College's new self-paced learning program lauded


St Philip’s Christian College has implemented a trial Year 7 Mathematics class where students are able to continue to learn via an online mode of delivery with a teacher able to facilitate and assist.

This class will provide opportunities for students to excel through self-paced learning and build upon their existing capacity to take responsibility for their learning.

This self-paced continuous model of learning also provides the teacher with the possibility of accelerating students who benefit from this extension or provider greater flexibility to the learner. Students accepted into the new class will be closely monitored with regards to their ongoing progress, with a teacher dedicated to supporting progress.

'This is the shake-up that education needed'

The College’s Principal, Darren Cox, said students are not only learning more about Maths, they are also learning life-long skills such as responsibility, the ability to self-monitor and to self-motivate.

"These unparalleled times have led to exciting initiatives; this is the shake-up that education needed," Cox told The Educator.

"As a principal, it has been exciting to see the ways in which our students have flourished in online learning. Our students were tremendously adaptive and hit the ground running".

Cox said that having seen the pedagogy potential of online learning, the College is committed to moving forward. 

"We've also seen the positive results the children achieved, and our school community is in full support and partnering with us in this mode of learning".

"It's an incredible opportunity for education to create new paths into the future".

Helping students take control of their learning

Neil Bustos, Head of Mathematics said online continuous Mathematics offers an extensive range of powerful and effective elements for both the College's Year 7 and Year 9 students, as well as its teachers.

"For teachers, it’s an agile way to duplicate yourself whilst still providing meaningful and invaluable learning experiences," Bustos told The Educator. 

"Offering students independence, this model of learning allows students to take control of their learning".

Bustos said students are able to rewind over difficult concepts, as well as fast forward and accelerate their learning.

"As we develop these courses it will also provide the flexibility to accelerate individual students and look at individual learning pathways more authentically".

'Significant academic improvement'

Phil Gallagher, Head of Middle School, said that while online continuous learning has always been something that the College has explored, it "really got its moment" during COVID-19.

"We saw a variety of students excel in this space, and it wasn’t just our excellent maths students," Gallagher told The Educator.

"When comparing our pre and post test results we saw significant academic improvement in the units a variety of students had undertaken at home, cementing this mode of learning for us".

Gallagher said that in response to this data, the College established a class in which students continued to learn in this self-paced and self-regulated environment. 

"It has been an innovative climate of late for education, in which we have been able to build upon existing models of pedagogy and push them even further".

Students happier, more productive

Since launching, the trial program has received some positive feedback from parents.

“We are really happy for our son to participate in this class beginning next week,” one parent said.

“We were able to witness how he worked at home during the COVID-19 home schooling period and it was interesting to see his learning style and how much happier he seemed — as well as being able to work independently and at his own pace”.

Another parent said they were initially "very hesitant" towards online learning with an essential work father, and work from home mother, but quickly realised the benefits of the program.

"The quality and content provided far exceeded our expectations and we watched our daughter thrive as a result of this opportunity".