From the Director of Learning, Elizabeth Watson
My article last week talked about the positive impact that parental involvement in their child’s learning has on improving student learning outcomes; research showing that children are more likely to succeed if parents are involved in their learning. Hendersen and Mapp (2002) found that ‘the more families support their children’s learning and educational progress, the more their children tend to do well in school and continue their education.’
There is also clear evidence that purposeful professional learning for teachers is another key factor in improving student learning outcomes. The research asserts that, ‘in order to be effective, teachers need a deep understanding of their subject area, knowledge of how students learn specific subject matter and a range of strategies and practices that support student learning.’ The research also affirms ‘that engaging teachers in high quality professional learning is the most successful way to improve teacher effectiveness and hence improve student outcomes.’ (Greenwald, Hedges & Laine 1995; Guskey & Huberman 1995; Elmore & Burney 1997; Hawley & Valli 1999; Elmore 2002).
The College is committed to providing ongoing professional learning for our staff to ensure they are kept up-to-date with the latest pedagogical research, emerging technologies, new syllabuses and curriculum reforms. Professional learning for 2017 has had a focus on Literacy in Boy’s Education, Data Analysis, Australian Curriculum Programming and HSC reforms.
This week the college hosted the NSW Literacy for Learning Conference. Eight of our staff, along with delegates from other school, participated in the Tutor Training course; an intensive 4-day train-the-trainer program that qualifies participants as licensed tutors who can then deliver the Literacy for Learning course to the rest of our own staff and beyond.
It was a privilege to have Brian Dare as course presenter. Brian is a highly qualified educator and international consultant in language and literacy. He is author to a number of books and educational journal publications as well as writer of curriculum and teaching materials at Primary, Secondary and Tertiary levels. He is currently President of the Australian Systemic Functional Linguistics Association (ASFLA).
Waverley College believes in a whole school approach to supporting and improving Literacy skills across all KLA Curriculums. I would like to thank our dedicated staff who participated in this training course, Stephanie Boyce (TAS), Gemma Brown (Science), Margaret Fitzgerald (Junior School), Cassie Hill (English), David Parnell (Learning Support), Bill Roberts (Library and Literacy), Deanne Seamons (Learning Support) and Adam Wallington (Geography).
Some key outcomes of the Literacy for Learning course include:
- Development of teachers’ understanding of literacy as a capacity for making meaning in schooling contexts
- Development of teachers’ understanding of the need for explicit teaching practices that will build up students’ repertoires of language and visual resources so that they can be successful learners across all learning areas
- Provision of a positive context for teachers to reflect critically and openly on their teaching
- Development of shared understandings about literacy in order to improve the effectiveness of whole-school collaboration in ensuring the literacy development of all students.