Review: Latta 'hands-on' over education

Last updated 10:52 06/08/2014
Nigel Latta

UPBEAT: Nigel Latta had a positive impression of our education system.

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In the second instalment of Nigel Latta's new series, Latta shared a much more positive outlook on New Zealand's education system than his heavily discussed economy and equality themed series premiere episode last week.

Last night's episode was far more hands-on. Latta visited two Auckland schools in his search for answers on the workings behind NCEA along with the proof that it is a system that is working, contrary to its naysayers and critics.

Interestingly, Latta sought far less commentary from experts and presented vastly fewer statistics compared to last week, in favour of letting the students and teachers themselves do the talking.

Latta frequently recalled his time at school which was centred around the "sit down, shut up and regurgitate" method of teaching and learning. He openly admitted he found school boring and dull, and was amazed at the influence technology has had on the engagement and motivation of students in the classrooms of today.

While Latta demonstrated a magic trick that had the kids at his desk in awe, surprisingly he made no mention of single-sex schools, the difference in learning between boys and girls, and how varying personality traits, learning styles, and disabilities are being catered for today when compared to years gone by.

Latta concluded that he was sold on the new ways young New Zealanders are being educated. He did not believe that a decile rating would impact the quality of education a child receives, and that NCEA is a system that is working very well, and providing a better deal for students.

While his hour on the outlook of the economy and equality last week painted a worrying picture, it was pleasing to see a subject Latta believes we should be upbeat, positive, and proud about.

As Latta is not afraid to share his own opinions and provide evidence and commentary to back them up, I'd recommend doing some further research of your own if you don't believe Latta's findings paint the full picture.

I've once again been careful to leave my personal opinions out of this piece because I believe it should be up to the viewer to draw their own conclusions.

It's very refreshing to see high quality investigative documentaries on our screens. I'm looking forward to next week's episode in which Nigel Latta examines New Zealand's drinking culture. I'm betting he won't have many positive things to say.

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You can read Jimmy's review of last week's episode here.

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