Dear Canterbury College Community

The classroom: an evolving space
When I walk around Canterbury classrooms, I am genuinely fascinated to see what is happening inside. Obviously, I like to see the curriculum being taught and the learning activity that is underway. This in itself is an interesting exercise – there are so many new topics that are being delivered across the year levels – the type of Science being taught and learnt is rapidly changing, as is the way a subject like History is delivered. Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality can transport us back in time - decades, centuries or millenia - and can both reinforce and replace the written word. The impact that graphics calculators have made on the teaching of Mathematics in the Senior School can also not be underestimated.

However, my observations recently have been more on the layout of the classroom, the furniture in the room and the way that different learning activities are being completed at different times by the students in the room. What teachers call ‘differentiation’ parents would understand as ‘personalisation’ of the learning process. Sometimes this might involve a different method of accessing the lesson content. Video clips, VR experiences and podcasts now sit alongside smart textbooks with embedded quizzes which provide real time feedback to students on their progress.

Sometimes it involves entirely different content. Teachers use what they know about individual students to tailor the material entirely. In the Junior School this might be understood easily as different spelling lists, different reading books, different Maths exercises. But this approach extends into secondary school as well.

Teachers spend a lot of time personalising the lesson content to suit the range of learners in front of them. Seeing a Junior School teacher in full flight delivering the THRASS literacy program requires them to be so aware of the different learners they have in front of them. The team of support teachers and teacher-aides working attentively and diligently alongside classroom teachers is also terrific to watch.

The result of this is that classrooms look busier, more complex, interactive and flexible. The type of learning that constitutes homework has also begun to change – accessing a clip or online learning platform is just as important as completing a worksheet with Maths problems or sentence construction practice. There are still of course, assignments to work on and examinations to prepare for, but for parents looking in on the learning process, I don’t blame them for feeling a bit disoriented sometimes. The business of learning in classrooms is changing rapidly.

At Canterbury, our job as educators is to deliver evidence-based teaching, which is responsive to changing technology and media, but also the diversity of students in our community. It is to know, understand and challenge each of our students. Every day, I see evidence that our teachers are working hard to do exactly that.

Rising Star Award Recipient
I was very excited this week to find out that Miss Georgia Gibbons has been named as one of only 20 teachers nationwide for The Educator magazine's Rising Stars in School Leadership Award. Mr Bill Garland has more on this great achievement in his Junior School section of this week's newsletter. I would like to say that we are very proud of Georgia's commitment to her teaching, and to the College in general, and know this is only one of many significant awards she will achieve in her teaching career. Congratulations Georgia.

MMG Education Parent Survey
Lastly, could I remind those parents and guardians who are yet to do so, to please complete the Parent Review, via the link emailed to you last week by MMG Education.

Mr Daniel Walker