Core Beliefs About Learning*


Click on any of the blue bars below to learn more about each of our Core Beliefs.
    

One: We believe that humans want to learn, and that learning is an essential, innate, ongoing, and lifelong process.

Teaching

Therefore educators:

  • Expect that all people can learn. 
  • Maintain appropriate expectations that challenge all learners. 
  • Share their passion for learning. 
  • Regard all interactions as teaching/learning opportunities. 
  • Model curiosity and persistence.

Assessing

Therefore:

  • The primary purpose for assessment is to improve learning.
  • Assessment provides all learners with the capacity to demonstrate what they know, value, and are able to do.

Two: We believe that learning is a process of making meaning of the world.

Teaching

Therefore educators:

  • Are concerned with the development of understanding. 
  • Recognize that ideas are constructed and open to question or refinement. 
  • View curriculum as being based on key ideas or questions. 
  • Are patient with the time it takes to build meaning. 
  • Expose students to multiple perspectives and cultures.

Assessing

Therefore:

  • Assessment focuses on demonstrations of understanding that move beyond gathering and recalling information.
  • Assessment is moderated through collaboration to enhance fairness, reliability and validity.

    Three: We believe that learners are unique and they are responsible for their own learning.

    Teaching

    Therefore educators:

    • Recognize and respond to individual differences and learning styles. 
    • Demonstrate care for and understanding of each learner. 
    • Include and maximize the participation of learners of different abilities and backgrounds.
    • Differentiate instruction through a relevant range of teaching approaches and strategies.
    • Collaborate/communicate with learners about learning goals, activities, issues and contexts.

    Assessing

    Therefore:

    • Learners self-assess and develop their capacity to monitor their own learning. 
    • Learners reflect upon and evaluate assessment tasks.

    Four: We believe that learning depends on being able to connect prior knowledge, perceptions or patterns of experience to new experiences, new information, and contexts.

    Teaching

    Therefore educators:

    • Seek to discover what learners already know, value and are able to do.
    • Build on the diverse personal, social and cultural experience, knowledge and skills that learners bring to new learning.
    • Make explicit the connections between different aspects of learning.
    • Structure activities to challenge learners’ suppositions and preconceptions.
    • Assist all learners in extending their levels of thinking and understanding.

    Assessing

    Therefore:

    • A range of assessments and monitoring processes are used to gather information about what learners know, value and are able to do.
    • Assessment about what learners know, value and are able to do is used to plan teaching sequences and to diagnose areas for challenge and intervention.
    • Assessment respects and includes different ways of knowing.

    Five: We believe that learning is profoundly influenced by social relationships.

    Teaching

    Therefore educators:

    • Develop positive relationships with and between all involved in the learners’ learning.
    • Build a sense of community, group identity and appropriate learning partnerships.
    • Plan for purposeful, collaborative teacher/teacher, teacher/learner, and learner/learner interaction.
    • Maintain a sense of humor.
    • Promote a sense of participation and responsibility from the local to the global.

    Assessing

    Therefore:

    • Assessment is fair, free from bias and inclusive for all learners.
    • Assessment incorporates judgments from learners, peers, and educators.
    • Assessment includes the work of groups as well as individuals.

    Six: We believe that learning is significantly affected by emotions.

    Teaching

    Therefore educators:

    • Provide a consistently safe, positive and secure environment.
    • Acknowledge emotions and emotional contexts.
    • When appropriate, make use of these contexts as opportunities for learning.

    Assessing

    Therefore:

    • Assessment includes the monitoring of learners’ emotional wellbeing.
    • Learners monitor the extent to which emotions affect and influence their learning.

    Seven: We believe that self-perception directly affects motivation and learning.

    Teaching

    Therefore educators:

    • Communicate positive expectations and confidence in the learners’ abilities.
    • Acknowledge and celebrate progress.

    Assessing

    Therefore:

    • Assessment provides timely, precise, and constructive feedback.

    Eight: We believe that learning is more effective when information is embedded in purposeful and meaningful experiences and interactions.

    Teaching

    Therefore educators:

    • Act intentionally, planning for interactions with learners.
    • Make their intentions or expected outcomes clear and explicit to learners.
    • Involve learners in goal setting.
    • Connect what is being taught to hypothetical and real-life experiences.
    • Relate what is being taught to learners’ experiences and interests.
    • Engage learners in multi-sensory experiences.

    Assessing

    Therefore:

    • Learners are clear about what is being assessed.
    • Assessment encourages learners to exhibit their actual understandings.
    • Assessment is in itself a central learning experience.
    • Assessment tasks are based where possible on real-world contexts and embedded in recurrent learning.

    Nine: We believe that learning is contextual.

    Teaching

    Therefore educators:

    • Acknowledge that environment and culture influence learning.
    • Consider how their own behavior influences the context for learning.
    • Encourage multiple points of views or solutions.
    • Encourage learners to recognize the context of their own learning and beliefs.

    Assessing

    Therefore:

    • Assessment takes different contexts into consideration.

    Ten: We believe that learning is enhanced when learners are aware of how thinking and learning occur (meta-cognition), which gives learners increased control over their learning.

    Teaching

    Therefore educators:

    • Explicitly teach thinking and learning strategies.
    • Model meta-cognition.

    Assessing

    Therefore:

    • Assessment encourages learners to question and reflect on their learning and their use of thinking and learning strategies.

    Eleven: We believe that learning is demonstrated when learners can apply their understandings in new situations in flexible and thought-provoking ways.

    Teaching

    Therefore educators:

    • Design learning sequences that explicitly support the application and transfer of learning to new problems and settings.
    • Draw attention to similarities, connections and analogies between the known and the new.

    Assessing

    Therefore:

    • Assessment opportunities are designed to explicitly test learners’ ability to apply their learning in new and unfamiliar situations.

    Twelve: We believe that learning is complex and non-linear.

    Teaching

    Therefore educators:

    • Are intentional about learners’ extending, elaborating, reorganizing, reformulating and reflecting upon their own frameworks of knowledge.
    • Provide the time for this to happen.
    • Recognize the educational potential in risk-taking, mistakes or errors.
    • Encourage perseverance.

    Assessing

    Therefore:

    • Assessment encourages learners to reflect and question and to continuously plan for future learning.
    • Learners note and use errors as a means of improving their own learning.
    • Assessment products may vary widely to reflect different ways of demonstrating understanding.
    * Based upon Principles of Learning, Teaching, and Assessment, Tasmanian Department of Education, Australia
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