top of page


Vignette et al

For these 3 sprints I had to produce a vignette

In my practice, if anything was possible I would love to shift towards learner focussed teaching. In my context I imagine this could look like each child having equity, no bullshit, no cultural segregation in targets, no teacher bias, and egos checked at the door. Each child would receive the opportunity to learn and be holistically supported to the best of their own abilities as students are good at what they are good at. learner focused teaching requires a shift in school based approaches in order to enable teachers and learners to reach their potential. I believe there is limitless opportunities. I know that the basics of motivation and principals of learning are important to my shift towards learner focused teaching.

The eight basics of motivation

Students are more motivated to engage in learning when:

  1. they perceive stable links between specific actions and achievement

  2. they feel competent to do what is expected of them 

  3. they value the subject and have a clear sense of purpose

  4. they perceive the environment as favourable for learning, and

  5. they experience positive emotions towards learning activities.


6. direct their attention away from learning when they experience negative emotions

7. are more persistent in learning when they can manage their resources and deal with obstacles efficiently

8. free up cognitive resources for learning when they are able to influence the intensity, duration and expression of their emotions.

The seven principles of learning

This project has explored the nature of learning through the perspectives of cognition, emotion and biology, and provided analyses of the implication for different types of application in learning environments. The research was synthesised to create seven transversal ‘principles’ to guide the development of learning environments for the 21st century.

Learners at the centre

The learning environment recognises the learners as its core participants, encourages their active engagement and develops in them an understanding of their own activity as learners.

  • Learners are the central players in the environment and therefore activities centre on their cognition and growth.

  • Learning activities allow students to construct their learning through engagement and active exploration.

  • This calls for a mix of pedagogies, which includes guided and action approaches, as well as co-operative, inquiry based and service learning.

  • The environment aims to develop ‘self-regulated learners’, who:

    • develop meta-cognitive skills

    • monitor, evaluate and optimise the acquisition and use of knowledge

    • regulate their emotions and motivations during the learning process

    • manage study time well

    • set higher specific and personal goals, and are able to monitor them.

The social nature of learning

The learning environment is founded on the social nature of learning and actively encourages well-organised co-operative learning.

  • Neuroscience confirms that we learn through social interaction – the organisation of learning should be highly social.

  • Co-operative group work, appropriately organised and structured, has demonstrated very clear benefits for achievement as well as for behavioural and affective outcomes. Co-operative methods work for all types for students because, done well, they push learners of all abilities.

  • Personal research and self-study are naturally also important, and the opportunities for autonomous learning should grow as students mature.

Emotions are integral to learning

The learning professionals within the learning environment are highly attuned to the learners’ motivations and the key role of emotions in achievement.

  • Learning results from the dynamic interplay of emotion, motivation and cognition, and these are inextricably intertwined.

  • Positive beliefs about oneself as a learner in general and in a particular subject represent a core component for deep understanding and ‘adaptive competence’.

  • Emotions still tend to be regarded as ‘soft’ and so their importance, though accorded in theory, are much more difficult to be recognised in practice.

  • Attention to motivations by all those involved, including the students, is about making the learning first and foremost more effective, not more enjoyable (though better still if it is both).

Recognising individual differences

The learning environment is acutely sensitive to the individual differences among the learners in it, including their prior knowledge.

  • Students differ in many ways fundamental to learning: prior knowledge, ability, conceptions of learning, learning styles and strategies, interest, motivation, self-efficacy beliefs and emotion; they differ also in socioenvironmental terms such as linguistic, cultural and social backgrounds.

  • Prior knowledge – on which students vary substantially – is highly influential for how well each individual learns.

  • Learning environments need the adaptability to reflect these individual and patterned differences in ways that are sustainable both for the individual learners and for the work of the group as a whole. Moving away from ‘one size fits all’ may well be a challenge.

Stretching all students

The learning environment devises programmes that demand hard work and challenge from all but without excessive overload.

  • Being sensitive to individual differences and needs also means being challenging enough to reach above their existing level and capacity; at the same time, no one should be allowed to coast for any significant amount of time.

  • High-achieving students can help lower-achieving students, which helps stretch all learners.

  • This underscores the need to avoid overload and de-motivating regimes based on grind, fear and excessive pressure – not just for humanistic reasons but because these are not consistent with the cognitive and motivational evidence on effective learning.

Assessment for learning

The learning environment operates with clarity of expectations using assessment strategies consistent with these expectations; there is a strong emphasis on formative feedback to support learning.

  • The learning environment needs to be very clear about what is expected, what learners are doing, and why. Otherwise, motivation decreases, students are less able to fit discrete activities into larger knowledge frameworks, and they are less likely to become self-regulated learners.

  • Formative assessment should be substantial, regular and provide meaningful feedback; as well as feeding back to individual learners, this knowledge should be used constantly to shape direction and practice in the learning environment.

Building horizontal connections

The learning environment strongly promotes ‘horizontal connectedness’ across areas of knowledge and subjects as well as to the community and the wider world.

  • A key feature of learning is that complex knowledge structures are built up by organising more basic pieces of knowledge in a hierarchical way. If well-constructed, such structures provide understanding that can transfer to new situations – a critical competency in the 21st century.

