When students drive the learning

Stage 3 students at this New South Wales school are using project-based learning to drive their own learning.

In his latest Teacher video Greg Whitby, Executive Director of Schools in the Catholic Diocese of Parramatta speaks to Kirsty Reynolds, a teacher from Our Lady of The Way Primary in Emu Plains about the approach she's implemented at her NSW school.

‘With us, it's not me sitting out the front saying “this is what we're going to be learning about”, “this is how we're going to be learning” – they've taken that role and they're driving that …,' Reynolds shares.

In this example, the students took on the role of environmentalists and emergency preparation teams to develop emergency kits that could be used in a natural disaster.

‘It's different because it's the children driving their own learning. So as teachers, we are still facilitators but they're facilitating their own learning, so they're driving that learning and they're then developing those 21st century skills such as collaboration, problem solving and thinking on their feet,' Reynolds says.

She acknowledges that it can be difficult to let go of the reins at first, but this becomes easier once you see how engaged the students are. ‘We've noticed they're more engaged, they're more willing to continue their learning, they want to continue it, they don't want to stop learning – which I think is great.'

Reynolds says the program has also changed the way she works with colleagues, as this approach to learning means that all staff need to be on the same page.

‘…We're planning as we go and we're also critiquing each other – so this is working really well and we're also working with a diversity team and our leadership team, so we're all on board.'


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