Professional Learning for Teachers (Pt 2)

Monday 02 Sep

Professional learning for teachers that is relevant, collaborative and futures-focused can have a highly positive impact on teacher quality and the engagement and achievement of their students. Every year our teachers participate in an extensive professional learning program that enables them to develop their expertise in key areas of teaching and learning. They set a goal they would like to reach by the end of the year that will improve both their classroom practice and the engagement and achievement of their students.

This year our Year 1 and Year 6 teams have focussed on increasing student engagement through improving the way the Contemporary Competencies are taught, assessed and reported to parents/carers.

Contemporary Competencies are a series of ‘soft skills’ that are explicitly taught to students and assessed through the PBL or Christian Studies success criteria. The purpose of the Contemporary Competencies is to ensure that our students have the essential, contemporary skills that will benefit them across their lifetime, both professionally and personally. The Contemporary Competencies that Year 1 students are focussing on this year are self-direction and service. Year 6 students are focussing on leadership and service.

In previous years, the Contemporary Competencies have been assessed by teachers using the scale of ‘Sometimes, Frequently, Consistently’ and reported to parents via the report card. The Year 1 and Year 6 teams wanted to explore different ways of assessing the Contemporary Competencies and through their research found that students are highly engaged when they reflect on their own development of skills.

The Year 6 teachers worked with their students to design success criteria that the students themselves could use to make judgements about how well they have developed their leadership skills across the semester. The students then used these success criteria to write a reflection of their leadership skills that appeared on their report card. The Year 1 teachers worked with their students to design a series of interview questions that could help their students reflect on the development of self-direction that also appeared on their report card. Teachers from both year levels reported that their students were highly engaged by this process and felt that the self-assessment component improved the students’ ability to self-reflect as well as develop the ‘soft skills’ that were the focus for the semester. It’s great to see our Year 1 and 6 team becoming Contemporary Competency experts.

- Rebecca McConnell, Director of Learning and Innovation