Relational learning in practice
A range of teaching practices to support relationship-rich learning.
There are several key questions that are helpful as we consider how we create the learning environments and experiences which will build and sustain these relationships. For example, how do different teaching approaches enable students to build connection with their discipline, with their teachers, with their peers, with place and with their evolving sense of themselves? How do the choices we make as educators contribute to the sense of belonging and meaning needed for student success?
How might staff support relational learning in their practice?
Create opportunities for cohort building within or across programmes.
Encourage collaborative practices that maximise students’ opportunities to engage with and learn from their peers.
Develop learning environments where students and staff are relationally and actively engaged.
Where practical, support place-based learning with environments and communities and establish links with work contexts.
Locate learning ‘in time’.
Māori staff may practice Indigenous pedagogies such as kaupapa Māori pedagogies.
Pacific staff may practice Indigenous pedagogies that centre Pacific values and knowledge systems, such as ako (which means both to learn and to teach) as a process that involves learning and reflecting,1 where both the learner and teacher benefit from the sharing of knowledge.2
Provide opportunities for learners and teachers to dialogue about the learning experience.
Make use of quality blended learning designs that embrace connectivity and participation.
Relational learning in practice
CASE STUDY – Jayden Houghton aims to make human connections with his students and encourages them to reflect on their values and their Law School experience.
CASE STUDY – The Faculty of Engineering has developed novel physical tools for teaching the properties of structural steel.
CASE STUDY – Helping develop students’ abilities to collaborate in teams comprised of people with different backgrounds and skills.
CASE STUDY – In Mechanical Engineering, students apply 3D printing technology to real-world industrial applications.
CASE STUDY – Maxine Lewis discusses relationality in her teaching practice within Classics and Ancient History.
CASE STUDY – In this practice example from DANCE 101, Associate Prof Alys Longley describes how she embeds relationality in her teaching practice.
CASE STUDY – Learn about a Graduate Teaching Assistant (GTA) training programme within the Faculty of Engineering.
CASE STUDY – Anuj Bhargava employs a constructivist approach to teaching, in which students interact with their experiences and their surroundings to build knowledge.
CASE STUDY – Whanaungatanga is to encourage the development of close connection between people, to create a sense of belonging. Waipapa Taumata Rau’s design team co-designed a first-year compulsory Arts general course.
Page updated 22/02/2023 (minor edit)
- Morrison, Sandra L., and Timote M. Vaioleti. “Ako–A traditional learning concept for Maori and Pacific youth, and its relationship to lifelong learning.” Bildung und Erziehung 64, no. 4 (2011): 395-408. ↩
- Tomoana, Ria, and Whitireia New Zealand. “Sharing successful teaching and learning strategies for Māori, Pacific, and Youth learners.” Whitireia, New Zealand: An Ako Aotearoa Publication (2012). ↩