BTI is planning to hold two graduation ceremonies this year to allow students who have completed their qualifications in 2019 or in 2020 to celebrate their achievements with friends and whānau.
The ceremonies will both be held in Tauranga on 21 May and 22 May at the Holy Trinity Church.
Te Taiurungi/ Principal of BTI, Dr Andrew Butcher says, “A graduation ceremony is an important occasion of fun and celebration of the hard work of our students, and to be able to share this celebration with their whānau, friends and each other is significant. We are delighted to be planning two ceremonies to enable graduates to take part who missed out on this celebration last year.”
The key speaker for both ceremonies will be Chris Clarke. Chris Clarke has over 25 years of leadership experience in NZ and overseas, in public policy, the health sector and currently is CEO of the Wilberforce Foundation. Strongly motivated by purpose and impact, he recently established 'Global Local' - a network of leaders working with people from the for profit, public and for purpose sectors.
Details of the Graduation Ceremonies:
To secure your place at the ceremony, you must apply to graduate. You should already have received an email with important information about how to apply. If you haven’t received this email, please get in touch with us as soon as possible on email@example.com
Welcome to Bethlehem Tertiary Institute Te Whare Tauira O Peterehema.
We know that the first 1,000 days in the lives of our tamariki are the most important. And so we welcome those of you with big hearts for shaping little minds, with dreams of getting the best out of young learners, and with a commitment to being gracious, secure and teachable to our School of Teacher Education programmes of early childhood, primary and secondary.
In a world still reeling from Covid-19, we welcome those of you who feel called to love mercy, walk humbly and do justly into our School of Social Practice programmes of social work and counselling.
If you’re new to academic study, or returning after a long time away, and want back-to-basics practical tools that will give you the confidence and skills you need, we welcome you to our New Zealand Certificate in Career and Study Preparation.
And we welcome those of you studying in our postgraduate programmes, especially our brand new Masters of Professional Practice and Leadership, as you seek to integrate your faith and work in your profession.
Our 2021 cohort is one of our largest, especially for our counselling, social work and postgraduate programmes. You are joining a learning community of well over 400 students.
BTI have taught distance education for almost 20 years and we do it well. You can be confident that whether you’re joining us onsite or online you’re learning from the best educators, from people who have real-world experience, who care for you and for each other, and who love Jesus.
And we do what we do because the gracious hand of God is upon us, because we have been called together for such a time as this, and because we confess that for this we have Jesus. Our Christian faith is our foundation stone, prayer is our disposition, Scripture is our lamp, and the love of God compels us.
Coming to BTI will be one of the best decisions you’ll ever make and we look forward to welcoming you to the BTI whānau this year.
Ma te Atua tatou e manaaki
Dr Andrew Butcher
Kia ora koutou,
As many of you know, the government has updated Covid-19 Alert Levels - Auckland is now in Level 3 and the rest of Aotearoa New Zealand is in Level 2. At Level 2, as we have done before, all BTI courses will continue to be taught on campus in Tauranga and by distance.
However, we are very aware that some School of Social Practice intensives are due to start soon - discussions are underway and a further update will share important information about these in the next day or so.
What are we doing to keep you safe?
All students should continue to follow the latest guidance from the government:
Be encouraged by each other and by God's Word
As our Dean and CEO Dr Andrew Butcher reminds us, "We know that God gives each of us the strength, wisdom and courage for each day. And, as we have been reminded over the last month: for this we have Jesus. Let us continue to be kind and look after each other as we look forward to moving back down Alert Levels soon."
We understand that the unpredictability of the Covid-19 virus can be unsettling and stressful for students and whānau. Our staff are here to support you if we can. Please talk to one of us if you have any study questions or concerns, or call 1737 at any time to talk to someone.
Dr Vicki Turner
Kia ora koutou,
With grateful hearts we confirm that BTI will continue teaching on campus and online, and all intensives will go ahead, following the government announcement that Auckland will move to Alert Level 2 and the rest of New Zealand to Alert Level 1 from midnight tonight.
Please continue to play your part in keeping everyone safe by washing your hands thoroughly, signing in or scanning QR codes when out and about, and, most importantly, staying home if you're sick.
More information on the Covid-19 Alert Levels and what each Level means can be found on covid19.govt.nz
Kia ora koutou.
In light of the change in Covid-19 Alert levels last night, we want to reassure our students that we remain open under Alert Level 2. All BTI courses will continue being taught on campus in Tauranga and by distance.
