Saint Ignatius College Geelong

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    Growing Teacher expertise to improve student learning

    Article by Ms Karen Perkins

    Combined Catholic Schools Professional Learning Network - ‘Growing Teacher expertise to improve student learning’

    On Monday 16th July, over 400 teachers from Geelong Catholic Schools participated in Professional Learning with a theme of ‘Growing Teacher expertise to improve student learning’.

    Dr Simon Breakspear and Ricky Campbell-Allen from ‘Agile Schools’ worked with teams to look at what outcomes they wanted to improve and for which students. Simon has advised educational leaders globally helping them to navigate change, develop innovation capabilities and drive continuous improvement for better learning. Ricky has significant leadership experience in education reform: working across schools, education systems and in the not-for-profit sector. 

    They shared the Learning Sprints method, which is a process used to provide a simple and effective approach to support teachers to continually enhance their practice. Learning Sprints consists of three phases: Prepare, Sprint and Review. During ‘Prepare’ relevant research is considered to identify a precise focus for improvement work. The ‘Sprint’ phase tests out the new learning through short, manageable cycles of teaching in the classroom. A Learning Sprint ends with explicit ‘Review’: analysis of the evidence of student progress, and consideration of how to transfer new pedagogical knowledge and skills into future practice.

    The Learning Sprints process is designed to be adaptable to focus on the challenges specific to individual schools, classrooms and learners. Simon discussed how teachers should be continually making small change to get deliberately better at teaching in order to cause student learning. He asked teachers ‘What do our students need us to learn next?’

    SICG participants described the Learning Sprints process as 'A valuable tool for teachers to use to improve practice that is manageable and effective’ and ‘A good reminder about how we need to focus not only on what we teach, but to make sure the students learn it’.

    Ms Karen Perkins Director of Teacher Development

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