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Projects to improve outcomes for learners share $1.4M funds

The Teaching and Learning Research Initiative (TLRI) supports partnerships between researchers and educators by funding projects expected to improve outcomes for learners.

This year’s funding of over $1.4 million has been allocated to six projects, one in the early childhood education sector and five in the school sector.

The projects include one on developing teacher data literacy, one to construct a Te Tiriti-based framework for socio-emotional wellbeing in education, and one on engaging with challenging issues through education outside the classroom. All six are briefly summarised below.

The TLRI has been operating since 2003, and this allocation means a total of 151 projects have been funded. The fund has an annual budget of $1.5 million, available for projects that may run from 1 to 3 years.

The TLRI is funded by the New Zealand government and administered by the New Zealand Council for Educational Research | Rangahau Mātauranga o Aotearoa.

Using narrative assessment to support secondary school teachers’ inclusive practices

Investigator: Missy Morton

Partnership: University of Auckland; Kimi Ora Special School, Lower Hutt; St Kevin’s College, Oamaru; Te Kura/Correspondence School

Some students with special education needs continue to be invisible in secondary school assessment. This project will encourage and support teachers to be capable and confident working with all students. It will investigate the formative use of narrative assessment to recognise all students as learners. The students at the heart of this project are those working long term within Level 1 of the New Zealand Curriculum.

Funding: $294,833 over 2 years

Zooming out and zooming in on student data: Developing teacher data literacy to enhance teaching and learning

Investigators: Frances Edwards and Bronwen Cowie

Partnership: University of Waikato; Pukekohe Kāhui Ako.

This project aims to understand how to develop teacher data literacy and a culture of proactive data use to support student learning outcomes. It uses a design-based implementation research approach to explore the nature of effective development and support for teachers as data coaches of their colleagues.

Funding: $211,664 over 2 years


Data, knowledge, action: Exploring sustained shared thinking to deepen young children’s learning

Investigator: Tara McLaughlin

Partnership: Massey University; Ruahine Kindergarten Association; Victoria University of Wellington.

This project explores teacher-child interactions in play by focusing on sustained shared thinking (SST). International research suggests SST is a critical aspect of effective pedagogy to deepen children’s learning. The research aims to contribute knowledge and practical strategies that strengthen SST to enhance positive outcomes for all children.

Funding: $265,087 over 2 years

Observing assessment for learning in action: Piloting an observation tool to inform teacher assessment learning and research

Investigator: Mary Hill

Partnership: University of Auckland; Devonport Primary School; Edendale Primary School, Auckland

Assessment for Learning is a process where teachers and students share goals, engage in classroom dialogue and questioning, prioritise appropriate feedback, and include students in all aspects of these teaching and learning processes. Teachers’ use of Assessment for Learning to bring about such assessment capability in their students is critically important. This research will develop a tool that improves teachers’ Assessment for Learning practices with appropriate and targeted feedback.

Funding: $149,889 over 1 year

Contributing to change? Responding to futurefocused issues through education outside the classroom.

Investigators: Andrea Milligan and Sarah Rusholme

Partnership: Victoria University of Wellington; Corinna School, Porirua; Newtown School, Wellington; Island Bay School, Wellington; Wellington East Girls’ College; and informal education provider partners

This project explores how education outside the classroom (EOTC) can enhance the ways students explore and respond to societal and environmental challenges. It will investigate how the cross-curricular themes of ‘future-focused issues’ and ‘active participation’ are conceptualised and enacted through EOTC. The project explores how closer collaboration between teachers and informal educators and stronger connections across classroom and informal learning could support students’ engagement with issues that face them and society.

Funding: $200,000 over 2 years

Co-constructing a culturally and linguistically sustaining, Te Tiriti-based Ako framework for socio-emotional wellbeing in education: A collaborative project among teachers, whānau, hapū and iwi to enable a holistic approach to education

Investigator: Letitia Fickel

Partnership: University of Canterbury; Hornby High School; Hornby Primary School, Christchurch; Taumutu Rūnanga, Christchurch

This project takes a Te Tiriti-based approach to socio-emotional wellbeing. It is a collaborative project guided by Kaupapa Māori research principles, involving teachers, whānau, hapū, and iwi. The project aims to support teachers to enhance and sustain student wellbeing in the classroom, through socio-emotional learning (SEL) pedagogy. It will enable teachers to develop and integrate these SEL strategies within their programmes to enhance support for the identities, languages and cultures of their students.

Funding: $300,000 over 2 years


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