Wednesday, 5 February 2014


At the end of last year during a whole staff briefing, we were presented with a list of 'non
negotiables' or directives around planning for teaching and learning. All units developed at St
Joseph's College for the 2014 year need to adopt these characteristics.This pedagogical model
has been developed by an action research team at our school, known as the learning
landscapes committee. As we are now one week into teaching, it is a good time to reflect on
whether we have started to properly realise what the learning landscapes committee was trying
to achieve. 

I had the opportunity to sit in on a professional learning team (PLT) team meeting this
morning, for a subject that I will no longer be teaching, but am still involved with for an
action research project I am carrying out. We discussed how we are hoping for the unit to
progress, and talked about the ways in which the students would learn the physics concepts
and ideas we wanted them to, and how the subject would be contextualised (in this case,
through design of an energy efficient eco-house, as a term long project). As we discussed the
logistics and the curriculum demands, I was pleased to see that most of the non-negotiables
were raised without specific reference to them. 

It appears that we are taking them on board!Does your school have non-negotiables or
some sort of preferred pedagogical model?

These non-negotiables are unit characteristics that support the realization of the learning goals
outlined in the Melbourne Declaration on Educational Goals for Young Australians (2008) and
those identified by the staff of St Josephs College. These characteristics will form the basis
from which a preferred pedagogical model for St Josephs will be established, and include:

1. Units must cater for a continuum of learning tasks employing shallow to deep thinking

2. Units must cater for differentiation of student ability, differentiating in:

a. product, and/ or
b. process, and/ or
c. tasks, and/ or

3. Units must incorporate ongoing, timely feedback from the teacher (assessment for learning) to the students; from the student to the teacher (assessment of learning)

4. Units must be have structure; a beginning, middle and an end

5. Units must incorporate an significant element of direct instruction

6. Units must incorporate a significant element of student directed learning (inquiry/ investigation/ project etc.)

7. Units must incorporate applications of appropriate technologies