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Now the world has become a globalised world. The whole world seems to get together and it is now a multi-cultural world. So the culture of the company needs to be changed. It is important to learn the similarities and differences between the different cultures. With that aim, the author decided to have a work experience in New Zealand. The total work time is 40 hours. The author chose an early childhood education centre because it can help the author to identify the similarities and differences between New Zealand and China on the early childhood education. At the end of that work experience, the author interviewed of the manager of Jump Start Kids, Mrs. Glenda, and has a deeper understanding of that workplace.
1.1 Introduction of the workplace: Jump Start Kids
Jump Start Kids is located in 22b Willcott Rd, Mt Albert. It is an early childhood education centre. It mainly focuses on the children which are under 5. Children can have fun there and the teachers there will teach them some basic knowledge of science and society. "JumpStart is an award-winning adventure-based 3D virtual world that is super-personalized, wildly imaginative and really fun, but don't let that fool you - it also teaches math, reading, and critical thinking skills so kids get a real jump start in life" (Learning through play, 2008).
1.2 Introduction of the four issues
In order to understand the culture of this workplace, this author has 4 issues to analyse. This report will focus on these four issues. The four issues are: 1.Kiwi humour in the work place. 2. Future of work and changes in the workplace. 3. Ethics at work. 4. Health and safety policies at work. The first issue is to help the author to identify the different kinds of humour in New Zealand and the other issues are to make the author understand the operation of that workplace and have a brief overlook of the culture of the company in New Zealand.
II. Four Issues
The author will analyse the workplace culture in the following four issues and each issue has four questions to help the author to understand that issue and the questions are attached in the appendix. The four issues contain four aspects of the workplace culture. Separately, an independent issue can help to understand a certain aspect of the workplace and the culture. After combine them together, the author can get a main point of that company and the work culture in New Zealand.
2.1 Issue 1: Kiwi humour in the work place
"The average Kiwi has a great sense of humour and usually doesn't mind being the target. The type of humour you come across will differ from Dry, Sarcastic, Full On, and Loud Up" (Kiwi humour, 2010). Kiwi humour has some similarities to many other English-speaking countries but has several regional differences (New Zealand humour, 2010).
As what Mrs. Glenda says, it's hard to describe the exact definition of kiwi humour. But in Jump Start Kids, there are more jokes and teasing. What author finds is the humour here is very important because the work here is too hard. The teachers have to take care of the children, do the cleaning and catalogue the children's story. So there is more humour between the teachers. Meanwhile, the jokes in the early childhood centre are usually clean, no dirty jokes and toilet jokes because not only the teachers there are mainly females but also there are many children. Clean jokes are more appropriate in that workplace. Amusing story is popular in Jump Start Kids for the females have the talent in gossiping then the amusing story of child is very welcomed there. An early childhood centre needs humour and laughter so that workplace will not be too serious.
2.2 Issue 2: Future of work and Changes in the workplace
This part is the author's analysis towards the changes in the past and future in that workplace and the analysis is mainly based on the interview to Mrs. Glenda. As far as the author is concerned, it's good to have changes in the workplace even in the life. But as the author's interview, about 80% people in New Zealand don't like to change in the world and they afraid of that. Mrs. Glenda began her career at 7 years ago; she said 7 years ago there was no personal computer in the workplace but now every office has computers. The government policy has a strong effect on education because of the government funding. The next year's government budget may reduce the funding to Jump Start Kids which may lead to the company to cut 60% staff or raise the tuition fee to keep the company operating smoothly. That shows change can bring either good or bad and nobody like the bad thing, that's why many people don't like the changes in the workplace.
2.3 Issue 3: Ethics at work
This issue is a very common one. Every work has its work ethics; however, different work can have similar but different work ethics. Work ethics include not only how one feels about their job, career or vocation, but also how one does his/her job or responsibilities. This involves attitude, behaviour, respect, communication, and interaction; how one gets along with others. Work ethics demonstrate many things about whom and how a person is (What are work ethics, 2010). In Jump Start Kids, the staffs there are teachers. Teachers have their own work ethics and unique obligations especially for the early childhood teachers. It's very hard to become a teacher. Teacher is a sacred occupation for the whole society. If you want to become a teacher, you need 3 years training and about 2 years probationary period. A teacher has to responsible to the learner, the parents, the society and the profession (Registered Teachers Code of Ethics, 2010).
2.4 Issue 4: Health and safety policies at work
Health and safety is a very important issue of the workplace, especially for the early childhood education centre. Children are relatively fragile so that's a serious issue for children. What's more, health and safety is a common issue for all kinds of jobs because a job need employees and employees will have the problem on health and safety. Employees have their rights to protect their health and safety. New Zealand has an organisation which likes an insurance to protect the employees' rights called ACC. ACC covers wounds, lacerations, sprains, strains, fractures, dislocations and work-related injuries such as hearing loss may all be covered. Most physical injuries are covered if they're caused by an accident, a condition that comes on gradually because of your work, medical treatment and sexual assault or abuse (Am I covered, 2010). For a workplace or company, it is compulsory to pay money to ACC for the employees even it costs a lot. Jump Start Kids need to pay ACC 12000$ per year. It's a huge cost for a little company. The teachers there have already participated in the teacher's union, which is volunteer to join in to protect their rights. The teachers have 5 days paid holiday per year which is assured by law but they can negotiate with the boss or manager to have more paid holiday.
For the children, Jump Start Kids have a perfect system to protect them like the bucks on the play ground. There is a whole document folder which contains the documents of health and safety issues. The author has attached the table of content of those documents in the appendix.
Comparison & Reflection
The author has finished the 40 hours' experience in Jump Starts Kids. From that experience, the author has improved a lot especially the personal skills such as being patient and able to deal with the everyday's boring work. At the same time, the author realised the culture in this workplace and had got a brief acknowledgement of the similarities and differences between different cultures. The author decided to compare the early childhood education centre in New Zealand and that of in China because the author used to work in a kindergarten as a volunteer in China.
Generally speaking, the teaching methods are almost the same. For the 2 to 3 years old children, it's better to let them learn through play rather than let them learn like in the school. That's good to keep their creative thinking. Nevertheless, there obvious some differences between the two cultures. In Jump Start Kids, the teacher don't teach the children something on purpose but in China the children learn the basic rules of school which is prepared for them to go to school and the teachers will teach the children something which will helpful for their primary school but it may lead to the restrict of the children's creative thinking. That's why the Chinese children can learn much more than the children from overseas at the same age.
For the other issues, in China, there's no dirty joke in such organisations and the amusing story is a kind of humour in it. With the development of the society, the work environment in China has changed a lot. The computer is used in everywhere. That's the similarities. However, the issues about the employees have some differences such as the health and safety issues. In China, some of the company will pay the assurance for the employees but some need the employees to pay by themselves. For the other aspect, some organisations belong to the government, so the employees can get the better welfare than the private employees. But no matter what kind of the employee they are, they can get the health and safety assurance, just different on the level of the assurance.
In conclusion, the early childhood education in New Zealand is a very typical case. It has shown the spirits and the characters of New Zealand. By the issue of kiwi humour, the author understands the power of humour and the important status of humour. For the issue 2, the author knows that the people attitude toward the change in the workplace. The ethics at work and health &safety issue plays an important part in workplace in New Zealand. The world has become a globalise world. Some of the issues are similar with those in China such as humour and attitude to change in the workplace. But at the same time, the differences still exist. That's the essential differences between the different cultures. It's an interesting topic, by researching the topic, the author exercised himself and got the knowledge of the workplace.