The most important things happening in our school are happening in the classroom. Our teachers are
at the cutting edge of finding ways to make the learning more effective for our students. At St
Joseph’s we talk about making the learning ‘visible’. When teaching and learning are ‘visible’ - that is,
when it is clear what teachers are teaching and students are learning, student achievement increases.
There are a number of ways teachers make learning visible. One way is to be explicit about the
intention of the learning. You may see the “learning intentions” displayed in your child’s classroom.
When this is made explicit prior to the learning (What are we learning today? Why are we learning
this?), students are able to make meaning out of what they are learning. We know learning is
effective when students are able to articulate the learning intentions. We know it is even more
effective when they are able to use the language of the curriculum to do this.
A second component of highly effective learning is setting clear success criteria. Gone are the days
when the purpose of testing was to separate the successful students from the unsuccessful. In our
classrooms we want every student to be successful. Students need to know what they are required to
do to show that they have achieved the learning intention. To do this, our teachers make the ‘success
criteria’ explicit. You may see “success criteria” displayed in the room as well. “How can I be
successful” is the question the student must be able to answer to demonstrate that they have
achieved the learning objective.
When learning intentions and success criteria are obvious to the students and effective feedback is
provided in a timely fashion, the positive effect on learning is seen to be dramatic. You can help your
child make their learning more meaningful. Why not start using the same language at home?
Ask your child, what are you learning about today? How do you know you
are successful? You may not notice the effect immediately, but with time,
as the students become more and more familiar with this language of
learning, they might start to surprise you with their understanding of the
curriculum. Don’t be satisfied with ‘maths’ or ‘fractions’ as the answer to
“what are you learning about”. Dig deeper and you will get a better
picture of what is happening in the classroom. When students are able to
clearly explain their learning, it is helping them clarify and reinforces the concepts. When school and
home are working together, using the same language of learning, it is even more effective.