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Provide sufficient opportunities to learn

This aspect of effective pedagogy is underpinned by the high expectations and learning to learn principles. It promotes development of the key competencies thinking, and using language, symbols, and texts.

Opportunities, varied approaches, and time

Students learn best when they are given opportunities to encounter, explore, and engage with new concepts and learning in a variety of ways. This means giving students time to discuss, share, read, and write using new vocabulary, concepts, and ideas.

How might I do this?

When introducing a new topic, give students a summary text and ask them to identify and list unfamiliar vocabulary. A class list is then collated and shared and, in groups, students discuss possible meanings, leading to the development of a glossary.

Throughout the topic, use these words in vocabulary activities such as matching words and definitions, crosswords, and dominoes with words and definitions. Other ways of learning new vocabulary include: writing cause–and–effect statements using pairs of new words; using a mind map/graphic organiser to link new words to key concepts; using flash cards.

At the conclusion of a unit on an agricultural or a horticultural issue, students might produce an evidence-based summation (visual, aural, or written). This summation could incorporate personal responses.

Less can be more

Although students need to encounter the language and content of new learning in different tasks or contexts, this may mean teaching reduced coverage so that your students will understand the important concepts in greater depth. By reducing the content load, you will give students greater opportunity to assess their own learning and provide mutual feedback.

How might I do this?

Highlight new words, link new words with familiar words and ideas and get students to learn the meanings and use the words when they discuss ideas and in sentences and writing.

What this might look like

Explore the socio-scientific issues at stake in permitting a dairying monoculture to become established in the Mackenzie country, Maniototo, or Southland, instead of the traditional cash cropping and mixed farming.

Provide opportunities for expert groups to:

  • read about social and scientific issues related to dairying and cash cropping
  • talk to farm consultants about issues relating to dairying
  • investigate both sides of issues related to cash cropping.

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Last updated December 5, 2011