Covid-19 Update: Social Work and Counselling Students Online Intensives and Semester One

February 22, 2022
Dr James Arkwright

Whāia te iti Kahurangi,
Ki te tuohu koe me maunga teitei
Pursue the treasure you value most dearly and if you should bow your head, let it be to a lofty mountain.

Kia hiwa ra ! Kia hiwa ra ! kia hiwa ra i tenei tuku !
Kia hiwa ra i tera tuku ! Kia hiwa ra ! Kia hiwa ra !

Be alert ! Be watchful ! Be alert on this rampart !
Be alert on that rampart ! Be watchful! Be alert !

E nga waka. E nga hau e wha. E nga mana. E nga iwi.
E nga manu korero o runga i nga marae

O the canoes. The four winds. Great ones. The tribes.
Talking birds (orators) of the marae (ceremonial meeting places).

Whakarongo ! Whakarongo ! Whakarongo !
Listen ! Listen ! Listen !

Ki te tangi a te manu e karanga nei “Tui, tui. tuituia !”
Tuia i runga, tuia i raro, tuia i roto
Tuia i waho, tuia i te here tangata

Listen to the cry of the bird calling “Unite, unite, be one !”
Unite above, unite below, unite within,
Unite without, unite in the brotherhood of man.

Kia hiwa ra!, Kia hiwa ra!
Ko te mea tuatahi

Whakawhetai atu ki a ihowa, karanga ki tona ingoa; whakapuakina ana mahi ki waenganui o nga iwi
Give thanks unto the Lord, call upon his name, make known his deeds among the people.

Kia ora koutou,
We hope you have been enjoying your summer break. We certainly experienced an unusually hot summer which was great for picnics, barbeques and going to the beach and such like. In Tauranga, we have just experienced the final tail of the cyclone this last weekend and we like other areas have experienced some fallen trees, etc.

New appointments
As educators, we have now been back at work for some time, preparing for the upcoming semester. We have a number of new appointments within or alongside the School of Social Practice, and as always feel very blessed by the quality and experience of the people called to work at BTI:
Helen Barker Troughton: We are delighted Helen returns to us having had some time to focus on her doctorate and be with family. She completed her Bachelor of Arts (Social Work), followed by a Masters in Professional Education & Training in Human Services at Kingston University, London. She is currently working towards her Doctor of Health Science.
Marcoline Schlechter: has been appointed to the Programme Administrator role for the School of Social Practice. Marcoline immigrated from South Africa in 2021 with her husband and children.
Natalie Thompson: has been appointed to the newly created Research Assistant role within the School of Social Practice. Natalie has extensive experience providing research support at the University of Auckland and the University of St Andrews.
Dr Nelly Choy: previously was lecturer and researcher with Manukau Institute of Technology, School of Health and Counselling. Nelly completed her PhD last year at the University of Auckland.
Preetha Pratapsingh: last year was appointed to the roles of Personal Assistant to the Head of School, School of Social Practice, and Administrator: Counselling Practice & Ngā Maunga Āwhina. Preetha was previously the Administrator with the School of Counselling at Excelsia College.
Rebekah Thomas: was born, raised and has a deep connection to Tauranga Moana. Her Master of Counselling at Waikato interwove mātauranga Māori and culturally responsive practice.
Dr Simon Webb: we are delighted Simon returns to BTI having previously worked as a Learning Advisor and was Head of Academic Support Services at BTI. He completed his PhD in 2011 at Massey University.

Semester 1 begins
For those of you who are Year 3 and Year 4 Social Work students, you have already started your studies for this year, and we trust that they are going well for you. For everyone else, the year starts with either an orientation or preparation week for the week beginning 28 February, then we move into two weeks of intensives.

