Teaching and Learning

Teaching and Learning at St Paul’s School operates under a Differentiated Instruction philosophy. Academic diversity in classrooms is a reality for most teachers throughout the world. On a simple level, differentiated instruction is teaching with student variance in mind. It means starting where the students are rather than adopting a standardised approach to teaching that seems to presume that all learners of a given age or grade are essentially alike. Thus differentiated instruction is “responsive” teaching rather than “one-size-fits-all” teaching.

A fuller definition of differentiated instruction is that a teacher proactively plans varied approaches to what students need to learn, how they will learn it, and/or how they can express what they have learned in order to increase the likelihood that each student will learn as much as he or she can as efficiently as possible. (Tomlinson, 2003, p. 151)

A Statement on Teaching and Learning has been developedby the St Paul’s Teaching and Learning Team. The Statement embraces Differentiation as the overarching philosophy as well as incorporates elements from the following learning frameworks:

  • Dimensions of Learning;
  • Teaching for Understanding – Harvard University – Project Zero Project; and
  • Gardner’s Multiple Intelligences & Bloom’s Taxonomy.

The Statement provides teachers with a holistic understanding of their role in the learning process. Educational experts from all over the world confirm that the classroom teacher plays a vital role in assisting students to reach their educational potential. We are told that only the student’s ability and motivation contribute more than the teacher to learning outcomes. Teaching and Learning at St Paul’s is a shared responsibility.

References:

Tomlinson, C. A. (2003). Differentiating instruction for academic diversity. In J. M. Cooper (Ed.), Classroom teaching skills, 7th ed (pp 149-180). Boston: Houghton Mifflin.

Jon Andrews
Executive Director of Teaching and Learning

Last modified on 12 June 2013 at 11:58