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This glossary defines key terminology used in the Inclusive Practice and School Curriculum resources. While some of these terms will be familiar to many readers, they have been included here with definitions appropriate to an inclusive education context.

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Achievement: a measure of student learning over time; this may be in relation to individualised learning goals or to expectations for year levels in the New Zealand Curriculum, national standards, or NCEA.

Activity-oriented learning: a pedagogical approach that views learners as active participants rather than passive recipients of information and that therefore favours hands-on experiments and activities for students. It is also sometimes referred to as ‘experiential learning’ or ‘hands-on learning’.

Adaptations: changes to the school and classroom environment, teaching and learning materials, and associated teaching strategies that support students to access and respond to the school and classroom curriculum.

Additional support register: a register developed by each school that identifies students requiring additional support and monitors their support and progress; also known in the past as a special needs register.

Agency: an individual’s sense of control and autonomy in a given situation. Students with high levels of agency do not passively accept their circumstances; they seek meaning and act purposefully to bring about the conditions they want to see in their own and others' lives.

Ako: a teaching and learning relationship in which everyone’s knowledge is valued and in which every participant, including the teacher, expects to learn from one another.

Artefact: a product of learning that can be shared and discussed. Examples include digital presentations such as Powerpoints, drafts of student work, and concrete objects such as sewn fabric. Often artefacts are gathered together within a student portfolio. 

Assessment: the process of gathering information from multiple sources to develop an understanding of what students know, understand, and can do as a result of their educational experiences. Assessment also informs ongoing teaching.

Classroom culture: the climate that teachers, other staff, and students create as they work together; ideally one that promotes caring and respect.

Collaboration: a process in which people work together to achieve shared goals by building relationships and trust. The process typically involves listening, working creatively together, and co-constructing knowledge.

Conferencing: formal, focused discussion and review of a student’s learning between the student and one to three others (e.g., a teacher, parents, or peers).

Cooperative learning: an approach in which students work together in small groups to support one another’s learning and achieve a shared task.

Curriculum overlapping: a process of differentiation in which a student participates in similar activities to the rest of the class, but the level of complexity and number of learning outcomes are significantly adjusted in keeping with the student’s learning strengths and needs. The outcomes may be from a different area of the curriculum from that the rest of the class are working in.

Differentiations: changes to the content of the school and classroom curriculum and expected responses to it that support students to experience success.

Digital writing environment: an online or e-space in which students write, drawing on support, if required, from tools such as text prediction programs, picture dictionaries, and text-to-speech and speech-to-text functions.

Dissonance: the discomfort that occurs when our existing model of professional practice (in this case, teaching practice) is challenged by evidence. Dissonance can lead us to reinterpret our personal beliefs and take on new practices.

Diversity: the range of unique characteristics within any group, particularly students, including their strengths and skills, languages, cultural backgrounds, and abilities or disabilities.

Flipped learning: an instructional strategy that reverses traditional classroom and homework elements, moving some content out of the classroom (e.g., as links to videos for viewing at home) and thereby freeing up lesson time for collaborative exercises, projects, or discussions.

Formative assessment: assessment activities that provide information used to inform ongoing teaching and learning.

IEP: see individual education plan.

Inclusive education: education that involves the full presence, participation, and achievement of all learners alongside one another.

Inclusive practice: teachingpractice in which barriers to learning are identified and removed so that groups of learners who may be at risk of marginalisation, exclusion, or underachievement are present, participating, learning, and achieving.

Inclusive schools: schools that foster the identity, language, and culture of all students to create a sense of belonging in an environment that supports progress and achievement for all.

Individual education plan (IEP): a plan that brings together knowledge about the strengths, needs, interests, aspirations, and cultural background of a student with additional learning needs, that outlines priority learning goals for the student, and that shows how the school programme will be adapted to support the student to meet these goals.

