In my Week 4 article I discussed a report by the Girls Day School Trust (GDST) about perspectives on girls’ only education. I introduced the idea that not all independent girls’ schools find the same level of success in achieving high academic results and student empowerment. Rather, success comes from advantaging girls through tailoring pedagogy directly at girls’ needs, not merely by separating genders. This week I aim to share pedagogical approaches employed at Girls Grammar to encourage your daughters to feel at ease with themselves and each other and to be motivated to engage to their full potential.
We must remember that girls’ brains are still physiologically developing whilst at school. Connections between neurons are constantly being formed. Much can be gained by employing a variety of approaches to keep learning sharp and focussed. Collaborative and social learning has a significant place in girls’ education. We of course do not discount the need to work independently – particularly in the senior phase of learning. Often the most successful approaches are those that emphasise student to student and student to teacher relationships. Girls value trusting and safe learning environments and relationships. Without those positive relationships, many girls are unwilling to take necessary academic risks. Without that willingness to risk failure, growth becomes limited. Simple strategies designed to facilitate girls taking ownership of their learning are important. Facilitating rather than providing lesson summaries is one technique. Many of our teachers have explicit strategies to encourage girls to reflect upon the level of learning success each lesson. For example, some employ a simple traffic light system where students indicate green, amber or red as they exit a classroom. Such simple techniques give immediate feedback to the student, her peers as well as the teacher. Our teachers create space for girls to be able to talk through their ideas – to be able to consolidate thoughts and come to an understanding.
Girls Grammar offers a calm, secure environment that allows girls to be themselves and to engage fully with their learning.
Dr John Fry
Deputy Principal - Studies