We know, through experience and research that a high ‘quality’ teacher has a significantly positive effect on student learning and development and therefore, PROGRESS. Through a combination of content mastery, command of a broad set of pedagogical skills and high level communication and interpersonal skills teachers are able to ensure students make excellent progress. Quality teachers are also lifelong learners who teach with commitment and are reflective on their teaching practice. They transfer knowledge and develop the learning process through excellent communication, highly developed diagnostic skills and a clear understanding of how students of different ages and stages of development, learn best. Quality teachers adjust quickly to the changing needs of students and teach in the ‘here and now.’ They create optimum learning conditions for the wide range of learners in their classes and ensure that learning opportunities are authentic where possible and lead to excellent progress.
The quality of our teaching and learning will be monitored in a number of ways including ‘spot checks’ by school leaders, planned lesson observations, peer observations, coaching opportunities, student feedback and teacher self-review. We hope through such monitoring that we will enable teachers and leaders to reflect on the teaching and learning strategies and the process of learning and ensure that learning leads to excellent progress.
When developing the school’s teaching and learning policy we believe it is crucial to establish just what excellent learning looks like and therefore what we will see in lessons where this is evident. Our teachers will be encouraged, through feedback and collaboration to adopt innovative teaching techniques and ensure that learning activities:
• Allow students to use their minds well.
• Have meaning and value to students beyond achieving success in school.
• Ensure that students can apply their learning to new situations.
Underlying Principles (linked to Mission, Vision and Goals)
We believe that a creative thematic curriculum is one of the best possible ways to teach primary age children whilst enabling them to retain knowledge/skills and learn in a flexible and yet organised manner. As students’ progress through the school, we aim to retain the connectedness of a themed curriculum through ‘big questions,’ which enable extended critical and higher order thinking.
Optimum learning spaces provide opportunities for students to engage in interactive and collaborative activities with their peers; such social environments have been shown to contribute to better learning outcomes, including development of higher order thinking skills. We are committed to collaboration in order to maximise learning for all students and know this may only be achieved in a learning environment that promotes this way of learning and thinking. We believe that the learning context needs to reflect the school’s mission, strategic aims and values to create optimum conditions for children to excel in the development of skills, knowledge and understanding.
We believe that teaching for thinking, Inquiry, problem solving, and understanding often has more positive effect on student achievement than traditional teaching, but agree that there are appropriate times for traditional, learning activities which emphasize memorization, repetitive practice, silent study without conversation, and brief exposure—as well as teaching for in-depth understanding. Examples of this would be learning times tables or vocabulary for an additional language. It is expected that teachers in our school, will be skilled in teaching in the here and now and responding quickly to the needs of the students by creating the best learning situation and adjusting as needed. In every lesson the emphasis is always on the progress made by the students – the gains in their learning achieved over time (single lesson, series of lessons, module of work, term, and year)
Staff at OES International School, believe in the concept of ‘authentic’ learning. We use the word authentic to distinguish between learning and therefore, achievement, that is significant and meaningful and that which is trivial and useless. To define authentic achievement more precisely, we aim that students will:
- With the teacher’s support, construct meaning and produce knowledge
- Use disciplined inquiry to construct meaning
- Direct their learning towards the production of discourse, products, and performances that have value or meaning beyond success in school
- Gain valuable skills through learning
- Learning is connected to real life