Top marks for new-school learn­ing tech­niques

The Sunday Mail (Queensland) - - REGIONS CHALK UP A WIN - LAU­REN MARTYN-JONES

THE tra­di­tional class­room no longer ex­ists at Good Shep­herd Catholic Pri­mary School in Spring­field Lakes, Ip­swich, west of Bris­bane.

In­stead the six-year-old school, which is mak­ing jaw­drop­ping gains in lit­er­acy and nu­mer­acy lev­els, has cre­ated a thor­oughly 21st cen­tury learn­ing en­vi­ron­ment.

Un­der the di­rec­tion of prin­ci­pal Ju­dith Seery, Good Shep­herd has cre­ated a se­ries of “fluid learn­ing ar­eas” and stu­dents as young as four and five move be­tween th­ese zones through­out the day.

All chil­dren at the school have iPads and ot­tomans, bean­bags and stand-up desks are used in­stead of tra­di­tional learn­ing spa­ces.

It is a school al­ready putting into prac­tice many of the rad­i­cal learn­ing ideas con­tained in David Gon­ski’s lat­est re­port on driv­ing stu­dent im­prove­ment, in­clud­ing pri­ori­tis­ing teach­ing chil­dren how to solve prob­lems, col­lab­o­rate with each other and think crit­i­cally about real-life sit­u­a­tions.

Act­ing Prin­ci­pal James Bradley said teach­ers did not have desks to base them­selves at and year lev­els were not siloed so stu­dents could join dif­fer­ent year-level groups if a teacher de­cided they might ben­e­fit from ac­cel­er­a­tion or re­vi­sion.

“Our par­ents are putting their faith in a mod­ern, 21st cen­tury learn­ing en­vi­ron­ment,” he said.

“You wouldn’t go to a doc­tor who hasn’t up­skilled them­selves since 1990.

“We are 18 years into the 21st cen­tury now and the re­search shows th­ese teach­ing strate­gies work.”

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