Relief from learning disruptions


A child learning

I recently had a conversation with a parent who felt frustrated by what they called the ‘revolving door’ of teachers their son had for Year 8 Maths. They asked me how it was possible for multiple teachers to establish continuity or build the necessary rapport required for delivering quality teaching and support. It’s a fair question and one built on the premise that the teacher is always at the centre of the learning.

Good teaching is relational. In other words, when we know the child and how he or she learns, we are able to adjust the teaching to ensure they progress. Staffing is one of the biggest challenges of leading any school community. Consistency is important; however teachers do get sick, they are entitled to take leave and many have parental/family responsibilities.

Making sure that students aren’t negatively impacted by staff absences requires us to address two things. The first is how we organise the school day. This is particularly relevant in secondary schools where groups of students are taught one subject by one teacher. If a teacher is away, they are usually replaced by a relief teacher. Despite how committed and capable these teachers might be, it is a huge task to be able to establish rapport and manage the dynamics of a classroom for a short period of time.

The second is how we organise the learning. In NSW, there is a review currently underway of the curriculum. This is a golden opportunity for us to think differently about individual teachers having sole responsibility for their specialist subject and move to an integrated approach where responsibility is shared and learning is focused on project-based learning. In this model, the focus is not on the teacher but on the learning. Teachers working in teams becomes a powerful antidote to the issues that arise from teacher absences and shortages.

It is critical that we realise that the real work of teachers is teaching students how to learn. We won’t be able to do this successfully unless we shift the model of learning from being teacher-directed to student-centred. Having learning centred on the students and led by the students provides better outcomes for everyone!


Posted By CathEd Parra at 29/11/2018 9:04:49 AM

Featured Albums

2019 Stations of the Cross
As schools were finishing Term 1, some took the time to reflect on the meaning of Easter and the story of Jesus’ ultimate sacrifice. Two schools in particular, St Andrews Primary School, Marayong and Sacred Heart Primary, Mount Druitt, focused their reflection time on the Stations of the Cross. Photos from St Andrews Stations of the Cross tour and finished off with a photo from Sacred Hearts Primary Schools dramatic interpretation.
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2018-08-22 Showcase Day 2
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2018-08-21 Showcase Day 1
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2018-08-20 Showcase Dress Rehearsal
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2018 Dance for Drought
More than 800 people attended Chisholm Catholic Primary School’s “Dance for Drought” on Thursday night, raising around $4000 for farming families doing it tough in Western NSW.
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Annual CCD Mass 2018
It was a great celebration of this ministry when over 400 SREs from across the Diocese joined the 300 student SREs from Catholic schools for the Annual Diocesan Confraternity of Christian Doctrine (CCD) Mass and Awards Ceremony.
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An Education Hub
With a focus on Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM), the school will be an educational hub for the Science Park and integrate seamlessly with the life and work of the community. Through the use of shared facilities, business-educational partnerships and collaboration on real-world problems, this ‘thinking’ school will prepare students for the STEM-focused knowledge jobs of the future. Mentoring and internships will allow students to apply their learning to real life situations and pursue tertiary and post school opportunities within and beyond the Science Park.
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2016 Teacher Awards
On Thursday 27 October, 66 leaders and staff from Catholic schools and the education office were recognised for a collective 2570 years of service and 50 years of leadership at a special ceremony at St Patrick’s Cathedral. The Staff Recognition Awards were presented by Episcopal Vicar for Education and Formation, Rev Christopher de Souza EV and Executive Director Greg Whitby at St Patrick’s Cathedral in Parramatta.
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2016 Principals Masterclass
The annual Principals Masterclass, which is the key professional learning experience for principals and senior leaders from the education office, was held on 20 and 21 October at Rooty Hill RSL.
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2016 Bishop of Parramatta Award for Student Excellence
The annual Bishop of Parramatta Awards for Student Excellence which recognises the religious and academic achievement of Year 12 students across the Diocese of Parramatta, were presented at St Patrick’s Cathedral on 8 September 2016.
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2016 Ready, Set…. Read! St Agnes’ Reading Relay
On Thursday 1 September 2016, Year 7 students from St Agnes Catholic High School Rooty Hill participated in the school’s annual Reading Relay.
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2016 Way of Mercy Cross and Relics
On Monday 8 August 2016, hundreds of students, parish members and Catholic Education staff from around the diocese gathered in St Patrick’s Cathedral, North Parramatta for the official Way of Mercy launch.
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