PARENT SESSION re 2016 LEARNING APPROACHES
Thank you to everyone who attended today's Parent Session. Understandably not everyone could make it, so the key points are outlined here.
Today the Parent Session outlined a change in direction in regards to Teaching and Learning at Waitaki Valley. Our Modern Learning Environment means that we are often the envy of other teachers, students and families, when they view it. It is a great place to work, teach and learn in.
The focus of the Modern Learning Environments is two-fold though. Creating the building or 'space' does not mean that modern teaching methods are automatically set in place. In fact it can be very easy to continue to teach in 'traditional' ways, in a Modern Learning environment. Add in a few devices and people think we are teaching in a 21st Century School!
The reality is not so clear cut. Learning today requires children to be more collaborative, to have ownership of their learning, to be aware of how they best learn, and to take greater responsibility for their learning. These do not 'just happen' and they certainly don't happen overnight. They are skills and qualities that need to be taught, reinforced and revisited constantly. They are difficult, if not impossible to teach in a classroom where the teacher is at the front sharing the knowledge that they have, and the students sit quietly and work hard to filter what they think is important and what's not (even if it is done subconsciously).
Next year we will operate in our school with two 'hubs' - a Junior (Yr 1-4) Hub and a Senior (Yr 5-8) Hub. Children will have 'home' based rooms, however the collective responsibility of teaching will be shared amongst 3 teachers in the Juniors and 2 teachers in the Seniors. This has many pros to it, enabling children to benefit from the collective strengths of more than just one teacher as they would in a 'traditional' setting. It means that children can be grouped according to needs, interests, student or teacher direction, with greater flexibility.
Modern learning environments require 'Innovative Teaching Approaches'. Teachers have been involved in Professional Development this term, in order to prepare for this change, and will continue to do so for quite some time. Teachers will be continually reflecting and evaluating the change, 'tweaking' the system as required. This is nothing new. Teachers are always evaluating themselves and their programmes. This will be no different, except that there will be greater discussions, planning and intentional decisions made, based on a variety of aspects, not just on the age of the child/ren.
Specialist programmes (skiing, technology, Rural School's days etc) will continue for the Yr 7 & 8 students. When relevant, specific programmes (such as Life Ed, Keeping Ourselves Safe, Changes at Puberty etc) will be targeted to the year group that these programmes best fit.
Below is a video I shared with parents today: