The value of 'holistic learning'

The value of

As research continues to highlight the academic and social benefits of Social Emotional Learning (SEL), principals are increasingly focused on taking a ‘whole of child’ approach to education.

Over time, terms such as ‘holistic learning’ and ‘human literacy’ have entered the vernacular in education circles and provided new ways of understanding this trend.

One organisation contributing to this educational shift is Edumazing, which combines the talent and passion of education and well-being professionals determined to make a positive difference to learners of all ages.

Edumazing founder and director, Georgina Pazzi, said that for far too long, schools have been focusing on improving student results based on the content instead of the holistic factors that influence achievement.

“At Edumazing we are determined and passionate about making a positive difference to learners of all ages and have developed the concept of Human Literacy – a holistic pedagogy that shapes student success across all areas of the curriculum and within their own lives,” Pazzi told The Educator.

“It goes beyond SEL and considers five elements that represent the whole child. These are the social, physical, intellectual, cultural and emotional.”

Pazzi said that when teachers implement the Human Literacy Pedagogy within their classroom, they assess students holistically to identify the reasons they are succeeding in their learning and triggers that contribute to challenges within their learning.

“The Human Literacy Pedagogy provides support that addresses these challenges and increases the likelihood of improving student results,” she said.

“Holistic learning is essential if we are to address specific needs and improve their overall learning and lives.

NAPLAN ‘doesn’t work for most students’

Pazzi said the research behind high-stakes testing, including NAPLAN, have consistently shown that this form of assessment often doesn’t work for most students.

“If we had to continue with NAPLAN and had the opportunity to improve it, I would recommend that we implement ideas to make it a more accurate and useful measure of student achievement,” she said.

Pazzi said the government should develop a series of standardised on-line formative and summative assessments based on all areas of the Australian Curriculum in English and Mathematics – including the opportunity to extend these into other areas of the curriculum) linked to standards.

“Teachers then select the required formative NAPLAN assessments that meet their student needs. Students complete the assessment and instant results are provided to inform differentiated instruction and learning,” Pazzi said.

“After a variety of rich learning experiences, students then complete the NAPLAN summative assessment.”

Pazzi said the two results are then compared to indicate a more accurate measure of their growth and used to further improve their learning.

“If NAPLAN was used this way, we will then be focusing on personalising student learning instead of externalising it,” she said.