Teaching and Learning
"A creative school is a place where everybody wonders why, tries out new things, sees things from each other’s points of view, learns from mistakes, and learns together."– Guy Claxton
The focus on developing learners’ capacity to thrive in tricky situations is valued highly. Teachers explicitly teach learners strategies to get out of "I’m stuck" situations. Being 'stuck' at St Vincent's is celebrated and harnessed as an opportunity to build each individual’s learning capacity.
I am a learner who…
At St Vincent’s, we want our students to own their learning, to develop qualities in order for them to be successful learners and to ensure that they establish transferable skills and competencies that will enable them to face their changing future with confidence. These qualities are known as Learning Dispositions – the language of learning, and refer to the way in which learners engage in and relate to the learning process.
Learning Dispositions affect how students approach learning activities and, potentially, the outcomes of their learning. They help our learners know: How am I going? Where am I going? and Where to next? As a community of learners who proactively advance their learning we pride ourselves in making learning visible to our students.
A Challenging Learning Approach
"The most important attitude that can be formed is that of desire to go on learning." - John Dewey
I Enjoy Challenge
The Challenging Learning Approach, designed by James Nottingham is an instructional approach where hands-on, active learning is centred on the investigation and resolution of real world problems. Some of the defining characteristics of a challenging learning approach at St Vincent’s are:
Learning is driven by challenging, open-ended problems with no one “right” answer
Problems/cases are context specific
Students work as self-directed, active investigators and problem-solvers in small collaborative groups
A key problem is posed “Learning Challenge” and a solution “Success Criteria” is agreed upon and implemented
Teachers adopt the role as facilitators of learning, guiding the learning process and promoting an environment of inquiry
Feedback and previewing is essential.
Rather than having a teacher provide facts and then testing students’ ability to recall these facts via memorisation, a Challenging Learning Approach invites students to apply knowledge to new situations.The benefits of a Challenging Learning approach are:
Development of critical thinking and creative skills
Improvement in problem-solving skills
A desire to collaborate with others
Increased motivation to learn
Students learn to transfer their existing knowledge to new situations
An emphasis on progress so that all students achieve excellent results.
The Challenging Learning approach asks teachers to pose a problem (“The Learning Challenge”), that can be solved by combining many forms of learning in a complex and rich way. It requires resource location, application and creative presentation of information and learning. When students engage with a Learning Challenge they go into what Nottingham describes as the ‘Learning Pit’.
The staff of St Vincent’s look forward to growing a community of learners who proactively advance their learning.