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Personalising learning the way forward

27 April 2006

Personalising learning the way forward

Personalising education to better meet the needs of individual students will be a key focus for the government over the next three years, says Education Minister Steve Maharey.

Speaking at a school leaders' symposium in Wellington, Steve Maharey said that, while a personalised approach was not new to the school system, a much greater emphasis was needed if New Zealand was to lift standards for all students.

"Personalising learning is the best way to ensure that all children are learning to the best of their ability," Steve Maharey said.

"The Labour-led government is working towards a more flexible, learner-centred system, where teachers get good support to identify the needs of their students, along with tools and guidance to respond to those needs.

"We have made major investments in professional development for teachers, better assessment tools such as NCEA, and more innovative use of technology.

"There is, however, a large amount of work yet to do if we are to have a truly learner centred approach. It will require a continued strong investment from government and a shared commitment from the education sector.

"We now know that the market model advanced by National in the 1990s, and still its policy today, made matters worse for many students. Bulk funding, zoning and moves towards privatisation simply compounded many of the issues present in our education system.

"What we know is that all schools have to be good schools and that the best way to do this is to focus on teaching and learning. Research tells us that when our teachers have great professional support, high expectations of all students, and a strong relationship of care, then the quality of learning is high."

Steve Maharey said that a number of other OECD countries, including the UK, were on a similar path to make their public education systems more learner-centred.

ENDS

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