Jigsaw technique: an activity in which small groups each discuss a different section of a larger text; then new groups are formed with an ‘expert’ on every section, and, in discussion, the group builds an understanding of the complete text.

Key competencies: five capabilities for living and lifelong learning outlined in The New Zealand Curriculum; thinking, using language symbols and texts, managing self, relating to others, and participating and contributing.

Learning areas: eight areas identified in The New Zealand Curriculum as important for a broad, general education: English, the arts, health and physical education, learning languages, mathematics and statistics, science, social sciences, and technology.

Learning circles: a structured approach in which each individual in a group contributes their understanding and thoughts about a topic, concept, or problem in order to achieve a collaborative understanding.

Learning context: the physical location in which a student is working and the learning experiences they have within it.

Learning conversation: a formative discussion between a student and teacher in which they reflect on the student’s learning in order to inform and improve future teaching and learning.

Learning intentions: the knowledge, skills, and attitudes that students are expected to develop within a lesson, unit, or inquiry. Learning intentionsare usually negotiated with students and should be expressed in language that the students can easily understand.

Learning pathway: the journey that a student takes through the curriculum as they learn and grow and as they prepare for their future. Guidance from schools, family, and whānau helps them to make good choices along the way.

Learning story: a form of narrative assessment that provides observations, interpretations, and analysis of learning events within the framework of a story. Learning stories frequently include possible pathways or next learning steps and capture the perspectives of families and the students themselves; they may include photographs, videos, and artefacts. Strings of learning stories from diverse voices (including family) can be used to gather, share, and build assessment data to show progress within the New Zealand Curriculum.

Learning support coordinator (LSC): a resource person in a school who leads and coordinates support for students with additional learning needs. This role has also been called special education needs coordinator (SENCO); in secondary schools it is often called head of learning support.

Locus of control: the degree to which people believe they have power over their lives. Students with an internal locus of control feel that they can influence what happens; those with an external locus of control attribute what occurs to forces beyond their control.

Metacognition: a student’s understanding of, and ability to manage, how they think and learn.

Modelling book: a book or sheet of paper that captures the interactions and student learning in group discussions, particularly in mathematics and writing. Students and the teacher collectively record the thinking that is occurring using pictures, diagrams, equations, number lines, tables, and so on. Teachers can also record anecdotal notes to support planning for future learning and to capture student progress over time.

Multilevel curriculum: a process of differentiation in which a student experiences either the same content and activities as the rest of the class or different but related content and activities; in both cases the level of complexity and number of learning outcomes are adjusted in keeping with the student’s learning strengths and needs.

Narrative assessment: a form of assessment that records interactions between a student, their learning environments, their peers, and their learning activities. Narrative assessment often takes the form of a learning story and can be used with any student.

National assessment tools: established, reliable tools for informing professional judgments about students’ progress and achievement at specific points in the school year. In New Zealand, these are often provided or funded by the Ministry of Education and include non-standardised tools (e.g., running records), standardised (norm-referenced) tools(e.g., PATs), and credentialing tools (e.g., NCEA assessment standards).

New Zealand Sign Language: a complete visual-gestural language unique to New Zealand and with its own grammar, vocabulary, and syntax; one of the three official languages used in New Zealand. 

Observation: watching a student in order to understand where they are at in their learning and the impact of teaching and the environment on it. Observations can range from everyday, informal ‘noticing’ as a teacher moves about the classroom to more planned, structured monitoring in relation to agreed criteria. In all cases, effective observation is underpinned by a strong understanding of what achievement looks like.

Ongoing Resourcing Scheme (ORS): a funding scheme that provides support for a very small number of students, with the highest level of need for additional support, to help them join in and learn alongside other children at school.

Outreach service teacher: a teacher who provides specialist itinerant teaching for students on the Ongoing Resourcing Scheme (ORS) and enrolled in their local school.

Peer assessment: the assessment by students of one another's work with reference to specific, negotiated criteria and using a range of strategies.

