Large survey of New Zealand teachers released today – new info on digital learning, classroom environments, bullying

Large survey of New Zealand teachers released today – new info on digital learning, classroom environments, bullying
August 24, 2023

The results of a survey of 775 New Zealand teachers have been published today by the Growing Up in New Zealand longitudinal study. Teachers were asked about the classroom environment, how students were handling digital technology, and about online learning during lockdowns. They were also asked about their perceptions of students’ experiences of bullying and the results have been compared with young people’s own reports of being bullied.

The teachers who took part in this survey were approached because they were teaching young people from the University of Auckland’s Growing Up in New Zealand longitudinal study. In total, 775 teachers of 1,271 young people from the Growing Up study took part in the survey. Most of the young people were students in year 7 at school.

“This is a very large survey of New Zealand teachers and it’s unique in that we have a wealth of information from their students as well. The findings we are sharing today contribute to a deeper understanding of the educational experiences of young people which can be used by schools and policy makers,” said Dr Kane Meissel, Senior Lecturer, Faculty of Education and Social Work at the University of Auckland | Waipapa Taumata Rau.

Some of the main findings are:

• Most teachers reported their students were in class environments which teachers said were positive and engaging places to learn.
• When asked about the use of digital technology, teachers reported that nearly 14 percent of students had difficulty staying on task, and around 15 percent of students had difficulty discerning the accuracy of information found online.
• Two-thirds of teachers indicated that the distance learning environment (during the pandemic) did not adequately support student’s learning.
• Young person reports of experiences of bullying were much more frequent than teacher reports.
• One in 10 teachers reported they were not using learning resources that explicitly included any of the following diverse identities: Māori, Pacific, Asian, persons with disabilities, or transgender identities.

According to Dr Meissel the findings can be used by schools, for example the findings about bullying.

“This information is likely to be useful for teachers and principals. They may be surprised to see teachers reported their students as having less frequent experiences of bullying than students reported themselves – for example we found around 6 percent of teachers reported their students being hurt physically at school, but nearly 11 percent of the same young people reported this type of bullying. These findings suggest more can be done to identify bullying and foster school environments where bullying is not accepted.”

Dr Meissel also says the data from the teacher survey can be used for further research to understand how the school context influences developmental outcomes.

“The findings we are reporting today are part of much larger data sets about young people in the Growing Up in New Zealand longitudinal study. We invite data users and future research collaborations to better understand how the school environment supports the wellbeing of young people,” said Dr Meissel.

See the “Teacher Survey Report - Now We Are Twelve" on this page: Growing Up Reports


For more information, please contact:  

Julia Crosfield  
Media and Communications, Growing Up in New Zealand  
027 282 4896  

Saraid Black
Communications Manager, Growing Up in New Zealand
09 923 7390 or 0274 732 211