Copyright © 2016 Eden Edutech Consulting
Relationships - Student Engagement
An interesting report from the Grattan Institute this week discusses student engagement levels in Australian schools. The report details figures of “as many as 40 per cent of school students are unproductive in a given year” and the possible effect this is having on these students being one or two years behind their counterparts.
This raises some very important questions around teaching and learning, what students bring to their education and how important “relationships” in a school community are.
I would like to think that you don’t judge a book by its cover or a school or teacher or student. Disengagement levels of 40% are not reflective of all schools in this country. It really depends on the school and its approach to teaching and learning and the value it places on knowing and valuing each student as an individual.
Schools that understand their students as unique learners and ensures that teaching and learning is flexible and the curriculum meaningful and relatable to them find that disengagement is not as high as highlighted in the Grattan Report. At Moama Anglican Grammar, we work hard as a school community to reflect, review and collaborate with the students so that they are the focus of the learning. In giving students voice and choice, ownership, in what and how they learn ultimately makes each school day valuable to them increasing engagement and achievement.
The value of a regional school and its staff is akin to a hidden gem! For the most part schools like ours are much more stable in staffing not having the high turnover that city schools experience. This means a strong culture and ethos is built, maintained and grown and is specific to the area and its needs. Many of our staff have been in the school and area for good periods of time which gives them the advantage of knowing students and their families really well, ensuring strong relationships, not just with the student, but the whole family and community. These relationships grow very strongly both in and outside of the school day. The power of these relationships ensures our school has higher engagement levels than perhaps those in the cities as students are invested in both the subject and the partnership they have with their teachers. These partnerships are built on high expectations and shared understandings of who they are as individuals and what they want to achieve.