What do teachers and school leaders mean when they say we use contemporary tools and practices?
Well simply contemporary refers to “current” ways teachers teach and students learn. These practices are taken from current research about how we learn and then applied by teachers in schools. Research has been completed around learning styles, teaching and use of contemporary tools. You may have come across Bloom’s Taxonomy or de Bono’s thinking hats, visible learning tools or graphic organisers?
What does it look like for your children in their school and their classrooms?
There should be support to learn for students through planned and relevant learning opportunities that lead students to explore and question significant ideas and create new knowledge. Learning should not be restricted to the classroom but go beyond to home, local community and global community. Students should be engaged in inquiry and creative exploration of ideas
This would be visible through access to guest speakers, excursions, hands on activities, research including the use of technology and bringing learning and experiences to the classroom. Students would be learning from and teaching each other as well as having input, focused instruction and feedback from the teacher. Learning should be personalised with students’ interests and experiences valued and reflected in the curriculum. Students would be supported by explicit and scaffolded teaching to engage them fully in their learning.
Learning spaces that connect learners to communities beyond the school provide opportunities to engage with diverse perspectives and collaborate with others. The use of technology such as Google, google docs, Hapara and blogs enable students to collaborate safely with supported learning around Cybersafety and etiquette online. Flexible access enables learning anywhere, anytime. Learning spaces are beyond the classroom and can also be online.
There are core knowledge, skills and understandings required to be successful in and participate fully in today’s world. Powerful learning opportunities enable the learner to develop these core knowledge and skills authentically through the curriculum. Reflection, high order thinking, creativity, collaboration and the use of contemporary literacies such as media and online resources must now be considered core capacities. These are important for creating new knowledge and participating in and contributing to community. At school they are visible through discussions, interactions and dialogue with students as well as through graphic organisers and visible thinking tools. The students need to create and interact with diverse text forms and engage critically and effectively, communicating in a variety of ways and social contexts.
Curriculum designed to engage students in the contemporary world leads students to develop deep understandings about themselves, others and the world. Building learning relationships within the global and local community creates authentic opportunities for students to learn from and with others. Powerful learning experiences enable students to take responsibility for themselves and commit to authentic action. Engagement in the contemporary world enables students to find a way of discovering God, themselves and the world.
In a Catholic school context, engagement in the contemporary world through a commitment to action is developed within the framework of a school’s vision which inspires compassion, justice and service. This should be visible through the student actions around social justice issues and at our school through the connection we have with St Luke’s gospel.