Intensives
As communicated previously, given the COVID red traffic light regulations, all Social Work and Counselling intensives will be held online this semester. Attendance requirements at intensives are the same as if they were held onsite. In other words, attendance is compulsory and viewed as an essential part of your programme of study. Some people have been asking if it is possible to miss part of an intensive and watch the recording later, and the answer to this is ‘no’. We believe that the learning during intensives needs to be a fully engaged process in the online activities that have been planned by your respective Course Coordinators. This typically will involve engaging with teaching from your educators, watching pre-recorded presentations and reflecting on them in breakout groups, having skills sessions in breakout groups, having reflection and discussion sessions – often in breakout groups – and in some instances, watching in-class demonstrations. Attendance registers will be taken and it is expected that all students will attend all their block course intensives for a minimum of 80% of the time for each course. Your classes will be structured so as to allow for some self-directed learning with breaks spread throughout the day, so the learning is paced and appropriate for the online medium. If you find during the online intensive, that poor internet connection means you are unable to fully access the online platform, please contact your Course Coordinator.

If an exceptional circumstance occurs during intensives that means you will not be able to attend or only partially attend a block course intensive, then you must notify your Course Coordinator immediately. The kinds of circumstances which fall into the category of ‘exceptional’ are those which cannot be pre-empted or planned for prior to intensives. Further, they typically are of an emergency nature, in which it is very clear that you are very obviously unable to be present for intensives. With your Course Coordinator, an exemption application needs to be applied for, and it is critical that your Course Coordinator supports your application. If the exceptional circumstance means that you will need to miss more than one block course intensive, then you will need to contact Ngā Maunga Āwhina (Student Support) at ngamaungaawhina@bti.ac.nz.

Please be aware, that applying for exemption to miss all or part of a block course intensive does not in itself mean that your application will be approved. Each application is assessed on a case-by-case basis, considering the nature of the circumstances which led to the attendance being less than 80% for a block course intensive, as well as the nature of the learning that was missed. If the learning was experiential and skills focused, then it is possible that this learning cannot be fully remediated after the intensive. In other words, even though the circumstances may meet the criteria for the exemption application being approved, the application may still be declined on the grounds the learning that was missed cannot be effectively remediated after the intensives. This is why it is crucial that you talk about your circumstances for missing part or all of a block course intensive with your Course Coordinator prior to not attending.

Intensive timetables 
Please refer to your updated online intensive timetable which is available on BTIonline or the BTI website.

Pōwhiri
At 9am on Monday, 7 March an online Pōwhiri will be held for all new students. Attendance is required in this formal welcome to BTI. As per tikanga, even though attending online, please wear appropriate clothes for Pōwhiri. Usually, this would mean Tane (men) wearing dark trousers and a collar shirt and Wahine (women) wearing dark skirt (or dress), or equivalent for the online environment.
Contact your programme coordinator for Zoom link.

Onsite classes 
We are presently discussing whether onsite tutorials, for most students beginning 28 March 2022, will be held onsite or online. For larger classes, it is unlikely that we will be able to offer one metre spacing and have less that 100 students and staff gathered at any one time (as required by red traffic light regulations), and therefore these classes will be delivered online but at the same time as scheduled in the onsite tutorial timetable. For smaller classes, it is possible that we may be able to offer some onsite tutorials on campus. We will make our decisions about these arrangements prior to intensives beginning and will communicate which onsite tutorials (if any) will be held onsite and which will be delivered online.

Please note, COVID and the government’s regulations concerning COVID do change frequently so we will review decisions related to programmes’ delivery after Easter. Under traffic light red regulations, only fully vaccinated students are able to be onsite at the BTI campus. This means if some onsite tutorials continue to be offered onsite, any unvaccinated students will be able to continue their studies by joining the distance students.

Opening of course shells on BTIonline 
For all courses, beginning the end of February, course shells on BTIonline will be opened on 24 February prior to commencement of the orientation/preparation week beginning 28 February.

Once the course shells are open, you are welcome to ask questions in the Q & A sections within the shell.  If your circumstances have changed and you are unsure if you will be able to study this year, please contact Ngā Maunga Āwhina at ngamaungaawhina@bti.ac.nz.

We very much look forward to journeying with you again and as always consider it a privilege to be part of your professional preparation for your careers in Counselling and Social Work.

Ngā mihi,
James

Dr James Arkwright, 
Head of School of Social Practice

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