Learners contribute to curriculum design

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


“They value being asked. They value knowing that you want to know what they have to say.”

Engaging in multiple strategies to elicit and respond to student voice ensures that students have direct input into curriculum design.

Key messages:

  • Regular surveying of student voice is valued by students when they see teachers respond to their suggestions for improvement
  • The opportunity for students to influence the content and design of curriculum enhances their ownership of learning.

Things to think about:

  • How do you enable your students to contribute to the design of the curriculum?
  • How do you enable your parents family and whānau to contribute to the design of the curriculum?

The evaluation indicators this video illustrates

  • Domain 4: Responsive curriculum, effective teaching and opportunity to learn 
    • Evaluation indicator 
      • Students learn, achieve and progress in the breadth and depth of The New Zealand Curriculum and/or Te Marautanga o Aotearoa

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.

Remote video URL

(The video opens on a boy in a classroom speaking into the camera. Behind him is a whiteboard alongside a series of labelled cubbies.)


We have a suggestion box.


(His voiceover continues as the scene changes to show two girls sitting at a classroom table writing on pieces of paper. As the boy says “something” the camera shows a cardboard box wrapped in wrapping paper with a slot cut in the top.)

And if you've got a suggestion you write down something on a piece of paper, and you put it in the box.


(A woman now speaks in voiceover as we see one of the girls approach the box and puts the folded paper she was writing on into the slot. From this angle we see the box has “Post a Thought” on the side. As the voiceover says “put” the camera changes to show the speaker sitting in an office. Text along the bottom of the screen reads, “Michelle Dibben, Deputy Principal, Manurewa Central School”. As she says “processes” we return to the classroom, where three students at a desk write on pieces of paper.)

The children can put in anything to do with their learning, anything to do with classroom management, or systems, or processes, then the teacher will then action them.


(The camera closes-up on what one of the students is writing. Printed text on the form reads, “Post a Thought. What do you want to share with the class? Do you have a concern, a question or just a thought to share? Fill in the box and “post” it!”. Below that a student has written in rough child-like letters, “Can we do more google slide. Can we have more math time please.” As she says “teachers” the camera zooms out again and we see a different group of students writing.)

But we also have at the end of units of work, teachers will ask them: Well, how's it going.


(The video continues to show a montage of various students in the classroom writing at desks.)

And that takes a more formal approach, so they might give them a little questionnaire.


(A different woman’s voice takes over the voiceover. After a second the video changes to show the speaker, sitting in an office with an ornate kete on a shelf in the background. Text along the bottom of the screen reads, “Liane Mcleod, Year 5 & 6 Teacher, Manurewa Central School”. She looks into the camera as she talks.)

They value being asked. They value knowing that you ... you want to hear what they've got to say.


(The camera once again shows the students writing in the classroom.)

We started off by surveying, then, as time's gone on we're developing better ways of getting student voice.


(We return to Michelle Dibben in her office.)

One of the big things we did was a curriculum review at the end of last year.


(Michelle’s voiceover continues as the camera shows a teacher in a classroom. She sits on a chair next to a small whiteboard, a group of children sitting on the floor in front of her. The camera zooms in on the children, and then on the teacher.)

And we spent a long time asking the children what it was they wanted to learn.


(The teacher writes something on the whiteboard as the camera pans out across the classroom. As she says “students” it cuts to a man and two boys at a desk, one holding a calculator. They say something as the man listens, but we cannot hear it.)

So the quality of the feedback we got from the students in Year 5 and 6 was incredibly powerful for them, because the Year 5s can now see what they talked about playing out, in what they're learning about this year.