The teaching pedagogy at Ranford Primary is underpinned by strong research evidence. Teaching and learning practices are aligned with Visible Learning pedagogy that is based on the work of Professor John Hattie (University of Melbourne) who has analysed international research and practices and identified those strategies and processes which have the most positive impact on learning outcomes for students. In addition, the work of Michael Fullan, exploring how we get from surface to deep learning, informs key strategies for learning to learn.
Following a three-year implementation plan to embed Visible Learning pedagogy, the next three years will link strongly throughout the Teaching and Learning components of the current Business Plan to support staff and students to achieve and work within a school wide pedagogy.
A Pedagogy Leadership team ensures that the implementation of the Visible Learning Plan is on track. Their work includes the planning of whole staff professional development as well as evaluating the effectiveness of Visible Learning strategies in the classroom. A comprehensive, ongoing professional learning program, mentoring and peer classroom observations build confidence and help develop a common school wide pedagogy. Regular feedback from staff keeps the Visible Learning Plan in focus and on track.
Students are encouraged to take ownership and responsibility for their learning by having a clear understanding of the characteristics of a Visible Learner. Regular surveys of student’s understanding of these characteristics indicates how they are applying them to various learning experiences.
Teachers use Learning Intentions and Success Criteria at the beginning of lessons, providing students with a common understanding of what they will be learning and how they can demonstrate what is required in order to assess their learning. In Kindergarten and Pre-Primary this is called “We are learning to….” and “We are looking for …..”
Learning Intentions and Success Criteria
By making the Learning Intention of a lesson explicit, students are aware of the purpose of their learning – what they should know, understand and be able to do by the end of the lesson. A Learning Intention identifies what learners will be learning and the reason for learning.
Success Criteria are also made explicit, ensuring that students can determine how well they have met the Learning Intention. Success Criteria provide the student with what they need to demonstrate in order to achieve the Learning Intention. Assessments and feedback are linked to the Success Criteria. They provide a scaffold and focus for learners, encouraging independence. By using Success Criteria, students are more focused on what they are learning and what they need to do to progress their learning to the next phase.
As the journey of Visible Learning pedagogy has developed, so too has the suite of strategies teachers use to develop students’ understanding of the learning process.
A key part of the learning process is feedback. Research has informed the way we support students to seek and respond to feedback. Always focused on the Success Criteria, it is also about knowing what to ask and when, in order to move to the next level of learning. Techniques of skilful questioning are critical in this process, supporting students on the journey from surface to deep learning.
The Learning Pit
The Learning Pit graphically represents for students the stages they will go through from surface to deep learning. They come to understand that we go through periods of challenge and uncertainty and this applies even as adults when we learn new concepts or develop new understandings. We support students to understand that all learning is not easy, that the important thing is knowing what to do when difficulties arise in meeting a learning challenge. The Learning Pit, devised by James Nottingham, is used throughout the school to represent and explain this learning journey.