Creative approaches to deliver quality lessons that provide depth and rigour

27 August 2021

Creative approaches to deliver quality lessons that provide depth and rigour

No matter whether we are learning face to face or remotely, we want to see learners who are brave and take risks. We love to see learners who are willing to face challenges with creativity and curiosity. We seek to develop learners who are purposeful and see value in learning and seeking new knowledge. These same qualities are those that we encourage in our teachers. Amongst the (many!) limitations that the virus and restrictions have brought to us, this has also been a time in which teachers have led with ingenuity, flexibility and compassion.

As our secondary students often work more independently, parents may not always see the lessons that their child engages in. I wanted to take this opportunity to share with our school community some of the creative approaches our staff have taken to ensure they are delivering quality lessons that provide depth and rigour. As staff prepare these lessons, they have also had to reflect on their teaching programs, adapting their activities so as not to over burden students with the pressures of remote learning. In this rapidly changing time, just like the students, we too are learning ways to continually do this well. Our teachers have truly done a remarkable job rising to this challenge, and I would like to share just some of the numerous examples.

Learning remotely has not hindered our Science team from conducting experiments. Some students have been using items from around the house such as playdoh and tennis balls to investigate the differences between elastic and inelastic collisions. Digital experiments at home have been able to be carried out by using ExploreLearning and their digital laboratory space. Even mandatory field work was not an impossibility, with our Year 11 students taking part in a virtual fieldtrip. Technology has also enabled the maths teachers to enrich their online teaching. Graphing software called Demos allows graphs to be manipulated by students. Similarly, Google Drawings allows graphs and diagrams to be produced in front of students. 

Our HSIE and English staff have approached online learning with a sense of positivity and have looked for ways to make the learning unique and accessible. Year 7 Medieval historians have had the opportunity to create their own coat of arms, comics or origami knight’s shields. In English, students have vicariously ‘trained’ to be Samurai along with the characters in their novel. This has involved students completing their training card with tasks such as calligraphy and acts of service. Robust discussions have been had by senior students, who engaged in a great debate regarding the villainous status of a Shakespearean protagonist. Zoom breakout rooms were used to stage the debate, complete with characters, a judge and jury.

Subjects that would normally rely on physical spaces and materials have been particularly challenged, however the creative heart of these subjects have enabled them to be reimagined in new ways. The four walls of a classroom have been transcended, with our Visual Art students literally taking their skills to the streets, with Street Art being used as a way to be creative whilst also spreading hope to their local communities. Drama performance spaces are no longer in our Tiered Learning Centre, but in the backyards and garages of student homes. Even auditions are being conducted via Zoom, with student directors meeting with their teacher in breakout rooms to discuss casting. Design concepts for plays are being shared and worked on collaboratively through Google Classroom. Our senior Textiles and Design students have also been challenged by looking for ways to bring their own design concepts to life. Students excelled as they had to design and construct corsets based on the theme ‘Back to the Future’ using materials available to them at home.

Ultimately, in this abnormal situation, we are striving to ensure a sense of consistency, purpose and quality. The teachers are working to maintain the integrity and rigour of their subjects in an environment that also calls for grace, flexibility and assurance. We are so proud of the efforts and work of our teachers, just as we are proud of the many ways that students have met the challenges of this time. We must also acknowledge the tireless work of our support and administration staff at this time - so much of our work and your child’s learning runs smoothly because of the proactive and diligent work of these valued members of our team.

Mrs Natalie Bluhdorn
Head of Teaching Practice

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