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Module 3, Teaching Inquiry

Teacher Inquiry Plan


...effective pedagogy requires that teachers inquire into the impact of their teaching on
their students. NZ Curriculum, P35

Teacher/Team: Tim Webster, Re-registering Teacher, Raphael House Rudolf


Steiner School, 27 October 20 November 2015
Year level 10
Date: 7 December 2015

NZC p.35
Focusing Inquiry (establishes a baseline and a direction). The teacher uses all available information to determine what their
students have already learned and what they need to learn next.
Teaching Inquiry
The teacher uses evidence from research and from their own past practice and that of colleagues to plan teaching and learning
opportunities aimed at achieving the outcomes prioritised in the focusing inquiry.
Learning Inquiry
The teacher investigates the success of the teaching in terms of the prioritised outcomes, using a range of assessment
approaches.
(This occurs...) while learning activities are in progress and also as longer-term sequences or units of work come to an end.
(Teachers...) then analyse and interpret the information to consider what they should do next.

Using the Teaching as Inquiry process to inquire into the impact of teaching on students.
NZ Curriculum p.35.
Teacher/Group/Syndicate: Mr Webster, Class 9

Room: Various

Date: 6 December 2015

Focusing Inquiry (establishes a baseline and a direction). The teacher uses all available information to determine

what their students have already learned and what they need to learn next.

Raphael House Rudolf Steiner School is a decile 10 suburban State Integrated Area School that takes children from
Kindergarten right up to Year 13 with a role of 320 students. It has a strong Special Character focus following the
teaching philosophy of Rudolf Steiner. Raphael Houses students are overwhelmingly of NZ European/Pakeha
background (77%), but also Maori (7%) and other ethnicities (16%). It has a predominance of female students at 57%.
The way the years are structured, the children get an extra year of Kindergarten and then begin the lower School in
Class 1, which is the equivalent of Year 2 in the State School system.
As a student teacher at Raphael House late in the year, I spent only one spell per week with Class 11 (Year 12), four
spells with Class 10 (Year 11); and 3 spells with Class 8 (Year 9). The great majority of my time was spent with Class
9 (Year 10), observing and then leading Classes 9A and 9B Drama, 9A and 9B Current Affairs (1 spell per week
each), 9B Earth Sciences (more like Outdoor Education 1 double spell per week), 9A English (1 double spell per
week) and Class 9s Art History Main Lesson on The European Renaissance (5 double spells per week) for a
total of 18 spells per week over three of four week practicum. [Main Lessons (MLs) are core units of concentrated
learning that span 3-4 weeks and rotate among the Learning Areas Class 9s prior ML was Social Studies,
Revolutions (of which I observed two classes); its next ML was Drama, Tragedy and Comedy]. I also spent 2 spells
per week with ESOL learners, both Japanese foreign exchange students in Class 9. And I was scheduled to take 2
spells per week with special needs learners, including one spell with three Class 9 boys with whom I have focused
this inquiry.
Overall, I got to know Class 9 very well. It is a class of 28 students with 19 females and 9 males, most of whom are
15 years old. As in all classes, the students represent a mix of backgrounds and abilities and vary in their literacy and
numeracy levels. But, despite the presence of many able students, willing to participate should their interests be
sparked, Class 9 is a tricky class to teach and difficult to engage. As noted by most teachers in the Upper School, it is
disparate collection of young people, still coming out of the throws of puberty and still yet to gel as class for a number
of reasons.
As with all senior classes at the School, Classes 8-12 (Years 9 to 13) are conglomerate of 1) students who have come
up through the Lower School, and 2) students who have joined from the other Steiner School in the region, Te Ra, on
the Kapiti Coast which goes only up to Class 7 (Year 8). Though its unclear to me exactly how, it appears that Class 9
is still working through a shift in dynamics this conjoining introduced. Class 9 is also dominated by females and, partly
as a result of this, and the recent conjoining, the class is quite cliquey, adding to the difficulty in managing it. The
dominant number of girls also means that the centre of gravity among the boys is less likely to be diffused.
Not surprisingly, the girls are themselves generally older than the boys emotionally and intellectually. But the boys
are a particular challenge in this class. Among them are a few with learning and behavioural challenges, which affect
the boys and the class attention. With a strong focus on Special Needs, Raphael House has its own specialized unit
and a special needs coordinator in the Upper School, thus attracting a further mix here, and there are a few in Class 9
requiring special attention. Among the boys are three that I will look at in this inquiry. One, Scott, has quite significant
learning and behavioural challenges. Another, Caleb, sometimes wants to engage in learning but struggles in ability
and has behavioural challenges. A third, Tawera, has learning challenges but is generally pleasant, if very easily
distracted. Of the other boys, Richard, who I have not looked at, is able but is generally dismissive of the learnings,
highly difficult to engage with, often distracts others, is often disruptive and has some behavioural issues. Another two
boys are able and good-natured, but are disruptive and difficult to cajole into the learnings. One boy is able, pleasant
and engaged, but gets caught up in the banter. And two boys are foreign exchange students. One, Japanese, is able
but has negligible verbal English, adding to the teaching challenge. The other, German, has good English and
participates, but is focused on social issues and gets distracted. The boys, small in number, thus gel around a
culture of disinterest, which leads to constant minor behavioural issues that are hard to shift and disrupt the class.
Major behavioural issues usually arise from the likes of Scott and Richard, and possibly Caleb, if any of them are
challenged on these minor issues. Were there more boys in the class, the chances would improve that a more
positively focused clique may have developed, potentially shifting the class dynamic as whole.
While there is generally good learning going on among the girls and some are tired of the disruptions, many of the
girls as in natural engage in the distractions themselves or revert to good-natured chat among themselves. That
said, there are a couple outsiders amongst the girls, who require special and individuated attention to get them to do
anything. One is able and smart, if highly introverted; the other, Waimakere, on whom I will also focus, does not
appear academically able, and is actively intent on not participating (see below). Overall, it becomes apparent at times
that there is a tendency in the class to dismiss, and sometimes denigrate, those that seek to engage in the learnings.

What does the data indicate for this group of target students.
The class as a whole
According to the New Zealand Curriculum, students by the end of Year 10 are expected to have Level 5 literacy and
numeracy. There are no established records for the 6 foreign exchange students (4 from Germany and 2 from Japan),
so I could only generally gauge their abilities, literacy and numeracy levels. The German students were all orally strong,
and wrote and read well in English and participated well in class. The two Japanese students happened to speak very
little English, adding to the teaching challenge generally, but they were pleasant and well-liked within the class. Overall,
the foreign students contributed positively to the class dynamic, but they became part on my inquiry only in a general
sense.
The literacy and numeracy levels of the other 22 longer-term/permanent students to the class were as follows:

Two are working beyond Level 5 in literacy (in reading and writing) and beyond Level 5 in numeracy;
Two are working beyond Level 5 in literacy (in reading and writing) and at Level 5 in numeracy;
Four are working at Level 5 in literacy (in reading and writing) and beyond Level 5 in numeracy;
Five are working at Level 5 in literacy (in reading and writing) and at Level 5 in numeracy;
Two are working toward Level 5 in literacy (in reading and writing) and beyond Level 5 in numeracy;
One is working at Level 5 in literacy (in reading and writing) and toward Level 5 in numeracy;
One is working toward Level 5 literacy (in reading and writing) and at Level 5 in numeracy;
One is working toward Level 5 literacy (in reading and writing) and beyond Level 4 in numeracy;

And of concern, were:


