School's new teaching method

LEARNING: Catholic College Bendigo year 12 students Phebe Baines, Laura Butler, Darcie Pieper and Maddi Callipari with principal Michael Chalkley. Picture: HANNAH CARRODUS

LEARNING: Catholic College Bendigo year 12 students Phebe Baines, Laura Butler, Darcie Pieper and Maddi Callipari with principal Michael Chalkley. Picture: HANNAH CARRODUS

STUDENTS at Catholic College Bendigo will soon have a greater say on how their teachers teach them.

The school piloted the Learning for Me initiative at the end of last year and in a couple of weeks it will be rolled out across the school.

In the program, student fill out questionnaires that detail what they like about their teachers' style and what they think should change.

Teachers then sit in on one another's classes to examine whether they agree with the concerns or suggestions outlined by their colleagues' students.

Humanities co-ordinator Nicholas Melasis participated in last year's pilot.

He said the program was about inviting students to be responsible for their own learning.

"The beauty is the questions are framed in a way where the emphasis is on the teaching - it's not personal," he said.

"The kids tend to be genuine in their feedback.

"You can see where the chips fall.

"You get this organic conversation."

He said he was exploring new ways to keep his students engaged, such as writing students' names on icy pole sticks and randomly selecting one to decide who answered a question.

That would ensure all students were involved in the class, he said, rather than a few eager teens.

He said teachers could also get their students to reflect on how best they learnt and the efforts they were putting into their studies.

Principal Michael Chalkley said students and colleagues were helping lift the standard of teaching across the board.

"We're building a culture where people want to improve all the time," Mr Chalkley said.

"Teaching professionals realise that you can't keep doing what you did 30 years ago."

He said the surveys students completed were based on the Department of Education and Early Childhood Development's Principals of Learning and Teaching method.

He said receiving negative feedback from students could be challenging for some teachers but it was a useful tool to understand how they could better engage their students.

"When we're not looking to improve, we're going backwards," he said.

"Our intention is that our kids will be more engaged."

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