Trends in Education

A subcommittee of the College Board have been considering the area of trends in education. They have read a vast amount of literature from the field, across a range of key aspects and have reflected upon the major themes that emerged and met to discuss our thoughts and consolidate ideas. This documents presents recommendations for the direction of the College in relation to trends in education and the College Learning and Teaching Program for the coming years.

Trends in education are placed within a curriculum landscape involving the development and implementation of an Australian curriculum. Rapid change in terms of the availability and development of technology will be an ongoing opportunity in the pursuit of connecting students to local and global communities and preparing students for the future. The concept of personalised learning will be very important as will the continued development of core knowledge and skills in literacy and numeracy.

The curriculum is surrounded by ongoing dialogue regarding teacher development and teacher performance. This conversation and issue provides the possibility if carefully considered and planned, to develop staff capacity and focus teachers on student learning outcomes.

We recognise and believe that the College needs to promote a spirit of inquiry and innovation within the development of its learning and teaching program and to support this with an equally important planned and purposeful approach to carefully choosing the most beneficial strategies to support the development of student learning outcomes.

We have identified eleven major elements of the direction that we recommend the College should pursue over the next four years.

1. Faith and Religious Education
Firstly we recommend that the College continues to offer a strong and rigorous Religious Education program. Cognitive and affective learning outcomes should be maintained as features of this curriculum.

2. Policy and Reform
The second recommendations are in relation to Policy and Reform. There is going to be many National and State curriculum agendas in the coming years. The Australian Curriculum and AusVELS are going to be further developed and implemented. It is essential that we always remain up to date with these matters. There are certainly additional levels of accountability being placed on schools and we need to meet these requirements.

3. Core Knowledge and Skills
The third area for recommendation is Core Knowledge and Skills. We recommend that the College focus on continuing to help students develop literacy, numeracy and ICT skills. These key skills were clearly identified in the Melbourne Declaration on Educational Goals for Young Australians.

4. Access to and development of ICT skills
Access to and development of ICT skills will be essential features of the curriculum. The Melbourne Declaration also highlighted this need. Students will be required to be provided with opportunities for ICT to resource and enable student learning.

5. Personalised learning
We recommend that the College continues to develop its approach to personalising learning. The expansion of our student profile system on Edumate would enable classroom teachers to have access to the key information they need about students in their class. A differentiated curriculum using the Backwards by Design methods supported by the Student Learning Support Program and Gifted and Talented Program will help to meet individual needs. The learning program should use learning spaces in a flexible manner to cater for individual needs and help to engage students. Flexibility and choice in terms of subjects studied allows students to be more engaged in their studies. We recommend that the College continues to provide options for different pathways for senior students. Students need to be offered support through counselling and guidance.

6. Assessment and Reporting
The work of Hattie and others highlight the strong impact that feedback can have on student learning outcomes. We recommend that the College continues to develop its ongoing progressive feedback to parents and students. This will allow for the monitoring of student achievement in a progressive manner.

7. Teacher Professional Learning
There is clearly a significant focus in education on teacher professional learning. We recommend that the College continues to implement the College Professional Learning Coaching Program which involves reflective practice and teacher feedback as a strategy to improve student learning outcomes. This element requires a change in culture surrounding teacher feedback. This would help to provide a clear focus on student learning outcomes ensuring that professional learning is meaningful. Research indicates that Professional Learning is most effective when it is focussed on the local level using evidence and data. Professional Learning needs to be evidence based. Formal mentoring and certification of teachers are issues that could continue to develop in the coming years.

8. Cross curriculum priorities
A relevant and engaging curriculum will need to address cross curriculum priorities. Firstly the Australian Curriculum priorities of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander history and culture, Asia and Australia’s Engagement with Asia and sustainability should be covered. We also believe that it will be important to link learning and teaching programs to the community locally and globally. We should continue to use the Habits of Mind for affirmation and always maintain high standards of expectation.

9. Languages
We recommend that the College should maintain and enrich its Languages program.

10. Leadership
Our tenth element for future focus is leadership. Several aspects of the literature reviewed highlighted the value in developing the leadership capacity of educational leaders.

11. Teaching methods and pedagogy
The final element that we recommend is teaching methods and pedagogy. The ongoing development of effective contemporary pedagogies will be essential to realising the student learning outcomes that can be achieved at the College. It is important that the pedagogy used reflects how girls learn best. It needs to be evidence based, although innovative. Students need to be empowered to be creators and not only consumers of knowledge. Inquiry based and creative pedagogies together with positive student and teacher relationships and partnerships with parents can enable these outcomes and encourage students to be life long learners.

In conclusion we feel that the College is well positioned to address the elements of trends in education that we have recommended as being the areas of focus for the coming years.

To view Trends in Education Presentation 1, click here.

To view Trends in Education Presentation 2, click here.