For learners to achieve their potential, the following teaching practices need to be evident. All of these four are essential to learning at Whangaparaoa College.
Learners need to be involved in programmes of work that are both intellectually stimulating and challenging, as well as providing academic rigour. These on their own provide no guarantee of success, but when other teaching practices are in operation, achievement to a higher standard can be obtained. These high expectations will be evident within Whangaparaoa College’s learning environment, extra curricular programmes and with Home Learning as well.
Connections in Learning
Learners learn best when they are able to make connections or links within their learning. This involves connections between knowledge areas (curriculum) and also connections between the learner and their world and experiences. Making connections assists learners to make sense of their world and learning.
A Supportive Environment
Learners require a supportive learning environment if they are to learn and achieve well. The foundation must be a positive, caring, learning climate. Having clear guidelines for the work that is required and receiving both regular and constructive feedback along the way enables learners to experience greater success. Providing multiple opportunities for learners to work alongside others, either in pairs or small group situations, assists in developing the culture of a ‘Community of Learners’.
Research has shown that both emerging adolescents and young people require strong adult role models in their lives with whom they can establish healthy relationships. There is also a need for respect and positive affirmation from adults. This is supported by establishing a structure for the junior years, where learners spend a large amount of time with the one teacher in the one room. This provides a ‘concerned’ adult with stronger connections for learners. Building positive peer relationships will be encouraged as learners search for identity and acceptance from peers and others.
Knowledge and Ideas
The New Zealand Curriculum will be implemented as outlined in the New Zealand Curriculum Framework. The Essential Learning Areas are
Language and Languages
Health and Physical Education
Integrated Studies and Specialization
The essential learning areas in the Junior classes will be delivered primarily by an Integrated Studies lead learner allowing for the integration of the curriculum where practical. The delivery of some areas, Technology, aspects of the Arts curriculum and Foreign Languages, will be delivered by lead learners. As learners progress through the school, the need for a greater depth of content increases and thus more subject specialization will occur. Senior learners will be taught by lead learners who are experts in their specific fields of teaching.
Content and Contexts
Within the Essential Learning Areas, units of work will be developed, based on content which is relevant to the learner and the world in which they live. Providing learners with a wide range of learning contexts will encourage a broad knowledge base and assist learners to transfer knowledge from one field to another.
By Year 9 learners, while still being taught the core curriculums, will be able to narrow down their range of study and choose the areas they wish to pursue in greater depth.