At ISC we are committed to improving student learning outcomes through research based teaching practices. Many of the teaching strategies that our teachers have focused on implementing have been recommended by internationally recognised educational research expert, John Hattie. Hattie’s research has found that what teachers know, do, and care about counts for 30% of the variance in student achievement.
Who is John Hattie?
John Hattie is an educational researcher at Melbourne Graduate School of Education.
“Professor Hattie's work is internationally acclaimed. His influential 2008 book, ‘Visible Learning: A synthesis of over 800 Meta-Analyses Relating to Achievement’, is believed to be the world’s largest evidence-based study into the factors which improve student learning.
Involving more than 80 million students from around the world and bringing together 50,000 smaller studies, the study found positive teacher-student interaction is the most important factor in effective teaching.”
As Hattie has noted, excellent teaching is the single most powerful influence on student achievement.
AT ISC our teachers have adopted an Effective Teaching Model that supports excellent instructional quality. An effective lesson structure involves: learning intention(s), mini-lesson, guided and independent practice, student reflection, formative assessment and homework.
A learning intention is a statement that specifically describes what students will learn after a lesson or series of lessons. Learning intentions tell students what they are going to learn and why they are going to learn it. Research shows that well-constructed learning intentions give students: more focus; more connection; more responsibility for their learning; more motivation; more involvement; and more ownership of their learning.
Success criteria are statements describing the extent to which a student has met the learning intention. Success criteria help students to: have a clear picture about how they will be assessed; become independent thinkers and create confidence. Success criteria help teachers and students to provide accurate and useful feedback. Success criteria are written in student friendly language to help students engage and understand.
Our teachers are expected to provide students with regular and timely feedback. This feedback can be written or verbal but more importantly, focused on technical instructional that helps our students improve. Positive encouragement is a healthy motivational tool but the evidence suggests that technical instruction given in a timely fashion is a more powerful tool for improving student achievement.
Personal Learning Goals
At ISC we expect all of our teachers to set our students realistic and achievable learning goals. We also have a commitment to improving literacy and numeracy across the school and to support this, our Maths and English teachers set Personal Learning Goals (PLGs) for each student which are regularly reflected on. These PLG’s go home in the student report at the end of each semester. The purpose of these PLGs is to help students to identify specific areas of weakness which can then be targeted in a bid to improve achievement outcomes.
At ISC our teachers work in teams inside their subject areas to moderate student work samples, assessment tasks and unit plans. We believe that our students deserve to be treated equally by all staff and so by moderating student work and using standardised assessment rubrics we are striving to achieve greater consistency and accuracy of our teacher judgements across the school.
Use of data
Our teachers regularly use student data to plan for and assess student learning. A range of data types are used and all teachers have participated in professional development sessions on how to use NAPLAN data to differentiate student learning. The NAPLAN Data Analyser can help teachers to detect gaps in student learning and trends in class achievement within the bounds of the NAPLAN Tests and can be a valuable tool to assist teachers to individualise student learning programs.
POLT Data (Principles of Learning and Teaching)-Giving our students voice
All ISC teachers are expected to regularly participate in a POLT survey, where students are asked to consider the teaching program they experience. Teachers are encouraged to closely analyse this data with a view to improving their teaching practice. The outcomes of this student survey then form the basis of part of each teacher’s annual professional review.
To ensure that our teacher’s professional learning is being transferred into the classroom, our Leading Teachers, Assistant Principal and Principal undertake regular walkthroughs of lessons to ensure that the benefits of new teaching strategies are being passed on to our students. One of our staff core values is accountability and walkthroughs are one way that we maintain a level of accountability for the professional development of our staff.
A second method of accountability for the transfer of professional learning into the classrooms is peer observations. Once per term our teachers pair up with each other to develop a particular area of their teaching (related to our College goals and PD focus). We use a coaching format which was developed by the TOTAL Coaching Team in 2008 where teachers: set a focus; explore what good teaching looks like; have an observer come in to their class and collect data; reflect on the results; and set a new focus.
Catering for different learning styles and higher order thinking
At ISC we understand that some students have preferred learning styles and that one way we can engage students more in the learning is by altering tasks to cater for their preferred learning styles. At ISC our teachers actively plan for different levels of thinking in the classroom