Two are working beyond Level 4 literacy (in reading and writing) and at Level 4 in numeracy;
Two are working beyond Level 4 literacy (in reading and writing) and working toward Level 4 in numeracy;

The target students


Coming very close to the end of the school year, when Level 5 literacy and numeracy is expected, most of the class has
been doing as, or close to, expected. But four in particular are having trouble. These four, and perhaps a few others are
very likely to struggle next year in their first NCEA year.
My hope is to focus on the four students in Class 9 struggling the most, ascertain their particular literacy challenges and
determine their priority learnings. Numeracy is for the most part outside the scope of my specialization to help, but I will
note what curriculum level they appear to be at as another indication of their abilities.
Priority learnings for individual students will need will be identified by: * * * three asterix for the top priorities, * * two for
the second-order priorities, and * one asterix for the third-order priorities, in terms of the order in which I think they
should be addressed would I be able to cater for their individual needs. Third and second order priorities are almost
invariably as important in the long run, but some learnings serve as prerequisites for success in others or will be
addressed easier later.
That said, catering for their individual needs is rarely possible in a class environment or given the short time I have
available on this teaching section, thus their top priorities may not be the focus of learning. I will of necessity choose
as asked a focus of learning common to all and one that I feel I can feasibly address within the time frame I have and
the contact with the students I have.
I will thus pinpoint a focus area of learning critical to all four and will target that area of learning in the classes going
forward with teaching strategies and learning tasks. I will keep an eye on each students other individual learning
priorities fine-tuning help and support accordingly where I can. My hope is to introduce some learnings particularly
approaches to learning, as well as content knowledge that might help them to address their challenges and give them
a few more skills with which to achieve NCEA credits next year, including in literacy.
Below I target the four key students:

Student 1 Profile:

Caleb

(Knowing the Learner profile your student here.)

Caleb is a rather intense, moody young man. He was quite volatile at the beginning of the year but has made a shift
and is containing his himself far better than he was then. That said, when he is cross or feels slighted or just not feeling
well he can be impulsive and disruptive, and he still requires a plan to settle himself. Caleb appears to have a bit of hard
life at home with divorced parents, and in one-to-ones outside class he has noted how his folks fight and he gets the
rap. He has younger step-siblings of which he appears supportive, however. Caleb enjoys physical activity, including
physical education and has taken up boxing, because he doesnt want to get done over by kids in the Hutt as has
happened occasionally apparently. He notes proudly his training regime. He has mates in class, notably Scott and
Richard and Tawera and others and as appears normal at Raphael House socializes with classes above and below.
Caleb struggles with literacy issues in reading and writing. He has trouble absorbing a range of written material even of
a moderate length. He appears unable to write much more than direct answers to standard questions, let alone present
information of his own in an ordered, sequential manner in writing. Calebs verbal nuance is also limited. He also
struggles in Mathematics and numeracy. His numeracy appears to be at Curriculum Level 4.
But he appears to do moderately well in Geography, Outdoor Education and Science and is apparently working at
Curriculum Level 5 in these subjects, despite his limitations. Interestingly, despite his challenges, Caleb wants to
achieve and is very direct in his efforts to meet the minimum required to complete worksheets etc., asking direct
questions like Whats the answer to this? and Is that all I need to say here?. These reflect a wish on his part not just
to get it right but to ensure that the teacher knows he has got it right and for the teacher to give him (at least basic)
feedback on what he has done.
Indeed, Caleb appears quite conscious of his own limitations and progress as well as the pressures he is under. He is
thus quite good at self-monitoring. When grumpy he knows why, indicates that to the teacher and expects the teacher
to give him leeway accordingly! Interestingly, Caleb appears to be a good judge of character of himself and others. Its
unclear what the drop in volatility from earlier in the year was a result of, but its probably a combination of his body
settling out of stage of adolescence, a few life-lessons , and self-monitoring. So there is definitely something to work
with. From what I have seen, I think Caleb is only just working at Level 4 in reading and is still working toward Level 4 in
writing, but according to School-based assessments, Caleb overall is working beyond Level 4 in reading, and at
level 4 in writing, and I worked from this basis.

Student 1: Caleb
The students expected level is working at Curriculum Level 5.
Students at this level

This student can...

Reading:
1. Decode words, including unfamiliar words, quickly and
automatically.
2. Apply knowledge of features of a wide variety of text
types and forms, and understands how these text types
and forms are used in different subjects and curriculum
areas.
3. Recognise different grammatical constructions (e.g. that
express cause and effect), and uses this knowledge to
understand dense and complex text.
4. Have a large vocabulary that is connected to their own
knowledge of the world, including academic, subject
specific and technical terms.
5. Locate, evaluate, analyse and summurise information
and ideas within texts and across a range of texts
making decisions about their usefulness, reading flexibly
and using reading strategies (e.g., skimming scanning,
note-taking, annotating, mapping, coding information,
rephrasing) to gather information and re-organise it for
their own purpose.

Reading: Overall, working beyond Curriculum


Level 4
1. * * Caleb has trouble decoding unfamiliar words.
He is essentially still at Level 4 here.
2. * Caleb has a basic understanding of this.
3. * * * Caleb is not here yet and is instead still
working at Level 4.
4. * * Caleb appears unfamiliar with many
specialist words. His vocabulary is still growing.
5. * * This is a key challenge for Caleb as he looks
to navigate new issues and absorb a range of
texts.
6. * Caleb appears to monitor his understanding of
topics quite assiduously, but while he will adopt
suggested new strategies from others, he

6. Monitor their understanding as it develops and adjust


their strategies.
Writing:
1. Knows a wide variety of text types (genre) and text
forms (e.g. magazine articles), knows specific features
and structures associated with each, and uses
appropriate text types and forms flexibly in different
subject areas.
2. Plan their writing according to the purpose
3. Explains concepts, processes, phenomena, theories,
principles, beliefs and opinions.
4. Achieves coherence and cohesion in paragraphs or
longer sections of writing.
5. Has a large productive vocabulary that includes:
academic, subject-specific, technical terms, and some
low frequency words and phrases.
6. Uses nominalistation to express increasingly abstract
and complex ideas that conform with academic
conventions, and creates links that increase
conciseness and coherence of writing.
7. Knows generative principles of word formation (roots,
suffixes, prefixes) and can apply knowledge to extend
productive vocabulary.
8. Uses a wide range of text conventions (grammer,
spelling, punctuation) appropriately with increasing
accuracy.
9. Correctly acknowledges source of information, e.g.
quotes.

doesnt have good grasp on his own what and


how he could do something differently.
Writing: Overall, working at Curriculum Level 4
1. * Caleb is still working toward this.
2. * * Caleb has shown only a limited ability to do
this.
3. * Caleb can do this in a basic way.
4. Caleb has yet to show he can achieve
coherence and cohesion in writing of even
medium length.
5. * Calebs vocabulary appears still to be
developing.
6. Caleb does not use nominalization and he has
yet to show effective linking with conciseness
and coherence.
7. Yes.
8. * Caleb is working toward this, but only haltingly
9. Caleb is conscious of the concept, but does not
use text in this way yet so has not this need.

