Developing Successful Learners

Developing Successful Learners

As we near the conclusion of Term 2 there is much to report on in the teaching and learning space as we continue to innovate and redefine our academic programs embedding our Teaching and Learning Framework across all subject areas. 

Developing successful learners

St Catherine’s School Senior Years Learning Academic Care

I often focus on St Catherine’s character dispositions – Bold, Independent, Resilient, and Creative during my presentations. For me, these are not just words that you state and define, they must be visible in the programs and curriculum. As a school our academic programs must deliver on creating learning pathways that develop in students all these dispositions, for school and post-school pathways. 

I am proud of the work we have done and the commitment of our Middle Leaders and teachers to enact change and create programs that engage students with rigor and positive outcomes which we review and evaluate consistently. I am always looking at how we can continue to engage and develop our academic care model for the benefit of all our students’ personalised learning pathways. 

New Learning Behaviours 

There has been ongoing work implementing strategies and programs that align with our Towards 2025 Strategic Plan. I am pleased to share that our new Learning Behaviours have been implemented across all Year levels and will be part of the Semester 1 reporting process. I have presented to all students and teachers how these learning behaviours align to our learner competencies and are written to clearly show students the key skills they need to develop.  

Whether they are Emerging, Developing, Establishing, Proficient or Accomplished, the students now understand that their learning is progressive and the acquisition of self-efficacy, agency, and inquiry (just to name a few), is directly aligned to their thinking. Our students can see that their achievements are not only measured by a grade, but importantly, the development of skills and a mindset around how they learn, and more importantly, think.  

Learning Partnerships 

In all that we do our teachers work in partnership with our learners to create personalised pathways. Wellbeing, academic and careers teachers work together to support our learners and it is this feature that makes St Catherine’s so unique.  

This term we have been focused on GAT (General Achievement Test) conversations with our Year 12 students leading into their Practice GAT. Discussions on careers with our Year 10s through Morrisby and presentations have commenced on subject selection and VCE acceleration for Years 9, 10 and 11 students. The consistent academic care model is applied across all Year levels and is one that I reference constantly with the Middle Leaders.  

The Years 7 and 8 Honours program has provided a pathway for accelerating students in specific subject areas. In Mathematics girls work on the Maths Enrichment Series which is run by the Australian Maths Trust. In Humanities the focus is on the inextricable connection between historical events and politics – investigating and comparing six different global political systems and how they have been shaped and formed by history. In English, the focus is on creative writing with a view of building towards the Write a Book in a Day collaborative project. In Science the focus is on developing scientific thinkers who can raise questions and solve problems. 

Year 9 Signature Program – Critical Conversations Program 

The Year 9 Harkness-inspired Critical Conversations Program has become a key feature of our Year 9 Signature program. This offering allows students to develop their thinking skills through developing curiosity in asking questions, solving problems independently, academic risk taking and developing persistence even when they are unsure. The learning model is unique and allows the students to lead the critical conversations in small classes with the teacher acting as an observer. I am excited about the deep-thinking taking place in these classrooms and the inquiry approach to learning that embodies our character dispositions. 

Recognition for our Learning Innovations 

It is wonderful to be recognised for our learning innovations and it is with considerable pride that I let you know we have been nominated in the Australian Educator Awards for an excellence award in the category of Innovation in Learning Environment Design 

This is for our Senior Years Learning Model, specifically the introduction of the Independent Learning Tutorials in Years 10 and 11 in 2021. There were hundreds of nominations across Australia, and we have been shortlisted with five other schools.  

The introduction of our hybrid learning model at Years 10 and 11 is another unique and innovative approach to learning at St Catherine’s. This model again demonstrates that like our learners, we are prepared to take a risk and be bold, independent, creative, and resilient. 

I take this opportunity to wish you all a safe and restful holiday period and I look forward to seeing you all next term. 

Mrs Ceri Lloyd

Director of Teaching and Learning

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