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“SPEC is designed to complement and enrich the New Zealand curriculum through the creation of positive learning opportunities for students unable to either cope, or disengaged students unconnected to learning and not reaching their full potential.  By linking to Key Competency development SPEC offers support to enable ākonga to build the foundation for ‘life-long learning’ and a medium to foster personal growth, self-management, self-esteem and self-efficacy, specifically tailored to individual needs.

“The choice element is a powerful tool for creating ownership over what students can do”, a quote taken from the SPEC Teacher Guidelines.

RTLB strengths-based practice focuses on advocating for potential, finding the interests, skills, abilities, knowledge, capabilities and capacities of learners - not their deficits.  There is lots of potential for utilizing the SPEC framework in the future and promoting ‘learning to learn and student centred growth’. (Extract taken from Donna’s Assignment, ‘Critical Appraisal Process’ through Massey University.

Donna Madden from Nelson Bays RTLB Service has created an exemplar that she is happy to share with other RTLB’s, showing how the SPEC courses have been introduced to meet the learning needs of identified students.

“Differentiated instruction in brief is ‘student aware teaching’ and connects with the main principles of SPEC, to maximise student potential and build positive relationships to engage learners. Furthermore differentiated instruction goals such as: building on what students know through activating prior knowledge, investigating how students learn best and supporting student readiness to learn are all complimentary to the SPEC framework organisation.  In common with SPEC, differentiated instruction recognises that in order to have a student directed approach to learning collaborative partnerships with teachers will help students to persevere and succeed in learning tasks.  Learning needs to connect to student interests, build on strengths, providing opportunities for students to make sense of their world.  Additionally learning discussions, individualised feedback, developing planning and self evaluation skills fit comfortably with building student efficacy therefore the whole structure of differentiated instruction closely resembles the SPEC framework.

(Tomlinson, 2008 p. 29-30)

Te Paeroa RTLB Cluster - Christchurch

Since 2013 to the present day, RTLB Cluster 34 has been facilitating the implementation of the SPEC programme with a wide range of schools, in promoting learning success and inclusion for students. One of our aims was to provide a smooth transition for students from primary/intermediate through to high school, so have implemented the T.R.U.M.P. modules into the primary school, so students will then finish the whole T.R.U.M.P. course at the respective high school.  Jenny Felton

SPEC provides an exciting alternative pathway and equal opportunities for all students to achieve and record their success in learning.  The programme meets the individual needs of the student through a self-directed approach to learning.  It encourages practical task application through a focus on Key Competencies and accommodates different learning styles to ensure inclusive education.  SPEC engages students in exciting, challenging and relevant tasks developing ‘life-long learning’ skills.  The programme matches and supports the New Zealand Curriculum with the opportunity to achieve two New Zealand qualifications.