Essential reading: case studies by Rosemary Hipkins

13 June 2017. An exploratory report by the NZCER Chief Researcher looks at how teachers are supported to use road safety as a rich context for learning.

Curriculum resources available from the NZ Transport Agency “model a sophisticated weaving of higher level components of the New Zealand Curriculum (NZC), such as the key competencies, with learning area content.”

This observation comes in a report from Rosemary Hipkins, a Chief Researcher at NZCER (New Zealand Council for Educational Research).

Rosemary is the author of Nurturing citizenship: road safety as a rich context for learning (PDF, 760 KB).

This report includes three exploratory case studies of how teachers work with the Transport Agency’s approach to supporting innovative education.

This approach, writes Rosemary, is that “students should be educated in ways that build their dispositions to be responsible and proactive citizens who recognise their part in making the road commons safe for everyone.”

She says this vision is clear in the three case studies, which she wrote after interviewing teachers and their students.

“The case study teachers had all built a new type of narrative about what learning is for – a narrative that values both traditional curriculum goals (building new knowledge and skills) and less familiar future-focused goals such as citizenship. They all worked to gain deep engagement, so that their students would be disposed to care about what was being learned and assessed.

“They also sought to support students to build their action competencies – the ‘know how’ and willingness to plan and carry through on ways to stay safe personally and to keep everyone else safe to the extent that this is possible for individuals to do.

“There is clear evidence that that all three teachers had these types of longer term goals in mind, and that they were willing and able to make space for their students to take greater agency for their learning.”