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Excellence in Teaching

Mon, 24/05/2021Posted by:

Excellence in teaching doesn’t happen by accident; rather, it comes about as a result of passion, caring about our students, hard work, reflection and staying abreast of current research in best practice. Through the Personal Learning & Success Enterprise, staff at St John’s are actively encouraged to participate in world-leading research, embrace innovative theory in teaching and learning, and take opportunities to be involved in a professional learning community led by world-leading researchers.

Education, like most aspects of life, is constantly changing. What was considered best practice 20 or 30 years ago in many cases is not commonplace and in some instances is no longer acceptable in today’s classrooms. As such, educators need to update and acquire new skills and knowledge.

This year, the College is pleased to announce that we are participating in the prestigious ISQ (Independent Schools Queensland) Teacher Growth and Development Project designed to assist schools in developing Professional Learning Communities which are focused on optimising teacher performance and expertise, both in and out of the classroom. The primary goals of this project are to enhance teacher consistency and to promote the use of High Impact Teaching Strategies (HITS). Learnings from this project will form the basis of our teacher professional development program here at St John’s.

We are also pleased to be involved in a project facilitated by the University of Queensland Science of Learning Research Centre (SLRC). The SLRC was set up and administered in conjunction with Emeritus Professor John Hattie, who is widely regarded internationally as a thought leader in education. This project focuses on student wellbeing. Numerous studies have shown that students do not perform well academically if their wellbeing is at risk. During the project, the College will explore how to embed wellbeing practices in all aspects of College life as well as ensuring that a common language is employed across all year levels.

Fundamental to all educational institutions is the concept of a Teaching and Learning Framework. A Teaching and Learning Framework acts as a philosophical guidebook that explains how teaching is approached and considers the rationale behind why we teach the way we do. It identifies the characteristics of effective teaching and informs teacher action. St John’s is presently developing a bespoke Teaching and Learning Framework that responds to the unique nature of our College and has the Strategic Enterprises Model at its heart.

These three projects dovetail seamlessly to shape the Personal Learning and Success Enterprise at St John’s. The Teacher Growth and Development project and the Wellbeing project both combine to enhance the work that teachers do via the guiding principles of the Teaching and Learning Framework. The end result is improved student outcomes, not only in terms of academic results but more holistically in supporting students to become the best person they can be.

Recently we were advised that St John’s has joined an elite group of 14 schools nationally who will participate in an Australian Council for Educational Research (ACER) project. Research from ACER is recognised and used internationally in numerous educational jurisdictions. This project will investigate evaluating students’ critical and creative thinking skills. The information gathered from this group of schools will play a significant role in shaping education policy in future years.

Moving into the future, St Johns will continue to invest in teacher improvement and development as well as participating in research. The desire is for all staff to continue to be expertly equipped to support each and every student in realising their dreams and to assist them in embracing their future as well-rounded global citizens.

Andrew Landroth
Deputy Principal – Curriculum & Innovation