Contemporary Learning

The A.B. Paterson College pedagogy (our teaching philosophy and methodology) stems from the Teaching for Understanding (TfU) framework, as developed by Project Zero from the Harvard Graduate School of Education. TfU provides the perfect pedagogical structure to establish the contemporary skills that our students will need in order to be able to successfully take on the challenges of a career in the 21st century. These contemporary skills – summarised as the four ‘Cs’ – collaboration, communication, creativity and critical thinking – sit alongside problem-solving and innovation and are at the centre of our educational curriculum.

The framework requires teachers to answer four simple yet powerful questions:  

  • How can I as a teacher encourage deeper understanding?
  • What skills must I impart to my students to ensure their success?
  • How can I support students to understand well enough to apply learning in new contexts?
  • How can I create an environment of active learning in my classroom?

The TfU framework is an effective way of putting understanding at the centre of lessons, and ensuring that subject content is related to areas that learners find enjoyable and accessible.  The framework advocates that lessons give students the opportunity to engage with the subject matter in a way that allows them to nurture and develop understanding.  In such lessons, teachers act as facilitators of learning and the learner has an active role.  Some of the key aims of TfU are ensuring that students learn by participating, exploring, leading and collaborating with both their peers and their teachers.  Teachers will also constantly encourage students to learn by searching for new possibilities and experiences.

Digital Learning

At A.B. Paterson College, our students are encouraged to deepen, share and demonstrate their understanding in innovative and effective ways. To facilitate this, our teaching has moved away from the more traditional learning, to be technology rich and thus maximise our delivery of these contemporary learning skills. 

Digital or eLearning has enabled us to provide effective personalised and differentiated learning. To ensure that all of these skills are appropriately developed, we need to emphasise group learning and collaboration. Students must work in small groups, work together on problems, discuss solutions, access data, and present their results using multimedia software. Equally, the collaborative elements have to be managed such that they are authentic and every student has a vital contribution to make.

Catering for Individual Differences

Educational research makes it clear that students learn differently. These differences include the manner in which they engage and interact with learning materials, their preferred learning styles and the degree and manner in which they construct new learnings. In short, young people do not learn uni-dimensionally. The teaching staff at A.B. Paterson College provide a range of ways for young people to learn that attempt to maximise the engagement of each learner. They are strongly supported by a committed team of educators in our Learning Enhancement Team, who provide specialist advice on individualised learning programs and differentiation.

A.B. Paterson College teachers expect high standards, a commitment to excellence in all students do (by way of aiming to do their very best) and they assist them by providing stretched goals, in-depth and rich learning tasks, and a wonderful environment of curiosity, discovery and encouragement, as our students make the personal quest to achieve excellence.

Phases of Learning: Prep to Year 12

Our students journey through our Phases of Learning, designed to ignite their curiosity, inspire learning, develop their identity, independence and responsibility, accept challenge and explore their world, and lead them on a path of self-discovery ready for what lies ahead.  The Phases of Learning describe the educational approach and themes that develop from childhood through to graduation, as we develop young men and women of character – leaders now and for the future!

Phases of Learning Booklet