The English Faculty at Whangaparāoa College is vibrant and forward-thinking. We are staffed by experienced teachers with a range of skills who are open to new ideas.
Emphasis is placed on the literacy skills needed for success in education and the world beyond school. Reading and writing are high on the priority list of classroom and homework activities. We are well-resourced with a wide range of modern and traditional texts, both written and visual. Classrooms are equipped with data projectors and teachers are aware of the importance of engaging students by using modern technologies where appropriate.
A number of philosophical beliefs underpin teaching and learning in an English classroom at Whangaparāoa College:
A supportive learning environment: Recognition that our learners represent a wide range of backgrounds, abilities and learning styles. This is supported by choosing texts which are appropriate to the class.
Encouragement of reflective thought and action: Allowing learners to critically evaluate the material they use, and to reflect on their performance in assessment tasks.
Enhancing the relevance of new learning: Making explicit the reasons for doing each activity or the choice of certain texts. Where possible, learners are involved in the choice of texts or themes in order that they see what they are doing as relevant and for them to “buy in” to their learning.
Facilitating shared learning: Ensuring there is a range of co-operative learning activities being used on a regular basis in the classroom. Learners are encouraged to discuss their learning at home.
Making connections to prior learning: Finding out what the learners already know about a theme, idea or text. Learners are encouraged to make connections between their learning and their own experiences, as well as making connections between texts.
Teaching as inquiry: Teachers are aware of the mixed ability nature of English classes and strive to differentiate to cater for the needs of all learners. Use of assessment data informs teaching and helps cater for the diverse needs of the learners.
Assessment: A range of programmes using internal and external assessment ensures most learners can enjoy success according to their individual abilities. Emphasis is placed in the senior school on achieving NCEA success, with specialised programmes for those learners who need help with literacy. Able learners are extended through the use of challenging themes and texts, with constant urging to aim for excellence.