New Zealand research shows that a long term approach to teacher learning is the most effective. It requires strategic planning and using processes and strategies, which support and challenge teachers as they adapt their practice. Usually a minimum of two years (Poskitt, 2005) is required. Below is an example of four of the long-term projects C21 Learning has co-created with individual schools.


An Overview of the 4x4 professional development initiatives we offer!

C21Learning has developed a four (four terms) by four (four years) program for sustained professional learning. Each year in a completed entity - therefore you could engage C21Learning for one year or all four.


1.    Key Competencies

2.    A fresh approach to literacy

3.    Integrating the curriculum

4.    Empowering forms of assessment


Facilitator: Trudy Francis (Director C21 Learning)


About C21 Learning


Our goal is to assist teachers to improve the quality of their classroom instruction. C21 Learning is about meta-level thinking and learning for both teachers and pupils and how it relates to lifelong learning.


Like an iceberg everyone seeking their place in the world has a hidden foundation of breathtaking potential.  C21 Learning seeks to bring out that which is hidden.


The C21 Learning programme being offered is the starting point for each person's professional development journey.  It is divided into four stages designed to fit the school year. It is based on theory, research and what we find has worked with other schools and involves five underlying components.


Relating this PD focus to the New Zealand Curriculum


The new curriculum represents a paradigm shift in terms of what is taught and how it is taught.  The Key Competencies are a whole new dimension for teachers raising questions on how pupils are taught and assessed.


We clarify these concerns by:


  • Linking deep understandings (knowledge outcomes) with improving the Key Competencies (habits of mind).
  • Assisting teachers to plan and teach in ways that immerse the developing Key Competencies (habits of mind) into a more real and relevant learning context.


Effectiveness of Pedagogy


Through demonstration, lessons and observations, we assist teachers to set their own professional development goals and provide feedback to enable them to reflect on and evaluate their own performance.


Assessing Knowledge Outcomes and Key Competencies


Learning how to assess deep understandings (knowledge outcomes) and Key Competencies (habits of mind) as they develop is fundamental to the success of our approach.  We explore assessment strategies that empower learners to take responsibility for their own learning.


Role of Teacher in Designing and Using a Matrix for Pupil Goal Setting


We assist teachers to maximise student voice and ownership:


  • We use a matrix for backward planning
  • Teachers and pupils together develop a model of success criteria
  • The success criteria matrix is used by teachers and pupils to set specific and challenging goals.
  • Differentiated learning opportunities are planned for to support students on their learning journey
  • Students are shown how to gather evidence and be reflective and objective about their performance.




  • Alton-Lee, A. (2003). Quality teaching for diverse students in schooling: Best evidence synthesis. Wellington, New Zealand: Learning Media.
  • Bishop, R., & Glynn, T. (1999). Culture counts: Changing power relationships in education. Palmerston North, New Zealand: Dunmore Press.
  • Brewerton, M. (2004b). Thoughts on the characteristics of a "successful school leaver. Paper prepared for the Ministry of Education, October 2004.
  • Costa, A. (2001). Building a thoughtful learning community with habits of mind. Professional development handout at CSNS.
  • Costa, A. L., & Kallick, B. (2000). Discovering & exploring habits of mind: a developmental series. Alexandra, USA: Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development.
  • De Bono, E. (1985). Six thinking hats. Toronto: Key Porter.
  • Ministry of Education. (2006). The New Zealand Curriculum: Draft for consultation. Wellington, New Zealand: Learning Media.
  • Murdoch, K. (2004). Classroom connections: strategies for integrated learning. South Yarra, Vic: Eleanor Curtain Publishing
  • New Zealand Educational Institute (2005). Office Background papers. Wellington: Te Riu Roa
  • Poskitt, J. (2005). Towards a model of New Zealand school-based teacher professional development. New Zealand Journal of Teachers' Work, 2(2), 136-151.
  • Sewell, AM (2006). Teachers and children's learning together: Developing a community of learners in a primary classroom. Unpublished doctoral dissertation, Massey University, New Zealand.
  • Wiggins, G., & McTighe, J. (1998).  Understanding by design (1 ed.). Alexandra, VA: Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development.
  • Wiggins, G., & McTighe, J. (2005).  Understanding by design (Expanded 2 ed.). Heatherton, VA: Hawker Brownlow Education.