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LEOTC - Learning experiences outside the classroom. Ministry of Education.

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Running successful programmes

The role of education officers

New Zealand case studies show that education officers are highly regarded and provide access to knowledge that would not otherwise be available to teachers and students.

Positive, enthusiastic education officers are the key to helping students learn from the on-site experiences.

Teachers consider that education officers, as experts in their field, stimulate and extend student learning. Successful education officers are those who are enthusiastic, use a variety of approaches to engage the students, and tailor their approach to the particular needs of each class.

Relationships and planning

As a Ministry of Education provider, you will work in partnership with schools to ensure your programme supports effective teaching and learning. LEOTC visits are more likely to contribute to student learning when you:

  • work closely with the class teacher before, during, and after the visit. It is important to make sure the site activities are linked to class activities
  • have the same learning goals as the teacher
  • build friendly, education-based relationships with students, teachers, and parents during the visit.

The case studies show teachers like to meet with education officers before a visit because it helps them to know what is on offer, to select the most appropriate programme, and to ensure that their students are prepared for the visit.

Before the visit, find out where your programme best fits within the classroom programme. This discussion will also guide you in deciding on the level to pitch your discussions and activities. The Ministry of Education’s Digistore project is a storehouse of useful images and activities that is open to all schools and teachers. These resources could be incorporated as pre- or post-visit activities.

A focus on learning

Research shows learning experiences outside the classroom are more effective when:

  • sites are seen as places for learning
  • students get hands-on experience with different objects, artefacts and exhibits
  • students link the site experiences with school experiences
  • exhibits are memorable and make the subject ‘come to life’
  • students have access to informed staff.

The case studies show the quality of the exhibits, tools, objects, artefacts, expertise, and experiences is related to student learning, with ‘hands on’ and ‘real life’ experiences important.

Managing the visit

At the start of the visit, discuss the expected site etiquette with students and accompanying adults. This is important to help with managing the visit to the site and to ensure appropriate and safe behaviour around the exhibits.

Give clear instructions to adult helpers on how to support students to behave appropriately, to focus on the exhibits, and to promote discussion. When everyone is clear about the learning goals, it helps to keep students focused on what they are there for.

How do schools use LEOTC effectively?

These Learning Stories show some great examples of the effective use of LEOTC.

To submit your LEOTC Learning Stories, please use this template and email them in to us.

Teachers have particular responsibilities and must fulfil specific requirements to take students off the school grounds. Please read the Education Outside The Classroom page for information on the safety management process, legal obligations, and planning templates for a good programmes outside of the classroom.

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The National Curriculum



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