Learning is our core business at St Clare’s College and we pride ourselves on measuring the impact that our teachers have in the classroom and creating learning opportunities for our young women to achieve their full potential.

One key area to continue our focus on developing positive student learning outcomes has been by introducing a professional learning classroom observation program called Educator Impact for our staff with a focus on student learning.

Our evaluation of the 2018 AST results, combined with teaching and learning conversations with teaching staff and students has highlighted four key principles in effective instruction that we wish to ensure becomes the foundation of our best practice for every student, every classroom,

Learning Intentions: Research demonstrates that teachers who are clear about what they want their students to learn as a result of each lesson have a greater impact on their students’ results. Learning intentions describe what it is we want students to learn in terms of skills, knowledge, attitudes, and values within a particular lesson. Well written learning goals will always explain what the students need to understand and what they must be able to do by the end of a lesson.

Explicit Teaching: Explicit Teaching is an instructional strategy used by our teachers to meet the needs of their students and engage them in clearly articulated teaching and learning. This includes sequencing teaching to focus on the steps that lead to new knowledge, deeper understandings and increasingly sophisticated skill, varying instruction in response to immediate or real time feedback and asking questions to monitor understanding and progress.

A Culture of Thinking: Ron Ritchhart’s Eight Cultural Forces to Develop Thinking consist of language, time, environment, opportunities, routines, modelling, interactions and expectations. Our teaching staff are striving to create cultures of thinking in our classrooms by using a variety of methods including making their own thinking more visible.

Strong Teacher-Student Relationships: Teacher-Student relationships shape the way our students think and act in school and in the classroom. Good relationships lead to students feeling more positive about learning, classwork and school in general. A strong Teacher-Student relationship also fosters risk taking in learning and mistakes and a growth mindset for learning.

This is not new or revolutionary information about teaching and learning, however, it does highlight fundamental concepts and skills necessary for keeping a focus on learning and helps us to begin to build a shared language and understanding with colleagues about what learning looks, feels and sounds like in our context. By providing our academic staff with ongoing professional learning opportunities to develop these core principles, we aim to encourage a culture of classroom observation to enhance the quality teaching and learning that is happening at
St Clare’s College.

Best Wishes
Brad Cooney