Date
24 July 2024

Recognise and remove barriers to learning

Identify and remove barriers that get in the way of learning.

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Consider barriers in lesson planning

Consider barriers in lesson planning

Universal Design for Learning (UDL) identifies four key components of lesson planning to avoid unintentional barriers for learners.

Work together to find solutions

Work together to find solutions

Use a solutions-focused design process to identify and reduce or eliminate barriers. Work with ākonga and whānau to identify issues and co-design solutions.
  • Identify common classroom activities, for example, mat or instruction time, reading or research activities, maths sessions, writing activities.

  • Brainstorm who the activity works well for and who it does not work well for. The aim is to have engagement rather than just compliance.

  • Reduce or eliminate barriers. This may involve refining the activity, providing additional flexibility or supports or complete redesign.

Know how teachers can help

Know how teachers can help

Aaron from Ōtorohanga College talks about barriers to learning and how teachers can help.

Remove threats to engagement

Remove threats to engagement

The design of learning can threaten student engagement. Consider common threats to engagement in your context and what you could do differently.

For example:

  • Teacher talks for too long.Could be refined by setting tight time frames for oral instructions and providing rewindable videos and visuals.
  • Noisy, unstructured environments. Could be supported with designated areas for quiet work or collaboration.
  • Forgotten instructions. Could be solved by providing online or printed instructions and examples for students to return to as needed.
  • Difficulty starting writing on a blank page. Could be solved with optional starters and graphic organisers such as writing or storyboarding templates.
  • Students startled by a transition or change in routine. Could be supported using a visual timetable, discussing upcoming changes and oral prompts.

Remove barriers to writing

Remove barriers to writing

Using a computer gives Tyler the freedom to write creatively as he is not inhibited by the speed of his handwriting or his ability to form letters.

Design the day and week for success

Design the day and week for success

Careful programme design can help students to be successful. Each student will have different needs so collaborate with the ākonga, whānau and the school team.

For example:

  • Offer students choices so they can manage themselves. For example, the order of tasks, timelines and types of activity.
  • Reduce daily choices and decisions by creating a predictable timetable.
  • Limit whole class instruction and passive listening time. Supplement face-to-face teaching with rewindable resources such as visuals, examples, videos and screen casts. 
  • Offer regular quiet or low sensory times during the day. For example, use of breakout spaces, storytime, a walk outside or quiet play periods.
  • Offer regular movement breaks.
  • Limit time spent with larger or noisy groups.
  • Design transition signals. For example timers, music, traffic light systems.

Next steps

More suggestions for implementing the strategy “Be proactive”:

Return to the guide “Behaviour and learning”

Guide to Index of the guide: Behaviour and learning

Strategies for action:

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