Learning at PCS – Term 1, Week 1
It is my privilege and delight to be sharing with you about Learning at PCS. We will be communicating with you each week from various teaching areas across our school, and my focus is outlining our philosophy and priorities for learning under our transition to being One School, a Whole School, Our School. The purpose of this edition is to give insight to the basic premises underpinning this approach.
During our January Conference Days, the teaching team co-created a united strategy for developing new cultural norms (or ways of being) for working with students to support us to collectively Strive for the Highest. We are working on being above the line and classes from K-12 have discussed how they can show up in ways that will help them stay above the line in many contexts – classroom, playground, individually and in our treatment of others.
The Living Bible translation of Colossians 3:10 says ‘You are living a brand new kind of life that is continually learning more and more of what is right, and trying constantly to be more and more like Christ who created this new life within you.’ Our united approach to helping our children shape their character to be more Christ-like is fundamental to good life and good learning. Common language and consistency across the school with our above the line approach will help us in this way as we have the ultimate example of being above the line in Jesus.
Our team have indicated how helpful this has been already in creating environments where all involved are clear about what is important to support positive relationships and conditions for learning. Indeed, above the line behaviours are those that even we as adults strive to achieve, and often reference when gauging the actions of others.
Abraham Maslow’s hierarchy of human needs, a theory in psychology, says that our basic human needs of shelter, safety, love and belonging must be met before any of us are able to develop esteem and ultimately, self-actualisation, our ability to be fulfilled and reach our potential.
What has always made Our PCS special is our teams’ commitment to establishing safe places and ensuring children feel loved and that they belong. Additionally, teachers will be explicitly emphasising and embedding with greater focus lesson activities designed to build capabilities such as character, citizenship, critical and creative thinking, collaboration, and communication, to support students in actively attending to and developing them. Whilst these goals have always existed, greater focus will assist children in recognising how they are improving these, to enable them to build esteem and confidence as learners and for life.
Australian Academic, Dr Andrew Martin, has researched student motivation and engagement with some interesting findings. These included that student motivation was highly variable, depending on what students were doing and the environment that they were in, and that the time of day has less bearing on engagement. Further, he found that a sense of success, or efficacy, was significant in supporting student motivation to engage with learning, as was a need to have opportunities to learn with others. Dr Martin’s research also aligns with eminent research of eminent Australian Educator John Hattie, and his work on evidenced based teaching and learning, providing experiences where students can reach their personal best, by supporting them to know where they are now, where they are going, and how they are going to get there is a key focus. Our team are helping students go for green or go for gold by clearly and explicitly setting out what success in learning looks like for both the work product and observable student behaviours, as well as ensuring there are elements of lessons where all students can feel success.
It has been a wonderful encouragement to visit classrooms across the school over the past two weeks and observe the learning in action. Our students should be so proud of the way they have shown up so far this year and I look forward to sharing more specific details about what is occurring in classrooms soon.
Head of Learning and Teaching