Learning Design – New Initiatives for 2018
At the recent Australian Heads of Independent Schools Conference, we were very fortunate to hear from Dr Andreas Schleicher, Special Advisor on Education Policy to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD, Paris). In this role he is coordinator of the OECD Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA).
PISA is a triennial international survey which aims to evaluate education systems worldwide by testing the skills and knowledge of 15 year old students. The last PISA assessment in 2015 focused on Science, and the results were released last year. The previous testing on Science was in 2006, a time before iPhones and the explosion of social media. PISA Science testing is about a student’s ability to have a reasonable discourse in Science and technology, assessing competencies such as explaining phenomena, evaluating and designing scientific enquiry, interpreting data and evidence scientifically.
Dr Schleicher highlighted that there was no evidence of progress on previous scores for Australia, even when we consider technological advances. In his explanation of the analysis of these results, Dr Schleicher indicated that the three elements that have been defined for success are rigor, focus and coherence, however there is still a large degree of memorisation in Australian Science classrooms. In the past learning was more about sorting, but now it is about more complex ways of thinking and he indicated that we need to improve the ability of Australian students to solve more complex tasks.
At Camberwell Girls, we have been focusing on teaching and learning improvement across the School, incorporating more opportunities for students to develop their skills in critical thinking, analysis, design and evaluation. We are focused on curriculum design, ensuring that the learning has depth, is rigorous, demonstrates original thinking and where relevant, connects to real world issues.
Director of Learning Design and Development
To lead the continued development of high quality learning programs from the Early Learning Centre through to Year 12, we have created a new senior role at Camberwell Girls – the Director of Learning Design and Development. Our curriculum design and development of programs is informed by global research and we will continue to monitor and evaluate these through initiatives such as the Harvard ‘Leading Learning that Matters’ project.
The Director of Learning Design and Development will ensure that there is a continued focus on the development of rigorous curriculum that will enable girls to demonstrate curiosity, higher order thinking, creativity and courage in their learning as well as the ability to transfer their learning to new contexts.
I am delighted to announce the appointment of Dr Charlotte Forwood to this role from the beginning of 2018. Charlotte is currently the Leader of Advanced Learning at Strathcona Baptist Girls Grammar School and in addition to her Doctor of Philosophy, also holds a Master of Teaching and is a certified practising Speech Pathologist. Charlotte is a highly regarded author and series designer in many publications, is a webinar presenter and also author and presenter of the Independent Schools Victoria Language Consultancy and Middle Years Language Consultancy Programs.
Charlotte’s education-related interests include metacognition, oral language and literacy, vocabulary development, differentiation, embedding technology, online professional learning networks (including Twitter), blended learning, computational thinking, robotics, transdisciplinary learning, gifted education and girls’ education. She is very excited by the Camberwell Girls vision and the development of our programs and is looking forward to working at both Ormiston and Senior School next year. I look forward to introducing her to the School community.
Year 7 and 8 Form Groups
This year our, our newly appointed Deputy Head of Senior School – Student Wellbeing, Kath Woolcock, has undertaken an extensive Wellbeing Review to inform the development of a number of our programs. There is no doubt that connectedness is a key component of student wellbeing and ability to learn and thrive in a school environment. Research indicates that when students feel valued, acknowledged and included, their sense of belonging, engagement and academic achievement improves. Students’ perception that their teachers care about them is also among the strongest predictors of student performance.
We also know that Years 7 and 8 are key transition years for students, so from 2018 we have introduced a model where each of the four Form Groups in Years 7 and 8 will be split into two for their Wellbeing and Pastoral Care programs. Hence there will be 8 Form Teachers across Years 7 and 8. This model aims to create stronger partnerships between teachers, students and their families, where ongoing and proactive communication occurs. In doing so we aim to establish stronger staff/students/parent relationships that will also have the added benefit of more closely monitoring engagement in school activities, monitoring of academic progress and timely follow up of concerns. At Year 7, Form Teachers will also work with students in their life skills classes.
I would like to thank Kath Woolcock for her extensive work in enabling us to provide high quality student wellbeing programs, based on contemporary research and we will share with you further initiatives that will be implemented later in the term.
Congratulations to a CGGS Old Grammarian
Jules Allen (1992) was recently awarded the 2017 Outstanding Alumnus of the Year from Southern Cross University in Lismore.
Jules graduated with a Bachelor of Social Sciences in 2009 from Southern Cross University and is an award-winning youth advocate who has co-hosted the television show ‘Studio 10’, written editorials for the Herald Sun, blogged for parenting websites The Carousel and Kidspot and presented a TED Talk. Jules was also a contestant on MasterChef Australia in 2013.
Jules is an ambassador for Australian children’s services charities Key Assets and Adopt Change, where she works alongside Deborra-Lee Furness and Hugh Jackman. A single mother of four adult children, Jules has also fostered 32 children. For the past twenty years, Jules has worked in youth support, child protection, as a school counsellor and in private practice for young people and families in crisis. Her motto is food, family and service.
Jules credits her achievements to her family and the strong foundations that she built while here at CGGS.
We congratulate Jules on this outstanding achievement and for her dedication and commitment to a life of service.