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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.

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 as a special needs register.

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.

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.

Dissonance: the discomfort that occurs when we recognise our existing model of professional practice, in this case, teaching practice, as problematic. 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.

Formative assessment: assessment activities that provide information that is used to adapt subsequent teaching to meet the needs of students.

IEP: see individual education plan.

Inclusive education: education that involves the full participation and achievement of all learners alongside their peers.

Inclusive practice: teaching practice 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 needs, aspirations, personality, and cultural background of a student with special education 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.

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

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 can also be called Special Education Needs Coordinator (SENCO); in secondary schools it is often called Head of Learning Support.

Modelling book: a book or sheet of paper that captures the interactions and student learning in group discussions, particularly in mathematics. Students and the teacher collectively record the mathematical 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.

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.

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

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

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

SENCO: see Learning support coordinator

Sensory processing needs: some students’ needs for more or less sensory input in order to experience or avoid particular sensory stimulations – 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 may not have sufficient oral language or knowledge of 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 special areas of education or therapy; this includes Special Education staff from the Ministry of Education (for examples, speech language therapists, psychologists, and special education advisors).

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

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 support needs: in Ministry of Education resources, students with special education needs are referred to as "students with additional needs", "students with additional support needs", "students with disabilities", and "students with diverse needs"; this avoids the labelling of students and views of "special education" as separate from "education".

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 in an ongoing cyclical process over time.

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.

Published on: 20 May 2015