Approaches to LearningInquiry Learning
The Learner Profile
Learning Difficulties and disabilities
Teaching for Effective Learning
Inquiry is an approach to teaching and learning that, in essence, involves students in the investigations of questions/problems/issues of significance. Through inquiry, we seek to develop student's competencies as learners and equip them with a set of transferable skills and dispositions. Inquiry is an active, learner centred methodology which aims to develop deep understanding, not surface coverage.
This inquiry model, based on Kath Murdoch's work links learning across disciplines. Students are engaged in these processes: Engaging, Exploring, Explaining, Elaborating, Evaluating. Staff year level teams develop curriculum maps and associated units of work to provide consistency of programs experienced by students.
Explicit teaching involves:
Research shows that students need to gain a strong foundation of literacy skills, along with oral communication skills, diction and phonemic skills. Our school offers an intensive session in the mornings for our Reception to year 2 classes where we maximise all teachers and support staff in the school to provide a very structured, focused literacy program. Some classes will have 2 or 3 teachers/ support staff working with specific groups. Similar support is provide in numeracy.
When your child graduates from Torrensville Primary they will be: Creative Learners, Confident Learners, Active & Informed Learners, Successful Learners and Individual Learners. The connections between these qualities, our values (respect, harmony & achievement) and our mission statement are explicitly taught to students to ensure a holistic learning experience is balanced with the rigor of academic achievements.
Supporting students with indentified learning needs
At Torrensville we have a primary years district special class, catering for students in years 3 to 7.
At TPS our Learning Support Programs aim to:
- develop each child at a physical, social, emotional and cognitive level
- enhance the confidence and self-esteem of all students, inclusive of all ability levels
- support effective and active engagement and participation in the curriculum
- develop a culture of inclusivity, valuing diversity
- support students in successful and challenging learning experiences.
- maximize the learning potential of all students
The outcomes of the Learning Support Programs are:
- The identification of students with additional learning needs through observation and communication with parents, teachers and DECD professionals eg guidance officers and or speech path
- Collaboration between parents, class teachers, para-professional to ensure the setting of consistent objectives and plans for meeting student needs and implementing any recommendations which arise from testing
- The monitoring of Special Needs students and open reporting to parents of development and achievement
- The development of realistic and appropriate Negotiated Education Plans written in conjunction with parents and class teachers designed specifically to cater for individual learning needs. (Reviewed annually / but written up formally at points of schooling transition)
- The provision of appropriate support (in-class or withdrawal groups) either individual or through small group work with SSOs (school support officers or Special Education or EALD teachers)
- Referral of students to appropriate external agencies, such as Occupational Therapy, CAMHS, Autism SA etc
Teaching for Effective Learning
Staff embrace the State's Teaching for Effective Learning Framework. Staff focus on:
learning for effective teaching
Understanding how self and others learn
developing deep pedagogical and content knowledge
participating in professional learning communities and networks
engaging with the community
discussing educational purpose and policy
designing, planning and organising for teaching and learning.
Teachers create learning opportunities with students : creating safe conditions for rigorous learning; develop expert learners and personalise and connect learning.
Assessment is the process of collecting, organising, interpreting, recording and using a variety of information so informed judgements can be made about student performance, achievements, needs and subsequent learning.
Teachers are well-informed about the development of their student's knowledge, skills and understandings and can develop and modify programs to target the needs of groups and individuals. For example, our school has a comprehensive assessment schedule and data tool (MARKit), where we can, at a glance, monitor your child's social emotional and academic learning.
Assessment, whether it involves the cognitive, social or physical aspects of learning, should be an ongoing process that incorporates student input. Students are actively involved, and encouraged to discuss and contemplate their progress. Through formative assessment students are well-informed about their progress and achievement and are able to set personal improvement goals and take responsibility for their own learning throughout their learning experience. For example, explicit criteria for success is used in rubrics for students and teachers to monitor their success during their learning journey. Similarly student self assessment strategies support students to gain deeper knowledge and understanding of their skills. For example: conferencing, reflection logs, weekly self evaluations, checklists and inventories.
Parents are well informed about their child's learning program eg: newsletters, work samples going home and informal meetings. Formal reporting times are: acquaintance night term 1; written report term 2; written report end of year.