ADVANCING technologies and an evolving understanding of the way children learn has opened the door for new methods of teaching and assessment in the south-west.
Warrnambool Primary School teacher Thom Fraser has developed a new program which is changing the way children learn to comprehend.
“We need to recreate the classroom for 21st century thinkers,” Mr Fraser said.
The Deakin University PhD candidate and Warrnambool campus graduate is using a simplified system that children, their peers and their teachers can use to assess their reading comprehension.
“One of the problems facing teachers is how to assess pupils’ reading comprehension. This program contains everything they need,” Mr Fraser said.
The program takes the criteria required by students to pass each grade, as outlined by the Education Department, and puts it into simplified terms for the students.
“It takes all the jargon out and puts it into kid-speak. They know exactly what is expected of them and they can measure their own success,” Mr Fraser said.
“Every student feels like they have ownership and control of their own development.”
Mr Fraser presented his program to an audience of professionals at a “rethink and re-imagine” conference at Deakin University Warrnambool, where many schools expressed interest in researching the program further.
“At the end of the day my intention was to make my job easier, to make teaching easier, but the students love it too,” Mr Fraser said.
“Every student is constantly learning, they know at the start of the day what they need to achieve and they can set their own goals.”
The lesson planner allows students to set their own learning intentions and success criteria.
“The students know what is needed of them to pass and they can choose from a range of activities that suit them to reach those goals. Sometimes a student will struggle to write a story but can write something like rap.
“This lets them decide. They know what they are good at and they can adapt that to have success.
“In the past teachers have been unsure whether or not to place a student up a level but at end of the day it’s all about evidence and its right there in front of you.”
Mr Fraser said the program was being piloted at the Warrnambool Primary School with great success.