Look who’s talking? NCEA and learning partnerships: A case study of a lesson
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Citation:Munro-Keene, J. (2006). Look who’s talking? NCEA and learning partnerships: A case study of a lesson. Unpublished thesis submitted in partial fulfillment of the degree of Master of Educational Management, Unitec New Zealand, New Zealand.
Permanent link to Research Bank record:http://hdl.handle.net/10652/1308
This dissertation provides a ‘snapshot’ of one teacher’s response to the National Certificate of Educational Achievement (NCEA) in terms of their classroom practice. If New Zealand secondary schools are going to respond to the ideal that NCEA will promote lifelong learning, help students to participate and benefit from further study, acknowledge achievement across a range of learning fields and articulate expectations of learning goals, then it is expected that they will inspire a change in the pedagogy of their teachers (Ministry of Education, 2004). The quality of the interactions between students and their teacher is one crucial link in fulfilling the purpose of NCEA, to develop for students the skills of life-long learning. This snapshot demonstrates that NCEA students in one class have not evolved the skills for life-long learning. Therefore this dissertation suggests that a widespread educational focus on building life-long learners be promoted, that professional development to develop this be provided, and that further research be targeted at the specific strategies that learners use when interacting to improve their understanding if the potential to promote life-long learning through NCEA is to be realised. This study considered how a teacher had responded to the changed nature of assessment brought about by the introduction of NCEA. A case study methodology was employed and data was gathered through a video, a questionnaire, a focus group interview and a key informant interview with the students and teacher of one NCEA class in a South Auckland secondary school. The research tools were a written questionnaire requiring written responses and two sets of discussion questions. From the literature, key ideas about the importance of student interaction emerged which formed the reference frame for the analysis of the data. These were that students and teacher needed to establish a partnership focused on learning (Absolum, 2006), that students needed to make their own sense of the ideas being learnt (Bishop & Glynn, 1999), that students need to be motivated and collaboratively engaged in the learning (Black & Wiliam, 1998; Bruner, 1996; Hattie, 1999). The literature confirmed that the social nature of the classroom is hugely influential in focusing student attention on or off the curricular content of the lesson (Cowie, 2004). This dissertation affirms previous research in the response of New Zealand teachers to the change to NCEA and draws on change management theory to make recommendations. It suggests that the pedagogical principles of growing life-long learners, signalled by the Ministry of Education as one of the aims of education and of NCEA, be widely promoted throughout the educational system to embrace p r e -service and in-service teacher education and to be driven by secondary school principals and boards. The study also sets the scene for further in-depth research into the nature of student learning conversations if they are to signal a growth in cognitive engagement and assist students to be autonomous life-long learners.