Teaching & Learning
WHERE LEARNING IS THE
HEARTBEAT OF OUR CULTURE.
“Learning is a consequence of good thinking.”
Professor David Perkins, Harvard Graduate School of Education
At the heart of our School, is the motto: fortiter fideliter, feliciter – bravely, faithfully and happily. It is these values which also underpin the core beliefs in our teaching and learning philosophy, as thinking is at the centre of everything we do.
We are a future-focused and individualised learning community which is committed to academic excellence and the best education for girls. Each student is as valued for her unique capacity to contribute to the life of the school, as they are for their thinking and approach to learning. A sense of self-worth is encouraged, by providing an atmosphere in which every girl is empowered to take their own individual pathway, choosing from the many areas of the curricular and co-curricular programs. In this, it could be said that we shape the school to fit the girl, rather than shaping the girl to fit the school. So too, with each student’s personalised learning journey to become global citizens with the character, skills and attributes essential for future success.
Strathcona students are encouraged to embrace difficulties and complexity through being intellectually robust and ethically minded; challenging their thinking and becoming emboldened with the courage to take risks. Students develop a growth mindset where persistence is encouraged to create a love of learning and a resilience that is essential for both academic and life accomplishment. Our students develop dispositions of life-long learners, discovering and creating new perspectives and ways of working in a more flexible, adaptable and responsive manner, continuously seeking to understand, innovate and improve.
Led by specialist educators and bespoke programs, we ensure connections in pedagogy from the Early Learning Centre (ELC), all the way through to VCE Year 12. In the ELC, our educational practice is underpinned by the Reggio Emilia Philosophy which views each child as being capable, resilient and a co-constructor of their own learning. Relationships are fostered and nurtured in this environment and each child’s interests are documented and used to guide the curriculum. These foundations prepare each child for a seamless transition to the Junior School. A purposeful and research-based approach to the teaching and learning of English and Mathematics ensures the growth and development of these skills that form the foundations of all learning.
We are committed to providing opportunities and broadening students’ educational experience beyond the classroom. These authentic experiences enhance motivation and achievement. Critical, and Creative Thinking underpins the Design Thinking model that is used in several areas of our curriculum in the Junior and Senior Schools. This approach is used in the teaching of Digital Technologies, Art and Design and is the cornerstone of our transdisciplinary programs in the Middle School while a focus on STEAM delivers subject expertise and learning programs that integrate the disciplines. Visible Thinking, an approach developed at Harvard University, aims to improve learning through techniques that help students become effective thinkers. Our Learning Enhancement program also includes differentiation within mainstream classrooms, as well as targeted withdrawal sessions.
Our Year 9 Tay Creggan campus also emphasises enterprise and entrepreneurial skills through its specialist Envision Program while our Senior Years Academic Pathways provides a fully elective learning model at Year 10. The VCE program provides an extensive program and a broad range of activities. This combined with our Centre for Learning Futures, exposes our students to dynamic and rewarding career paths that might not have been considered before.
The quality of any school is also embodied by its teachers. The research tells us it is our teachers, and the quality of their teaching, that makes a profound difference to student learning. At Strathcona, our teachers are dedicated and skilled practitioners, with a commitment to exceptional teaching and learning practices to engage all our students in the learning process. Our teachers foster rigour and deep understanding, educating students to use disciplined and critical inquiry. It is this culture of continuous development, feedback and improvement that places our teachers at the forefront of the profession. Through conference presentation and participation, research, Victorian Curriculum and Assessment Authority (VCAA) collaboration and other professional learning opportunities, teachers as role models for ongoing life learning, reinforces learning and growth as the centre of everything we do.
Strathcona Life Learner is our core set of learning goals – goals that support the development of key attributes, essential skills and habits of mind that define learning experiences at Strathcona and beyond.
It provides a bridge between our mission and programs, helping our community and the world beyond our school to understand the vision and goals we have for our students. It helps to clarify what we want all our learners to acquire and why we are committing to personalised and independent pathways that ensure all students reach mastery and have success.
All of this takes place on campuses that emphasise agile and multimodal learning spaces that highlight our student-centred approach to learning. This is intended to promote classroom discussion and collaboration, as well as enhance creativity and deep thinking. The pedagogy and activities being embraced are also intimately linked to our BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) program which enables multiple points of focus and diverse teaching and learning strategies. Interactive projectors and whiteboards offer students and teachers the ability to engage with each other in many different modes which suits different learning styles and ultimately allows everyone to learn and perform at their best.
Our students enter the School as girls and leave as life-ready women of character – bravely, faithfully and happily; women keen to succeed on their own terms and to make an impact in this world.