Highest potential‘When you know what you need to achieve, you are more likely to achieve it. The clearer you make a learning goal, the more likely the student is going to engage and succeed’ (Hattie, 2009).
Individual Learning Plans
All students at Parkville College complete an Individual Learning Plan (ILP) during the intake process, which seeks to identify the existing support services in place and assess the young person’s educational and wellbeing requirements. Each student at Parkville College is diverse in terms of their ability levels, education history, interests, learning needs, stamina levels, motivation levels, and attitudes towards learning. Given that our students have varied needs and vulnerabilities and most have disengaged throughout their education in previous schools, Individual Learning Plans are the vital first step we take to re-engage students in the learning process.
Parkville College teachers create clear learning intentions and individualised goals. This process involves outlining the exact steps each student needs to take in order to achieve each learning intention, using success criteria as a guide. At the beginning of each class, our teachers will display daily learning intentions, a class agenda and success criteria on the whiteboard.
Parkville College teachers model how to perform a skill and deliver clear instruction to each individual, based on diagnostic data that is collected when students enrol regarding their education status, learning abilities and interests.
Lessons are designed specifically with explicit instructions, taking into consideration each students career and education pathway. During class, our students may work on one agenda together, or they may work on their individual learning plan, based on their ability level, background, interests and needs.
We believe providing descriptive feedback is imperative to each student’s progression and ongoing development. The descriptive feedback we provide is aligned with each student’s success criteria and directly links to the skills the student is learning and practicing at the time. Descriptive feedback serves as a powerful learning tool, as it allows our students to understand what they are doing well and areas for further development, including specific steps to take in order to improve.
Our students practice each task independently during class, allowing them self-evaluate their progress against success criteria. The descriptive feedback that is provided to students is based on the learning outcomes addressed in each class, which serves to consolidate learning and continually challenge our students to improve and meet higher expectations.
Motivational interviewing is a health-related psychology method used by Parkville College teachers and staff, which focuses on facilitating change in behaviour. The method concentrates on the importance of motivation and resistance, by the means of four guiding principals; teaching students to resist temptation, understanding each student’s personal motivations, listening with empathy, and empowering students. By helping our students reflect on their personal motivations, we enable them to understand the consequences of their actions.
Motivational interviewing is a non-confrontational, non-judgmental and non-adversarial style of education and rehabilitation, which requires warmth, genuine empathy and acceptance, to be successful. At Parkville College, motivational interviewing allows our students to envision a positive future, by enforcing the ability to change their current position in life.
Engagement‘Disengagement from school, truancy, early leaving and expulsion are common factors contributing to youths offending’ (Victorian Parliament 2009).
Research shows the learning of students is significantly raised, when students are truly engaged. Parkville College teachers therefore, create content for students that is both engaging and educational, based on our students’ interests and needs.
Engagement is a complex cognitive process, which includes a student’s psychological investment to his or her own learning. We believe engagement is not simply measured by good classroom behaviour, or attendance.
Monitoring disengaged learners is the vital first step we take to ensure that help is targeted towards these students, to re-engage them in the learning process. Given that our students have varied needs and vulnerabilities, and most have disengaged throughout their education in previous schools, we believe strong engagement and a positive association towards learning will allow our students to change their trajectory.
Classes at Parkville College are designed specifically to allow students to gradually build their independent work stamina, to enable them to work effectively for longer and focus on difficult and critical thinking tasks.
The stamina learning theory is likened to a fitness test. When you first perform a fitness test, you won’t achieve your best result, however with training and continual application, the next time you complete the fitness test, your results will have improved. We recognise that while some students may be able to focus on a specific task for 30 minutes, others may only be able to focus for a couple of minutes. We start small, and build up. Whatever the student’s stamina level, we believe it should be celebrated and acknowledged, as it can always be improved.
Parkville College teachers assist students to build their learning stamina, by teaching self-regulation strategies that enables them to know how to continue learning when they become distracted or heightened. These stamina and self-regulation strategies also serve as life-skills, that our students use as they transition into adulthood.
Parkville College follows a trauma informed practice approach; part of this practice is to model consistency for the students we teach. Consistency allows our students to feel comfortable and calm within their surroundings and the relationships they adopt within their education to be positive.
Research indicates that many factors influence teachers’ expectations of students, including learning disabilities, race, gender and language acquisition. Our teachers don’t allow stereotypes, learning disabilities, behavioural difficulties, lack of education, socioeconomic backgrounds, culture or race, bias their expectations of students. Parkville College is dedicated to eliminating prejudice, and helping every student realise and achieve their highest potential.