Teaching & Learning
Layers of Learning - PEARLS
Students are at the heart of our teaching practice at Hillcrest Christian College, and so our focus is on applying a robust, research-based framework that supports teachers to make ongoing improvements in our students’ learning. The strongest influence for improving student learning is what occurs in the classroom, or the pedagogy (the method and practice of teaching) that is used.
Our new Layers of Learning Pedagogical Framework has been developed to provide a mutual direction that supports pedagogical growth, and development for our educators, while reflecting the values that we hold closely as a Christian College. Simply stated, our Framework describes what effective teaching and learning should look like in a Hillcrest classroom.
Six ‘Layers’ have been developed within our Framework, with elaborations, examples of practice, and reflective questions. These layers are fundamental to learning, and provide the basis for effective pedagogy. The acronym PEARLS represents each layer of learning in the Framework.
The Six Layers of Learning are:
- Professional Responsibility
- Engagement in Learning
- Authentic and Purposeful Assessment
- Real and Supportive Relationships
- Learning-Centre Environment
- Skills for Success
PEARLS provides teachers, year level teams, learning communities, and the College, with a system to examine teaching practices, identify key areas for growth and improvement, and develop an action plan to implement rigorous and relevant professional learning strategies.
Hillcrest's Layers of Learning are described in ways that do not refer directly to particular practices for specific learning areas, and may look very different in practice, depending on the age group of the students. However, with the tools available to our teachers, this Framework supports the continued development of our educators to ensure we are supporting all students to reach their academic potential.
Coaching & Mentoring
At Hillcrest, learning is embedded into the culture of our College community, for both students and teachers alike.
As part of our professional learning community, Hillcrest teachers regularly reflect on their teaching practice, improve their understanding of the science of learning, and develop their craft of teaching. Their aim is to transform this knowledge into sustained practice, as they work to support students to develop and improve in their learning.
Our Professional Development Framework, called The Barnabas Direction, works hand in hand with our PEARLS Layers of Learning, to provide focus, direction and suggest actions for development. An integral part of our Professional Development Framework is mentoring and coaching for teachers and leaders.
Michael Fullun, world-renowned educational researcher, emphasises the strong link between student achievement and structured opportunities for educators to learn from one another on a sustained, ongoing basis (Fullan, 2001)
The Professional Development Framework includes:
- Educative Self-Reflection Surveys
- Student Perspective Surveys
- Educative Mentoring for Early Career Teachers and Teachers new to Hillcrest
- Peer Educative Coaching
- Peer Observation and Modelling Lessons
- Instructional Educative Coaching for Numeracy and Literacy, giving teachers access to colleagues with high-level skills and knowledge base
- Classroom walkthroughs and feedback
- Leadership Mentoring and Coaching