Our Learning Approach
Our inclusive and differentiated curriculum ensures that all students have the opportunity to progress to their full potential. Differentiated learning is a basis for effective teaching that involves providing students with different ways to learn at a level that challenges each student individually. Differentiated instruction looks at what the student needs to learn at a level they are ready for. This is achieved through ongoing assessment. Our teachers know where each student is at and provide instruction for them to progress and excel.
The Victorian Curriculum is the curriculum that provides prescribed content and achievement standards which schools are required to use to plan student learning programs and assess student progress.
Students vary in gender, culture, language, socioeconomic status, ability, personal interests and more. Teachers plan their curriculum to cater for this diversity in their classrooms through assessment, different strategies, ideas and teaching materials so that all students can learn effectively, regardless of differences in ability.
Differentiation in the classroom can be recognised in a variety of ways:
- carefully monitoring student progress to inform teaching,
- using appropriate assessment
- setting clear individual goals
- providing appropriate focused teaching and learning time selecting appropriate strategies
- providing various opportunities for students to demonstrate their learning
- providing students with opportunities to monitor and track their learning with self-assessment
- organising student groups with like and/or mixed needs
- developing individual learning plans (if required).
MULTI – AGE LEARNING
Multi-age philosophy is based on the belief that multi-aging is the most effective classroom organisational structure for teachers to meet the individual needs of children. Multi-age classrooms differ from composite or combination classes where students in each grade level study a separate curriculum. The use of developmentally appropriate practices is essential to the success of multi-age classroom. Developmentally appropriate practice ensures that every child is learning at his or her own rate. It involves focusing on children as individuals who are growing and developing on a continuum of learning.
What are the advantages of Multi – Aging?
- Multi-age groupings reflect the values and beliefs which are important to our society, including cooperation, tolerance and support.
- Multi-age groupings model family life where children have opportunities to learn from others of different ages.
- Children learn by modelling for others.
- Children are less competitive in a multi-age classroom, the atmosphere is cooperative and collaborative.
- Multi-age classrooms create an environment which enables children to be respected for their individuality.
- In Multi-age classrooms children are encouraged to learn at their own pace.
- Multi-age settings encourage teachers to focus on the individual, and meet each child’s individual needs.
- Multi-age classrooms provide opportunities for extension of children beyond the traditional year expectations.
At Croydon Primary School all of our teachers plan and teach together in pairs to provide every student with the best learning outcomes.
Planning together makes sure staff select the optimum tasks, teaching opportunities and assessments for all of the students at their level. All students are guaranteed the same educational experience and have the opportunity to make bonds with both of their teachers. The teachers observe and learn from each other every day. From Year 3 -6 this also allows all students to have a male and female teacher working together.
There are a number of different formats team teaching can take during the day
*Team teaching. Both teachers plan lessons and work together to teach students. This helps students see the teachers as equals with each other. It also gives students the chance to ask questions and get assistance during a lesson.
*One teaches, one assists and/or observes. Having one teacher actively teaching frees up the other teacher to assist and give individual help as needed. Or the other teacher can observe. For instance, an observing teacher may collect information about how a child responds to different teaching approaches.
*Station teaching. Teachers may be responsible for different parts of the lesson plan. This allows them to play to their teaching strengths. Students are divided into groups and move from one station to the other. Or the teachers rotate from group to group.
*Group teaching. The class is divided into teaching groups. One teacher takes a smaller group allowing for support and extension, while the other teacher “roves” the class, or both teachers take smaller groups allowing for individual attention while other students work independently.
Croydon Primary School is following the “Growth Mindset” research by Carol Dweck. The language we use and the expectations we have can support our students to be the best they possibly can. Our teachers sometimes notice a student is not making enough effort to learn, becoming discouraged by setbacks or perceiving work to be too difficult. One powerful way to intervene is by being careful how you give praise. Offering praise for students’ work and efforts can alter the mindset so that students can begin to view their own intelligence as something that can be developed. This mindset of developing intelligence will increase the students’ ability to ‘bounce back” in the face of academic setbacks and other difficulties. We have high and realistic expectations of all students and they are aware of what they have to do to achieve them.
BUILDING A CAN DO MINDSET
Andrew Fuller builds on the Growth Mindset research. He describes two types of thoughts.
Rex thoughts are the negative ideas that circle around and eat up our confidence and optimism.
Albert thoughts are more positive and helpful.
|EXAMPLES OF REX AND ALBERT THOUGHTS
|I can’t draw well.
|I could learn and improve.
|I can’t play music.
|I could play music if I wanted to but I’m not interested.
|I get stressed in tests and exams.
|Everyone gets a bit stressed and anyway it prepares me to do my best.
|I feel nervous when I go and speak to new people.
|Everyone gets a bit nervous meeting people for the first time and all of my friends now were strangers once.
We have all kinds of thoughts flying through our heads all the time. Some of those thoughts are sheer genius. Other thoughts should be taken out the back and quietly thrown away. Children don’t know this and most of them believe that all their thoughts are true. It takes a while for a child to learn the difference between the thoughts and they tend to believe their thoughts absolutely and also hear criticisms very literally. We are starting to teach our students this from Prep but it may take until they are eight or nine years of age before it really takes hold.
WHAT PARENTS CAN DO
To support the growth mindset of your children and to build on the work we are doing at school you can use the following language