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1. Get started

Start by watching a short video. Then read the cartoon, quotes and key principles. They introduce the main ideas covered in this module. Discuss these as a group. The learning outcomes describe what you’ll achieve once you’ve completed the six steps.

Teaching approaches – Down syndrome

Module 5 Cartoon
Get to know your students; get to know what works for them, treat them as individuals, individualise learning plans and goals and meet them where they are at.

— Classroom teacher

For some students with additional learning needs, such as those learning at a very different level to others, there is a risk of focusing only on their presence or participation at school and not paying enough attention to what they are learning. Learning must be visible for every student, no matter how much additional support they require.


— Implementing an Inclusive Curriculum: Making Learning Visible, page 52

Narrative assessments are great in that way because you can see the student’s capability really, knowing that, OK he can do that, we didn’t realise he could, and what he can achieve and now you can set new goals and push him along further.

— Teacher aide

Module 5 Csp1664

Key principles

  • All students are active learners. Students learn different things, in different ways, at different rates.
  • The best way to learn about a student is to ask them and include them in teaching, learning and assessment practices.
  • Teachers are responsible for student assessment; teacher aides support this.
  • Narrative assessment and learner profiles are two ways educators can identify students’ strengths and preferred ways of working. They can help educators understand students’ interests, aspirations and challenges.
  • Narrative assessment draws on the knowledge of the student’s team, including family and whānau, and identifies teaching and learning across key competencies and the learning areas.

Learning outcomes

This module is intended to support teachers and teacher aides to achieve four aims:

  1. Develop a shared understanding of why it’s important to know and celebrate what students can and love to do.
  2. Explore and discuss narrative assessment and learner profiles to gather information about students’ strengths and interests.
  3. Trial narrative assessment or a learner profile in collaboration with students and whānau.
  4. Reflect on and evaluate the effectiveness of what they have tried together and make any necessary changes.