Curriculum Matters

April 2021

In a world where school students, for so many years, have worked to complete set tasks and comply to standards, there is a rallying cry and a more urgent need for young people to emerge from our education system as problem solvers and creative thinkers in order that they may embrace and contribute in a meaningful manner to their ever-changing environments. They should be kind and compassionate, brave risk-takers, with open minds, an awareness of global issues and a willingness to continue to learn and grow throughout their lives.

If this is the type of student Tintern aspires to send out into the world, then our Tintern staff, also, must model such attributes. Much of our staff professional development these past few months has been focussed on delving into the culture of learning at Tintern and pulling apart exactly how we, as lifelong learners, are conducting teaching and learning experiences in our classrooms with your children. Our focus has been on the cultural forces and routines espoused by the Cultures of Thinking research conducted by Project Zero out of Harvard University. In undertaking these explorations, staff have allowed themselves to be vulnerable and honest with each other about how we have taught in the past and how we need to adapt our teaching and learning, moving forward. These are exciting times and the intentional outcomes of deepening our own and our students’ thinking skills, alongside the ripple effect from these explorations can only be of benefit to the culture of learning at Tintern.

NAPLAN

Having reflected in the previous section on our historical predilection for testing and standardization, we come to one of those practices mandated by our government which provides data which is highly valued in some quarters but, perhaps, is now being surpassed in other quarters for a propensity for deeper and broader educational outcomes. In just over a week, students in Years 3, 5, 7 and 9 will sit the annual ‘National Assessment Program – Literacy and Numeracy’ (NAPLAN) tests. These tests provide practice for students at sitting formal tests and are one source of data for schools and parents to assess the progress of individual students, cohorts and programs.

This year, Tintern Grammar will be among thousands of schools nationally which will complete the NAPLAN tests utilizing the improved online system.

Whilst these test results are useful, and our students do perform well by national standards, it must be remembered that they are a single snapshot in time focussing on a few key skills and not the whole picture. Whilst the NAPLAN results can provide broader snapshots of learning trends within states and regions, individual and collaborative teacher assessment over time provides a richer and deeper picture of student learning. NAPLAN results should be considered in this wider context.

Our teaching teams at Tintern develop targets based on a range of assessments and explorations and these sit alongside the values of the Tintern Grammar Compass and Learner Profile. These targets address the whole-person and the types of 21st Century knowledge and skills which we strive to develop in all of our students.

End-of-semester reporting

Parents are reminded that Junior and Secondary School Semester Reports will be published to families online via our Tintern Grammar Portal. They will go live at 3pm on Tuesday 22 June. Instructions for accessing these reports will be emailed to families in the last week of term.

Secondary Program and Subject Selection for 2022

As part of Tintern Grammar’s commitment to ensuring students make informed choices, we are holding two information sessions relating to the options available for our Years 10 and 11 students of 2022.

The first of these sessions, our Guiding your Future event, is scheduled for Wednesday 9 June. This event, designed for current Years 9 and 10 students, will explore how senior subject selection is best informed by an understanding of the senior qualifications on offer at the school and the potential career pathways available to students. Further information will be forthcoming to Years 9 and 10 families regarding this event in the near future.

As a follow up to this evening, a Subject Showcase Evening will be held in Term 3 on Thursday 22 July 2021.  On this second evening, all individual VCE and VET subjects on offer next year will be outlined and subject teachers will be available to answer specific subject-related questions. At this evening Year 9 (2021) students and families are invited to attend a special information session on the possibility of taking a VCE subject in Year 10, prior to joining Year 10 (2021) students and families in the Anderson Centre (Senior College).

As in previous years, the subject selection process will occur online in late July. Students will be given instructions on how to follow this process in special assemblies at school and instructions will be sent to students’ Tintern email accounts on the evening of Friday 23 July.

The information sessions mentioned above will assist students to select the most suitable pathway and subject choices for 2022. Individual teachers and our careers counsellors also will be available to assist in this process throughout the timeline outlined.

 

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