An inclusive learning community

Published: 04 Sep 2017
Evaluation indicators
Improvement in Action Te Ahu Whakamua


“If the teacher makes you feel welcomed and comfortable in class then that pushes you to make better choices about your learning.”

For McAuley High School, respectful caring relationships are at the heart of their learning community in setting the safe and supportive context in which teachers and learners engage and learn. The maintenance of such relationships involves every member of staff.

Key messages:

  • All staff play a role in monitoring individual student wellbeing on a daily basis
  • Relationships are professional in nature and focused on learning
  • “If the teacher makes you feel welcomed and comfortable in class then that pushes you to make better choices about your learning”
  • Students appreciate individual and tailored support and those teachers they perceive “take the time” to understand their needs
  • Students also acknowledge that achievement is a consequence of effort and expect and want teachers to apply pressure
  • Inclusive language plays an important role in maintaining the learning relationship “How are we going to move forward?”

Things to think about:

  • How central is manaakitanga and whanaungatanga in your school?
  • How might these be better integrated into classroom pedagogy?

The evaluation indicators this video illustrates

  • Domain 4: Responsive curriculum, effective teaching and opportunity to learn
    • Evaluation indicators
      • Students participate and learn in caring, collaborative, inclusive learning communities
      • Students have effective, sufficient and equitable opportunities to learn 

This video is part of a series

This video is part of the series Improvement in Action Te Ahu Whakamua. We created this series to inspire schools with examples of success in action. These examples highlight the benefits of fulfilling the evaluation indicators we use to review schools.

The full video series can be found here.

Remote video URL

(A woman sits in an office looking at the camera. Behind her several framed paintings, featuring native New Zealand birds and plants, hang on a wall. Text on the bottom of the screen reads “Kiri Turketo, Deputy Principal, McAuley High School”.)


As human beings, we all want to be loved. We all want to be liked. We all want to feel part of a family, regardless of what that family is.


(The camera shows an exterior shot of a school building. A sign reads “McAuley High School, Catholic School for Girls”. The camera slowly pans downward to show a group of girls in school uniforms with backpacks walking to school.)


Having manaakitanga or relationships is paramount.


(A group of girls laugh and talk as they walk to class together as the voiceover continues.)


It's the very essence of what we do.


If our principal is modeling manaakitanga then it sets us up to be able to do that freely.


(A women in sunglasses holding a notebook stands on the footpath outside the school. She is smiling and gesturing while speaking to someone, though we cannot hear what she is saying. A girl in a uniform smiles and runs towards her.)


So standing at the gate is greeting the students as they walk in, making a note of the students who may be upset, who may be late.


(The video returns to Kiri Turketo in the office.)


And it's not about pinpointing them in front of their peers, but making a note, and probably catching up with them later.


(The camera now shows the women who was previously standing outside the school. Text on the bottom of the screen identifies her as Anne Miles, Principal, McAuley High School. She sits in an office with a houseplant, a trophy and an art piece on a shelf behind her.)


There's a difference between being a friend and being a professional.


(We are now back outside the school building. A girl in a uniform walks toward the camera, smiling, holding a coffee cup. She speaks to Anne, who now holds a notebook. The girl speaks.)


Good morning.


(Anne and the girl hug, laughing. Anne gives her a pat on the back. They continue talking and laughing as the voiceover returns.)


And teachers are professionals, and have encouraged a good relationship between them and the students.


(Anne gestures at the buttons and pins on the girls blazer and the camera zooms in to show them. She points at one that reads ‘Ambassador’. Other pins on her blazer include “Head Girl”, “NCEA L2 Excellence”, “NCEA L1 Excellence”, “Amnesty International” and “I heart human rights”.


And it comes back to all the literature.


(The video returns to Anne Miles in the office.)


It's all to do with the relationships between you and the students. And it's a professional learning relationship.


(The camera cuts to a girl in a classroom wearing the school’s uniform. She looks into the camera as she speaks.)


If you don't want to learn from a teacher, you don't learn.


