At the core of our school philosophy is the aspiration to help every student become a better person and a better learner. In a holistic formative educational setting, we place value on the intellectual rigour exposed to our students in our classrooms and across all fields of learning.
To focus on the intellectual rigour in student learning means that students demonstrate the acquisition of Surface learning, that is, knowledge essential for understanding the basic concepts of a topic and showing basic competence on the development of a skill. Students are then able to use that Surface knowledge to deepen their understanding and make connections with more complex and sophisticated ideas – this is referred to as Deep learning. Students’ progress, however, does not end there.
The next level in this progression is what is referred to as Transfer of learning. At this stage of the learning journey, students are expected to apply the acquired learning, at Surface and Deep level, to new situations and to come up with solutions to new problems. It is worth noting that Surface and Deep learning are indispensable for students to demonstrate competence at transfer of learning. Transfer of learning is not possible when students have not gained the basic knowledge and skills and have been able to make deep connections with complex ideas. Being able to move through these stages of the learning continuum, is what helps students become better learners.
It is at the Deep learning stage, where students are making connections to broad and complex ideas, and at the Transfer of learning stage, where students are applying learning to new situations or challenges, that students are guided to see the ‘practical’ application of their learning to ‘real life’ situations. Better learners learn to be better persons by making use of their knowledge and the world around them … to see a need and know how to respond to it; to be efficacious in exercising their social responsibilities with their friends and the broader society.
Better persons learn to develop strong Emotional Balance, which means that they have a healthy level of self-concept, self-esteem, and self-efficacy. These features of their personality are the foundation through with which they can confront the challenges of the next cycle of learning, new concepts, new knowledge, new connections, greater ability to apply themselves to new situations. This is the cyclical journey we want our students to experience.
Different students move through these stages of learning at different paces and with varying degrees of difficulty. Quality teaching at All Saints Grammar involves the deliberate design of learning opportunities and appropriate support to take students through this learning journey.
If you are interested in reading more about the research foundations of this conceptual model of learning, I encourage you to have a look at the article on the link below by John Hattie and Gregory M Donoghue (2016): https://www.nature.com/articles/npjscilearn201613.pdf
Deputy Head of School/Head of Secondary