If schools are to remain relevant and centres of academic excellence that prepare young people to meet the challenges of a complex, dynamic world then pedagogical practice needs to adapt to become more innovative (The Australian Institute for Teaching and School Leadership (AITSL), 2012).
Knox Grammar School
At Knox Grammar School, we are committed to advancing the pedagogical practice of all our staff in a supportive and collaborative learning environment enabling them to flourish as professionals for the benefit of our students.
To achieve this aim, we have invested in an innovative approach to professional learning across our three campuses that has fostered a transparent, collaborative and supportive culture where teacher observations, action research projects and celebrating mastery are integral to what we do as educators.
A hallmark of the approach adopted has been the formation of Learning and Research teams that are allocated time to plan and work together collaboratively to make a difference to teaching and learning. The teams are supported to share the evidence, resources and strategies in the pursuit of the shared goal of improving student learning outcomes.
What is significant about the work of the collaborative teams is that the teachers are drawing upon the power of collective wisdom. They are focusing together on being strategic and targeted, and ensuring that all approaches implemented are evidence based. They are evaluating the impact of their intervention strategies, and inviting their students to share their perceptions of what is happening in the classroom.
We have established the Research Institute of Innovation and Professional Learning (RiiPL) that is developing partnerships with schools across Australia. Teachers from our partner schools have attended our endorsed professional learning, offered shadowing of school leaders to our aspiring senior leaders and worked collaboratively between faculties, such as PDHPE.
A key feature of RiiPL is a partnership with the University of Newcastle. The school has a number of teaching staff undertaking a Master’s degree in Philosophy or a Doctorate of Philosophy. Additionally, the University provides support in up-skilling staff in the use of data analytics. We hope to provide for the university a site of inquiry where research can be undertaken and utilised in broader educational papers.
We believe, like Hattie (2009), that “greatest influence on student progression in learning is having highly expert, inspired and passionate teachers and school leaders working together to maximise the effect of their teaching on all students in their care."
By investing in programs to improve and enhance our teachers’ practice, we are ensuring each student has the opportunity to thrive and reach their academic potential.
For more information, please contact Karen Yager, Deputy Headmaster of Student and Teacher Excellence K-12, via email.
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