To accelerate Caleb I need to teach


Caleb is an interesting case. He struggles in almost every aspect in achieving at the expected Curriculum Level 5
in reading and writing, and he has the potential to be volatile. But he is also has a surprising keenness to get
things right and asks for support, if only to achieve the minimum. He is also achieving in more hands-on subjects
like Geography. And he is managing his behaviour better. This is at decent material to work with.
To get Caleb anywhere, in reading and writing literacy, he will have to focus on strengthening his reading first of all.
And the priorities in Reading are the more basic ones, most important Reading point 3, recognizing
grammatical constructions and using this to navigate text. Vocabulary development (Reading point 4) and
decoding new words (Reading point 1) are also important but can come along side recognizing grammar.
Once Caleb has made a bit of progress here he can then begin (and really just begin) to evaluate, analyse and
summurise information and ideas within texts (reading point 5).
Since Caleb tends to monitor his understanding already, a critical element in progress, I will aim to focus on this in
a variety of ways with pointed feedback, with activities, and with outlining Learning Intentions each lesson and how
they have been addressed. A key learning for Caleb over the medium-term is to ensure that he begins to take on
longer sections of learning tasks on his won with out teacher input to increase his independence, self-confidence
and fine-tune his self-monitoring.

Student 2 Profile:

Tawera

(Knowing the Learner profile your student here.)

Tawera is gentle, quiet, struggling with literacy issues and extremely shy about his challenges. A Maori boy from the
Kapiti Coast, he joined the Class 8 at Raphael House last year. Its unclear how his challenges have developed, but it
appears to be a combination of lack of natural academic inclination, poor focus, and poor support. His mother whom I
have met once is articulate, educated and supportive, knows he is quiet and implicitly knows his academic inclination is

limited, but it is not clear what she expects from him.


Though I am speculating, puberty will not have helped as self-consciousness may have impelled him to keep quiet
about his challenges. Tawera accepts instruction with nods even when it becomes apparent he has not understood.
Moreover, he does not ask questions of me as a teacher even working one on one. Its not clear if he seeks help from
friends and classmates, but there is no indication that he does and there appears little in the culture of the class that
would support him doing so. In the milieu of Class 9 he is distracted, gravitating to the antics of his mates. He has
friends, including the most able boy in the class, but appears to take the back seat in this and all his relationships.
According to school-based assessments, overall, Tawera is working beyond Level 4 in reading, and at level 4 in
writing. For numeracy he is working at Curriculum Level 4. But, like Caleb, Tawera is doing better in Biology,
Geography, Science, Art and Outdoor Education where he is apparentlyworking towards or at Curriculum Level 5. So
again, like Caleb he appears to do better in the more hands-on subjects.

Student 2: Tawera
The students expected level is working at Curriculum Level 5.
Students at this level

This student can...

Reading:
1. Decode words, including unfamiliar words, quickly and
automatically.
2. Apply knowledge of features of a wide variety of text
types and forms, and understands how these text types
and forms are used in different subjects and curriculum
areas.
3. Recognise different grammatical constructions (e.g. that
express cause and effect), and uses this knowledge to
understand dense and complex text.
4. Have a large vocabulary that is connected to their own
knowledge of the world, including academic, subject
specific and technical terms.
5. Locate, evaluate, analyse and summurise information
and ideas within texts and across a range of texts
making decisions about their usefulness, reading flexibly
and using reading strategies (e.g., skimming scanning,
note-taking, annotating, mapping, coding information,
rephrasing) to gather information and reorganise it for
their own purpose.
6. Monitor their understanding as it develops and adjust
their strategies.

Reading: Overall, working beyond Curriculum


Level 4
1. * * Tawera has trouble decoding unfamiliar
words.

Writing:
1. Knows a wide variety of text types (genre) and txt forms
(e.g. magazine articles), knows specific features and
structures associated with each, and uses appropriate
text types and forms flexibly in different subject areas.
2. Plan their writing according to the purpose
3. Explains concepts, processes, phenomena, theories,
principles, beliefs and opinions.
4. Achieves coherence and cohesion in paragraphs or
longer sections of writing.
5. Has a large productive vocabulary that includes:
academic, subject-specific, technical terms, and some
low frequency words and phrases.
6. Uses nominalistation to express increasingly abstract
and complex ideas that conform with academic
conventions, and creates links that increase
conciseness and coherence of writing.

2. * * Tawera has a basic understanding of this,


but not much in practice and has to be guided
through texts
3. * * * Tawera appears to have trouble
recognizing grammatical constructions and
absorbing words beyond a few sentences.
4. * * Tawera appears unfamiliar with many
specialist words. His vocabulary needs to grow.
5. * This is a key challenge for Tawera as he looks
to navigate new issues and absorb a range of
texts. But this can only be addressed later.
6. * Tawera does not appear to monitor his
understanding or adjust strategies. He doesnt
have good grasp on his own understanding or
what and how he could do something differently.
Writing: Overall, working at Curriculum Level 4
1. * Tawera is still learning to apply such
knowledge in reading, so is unable to as yet
utilise them effectively in writing.
2. * * Tawera shows little evidence that he does
this.
3. * Tawera has trouble with explaining concepts,
theories, beliefs, etc., coherently.
4. * * Tawera does not appear to be anywhere
near demonstrating coherence and cohesion in
even shorter sections of writing.
5. * Tawera s vocabulary is limited.
6. * Tawera has not yet developed this skill of
nominalization and has yet to show effective

7. Knows generative principles of word formation (roots,


suffixes, prefixes) and can apply knowledge to extend
productive vocabulary.
8. Uses a wide range of text conventions (grammer,
spelling, punctuation) appropriately with increasing
accuracy.
9. Correctly acknowledges source of information, e.g.
quotes.

linking with conciseness and coherence.


7. Not clear if he has such knowledge.
8. Tawera uses some text conventions accurately
but not consistently
9. * Tawera is still grappling with the importance of
source information and correctly acknowledging
it.

To accelerate Tawera I need to teach


Like with Caleb, the priority for Tawera is also in the area of reading comprehension around grammar and
vocabulary. So Recognise different grammatical constructions (e.g. that express cause and effect), and
uses this knowledge to understand dense and complex text is also the key priority, with vocabulary
development (Reading point 4) and practice decoding new words (Reading point 1) come along side it. Like Caleb,
once Tawera has made a bit of progress on Reading point 3, he can then begin to practice evaluating, analysing
and summarising information and ideas within texts (Reading point 5). Tawera will also need to learn to monitor his
own understanding. This important to learn early, but such self-monitoring need only start slow at first and I will
structure ways for him to do that.
As with Caleb, Taweras writing challenges are significant, but I will seek to develop these skills only slowly, as
learnings in reading can be put into practice. I would start with planning writing (Writing point 2), but would not
expect much at all in practice at first. I would get Tawera to think about and write a little around Writing points 1
and 3, 5 and 8, but build them up only slow and over some time. Writing point 4 and 6 can wait.

Student 3 Profile:

Scott

(Knowing the Learner profile your student here.)

Scott is a troubled kid, struggling with literacy issues, behavioural issues and - to compound matters - the loss of his
father to suicide in May. He is actively dismissive of the learning in class, has little to no attention span, bangs on tables,
grunts, grimaces and mimics. This does not happen all the time; indeed sometimes Scotts engagement can be positive
apparently, but I myself have not seen this often. Behavioural issues are better than they were earlier in the year, but
under stress these habitual mannerisms magnify, and if he is corrected on his behaviour in class it often gets worse. At
core, I think Scott feels threatened and deeply insecure in himself not surprisingly. Because learning is such a struggle
for him, he holds almost all teachers at arms length except for a couple, and even for these couple there is a lot of work
involved in getting Scott to settle and focus on his some limited learning. Scott has mates in class, namely Caleb and
Richard, but it is hard to gauge the depth of their relations. Caleb, tends to add to and encourage Scotts antics if he
himself is agitated and/or not engaged. Richard has a tendency, if he is agitated to egg Scott on as well.
According to School-based assessments, Scott is working at is working at Curriculum Level 4 in reading, and
toward Curriculum level 4 in writing. For numeracy he is working toward Curriculum Level 4. English and
Mathematics are most difficult for him, but he too, like Caleb and Tawera, appears to do better at the more hands on
manner in which the Sciences can be taught. He is apparently more engaged in the Sciences, has a particular interest
in strange animals, notably the axolotl.
I had some hesitancy in choosing Scott as one of my four target students because of his behavioural challenges, but
there were no others in the class that deserved special attention for literacy issues. Scott also gets a huge amount of
attention from the Special Needs Coordinator at the school, including regular one-on-one sessions, and a graduated
management plan is in place when his behaviour in class gets difficult. So with such support I decided I had to make the
attempt.

