During the September school holidays, eight Santa Sophia teachers travelled to the United States to visit schools in San Diego and San Fransisco. We visited schools to learn more about assessment capable learners and project based learning. The trip was a wonderful learning experience and also affirmed that the pedagogy and initiatives at Santa Sophia are world-class!
'The USA immersion trip to different highschools was excellent as it allowed us to see similarities and differences in our pedagogy as well as affirmed us in what we are already implementing in our school context (e.g. rigorous PBL and assessment capable learners).
It was great to see students taking ownership of their learning by co-constructing project ideas, driving questions, learning intentions, success criteria and rubrics with the teachers, allowing students to learn these skills under the teacher's guidance as well as apply these skills independently. This experience has given us the courage to try new things as well as the comfort of knowing that there are educators on the other side of the world experiencing similar joys and challenges that teaching brings.'
'The opportunity to visit and learn from PBL schools gave me many valuable ideas and processes that I will be able to apply and incorporate into our Mathematics classes at Santa Sophia.
I witnessed many students flourishing in environments where they could learn in rotational workshops and masterclasses of only a small group of students. I saw students who were very familiar and aware of their responsibilities when given set roles in a PBL project. I saw the value of students self-assessing and reflecting on exemplars of student work. I saw the strength of a visible learning environment where students were highly familiar with established whole-school approaches to problem-solving and other numeracy strategies and i really valued the professional conversations and discussions that I was afforded with educational leaders from the United States.'
Our staff trip to explore a variety of schools in America was exceptionally fruitful and affirming. As a team, we were able to work alongside talented professionals to reflect on the best teaching and learning practices that we want to establish here at Santa Sophia.
We have returned with a confirmed sense of the importance of making successful learning visible to the students so they understand the ‘why’ of learning rather than just what they are learning.
This visible learning looks like co-constructing learning scaffolds with students to ensure they are meaningful, accessible and provide clarity.
As a school we want to provide opportunities for collaboration, choice, creativity, and risk taking in our learning projects. "If you teach a person how to learn, they can learn about anything!"
The learnings from our trip also highlighted ways we can celebrate learning growth rather than just learning proficiency.
Upon our return, I am continually filled with the vision and hope of how we are continuing to build a Christ-centered environment that is engaging, enabling, empowering and authentic at all stages of learning. I can confidently say that the learnings and personal connections made with American professionals will be long lasting here at Santa Sophia.