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Literacy Online. Every child literate - a shared responsibility.
Ministry of Education.

Co-constructing Professional Learning and Development


He waka eke noa

A canoe which we are all in with no exception

Principles for leading professional learning and development

Learning requires teachers to take risks in their practice. It is important to create a high level of relational trust between teachers. Without relational trust, teachers can resort back to practices that they have within their current kete. When professional learning is situated within the principles of ako, manaakitanga, whanaungatanga and wānanga then deep learning has an opportunity to thrive.


In te ao Māori, the concept of ako means both to teach and to learn. It acknowledges the way that new knowledge and understandings can grow out of shared learning experiences.

Embracing the principle of ako enables teachers to build caring and inclusive learning communities where each person feels that their contribution is valued and that they can participate to their full potential. This is not about people simply getting along socially; it is about building productive relationships, where everyone is empowered to learn with and from each other.

From: The concept of Ako

Manaakitanga: to uphold the mana of each individual- show care, respect and integrity.

Whanaungatanga: build an inclusive and caring learning environment built on relationships.

Wānanga: engage in robust learning discussions.

School-wide scoping: Co-constructing professional learning and development.

Before we engage in a school-wide focus on improving literacy success outcomes, it is important to scope the current situation with the varying stakeholders. The more time spent identifying existing strengths and learning needs the more chance the professional learning will be ‘on time’ and ‘on point’.

Who are the stakeholders that need to be a part of the learning journey? At this point in time, what are the perceptions, beliefs, and practices that indirectly or directly affect student’s literacy and language outcomes?

This is a holistic look at literacy learning, rather than just focusing in the classroom. This can be summarised in the diagram below:


Diagram showing the inter-related nature of sustaining literacy development, integrating literacy and learning, and student motivation, engagement, and achievement.

Accessed 5/3/18 from http://www.ascd.org/publications/books/107034/chapters/Develop-and-Implement-a-Schoolwide-Literacy-Action-Plan.aspx

Data Tools
Benefits of this type of data collection

Staff Survey/ Questionnaire:


  • Beliefs & Value
  • Pedagogical literacy knowledge
  • Complexity of texts
  • Previous literacy learning.

To gather formative data on:

  • staff’s beliefs and values 
  • what approaches and strategies they already use with confidence
  • what level of complexity students should be developing at beginning of Year 9 to end of Year 10
  • what previous literacy learning they have been on and what the impact that learning has made on their practice.

This allows staff to have a voice in the learning.

A staff survey:

  • is quick & easy
  • is a snapshot at one point in time
  • can be used to show shifts
  • can be used to group different staff together in PLD sessions (tuakana teina).
Teachers Teacher narratives through focus groups. Allows a more informal discussion. Allows story-telling of experiences.
Middle Leaders

Walk-through Observations

Using Classroom Walkthroughs to Improve Instruction

Agree on what you are looking for. For example, it could be the amount and quality of writing/reading or speaking completed by students.

This allows you to:

  • become familiar with teachers’ instructional practices
  • gauge the climate of a school (Are students engaged? Is literacy instruction a part of everyday teaching?)
Middle Leaders

Survey/Interviews and/or Focus Groups:


  • literacy leadership strengths & learning needs
  • disciplinary literacy knowledge
  • previous literacy leadership learning
  • systems and structures that enhance literacy pedagogical content knowledge.
To gather formative data on the middle leaders’ strengths and learning needs regarding disciplinary literacy knowledge, established systems and structures, leadership knowledge eg. how to grow the capacity and capability of their department teachers. By valuing leadership voice and data, we are acknowledging the important role they play in leading literacy in and across departments.
Senior Leadership

Self-Evaluation Tool


  • maintaining momentum
  • evaluating cohort student data (qualitative and quantitative)
  • evaluating the effectiveness of professional learning and development.
  • evaluating systems and structures.
Senior leaders can analyse strengths and learning needs, progress, and effectiveness of systems and structures. Simple evaluation tools can be helpful for ensuring progress is being made that benefits learners, teachers, whanau and links to pathways after school.
Support Staff (librarians, teacher aides, RTLBs, guidance and pastoral care etc)

Survey/ Interviews/ Focus groups Narratives

Gather formative data on their roles and perspectives. Finding out what they see as ‘added value’ in building learners’ agency around literacy. What they see as gaps in the school or identify the needs?

To gather a holistic view of literacy learning within a school environment through listening to the voices of this particular and essential part of the community This particular group is often not consulted, but they are often the go between the student and the teacher. They might draw attention to resources or barriers that are outside of the classroom but within the school’s influence.

Qualitative and quantitative data

At a cohort level:

  • NZCER – Me and my school data.
  • e-asTTle, PAT data.
  • Student voice and student surveys.
  • Transition data, previous school reports.
To find out from a wide range of sources a cohort's strengths and learning needs but also to find out patterns over time of areas of concern and areas of strength. The benefit in scoping at this level is to find out the school’s ‘puzzle of practice in regards to the students learning needs. Where is the school doing well meeting the students’ literacy needs and where does the school need to focus their energies? For which groups and year levels? Why?


The main role of whānau is to have a voice (that is listened to) and to work in partnership with the school for the benefit of their tamariki.

Various Pathway Providers

(Universities, tertiary institutions, pathway programmes, apprenticeships, community organisations)

The main role of various pathway providers is to have a voice of what types of literacy skills, knowledge and attitudes are valued in their institutions and organisations.

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Published on: 06 Mar 2018