08 December 2023

Increase participation and build confidence

Use a range of approaches to boost confidence and ākonga participation

On this page:

Connect with students’ passions

Connect with students’ passions

A student with autism and cerebral palsy demonstrates his passion for te reo Māori.

Build confidence using multiple approaches

Build confidence using multiple approaches

Discuss with the student what will support their participation and confidence.

Build the suggestions into your teaching practice.

  • Ask students how they learn best.
  • Use students’ interests and strengths as a basis for teaching.
  • Recognise and eliminate situations that students find embarrassing, such as reading aloud or making speeches.
  • Feed back successes to students’ parents and whānau.
  • Recognise avoidance strategies and provide support and encouragement.
  • Give students extra time so they have the satisfaction of completing work.
  • Make learning supports such as timers, text-to-speech, and organisational tools available to students.
  • Enable students to show their strengths and contribute their ideas in collaborative work, without the challenge of lengthy reading and writing tasks.
  • Give specific prompts and feedback quickly, rather than waiting for the student to fail.

Encourage sustained participation

Encourage sustained participation

Discuss with students what will support their participation and motivation.

Build these suggestions into your teaching practice.

  • Establish clear classroom routines.
  • Teach strategies to help students them when they get stuck.
  • Break work into short manageable chunks.
  • Give positive, timely feedback.
  • Brief students about changes to routine.
  • When changing classroom layout, provide a plan of new layout and when it will happen.
  • Provide easy access to quiet spaces for working or winding down.
  • Schedule brain breaks.
  • Notice avoidance tactics or increasing anxiety, implement supports quickly.
  • Offer leadership opportunities based on knowledge of student's expertise and interests.
  • Connect learning to student's interests.
  • Foster tuakana-teina relationships where students support each other.

Ask what helps

Ask what helps

Ask students, “What do I do that makes learning easy? What do I do that makes learning hard?”

Discuss possible supports and make these available to all students.

Tate from Onslow College explains what works for him in the classroom.

Next steps

More suggestions for implementing the strategy “Reduce barriers for year 9-13 students”:

Return to the guide “Curriculum accessibility”

Guide to Index of the guide: Curriculum accessibility