This academic year we have identified three Whole School Learning Goals. The goals provide a common focus for school improvement and development. They enable teachers across the school to have connected conversations about learning and teaching at Stonehill. Our Whole School Learning Goals this year are as follows:
This year, we have introduced a teacher technology competence checklist to ensure that our teachers continue to focus on developing their IT skills. Many teachers have aligned their personal, professional goals with this whole school goal. To support our teachers, we have a dedicated full-time, Whole School Technology Coordinator and a PYP Technology Integration Teacher. The training and support that we provide for teachers this year will also include attendance at this year’s Google India Summit hosted at Stonehill between 16th-18th November. Throughout the year, teachers will also be engaged in ongoing, professional development that will enable them to identify ways that they can enhance and redefine learning with technology.
We strive to provide an inclusive, compassionate and caring learning environment at Stonehill. We believe that inclusion is important and that diversity enriches. As an inclusive school, we also recognise that differentiation is critical if we are to ensure the right levels of challenge, enrichment and support for our students. Important components of effective differentiation include:
- knowing the students (and ourselves as teachers)
- knowing the curriculum
- developing a broad, researched-based repertoire of instructional strategies.
(Powell & Kusuma-Powell. 2013)
This whole-school goal will remain a focus throughout the year. To support this area of focus, we have hired an educational consultant, from Dragonfly Training in the UK, who will be leading our professional development day on Monday 22nd November.
Communities of practice (CoPs) are groups of people who share a concern or a passion for something they do, and learn how to do it better as they interact regularly. It is through the process of sharing information and experiences with the group that members learn from each other, and have an opportunity to develop personally and professionally. They develop a shared repertoire of resources: experiences, stories, tools, ways of addressing recurring problems—in short a shared practice. (McDermott, Snyder & Wenger. 2002).
This academic year, teachers at Stonehill have selected an area of personal, professional interest and have formed Communities of Practice which will meet regularly throughout the year. The groups will work collaboratively to research their chosen topic, share information and learn together. At the end of the academic year, teachers will present their findings to their colleagues. Each CoP has developed a statement of inquiry – a conceptual understanding that will frame the inquiry and direct purposeful learning. The groups have chosen the following as areas for focus this year:
Stonehill Communities of Practice – Statements of Inquiry
- Differentiated instruction caters to the varied needs of learners.
- Learning environments are flexible, inclusive and are indicative of host culture.
- There are many pathways to the learning outcome/goal and through differentiation of teaching and learning we can meet the needs of all students.
- Taking technology in the classroom beyond Google Apps can increase student engagement and teaching efficiency.
- The relationship between technology and language can enhance learning through communication, differentiation and community practice.
- Learners are special and unique and catering to ‘Learning for all through differentiation is the key’.
- Developing competency in the effective and consistent use of technology in our daily classroom practices can enhance learning.
- Learning communities benefit when the role of the performing arts is valued, developed and promoted across the school, both in specific subject areas and the wider environment.
- Technology can enhance skills-based learning.
- Making learning accessible to students with a range of abilities provides opportunities for all students to succeed.
- Mastering new technology helps us to to meet the various requirement of individual’s needs in education and can further support us to engage students in their learning.
- Agency is the power to take meaningful and intentional action.
- Technology can be a point of access to the arts for students of all ages, abilities and backgrounds.
- Extended, class-embedded coaching helps teachers improve their practice and improves holistic learning for students.
We are committed life-long learners at Stonehill. We hope that our focused Whole-School Learning Goals, our Communities of Practice and the professional development training that we provide for our teachers means that we continue to be a learning-focused school, with educators who consistently reflect on the ways that we can improve the learning experience for the students in our care.