Portfolio: samples of student learning collated by the student, their teacher, and their family and used to demonstrate current learning and progress over time. Portfolios can be in physical or electronic formats and can be used in student-led conferences and to support the IEP process.

Prior knowledge: pre-existing knowledge, skills, beliefs, and attitudes that influence new learning and how a student will respond to new learning.

Progress: valued learning, across settings and over time.

Reciprocal teaching: an approach in which, after modelling by their teacher, students guide group discussions using the strategies of summarising, question generating, clarifying, and predicting.

Self-assessment: a process by which students review their progress and achievement, usually in relation to an exemplar, success criteria, or other criteria.

Self-regulation: the extent to which a student monitors and controls their behaviour, emotions, thoughts, and use of strategies in order to achieve desired learning outcomes.

SENCO: see Learning support coordinator

Sensory processing need: the need for more or less sensory input in order to experience or avoid particular sensorystimulations – for example, the need to avoid loud noise, or to move about or perform a repetitive action. Recognising and allowing for different sensory needs helps students to manage themselves in their learning environment.

Speaking frame: a framework that provides a sentence starter and linked phrases as a model for students who need support with oral language and standard sentence structures to be able to express themselves independently.

Specialist services: people and agencies that form part of a student’s network of support and who are trained in specific areas of education or therapy; this includes staff from the Ministry of Education (e.g., speech language therapists and psychologists).

Specialist teachers: teachers who usually have additional training to support schools and students with additional learning needs. Some specialist teachers – teachers from Outreach Teacher Services, Resource Teachers of Vision, and Resource Teachers of the Deaf – are included in theadditional support that is part of a school’s 0.1 or 0.2 staffing allowance for a student supported through ORS.

Standardised (norm-referenced) assessment tool: anassessment tool that enables the result for a student to be reliably compared with the results for others in the population. Standardised tools commonly used in New Zealand schools include the Observation Survey of Early Literacy Achievement, PATs, 
STAR, and e-asTTle.

Student agency: the sense within a student that they are capable of having an impact on their own learning and can act to accomplish their goals.

Student voice: the expression of students’ thoughts, feelings, and opinions in ways that make these accessible to others. Student voice allows for students to influence their learning by describing the supports and processes that assist them to progress and achieve.

Students with additional learning needs: Ministry of Education resources are moving away from the term ‘students with special education needs’, preferring the terms ‘students with additional learning needs’, ‘students with additional needs’, ‘students with additional support needs’,and ‘students with diverse needs’; this avoids the labelling of students and views of ‘special education’ as separate from ‘education’.

Success criteria: measures for deciding whether a particular learning intention has been met. When students are involved in identifying success criteria, they are more likely to take ownership of their learning, be self-evaluative as they are working, and question their work as it evolves.

Summative assessment: an evaluation at the conclusion of a unit, lesson, or inquiry to assess students’ skills, knowledge, and understanding at that point in time.

Talk stems: similar to speaking frames, these are sentence starters that support students to participate in discussion and ask questions.

Teaching as inquiry: the process that underpins effective pedagogy as teachers inquire into the impact of their teaching on their students’ learning in an ongoing cyclical process over time.

Tuakana-teina relationships: learning interactions in which an older or more expert learner (tuakana) helps and guides a younger or less expert learner (teina).

Universal Design for Learning (UDL): an educational framework that guides the development of flexible learning environments and curricula that meet individual learning differences and the needs of all students. UDL is underpinned by the principles of providing multiple means of representation, multiple means of action and expression, and multiple means of engagement.

Visual representation: a type of pictorial strategy in the form of a poster, timetable, list of steps in a task, or prompts for activities that remind students what is to be done to help them stay on track. The pictorial format supports students with emergent literacy skills and students who have a preference for visual information over auditory.

Visual schedule: a series of images showing what is planned for part of the day or the steps required in a specific activity. Visual schedulesare useful for helping students to understand and organise the daily events in their lives.

Published on: 20 May 2015