Roa from Ngati Maniapoto. The taonga is called Te ahi whakahou and represents the renewing or reinvigorating fire.

The Teacher Education Forum of Aotearoa New Zealand believes the taonga is an appropriate metaphor for emerging teacher educators who inspire those around them.

The forum was launched in 1999 as the national voice for teacher education in Aotearoa New Zealand.

It represents institutions offering teacher education programmes at degree or graduate level. It is active in political and policy arenas through regular involvement with the Ministry of Education and government agencies.

The forum also aims is to improve the public perception of teacher education and the education profession, so focuses on the quality of teacher education, by speaking about important professional and research-informed issues in education.