  • The ability for learners to see connections and ‘horizontal connectedness’ is also important between the formal learning environment and the wider environment and society. The ‘authentic learning’ this promotes also fosters deeper understanding.


Questions exploring the seven principles of learning

Learners at the centre

Can learners answer the question, ‘Where are you going with your learning?’

Can they describe in their own words what they are learning – and why what they are learning is important?

Can they use a range of ways to demonstrate their learning?

Can they self-manage independent learning times?


Are they able to set specific learning goals and construct their learning through active exploration?

The social nature of learning

Do learners demonstrate the kinds of social and collaborative skills needed for teamwork, citizenship and the workplace?

Emotions are central to learning

Can each learner name at least two adults in the setting who believe s/he will be a success in life?

To what extent are learners able to monitor and manage their own emotions?

Recognising individual differences

Do learners feel their teachers know their individual strengths, interests and passions?

Do they believe their teachers know and understand what they find difficult or challenging?

Are the prior knowledge and cultural backgrounds that learners bring to the setting respected, valued and utilised?

Stretching all students

Are the learners, regardless of their age, able to teach someone else and are they able to make a contribution to the community as a whole?

Are all learners experiencing demanding, engaging and challenging work without excessive overload?

Assessment for learning

Can learners describe what quality looks like – and how they are doing with their own learning?

Are learners confident and comfortable in both giving and receiving feedback with their peers, based on co-constructed criteria?

Building horizontal connections

Can learners see and understand the connections across content areas?

To what extent can learners connect with and learn from the broader environment – and from members of their community?

Learners will want to learn in a fashion that they want to learn and be regularly supported by teachers as the facilitator of that learning. In order to achieve equity there needs to be a systematic change to teacher appraisal of the individual student and enhancement of support for students in their learning through a holistic lens.


Ko taku muri, taku mua



We are focused on meeting the diverse needs and interests of all learners in the school. Our broad curriculum encourages opportunities to develop learners’ abilities and talents as Maori. Effective support programmes are in place for students with learning or behavioural needs. All learners are expected to be treated with respect regardless of their level of achievement, ethnicity or gender. Diversity is encouraged and celebrated. This in essence is our implementation of the treaty - Maori are inherently capable, have cultural blessings and are individuals with brilliance.

There are high expectations for the achievement, attendance and behaviour of Māori students.  Tikanga Māori is valued and promoted. There are opportunities for all students to hear and use te reo Māori. Students have opportunities to participate in kapa haka and pōwhiri. The school consults the Māori community and calls on their expertise to provide advice and guidance. Māori are represented on the board. 


Legally there is just one Treaty, despite the differences between the two texts. The Waitangi Tribunal has exclusive authority to determine the meaning of the Treaty in the two texts and to decide issues raised by the differences between them. References to the Treaty in law try to bridge the differences by referring to the 'principles' of the Treaty, or the core concepts or spirit that underpin both texts.

The English version states the British intentions were to protect Māori interests from the encroaching British settlement, provide for British settlement and establish a government to maintain peace and order.

The Māori text suggests that the Queen's main promises to Māori were to provide a government while securing tribal rangatiratanga (chiefly autonomy or authority over their own area) and Māori land ownership for as long as they wished to retain it.

The First
The chiefs of the Confederation and all the chiefs who have not joined that Confederation give absolutely to the Queen of England for ever the complete government over their land.

The Second
The Queen of England agrees to protect the chiefs, the subtribes and all the people of New Zealand in the unqualified exercise of their chieftainship over their lands, villages and all their treasures. But on the other hand the chiefs of the Confederation and all the chiefs will sell land to the Queen at a price agreed to by the person owning it and by the person buying it (the latter being) appointed by the Queen as her purchase agent.

The Third
For this agreed arrangement therefore concerning the government of the Queen, the Queen of England will protect all the ordinary people of New Zealand and will give them the same rights and duties of citizenship as the people of England.

As the following official English version of the treaty shows, there were some important differences between the two versions, especially in the terminology of the first and second articles:


Article the first
The Chiefs of the Confederation of the United Tribes of New Zealand and the separate and independent Chiefs who have not become members of the Confederation cede to her Majesty the Queen of England absolutely and without reservation all the rights and powers of Sovereignty which the said Confederation or Individual Chiefs respectively exercise or possess, or may be supposed to exercise or to possess over their respective Territories as the sole sovereigns thereof.


Article the second
Her Majesty the Queen of England confirms and guarantees to the Chiefs and Tribes of New Zealand and to the respective families and individuals thereof the full exclusive and undisturbed possession of their Lands and Estates Forests Fisheries and other properties which they may collectively or individually possess so long as it is their wish and desire to retain the same in their possession; but the Chiefs of the United Tribes and the individual Chiefs yield to Her Majesty the exclusive right of Preemption over such lands as the proprietors thereof may be disposed to alienate at such prices as may be agreed upon between the respective Proprietors and persons appointed by Her Majesty to treat with them in that behalf.


Article the third
In consideration thereof Her Majesty the Queen of England extends to the Natives of New Zealand Her royal protection and imparts to them all the Rights and Privileges of British Subjects.’

bottom of page