Teaching and Learning

We are dedicated to creating a learning environment that embraces the diversity of our learners and encourages a passion for life-long learning.

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  • We work to achieve the best possible academic standards for all students so that they achieve strong literacy and mathematics understanding and skills relative to National Standards.
  • We deliver the New Zealand Curriculum and give effect to the partnership that is the core of Aotearoa’s nation-founding document, Te Tiriti o Waitangi.
  • We improve outcomes through teaching instruction, pedagogy, coaching and Inquiry.
  • We use effective Assessment for Learning practices.
  • We budget for professional development that advances staff professional knowledge and skills.
  • We provide a safe, engaging learning-focused environment.
  • We develop personal confidence to excel as independent learners.
  • We undertake regular self-review.P1050432

Learning Areas at St Paul’s School

  • Religious Education
  • English
  • Mathematics and Statistics
  • The Arts
  • Health and Physical Education
  • Science
  • Social Sciences
  • Technology
  • Learning Languages

Assessment for Learning:

The aim of Assessment for Learning is to focus on improving student achievement by improving classroom practice, and ultimately to achieve the school’s vision.

What is ‘Assessment for Learning?’

Royce Sadler describes it as “assessment that is specifically intended to provide feedback on performance to improve and accelerate learning.” 

The critical elements of Assessment for Learning that make a difference to student learning:

  • Developing learning-focussed relationships
  • Having shared clarity with students about what is to be learnt
  • Gathering and using assessment information effectively
  • Prompting students in a way that closes the gap between what they know and what they need to know (giving effective feedback)
  • Teaching students to reflect on their learning
  • Having shared clarity with students about the next steps in their learning.

Assessment for Learning is best understood as an integrated set of strategies and techniques used skilfully by teachers to maximise students’ motivation, engagement and ownership of their learning.  The school’s reference book ‘Clarity in the Classroom Using Formative Assessment by Michael Absolum,’ 2006 is the reference used by all teachers at St Paul’s School. 

As stated in the book these critical elements are described as an integral matrix of six teacher capabilities.

  1. Building Learning-Focussed Relationships
  2. Clarity about what is to be learnt
  3. Assessment Literacy
  4. Promoting Further Learning
  5. Active Reflection
  6. Shared Clarity about next learning

Evidence of AFL will be seen in planning by the use of Learning Intentions, Success Criteria, WALTs and WILFs.  AFL will be used across all curriculum areas.

 

5 questions to check for clarity:

Student What is the teacher doing well?
1.      What are you learning and why? Demonstrating learning intentions
2.      How are you doing? Co-constructing success criteria
3.      How do you know? Giving and getting descriptive feedback
4.      How can you improve? Setting individual goals with students
5.      Where do you go for help? Creating independent, self- regulating learners

 

Student Questions:

What are you learning? 

How do you know if you have been successful?

What are your next steps?

 

The school follows an inquiry model whereby teachers inquire into the impact of the assessment for learning capabilities on student outcomes. 

Instructional strategies are the tools of effective practice.  They are deliberate acts of teaching that focus learning in order to meet a specific purpose.  Instructional strategies are directed towards enabling students to build their expertise – that is, the knowledge, strategies and awareness that they use to communicate, think and learn. 

Deliberate Acts of Teaching – explicitly taught to students as a strategy for learning

  • Modelling
  • Prompting
  • Questioning
  • Giving feedback
  • Telling
  • Explaining
  • Directing

Thinking time is promoted throughout the school, as well as questioning (Bloom’s Taxonomy) and Habits of Mind.  Goal setting skills are explicitly taught throughout the school and are of particular importance at Student Led Conferences. 

Assessment for Learning strategies are integrated with Culturally Responsive Pedagogy, The Learning Process and Key Competencies, and used to promote collecting and using Student Voice.  This drives the learning and shifts the locus of control from the teacher to the students. 

  • Culturally Responsive Pedagogy: Relationship-based Learning Profile
Part 1: Leaders of Learning Create a family-like context for Learning by; 1.      Rejecting deficit explanations for learners’ learning

2.      Caring for and nurturing the learner, including their language and culture

3.      Voicing and demonstrating high expectations 

4.      Ensuring that all learners can learn in a well-managed environment so as to promote learning

5.      Knowing what learners need to learn

Part 2: Leaders of Learning Interact within this family-like context in ways we know promotes learning by; 1.      Drawing on learners’ prior learning

2.      Using Formative assessment: Feedback

3.      Using Formative assessment: Feed-forward

4.      Using Co-construction process

5.      Using Power-sharing strategies

Part 3: Leaders of Learning Monitor learners’ progress and the impact of the processes of learning, by assessing how well those learners for whom they are responsible are able to; 1.      Goals: set goals for their learning

2.      Pedagogy: articulate how they prefer to learn

3.      Institutions: explain how they can best organise learning relationships and Interactions

4.      Leadership: participate in leadership roles and functions that are responsive, proactive and distributed 

5.      Spread: include others in the learning context and interactions

6.      Evidence: provide evidence of how well they are going and what progress they are making

7.      Ownership: take ownership of their own learning