Through various initiatives from organisations with which I have worked, I have had the opportunity to work with a variety of pedagogical approaches. This has provided me with insight into methodologies used around the world.
High Performance Learning
HPL, developed by professor Deborah Eyre, recognises the potential for every child to achieve outstanding results, eliminating the concept of differentiation by outcome. Children's brains are classified into various Advanced Cognitive Performance Characteristics (ACPs) and Values, Attitudes and Attributes (VAAs) towards which teachers direct content, training children to achieve the highest standard of thinking and learning. It transforms outlooks from 'I can't do it' into 'I can't do it yet' mindsets as they strive for excellence. Differentiation is then applied to methods of learning as opposed to the ending point that learners attempt to reach. My experience consisted of supporting the implementation of HPL in the school's journey toward achieving 'World Class' status by participation in the steering group, delivering professional development workshops and embedding the concepts in my daily teaching practice.
OLEVI is a system aimed at developing a professional development culture within the organisation to bring the conversations of improved teaching and learning into the everyday discussions happening around school. A key focus is the sharing of outstanding practice to help motivate and inspire each other simultaneously offering the learners the benefits of the collaboration.
While working with GEMS education, a core component of offering a world class education to children was developing practice based on what systems work at various skills. The GEMS network is vast, giving schools and teachers the opportunity to gain insight from other schools and their highly qualified teaching staff, middle leadership and senior leadership teams. GEMS also participates in community outreach initiatives around the UAE and the world, giving teachers the tools to leverage real world applications in the classroom to improve teaching and learning. Methods such as Talk for Writing, guided reading and various international examination boards give teachers a wealth of tools used to offer children and parents learning opportunities that extend beyond teachers' individual subject knowledge. Professional development in these areas are facilitated at all GEMS facilities through Tellal, ensuring quality and accuracy in the execution of pedagogical approaches.
The rise of COVID-19 necessitated the swift transition of live classes into a blended learning approach offering learners and parents options to continue their education. The efficient implementation of the systems, although subject to teething issues, was adopted relatively seamlessly. Children embraced the increased use of technology in the classroom, adding the use of various platforms to their repertoire and forever changing the landscape of teaching and learning. I have had the opportunity to facilitate this change among parents and children, ultimately giving everyone involved more exposure and experience using technology and its various mediums to enhance the curriculum and reach goals that may have been considered too advanced in earlier years. Although this tragedy impacted many people in catastrophic ways, the varied approach turned into a valuable learning opportunity for learners.
The Beginning of an HPL Journey - Student Led Projects
Year 4 Project- Model of Chichen Itza
We introduced HPL at our school and during our foundation year, our staff and students had a chance to fimiliarise themselves with the vocabulary used to identify Advanced Cognitive Performance Characteristics (ACPC) and Values, Attitudes and Attributes (VAA). The idea soon turned from a concept introduced to children in the classroom to student-led drive for excellence.