(The camera shows a teacher crouching down, working with several girls at a desk as the voiceover continues.)


So if the teacher makes you feel welcomed and comfortable in class, then it pushes you to make better choices in your learning.


(There is a closeup of the teacher demonstrating a mathematical equation on a piece of paper.)


They've put so much effort into my learning, I want to put as much effort as I can into making them feel part of what they've taught me, and my class.


(The camera returns to the girl while she speaks the last sentence. It then shows a different girl in uniform, standing in an empty classroom.)


They treat us like we are their own children. And I think that's the bond that really inspires us students to believe in ourselves and that we can make it, and we are all able to achieve.

(Another girl in uniform sits in a classroom with a whiteboard in the background.)


It's helped me personally when a teacher can sit down and understand you.


(She continues speaking as the camera cuts to another teacher addressing a classroom full of students.


Like, there are certain ways that our girls are motivated.


(Her voiceover continues as the camera pans over a whiteboard covered in sets of mathematical equations. The teacher is explaining to the class in the background.)


Some are motivated when they're given time to think.


(A girl looks thoughtful as she listens to the teacher.)


Others are motivated when teachers are telling them that you can do this. You can do that.


(A girl is writing maths problems on a table with a marker. A teacher stands over her, gesturing how to solve the equation.)


Some girls aren't motivated that way, but when a teacher takes time to understand you, you feel like you can accomplish much more because they won't give you anything more than you can handle. And that's the beauty of it.


(The camera returns to the first girl sitting in the classroom.)


Teachers want the best of their students, so they've got to add that little bit of pressure, because if the classes kick-back, like, you just sit back and expect the grades to come falling from the sky or something like that. They expect the excellence endorsement badge to just hop on your blazer-- but, like, you can't get a good grade if you don't put in the hard work.


(As her voiceover continues the camera shows another classroom. A teacher is helping a group of students with their schoolwork. Student-made movie posters cover the back wall of the room.)


So of course, the teacher is going to try and make sure you work to your best.


(The camera closes-up on a woman sitting in the back of the class, listening with a finger to her lips. The voiceover changes to a new voice.)


But the key word all the way through the school is we, rather than isolating the student out as an individual.


(The video changes to show the same woman outside an office, looking into the camera. Text on the bottom of the screen identifies her as Rachel Williams, Deputy Principal Curriculum, McAuley High School.)


How are we going to fix this? How can we support each other to make sure that this happens?


(The camera returns to the classroom where a teacher is helping students with their schoolwork. Anne Mile’s voiceover returns.)


If your relationship with the teacher is OK, you can sit and talk about your learning. And also, when you're not scared of failure, that's really important, because if something goes wrong, it doesn't matter.


(Once again there is a closeup of Rachel Williams observing the learning.)


We've tried it, it didn't work. We pick up the pieces, and we try another way to get through.


(The camera now shows a girl in uniform sitting in a classroom, looking into the camera as she speaks.)


They're there when you need them. They always ask. There's never a time where they'll let you struggle and sit there by yourself. They'll always be by your side.


(Another girl in a uniform now begins to speak.)


If you need the help, it's there.


(The video returns to the classroom where a teacher is assisting students.)


The teachers put effort into making sure that everyone can achieve and get the best grade possible. If they see that, like, a few students are struggling, then maybe they'll do after school tutorials with them, and make sure that the whole class is learning, not just focusing on the smart people.


(The camera shows the girl talking before again returning to the classroom.)


They're just making sure that everyone can achieve.


(A different girl begins speaking. The camera briefly shows her face before returning to the classroom.)


Yeah, they're on our backs and they check up on our work and everything, but they don't do it so much that you become reliant on them to chase you up on whether or not you've done your school work.


They let you know that you're failing and they'll create an opportunity for you to make it better. If you don't tend to it, that's on you.


(The teacher is now instructing a different group of girls. She says something and one of the girls laughs.)


The opportunity is created for everyone to try.


(The camera shows the girl who is speaking, sitting in a classroom in school uniform.)


It's on you and it's on the way that you want to better yourself.