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Overview of teaching in HPE

Students learn best when teachers:

  • create a supportive learning environment
  • encourage reflective thought
  • encourage new learning
  • facilitate shared learning
  • make connections to prior learning and experience
  • provide sufficient opportunities to learn
  • inquire into the teaching-learning relationship.

Engaging with students

By engaging with students’ unique personal experiences and knowledge, you can create a safe and supportive learning environment that allows students to lead their own learning.

Learning is inseparable from its social and cultural context.

Effective teachers foster positive relationships within environments that are caring, inclusive, non-discriminatory, and cohesive.

Student-centred learning

A learner-centric interactive approach connects with the lived experience of students and contributes to their sense of personal well-being.

Students learn most effectively when they understand what they are learning, why they are learning it, and how they will be able to use their new learning.

Fostering a learning community encourages everyone (including student, teacher, parent, wider community) to learn from and with each other. Learning conversations and learning partnerships are promoted, as students engage in reflective discourse with others.

Students learn best when they are able to integrate new learning with what they already understand and when they have time and opportunity to engage with, practise, and transfer new learning.

Teaching as Inquiry

Effective pedagogy requires that teachers inquire into the impact of their teaching on students.

A cyclical process is suggested

First, you inquire (focusing inquiry) and find out prior knowledge and what learning is needed.

Next, you explore (teaching inquiry) and go through an inquiry process. Use research and evidence from best practices  to plan teaching and learning opportunities that meet the outcome identified in the focusing inquiry.

Finally, using a range of assessment practices, you inquire if your students' learning has met, or is making progress, towards the identified outcome.

This analysis and interpretation then provides part of the knowledge base in focusing inquiry for next step learning. 


    The New Zealand Curriculum, 2007, pages 34–35.

Best Evidence Synthesis mechanisms applied to health education, physical education, and home economics

Make connectios to students' lives – Programmes of learning are relevant, needs-based, and guided by The New Zealand Curriculum (2007).

Think about:

Who are my students? Consider age, gender, ethnicity, ability to self-manage, their personal interests, and their school community environment.

Align experiences to important outcomes – Alignment involves creating a convergence between the learning experiences you will provide and the purpose.

It happens best when:

prior knowledge is identified

  • the purpose of the learning episode is clear
  • more than one opportunity to engage with the information exists
  • the learning sequence is logical and consistent.

Build and sustain a learning community – Relationships are the basis of any community, and the learning community of the class provides a safe and supportive environment.

In health education, physical education, or home economics, this could involve:

  • teacher and students co-constructing what and how to learn
  • giving equal emphasis to biophysical as well as socio-cultural sciences
  • making students part of the learning process (for example, students negotiate the focus of their research topic)
  • learning what it means to belong to and participate in a learning community such as promoting respectful relationships in the classroom
  • exploring values and clarifying attitudes and beliefs as part of the underlying concepts that underpin the learning area
  • creating a safe learning environment for students so "difficult conversations" can happen
  • being aware of students’ cultural and religious backgrounds and the richness this brings to any programme.

Design experiences that interest students Recognise students are motivated in the different ways and engage with some activities more than others.

This could be particularly evident in movement contexts. A variety of experience makes learning more memorable and increases the likelihood of drawing in a greater number of your diverse learners.

Through co-constructing, students are given the opportunity to choose the preferred learning strategy.

Inquiry-based learning, group work, and many other teaching strategies such as the action competence learning process, lend themselves well to allow students to take responsibility for their learning.

Being able to negotiate the criteria for success, and choose the presentation form when conducting a socio-cultural inquiry, allows students to work to their strengths.

For a comprehensive and very user-friendly guide, see Effective Pedagogy in Social Sciences/Tikanga ā Iwi Best Evidence Synthesis [BES].