High quality learning and teaching is at the heart of St Joseph’s School.
The Australian Curriculum sets the expectations for what all Australian students should be taught, regardless of where they live or their background. For F-10, it means that students now have access to the same content, and their achievement can be judged against consistent national standards. Schools and teachers are responsible for the organisation of learning and they will choose contexts for learning and plan learning in ways that best meet their students’ needs and interests.
Education begins at birth and ends when our time on earth is complete – in other words, learning is life long. Schooling is but a small part of this process.
Within the context of the values we hold as a Catholic school in the Diocese of Cairns, we encourage each student to develop the attributes of a lifelong learner to become:
- a quality producer
- a designer and creator
- an active investigator
- an effective communicator
- a leader and collaborator and
- a community contributor
Learning Highlights of St Joseph’s
Learning How To Get Better At Learning
From 2018, St Joseph’s has implemented a focus on the science behind learning and the skills and attitudes that make our children become better at learning. This is grounded in ‘Growth Mindset’ and neuroscience, the way our brains work and effect learning.
We know that as digital becomes more ubiquitous, the need to memorise facts and knowledge decreases. The need to know how to access, process and use data and information increases. This makes it imperative that our learners are explicitly taught the elements of strengthening their ‘learning muscle’: curiosity, attention, determination, imagination, thinking, socialising, reflection and organisation.
St Joseph’s believes that the development of these skills and attitudes, the learning powers, will liberate learning for our students. This focus has been based on the work of Professor Guy Claxton, emeritus Professor of the Learning Sciences at the University of Winchester.
Emotional Regulation for Relationships and Learning
For learning to take place, learners need to be aware of and regulate their emotions. At St Joseph’s we use the ‘Zones of Regulation’ as a framework to explicitly teach emotional literacy and regulation.
Connection and Relationships
Circle Solutions is used from Prep- Yr 6 and enables students to feel connected and belong as well as to listen to others and put forward their ideas.
To foster relationships and safety, our school has a buddy system where Preps and Yr 5 / Yr 1 and Yr 6 regularly get together for a variety of learning and community activities.
Digital Citizenship and eLearning
This is a high priority at St Joseph’s. Students and staff form a school-wide learning community where online and digital modes of learning are explored. We believe that we have a responsibility and obligation to engage students in 21st Century learning and as such we give students access to devices such as iPads and Chromebooks to engage, learn and share.
Students from Years 3-6 are provided with their own school-owned and managed iPad. We are conscious of the necessity to prepare young people for their future in a global society, well-equipped to face the challenges of the 21st century. We strive therefore to offer all students the opportunity to use information and communication technologies in an appropriate and discerning way. We assist them to develop creative and critical thinking skills and the ability to work productively both independently and cooperatively.
All students receive weekly specialist teaching in Physical Education. This includes a swimming program for one term per year. Classroom teachers supplement this with additional physical activity per week.
The school also has a proud tradition of participation in sporting events, including athletics, track and field, netball and rugby league. The school supports many of our students who represent sports of their choice at Peninsula trials and beyond. For more information, refer to the Sports link on the Parent Portal.
Performing Arts – Music
All students receive weekly classroom Music lessons. With the aim of giving each child a positive experience of music, the program covers the basic concept and skills including recorder and ukulele. Additional opportunities are provided through the Choir and St Mary’s Catholic College’s Instrumental program.
All students have the wonderful opportunity of learning a second language at St Joseph’s. We have made the decision to offer Mandarin as the Chinese culture and economic influences in our region are great. In 2016, we will conduct our inaugural cultural excursion to Taiwan with a view to host Chinese students in the future.
St Joseph’s annually takes part in the Cairns District Junior Eisteddfod, Choric Speaking Competition.
St Joseph’s has a Choir who train all year and who perform at the Cairns District Junior Eisteddfod, school fete and on occasions throughout the year.
EAL/D English as an Additional Language or dialect
At St Joseph’s we have specialist staff who provide intensive English language tuition for students who are new arrivals to Australia and whose level of English requires intensive English language instruction.
21st Century education integrates technologies, engaging students in ways not previously possible, creating new learning and teaching possibilities, enhancing achievement and extending interactions with local and global communities.
MCEETYA Contemporary Learning: Learning in an Online World, 2005
At St Joseph’s, we have acted responsively and proactively to the reality of the modern world through having technology as ubiquitous as possible in the learning environment.
When asking the question “What are the optimal conditions for learning?”, technology is not the answer! What is the answer is effective, evidence-based teaching practices and learning processes of which technology is a powerful and considerable component. Digital, enables learning to occur in ways otherwise not possible. It activates learning which is connected, social, relevant, personal and engaging.
At St Joseph’s, students have access to a variety of devices including Chromebooks, laptops and iPads. Students each have their own digital identity through Catholic Education including their own Google Drive. As such, students are taught about digital citizenship and safe and ethical online behaviour.