Video transcript – A Learner-Centred Environment at Epping North Public School

Jo Wilcher, Principal:
At Epping North, we believed we had an opportunity to redefine the teacher-learner relationship. We believe we are a learning school, and continue to grow in our collaboration between our students, teachers, and parents. We believe that literacy and numeracy are best taught through explicit teaching. And we introduced the Seven Steps of Writing program to improve student writing outcomes. And we introduced Ten in Town, to improve student numeracy outcomes. But we also wanted to focus on innovation in terms of deep learning, critical and creative thinking, and technology. We looked at how we could go about advancing innovation and creativity from an abstract goal to a reality. We want a school that has an alignment between curriculum, pedagogy, environment, assessment, reflection, and student growth. We want every teacher and every student engaged and active in every classroom, every day. We wanted to bring aspects of the mandatory requirements, the new curriculum, and innovative practice into one overarching framework. We have strategized where we need to go next. All we have to do now is make it sustainable and embed it into everything that we do (motivational rock music).

Text on screen: [Graphic introduction]

Sarah McLean, Classroom Teacher:
Our school is consciously designed so that elements of deep learning, learning leaders, and learning communities feed each other to facilitate a constructivist learning environment. Learning centre communities build from the idea that all stakeholders are valued, and actively engaged in the genesis and sustainability of the system. We consciously chose the term 'constructivist learning' to encapsulate the 21st century learning that is occurring in our school.

Anthony Fennell, Technology Coordinator:
For students at Epping North, technology is focused on being collaborative, and creating engaging works. Now we love to see students demonstrate their own learning in ways that are meaningful, and that help them prepare for life beyond the classroom. Our focus with technology for students is to ensure they're globally connected, that their learning goes beyond the classroom and that they can communicate, and collaborate effectively in a 21st century world.

Michael Taylor, Assistant Principal:
Epping North Public School is working towards a major focus in goal-setting for both teachers and students. We want to encourage and develop a culture of values, relationship, and trust, and respect that comes with their learning.

Text on screen: Constructivist Learning, Pervasive Technology, Deep Learners information.

Student 1:
If you set a goal, it's like setting a dream for life. Whenever a student like me sets a goal, they work as hard as they can to complete it. To me, goals are important because they help students learn and try harder.

Student 2:
Goals don't always have to be about education. It can be about challenging yourself. It makes you try harder to get better at something.

Keith Barnett, Classroom Teacher:
Learners are cognitively engaged with deep learning through authentic learning contexts, problem-based learning, and inquiry processes. We want to develop in our students the capacity for learning how to learn. It is a process of preparing and empowering students to master essential academic content, think critically, and solve complex problems. They need to work collaboratively, communicate effectively, have a group mindset, and be self directed in their education.

Student 3:
In Epping North Public School, there have been new and effective ways introduced to help children learn. In my class, we have taken mathematics learning to the next level, with the Stanford University mathematics learning program for students.

Student 4:
On that note, we have been growing more confident in our learning, and in general, learning more. Now when I say, 'learning', I mean thinking and remembering more than pen and paper. Though pen and paper is still popular, technology is becoming more popular. Recently, we have been group working to complete activities such as Earth Parliament, and playing dress-up with our group leader.

Student 5:
At Epping North Public School we have been focusing on critical and creative thinking, and learning about the seven dispositions, such as being open-minded, taking risks, and sharing how we can be ubiquitous. K-6 have been learning about the seven dispositions in critical and creative thinking sessions. We have used these skills to improve and elaborate our ideas.

Student 6:
In our Earth Parliament, we have been working in groups and used the seven dispositions to improve our ideas, and find many solutions to problems and set tasks. We have been very engaged in critical and creative thinking sessions, and have taken these skills into our work, and different aspects of our lives. These skills have helped us look at ideas and problems in different ways.

Marie McHugh, P&C President:
So, we have this new critical and creative thinking, I believe it's absolutely necessary because our society is changing at the most enormously rapid pace and it's not just about learning your writing, it's learning how to adapt. At the blink of an eye, from month to month, new apps, new methods of communication, the kids have got to be thinkers.

Text on screen: [Learning communities]

Text on screen: [Learning Leaders]

Deborah Bate, Classroom Teacher:
In learning communities, our teachers collaborate more than the norm, supporting each other, and jointly taking responsibility for student success. We aim to create a community around learning and more specifically, to build a learning community that is actually driven by the needs of the learner, and skilfully maintained by teachers and other professionals. We hold learning community meetings and collaborative grade planning every term with all stage members. Here, the teachers work together to design curriculum, exchange ideas about daily practices, and keep track of individual students.

Anthony Fennell, Technology Coordinator:
One of my roles as Technology Coordinator at Epping North, is to ensure that the staff remains confident, and, builds their capacity to use technology in meaningful, engaging ways, in their classroom. As part of this role, I've made sure that I work with teachers very closely to build what they know about apps, to build what they think students are capable of, and to challenge them to think beyond what would be traditionally a book or paper activity.

Text on screen: [Future Learning wheels]

Shonah Gibson, Assistant Principal:
We believe that learning leaders are designers of learning experiences. We took time to look at the research around how educators develop pedagogies, to meet the evolving needs of our students and school community. Teachers work in collaboration to construct connected units that allow the deep learning that promotes the development of creativity, innovation, and self-direction, that has a strong flavour of constructivist learning.

End of transcript

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