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Make connections to prior learning and experience

This aspect of effective pedagogy is underpinned by the learning to learn, cohesion, and inclusion principles. It encourages students to develop the key competencies thinking and managing self.

Introducing new learning

Students learn best when they are able to relate new learning to their existing knowledge and understandings.

How might I do this?

You might begin a new topic with a group brainstorm to surface student understandings.

Before doing detailed planning, use diagnostic assessment activities to identify relevant prior knowledge. For example, use a KWL chart.

Maximise use of learning time

Deliberately build on what students know and have experienced. This will maximise use of learning time, engage students, and avoid frustration and boredom.

How might I do this?

Before discussing the theory of livestock management, find out what your students currently understand about management practices and the reasons for their use. For example, if planning to explore management of reproduction on a dairy farm, begin by finding out about your students’ assumptions, views, knowledge, and experience. Use what you discover as you develop a suitable teaching approach.

Make connections across learning areas

For a variety of reasons, learning in the senior secondary school is almost always divided into learning areas and/or subjects. This is not how students experience learning in their wider lives, so minimise the significance of the “packaging”, and look for opportunities to co-ordinate teaching of concepts and content across subjects.

How might I do this?

In discussion with science and geography teachers, identify common concepts and/or content. Work together to teach these ideas, use the same terminology if possible (or discuss the differences, if not), and strengthen students’ understanding by exposing them to the same concepts in different contexts.

What this might look like

In groups, students discuss their existing ideas about the growing process for raising Māori potatoes (urenika) and the impacts of different management practices (for example, practices relating to weed control or fertiliser use). They then put what they need to find out/learn into the form of written questions.

The biology teacher leads the learning of aspects of genetics and genetic crosses and the role of the reproductive system, while the teacher of agriculture or horticulture leads the learning of management practices that improve reproduction outcomes such as fertilisation, embryo development, germination, or fecundity.

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Last updated June 11, 2018