About me

The beginning
You know that kid in every class that just never quite seemed to get it?  Well that was me.

While my early school years were an experience in humility, high school turned out to be an experience in failure and embarrassment.  It just didn't work - I just didn't work, and it culminated in my utter academic failure during the high school years. 
My final report says something like - "He doesn't seem to care.  Why is he here?"  

The answer is that I did care, deeply, but I had lost any hope of turning the train-wreck that was my education around.  I had long since stopped believing that school offered me any hope of achieving my goals.

A curious thing happened however that became a point of difference.  I enjoyed problem-solving, maths (the right type), languages and codes - outside of school. In fact each of these became a passion that I pursued in my free time.

How is it that a kid can be such a failure within the school system but be reasonably bright outside of it?

A smart kid, but not school smart.  Or so I thought...

The change
The change occurred when I realised that I was allowed to bring myself into education.  I realise now that I thought of education as something that belonged to the 'other'.  I didn't know that the education system was, and is, screaming out for real people, with real ideas.  

Once I realised that my thoughts, opinions and ideas were welcome, and that education was about providing tools to improve these, I began to fly.

I quickly knocked off a series of diplomas, a Bachelors Degree, two Post Graduate Diplomas (language, literacy and cognition and mathematics education), a Masters in Education (a great piece of research if I do say so myself) and then completed my Doctorate.  I want others to come on this journey also.

I have spent the previous 16 years working with adults of all ages who have had similar experiences including those with learning disabilities and/or difficulties in a range of environments.  While doing this I have also constantly engaged in research and my own education in order to inform my work.  This is culminating in my current engagement in Doctoral study, which all going well, will conclude with a presentation at the ICME 13 conference in Hamburg.

I have been fortunate to work across many levels and with many diverse audiences including, literacy and numeracy support with adults with high needs (including a range of learning disabilities), financial and health literacy, workplace literacy, ESOL, and vocational support across almost all vocations (from equine to engineering!).  This experience has given me great insight into how our education system works from top to bottom, what works well, and what goes wrong.  I'm also never short of an opinion on how we could improve things.

The last 8 years I have delivered professional development to the wider education sector for a range of companies and institutions ranging from the Ministry of Education, The National Centre for Literacy and Numeracy for Adults, The University of Waikato, and ALEC.  Since 2010 I have moved into a consultancy position under my own company named 'Creative FX' and continue to operate in this role while completing my research.

I now work with Ako Aotearoa and Massey University.

None of the above was completed alone of course.  I have had the blessing of support and input from some truly talented people.  These include family, supervisors, colleagues and friends.  I've been surrounded by encouraging people and without them would not have had a chance.  

A typical week
A typical week for me may include - Designing and delivering a maths/numeracy lesson to engineering students who struggle both emotionally and cognitively with the content; running workshops to educators on how to best work with learners who have low levels of literacy, how to administer and utilize assessment results, or embed literacy and numeracy into a vocational programme;  presenting my research at a symposium or University; offer advice to an organisation regarding a range of issues in order to improve educational outcomes; Interview a range of adult learners around the country; analyse data and write.  Each week is different - life is busy but great.

The Goal
To be a positive force in adult education and to inspire young people transitioning from school to the world. To inspire, innovate and realize the potential this sector has.  The future is bright and exciting.  

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