Our Six Key Learning and Teaching Beliefs

At St Matthew’s we have 6 Key Learning and Teaching Beliefs.

  1. Foundation Learning in Place
  2. Children as Powerful Learners
  3. Teachers as Learning Coaches to help all children achieve their personal best
  4. Providing Challenging Learning Experiences
  5. Expect Children’s Personal Best
  6. Safe, Stimulating, Informative Classrooms

These six key areas are combined with the Professional Standards for teachers and form the teacher self assessment and appraisal process.

All learning is enhanced by the establishment of a strong partnership between the child, the teacher and the parents along with school and community support.

Teaching Framework and the Professional Standards.

The Six Key Teaching Beliefs implement the Vision and Values of our School and the requirements of the National Curriculum. They provide clear expectations and a sense of unity and consistency for our teaching team, while at the same time allowing scope for individual teacher creativity.

From 2009 the Teaching Beliefs will be the basis for the Teacher Performance Agreement. The beliefs have also been aligned with the Professional Standards. The Professional Standards have been included to simplify Certification, Teacher Registration and Salary Increment requirements. The Framework headings will become the Generic Job Description or key performance outcomes and the ‘we wills’ the performance indicators.

The Teaching Framework expands the requirements of an Experienced Teacher, as defined by St Matthew’s School, and makes clear the quality expectations expected of our staff in line with our Vision and Values.

1 Foundation Learning in Place

We believe ‘faith education, mathematics and english are our first priorities’ – vital building blocks to ensure children can develop their individual faith and ‘learning pathways’. These are the foundations of learning.

We will:
Infuse Catholic Virtues through all of our teaching.
Ensure RE strands are taught.
Participate in daily classroom prayer.
Ensure our St Matthew’s benchmarks for Mathematics and English foundation skills are achieved to the best of our children’s ability.

Use the morning English block to develop meaning making competencies required for the afternoon inquiry topic.

Use the morning Mathematics block to develop maths skills to be used for the afternoon inquiry topic.

Comply with agreed school assessment processes.
Identify children at risk and work with the SENCO to deliver special targeted help.
Put into place agreed presentation expectations for book and chart work.
Develop and maintain a partnership with parents and keep them fully informed.

2 Children as Powerful Learners

Children will:
see themselves as active seekers, users and creators of their own knowledge. (NZCp8)
be able to set realistic goals.
use co-operative learning skills.
know what is expected in any task.
use strategies and skills in realistic settings.
use design and presentation skills.
take responsibility for their decisions.
self assess their own work using negotiated criteria.
take risks, have a can do attitude (NZC p12) and learn from mistakes.
devise questions, plan and present a study of their own choice as a demonstration of ‘learning how to learn’ (from Year 3).

3 Teachers as Learning Coaches

This is a mirror image of Children as Powerful learners. Children need adults to help them set goals and develop strategies and skills and to know when to apply these. A coach’s role is a diagnostic one helping each child to become an independent learner. To achieve this requires focused teaching, scaffolding help and immediate focused feedback to improve performance. A coach holds the highest expectations of our children.

We will:
Infuse St Matthew’s Key virtues in all teaching.
Recognise positive behaviour and use praise and virtues acknowledgements to encourage positive behaviour.

Ensure all children are aware of our St Matthew’s ‘Living in the Light’ Behaviour Programme.

Encourage children to take ownership of their decisions – if things go wrong work with children to consider what they will do differently next time.

Establish a supportive learning culture that values excellence.
See children as learners who actively seek use and create knowledge.
Teach to ensure children own their own learning (inquiry approach).
Personalise our teaching to suit the needs of children or the topic.
Have a strong diagnostic mindset to ensure children show continual growth.
As necessary model agreed design and presentation skills to ensure all children achieve their personal best.

Work along side children to help them reach their potential providing feedback and suggestions.

4 Providing Challenging Learning Experiences

To succeed in our vision we need to challenge our children with exciting, relevant and meaningful learning experiences to challenge their horizons. P41 NZC “Teaching and learning programmes are developed through a wide range of experiences across all learning areas..”

We will:
Plan a range of ‘rich topics’  to cover on a two year cycle the big ideas of the New Zealand curriculum. Cover less but cover it in greater depth. NZC p 34

Make use of the local rich environment – natural history, Maori culture, European heritage and community resources.

For each study, once the major outcomes are defined to plan a range of tasks to achieve the goals.

To make use of multiple intelligences when planning units of work.
Negotiate units, tasks and criteria with children. Actively involve children in their own learning. (NZC p8)

Ensure all students are aware of how to plan and complete a study.
Ensure programmes where possible reflect/integrate Maori culture PK
Use the world wide web and information and communication technologies to assist learning.

5 Expect Children’s Personal Best

We must do everything to help children develop, through their achievement, a sense of pride. We must hold the highest expectations of all children to “do their best work’. It is important to help children appreciate the value of personal effort or ‘good work habits’.

We will:
Ensure children understand the need for quality over quantity – that doing something well is more important than being first finished. Encourage children to work carefully with effort so they can gain feelings of pride and success.

Use the phrase “slow the pace of your work” to encourage reflective thinking.

Give temporary help until learning is in place (scaffolding).  (NZC p34)

Encourage children to self assess their own goals and be able to indicate areas for improvement.

Ensure children are aware of how to present their work whether on a chart or in a book by teaching explicit visual presentation skills.

6 Safe, Stimulating, Informative Classrooms

Children need emotionally and physically safe room environments (and playground) and predictable routines to allow them to work independently and also allow the teacher to work with group or individuals.

We will:
Ensure all classrooms reflect the messages of the school vision and gospel virtues

Room displays will celebrate children’s creativity and thinking; children’s personal best

Ensure topics have headings, key questions, criteria and process information.

Use whiteboard/blackboard to outline group/individual tasks in major learning blocks

Ensure students have skills for independent group tasks so as to allow teacher to focus on teaching group or children who need help

Make use of three step lesson planning – introduce each lesson, complete activities, end with a wrap up.

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