We know that good teaching happens when children are engaged in their work, know what they are learning about, and know how to learn. Quality learning is more likely to follow if we see ourselves as learners and if we work to develop a culture of students and teachers learning together.
We have high expectations for all and we also teach to the abilities of the children ie (personalised learning).
Some key factors in this are:
•Knowing the child well.
•Knowing what the child’s prior knowledge is.
•Knowing what motivates the child’s desire to learn.
•Knowing the child’s parents or caregivers and liaising closely with them.
Quality teaching occurs as a result of what teachers know, can do and care about. If we use information about pupils’ needs to guide our professional development and reflect on the effectiveness of our teaching, we will continually become better teachers with high levels of self motivation.
At Whenuakite School we find that children learn best when they have a positive relationship with their teacher, when the classroom environment is effectively managed, well resourced and organised, learning is fun and challenging, the classroom culture is safe and calm and where everyone has a sense of ownership and belonging. Developing and maintaining this type of class and school culture is a daily activity, where the key competencies are central.
Most children take time to learn new things and often the learning will only happen effectively when the children are ready to learn. If children are given opportunity to learn by observing, listening, reading, doing, as well as sharing with others and teaching others, they will experience greater success. From when children first begin school they need to learn about how their brain learns and how they can use this understanding to become better learners. If they learn to reflect on their learning they will know that some things (particularly in literacy and numeracy) can take a long time and a lot of effort to be learnt and some things need to be reviewed regularly so that the learning becomes permanent or deeper.
The greater the creative opportunities that children have to:
•make and create their own meaning,
•use their imagination,
•to delight in their curiosity and senses,
•to develop aesthetic awareness
…………. the greater the probability that they will develop into successful learners for life.
Using learning intentions and success criteria to help clarify clearly what is being learnt, what success looks like and what the next learning steps are, is really useful for teachers and children .We do need to be mindful that children’s learning does not always (some say never) develop in steps, with the implication that the next step is up. Children’s learning can range from absolute confusion to flashing insight. Children learn in delightfully bewildering combinations of speed and direction. They move in ways and for reasons beyond our ability to understand. (K.Smythe)
Essentially, our learning programmes are child centred, and our aim is to make learning fun, relevant, interesting and challenging. Children are expected to do their personal best but in their areas of strength, every child should also have opportunities to aspire to excellence.
Our aim for Whenuakite children is for children to be confident users of literacy and mathematics, confident thinkers, able to self manage, relate to others successfully, have a sense of belonging and a desire to participate and contribute.