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Teachers’ professional learning helps them meet needs

Media release: Teachers’ professional learning helps them meet needs of priority learners

11am Monday 6 November 2017

Many teachers are getting useful blocks of time for professional learning within schools and are getting practical help for teaching priority learners. Teachers also want more time to focus on doing their work well.

These are some of the findings from a new report from the New Zealand Council for Educational Research (NZCER) National Survey of Primary and Intermediate Schools 2016. The survey asked teachers about their work, from their classrooms to their school culture.

Teachers’ experiences of professional learning stood out as an area that showed distinct improvements from 2013. This was reflected in teachers’ reports of their main achievements in the past three years, which showed gains in meeting the needs of priority learners. The Ministry of Education’s priority learners include those with additional learning needs, Māori students, and Pasifika students.

‘In 2016 more teachers had professional learning that provided practical help with engaging priority learner groups and building positive relationships with parents and whānau,’ Senior Researcher Linda Bonne said.

Forty-four percent of teachers thought that one of their main achievements over the last 3 years had been that they were better at meeting the needs of students with additional learning needs (up from 28% in 2013). More teachers ranked better meeting the needs of Māori students as a main achievement (36%, up from 25% in 2013). There was a small increase in the percentage of teachers who felt they had better met the needs of Pasifika students, from 12% to 17%.

At the same time, more teachers also identified the achievement of students with additional learning needs as a major issue facing their school, and wanted better provision for these students.

Teachers wanted more time to do their work well. They wanted more noncontact time to prepare and work with other teachers, to work with individual students, and to reflect, plan, share ideas, or design relevant local learning activities. The median timetabled noncontact hours per week for classroom teachers with no additional responsibilities were slightly lower in 2016 (1 hour, down from 1.2 hours in 2013, but the same median as in 2010).

The NZCER survey got responses from a nationally representative sample of 349 English-medium state and state-integrated primary and intermediate schools. The survey was conducted from August to September 2016.

The findings have been released in a series of reports, all of which are available on the NZCER website. The report ‘Teachers work and professional learning’ is available at: http://www.nzcer.org.nz/teachers_national_survey_2016


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