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The success of teaching and learning is founded on the quality of the relationship built between the teacher and the student. The teacher manages the motivational climate of the classroom to foster a learning-focused relationship with students, with a shared ownership of and responsibility for learning. This provides students with the maximum opportunity to build their own motivation to learn.
At the heart of assessment for learning is the idea, supported by evidence, that students who truly understand and are involved in their learning have accelerated rates of achievement. In order for students to have this participation in their learning, a genuine learning-focused relationship must exist in the classroom.
Creating a learning-focused relationship aligns with the intent of the wider NZ curriculum, to create competent, self-motivated, and involved citizens.
A learning-focused relationship involves three key areas:
- shared development and maintenance of a learning environment in the classroom
- sharing the locus of control between teacher and students
- involving parents/whānau in student learning.
The learning environment
Teachers and students are active and committed participants in creating and maintaining a classroom environment that best promotes learning and meets the learning needs of students. Teachers and students regularly check the quality of this environment.
The classroom is focused on learning and students can describe their contribution to the learning process.
The locus of control
There is greater ownership of the lesson by students as responsibility shifts from teacher to student for learning. Content, process, and choice of learning are experienced as co-constructed.
The teacher empowers students to be independent learners who have a commitment to evaluating and adjusting their learning to meet their needs.
Involving parents in student learning
The teacher enables students to lead conversations about their learning with parents.
‘Learning-focused relationships are about using the considerable potential in the relationship between teacher and student to maximise the student’s engagement with learning; about enabling the student to play a meaningful role in deciding what to learn and how to learn it; and about enabling the student to become a confident, resilient, active, self-regulating learner.’
Download this powerpoint presentation for further professional development.
Learning focused relationships
(PowerPoint 2 MB)
This article contains good ideas for buliding a learning focused relationship in your classroom.
Suggestions for creating learning-focused relationships
(Word 1 MB)
References and readings
Absolum, M. (2006). Clarity in the classroom. Auckland: Hodder Education.
Expanding the Capacity to Learn: A new end for education?
: Conference, Warwick University, Sept 2006
Watkins, C. (2009). Learners in the driving seat
Watkins Learners in the driving seat
(PDF 149 KB)
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