Teaching & Learning

What are teaching practices and why are they important?

Teaching practices are the methods used by schools to shape the learning of students. Not all are effective and some may be detrimental to learning. Many practices seem good on the surface, however, teachers and schools have an obligation to ensure that what they do supports the learning of all students. As educators, we have a moral obligation to assist students learn the skills required for them to be highly functioning adults, for their own wellbeing and that of their greater community. Global research shows that those who have a high level of education have happier and healthier lives.

Walking into any Wollondilly classroom, you will see Explicit Instruction used as our standard teaching practice. Explicit Instruction is a teaching practice that is supported by major studies in the UK, USA and Australia. These large scale studies focused on what effective teachers around the world had in common. This, as well as research into how the brain learns, lead to the development of Explicit Instruction (EI). The evidence was too overwhelming for us not to take on this approach, we want to do the best for our students.

EI involves a lesson structure of warm up, review, teacher modelling, guided instruction and independent practise. Lessons are paced so that every child is engaged and is constantly participating in their own learning process. Students practice skills until they are ready for independence. This gradual release enables students to apply knowledge and skills with confidence. There is a lot of science to the design of lessons. Constant assessment and checking for understanding allows teachers to provide differentiated instruction that better meets the needs of all students. It is not a one size fits all.

This approach requires a consistency that we do not compromise on. Every teacher at Wollondilly is expected to use an EI approach, this involves training and commitment. In the end, our focus is on our students making great progress. We are happy to do the work involved because we want to provide the best education we can.

Since developing our own Wollondilly EI approach, we have seen our students achieve some amazing results. There is a culture of learning that is evident to all who walk through. External testing results as well as what we see in the classroom are testament to the effectiveness of our program. We have seen 90% of our students in Year 3 achieve in the top bands of NAPLAN since introducing EI. This has not been achieved by a selective enrolment policy.

We are immensely proud of our results. Our mission is to set a high standard of achievable goals for all students and to expect that every student can make good progress. The implementation of Explicit Instruction over the past years has greatly assisted us in providing our students with the best possible learning environment.