Student Engagement in Learning

The teachers at St Catherine’s Junior School, Barbreck aim for girls to see themselves as successful learners.

But what are the characteristics and classroom behaviours of successful learners? And importantly, how do teachers assist this journey in the classroom? Designing a learning environment that is considered safe and ensures the learning is visible encourages girls to think about their role in the process of the learning journey.

A safe learning environment ensures girls feel able to take risks with their learning, where the opportunity to make mistakes is welcomed and the environment for learning is respected by all. The old adage ‘we learn more from our mistakes’ is very true. Girls are encouraged to explore, to be curious and to try new things.

As students transition through the Junior School year levels, the opportunity to study more complex investigations requires a curious mind to pose questions and respond by researching answers. Encouraging girls, to explore for answers to questions without always being provided the answer immediately, makes for a better learner, one who can think more deeply, consider more carefully and make decisions based on sound, researched information.

Visible learning in the classroom is evident when students understand what they need to know, understand and be able to do; this is commonly referred to as the Success Criteria. A teacher who ensures clarity and encourages students to clearly articulate what it is they are learning and the standard to which they need to demonstrate are great examples of Visible Learning. As such, a Barbreck teacher will also ensure clarity is provided at the beginning of each lesson with an explanation of the Learning Intention and what success will look like for the girls.

Encouraging girls to see themselves as a learner supports their understanding of self and how they can optimise their learning. As teachers, we encourage such behaviours that are effective for successful learners, thus aiding students to be purposeful and engaged in the learning process. In our Barbreck environment, students are encouraged to ask questions, seek clarity when confused, attempt tasks before seeking assistance, articulate what they need to succeed, know they can improve, and appreciate feedback as assistance to improving.

The Barbreck personalised approach to student learning ensures the best academic care that supports each student at their own level, provides guidance and a learning framework to enable progress.  We hope to always nurtures their curiosity so they can confidently participate, explore, investigate and solve – all of which make for successful lifelong learners.

Ms Karen McArdle

Head of Junior School

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