The purpose of this activity is to:
- explore students’ perspectives on the support they need from teachers in the classroom
- challenge teachers to discover what they can do differently to meet these needs.
In the activity, participants watch an online clip of a student talking about what helps them learn and then carry out interviews with their own students with additional learning needs.
Select one of these video clips to show the group you are working with:
Task 1: What do students with additional learning needs say?
Before viewing the selected video clip, discuss these questions with the group:
- What strategies do you use to create a learning environment that works for all students?
- How do you know these strategies are working for all learners?
Watch the video clip together.
After watching the video clip, discuss these questions with the group:
- What strategies help to make Tate’s/Katrina’s school experience positive?
- Tate/Katrina is able to express how teachers can support his/her learning. How does this appear to have impacted on teaching and learning in their learning environment?
- Did anything Tate/Katrina said challenge you or make you reflect on your own teaching practice? How will you act on this?
Task 2: What do your students say?
- Work in groups of up to six to develop a plan for interviewing students at your school with additional learning needs about what helps them learn. Consider how you will do this to capture the "voices" of students who are at risk of not being heard – for example, students who are very shy or who communicate using sign language or a pictorial system.
- Generate the questions you could ask the students. Sample questions include:
- In the classroom, what kinds of things help you learn?
- What kinds of things can the classroom teacher do to make it easier for you to learn?
What kinds of things can make it difficult for you to learn in the classroom?
Supplementary questions for secondary students may include:
- What else could teachers do to help with homework or completing assignments?
- What else could teachers do to help with NCEA?
- What else could teachers do to help you stay motivated?
- Before carrying out the interviews, discuss what you think the students will say in response to the questions.
- Conduct the interviews. Consider how you could adapt them so that students are interviewing each other. If the students agree to be filmed and it doesn’t inhibit their responses, capture the interviews on video. Otherwise, make an audio recording or take notes.
Task 3: Follow-up discussions
Reconvene the group after the interviews to share the students’ responses. If the interviews were recorded, watch/listen to them as a group.
Facilitate a group discussion using these questions:
- What strategies help to make these students’ school experiences positive?
- What were some surprises in hearing the students’ perspectives? What do we need to consider doing differently?
Let everyone know there is more information about student voice and student agency in the Building a Rich Knowledge of the Learner section of Implementing an Inclusive Curriculum.
See also Activity 2.4: Whatu pōkeka – students’ views on why inclusion is important – which suggests an alternative way of collecting the views and perspectives of students.