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Learning support teachers at Wellington Girls' College explain how they are integrating the key competencies into their programme, with very pleasing results.
Published May 2010
Wellington Girls’ College has an inclusive practice for students who require learning support – all students learn within mainstream classes.
ORRS funding is given for those students with significant learning needs.
Learning support teachers were finding students had increasing difficulty with maths and science as they moved through the school.
Emily struggled with anything to do with maths and wasn’t able to reliably add or subtract numbers to ten. Her maths teacher tried linking her interest in sport as a means of using maths. However, Emily's resistance to the concept of maths was apparent when in a maths classroom. It was clear she needed concrete experiences to relate to and ‘disguise’ her learning of maths concepts.
Emma had reached a plateau with her maths learning. She had memorised the tables and basic maths facts for book use but couldn’t relate these to practical situations.
The teachers involved decided to take an integrated approach (maths and science) using the context of gardening. The girls would build a raised-bed garden and grow their own plants.
The focus for these girls has been on developing their knowledge, through high interest topics related to their family or community, in preparation for life skills after leaving school.
In maths their learning experiences related to:
Once the seeds were planted the girls were required to graph the results of the beans and interpret their growth from a table.
In science their learning experiences related to:
Emily and Emma have had many other positive experiences as a result of integrating two learning areas. They have built a planter box for home, and have consolidated their skills by building a compost bin for school.
The girls have gone on to work with the school environment club, who are undertaking research about trees as part of a recycling paper project, and have undertaken the Duke of Edinburgh Award scheme using building as their skill.
'It has been a huge revelation for us to see first hand how using an authentic context both embraces the key competencies and provides the girls with increased confidence and a real position in school and community life.'
Kate Wilde, Learning Support Teacher
There were many opportunities for the girls to develop key competencies.
Reflecting on learning:
Interpreting and using words in a range of contexts:
Interpreting and using numbers in a range of contexts:
Confidently using ICT:
Contributing as a group member:
Having a sense of belonging to class or group:
Able to participate in contexts outside school:
Making a contribution to a social, physical, or cultural environment: