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Teaching practices and the English strands

Examples of teaching practices that enable students to progress when making meaning

Practices in English involve deliberate teacher actions promoting student learning.

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All teaching practices focus on the student at the centre of learning. Teachers make deliberate choices with regard to students’ interests and needs and the relevance of what is to be studied.

The aim of these teaching practices is for students to develop independent knowledge and skills. Teachers should help their students to become increasingly independent.

Practices could include:

  • journaling/reflecting on/recording existing knowledge on genre conventions and adding to these in the course of the text study
  • identifying sources for further research in all areas (teachers, peers, community, electronic, online, hard-copy, and oral texts, and so on)
  • using and incorporating local and community experience when interpreting texts, for example, grandparents, kaumatua, faife’au/faifekau
  • gathering knowledge and content of the text and genre within and beyond the school environment and between texts, text types, content, and the students’ own stories
  • using multiple methods for readings of texts and comparing these with each other’s readings including using secondary sources
  • basing studies of texts on specific teaching and learning around conventions of genre
  • basing the learning on the context and cultural perspective of the learners
  • collecting feedback from multiple sources and establishing the most important task and strategy-specific next steps for deeper readings and understandings
  • explicit teaching to provide students with competencies in the selection and use of increasingly complex and flexible tools for inquiry into texts, for example 'three level' guides and tools for developing specific vocabulary, stylistic and linguistic features, literary devices, sentence constructions, and grammatical control, and how these make meaning
  • providing processes to encourage increasing independence – clear scaffolding of the inquiry process.

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Examples of teaching practices that enable students to progress when creating meaning

As with the making meaning strand, all teaching practices put the student at the centre of learning. Teachers make deliberate choices with regard to students’ interests and needs and the relevance of what is to be studied.

The aim of these teaching practices is for students to develop independent knowledge and skills. Teachers can help their students become increasingly independent.

Practices could include:

  • explicit teaching of genre and their relevant conventions, and applying these to students’ own work
  • explicit teaching about audiences and how writers and designers select oral, written, and/or visual language techniques that will be most effective for their purpose
  • using examples and exemplars, including authentic student work, to examine how other writers have structured/sequenced their ideas
  • scaffolding students by providing more detailed help at first, then gradually removing the support to foster independence
  • using a wide range of planning methods such as brainstorming, mind-mapping, story-boarding, templates, listing, diagrams, note-taking, and collaborative digital methods such as wikis or learning management systems.

Students need to know when to use a particular planning method. They can practice different methods to find those that suit them.

Further practices could include:

  • exploring the particular effects of language techniques, for example, to influence and persuade through the use of rhetorical questions, and then experimenting with a variety of techniques to find out which are most effective in their own creation of texts
  • selecting and developing ideas for a specific audience and/or purpose, for example, identifying what ideas will be relevant (in a speech about role models) to a year 9 audience in the school
  • adapting traditional methods of oratory, for example, whaikōrero, ngā mihi, whakapapa
  • adapting traditional methods of story-telling, for example, tukutuku panels, pou manawa, tokotoko, sagas, myths, legends, ballads.

There also needs to be an explicit focus on the power of language features and why writers select them so that, when students create their own texts, they are aware of the need to make deliberate language choices.

Students may need repeated exposure to a variety of texts in order to understand connotation, subjectivity, and bias. They need to learn that language features can include oral, written, and visual language.

Students will also benefit from the practices of critiquing and conferencing, using self, peer, and teacher feedback. Feedback can be written, visual, and/or oral. Critiquing and conferencing are good ways to get feedback from an authentic audience. Students can see how successful their choices have been.

Enhancing the English curriculum: English online

English Online unpacks achievement objectives at levels 6, 7, and 8 for both English strands to show what is important for each and what each looks like in practice.

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Please note: The references to achievement standards and unit standards on the English Online pages may refer to expired or expiring standards. For up-to-date information about the standards alignment and the correct standards visit the NZQA English page.

Last updated May 31, 2017



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