Our teaching methodologies are designed to be focused on the learning styles of and the learning goals for our students. We aim to have students involved in all aspects and stages of the learning cycle and process, from planning and initiating projects, choosing ways to express their ideas and discoveries, to being part of the assessment process. Students are actively involved in goal setting for their next steps in learning.
We use inquiry based learning to ensure our students are actively engaged, and explorers of the curriculum we design for them. Students work through the inquiry process of discovery, investigation and then creation of new thinking and understanding. These are evidenced in our projects.
We promote active learning so students work on a variety of different projects and learn new tools and techniques for representing what they learn.
We connect learning across traditional subject areas through key concepts and use this to focus on the world around us and our place in it. This way learning has a relevant and meaningful impact on students.
Our day is organised to reflect the need for both a focus on specific skills in each subject area and the need to apply and use them in a context that connects to the real world.
We are committed to ensuring students have a high level learning in language and literacy and Mathematical understanding, as these are the gateway skills that allow students to improve in their learning and understanding of all curriculum subjects.
High Quality Learning
Our BSI school has a definition of high quality learning that states:
“Students can articulate their learning journey, accurately reflect upon their progress within an engaging enrichment programme, and successfully manage, synthesise and interpret new concepts at a high standard.”
In our STEAM school, we see this in action and celebrate it with our community at the end of each learning unit. These Celebrations of Learning take on different forms, they are shows, exhibitions, bazaars, student led conferences. Not only do these celebrations share the learning with other community members, they unite us in the learning too.
Based on a growth mindset we are base our student profile on statements of “I succeed”
Assessment at our STEAM school focuses on 3 main purposes related to learning, we assess for success, we assess to measure success and we assess as a form of learning.
Assess for success
This is an ongoing assessment that requires teachers and students to be constantly referring to their learning goals and moving on through the continuum of learning objectives. It keeps students and teachers fully informed and aware of progress being made and how to keep this going. These assessments are usually done in class as part of the regular activities, they may be carried out in various different forms, including verbally, as a pop up quiz or through diagrams and written work.
Assessment to measure success
This is a more formal assessment in which a specific assessment has been designed to indicate how well each student is progressing in an area of the curriculum and learning.
This may be our writing and reading samples which we collect 3 times a year and use the data from this to guide our learning program for the year group as well as hone in on specific areas for each child. We also use CEM tests school wide at the beginning and the end of the year to help us measure the cognitive development and learning of each student. This data is used to help ensure our programme is apt for each age group and students have access and opportunity to reach their own individual potential.
At a more immediate level, our students complete a weekly review of the main learning objectives.
Assessment as a form of learning
These are our projects, where the project is designed to showcase success and learning and is carried out over a period of time. The assessment here relates as much to the process of learning and habits of learning, as it does to the content of what is being taught.
Students are encouraged to be reflective as part of their learning process. With this in mind they are given opportunities to self assess their own progress and learning.
Students are given the opportunity to work collaboratively with their peers on tasks and this includes giving feedback to each other on the work in progress and the work completed. This is a guided process as students learn to share opinions and critique kindly and purposefully. They also learn how to receive feedback constructively.
Assessment criteria are established for all major tasks in the form of rubrics. These are shared with the students at the beginning of each unit of study and they are reviewed with students throughout the unit. Through this students are guided on how to improve and to be successful.
Assessment data regarding student learning is shared systematically with parents at the end of each term when students are issued with report cards and parent teacher conferences are held.
In addition to this parents can access our Learning Ladders database for their child and see how they are progressing on a weekly basis.
Student and Teacher interviews
We have various ways of sharing information on student learning with our parents.
Student Led conferences
Students are very knowledgeable about their own learning and this is shared with parents through our Student Led Conferences.
In this conference time the student’s share their portfolio of learning and explain to their parents what they have achieved, what they want to do next and how they will do it.