Partners in Learning

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From the Principal

By Helen Carmody, Principal

The recent Gonski review made many recommendations to improve the education and schooling for all young Australians. The review stated that, giving students a voice and encouraging them to be partners in their own learning not only increases their agency and achievement, but also creates positive long-term learning habits. According to the Gonski report, it also builds a student’s engagement with her schooling, which is associated with positive outcomes later in life.

Seeking feedback is an effective way that teachers can give students a ‘voice’.

At Korowa, teachers seek frequent and real-time student feedback to assess the impact of their teaching practices on each student and modify approaches to better suit different student learning needs.

We also involve students in decision making. This week I attended our regular Korowa Uniform Committee meeting. This committee now has four student representatives from Junior and Senior School. We discussed, amongst other matters, fabric choices and designs for trousers and a ‘mix and match’ school uniform. The girls bring an important perspective to these meetings and I value their input.

As part of our regular feedback process, we surveyed all our 2018 graduates prior to the VCE exams. We used the same key areas as the Australian Independent Schools Victoria (ISV) LEAD surveys of 2017. Questions follow an 11-point satisfaction scale where 0 = complete disagreement and 10 = complete agreement with the statement.  These are measured against the ISV 2017 benchmarks. 

Acceptance for who I am: 8.62 Korowa Student Feedback vs 7.92 ISV mean

High quality teachers: 8.22 vs 7.33 ISV mean

Access to quality materials and resources: 8.53 vs 7.97 ISV mean

Data provides us with one view of how initiatives are working, or not, but it is important to celebrate our achievements to date. Our students now have many more opportunities to have their voice heard, but we know that agency and advocacy are essential skills of the future and we will continue to develop actions to build the capacities of all students in these areas.

These statistics tell us that our Year 12 students believe we have high quality teachers who are enthusiastic about their subject areas and their teaching. They are committed to our girls. Korowa students feel valued for their unique talents and have the support and confidence to pursue their interests and passions. As I write this article, our Year 12 girls will sit their last remaining VCE exams.

I know they have the confidence and skills to enter the world beyond Korowa and I’m sure we’ll all celebrate their many and varied successes in years to come.

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