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How teachers can help us learn

Duration: 04:29

Views: 3385

Download the video clip for FLV player (28 MB)

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Students from Wellington College answer the question, "How can teachers help you learn?". 

Professional learning conversations

These questions and suggested actions encourage you to reflect on your own school context.

Teacher actions promoting student learning

While there is no formula that will guarantee learning for every student in every context, there is extensive, well-documented evidence about the kinds of teaching approaches that consistently have a positive impact on student learning. This evidence tells us that students learn best when teachers:

  • create a supportive learning environment
  • encourage reflective thought and action
  • enhance the relevance of new learning
  • facilitate shared learning
  • make connections to prior learning and experience
  • provide sufficient opportunities to learn
  • inquire into the teaching–learning relationship.

The New Zealand Curriculum, p34

  • Read the effective pedagogy page of the curriculum, and highlight aspects that the students in the film touch on. Consider your own practice. What are you doing well, what could be improved or changed?

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Facilitate a professional learning session
For the inquiring teacher – resources to facilitate a session on the concepts of teaching effectiveness. Includes the background paper, "The inquiring teacher: Clarifying the concept of teaching effectiveness" written by Graeme Aitken.


A teacher that is not just writing on the whiteboard, a teacher that involves the students and gets the students together and doing some group activities - that’s something that really gets them, entices them in the subject. Being able to interact with that student individually, or as a small group other than just having a whole class that he’s talking to, that sort of support is what I find quite useful.

I find that the most enjoyable type of subjects are those in which learning doesn’t feel like you're learning. It’s an intuitive process, not just an end point. Something where you’re working with the teacher to reach an answer to perhaps an open ended question. That’s the best type of learning I find.

A way a teacher can help me, or support me, to help manage my time, is one that’s quite positive and enthusiastic about subject and gives me, supports me in what I’m trying to do and trying to achieve. One that can sit down with me and actually talk about the planning that we’re going to do, when I’m going to find time to do the subject. Whether it be what I’m going to do in the class time, so one that can actually support you with that, it helps me out quite a lot.

One way teachers can help us to learn is to give feedback about what our weaknesses are. If the teacher has identified that to me, and told me then I’ll be able to balance it out.

When I get stuck, teachers help me by, after finishing explaining it to the rest of the class and while everyone else is working, I say, either put my hand up for some, for the teacher to come to me so that I can ask them for help, or they go sit at their desk and I maybe go over to them and then if I find something that I found difficult I talk to the teacher about it. Sometimes they’ll also explain it to the rest of the class just in case anyone else found that difficult as well.

So if teachers want to help shy people in class who don’t have the confidence to ask questions they could identify them because usually they're the students who are talking to their friends trying to be cool or something, trying to change the subject and just get their attention and single them out and ask them. And they should just get it across.

A couple of weeks ago our teacher spoke to our class about this book that he’d just read called ‘Outliers’. And one of the chapters they talk about this idea of the 10,000 hours theory. Pretty much what it’s about is that if you want to master a certain something you have to put a minimum of 10,000 hours into that something whether that be sports, music, cultural, so forth. So at the time we were doing an art project and what he was trying to get across to us is, if we want to aim for that excellence or merit, we can’t just sit there and do nothing you actually have to put the hours in, you have to do the work and then the results will come. That’s a strategy (actually I won’t say it’s a strategy) that it’s a work ethic that I got out of that and for anything you do in life you need to put the hours in you’ll get better at it.

I think once you build up enough respect for your students they’re prepared to take risks for the good of learning. If they can see that you have a point, or a goal, or at least an aspiration they’ll be willing to follow you there.  

Published on: 09 May 2013