Te Kete Ipurangi Navigation:

Te Kete Ipurangi

Te Kete Ipurangi user options:

You are here:

Sharra's story

Duration: 04:45

Download video clip (20 MB)

Sharra’s story: Across this science department a traditional tool in the form of learning guides is being used to provide a discursive pedagogical response. This has resulted in greater opportunities for teacher feedback, students working interdependently and significant improvement in learning achievement.

Key Content:

Comments are provided by a Head of Science around the development of Learning Guides to support individual learning as a response to high absenteeism. This includes comments about:

  • approaching attendance issues agentically
  • developing shared resources within a department
  • using specific literacy strategies within subjects
  • building positive teacher/student interactions where effective feedback and feed forward are integral parts to learning conversations
  • undertaking assessments at a time when students are ready to sit them rather than at a time determined by the teacher
  • developing teacher awareness of individual needs through the use of the Learning Guides
  • promoting students’ ownership of their own learning.

"At the end of the day it is mainly about relationships. If they are happy in your class and happy with you and they are going to want to do well." (Head of Learning)

"We've found we've been much more aware of when they are falling behind, when they aren't coping because it is impossible for them to just sit there and be a passive person in the class" (Head of Learning)

Things to think about:

Question Focus - Those new to Te Kotahitanga:

  • What, in this story, was new to you?
  • One aspect of the Effective Teaching Profile (ETP) is Mana Motuhake - having high expectations of students around both behaviour and learning performance. In what ways do you see this aspect of the ETP evidenced in this story?
  • What questions would you like to ask the students in this story?

Question Focus - Participants in the Te Kotahitanga Professional Development Programme:

  • The Effective Teaching Profile states that effective teachers of Māori students ‘positively and vehemently reject deficit theorising as a means of explaining Māori students’ educational achievement levels’ and that they ‘know and understand how to bring about change in Māori students educational achievement and are professionally committing to doing so’. This, in essence, describes an agentic position. In what ways do you see evidence of agentic positioning within this story?
  • What do you see as the connections between this story and the elements of GEPRISP (Goal; Experiences; Positioning; Relationships; Interactions; Strategies; Planning?

Question Focus - In-school Facilitators and Senior Leadership Team Members:

  • How does this story illustrate agentic positioning at a departmental level?
  • What does this story suggest to you about the importance of maintaining a focus on all elements of GEPRISP within the professional development cycle?
  • Reflecting upon the systems and structures at department level within your own school, what changes need to take place in order for teachers to work in similar ways to the teachers in this DVD?



Sharra Martin (Head of Learning Area Science): “We identified that the reason that our Māori students were not achieving in our Year 10 and 11 classes tended to be because of attendance issues. So we looked at what we can do once they’re at school to make sure that if they’re missing time, how can we ensure that they’re not getting too far behind. So we’ve developed a set of learning guides. When they turn up they’re able to pick up their folder and it doesn't matter if they weren’t here the lesson before, they’re starting from the same place they left off. And they can just work through that until they are at a stage where they can achieve that unit of work and sit the assessment and pass it.

“We looked at incorporating, um, literacy strategies into the classroom so within each learning guide there is specific literacy activities. Initially it’s a little bit more work getting the learning guides set up.

“We tend to share our resources a lot within our department so there might be one person setting up a learning guide for a topic, so for our chemistry topic, where, um, there was two of us that set those learning guides up and that covered six weeks of learning time basically. And that meant all the other teachers in our department were able to use that as well, and work through, so when you’re breaking it up into that and sharing it around, it doesn't become particularly overwhelming. Once it’s set up you’re a lot more free to have conversations with the learners in the class. In order to give them a decent amount of feedback or feed forward you have to be able to have those conversations with them. And so the learning guides are a fantastic way of allowing us to have those conversations because they’ve got all the instructions of what they need to do in front of them, they’ve got all the tools they need to do for learning, so I don’t have to stand at the front and give them instructional stuff. I can go out and have those conversations about where they’re at, what they’re struggling with.

“So because they’re all working at their own stage on what they want to do, you can have a situation where there might be five or ten different activities going on, there might even be five or ten topics being looked at depending on how the, the lessons going. And so as long as you’ve got the structure set up that they can go and pick the activity they want to do when they’re ready for it, then it just runs quite smoothly. It might be a case that they go, ‘Oh Miss I can’t find this activity,’ and you show them where it is and they go off and work on it.

“At the end of the day, it’s mainly about the relationships, if they’re happy in your class and happy with you they’re going to want to do well. And they feel like they can have a joke around but they’re still getting their work done as well. We’ve found that, we, we’ve been much more aware of where they’re not coping, when they’re getting behind as well, because it’s impossible for them to just sit there and be a passive person in the class. And we have had fantastic results with it, going from a 30-50% the previous year, we’ve come up to kind of 80-90%. And that’s purely because they’re not sitting the assessments until they’re ready, it’s not that we’re saying, ‘Oh you’re ready to do it now,’ we’re waiting ‘til they’re ready to do it. And so they don’t all sit it at the same time.

“I had a situation with one particular class and this was a class that I actually got the best results out of about 90%, um, pass rate, and what happened was that the entire class didn’t move onto the next learning guide until every single person had sat it and passed the assessment. So you’d get maybe two people that were expert, would finish first and then they’d go and work with another two people so you’d end up with kind of six and then they’d all go off and work with more people until everyone was able to understand and achieve it. So there’s a huge element of peer teaching going on with that, and just that collegiality and support. And it was fascinating because I hadn’t told them to do that, they just went and did it themselves which I was amazed by, I was just kind of like what’s going on here this is brilliant. Um, and having like a real tough kind of gangster kid working with this tiny little passive Indian girl, teaching her how to do chemical equations and stuff like that was amazing, it was something totally beautiful that I hadn’t seen before.”


Add comment

Required fields are marked *
Will not be displayed.
I have read and agree to the Terms of use for this site*
Security Check*

Back to top

Other videos

  • Anjali's Story – Relationships Pt1

    A teacher changes her practice to better meet the needs of her Māori students.

    Duration: 04:10

  • Anjali's Story – Relationships Pt2

    This is the second part of Anjali's story.

    Duration: 04:50

  • Claire's story

    Understanding how students are impacted on by wider social influences is central to how this teacher operates.

    Duration: 03:12

  • Donna, Amy and Delina's story

    The importance of relationships and listening to students.

    Duration: 04:48

  • Jane's story

    Establishing effective contexts for learning requires teachers to value learners.

    Duration: 03:40

  • John’s story - Agentic positioning

    This clip emphasises the powerful notion of teacher self-efficacy.

    Duration: 02:43

  • Julie's story – Power sharing

    This clip illustrates the courage of a teacher to be open to doing things differently.

    Duration: 05:08

  • Natalie’s story – One teacher’s journey

    This Physical Education teacher illustrates the importance of teachers involving students so that they feel a part of the learning process.

    Duration: 03:13

  • Patsy's story

    Being supported through Te Kotahitanga prompted this teacher to reflect more critically on her own practice.

    Duration: 04:33

  • Ruth’s story – Ako

    This clip focuses on the concept of ako, which is based on the premise that we can each learn from the other.

    Duration: 03:05

  • Shea's story

    This teacher lays the groundwork to ensure effective communication anchors both student and teacher commitment.

    Duration: 04:46

  • Stef's story

    Feedback on her practice is central to this teacher’s developing pedagogy.

    Duration: 04:17

  • Tu'u's Story

    Students leading the learning in this classroom is evident from the outset.

    Duration: 02:47

  • Wayne's story

    Providing a comfortable environment in which to facilitate work led to greater student buy-in.

    Duration: 03:45