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Authentic Learning at Te Waotu School. What I will cover. What forms do authentic approaches take? ERO’s view of our approach Examples of class and school authentic contexts that have engaged our learners. The journey (positives and challenges). Why a feature of our curriculum?.

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Authentic learning at te waotu school

Authentic Learning at Te Waotu School

What i will cover
What I will cover

  • What forms do authentic approaches take?

  • ERO’s view of our approach

  • Examples of class and school authentic contexts that have engaged our learners.

  • The journey (positives and challenges)

Why a feature of our curriculum
Why a feature of our curriculum?

  • Diverse range of families and students.

  • A direct way to build partnerships with our families.

  • Engagement of students.

  • Fitted with a long established philosophy.

  • The richest context for learning is to make sure it is authentic in the eyes of the student.

How does it look
How does it look?

  • Integrated themes (AO’s, Values, KC’s embedded within units).

  • Units built around authenticity (not simply ‘real life’).

  • Large school projects involving significant numbers of children directly and indirectly.

Ero s view
ERO’s View

  • Special emphasis has been given in school programmes to students learning in contexts which are real and interesting to them. There is natural integration of the key competencies, school values, and thinking skills into the everyday activities of the school and classroom programmes.

  • Students and teachers make good use of the local environment and include community interestsand knowledge in learning programmes.

  • A wide range of learning opportunities such as the radio station, assemblies, enviro schools, reading and science challenges allow students to use their literacy skills in natural situations.

  • Students are highly motivated to improve their reading and writing skills within authentic learning contexts.

Kids n control
Kids ‘n Control

  • School Radio Station

    * Set up $1500

    * Managed by Year 7 and 8

    * Logo, advertising all completed by students

    * Planned the week before

    * Three hours live and a 24 hour loop

    * Interviews, research, advertising, jingles, oral language, ICT, positive feedback, younger student involvement.

Class units
Class Units

  • Teachers endeavour to plan learning around authentic contexts.

  • Recent Examples;

  • Science/technology unit based around food production “Middle School Mall”.

  • History unit based around creating major displays for the 125th Jubilee.

  • Life cycle unit based around breeding mealy-bugs for the Maungatautari Trust


  • Input into School

    Strategic and Operational Plans.

  • Enviro Area – Gardens, PGU

  • Report and award at weekly assembly

  • All classes involved (5 weekly rotation)

  • Community involvement and themes

  • 6 week school wide block per year

Planning for events
Planning for events

  • Camp planning involving up to 18 senior students.

  • Objectives, location and budget.

  • Research, surveys, consultation meetings, ICT, presenting reports, communication

School magazine year book
School Magazine Year Book

  • Fully written by students throughout the year.

  • Small committee edit and take photos as the year progresses.

  • Record thoughts and ideas as each event takes place.

  • Compile and publish late in November with parent help.

Demolition car project
Demolition Car Project

  • Worked on over 6 month period.

  • Skills included dismantling, welding and basic electrical, painting, design.

  • Budgeting, selling panels to sponsors.

  • Huge community buy in – over 250 parents travelled to speedway to watch the car be destroyed in 15 minutes.

  • Significant literacy springboard at all levels of the school.


  • Completely student run.

  • Hosting, presenting of work completed recently, power points, reports from different areas of the school, bus leaders report and reward etc.

  • Sight and sound presentation starts assembly using photo story “The Week That Was”.

Pride homework programme
PRIDE Homework Programme

  • Based on Pathways Programme but with a locally developed flavour.

  • Ten activities from five different dimensions.

  • Five levels of award from Year 4 to 8.

  • Five local schools involved – one major medal ceremony at the end of the year.

  • Lets students follow their interests, challenge themselves to try new things and connect with their families and their communities.

  • Replaces all other forms of homework.

  • Builds student-teacher rapport and relationships.

A few examples of recent pride achievements
A few examples of recent PRIDE achievements

  • Visiting and interviewing elderly.

  • Community service (knitting quilts for new babies in the community, raising money for local organisations).

  • Building a mini-motorbike.

  • Speaking at council meetings, inviting MP’s to speak at school.

  • Planning, cooking and serving meals.

  • Researching jobs and careers.

  • Communicating with students in other countries.

  • Joining new clubs, sports, events.

  • Public performances in music and drama.

  • Computer animation and film-making.

  • Meeting individual targets negotiated with the teacher.

  • Gardening, raising animals.

  • Learning about new software (eg Prezi)

Challenges of the authentic approach
Challenges of the authentic approach

  • Teacher buy in and understanding of true authenticity.

  • Mindset change from ‘interruptions’ to ‘rich ALO’s’.

  • Taking the ALO’s out of the lunch break and integrating them into class programmes.

  • Time table pressure (something introduced, something has to come out).

  • Challenging teachers to see the assessment possibilities that lay within authentic contexts.

  • Some serious parent education for some aspects (PRIDE).

  • Handing over to the children (magazine, planning, running aspects of the school).

The rewards
The rewards

  • Highly motivated and engaged children.

  • Parent and community involvement, including presence and input of fathers.

  • Rich activities provided for assessment and OTJ’s.

  • Strong element of children feeling like they have control over their learning.

  • The small school family atmosphere has been maintained because many of the learning opportunities are cross class and age group.