As our CEO and Dean Dr Andrew Butcher says, "We have been here before, BTI has a plan and we know what to do. Much more than this: we have a great and good God, who looks after us in the grandeur and in the detail, who provides for us in everything and who reminds us that always and everywhere for this we have Jesus."
Teacher Education students:
Social Work and Practice students:
All students should continue to follow the latest guidance from the government, including:
Please continue to play your part in keeping everyone safe by washing your hands, staying home if feeling unwell, scanning QR codes when you come onto campus, and maintaining physical distancing.
We understand that this is an upsetting time and can increase anxiety levels and stress for students and whanau. Please talk to one of our staff if you have any questions or concerns, or call 1737 at any time to talk to someone.
More information on the Covid-19 Alert levels and what this means can be found on covid19.govt.nz
One of my colleagues at BTI started out his professional life as a farmer. Another ran a sign-writing business. A third, worked for the Prime Minister. I pumped petrol to pay my way through university and then worked in the tax department after I graduated. Others in the BTI team have, at one time or another, worked in museums, hospices, schools; in private practice, for District Health Boards, and wananga; as pastors, teachers, and clinical psychologists. They or their parents come from Wales, China, Japan, America, England, Australia, Samoa, Malaysia. Several are tangata whenua. We all have our stories.
And we share a common story, too. We all work for BTI and, each in our own way, help transform the lives of Aotearoa New Zealand’s future social workers, counsellors, and teachers.
BTI will end this year in good heart. Decisions made by many wise people over the last three decades set us up well to navigate our way through this Covid-19 year. We have always delivered distance education well and we did so especially in 2020. We knew we had good people and this year we saw that, together, they make a great team. We taught over 400 students, by Zoom, mostly, but also through practicums and placements, conversation and prayer, persistence and courage.
Of course, it has been a year with unparalleled challenges. Working from home was okay for some but for lots of others – those with small children, elderly parents, who lived alone, who were prone to anxiety, who thrived on connecting with people in person – it was pretty unbearable. For our students, practicums and block courses were disrupted not just once, but twice by lockdowns. Our graduands missed being capped as we cancelled not just once, but twice, our 2020 graduation ceremonies. We felt their sorrow and carried it ourselves.
What also unites the BTI team’s story is that we all follow Jesus. Some met Jesus fifty years ago and others only recently. And there’s no way – no way! – we could have done it without the gracious hand of God upon us. We made it. We got through it all. We are older, tireder, greyer. We don’t know what 2021 will bring. We hope for better things. We pray for healing for the world. We look forward to the new beginnings that come with a new year. And we will continue to follow Jesus, no turning back, no turning back. Because we know that He is the Way – yes way! – and so we will walk in it. Please join us.
And may you know, as we do, the joy of this season – Christ moving into the neighbourhood – and the promise it brings and the path where it leads: there, on the cross, where he was crushed with our iniquities and there, at the rolled away stone, where Christ triumphs over the grave, vanquishes the last enemy, is risen indeed, and makes all things new.
Ngā mihi nui,
Dr Andrew Butcher, CEO and Dean
Welcome to Term 4. We are looking forward to working with you as you complete this year with us – and, if you’re a final year student, complete your studies. Your success and your experience at BTI is important to us. For that reason I want to let you know about some new appointments and initiatives that bring your voice – the student voice – into the centre of BTI.
First, I’m delighted to welcome Rhena Kulasingham to BTI in the newly designed role of Student Engagement Coordinator. Rhena joins us from Faith Bible College, where she was College Registrar for the last 14 years. Among other things, Rhena will support the pastoral care, health and wellbeing, and the views and voice of BTI’s student community. You will hear from her directly about some of the new initiatives she has underway soon.
Later this year we are relocating the Academic Support Team, of which Rhena is part, to upstairs in Block 1, in the heart of BTI’s campus. As many of you will know, that team are currently in a building in between the library and student hub. We are doing some remodelling of our campus buildings to make that work, to ensure that they are even more accessible to you all, and to literally demonstrate that you, our students, are front and centre of what we do.
Leading that team, along with overseeing all of BTI’s quality assurance processes – which includes consistency of teaching, marking, moderation, course design and preparation – is Dr Vicki Turner. Formerly Academic Dean at Faith Bible College, Dr Turner is the newest member of BTI’s executive leadership team and ensures that the quality of what we deliver and our student voice are crucial parts in our decision making.
