Students learn best when they feel safe, supported and encouraged to ‘be themselves’. At CCC, we believe that each child is wonderfully and uniquely made for a purpose. Our role as educators is to encourage them to strive to be their best in their passion areas and help them develop and grow in their areas of weakness. Educational researcher, John Hattie, found that when students feel safe, supported and ‘known’ by their teachers they achieve double the learning that maturation would allow. For best learning students need a supportive and safe learning environment where they are ‘known‘ and can try new things with the risk of failing and it be ok.
Walker Learning values teacher/student/community relationships and has made this a key principle of this approach to teaching and learning. The approach aims to support students to enjoy school and not just be compliant. A Walker Learning teacher strives to support students to engage deeply with curriculum content and develop an authentic sense of self as a learner. Students’ interests are used as the beginning of learning experiences during investigations. Many aspects of the Walker Learning Approach are established to develop and deepen the positive relationships between student and teacher. These include:
Each child is a focus child once per fortnight. Each day, during ‘tuning in’ time, two or three focus children sit in front of the class and choose an area for their investigation time. The teacher then gives each focus child a provocation related to their area of investigation and interest which is matched to learning goals and intentions. While all students are engaged in investigation time the teacher then spends a sustained amount of time with each focus child. They work with these children one-on-one to encourage them to think deeply, make connections and explain their learning and process. At the end of investigation time, the focus children for that day sit in front of the class again and discuss their findings, learning and areas for future investigation with the rest of the class.
Reporter and Photographer:
The teacher will also assign one student to be a reporter and one student to be a photographer during ‘tuning in’ time. They sit with the focus children at the front of the class and are given a task to complete during investigation time. The reporter will often ask their classmates a question or copy information from around the room or from another text source. The photographer will often search through the classroom and take photos of particular things that relate to the task that the teacher has set for them. These findings will be shared with the class later in the day and related to the learning that occurs during explicit teacher time.
Many Walker Learning teachers have reflected with members of our Early Years Learning Team about the deeper, richer learning relationships that have been formed through using this approach.
– Article by Sarah Edwards (Head of Curriculum Early Years)