How do staff model a culture of collaboration?
A point of difference between a Living Faith classroom and a traditional classroom is the way in which ‘teaching’ happens. We recognise that the most valuable resource teachers have are each other. Each year level has a team of teachers who work together to create a consistent and collaborative learning environment for all students regardless of their class. Our new buildings are being designed with this in mind, providing spaces that are open to foster a community of learners rather than individual classrooms.
Explicit lessons are generally taught together as a cohort with each teacher specialising and responsible for planning a particular area of the curriculum. This allows more time, depth and energy to be focused on developing engaging and child-centred lessons rather than teachers spreading themselves across all subject areas. Teachers come together to plan and moderate with release time scheduled to allow for more team collaboration. This allows teams to brainstorm and generate more ideas to bounce off each other. As the expression goes, two heads are better than one or in this case three. Teacher teams also conduct prototypes each year, immersing themselves in research to continually improve their practice. This research and the data they collect are then shared among the staff community so that all teacher teams benefit from the research of others. This models a school community of lifelong learning.
Alongside our curriculum, we embed the explicit development of contemporary competencies. These include lifelong soft skills such as resilience, grit, communication, collaboration, systems thinking, problem-solving and leadership. We all know the age-old saying ‘we learn by example’ and it is important for teachers to model and demonstrate these contemporary competencies within the classroom. By creating a collaborative space where the learning of students is a team effort, students get to see these skills in action each and every day.
At a school level, Living Faith has a whole school approach to our philosophies. This means that concepts and programs are taught and further developed as students progress through their schooling with consistency. Our key learning areas such as Daily 5, Mindset Maths, Project-Based Learning (PBL) and Christian Studies are a part of every class from Prep to Year 6. Living Faith has a school-wide shared language and approach to contemporary competencies, a growth mindset and a vision of learning that can only be achieved through the development of a school-wide collaborative culture.
When teachers collaborate, it challenges our thinking and allows us to tap into a wealth of collective ideas and experience. This can only be of benefit to our students.
- Bianca Ravi, Director of Learning