We have made these new appointments, new initiatives, and new locations because we value you: you are important. We want to hear from you about what’s working and what we can do better. We want to give you a rich and fulfilling experience here at BTI and help you grow in skill, character and in the Lord.
CEO and Dean
Dear BTI whanau,
As we come to the end of Term 3, we recognise the hard term we’ve all had. Just as we thought we were free of coronavirus we experienced a second wave and Auckland was put back into lockdown. Many people were starting to believe things could return to normal. Instead, we were left shaken, weary, and uncertain.
But we have learned a great deal. We have learned we’re not alone. In this country, we are in a team of five million. At BTI, we are in a team of over 400 faculty and students. In our team we find strength. In this unprecedented journey – for that is what it is – and in our witness to the One who is hope itself, we seek to be determined, resilient and hopeful too.
Yet, this journey is not behind us and for much of the rest of the world it is, tragically, getting worse.
In this Mental Health Awareness Week, we especially want to be aware of the least, the last and the lost. Each one of us can help in small ways, and in great. We can live lives marked by responsible action towards each other, care for the most vulnerable, and witness for the poor and disadvantaged who are suffering disproportionately.
As we come into a General Election and two referenda next month, we are keenly aware of divisions in our country. We celebrate that expressions of different ways of seeing the world are part and parcel of a well-functioning democracy, yet we also yearn for a country that walks humbly, loves mercy and does justly for all.
There is concern about those who have lost jobs, who are going hungry, who are losing homes and livelihoods. The poor, the elderly and isolated are especially vulnerable. There will be growing nervousness about whether there will be further ways of coronavirus, about mental health, and many other serious issues before us like child poverty, domestic violence, and high suicide rates.
We are called to be responsible, but we are also called to prophetic speech. Like the saints that have gone before us, we are called to speak for those who have no voice and against those who seek to render silence.
In this, we also all have a strong sense of tiredness; the weariness which comes with dealing with yet another threat and difficulty. To face this, we must continue to encourage one another and bear one another's burdens. “Be kind” has been a mantra in this country. We should do that, yes, but more too. We must show love, especially at this time to those who need it the most, even to ourselves.
Most of all we need to draw close to Christ and continue to offer the hope and stability of the gospel. It is this gospel joy, even in the darkest times, that alone can help us through this crisis, bringing hope and an eternal perspective to the very pressing trials of the moment. We don’t do this alone. We are all part of the BTI whanau. We are part of the body of Christ. We are part of the church universal. We stand in a long tradition of the saints of the church. We have a great team and a goodly heritage. Above all, we pray for healing for each other, for this nation and for the world.
May you know the peace of Christ that passes all understanding at this time and in all times.
Dr Andrew Butcher, CEO and Dean, BTI
Due to the uncertainty surrounding the Covid-19 community transmission and the associated levels of lockdown we are in and facing, it is with heavy hearts that we have made the final decision to cancel the September 12th graduation celebration.
We have had many discussions trying to make it work, but with the social distancing and limit on gathering numbers it would mean the relational aspect would be very stilted – and being relational is at the core of who we are as BTI. We want better for graduates in your celebration!
We are already in planning stages for celebrating the successful 2019 graduates on Friday 21 May 2021, the day before the current final year students’ graduation (Saturday 22 May) – it will be a weekend of huge celebration!
Keep an eye on this page for notifications as these dates draw nearer, and you will also receive email updates closer to the time.
Ehara taku toa I te toa takitahi Engari, he toa takitini
My successes are not mine alone, they are ours –
the greatest successes we will have are from working together
Kia ora whanau,
The PM has just announced that the current alert level settings will remain in place until 26 August, with a review on 21 August. That means that Auckland will remain in Level 3 and the rest of New Zealand in Level 2 for that period of time.
For the most part, that means little change to current practice for BTI. We will continue to teach and work onsite, under social distancing and contact tracing provisions, and expect all staff and students to come to work and class in their usual manner, unless you’re sick. Limitations on mass gatherings of over 100 people will remain in place.
Use face covering in places where you are close to others, download the Covid-19 app and use it, use hand sanitiser regularly, get a test if you have symptoms, stay safe and be kind. We have purchased an increased number of masks and hand sanitisers for BTI and have also increased the frequency of cleaning of our facilities.
