This paper explores the role of the Resource Teacher: Learning and Behaviour (RTLB). It describes the background to the creation of the RTLB position, the nature of the RTLB role and the organization of the service in New Zealand.
The position of RTLB was created in 1999 as part of the Special Education 2000 policy. RTLB are experienced teachers whose main role is to provide itinerant specialist support to students, teachers and schools to improve outcomes for students who experience difficulties with learning and/or behaviour. RTLB work across a number of schools within a geographical region.
There are approximately 750 RTLB in New Zealand organized into 40 clusters. Clusters are spread geographically throughout New Zealand and managed by a Cluster Manager and one or two Lead Practitioners.
RTLB work within a consultancy model. That is they work to upskill teachers so that they are better able to meet the needs of not only students who have been referred to the RTLB service, but any future students who experience difficulties with learning and behaviour.
In 2007 the Ministry of Education released the Resource Teacher: Learning and Behaviour (RTLB) Policy and Toolkit which was updated in 2011 (Ministry of Education, 2011). The RTLB Toolkit sets out desirable practice in relation to RTLB management and practice. In relation to RTLB practice, the toolkit outlines seven guiding principles of RTLB practice.
The focus of the RTLB role is working with teachers to bring about improved outcomes for students who experience difficulties with learning and behaviour. This work has been shown to make a significant contribution to the move towards more inclusive schools. Teacher capacity is increased, and teachers are more likely to take responsibility for all students in their classes.