Students as teachers - collaboration at Linwood College

Linwood College PE teachers Natasha Powell and Rosanna Katene came back from the 2016 Physical Education New Zealand conference with some great ideas for encouraging interaction between junior and senior students.

When they got back from the Physical Education New Zealand (PENZ) conference last year, PE teachers Natasha Powell and Rosanna Katene wrote a proposal for their senior leadership team outlining their plan to get year 10 and Level 2 NCEA students working together and mentoring each other.

This became the focus of their Grow Waitaha Incubator inquiry.

They constructed their project using the Spiral of Inquiry approach and framed their inquiry as: “How might we create authentic tuakana–teina learning relationships using a flexible environment, that enables students to get the most from their learning.”

Rosanna says that the idea came about because both she and Natasha could see an opportunity for their respective year 10 and Level 2 classes to work together and reap all the rewards of regular interaction.

“Natasha and I both taught one Level 2 PE class each, and we both also have year 10 mentor classes, or form classes. We wanted to join my Level 2 with Natasha’s mentor class for one hour a week, and then her Level 2 with my mentor class. We wanted to find out if this kind of thing was possible.

“We felt that this could be a great idea for two reasons: the first is our focus on culturally responsive and relational teaching practice. That’s where the tuakana/teina concept comes from  – the power sharing."

Tuakana/teina refers to the relationship between older and younger people, and is specific to teaching in the  New Zealand context.

“We’re also going into a full school rebuild, so we’re preparing for that. We might only have one gym [while the rebuild is happening], we don’t know yet. It might be that they’ll naturally be in the same space anyway, so we asked ourselves how we can make that interaction meaningful.”

The idea behind getting senior and younger learners interacting more meaningfully isn’t just about students, however. Rosanna and Natasha recognised that there was an opportunity to seek feedback, and use these insights to help steer the learning programmes they were developing.

“We asked ourselves, what are they telling us? What we should do next?” says Rosanna.

She says this feedback from senior students was especially helpful in working out where their programme could be more easily accessed.

“For some learning themes, the seniors actually did the teaching. We hadn’t done that before, so that’s something I’ll take away from this experience – it doesn’t always need to be the teachers leading the learning. Our senior students are actually tuakana themselves.”



Last reviewed: Has this been useful? Give us your feedback