We recognise that this will significantly impact our colleagues and students in Auckland especially. We will be in touch with them in coming days as we work out what this means for them, especially those on placement.
And we also know that these new cases have raised levels of anxiety and stress for our colleagues, our students and our whanau. We had thought this was behind us; it is not. However, we have been here before and we got through it. We made it.
The PM talks a lot about the team of 5 million. I want to talk about the BTI team of 42. We do this as a team. We support one another. We are here for each other. We do it together. We are all in this. Know that we value each of you as part of this great BTI team. It’s my pleasure and honour to be in this waka with you.
Ma te Atua tātou e manaaki
We know these new Covid-19 cases are disruptive and unwelcome news. As always, BTI’s approach is one of an abundance of caution and also of care. We encourage all of you to prioritise your own self-care, to eat, sleep and exercise well, to talk to friends and whanau if you need support, and to find time in every day to spend with our companion Jesus who is with us in the storms and in the calm. Here is some specific information about how BTI will operate under Level 2 conditions. If you have any questions, please contact your course coordinator in the first instance.
It was way back in late February that New Zealand had its first case of Covid-19 and it has been quite a ride since then. By the good efforts of so many people, we now have no new cases and are now at Level 1 earlier than many people thought. That is truly a remarkable achievement by the team of five million.
Now that we are at Level 1, much of life goes back to some kind of normal, including for BTI. There are a whole lot of practical things that will now revert to how they used to be, which I’ve set out below.
More important is also to recognise that while life appears normal, for many people it is not normal. There is grief, there is change, there is uncertainty, there is anxiety. That is true of many of you and your whanau. So my encouragement is that we continue to be kind, be gracious, be reasonable with each other as we once again change our routines, even if they are back to something more familiar.
Here are the practical changes, which will take effect on Thursday 11 June, which gives us the time we need to set some of these changes into motion.
Thank you for all your patience, goodwill and faithfulness as you, with us, have journeyed through this Covid-19 experience.
I also want to acknowledge and honour the outstanding BTI team of staff who have gone above and beyond the call of duty in every respect and, with you, thank them for their service.
Ma te Atua tātou e manaaki
Dr Andrew Butcher
CEO and Dean
We will be offering onsite teaching for tutorials and intensives for Semester 2, specifically for the Year 1 Primary and ECE, secondary, and School of Social Practice.
As we have already signalled, online teaching only remains in place for the remainder of Semester 1, including for the Year 2 and 3 ECE and Primary intensives in June.
Our decision reflects the positive trajectory of Covid-19 in New Zealand, the government’s relaxation of Level 2 restrictions and a possible move to Level 1 on 22 June, and our belief that onsite learning is best for the relationality of our teaching and your skill development in your professional preparation.
That said, our top priority is and remains the health and safety of all in BTI’s community. If Covid-19 cases increase, alert levels are raised or further restrictions are imposed, we may reverse our decision. We make all decisions considering current knowledge, but we also recognise that these are unpredictable times and things could change.
If you have concerns about attending an onsite intensive because of the impact of Covid-19 on you or your loved ones, or you have had experience of and exposure to Covid-19, there are various ways we can help you. You can apply to the student hardship fund for financial support by contacting your cohort mentor or the student support team, or for an exemption to not attend intensives. These applications are assessed by a committee of BTI staff. If you feel this is relevant to you, please contact your cohort mentor (in School of Teacher Education) or student support team (in School of Social Practice) in the first instance who can discuss options with you.
Onsite tutorials will also resume in Semester 2. However, if you have concerns about coming onsite, you can participate as a distance student. Please let your cohort mentor (teacher education) or student support team (social practice) know if that’s what you feel is best for you to do.
With onsite teaching resuming, we will still expect everyone in BTI’s community to be responsible not just for their own health and safety, but for all around us as well. This will include, among other things, complying with measures around contact tracing, and good hygiene practices.
Your learning experience is important to us. We have greatly appreciated hearing your range of views as we continue to respond appropriately to Covid-19. Best of all, we look forward to seeing many of you in person in Semester 2!
Nga mihi ,
Dr Andrew Butcher
CEO and Dean
We really appreciate each of you and value all the feedback we’ve received from you this week. Thank you for having the confidence to let us know how you’re feeling. We’ve heard a wide range of views from those who want to come back onsite as soon as possible to others who are grateful they don’t have to.
We seek to weigh up the needs of all the student body: those keen to come back quickly alongside those who are vulnerable.
Your experiences and opinions do help inform our decision-making, and have always done. We are listening to you. You are being heard.
Under Levels 3 and 4, we at BTI, like all of you, operated under crisis mode. BTI had obligations to government and to the various professional agencies and regulatory bodies we work with as well as to the health and safety of all who are in BTI’s community. This vicious Covid-19 disease has laid waste to populations all around the world and none of us want to see that here in New Zealand. Thankfully, this country went hard and went early into lockdown and there are relatively low rates of infection and fatality. But we are not out of the woods yet. Today we moved as a country to Level 2 and yet we need to remain cautious. We know that other countries have loosened their lockdown restrictions and then seen infection rates rise. We hope that doesn’t happen here.
It is our intention, if at all possible, to have onsite teaching in semester 2. If the progress of Covid-19 progresses positively, then that will happen. But if infection rates climb again, then it won’t. For that reason, we will be making a decision on May 26th about what we’ll do. By then, we hope to have a clearer picture and it also coincides with the government’s own reassessment of alert level 2 on May 25th. We will let you know then so you and our educators have enough time to plan in response to whichever decision we make.
The year 2 and 3 primary and ECE intensives in June will be offered online and our educators in those programmes are preparing for that now.
While we hope that intensives for Year 1 primary and ECE, for secondary, and for the School of Social Practice, all scheduled for later in the year, will happen onsite we are very aware that as with our move to teaching onsite for semester 2, this will be entirely contingent on the direction of Covid-19 infections and corresponding government requirements for the tertiary sector. Again, we will make a call on this on May 26th.
BTI has a long and successful history in delivering education online, well ahead of most other tertiary providers. We are confident that the content and the experience of learning online at BTI has been well developed and creates a robust learning experience. We have recently run two online intensives and are quickly learning how to adapt so the experience for you is engaging and interactive, with a variety of teaching methods used. I am deeply impressed with the hard work my colleagues have put into bringing high quality teaching and learning to these online intensives.
Thank you once again for getting in touch with us, for letting us know how you’re feeling, for sharing your views. We will be in touch again on May 26th.
You remain in our prayers and we are grateful for each of you.
Yesterday, the Prime Minister announced that New Zealand will move to Level 2 on Thursday. Here’s what this means for you.
We recognise how much value we put on relationship building. One of the reasons we have onsite teaching and face-to-face intensives is to build relationships with you all, invest in your lives and your personal, professional and spiritual growth. Being gracious, secure and teachable is best expressed, best taught, best learned when we all come together: that’s a foundational premise of BTI from our earliest days.
So we carry a deep disappointment, a real grief, as you do, that we have not been able to do that in this season. We miss seeing your faces in person, hearing your voices in the same room as we are, walking beside you (even literally) on your journeys with us.
We hold this value while also prioritising your health and safety and exercising an abundance of caution at this time of Covid-19. For that reason, today we have decided the following:
Access to BTI
All students are welcome to come back to BTI from Monday 18th if you want to.
We realise there are other issues that may arise depending on how long Level 2 lasts, how New Zealand’s Covid-19 infection rate changes, government advice, and what feedback we get from you. BTI’s leadership team will continue to meet daily and we will seek to respond, as best we can, to these queries as they arise. If you have any questions or concerns, please ask your course coordinator in the first instance.
We also celebrate God’s goodness to us: in in each other, in the mission of this place, and in a firm belief that even at this very difficult time, the goodness of God will shine brightly, sustain us daily, and guide us gently.
A Message from our Dean: Dr Andrew Butcher
Kia ora BTI Whanau,
On Monday, the Prime Minister announced the next step in our battle against Covid-19, confirming we will be moving to Alert Level 3 at midnight on Monday 27 April.
I know that the past month has been very difficult for many of you and that times will continue to be tough for the foreseeable future.
We at BTI will continue to support you in your studies.
I want to publicly acknowledge the great work of the BTI team for their service above and beyond the call of duty in supporting you and each other in these challenging times.
We are glad that we were able to transition relatively seamlessly to online teaching, including holding our first online intensive. While it has taken some getting used to, it has meant we have been able to stay connected with you, and you with us.
If there’s one thing that we’re all learning at this time is how much is changing and unpredictable. We are also very aware of those among us who are at higher risk and vulnerable to infection. Because your health and wellbeing are valued by us and because we want to minimise any further disruption, we will continue to teach all our programmes by distance for the remainder of semester 1. There will be no onsite course delivery.
