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Do you remember being back at school? You were, like I, likely taught isolated content and, more often than not, from a book that someone, somewhere had decided was relevant. Yet, when we left school, we did not experience the world in isolated segments of memorised facts. We – the fortunate ones – have created connections between those segments of information and applied them, using a range of skills, in novel situations.

The way the world works has changed since we were at school, which is why our education system has changed. We now know that learning is a process of interaction with the outside world: continually reanalysing and reinterpreting information and relating it to the real world. This is evidenced in the fact that we, as adults, experience unique challenges, and as a result learn something, every day. Therefore, in the Junior School, teachers focus on creating authentic learning opportunities for students.

Authentic learning is a pedagogical approach that allows students to explore, discuss, and meaningfully construct concepts and relationships in contexts that involve real-world problems and projects that are relevant to the learner – not a textbook. This involves multiple disciplines being employed simultaneously and resulting in a tangible product.

This process of learning creates opportunities for students to become engaged in genuine experiences and develop self-motivation to learn. While gathering information, students employ a range of skills – questioning, researching, information literacy, critical thinking – while also developing new knowledge. This is how we, as adults, interact with the world every day; students in our School are being taught to flourish far beyond the outcome of a standardised test.

As the term draws to a close, many students are at the end of the learning process and finalising their product. Some examples of these are: a Teenager’s Guide to Puberty, Goldrush Oratory, personal inquiries in Digging up the Past, or entrepreneurial designing of toys, along with many others.

Parents of students in many year groups will have the opportunity to come into school and share some of their son’s learning – both the process and the product – during the final week of Term 2 or initial weeks of Term 3. Furthermore, in Week 8 of Term 3, we will be inviting you to partake in Student Led Conferences; this is a conversation where students, teachers and parents can discuss the learning and goals of a student. This is an important part of the learning process where ownership and responsibility for learning are placed upon students.

I look forward to welcoming you into our School to share your son’s authentic learning experiences.

Jonathon Gelsthorpe
Deputy Head of Junior School – Teaching and Learning