Teach­ers learn new ap­proach

Hills Gazette (Kalamunda) - - BACK TO SCHOOL -

IT might be sum­mer hol­i­days but that didn’t stop a group of ded­i­cated teach­ers and stu­dents from Daw­son Park Pri­mary School head­ing back to the class­room to learn a new ap­proach to teach­ing known as ex­plicit di­rect in­struc­tion.

The unique, hands-on week of pro­fes­sional de­vel­op­ment was funded by the Fog­a­rty Foundation, sup­ported by the Smith Fam­ily and led by Dr Lor­raine Ham­mond, an ex­pert on high im­pact in­struc­tion, from Edith Cowan Univer­sity.

Dr Ham­mond said the ap­proach to teach­ing was in­creas­ingly be­ing adopted by WA pri­mary and sec­ondary schools.

The For­rest­field pri­mary school was se­lected as the host school be­cause it is a high-per­form­ing school whose teach­ers in­clude ex­plicit in­struc­tion.

Dr Ham­mond said the school has achieved out­stand­ing re­sults in re­cent na­tional test­ing.

“The aim of ex­plicit in­struc­tion is to re­duce cog­ni­tive load and trans­fer learn­ing from short to long term mem­ory,” she said.

“Teach­ers break what they are teach­ing into con­cepts and skills and teach these sys­tem­at­i­cally, pro­ceed­ing in small steps and reg­u­larly check­ing for un­der­stand­ing us­ing ques­tion­ing tech­niques and mini-white­boards.

“There is sig­nif­i­cant ev­i­dence to sug­gest this is an ef­fi­cient in­struc­tional model and has proved par­tic­u­larly ef­fec­tive in low SES com­mu­ni­ties, but there is lit­tle op­por­tu­nity for teach­ers to de­velop this prac­tice.”

Ac­cord­ing to Dr Ham­mond the re­search on ef­fec­tive pro­fes­sional learn­ing was clear.

“One-off day-long cour­ses don’t change teach­ers’ prac­tice. This in­ten­sive in­cludes plenty of op­por­tu­ni­ties to en­hance in­struc­tional skills, en­gage with in situ coach­ing in a class­room set­ting and work with other ded­i­cated ed­u­ca­tors who have given up a week of their school hol­i­days to be­come

bet­ter teach­ers.”

Ed­u­ca­tion Min­is­ter Sue Ellery and For­rest­field MLA Stephen Price vis­ited the school to see the ses­sions in ac­tion and talk with stu­dents and teach­ers.

Back, left to right: Teacher and ex­plicit in­struc­tion ex­pert Jared Bus­sell, Annie Fog­a­rty (Fog­a­rty Foundation ex­ec­u­tive) and Dr Lor­raine Ham­mond (pro­gram lead, ECU) with Year 3 and 4 stu­dents from Daw­son PS and Ed­u­ca­tion Min­is­ter Sue Ellery (fore­ground).

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