Please refer to key dates supplied to you by your Heads of School/programme administrators as to how these apply to your programme.
We will be making access to the library available on a strictly limited basis. If you require library material or access to the library please email our librarian David Osman firstname.lastname@example.org to arrange. It will not be possible to just ‘drop in’ to the library.
Note that online teaching only applies to teaching and not to placements. These will happen if placement providers offer them during semester 1 as previously arranged, are consistent with requirements under relevant alert levels, and in line with the agreements for each BTI programme under revised Covid-19 plans.
If you have any queries about these arrangements please contact your school administrator in the first instance.
We continue to uphold all of you in our prayers knowing and believing that our God upholds all of us, that he is our strength, our rock and our fortress, he is our help in times of trouble, and in him we can find peace.
Kia ora whanau,
The wider BTI community of staff and students is around 400 people. We want each of you to know that your health and safety is our priority, that we pray with and for you in these uncertain times, that we believe in the goodness, greatness and sovereignty of God at all times, in all seasons and in all places, and that because we have trust that God is with us through it all [do watch Andrae Crouch and Cece Winans remind us of this wonderful truth], we can have the peace that passes all understanding in a world that is in chaos.
Covid-19 is having a noticeable impact of how we live, work and be together. It’s requiring us to be selfless, to think of others before ourselves, to be responsible for our own actions and interactions, especially around those who are most vulnerable to contracting this virus. Today the government has told New Zealanders not to travel anywhere overseas. If you feel unwell, stay home. If you’ve been travelling overseas recently or near those who have, self-isolate and practice social distancing seriously. Wash hands often. Be kind to one another. The most reliable information about Covid-19 is https://covid19.govt.nz/ - please use that as the authoritative source.
BTI’s executive leadership team is now meeting daily as we seek to lead with God’s strength, wisdom and courage, to problem-solve and to communicate frequently with you. We recognise that this rapidly changing environment is impacting our staff, students, whanau and friends, and our need to respond wisely, pray often, and support each other.
We are actively exploring innovative uses of technology to support our students in practicums, for assessments, and on intensives.
We are in regular contact with relevant government agencies and professional bodies to ensure our students aren’t too disadvantaged.
We are and remain open until we are advised otherwise. If we have to, BTI is ready to operate remotely, deliver all our teaching by distance, and continue to provide the best Christ-centred education that we can. I am very grateful for the innovation, responsiveness and agility demonstrated by the BTI team who are working very hard to ensure the ongoing success and support of our students and functions of our institute.
We recognise this is an anxious time for many. If students want someone to talk with please contact your cohort mentor (in the School of Teacher Education) or student support team (in the School of Social Practice) who will gladly work with you.
Yesterday I wrote that “advice today could be obsolete tomorrow” which has proved to be true. The government’s new advice about mass gatherings and social distancing now means that our May graduation ceremony cannot proceed as planned. We feel sad about that, but want to reassure you that students will be sent their certificates directly and, all other things considered, there will be a graduation ceremony in September where we can celebrate students’ success with friends, whanau and each other. We will be in touch with more details about that closer to the time.
He aha te mea nui o te ao.
He tangata, he tangata, he tangata.
As we have shared on Monday, at the moment we proceed under “business as usual” – schools and universities are remaining open, though there are now restrictions on mass gatherings of 500+ people and advice against ‘handshakes, hugs and hongi’. We know that the situation could change rapidly and advice today could be obsolete tomorrow.
We also hope and pray that the very worst of Covid-19 doesn’t come to New Zealand as we commit to God those around the world for whom this is a period of great anxiety and suffering.
But we also want to act wisely, carefully and in the interests of the health and safety of each other, our students and their whanau.
For now, we are planning for graduation on May 2nd to continue. However, we will make a final decision about whether it will go ahead on or about April 9th, by which stage the ongoing impacts of Covid-19 on our way of work, life and being together will be clearer. That also gives us time to notify graduands, families and suppliers. Even if that ceremony weren’t to go ahead, all the academic processes currently underway to approve graduands would continue and they would still be awarded their qualifications and sent their certificates.
And because a graduation ceremony is an important occasion of fun and celebration of the hard work of our students, their whanau, friends and each other, we have set in motion planning to hold a graduation ceremony in September instead, should that be needed. We have already confirmed that Holy Trinity would be available for our use at that time.
