Student Voice on the Key Competencies in RT3T™ Schools

Photo of Jenny Jenny Dodd

The Key Competencies are an integral part of Education and a requirement of Te Mātaiaho, the refreshed NZ curriculum.

But what is out there that supports students to make progress in all of the Key Competencies? After coaching RT3T™ for nearly 2 years, I am excited to tell you that this teaching and learning approach can bundle together all of the Key Competencies and support student progress in them all. Quickly.

This is clear from the achievement data as well as from what teachers and outsiders (such as school leaders, relievers, parents and facilitators) have observed during and after the coaching sessions, and from student voice.

Collection and analysis of student voice is an essential aspect of RT3T™. Together with teachers, facilitators are able to share, reflect and plan from this and other data. What we usually see emerging is a range of information that relates directly to the Key Competencies.

This Blog will focus on the competencies of Participating and Contributing, Relating to Others and Thinking.

The Key Competency, ‘Participating and Contributing’ is central to how RT3T™ involves students working collaboratively while engaging with text in meaningful ways. From their knowledge of the students, teachers carefully set up teams, choosing those they consider may have the potential to work well together, and using RT3T™ structures to ensure their students feel safe and comfortable enough to participate, contribute and help each other.

Many students spoke about their confidence being boosted by being able to work in a team, and not being afraid to check when they did not understand, with a comment such as ‘I like it when others in the team can help me.” Most of all, students commented on enjoying leading a team and feeling more confident to ask and answer questions. “RT3T™ gives us confidence to ask and answer questions in other aspects of school.” A common response for a class preparing for their speeches was that they now felt more confident to present their speech to the class.

The benefits of working in a team tie in beautifully with another Key Competency, ‘Relating to Others.’ Working in a team chosen by the teacher is not always initially met with a positive response by the students. However, after a period of time, many students see the benefits of this approach with comments like: "It was great working with people I usually don't,” and “It was good to sit with new people who I wouldn’t normally talk to and we learnt to be inclusive.” I have found this to be quite affirming for teachers who may have typically allowed students to choose their teams. After several sessions of RT3T™, they see how making that choice for their students has resulted in many benefits, both social and academic.

An important aspect of ‘Relating to Others’ is the ability to learn how to understand others’ perspectives. Often after RT3T™, students will say things like: “It was good having people listen to you without judgement,” and “I get to see other people’s perspectives on the subject.”

The Key Competency, ‘Thinking’ involves making sense of information, answering questions and becoming a critical and creative thinker. Examples of student voice are responses like ‘I’m learning to think in different ways"; "I’m learning how to think in more complex ways,” and “It’s great for learning how to communicate with anyone about an article or text.” They often also specifically mention they have upskilled in their ability to ask and answer inferential questions.

Student voice is just one of the means we have of assessing the success of RT3T™ but it is an important one in a pedagogy which enables everyone to actively, safely and critically drive their learning together and independently - with skilled, scaffolded support from their teacher.

In Part Two, we will look at what students are saying about how RT3T™ supports them in becoming more proficient in the remaining two Key Competencies: ‘Language, Symbols and Texts and ‘Managing Self.’

Other relevant resources you may find interesting:

Reciprocal Teaching | Education Counts (2023).

RTeach Institute. 2 min clip. Students were asked: what might your parents say if they saw you leading an RT3T™ team.