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Introduction to professional practice

This section of the toolkit describes what RTLB practice looks like. It describes how this practice helps schools effectively support students to learn, achieve and reach their potential. Through a common understanding of and appreciation for RTLB practice, everyone with a role in their RTLB cluster can ensure the service contributes to realising the Ministry of Education's priority outcomes for the schooling sector.

RTLB teams (also known as 'clusters') are groups of itinerant, fully-registered specialist teachers who have the training and skills to provide the RTLB service. RTLB work with teachers and schools to find solutions that support students with barriers to learning, and build teacher and school inclusive practice capability. Each cluster has an allocated number of RTLB positions and a professional leadership structure (cluster manager and practice leaders) that ensures all RTLB provide an effective, quality service to cluster schools.

RTLB are responsible for providing the RTLB service in cluster schools in accordance with the RTLB Professional Practice Toolkit and meeting the service priorities and expectations listed in the RTLB Funding and Service Agreement.

RTLB practice is in accordance with the principles in the three articles of the Treaty of Waitangi:

  • partnership (article one) by working effectively with iwi and other Māori providers involved with a student  
  • protection (article two) by valuing children as tāonga
  • participation (article three) by ensuring whānau and families have the opportunity to participate in the process.

The key stakeholders in the RTLB service include:

  • Communities of Learning / Kāhui Ako
  • cluster kura/schools who represent their communities, including:
    • their teachers and students
    • their families and whānau
    • their iwi and Māori parents/community
    • their Pasifika parents/community
  • RTLB
  • the local Ministry of Education who represents:
  • Learning Support
  • Early Childhood Education.

Some expectations about the RTLB role 

There are core beliefs that underpin RTLB work:

  • the most effective way to make gains for students is by focusing on student potential rather than on student underachievement
  • RTLB see their case work as teaching and learning opportunities not as student problems
  • the curriculum is able to be differentiated, and classroom programmes adapted, to meet the needs of all students within an inclusive schooling environment.

RTLB support change through:

  • effective teaching practices that respond to the context
  • excellent knowledge of effective teaching
  • a commitment to inclusive education
  • a commitment to achievement for all
  • working alongside others to provide practical support and advice
  • adhering to the principles of RTLB practice
  • following the sequence of RTLB practice
  • keeping students’ needs and achievement at the centre of any service provision
  • maintaining trusting, professional relationships within cluster schools and with whānau/parents, communities and community agencies.

A word about the bigger picture

The work of RTLB fits into a much larger picture. RTLB contribute to the Ministry of Education’s vision of “A world-leading education system that equips all New Zealanders with the knowledge, skills and values to be successful citizens in the 21st century”.

Three of the Ministry’s priority outcomes relate specifically to the schooling sector:

  1. every child achieves literacy and numeracy levels that enable their success
  2. every young person has the skills and qualifications to contribute to their and New Zealand’s future
  3. Māori enjoying education success as Māori.

What culturally responsive means

Working with Māori, working with Pasifika, working with all cultures

This is about RTLB understanding a student’s history, customs and world view and working in genuine partnership with whānau/parents and families. The term ‘culturally appropriate’ is also used.

Ministry documents and plans that inform working in a culturally responsive way include:

The higher-level principles within these documents can also be applied to effective teaching and practice for the many other cultures present in our New Zealand schools.