Effective Resource Teacher: Learning and Behaviour (RTLB) Practice

Country: New Zealand
Organisation: New Zealand Resource Teacher: Learning and Behaviour Association

New Zealand


Resource Teachers Learning and Behaviour (RTLB) assists teachers and schools to meet the needs of students at risk of underachievement due to learning and/or behaviour difficulties. A resource was collated describing effective RTLB case work and the practices which lead to positive outcomes for the target students. The case examples were annotated with reference to the literature and current Ministry of Education initiatives and priorities. They included RTLB work focused on individual students, groups, whole classes, teacher capability and school systems.

Successful outcomes were evident when RTLB worked in an inclusive, culturally responsive, collaborative consultative model in which assessment data was gathered ecologically and the contributions and aspirations of RTLB, teachers and whānau (families) were equally valued in the planning and implementation of strategies to address the identified difficulties. This resource of evidence-based practices and interventions is a catalyst for RTLB to improve their practice.

Impact and effect

The 760 RTLB in New Zealand work across 2,500 schools, impacting on over 20,000 students and their teachers each year. The success of RTLB interventions is determined using measures such as ecological observation, academic records, incident records, parent interviews and teacher feedback. The resource highlighted cases with positive outcomes such as:

  • Gains of two to four years in reading age for classes of 13–14 year old boys following a Reciprocal Teaching Programme in a secondary school.
  • A 66 per cent reduction in negative playground incidents following the use of a ‘Playground Audit’ and the development of playground activities, rules and values.
  • A reduction in students displaying ‘at risk’ behaviour from 11 per cent to 4 per cent following the introduction of whole school ‘Positive Behaviour for Learning’.
  • An upward shift in numeracy knowledge for 10–14 year olds following a Peer Tutoring Programme, with a particularly positive upward shift for Māori students.
  • Target students, who had been removed from class due to continual bullying and non-compliance, showed 80 per cent compliance, and the class climate improved following RTLB support to the teacher.
  • A mentoring programme involving senior student role models and incorporating Māori preferred learning styles reduced school stand- downs and suspensions.
  • Restorative Practices used with a group of 12-year-old students stopped bullying incidents.

Looking ahead

The format used in this collation of effective RTLB practice is being used again at this year’s RTLB conference. RTLB are being asked to showcase further examples of successful case work. The resource is being used by the universities training new RTLB, by the Ministry of Education’s own staff and by RTLB who are using the case examples to reflect on their own practice within communities of practice. This year the numbers of RTLB are being increased. This is confirmation that RTLB is a valuable asset in supporting schools to provide environments that promote quality outcomes, respect and understanding for all, and supporting teachers to ensure that all students reach their potential.