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Press Release – Teachers Study Overseas

Press Release - Teachers Study Overseas

NORWEST EDUCATORS STUDY BEST PRACTICE OVERSEAS

Norwest Christian College places prime emphasis on the professional development of teachers. This reflects a commitment to ‘best practice’ and to extending and challenging students in their learning journey. There is a culture of learning at Norwest. Teachers work to develop their skills, conceptual understandings and competencies and model learning for students. Norwest teachers consistently strive to better understand how students learn. Proof of effective professional learning is evidenced by enhanced students’ achievement.

Building purposeful lives is more than a mantra at NWCC but guides powerful learning and teaching. The college is determined to provide an educational experience that nurtures a love of learning and builds foundational capacities, which will lead to students becoming creative, independent learners, with purpose and who will make a difference in the world.

To investigate ways of developing even more effective teaching and learning methodology, Mrs Felicity Marlow, Principal of NWCC, recently led a team of educators to the UK, where study visits were again made of infant, primary and secondary schools. These schools were adept in the application of a building learning power approach. In each school the Australian educators witnessed students in ‘learning mode’: young people who had an appetite for learning and actively sought to grow their capacity as learners. Apparent were courageous approaches to teaching that sought to ignite curiosity and provoke critical thinking. NWCC educators gained from discussing and sharing ideas with their host educators.

Before, during and after UK school visits, Mrs Marlow was inspired by her teachers: ‘NWCC  educators’ earnestly seek to grow young people who are not simply passengers in the learning process but pilots. Their commitment is to develop confident, capable, life-long learners’. NWCC educators also gained professional insights by spending time with Professor Guy Claxton, the originator of building learning power, to hear about his recent research and new book. This was networking of the highest order!

While NWCC educators visited schools in England, their colleague Mrs Cindy Ham, Head of Mathematics, visited the Singapore National Institute for Education and experienced a school placement. Singapore currently holds the No 1 World Ranking for Mathematics Education. Cindy experienced immersion in Singapore maths teaching, professional discussions with local colleagues, maths workshops and professional learning through lesson observation and participation. Maths immersion provided Cindy with a wonderful opportunity to witness directly how Singaporean students consistently score so highly in maths testing and ability and how she might adapt their practices to NWCC.

Cindy commented: “I gained three most interesting learning experiences. Singapore values teaching highly as a profession and offers substantial financial and resource support

for teachers to gain ongoing professional development. Secondly, Mathematics is recognised as a specialist subject from Year 3 with independent, mathematically qualified teachers. Finally, there is little or no use of technology, except graphic calculators and an emphasis on flipped learning to maximise on classroom time for higher order thinking. A rich experience both academically and culturally."

However, the Singapore teachers actively sought to understand maths teaching in Australia. While Singaporean students develop outstanding mathematics abilities, Australian students are more able to transfer maths ability to solving problems, work collaboratively and think creatively. Cindy and her Singapore colleagues learnt from each other.

Photo - At Hwa Chong School, Singapore

L to R - Ms Kwee Tiow Choo (Senior Math Teacher), Mr Shane Scott  (Marist College NSW), Say Tiong (Head of Mathematics), Kwok Leong (Deputy Principal High School), Cindy Ham (Head of Mathematics, Norwest Christian College)

 


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