9 February 2022

Unlocking the collaborative expertise of our Junior School students and staff

Heads of SchoolKewEarly LearningJunior School
Unlocking the collaborative expertise of our Junior School students and staff
Unlocking the collaborative expertise of our Junior School students and staff
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Collaboration is our whole-school Positive Learner Attribute focus for 2022. Over the past week I have witnessed many examples of collaboration in action across our Junior School as our ELC to Year 6 students have transitioned into their new classrooms. This has included observing our ELC children working collaboratively to pack their bedding away, our Year 3 students rehearsing and performing a collaborative lion dance with Chinese drumming for the Lunar New Year celebration assembly, and our Year 6 students working collaboratively to prepare a video message for the Prep to Year 5 students in their House.

Collaborative learning has been recognised as one of the High Impact Teaching Strategies (HITS) for delivering student outcomes. The HITS have emerged from thousands of studies on what has worked in classrooms in Australia and internationally and is based on the work of John Hattie and Robert Marzano. In the Carey context, collaboration occurs when students can recognise and respect others’ viewpoints and contribute in a positive way to work in a team.

We will always have an emphasis on designing deliberate opportunities for students to develop and reflect on their collaborative learning skills. Additionally, we will focus on leveraging the collaborative expertise of our ELC and Junior School teaching staff as an important aspect of our professional learning strategy this year.

John Hattie’s latest research has shown that Collective Teacher Efficacy is now the greatest influence on student achievement. Collective Teacher Efficacy is the collective belief of teachers in their ability to positively affect students. An important way to maximise this influence is the opportunity for teachers to engage in robust professional learning communities (PLCs), which are a collaborative approach to improve teaching practice and student learning with three big ideas at the forefront:

a relentless focus on learning

  • the cultivation of a collaborative culture
  • an orientation towards results.

(DuFour et al., 2016)

Last year we engaged with Gavin Grift who is the founder and CEO of Grift Education to support our staff in the journey of becoming high-functioning and successful professional learning communities. Throughout this year, Gavin will continue to work in collaboration with the Junior School staff and PLC leaders to continue to develop our understandings and embed the PLC process within our professional practice.

We are committed to developing the collaborative expertise of our students and staff to improve student learning. This is just a short snapshot of the work we are undertaking to ensure the very best for our students, and we are excited for what’s ahead for the Junior School Kew community as a collective.

Kylie Baxter
Head of Junior School Kew

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