Today's Learning for Tomorrow's Citizens
Our approach and philosophy focuses less on content and more on developing the skills and dispositions that will equip our students to be successful in the world.
Curiosity is a natural disposition that needs to be encouraged and built upon so that learning becomes a desire to seek out the answers to our questions. A teacher’s role is not to fill students with information, rather incite students to want to learn.
A teacher’s job is made easy when students want to learn – when their curiosity and passions are aroused. It is our belief that learning is best when teachers ignite student interest and provide opportunities for students to wonder and to investigate subjects of interest to them. Inquiry learning and problem-based learning are two approaches that capitalise on these natural tendencies to make the learning more engaging and relevant for students. These approaches engage students in purposeful learning while at the same time developing dispositions, such as curiosity, perseverance and a growth mindset, and skills such as researching, organising, collaborating, reflecting and managing their own learning. These skills and dispositions are currently being honoured in the new Victorian Curriculum Capabilities.
The best learning happens when the inquiry is authentic. Whilst this is not always possible and inquiries are sometimes manufactured to create curiosity and engagement, the more closely linked to life the learning is, the greater the desire to learn and to take action on the learning. The best of inquiries should excite children’s passions – and the teacher’s too!
Students Need to Be Equal Partners in Their Own Learning
Teacher student relationships change when ownership of learning is shared. Students feel respected and feel responsible for their own learning when their progress is discussed with them, when their opinions are listened to and when they themselves are reflecting on their learning and setting goals for their own development. These skills of metacognition, reflection and evaluation don’t just develop – they need to be taught explicitly and given time and focus in the classroom. Students need to be taught the language of learning so that they can participate in discussions about their progress.
Teacher Reflection is Key to Improving Outcomes
Teacher reflection is key to improving pedagogy. The best feedback on teaching practices can be gained by reflecting on the student learning that results from the teaching. Teachers need to be given sufficient time and support to assist them to reflect on student learning and the impact their teaching is having. The most effective strategies for examining student learning are those that are rigorous and objective and provide constructive feedback about improving teaching practices.