5 May, 2023


Lifelong Learners

‘Every classroom channels and shapes student development, not just as knowers of facts but as learners.’ Renowned international educator Guy Claxton talks about how the attitudes and habits shaped at school have a powerful impact on students’ long-term success in life. ‘They are the most important residues of those long years of study’.

It can sometimes be all too easy for teachers and parents to focus on building students’ knowledge and skills – to learn more and to learn better – without always paying attention to the underlying mental habits and mindsets that students need to become more effective learners now and throughout their lives. Claxton emphasises the importance of three ‘layers of learning’ for learners of all ages.

To help students gain knowledge and understanding (the top-layer), teachers need to know the curriculum content well so they can present it engagingly, explain things clearly, pose questions that reveal misunderstandings and enable these to be corrected, and to provide constructive feedback to learning tasks.

At a deeper layer, the development of intellectual skills is needed. This includes equipping learners with all the forms of literacy and expertise that enable them to understand, discuss and use the top-level knowledge and information. A good knowledge of each student’s learning is vital to help each of them to keep achieving personal bests, to be stretched effectively and to be getting feedback about their progress.

At the deepest level, other facets of teaching become important. Learning attitudes are incubated rather than taught or even trained. To build curiosity, resilience, growth mindsets and independence, the learning culture (in classrooms and across the school) needs to be purposefully designed to welcome and strengthen these dispositions (think SOC learner attributes!) The design of learning experiences, assessment methods, the language used, staff-student relationships, physical learning environments are all part of slowly shaping student attitudes from the earliest years onwards.

Of course, in practice these three layers are blended together and constantly interact. We all as educators (and as parents) need to be alert to what is going on at the deepest levels lest we inadvertently teach in a way that keeps students floating on the surface level’

Education Outdoors

Thank you to all parents who were able to join their children at this week’s Early Learning Education Outdoors days.

These programs add another dimension to the learning of students in and through the natural environment. Learning about the environment in itself is one goal of this but it is the personal growth of attributes such as resilience, risk taking, courage, sense of adventure, curiosity, agility and self-regulation, along with broader social skills, that are the real learning.

Parent-Student Teacher Conferences

All families with students in Prep-Year 5 will be invited to a mid-year PST learning progress conference in the week of 22-25 June. This will link directly to the mid-year Student Reports. Further details of the process for booking appointments will be sent to all Prep to year 5 families during May.

Elphin Campus Traffic

Drivers may have noticed the traffic signage changes at the Erina St and Elphin Rd drop-off/pickup zones. These two zones are now restricted parking instead of standing only. This means that a driver can leave the vehicle to sign a student in or out at the classroom or come onto the Campus when dropping or picking up students as long as they adhere to the signed time limit.

Lachie Wright
Head of Junior School