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RTLB qualification and study awards

To become an RTLB, a teacher must:

  • be a trained teacher with a full New Zealand teacher registration and a current practising certificate and
  • have attained or be working towards the RTLB qualification: Postgraduate Diploma in Specialist Teaching (endorsed in Learning and Behaviour)
  • have the academic prerequisites to enter the PGDip Specialist Teaching programme (a relevant professional qualification and a New Zealand undergraduate degree or equivalent)
  • have experience working with mokopuna with learning and behaviour needs.

All RTLB must attain the RTLB qualification within four years of appointment unless they have been given an exemption by the Secretary for Education.

What the Postgraduate Diploma in Specialist Teaching (Learning and Behaviour) qualification offers

The Postgraduate Diploma in Specialist Teaching (Learning and Behaviour) is one of six endorsements within the overall Specialist Teaching qualification. The programme is premised on partnership between the Ministry, Massey University, partner organisations, and local and regional community efforts on behalf of all learners.

The qualification aims to be Te Tiriti-informed and culturally sustaining, be built on the principles of inclusion, equity and human rights whereby the identity, language and culture of all are valued.The overarching context for the qualification is the Learning Support Action Plan 2019-2025 and Our Code Our Standards, contributing to the Ministry’s vision of “an education system that delivers equitable and excellent outcomes”.

There are four year-long courses in the qualification. Students typically complete two courses in the first year and two courses in the second year.

For those completing Year 2 in 2021 via the existing programme, there are two courses:

YEAR 2
249.755 Evidence-based Interprofessional Practice in Learning & Behaviour Diversity
249.755 Practicum in Learning & Behaviour Diversity

For those entering the redesigned programme from 2021, the courses for the Learning and Behaviour endorsement are:

YEAR 1
249.753 Theory & Practice in Learning & Behaviour Diversity
254.766 Professional Learning Pathways
YEAR 2
249.755 Practicum in Learning & Behaviour
254.767 Community-based Practice

From 2021, students in their first year complete two courses concurrently. Course 1: Theory & Practice provides them with the specialised knowledge, skills, networks and dispositions needed for effective RTLB practice.  In Course 2: Professional Learning Pathways, students deepen and extend their interprofessional learning by designing their own unique pathway through modules aligned with their strengths, needs and interests as well as Cluster and community priorities.

In their second year, students complete Course 3: Practicum, in which they design, enact and reflect on specialised and interprofessional practices co-designed and co-facilitated with the RTLB sector. In, Course 4: Community-based Practice, students work with mana whenua, peers and other professionals to design coursework and assignments that directly benefit their local area.

The Specialist Teaching has two compulsory contact courses each year.  The programme utilises 21st pedagogies, blending face-to-face learning with online opportunities to engage with content and peers, for instance through the Learning Management System, forums, webinars and podcasts.

On successful completion of the PG Dip Specialist Teaching programme, graduates should be able to:

  • Work collaboratively as part of a wider community of interprofessional practice
  • Consider literature and other sources of evidence to develop specialised knowledge
  • Apply knowledge to practice in reflective, ethical and culturally sustaining ways
  • Practice in an inclusive and Te Tiriti o Waitangi-informed way to promote equity in education    

A YouTube summary of the Specialist Teaching programme can be found here.

Study award

Appointees enrolled in the Postgraduate Diploma in Specialist Teaching endorsed in Learning and Behaviour are eligible for the Ministry’s RTLB study award. If in any year the number of applicants exceeds the number of available awards, a prioritisation process will be used. Priority will be given in the following order: 

  • appointees who have one year to complete their training before losing their management unit
  • appointees who have two years to complete their training before losing their management unit
  • appointees who have three years to complete their training before losing their management unit
  • the second RTLB appointee in a job-share position (if the other job-share partner has received the study award). 

The cluster manager negotiates study leave with the RTLB in training in accordance with the terms set out in the letter of confirmation.

For information on Learning Support Study Awards and Scholarships including the RTLB study award, visit the Ministry of Education website.

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