Student 3: Scott

The students expected level is working at Curriculum Level 5.


Students at this level

This student can...

Reading:
1. Decode words, including unfamiliar words, quickly and
automatically.
2. Apply knowledge of features of a wide variety of text
types and forms, and understands how these text types
and forms are used in different subjects and curriculum
areas.
3. Recognise different grammatical constructions (e.g. that
express cause and effect), and uses this knowledge to
understand dense and complex text.
4. Have a large vocabulary that is connected to their own
knowledge of the world, including academic, subject
specific and technical terms.
5. Locate, evaluate, analyse and summurise information
and ideas within texts and across a range of texts
making decisions about their usefulness, reading flexibly
and using reading strategies (e.g., skimming scanning,
note-taking, annotating, mapping, coding information,
rephrasing) to gather information and reorganise it for
their own purpose.
6. Monitor their understanding as it develops and adjust
their strategies.

Reading: Overall, working beyond Curriculum


Level 4
1. * * Scott appears to have considerable trouble
decoding unfamiliar words.
2. * * There is little evidence that Scott can
readily recognize different text types and do
this consistently.
3. * * * Scott recognizes basic grammatical
constructions but struggles to recognize more
complex constructions and is getting lost with
texts beyond Level 4.
4. * * Its been difficult to gauge Scotts
vocabulary, but it appears limited, except in
the couple areas of specific interest to him.
5. * Scott is essentially operating at Level 4
literacy in terms of his ability to absorb a range
of texts. He does not appear to have the
basics here - namely in points 2 and 3 above to enable him to begin to do this except in
limited areas where interest impels greater
efforts.
6. * * Scott does not actively monitor his
understanding let alone adjust his strategies
accordingly, certainly in the classes I have
taken. He is largely just coping and reacting.

Writing:
1. Knows a wide variety of text types (genre) and txt forms
(e.g. magazine articles), knows specific features and
structures associated with each, and uses appropriate
text types and forms flexibly in different subject areas.
2. Plan their writing according to the purpose
3. Explains concepts, processes, phenomena, theories,
principles, beliefs and opinions.
4. Achieves coherence and cohesion in paragraphs or
longer sections of writing.
5. Has a large productive vocabulary that includes:
academic, subject-specific, technical terms, and some
low frequency words and phrases.
6. Uses nominalistation to express increasingly abstract
and complex ideas that conform with academic
conventions, and creates links that increase
conciseness and coherence of writing.
7. Knows generative principles of word formation (roots,
suffixes, prefixes) and can apply knowledge to extend
productive vocabulary.
8. Uses a wide range of text conventions (grammer,
spelling, punctuation) appropriately with increasing
accuracy.
9. Correctly acknowledges source of information, e.g.
quotes.

Writing: Overall, working towards Curriculum


Level 4
1. * Scotts active knowledge of this appears to
be basic at best and he has hard time putting
this into practice except in short paragraphs.
2. * * Scott appears to be doing this with regard
to the sciences he likes, but usually follows his
teachers leads.
3. * * Scott has an ability to do this in a basic way
on issues of interest to him. There is no
evidence he can do this in Social Science or in
English.
4. * Scott has shown no ability to do this.
5. * * Scotts vocabularly is extremely limited. He
has some words of specialist vocab when it
comes to key issues he is interested in.
6. I have seen no evidence of the use of
nominalization by Scott.
7. * From what I have seen, only in the most
basic way.
8. * Scott still struggles here.
9. Scott has done this in his work in Science, but
only in a limited way

To accelerate Scott I need to teach


The priority learning for Scott is also Reading point 3: Recognise different grammatical constructions (e.g.
that express cause and effect), and uses this knowledge to understand dense and complex text. This
appears to be hindering him in other areas including Reading point 2 (around understanding how text types and
forms are used) Reading point 5 (gathering and reorganizing information). As with the others, with grounding

here, Scott can then progress to other aspects of his reading challenges and begin to put a bit of this knowledge
into gradually more complex writing efforts.
A key thing here will be to engage Scotts interests so as minimize behavioural issues and not allow them to
distract from his (and the class) learning. Ill have to construct learnings that can engage these interests by
designing tasks and activities where his topic interests can be used.
I will also look to have the learning tasks I teach in the main classes specifically targeted during the time he is
allocated in his one-to-one special needs sessions to back up his learning in the main classes.
Beyond that, it is clear that Scott needs concerted individual attention, not just by myself but by the wider teacher
body.

Student 4 Profile:

Waimakere

(Knowing the Learner profile your student here.)

Waimakere is from the Far North, but her mother and father have split and with her mother apparently absent from the
scene Waimakere has been sent by her father to live in Wainuiomata with an aunt. Waimakere does not want to be in
Wanuiomata at all, nor does she want to be at Raphael House, and teachers responsible for her say that her plan is to
make her situation both at home and at the school untenable thus forcing her aunt to send her home to her father. At
school, Waimakere has refused to participate in almost every class. She is sullen, withdrawn, recalcitrant, makes no
effort to engage with teachers and actively refuses overtures by saying she cannot or will not do what is asked of her.
Her conversation is short, sharp and simple and when challenged, simply takes the consequences. She engages
marginally with a few other students over class jokes but is largely ignored. None of the other students target her in any
way, so she is in many ways an island. She has responded actively to me only in describing where she is from and
where she lives.
Waimakares participation in the classes I have taken has been so little that it is been almost impossible to gauge for
myself what she can and cannot do. School-based assessments and comments from other teachers indicate that
Waimakere is working beyond Curriculum level 4 in reading, at Curriculum Level 4 in writing literacy and
toward Curriculum Level 4 in numeracy. I am not surprised by this, but its possible that Waimakere is more capable
than she appears. Its also possible that a lack of capability is playing a role in Waimakeres reticence to get involved in
learning.
I have likewise had to glean Waimakeres specific capabilities in reading and writing from other teachers. Even then it is
difficult to ascertain for myself what her priorities are without more detailed knowledge. My estimation is below but again
I will have to fine-tune this assessment as evidence becomes apparent.

Student 4: Waimakere
The students expected level is working at Curriculum Level 5.
Students at this level

This student can...

