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  • Rights: The University of Waikato Te Whare Wānanga o Waikato and Waikato Regional Council
    Published 17 March 2020 Referencing Hub media

    Developing students’ skills around reflection and critical evaluation are vital to building resilience. Not every prediction, idea or action will be effective, so building this aspect regularly into the inquiry learning and action cycle is important. Of course, reflecting on what went well and celebrating effective action is just as important.

    It is vital to scaffold the development of skilled reflection. Begin by creating a class vocabulary of words and meanings for student use. Encourage students to work peer to peer and individually on if/how the actions met their prediction or vision, what went well, what they might do differently and what their next steps might be

    Evaluation can be formal or informal. Formal evaluation could include pre-assessment and post-assessment to ascertain changes in science knowledge, content vocabulary or understanding of the nature of science. Alternatively, students can evaluate the effectiveness of the planning and action and whether it had the desired impact on the issue. Students can also self-evaluate their learning, individual efforts and/or change in attitude or perspective.


    Questions to consider

    • What do we think/how do we feel about the issue now?
    • Have our attitudes changed?
    • Have the attitudes of people around us changed?
    • Did our actions meet our vision?
    • What have we learned?
    • What went well?
    • What could we change?
    • How can we monitor the effectiveness of our actions?
    • What should our next steps be?
    • Are there new or continuing actions we can take as a result of this project?



    When students are outside and the opportunities to be in a really beautiful natural environment, it contributes to their hauora. It means that they have that strong sense of connection, particularly when you’re doing that within their own backyard – within their own rohe – then they’re getting that connection to that whenua there and then.


    How stable are the banks of the stream?

    Probably a 2.


    As they get to know our natural spaces, they start to have a real appreciation and a deeper understanding for their place and their connection with our environment and the places that we live.


    That builds them as individuals, it contributes to mana enhancement, and I think there’s a huge need for that for all students, it’s not just for our Māori students. It’s about all of us having that sense of connection, of belonging. And part of that goes with a deep understanding and connection with your particular environment, whatever that may be.


    Anne Barker
    Te Whai Toi Tangata Institute of Professional Learning
    Alex Daniel
    Waikato Regional Council
    The Fairfield Project
    Hannah, Jess and Sam, Waikato Diocesan School for Girls
    Jake and Sarah, Bankwood Primary School


    This video has been developed in partnership with the Waikato Regional Council as part of the Rivers and Us resource.

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