We will obviously be in touch with you all and our graduands whichever way this goes. And we know that God is bigger than this, is present with us, guides and leads us, and is our “peace in my troubled sea”.
Bethlehem Tertiary Institute has been providing training and qualifications in a range of caring professions for over 25 years. Andrew Urquhart talks to the CEO and Dean of BTI about the vision behind the organisation as well as some opportunities ahead.
Listen to the interview on the Rhema website.
Congratulations to our most recent BTI graduates who received their awards on Saturday 18th May 2019. We are immensely proud of every single one of you!!
Over recent years Bethlehem Tertiary Institute has been growing a strong and dynamic research culture during which staff have been involved in conducting research in the fields of Teacher Education, Counselling and Social Work. The success of our work in research has been confirmed in the 2018 Quality Evaluation round with the highest quality evaluation outcomes since the PBRF Quality Evaluation programme commenced. This reflects the increased number of ‘research active’ educators at BTI, the quality and rigour of the research being undertaken at our institution and acknowledges our national influence.
Current research being undertaken by staff continues to influence professional fields of practice. Some of the research projects underway include; educating children with disabilities, resilience for adolescents, coping strategies when dealing with conflict, immigrants finding their place in Aotearoa, education for sustainability, service learning and the influence of digital identities on well-being. Some BTI ‘research active’ staff are also providing leadership with emerging Visual Research Methodologies such as Photo Elicitation.
With the impetus of our expanding research base, BTI continues to be effective in its mission to undertake research for influential service.
BTI Staff Research
At BTI, we are passionate about making a positive difference in the world. Our educators, students and graduates live out this commitment in many ways in their individual careers and personal lives - but from time to time, an opportunity comes along for BTI to serve offshore.
In 2012, BTI in partnership with the Australian organisation Effective Aid International (EAI) supported the commencement of a two year programme of preparation for teaching course on the Thai-Burmese border. Initially this programme was located in the Mae La Refugee Camp and then after one year it was re-established in a nearby village called Noh Boh. The student-teachers who have participated in the programme have come from Burma (also known as Myanmar) mainly because of economic hardships and the effects of the ethnic civil war between the Karen people and the Burmese army.
Over the past seven years this teaching programme has been led by Graeme and Kendal Cook (both BTI graduates). Their professional and compassionate commitment to their students has enabled the graduates to develop the knowledge, skills and dispositions to effectively teach in a range of primary schools, mainly across the border in Burma. Everyone has had to work through a range of challenges along the way. For example, engaging in cross cultural conversations with both parties having limited understanding of each other’s language, background and expectations.
In the e-book Graeme says, ‘All these challenges aside, if we allowed ourselves the delusion that we were doing any of this under our own strength or direction then the wheels would well and truly fall off in a short space of time. We are continually amazed how God structures and funds his ideas, and how He only funds His ideas! If you have no understanding of God the Father and what Jesus has done for you then life here looks like a fruitless endeavour. Indeed we are often asked by friends when are we coming ‘home’ or when are we going to be finished with those people over there. It is a life that brings joy but not always happiness, but it’s a life of purpose and adventure, ups and downs and we could not imagine doing anything else despite the hardships’ (p. 7).
This E-book not only provides an illustrated overview of the teacher training programme but also provides an authentic insight into some of the student-teachers’ lives who have graduated from the two-year course. It is hoped their experiences will encourage others who are facing similar challenges in their lives.
To view all BTI publications visit: https://www.bti.ac.nz/bti-publications.html
A message for our students.
We are all shocked and saddened by the terrorist attacks that took place in Christchurch on Friday 15 March. We feel the weight of the pain of all those involved, especially those in the Muslim communities.
We also feel the burden of care by professionals involved in the recovery. We know that one of our own graduates was one of the first on the scene of these horrific attacks. His courage and compassion is an example to us all and we stand with him going to the aid of those in distress.
It is hard, even impossible, to make sense of these events. How might we frame our response? The
question in the story of the Good Samaritan from Luke 10:25-37 provides a helpful framework: “who is my neighbour?” Our response, surely, is that all those impacted by these events, those of all faiths and of none, are our neighbours.
