Evidence of Learning
There is no greater privilege than being able to see learning occur and I am blessed to be in a position to observe this – in formal, informal and incidental ways throughout the College day. Learning should be visible in a tangible sense in the classroom. As I have visited learning environments this year, either through planned observations or unplanned drop ins, I have been pleased to see engagement and productivity. I am even more pleased to see that learning presents a unique appearance depending upon the subject discipline, the particular knowledge, understanding or skill that is being taught and upon the purpose of the task at hand. Our students are fortunate to be offered a varied and quality diet of learning on a daily basis.
So where is this evidence of learning? It’s all around us on the campus – whether students are engaged in the classroom, the outdoor seating areas, the ovals or the library. Thus far this term, I have observed many of our students engaged in meaningful work that has challenged and stretched them. Just this week, for example, Year 10 English students have been demonstrating their learning about poetry written by Jewish writers during the Holocaust. While this work certainly fulfils the necessary criteria of the Australian Curriculum, students also demonstrated empathy, awareness of historical context and a particular pride in their own unique learning journey that was powerful to observe.
There is no doubt that relationships form a significant part in the success of learning for students. Sir John Hattie identifies the important impact of teachers in the effectiveness of learning and recognises that it is not just the knowledge and skills of a teacher that are of value. Teachers have impact when students know what they care about. It is apparent that our teachers care a great deal about our students. Evidence of this can be particularly seen in the interactions between Year 12 teachers and students where the matter of learning is co-created and pursued with vigour.
Another pleasing aspect of learning at the College is the personal nature of student endeavours. I have enjoyed the innovative ideas that students demonstrate when given choice. A prime example of this is the Year 11 Business and Enterprise class that has been exploring small business endeavours. In this year’s Shark Tank, students were asked to pitch their ideas and products to a panel. What impressed me most about this opportunity for entrepreneurship was the passion and drive of students who, in some cases, had given up hours of their own time to research, create, trial and perfect their business ideas – often having to overcome obstacles and failures on the way.
We are fortunate to have a wealth of experience and expertise in the form of our teaching and support staff here at Tatachilla Lutheran College who acknowledge that they too are learners. Many staff continue to study in specialised areas in order to maintain, enhance and develop knowledge and skills in teaching. Staff expertise is recognised outside of the College with teachers involved in the development of curriculum, marking and moderation for SACE. Just this week Ms Stacey Moros has been acknowledged by the History Teachers’ Association of South Australia as Teacher of the Year for 2017.
We have a great deal to be proud of regarding teaching and learning and we have a great basis upon which to continue to improve. I look forward to our continued learning journey together!
Mrs Marylyn Marshall
HEAD OF SENIOR SCHOOL