Leadership in Action
The single most important factor influencing student outcomes and level of achievement is the quality and effectiveness of the classroom teacher.
The A.B. Paterson College pedagogy (our teaching philosophy and methodology) stems from the Teaching for Understanding framework, as developed by Project Zero from the Harvard Graduate School of Education.
The framework requires teachers to answer four simple yet powerful questions:
How can I as a teacher encourage deeper understanding?
What skills must I impart to my students to ensure their success?
How can I support students to understand well enough to apply learning in new contexts?
How can I create an environment of active learning in my classroom?
The pedagogy used at A.B. Paterson College is the result of extensive research by world leading researchers, and an in-depth study by our teachers about the learning environment, the nature of effective learning tasks, and the processes required to achieve deep and meaningful understandings within the classroom.
This pedagogy has enabled our leading staff an opportunity to gain a wonderful insight into what motivates young people to learn, the support structures they need to learn effectively, and the nature of the tasks required for students to demonstrate their understanding.
Catering for Individual Differences
Educational research makes it clear that students learn differently. These differences include the manner in which they engage and interact with learning materials, their preferred learning styles and the degree and manner in which they construct new learnings. In short, young people do not learn uni-dimensionally.
The teaching staff at A.B. Paterson College provide a range of ways for young people to learn that attempt to maximise the engagement of each learner. They are strongly supported by a committed team of educators in our Learning Enhancement Team, who provide specialist advice on individualised learning programmes and differentiation.
Providing Structure and Feedback
Young people learn best when they understand what is being asked of them and what is expected. Our teachers select ‘Generative Topics’ for learning that are central to each learning discipline, that are engaging, highly accessible to all learners and are richly connected to other valued topics and areas of study. For each Generative Topic, ‘Understanding Goals’ are established, so that students are clear about what they are expected to understand.
Students then learn through a series of ‘Performances of Understanding’, which are carefully selected sequences of learning experiences that require students to engage regularly, actively, and thoughtfully with the ideas and concepts to be understood. These opportunities allow students to demonstrate their understandings.
Students require regular, in-depth and well-considered feedback to enable them to reflect and adjust their learning to achieve a rich understanding of the ‘Generative Topics’ under study. Our teachers provide a high level of feedback to each student, and communicate the progress of learning to our parents through a series of informal and formal means.
This high level of support enables students to feel secure in taking the educational risks needed for effective learning, and enables all parents to be effective partners in their child’s education.
Enhancing Personal Bests
A.B. Paterson College teachers expect high standards, a commitment to excellence in all students do (by way of aiming to do their very best) and they assist them by providing stretched goals, in-depth and rich learning tasks, and a wonderful environment of curiosity, discovery and encouragement, as our students make the personal quest to achieve their excellence.