Reading
1. Decode words, including unfamiliar words, quickly and
automatically.
2. Apply knowledge of features of a wide variety of text
types and forms, and understands how these text types
and forms are used in different subjects and curriculum
areas.
3. Recognise different grammatical constructions (e.g. that
express cause and effect), and uses this knowledge to
understand dense and complex text.
4. Have a large vocabulary that is connected to their own
knowledge of the world, including academic, subject

Reading: Working beyond Curriculum Level 4


1. * * * Waimakere does not decode words
quickly and automatically when she needs to.
2. * * * There is little indication that Waimakere
can identify a variety of text types let alone
understand how they are used.
3. * * * Waimakere recognises basic grammatical
constructions but does not appear to
understand dense and complex text.

specific and technical terms


4. * * Waimakeres vocabulary is limited, but
5. Locate, evaluate, analyse and summurise information
again evidence here is limited.
and ideas within texts and across a range of texts
making decisions about their usefulness, reading flexibly 5. * There is little indication that Waimakere can
and using reading strategies (e.g., skimming scanning,
do any of this.
note-taking, annotating, mapping, coding information,
rephrasing) to gather information and reorganise it for
their own purpose.
6. There is little indication that Waimakere is
6. Monitor their understanding as it develops and adjust
doing this actively. But it appears she is
their strategies.
capable should she so choose
Writing:
1. Knows a wide variety of text types (genre) and txt forms
(e.g. magazine articles), knows specific features and
structures associated with each, and uses appropriate
text types and forms flexibly in different subject areas.
2. Plan their writing according to the purpose
3. Explains concepts, processes, phenomena, theories,
principles, beliefs and opinions.
4. Achieves coherence and cohesion in paragraphs or
longer sections of writing.
5. Has a large productive vocabulary that includes:
academic, subject-specific, technical terms, and some
low frequency words and phrases.
6. Uses nominalisation to express increasingly abstract
and complex ideas that conform with academic
conventions, and creates links that increase
conciseness and coherence of writing.
7. Knows generative principles of word formation (roots,
suffixes, prefixes) and can apply knowledge to extend
productive vocabulary
8. Uses a wide range of text conventions (grammer,
spelling, punctuation) appropriately with increasing
accuracy.
9. Correctly acknowledges source of information, e.g.
quotes.

Writing: Working at Curriculum Level 4


1. * Waimakere has trouble replicating the kinds
of text types she sees in her reading let alone
utilizing them effectively in her own writing.
2. * Waimakere appears to have the ability to
plan from spoken responses she has given to
questions, but there has been little evidence in
practice demonstrated in her writing.
3. * Waimakere can explain basic concepts and
process etc verbally, but her written examples
as seen in some Science exercises are
limited in practice.
4. * * Mere has yet to show consistently that she
can achieve coherence and cohesion in
anything but short sections of her own writing.
5. * * Waimakeres vocab is very limited.
6. * Waimakere has not yet developed this skill of
nominalization and has yet to show effective
linking with conciseness and coherence.
7. It appears Waimakere does know this.
8. Again, Waimakeres use of text conventions is
extremely limited in practice.
9. * Waimakere is aware of the expectation for
this but has had but a few opportunities to
demonstrate regard for this convention in
practice.

To accelerate Waimakere I need to teach


It appears that Waimakere needs basic core learnings in Reading points 1: (decoding unfamiliar words), and
point 2 (knowledge of text types and how they are used). But it also appears she needs core learning in Reading
point 3: Recognise different grammatical constructions (e.g. that express cause and effect), and uses this
knowledge to understand dense and complex text, just as much as the other three target students. I will thus
make Reading point 3 her priority as well, but as we look at grammatical constructions I will be watching and
attending her approach to Reading points 1 and 2.
Along side this, however, will be the bigger task of gaining Waimakeres trust and participation in class, without
which there will be no hope in attending the priority learning(s) for her. To achieve this, I will, with the help of
other teachers, look to gain her own views on issues bothering her with how things are going at school and at
home and gradually explain the benefits of participation in her learning so as to, in time, increase her own
agency and her ability to help others in her life.

My own learning needs as a teacher at this time


As a teacher with limited experience (and much of it now years back), I have a number of learning needs, including

around how to put a fairly decent understanding of what it is to teach well into practice. I have strengths in relating to
kids, subject knowledge and keeping an eye on the big picture in their learning as well as outlining what we are doing
and why.
But I am text and verbally heavy (despite a keen interest in visuals) and need to work hard to get variety into learning
tasks as well as manage transitions between activities. I tend to lead rather than facilitate learning, and I tend to speak
to the more capable levels within a class rather than those who might be struggling. If I can do the latter, it is at the
expense of stimulating the more advanced students in the class. A particular challenge will be to engage kids who are
uninterested, especially while attending to wider class needs. While these are relevant challenges even for experienced
teachers, I need to find my own way in these. Overall, then, there is a bit to work on as I try to attend to the learning
needs of the four target students.
I use as my key guide for my teaching two guides:
1) key Graduating Teacher Standards
2) the outline of elements of what effective pedagogy looks like found on pp. 34-35 of The New Zealand Curriculum,
of which the key elements are:

creating a supportive learning environment;


ensuring the relevance of learning to students;
making connections with prior learning and experience;
facilitating shared learning;
providing varying opportunities to learn; and
encouraging student reflection

I will measure myself against these elements to help ensure that I create tasks, target learnings and teach the class
effectively both in planning and practice.

Teaching Inquiry
The teacher uses evidence from research and from their own past practice and that of colleagues to plan teaching and learning
opportunities aimed at achieving the outcomes prioritised in the focusing inquiry.

One area of learning common to all and the learning described


It appears to me that Reading point 4 is the area of learning common to all four students that would be most
important to focus on. This is the expectation that by the end of Year 10, students should:
have a large vocabulary that is connected to their own knowledge of the world, including academic, subject
specific and technical terms.
For each of the four target students there are other factors affecting progress and achievement, but most of these
other factors or areas of learning, especially the ones that all four are struggling can be assisted in the
process of focusing on Reading point 4. This is basic and important stuff: increasing vocabulary will help in
these students ability to decode unfamiliar words (Reading point 1); is essential if they are decipher the range of
text types found in all learning areas (Reading point 2); it will help in recognizing grammatical constructions and
understanding dense text (Reading point 3); and a growing vocabulary will eventually help in their ability to analyse
and evaluate texts so as to gather information for their own purpose (Reading point 5). As noted, I will keep an eye
on each students other individual learning priorities fine-tuning help and support for them individually accordingly
where and when I can as the issues arise.
Further, none of the classes I will be taking with the four target students have been particularly text heavy
with the existing teachers, which would make it difficult to introduce text-focused learning areas in the time I have
including Reading points 2 and 3 (let alone 5). Drama and Earth Sciences will be entirely practical and verbal; in
Art History, while I will be looking at the historical context of the European Renaissance, in practice this is otherwise
largely visual and oral with short written worksheets on key art pieces; and Current Affairs is largely discussion-

based. (9A English does not include any of my target students.)


Importantly, increasing the students vocabulary can also be addressed in each of the classes I have with the
four students namely Drama, Current Affairs and Art History for all four target students, Earth Sciences with
Caleb, and in the 1 special needs learners spell I have with Caleb, Scott and Tawera. This will allow me to
reinforce this key element of learning in each class and give the target students a key tool in approaching all
subject areas. Since there are a limited number of lessons for all the classes save Art History, and good learning is
done over time, it makes sense to attempt a learning that can be reinforced in each subject class.
A special or reinforced look at vocabulary is also a key ingredient for others in the class and their own
learnings. Indeed looking at vocabulary relevant in each of the subject areas can be a common if quiet theme
for the class as a whole and act as shared learning along with and as part of subject learnings.
This will not stop me looking at other needed key learning areas in my classes, but increasing student vocabulary
appears to fit well as key focus.

