Top marks for new-school learning techniques
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.”