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Learning & Teaching Framework
Our Catholic school communities believe all learners are created in the image of God and viewed as unique individual learners who are supported to achieve their highest potential.
Our schools are committed to providing high quality learning and teaching through the implementation of the Australian Curriculum. Teachers have high expectations of all learners and implement effective evidence-based pedagogy that leads to student growth.
We believe that learning happens best within supportive partnerships in which learners feel valued, connected and engaged in their learning. Schools create an inviting and inclusive learning environment that dignifies all learners.
At St Benedict's Catholic School, traditional and contemporary approaches to learning are used to actively engage our students in the learning process.
Our curriculum program and teaching strategies will incorporate opportunities appropriate to the development needs of each learning stage, including play, hands on experiences, community engagement and opportunities to apply academic knowledge as learning progresses.
Modern facilities and innovative programs provide learning experiences that discern connections between our unique place as human beings in this world and our relationship to our surroundings. To ensure the curriculum comes to life for our students and offers opportunities to connect with learning, St Benedict’s Catholic School immerses students in flexible learning spaces, indoor and outdoor learning and in learning experiences connected to the wider community including excursions and project based learning.
All schools in the Townsville Diocese work from the Learning Areas of the Australian Curriculum to develop classroom learning programs. St Benedict’s Catholic School enacts the Australian Curriculum through maintaining the integrity of individual subjects while also providing opportunities for purposeful connections between learning areas in fun and meaningful ways. Important twenty-first century skills, such as critical thinking, communication, problem-solving, collaboration and creativity are also included across our curriculum, as we endeavour to ensure the curriculum is accessible for all students learners.
St Benedict’s Catholic School has a holistic approach to learning and therefore we prioritise student engagement. We believe students achieve success when they are engaged in meaningful learning experiences, understand and are responsible for their choices and can develop and maintain a sense of wellbeing.
Student Engagement is made up of three core areas at St Benedict’s Catholic School
- Learning and Teaching - utilising the Australian Curriculum expectations to design a school program that is meaningful and responsive to the needs of our students
- Respectful Responsible Relationships - describes how we develop and support appropriate behaviours and relationships across the school community
- Wellbeing - providing a safe supportive environment where students are nurtured with compassion, courage and integrity
We believe that nurturing our students through these areas provides the best opportunity for Student Engagement to be effective.
Flexible Learning Spaces
Flexible Learning spaces provide opportunities for children to move and work in ways that promote engagement in learning. Students have the opportunity to work at desks, in collaborative groups, as a whole class, standing up, laying down, sitting in bean bags etc. Bifold doors and undercover areas outside classrooms provide fabulous opportunities for students to work indoors and outdoors. Learning in different environments and in different ways is the way of the world. Many of us prefer to read a book laying down or stand up to do creative work or work from a desk for writing.
Sounds like a bit of a free for all, do what you like when you like……
Not at all. While our classrooms have flexible furniture than can be moved around easily and children have opportunities to work in different ways, there is still structured learning and there are expectations about how students engage and behave. Students have to consider the Way of Peace which as an acronym draws on their actions to be Persistent, Empathetic, Accountable, Caring for our Community and Engaged in learning.
So how does the teacher know what my child is learning if the children are all over the place?
Within a flexible learning environment, a classroom teacher can actually specifically target the learning for the specific needs of children. In our flexible learning environment, there is a bigger focus on targeted learning in small groups as opposes to lots of whole class teaching. This means that at many times during the day, children will have access to the teacher within a small focussed group usually doing an explicit lesson. Other activities are set up for students to consolidate learning; working independently or collaborating with their peers.
Most research into homework in a primary school setting would suggest that the benefits of homework are simply in communicating to families what is being learnt at school or establishing good routines around study. Homework does not necessarily contribute to improved student learning and can in fact create a negative relationship with learning for some students. We believe we can provide valuable communication for families about student learning in various other forums including Parent Information Nights and class newsletters and we believe that developing the sense of Respectful Responsible Relationships contributes to students being able to become more independent and responsible for their learning.
At St Benedict's, we believe in providing an environment where students can be engaged in learning and work to the best of their ability throughout the day. We believe that our students' 'work day' is complete at the conclusion of the school day and therefore, we do not assign formal or regular homework. We encourage our students to engage in after school activities that bring them joy, inspire their curiosity and or meet their artistic or physical interests. We also encourage our students to enjoy their family time and assist in being a proactive member of the household.