“Pursuing Personal Best” in a caring environment is Iona College’s philosophical foundation.
In pursuing personal best in a caring environment:
- The school maintains an unrelenting focus on student achievement and learning.
- Teacher-student partnerships focus on learning.
- The school culture nurtures and sustains continuous improvement.
To this end the following assumptions and beliefs underpin teaching practice and learning opportunities at Iona College.
Beliefs about Learning and Teaching
- Every student has a right to the best possible educational experience.
- All students have the capacity to learn but each student has an individual learning style and pace.
- Teaching is about helping young people become better learners. The teacher’s role is to provide students with the skills and strategies for taking the next step in their learning.
- A good learner is confident, curious and capable.
- Instilling a love of learning in students encourages life-long learning and is more important than teaching them specific knowledge.
- Learning is an active rather than a passive process. There has been a major shift in the pedagogy or teaching methodology from an “Instruction Approach” to a “Learning Approach”. With the “Learning Approach” the purpose is not to transfer knowledge from one person to another but to create an environment and experiences that produce learning.
- Learning takes place when individuals are able to build on existing knowledge and make sense of the new experience. The learning process needs to engage students in activities in which they learn by doing things, both with the hands and the head. It is important that teachers use a variety of teaching strategies and that these teaching strategies focus on higher order thinking.
- Teaching is high quality only if it assists all students to learn and make progress. Our aim is to produce learning with every student by whatever means works best.
- New Zealand research shows that what teachers do in classrooms has the biggest influence on student outcomes. If we as teachers make the biggest difference to what students can achieve, then we need to be willing to investigate ways to improve our teaching.
- Teachers learn and develop in their craft by reflecting on what they are doing, why they are doing it, and the effect it is having. The on-going focus centres on seeking ways to improve student learning and achievement.
- Staff need opportunities to develop and strengthen their teaching skills. This takes time and needs sustained support as changing teaching involves risk, practice, repetition and patience.
- The New Zealand Curriculum identifies five key competencies that are the key to learning in every learning area: thinking; using language, symbols, and texts; managing self; relating to others and participating and contributing. The learning areas can be seen as a vehicle for engaging learning and developing these competencies.