Teaching and Learning at SAIS
Teaching can be defined as engagement with learners to enable their understanding and application of knowledge, concepts, and processes. It includes design, content selection, delivery, assessment, and reflection.
To teach is to engage students in learning; thus, teaching consists of getting students involved in the active construction of knowledge. A teacher requires not only knowledge of the subject matter, but knowledge of how students learn and how to transform them into active learners. Good teaching, then, requires a commitment to a systematic understanding of learning. The aim of teaching is not only to transmit information but also to transform students from passive recipients of other people's knowledge into active constructors of their own and others' knowledge.
An important element of our School Improvement Plan is our commitment to being a Professional Learning School. For this reason, commitment to high-quality professional learning is central to what we do.
Have high expectations of all students.
Understand that learning happens when students think hard.
Emphasize the importance of effort.
We also reflect on our professional practice through a range of activities including:
Developing Subject Expertise Groups that allow us to remain abreast of current subject-specialist thinking.
The craft of the Classroom meetings and briefings allow us to continue to develop our classroom pedagogy.
Professional Learning Groups that allow us to engage with research evidence.
Iterative Observation and Feedback which allow us to improve our individual practice.
Team Review which allows us to improve our team practice.
Engagement with Whole Education which allows us to improve our school practice working with other schools.
Learning at SAIS:
Learning can be defined as the activity or process of gaining knowledge or skill by studying, practicing, being taught. We believe that learning happens when students think hard.
The following principles underlie our thinking about effective learning:
We believe that intelligence and academic and other abilities are not fixed but can be developed with the right input and deliberate, well-focused, practice.
We believe that learning is fundamentally composed of knowledge and skills stored in our long-term memory and that these memories can only be created by thinking carefully about the subject matter to be learned.
For further information, please click on the link http://www.danielwillingham.com/articles.html.
Student Learning Styles:
At SAIS we refer to the Cognitive Abilities Test (CAT4) which is a diagnostic assessment that is designed to help students and their teachers understand how they learn and what their academic potential might be. It assesses how students think in areas that are known to make a difference to learning. Results from the CAT4 data enables teachers to adapt their teaching approaches, materials, emphasis and pace in the classroom to meet individual student needs. Our students in G3-G9 take the CAT 4 test once upon joining the school so we can identify their learning styles and tailor this learning style into differentiated instruction within the classroom.
CAT4 assesses four types of reasoning, one for each of the four batteries:
Verbal Reasoning: the ability to understand ideas and reason through words is essential to subjects with a high language content and the most obvious skill picked up by traditional assessment.
Quantitative Reasoning: the ability to use numerical skills to solve problems – applicable well beyond mathematics.
Non-verbal Reasoning: problem-solving using pictures and diagrams – skills which are important in a wide range of school subjects, including maths and science-based subjects.
Spatial Ability: the capacity to think and draw conclusions in three dimensions, especially important for many STEM subjects (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) but not easily measured by other sources of information.