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Our Learning

St John's Frankston East

At St John’s we believe that a shared understanding of, and consistent practices in learning and teaching includes:

  • A deep understanding of all curriculum areas using an F-6 scope and sequence

  • An instructional model that includes learning intentions, success criteria, explicit instruction, effective teaching strategies, feedback and assessment opportunities

  • Use of Science of learning concepts regarding brain development and memory building

Education in Faith

Catholic Identity

The Catholic identity of St John’s is not confined to traditional Religious Education classes and practices. It is enacted in the way we live and love as a school community. It governs how we relate to each other, how we interact and how we contribute to the world. In all things, we strive to grow as a community, living out the gospel messages of faith, hope, love and justice. 

 

St John’s supports and encourages parents in the responsibility they accepted for their children at Baptism, to love, nurture and educate their children in the Catholic Faith. Our students are provided with a wide variety of catholic and other faith experiences through a Religious Education curriculum that enriches values, incorporates traditions, shares the stories of our Church with all, and nourishes our faith.

 

As a Catholic school we are committed to:

  • ensuring that all members of our community, Catholic and those of other faiths, are actively encouraged to participate in the Catholic life of the school in a variety of ways

  • revealing the gospel messages of Jesus to all of our community

  • supporting students to know and trust in a God who loves them

  • challenging students to think and act in a Christian way with an emphasis on service to others

  • providing an atmosphere where students feel safe to ask questions about faith 

  • supporting parents in their own faith journeys

 

“Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path”

Psalm 119:105

 

At St John’s we provide a light on the path of our students by:

  • introducing Religious Education across all curriculum areas

  • providing daily prayer celebrations

  • the celebration of special Feast Days including significant church and world events

  • Sacramental programs of Reconciliation, First Communion and Confirmation, including opportunities for reconciliation

 

Sacramental Programs

Sacraments are school based and the teachers are mainly responsible for preparing the students. However, the preparation process for all three Sacraments also involves a commitment form not just the students but the parents as well. This includes attending parent/students preparation sessions and mass commitments.

 

Sacraments are normally undertaken as follows but students are able to enrol in later years if they wish:

  • Reconciliation & First Communion - Year Four

  • Confirmation - Year Six

Catholic Identity

Snapshot of 

Our Learning

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Contemporary Learning Spaces

St John’s has made the transition in recent years to a more contemporary and flexible learning spaces. To understand the benefits this entails for the current generation of students it is important to understand some of the guiding principles behind these approaches.

 

History

Traditional Flexible Learning Spaces are based on earlier ‘open learning’ models which were developed in the 1960s. According to leading psychologists and evolutionary theorists of the time, humans are social creatures and learn through interaction and collaboration, therefore, open learning spaces where they can interact and collaborate with each other are seen to be rich learning environments.

 

Open Learning Spaces - Based on the work of Celestin Freinet (1966) and Maria Montessori (1952). These spaces were designed to encourage students to become more self-determined and independent. They were pedagogically aligned to interest-guided learning practices using constructivist (e.g.Piaget, Bruner, Gardner), social behaviourism (e.g. Dewey, Vygotsky, Montessori, Freinet) and scientific knowledge (Shapin & Schaffer, 1985) psychologies.

 

The open learning approaches of the sixties and seventies were misguided in the sense that they did not recognise that the challenge for educators was to help individuals construct, for themselves, the understandings that other minds have discovered before them. (Atkins, 2010)

 

'The task of the teacher is not to put knowledge where it does not exist, but rather to lead the mind’s eye so that it might see for itself.' Plato  


Newton and Gan (2012) stated that “...during the past decade, innovative school design has focused on student-centred learning within rich digital learning environments. Many schools are shifting from the ‘cells and bells’ environment of past classroom teaching into larger, more fluid spaces with a range of furniture settings. Rather than having one subject-specific teacher in an individual classroom, increasingly students work in a way that brings together learning across disciplines supported by teams of teachers.

A Flexible learning Space in context is: 

A learning space that changes with changes in practice. The classroom ‘space’ is no longer a ‘container’ for human activities, a built space that can be used by the teacher and students, where learning occurs. Instead, the space is used or altered related to the action taking place, space is made (Smyth and McInerney 2013) or better, ‘done’ − through action (Mulcahy 2006); and underpinned by ‘relational thinking’ (Massey 1999) who says, ‘Thinking relationally is recognising the important elements of interconnections which go into the construction of any identity’.

 

What does this mean? 