Strategies and how I will teach this group


In addition to any small amount of time I have individually with the four target students in the special needs spell, I
will have to teach these four students right alongside others in the class. I need to attend to the needs of more able
students in the class, but I also want to ensure that the learning of those struggling in Class 9 is tied closely to
those doing well to demonstrate what success looks like and maximize the chance of success. This establishes
sound opportunities to facilitate shared learning. To do this well in Class 9, however, I will have to inculcate a
stronger culture of mutual support in the class to help achieve a supportive learning environment and minimize
social put-downs a challenge in itself.
As I have above, I will check prior learning and experience of the students in each subject/learning area and topic,
and I will include where appropriate further exercises and tasks aimed to discern student prior experience and
learning. I will also seek to place the topic focus in each class firmly in the students context to ensure the relevance
of learning, with local focus on issues wherever possible and appropriate. With Drama and Current Affairs I can
choose issues most kids can identify with in some way, and in Art History I can work to bring contemporary examples
of cultural technological and political change and revolution that they can identify with.
A focus on vocabulary will mean that we as class groupings will put attention on key vocabulary and word
definitions in almost every lesson appropriate to the learning area and topic/learning intentions. I do not intend to
spend more than 10 minutes in some lessons on vocabulary. But there is ample opportunity and scope to do
considerable learning in activities that look at both subject content and the language/vocabulary. Learning critieria
and learning tasks can (and sometimes should) have both a content focus and a language focus.
I therefore intend to reinforce the use of target vocabulary by highlighting them and recycling the vocabulary in
varied learning activities and exercises focused on the subject topic. These will include visual, video and audio as
well as oral and written activities on the topic focus which will require student participation in a variety of ways:
listening, reading, viewing, speaking, writing and presenting. This will provide varying opportunities to learn,
including the use of target vocabulary in varying types of text and action. The vocabulary itself can become the
vehicle or guide with which to enter the varied activities as well as the subject topic itself. And we can add to the
target vocabulary as needed.
These learning exercises and tasks will be differentiated to cater for the range of abilities in the class, including
the materials distributed for activities. I will expect fuller reading and writing efforts from the students not struggling,
but I will take a more selective approach to reading and writing litereacy for the four target students. Beyond
exercises that clearly target the vocabulary, some will encompasses Reading points 1-3, but we would only look to
engage in a limited way anything around the complex effort involved in evaluating texts and gathering information
(Reading point 5). I will seek to develop the four target students writing skills gently as new knowledge can be put
into practice, most particularly in using new vocabulary (writing point 5) in more simple sentences or short
paragraphs as well as the spoken and performed word. I will encourage some targeted efforts on their part on
Writing points 1, 3, 7 and 8. But any emphasis on planning (Writing point 2) and longer writing (Writing point 4)
would be kept limited.

At the start of each lesson I will explicitly outline intended learning outcomes and activities for the day, including
around new or revisited vocabulary, and how this will help increase literacy skills and subject knowledge; and at the
end of each lesson I will note what we have covered restating our intended goals as well as what to expect next
lesson. This will increase student clarity around what and why they are doing what they are doing as well as
reinforce their own monitoring of their learning and progress and assist student reflection. We can also take this
time at the beginning and end of lessons to encourage student voice, giving me core material to reassess the
students learning needs and my own teaching.
Overall, my aims will be modest: to strengthen the vocabulary of our four target students as well as use this
process to build some of the skills and knowledge needed to get them a little closer to toward Working toward
Curriculum Level 5 in reading, and perhaps a little closer toward working beyond Curriculum Level 4 in writing; all
while attending to the learning needs of other students in the class as well.

Learning tasks I will use


These will be a combination of language-focused tasks and content-focused tasks. Not all tasks and activities noted
below will necessarily be used in practice.

Language focused tasks

word studies on key vocabulary (definitions, tense, origins, prefixes, suffixes, synonyms)

definition lists and definition tables for key vocabulary

clines activities and comparisons

guardian of the word exercise for key vocabulary.

before and after vocabulary exercises to allow students to see their improving knowledge of key words

introduce and explain associated language or linking words that helps students use the key vocabulary
in writing and speaking, and then using them in verb story exercises using verbs and linking words to
explain a process or a sequence of events or a relationship (depending on the topic focus and key
vocabulary), (or possibly adjectives to describe nouns). Get students to work together to complete
descriptions.

part sentence exercises and part diagram, full text/full diagram, part text exercises, getting students to
work in pairs.

cloze exercises with a particular look at the key vocabulary as well as the associated language.

picture matching exercises matching pictures to descriptions and then turning to partner to describe the
processes/events in the picture.

writing frames exercises using and key vocab list linking words - frames differentiated for different
abilities: (sentences to finish for the less able; cloze texts for the average students; and titles only for the
advanced students)

homework to find examples and descriptions of the topic focus and use of the key vocabulary.

ask and answer exercises changing statements to questions

ordering/sequencing sentences, looking at words that gave us clues what that sequence is

say it exercise: describing parts of that sequence verbally (and listening by others)

dictigloss activity using listening, reading, speaking and writing - many opportunities to notice and then
use new language/words,- listening for, understanding and rewriting.

Content-focused tasks

self-assessment survey on what they know, what they want to know more about, and what they really no
nothing about.

get students to describe in writing what they know about a subject/topic on own, then compare in groups,
then build on prior knowledge.

use Finding out tables and other exercises to check prior knowledge.

present story, video and photography prompts to introduce the topic, and prompt discussion.

Conduct class, large group, small group and paired discussions and feedback at all stages of learning.

Carry out brainstorming, mind-maps, anticipatory reading guides, to get into the issues and texts.

Guardian of the person exercises (also differentiated in terms of difficulty); sharing with others in the
group; then identifying a key element of [story, event, process, action, etc.]

Use concept stars, venn diagrams, T-charts, story maps and cloze exercises and various graphic
organizers to help students organize information and data in more digestible ways.

Use learning logs to integrate content, process and personal feelings.

suggest formatted cause and effect diagrams and graphic organizers of process and events; get students
to devise their own formats and share with others; and get them to use these organizers to frame and
produce their writing.

suggest scaffolded formats and graphic organisers to summarise concepts, processes, phenomena,
theories, and get the students to devise their own and share with others; and get them to use these
organizers to frame and produce their writing.

suggest scaffolded formats for note-taking and text summaries; get students to devise their own and share
with others.

Interactive cloze exercise and K-W-L charts to check understanding.

Monitoring of student progress I will carry out

I will clearly outline intended Learning Outcomes at beginning of all lessons and all tasks, note what we
have covered at the end of each lesson, and regularly check in with students as to how they think we/they
are going.

I will check-in with students regularly during lessons, query content knowledge, making regular sum ups of
what we are learning.

I will closely monitor student participation in class exercises, ensure that they keep a record and monitor
their own progress, and keep a record myself, gauging the results and altering the teaching-learning as
needed.

I will conduct regular, short tests for skills and knowledge on topic focus and key vocabulary, but many of
the varied learning tasks themselves will act as tests for skills and knowledge practiced in previous tasks

and activities.

I will do a few tests on topic focus. These will be marked and recorded for formative assessment and
teacher purposes, but will not count against final summative assessment.

I will conduct quick closing activities at the end of most lessons, e.g., a short writing frame to gauge
students understanding, asking myself: Have they understood what we were aiming to learn? What are
they missing? What will be my starting point next lesson? This will be a gauge for them as well for them to
reflect on their learning and reinforce it,

I will also look to ask each student at the end of each lesson to write down one question about the topic
and/or vocabulary they would like to know the answer to next lesson.

Pedagogical practices I will develop as I engage in the tasks.