We might also find our own faith challenged by these evil events. Lament is, helpfully, part of our Scripture; it is part of the faith story of all the saints, across time and across the world. The plaintive cry “O Lord, O Lord, why have you forsaken me?” which we find in the Psalms (Psalm 22:1) and in the words of Christ himself (Matthew 27:46), echoes across the experiences of all those who have wondered where God is in the face of unbelievable suffering. And in our despair there is also a claim, a confession: “but this I call to mind and therefore I have hope: the steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; great is thy faithfulness.” (Lamentations 3:22-24)
It is my prayer that you might know this truth to be yours too. I pray that even, and perhaps especially, when we cannot feel the presence of God, or we wonder why he allows such suffering, we can hold onto His faithfulness. We can know, as his disciples found out, that He is in our boats in the storm (Mark 4:35-41). In that we find peace and hope, which sits at heart of the Christian message. We read in Revelation 21:3-4:
As a BTI community we want to support each of you in response to this tragedy. I will be visiting
Christchurch to visit our staff and students there and I will be in touch separately with those students about that. On our team here we have specialists who can help you, or recommend those who can. Please reach out to us if you want someone to talk to, pray with, and ask questions of. We will also continue to communicate with you about ways we want to further support you at this time.
Please know that as a BTI team we pray for each of you and are journeying with you.
Dr Andrew Butcher
CEO and Dean
In our team it’s all about ‘waking up’: waking up to who we are and our place in the world, waking up to what could be - we’re excited about new possibilities!
We coach learners who want to be social workers and counsellors, to wake up to who they are and explore ways they can make a difference. It’s about transformation.
Transformation starts with identifying personal beliefs and values and holding these with integrity. Being able to work out of who we are, allows us to move purposefully in some of the hard places in society. We seek to bring change.
Bringing change is about restoration of people and connections – connections in families, whānau, communities and systems. Sometimes systems that were designed to help, actually hinder and it’s hard to hold hope.
We explore ways to hold hope, speak truth to those in power and stand in the gap. We explore what we can do to make a difference, how we can become good helpers, and what might be holding us back. Learners grow and stretch, learn to recognise their motivation, they reach forward with purpose.
When I see learners ‘wake up’, I see their confidence, walking tall as their confidence grows through the connections they make with their own meaning. It’s dynamic. Not only do they wake up but they help those around them wake up too.
Our team invites learners into a space that is about development, challenge and change. It is relational and transparent, supported and guided. It is hard work and requires courage. Learners raise their personal benchmark, and become close with their fellow learners as they journey toward transformation. We can often be seen celebrating the joy that comes from choosing to ‘wake up’!
~ Helen Troughton
Helen Troughton is an Educator within the School of Social Practice. She is passionate about helping people explore their beliefs and direct these to action.
Relationships are at the heart of learning and teaching. In fact, relationships are one of the four key principles in the early childhood curriculum, Te Whāriki (Ministry of Education, 2017). Early Childhood Education is not just about knowing what to teach and how to teach it. Young children deserve to have educators who know who they are, how this impacts their teaching and the relationships they develop, and are committed to getting to know each child and their whanau at a deep level.
At Bethlehem Tertiary Institute (BTI), strong reciprocal relationships enable educators to develop a greater awareness of who their students are and how they can best work with them. Teacher educators model this as they teach and walk alongside student teachers throughout their studies. Hannah Jones, a graduating teacher of the Bachelor of Education (Teaching) ECE degree says “I feel as though I have received much more than a teaching degree at BTI. I have been supported and mentored through a journey of personal growth. BTI has helped me to develop confidence in who I am as a teacher and person. I now have a clear vision of the passion that drives my desire to teach and will carry this with me throughout my teaching journey.”
Karyn Robertson (Programme Leader, Bachelor of Education (Teaching) ECE) is passionate about building relationships and equipping students for a career in the early childhood sector. Her passion enables her to develop well prepared educators who are not only highly skilled and passionate about education but also have the ability to care for and nurture the children they will eventually be responsible for. She constantly challenges her students to not only grow as teachers but also as individuals. "Each student comes with unique God-given gifts and talents. Through support and mentoring they are encouraged to engage with head, heart and hands as they seek to fulfill their calling and use their strengths and passion to be change agents in our nation and beyond”.
With New Zealand currently experiencing a shortage of qualified early childhood educators, now is the perfect time to consider stepping up into a career that will make a difference that lasts a lifetime.
The Bachelor of Education (Teaching) ECE prepares graduates to teach in a range of early childhood services in New Zealand and beyond.