Over the last decade, Parramatta Marist High School (PMH) has implemented significant changes to the teaching and learning strategies across the school curriculum with the focus primarily on the implementation of three constructivist pedagogies; Project Based Learning (in stages 4 & 5), Problem Based Learning and the Flipped Classroom (in stage 6). Commensurate with the aims and needs of these pedagogical approaches, great emphasis has been placed on collaborative learning within modern open-plan learning spaces; cross-curricular integration; team-teaching; the explicit teaching, modelling and assessing of 21st century ‘soft’ skills and the integration of technology within all three models.
Our intention, in effecting these changes, was not simply to ‘engage’ or to better prepare our students for external standardized tests but (and more importantly) to equip students with the skills needed to become confident, articulate, independent and life-long learners who are better prepared for their post-school life and careers. A concurrent intention (and requirement) was also to afford greater professional development opportunities to staff through the establishment of a ‘learning community’ and the formation of relationships with both individuals and organizations specializing in Project and Problem Based Learning within Australia and overseas. In particular, with our two affiliate organizations:
· The New Tech Network, USA, for Project Based learning
· Republic Polytechnic, Singapore, for Problem Based Learning
Consequently, Parramatta Marist teaching staff have around 100 hours of timetabled professional development every year and over 90% of staff have participated in training and accreditation courses, seminars, conferences, symposia as well as undertaking further tertiary studies with the following institutions/organisations:
· The New Tech Network, Napa Valley, USA
· Republic Polytechnic. Singapore
· The Buck Institute for Education (BIE), California, USA
· Maastricht University, The Netherlands
· Erasmus University, Rotterdam, The Netherlands
· High Tech High, San Diego, California, USA
· Stanford University, California, USA
In the process of implementing these pedagogies we have experienced fundamental change and our school has redefined the way our students ‘learn’ and how our teachers ‘teach’. Through the Centre for Deeper Learning (CDL), we hope to share our experiences with other interested educators and continue to promote innovation and change within our schooling system.
Parramatta Marist High iBook
Parramatta Marist was recently recognised as an Apple Distinguished School.
Pleae feel free to download our free Apple iBook to learn more about our approaches to teaching and learning and how we ue technology to support good pedagogy.