I take ESOL Onlines seven principles (outlined at http://esolonline.tki.org.nz/ESOL-Online/Teacherneeds/Pedagogy/ESOL-principles) as the core of my pedagogical practices as I engage in the tasks and the
learning for my lessons with Class 9. These principles are foundational approaches for all teaching-learning,
especially that involving language and thus are strongly relevant in helping Class 9 students, and particularly my
four target students, develop their vocabulary. These pedagogical practices are as follows:
Principle 1: Know your learners - their language background, their language proficiency, their experiential
background.
What do you know about your students' language skills? What do you know about their prior knowledge? How will you
find out this information? How will it affect your planning?
Principle 2: Identify the learning outcomes including the language demands of the teaching and learning.
What language do the students need to complete the task? Do the students know what the content and language
learning outcomes are?
Principle 3: Maintain, make explicit and help students achieve the same learning outcomes for all the learners
using differentiated levels of support.
How can I make the lesson comprehensible to all students? How can I plan the learning tasks so that all the students
are actively involved? Do my students understand the learning outcomes?
Principle 4: Begin with context-embedded tasks which make the abstract concrete.
Principle 5: Provide multiple opportunities for authentic language use with a focus on students using
academic language.
Is the language focus on key language? Do I make sure the students have many opportunities to notice and use new
language?
Principle 6: Ensure a balance between receptive and productive language.
Are the students using both productive (speaking, writing, presenting) and receptive (viewing, listening, reading)
language in this lesson?
Principle 7: Include opportunities for monitoring and self-evaluation.
Am I using think alouds to show students my strategy use? What opportunities are there for reflection and selfevaluation?
My choice to work with students this way is likewise underpinned by the explanation and component parts of
Effective Pedagogy as outlined in the NZ Curriculum, pp.34-35, and a range of research that pushes studentfocused learning, that makes learning intentions explicit, that puts a heavy emphasis on skills learned rather than
subjects mastered, and which pushed student self-monitoring.

What informs your choice to work this way with the students, What does the research
say or what is promoted by teaching experts?
ESOL Onlines Making Language and learning work DVDs were a critical resource and area of clarity for me.
They can be found at: http://esolonline.tki.org.nz/ESOL-Online/Teacher-needs/Pedagogy/Making-language-andlearning-work.
New Zealand Curriculum Update 12 on Teaching as Inquiry (August, 2011) summarises findings by the Education
Review Office on how Teaching as Inquiry is being implemented in schools. It outlines effective practices in schools
that enable Teaching as Inquiry to flourish. It can be found at: http://assessment.tki.org.nz/Research-andreadings/Teaching-as-inquiry.
I also found useful the video presentation by Graeme Aitken, The Elements of Teaching Effectiveness and his
background paper, The inquiring teacher: Clarifying the concept of teaching effectiveness, which can be found at:
http://www.educationalleaders.govt.nz/Leadership-development/Leadership-programmes/First-time-principalsmodules/Module-2-Teaching-effectiveness.
For my particular social science bent, I also found useful Effective Pedagogy in Social Sciences: Tikanga Iwi, by
Graeme Aitken and Claire Sinnema, The University of Auckland, November 2008, particularly around good learning
mechanisms and those that work with diverse learners, and the development and use of case studies, which
helped tease out and uncover the ways in which particular pedagogical approaches were working, for whom, and in
what circumstances, and thus [become] a key tool for synthesising a diverse range of evidence for a learning inquiry.
This is one of a series of best evidence synthesis iterations (BESs) commissioned by the Ministry of Education. It can
be found at: https://www.educationcounts.govt.nz/publications/series/2515/32879/35263.
The Teaching Inquiry and Key Competencies PDF at http://assessment.tki.org.nz/Assessment-in-theclassroom/Teaching-as-inquiry/Teaching-as-inquiry-practical-tools-for-teachers/Inquiry-and-the-Key-Competencies,
was also very useful way to approach my four target students in terms of how they might be helped to develop the
competencies outlined in the New Zealand Curriculum (pp.13-14). It was clear that Scott and Waimakere had some
deep challenges in almost all of the Key competencies.
There are some very useful suggestions about developing a subtle and effective teaching inquiry and improving
teaching-learning in the Powerpoint presentation Using Classroom observations to improve literacy teaching and
learning, Some thoughts, Trish Holden (2011).

Learning Inquiry.
Investigating the success of the teaching in terms of the outcomes, using a range of assessment approaches.

Putting my focus inquiry and teaching inquiry into practice was challenge and a real learning for me. These inquiries
helped me immensely, and I was able to put new things into practice. I used some of the planned approaches and was
able to make vocabulary generally a focus of my teaching. But despite all my preparation and thought including
getting to understand the target learners Caleb, Tawera, Scott and Waimakere and the satisfaction I got out of
developing an approach around vocabulary and language a number of factors made it difficult to really put my
strategies and learning tasks into practice, for the target students in particular. So while I got a huge amount out of the
teaching as a whole, the learning inquiry was itself more learning about the challenges of:

teaching struggling kids, some with behavioural issues;


amid larger class dynamics and the needs of the rest of students;
with only limited amount of time in practice, just a little more than two weeks to get good patterns
established and some measurable results.

The learning inquiry was a success in that I learned I needed far more time and effort to get anywhere close to what I
had hoped with my target students, but it wasnt a success in terms of any apparent progress on the part of at least

three of the four of them.

A note on assessment and the wider class


The assessment I carried out over the practicum was heavily formative and informal in the practice of day-to-day
teaching and reflection. While I was able to carry out formal assessment for Class 10, this wasnt the case for any of the
subjects I took with Class 9. My Class 9 associate teachers were in the process of gathering their summative reports for
Class 9 and unfortunately (though I didnt really think about it at the time) I was not involved in that process other than
short stints in proof-reading reports for random classes right across the Upper School. And formal reports were not out
by the time my practicum finished, so I have been unable to include formal assessment data per se. Further, I was not
as thorough in prompting and gathering student feed back as I probably should have been as part of the formative
assessment.
Also, while overall I judge my time with Class 9 classes was successful, though sometimes quite challenging, it was
difficult to put as much emphasis on the language-focused tasks as I had intended in the classes. While I spent
some time on vocabulary in the beginning of many classes, and used it throughout some, and even began to use some
vocabulary and learnings across subjects, vocabulary became more of a prevalent secondary theme in practice. In
Drama, core vocabulary was introduced and used throughout, but given I had only 4 classes with each 9A and 9B, and
focus themes tended to drag out over a couple of classes, the breadth of the vocabulary used was not extensive. In
Current Affairs, again key vocabulary was important around local, national or international events, causes and effects
but in practice much of my time was spent getting to know the students and their interests and looking at and explaining
vocabulary that came out of the current affairs they brought to share with the class. In Earth Sciences, I was
occasionally able to raise useful vocabulary as we went but interest and preoccupation quickly gravitated to the physical
tasks themselves.
In Art History, the vocabulary potential was rich around the art, history and politics of the Renaissance. But my
associate teachers own focus on the vocabulary of art technique, iconography and subject was, though not at the
forefront of lessons, already strong. Moreover the vocabulary around Renaissance history and technology alone didnt
feel like a strong enough hook with which to grab student attention. So for better or worse - while vocabulary
remained important in the classes I took, I reverted to a content-focus on the social, historical and technological shifts
that were occurring at the time.
Moreover, at least three of the four target students I had judged would benefit from a focus on vocabulary quickly
proved harder to reach than expected, minimizing the relevance of my intended vocabulary focus. So the broader
needs of the wider class quickly moved to the fore. Even had my four target students been more manageable, the
gravity of wider class 9 needs would have been strong.

