Competencies in the Training of Resource Teachers Learning and Behaviour: An evaluation
Degree GrantorUniversity of Canterbury
Degree NameDoctor of Philosophy
The Resource Teacher Learning and Behaviour (RTLB) service was formed in Aotearoa New Zealand as a key part of national educational policy to create a worldclass inclusive education system. In order to provide an up-to-date training programme for RTLB the New Zealand government in 2010 contracted two universities to develop a competency-based, blended learning programme that could be accessed by teachers throughout the country. The relevant literature on competency-based approaches in education, adult learning and e-learning highlight the requirement for carefully selecting programme competencies, taking account of the needs of adult learners, as well as realizing the potential of the e-learning environment to provide increased opportunities for meaningful learning through engagement in communities of practice. The present research was conducted to look for evidence that the new programme was addressing these key issues that are highlighted in the literature. Through a mixed-method study, this thesis investigates the perceptions of the first cohort of graduates of the training programme developed for RTLB. The research design involved an online questionnaire survey completed by over half of the graduates, followed by six focus group interviews conducted with a selection of participants. The study specifically examined the importance of the 51 programme competencies to the work of participants and how well enabled participants considered they had been to develop these competencies. Factors that enabled participants to develop competencies in the context of the programme were investigated, as well as those that acted as barriers to competency enablement. Results indicated that all of the programme competencies were perceived by participants to be of high importance to their work in the field of learning and behaviour difficulties and that they were well enabled to develop these competencies. Participants considered that a range of factors acted as barriers to or enablers of competency development. These focused on five overarching themes related to: course content, relevance, clarity and structure; supports; managing time and pressure; pre-requisite knowledge, skills, and experience; and, access to technology. Based on these findings, implications for practice relevant to programme coordinators, RTLB managers, school principals, policy makers and for Māori, are discussed. Limitations of the research study are identified and recommendations for future research are made.