Practise makes perfect

News; Innovation

​​​​​When approached to implement a new ethics curriculum, Principal Janet Di Pilla, leading teacher Katie Backholer and their team attended Bastow’s Leading Pedagogy course to build the strongest framework possible for the task at hand.

Philosophical inquiry and flexible learning are at the heart of Brunswick East Primary School’s ethos. So when it came time for Principal Janet Di Pilla, Leading Teacher Katie Backholer and their team to implement a new ethics curriculum, they wanted a course that would not only support them to develop a framework, but also to help them measure results in a meaningful way.

Principal Janet Di Pilla with students
Principal Janet Di Pilla with students

Bastow’s Leading Pedagogy course’s holistic, team-based approach to a real world project made it a natural fit for the school.

The course supports school leaders to design and implement integrated whole-school approaches to quality teaching practice. It made sense that the course could help the team form the foundation of the implementation process.

The school was approached by the Victorian Curriculum​​ and Assessment Authority (VCAA) to participate in a pilot program for a new ethics curriculum ahead of its proposed statewide 2017 roll out.

Endorsed by the Victorian Association for Philosophy in Schools (VAPS) and consistent with Brunswick East Primary’s vision to create confident, passionate and curious learners, it was important that the project have the best possible chance at success.

As Katie explains, ‘We specifically focused on ethics, because this is one area that this school is very strong in. Also, the Victorian Association for Philosophy in Schools asked us to develop the professional learning to roll out to other schools.’

Teacher Katie Backholer with student
Teacher Katie Backholer with student

In line with BEPS own Learning Community structure and approach, the Leading Pedagogy course allowed the team to collaborate in diverse and practical ways through facilitated workshops, group tasks and discussions.

As a result, the BEPS team was able to implement the new curriculum by developing an understanding of how to establish goals and expectations, strategically allocating resources, leading teacher learning and development while ensuring a safe and orderly school environment.

Dr Warren Marks, one of the course’s facilitators believes, ‘The long-term benefit for the participants, and the school students, is a much deeper awareness of, and capacity to implement an evidence-based approach to leading improved instructional practice across the school.’

Katie agrees. ‘The Bastow course has helped us by making sure that we have evidence for what’s actually working, not just doing things and saying it feels better, but really looking at our effect size and how you can monitor this.’

Find out more about how you can support quality teaching practice in your school at Leading Pedagogy.