The target students themselves


Scott no apparent progress
As noted, I had some hesitancy in selecting Scott as one of my four target students because of his behavioural
challenges. Given the time I had to help address them these concerns were valid. Scotts behavioural issues persisted
of course. But unfortunately we got off on the wrong foot as well and I was unable to gain his trust. In fact, a poor
relationship developed: he almost immediately saw me as a threat and developed a defensive approach. I believe this
was in part a result of my tendency to try to be chummy with students, and this backfired with him; he wouldnt have bar
of me, and attention on him class just rarked him up. And when his antics in class became too much, I hardened up in
ways that just exacerbated his behaviour. Again, a learning for me, and unfortunately we could not get beyond that
unhelpful dynamic.
In retrospect I should have had the special education coordinator break the ice between Scott and myself, and then
have some one on one time with him. But even then, time was short. On paper I only had four separate spells over the
four weeks with the three boys Caleb, Tawera and Scott, but in practice that became just one session, and that was
spent one-on-one with Tawera no link was made with Scott. The set up over that spell was problematic: I was to help
a teacher aid, Ivan, take the three boys together in the special learning unit. But it was clear that Ivan was in over his
head, and in most sessions Scott and sometimes Caleb were antagonistic with Ivan and they would usually get on a roll
in having him on. I judged Ivan was embarrassed and in practice it was clear that he would rather I was not there. I
believe these sessions need to be reorganised so that all three boys were given individual one-on-one sessions, but
didnt feel it was my place to call for that, nor as trainee teacher highlight the trouble Ivan was having.

So Scott made no apparent progress. There may have been one glimmer of hope: he allowed me to help him choose
points for proportion his copy of an original piece of perspective art (Uccello, 1460) in Art History just once a moment
when the class was focused, no anxieties or urges were flooding him, and, I suspect, when he felt hed better make a
little progress since everybody else was. It was fleeting moment, but it might be something that can be worked on.
Further out, however, Scott needs a more concerted approach, and progress is likely to slow especially until
adolescence and the hormones settle. He needs considerable one-on-one time, but as the new guy he wasnt going to
let me in. I suspect his issues are deeper than just behavioural. It would have taken a huge concentrated effort on my
part time for which I did not have to have made anyway headway with Scott, and that would have taken me away
from my responsibilities to the other students.
I am not giving up on Scott, as I am likely to be relieving at Raphael House next year. My lack of success here is an
issue of deep challenges Scott has, but it is also result of the little time I had over the teaching practicum and my own
teaching challenges around approaching issues like his. This inquiry may have its worth yet, as I will be able to share it
with teachers at Raphael House and have the opportunity to teach Scott again. We will see.
Waimakere made no apparent progress
Waimakeres issues were also extremely limiting, particularly given my responsibilities to the other students and the lack
of time I had to whittle down her defences and cajole some improvements in her class participation especially as a
new, distrusted teacher. As with Scott, I found I was unable to make a connection with Waimakere, and I failed to
arrange a time myself outside regular classes to attempt to do this. I now realize this would probably have been critical
to any minor incremental success. It is not clear how much that would have helped anyway as, again, getting more than
intermittent participation from her will have almost certainly required considerably more time than I had on practicum.
In class, Waimakere did not disturb other students, but nor did she participate except in the practical art side of Art
History Main Lesson. When I started Current Affairs classes and asked everybody about where they lived and who with,
Waimakere responded relatively fully to my questions and prompts, so there too was an in. But I could not entice any
further participation in the class, nor in Drama, which she had a particular aversion to. She simply shook her head no,
and nothing my associate teachers did could change that either. So my work on language-focused activites and others
went unappreciated. One cold day when she was huddling next to the class heater, I insisted she return to her desk or
go into the hall and she simply walked out of the class in a huff.
So Waimakere made no apparent progress either over the time I was with her. Waimakeres lack of participation in class
was a going concern for teachers around which there was no resolution; this would have taken considerable effort and
time from quite few teachers and perhaps the principal, but all of them were caught up in end of year assignments and
assessments. As I am likely to ne at Raphael House next year, I hope to use this information and a deeper profile to
perhaps help in the future.
Caleb made expected progress
There were some good developments with Caleb who, because of his inclinations described in the Focusing inquiry,
responded to my open and approachable nature. A relatively positive rapport was established, interspersed with regular
bouts of poor behaviour and disruption in the class as he was either influenced by others, came to school with issues
that were bothering him, or generally just got caught up in the antics of the class. I had to send him out of the class a
few times and he would go happily sometimes.
But other times he did so grumpily, and his sense of indignation was sometimes impressive. A big part of him just wants
to be part of the action. It was hard to get him involved in Current Affairs, but he did join in on occasion, volunteering
events he was interested in outlining them basically using the formatted cause and effect diagrams and key
vocabulary. With cajoling, he participated in Drama in most lessons, joining warm-up exercises and working with others
to perform skits around themes, characters and dynamics and word prompts.
Caleb was most involved in Art History, notably when my associate teacher was around but also when she wasnt,
dutifully filling in worksheet activities (as simply and as quickly as he could) and drawing up his copy of an original piece
of perspective art for the summative assessment. And for this he usually came to me. Around the language-focused and
other activities, Caleb made some engagement, enquiring about word meanings (briefly) and using them in assigned
worksheets and class activities. Interestingly he did not always sit with his mates, instead sitting with others or where he
was asked. With constant coaxing Caleb also worked with me and others in Earth Sciences in gathering and chopping
timber for huts and earthen retaining walls.

So Caleb, given the few weeks considered here, made probably expected progress. Overall, I felt I had some positive
influence on Caleb, but this was due in most part to his own inclinations. That said, he did seek me out in class and I did
hear him using words I had introduced, so these were wins.
Tawera made no apparent progress
For his part, Tawera was open to learning. He remained complicit in class disruptions but did not actively instigate them.
He also took instruction as ably as he could. But he was easily distracted, and while his behavioural issues were
minimal, it was clear he needs considerable support to consolidate any learnings.
So Tawera likewise made no apparent progress over the period of the inquiry. Had I been able to have four solid spells
with him alone, I might have been able to teach some vocabulary and approaches to vocabulary as well begin to
navigate a few text types. But the one spell I had with him wasnt more than a little window into his challenges, and
normal class time afforded me only a few minute here or there with him - not enough to ensure some progress. So his
too is a wait and see situation, one I could only affect should I return to Raphael House.

The time limits of this Inquiry, and my own limitations


A key learning for me was some realism around the limitations of what can be achieved in a few weeks. A
teaching inquiry of this scale targeting such students with behavioural challenges would need considerably more time to
effect palpable progress in literacy, and/or much more of that time spent in small groups or in one-on-one with target
students. Conversely, with the time period available, my teaching inquiry should have been much more tightly focused
in terms of learning tasks and intended outcomes. I obviously bit off more than I could chew.
This was also a significant reminder that such students need consistent attention from all their teachers, not so
much in terms of time, but in approach, agreeing on learning priorities for them and how they will be attended. I
received good support from my associates, but they were themselves preoccupied with multiple classes, planning,
assessment, extra-curricular activities and other sometimes problematic students. The importance of student-specific
meetings can not be over-stressed, but in reality its difficult to meet all needs.
For myself as a teacher, attempting to address the learning needs of such students was an education in itself on my
own learning needs. Not surprisingly, the process highlighted my weaknesses as a teacher in particular: around: some
aspects of practical planning, around boundaries with the students, around managing multiple and differentiated needs,
and around my word dominant style of teaching.