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

English HoD reflection - overview



This year is the first year that our whole school has moved towards an approach where every student has their own Netbook. And our school and our community have wireless internet available at all times. It means that there's a change in the way that the students are learning and that they are finding more time to be responsible for their learning.

And their learning, for example, of English just doesn't happen in one 50 minute period a day. It can happen at home. It can happen at lunchtimes. It can happen before school, after school. It can happen during maths. It can happen at any time, when they feel the need to have to do some work.

It's also challenged our teachers in that we now no longer plan in a planning book. We... all our classes have a website that is made by the teacher and all resources are available.

So when a student comes into my class, they no longer look to the whiteboard. They open up their Netbooks, go to our class site, the day's lessons and resources are there, and they're able to access that not only in class but at any time as well.

So there's been a huge change in the way that we have to think about planning and learning. It's no longer just one event during a day. It can be anytime, any place.

Ours is kind of a backwards story. It wasn't a conscious decision that now we're going to teach in a differentiated way. What has happened with the technology is that it means that we have greater access to our students' work. We no longer teach as a class or mark as a class.

We have the same expectations of all our students, and the same endpoint. But what happens is that with the technology we can access our students' work at any time and individually. And so therefore, if I set a task, then the students can be working through on their own or as a group and what I can do is then access that work and give them individual feedback.

So the technology, allowing us to know our kids work a lot better and a lot more frequently, means that we're answering individual needs and we're talking individually with students about what their particular needs are and what they need to do to progress to improve their work.

The benefits are that I suppose if we think of differentiation in the past, it's been that we would separate the class into three groups and we'd produce three writing frames, for example. But because the resources are available to our students at any time, then they can use the 50 minutes in a class for their work, but they can also think about that later. And they can continue to work on that.

There's also a huge amount of communication that goes on between the students and the teacher via email and via messaging on their work. And it means that, for example, we're no longer teaching the whole class about apostrophes and assuming that everyone learns it, or everyone needs it. It means that when we look at an individual student's work, if they have a problem with apostrophes, then we can have that intense discussion just with them, whether it be online or whether it be a verbal discussion about the use of apostrophes.

back to Tamaki College's approach to differentiation

Published on: 31 Oct 2012