A flexible learning space is the product of relations between those who work within it, whether they are personal interactions or models of collaboration. For example, relationships can exist between:

  • Teacher - Teacher

  • Teachers - Teachers  

  • Teacher/s - Space/s           

  • Student - Student

  • Students - Students           

  • Student/s - Space/s

  • Teacher - Student

  • Teachers - Students

 

Learning & knowledge are not individual components, they occur through relationships!   (Mulcahy, 2015)

 

The goal of Contemporary Learning Spaces at St John’s are:

To develop young people who are adaptable, creative, collaborative, responsive, self-directed and capable of being self-managing in networks and have less hierarchical or imposed settings and communities than those experienced by their parents at the same age. To put it more simply, for young people today to be able to be able to work in the highly fluid and quickly changing times of today as opposed to the slower, more structured and predictable growth of the past.

 

We aim to provide learning environments that are physical, social and virtual, that enable and promote learning and the learning capacity of all stakeholders.

 

Benefits of this approach

  • Increased mobility of students and the space can be changed to suit the purpose of the learning

  • Better access to teachers for all students

  • More opportunities for collaborative learning and socialising

  • More opportunities for experiential learning (social learning vs academic learning)

  • Opportunities for more individualised learning opportunities, personal choice of learning and learning situations

  • More communal (benefits of working in a community), fosters a sense of belonging and group identity

  • More opportunities for peer support

  • Allows for multiple modes of teaching and learning e.g. linear (lecture, presentation, video), horizontal (class/group discussion), Cluster (small groups, individual), Networking (decentralised instruction)

 

A great summary of what this contemporary approach aims to achieve for our students can be summed up in the following quote.

 

“If you want to build a ship, don’t drum up people to gather wood and divide the work and give orders. 

Instead, teach them to yearn for the vast and endless sea.” - Antoine de Saint Exupery

Flex Learning Spaces
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The Science of Learning

Current learning approaches at St John's:

Neuroscience and Cognitive Psychology have provided much needed insight into how our brains develop and learn. Teachers are finally being given the tools to understand how to teach our brains more effectively. We now have scientific knowledge to recognise that our brains are designed for creating and innovating and not for regurgitating static information.

 

The Science of Learning takes existing cognitive-science research and applies it to the education experience. Teachers are learning more about how students learn and how to apply that to practical implications for teaching.

More than ever teachers are starting to consider the following in their planning approaches to teaching children:

Neuroscience - Our knowledge of the brain, spinal cord and the peripheral nervous system

Neurosynchonisity - Activity in the brain that strengthens the coordination of all functions of the brain for mental cognition, memory, perception and behaviours

Neurodiversity - Knowing how the brain works for different people; neurodivergence vs neurotypical

Neurobiology - Knowing how the brain interprets and responds to stimuli from the central and peripheral nervous systems

The goal is to improve memory in our students because memory is the foundation of all learning.

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Digital & Design Technology

St John’s recognises it has the moral responsibility to teach students not only about technology, but about what is appropriate, when it is appropriate, how long it is appropriate for and what to do when you come across something inappropriate. These are important elements in a world that has changed more rapidly in the last fifty years than it has over the previous 2000 years. This is having a significant impact on what our children need to learn about to survive in that sort of a world.

 

Consider the following:

Your children are learners who are considered true natives of the digital world. This is a generation for whom the ideas for their future careers are changing every year and are probably more in the realms of what we used to call science fiction.

 

By the time our current students will enter the workforce, it is estimated that 5.1 million Australian jobs – or 44 per cent of current roles – will have disappeared thanks to digital disruption.

 

Educators are being asked how to equip this generation with 21st Century learning skills. It is now strongly advised that science, technology, engineering and maths are considered the most important fields for the future.

 

At St John’s, we recognise that our students are prolific users of technology but they don’t really know how to use them. They are consumers rather than producers. This poses a serious problem and often encourages the sorts of problems we see with online abuse, bullying and addiction to online activities.

 

Our students need to know more about how to use technology appropriately and for a purpose other than simple entertainment. This is called ‘Digital literacy’ - The use of technology, its languages, programming, etc and fluency in their usage and how to cross between platforms effectively. These types of activities are also recognised as must-have qualities for future employment.

 

(Based on Emily Parkinson ‘Education of the Digital Natives’ (2015)

 

We provide our students with opportunities for coding, robotics and even Education Minecraft. They explore cyber safety principles, and develop an understanding of the psychology behind programs and apps, through to learning to program and code for their own purposes. These opportunities range from Prep through to Grade 6.

Robotics Program
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