07 December 2023

Talk with the student and consider a learner profile

Suggestion for implementing the strategy ‘Identifying needs and strengths, and accessing support’

Support self-advocacy with learner profiles

Support self-advocacy with learner profiles

Create opportunities where students can tell you what supports their learning and what gets in the way.

Having students create a learner profile for themselves is a great way to have them develop a better and fuller understanding of who they are as learners ...

This develops their independence and places them in a better position to self-advocate for the tools, learning materials, and presentation options that can optimise their learning experiences.

Naryn Searcy

Source: UDL Resource (opens in a new tab/window)

UDL Resource

Build the learner profile over time

Build the learner profile over time

Learner profiles can help school staff build relationships with ākonga and their whānau, understand their perspectives and design learning to meet student needs.

Considerations for learner profiles.

  • Provide multiple opportunities and methods to develop the profile.
  • Prioritise information from students by using effective communication techniques, for example, point to select, or communication boards.
  • Revisit the profile on a regular basis to add depth and new insights.
  • Use a range of input methods such as conversations, observations, formal reviews and regular surveys.
  • Encourage students to understand their needs and preferences as a learner.
  • Act on information that is shared so students can see how their voice helps you design learning experiences that work for them.

What to include in a learner profile

What to include in a learner profile

The purpose of a learner profile can be agreed by the student, their whānau, and the teacher.

Depending on its purpose, a useful profile (whether an official document or simply inquiry on your part) can include:

  • important people
  • cultural connections and experiences
  • languages spoken
  • things the student is good at
  • memorable life experiences
  • how they like to unwind and relax
  • likes and interests
  • dislikes and things they avoid
  • how they like to learn and what helps
  • things that make it hard for them to learn
  • what they do when they need help.

Useful resources

Useful resources

Developing learner profiles

Developing learner profiles

Read time: 3 min

This document provides general support and guidance when developing a learner profile. It includes prompts and questions, alongside purpose and benefits for students.


Download PDF (211 KB)

Rachels learner profile NZ high school

Secondary school learner profile

An example of a NZ secondary student’s learner profile.

Download PDF (331 KB)

About me

About me

This learner profile template is a companion to "Developing learner profiles". It is an interactive PDF with questions for students to answer.

Download PDF (596 KB)

Next steps

More suggestions for implementing the strategy “Identify needs and how to provide support”:

Return to the guide “Speech, language and communica­tion needs ”