What is the ‘new normal’?

As Principal Leader of St Luke’s Catholic College, I am constantly challenged and supported to collaboratively work with leaders, teachers, students and parents to co-design and establish a ‘new normal’ for preschool to post school learning.

Recently, I was asked to offer my insights into what the ‘new normal’ is. The comparative table below is by no means comprehensive, and nor is St Luke’s covering all of the ‘new normals’ listed below. However, the table offers a reference point, one which is continually updated and changed, just like a ‘start up’ I suppose.

Traditional

 New Normal (or next iteration)

Religious Literacy and whole cohort Faith in Action. Experiential Religious Inquiry and personalised faith experiences.
Literacy: Speaking and Listening, Reading and Viewing, Writing. Literacy: Speaking and Listening, Reading and Viewing, Writing, Oral Literacy.
Numeracy: Number & Algebra, Measurement and Geometry, Statistics and probability. Numeracy: Number, Measurement, Geometric Reasoning, Multiplicative Thinking, Reflection.
Early Years Assessment EYA, AND, qualitative observations, assessment and feedback of social and emotional skills, and student independence.
Literacy and Numeracy Assessments ongoing throughout K-9. Egs? Running Records purely to find a ‘level’. Literacy and Numeracy Assessments EG: assessments that purely drive learning/using the information to inform the teaching not just to have a ‘grade’ attached.
Assessment of learning outcomes informing to A to E reporting. Assessment of learning outcomes to inform General Capabilities.
A top down, crowded curriculum designed and centred around Key Learning Areas (KLAs). A streamlined curriculum with core content, skills and knowledge driven by student interests and passions.
Moderated teacher assessment for  student achievement measured against syllabus outcomes. Moderated teacher assessment, self assessment and peer assessment validated by teachers for syllabus outcomes, general capabilities and dispositions.
HSC Exams and major works/projects to attract marks, bands and ATAR for university entry. Major works, projects and folios of work showcasing individual skills informing multiple post school pathways. No exams.
Separate, disconnected services on different sites. eg. Early Learning separate from primary separate from Secondary, seperate from High Needs School. Connected aligned services merging together on one site which allows for ‘funding continuity of learning’ for students, supported by connection across the services.
Teacher wellbeing leaders of large cohorts (Pastoral Care Coordinators, Year Coordinators, House Coordinators) genreally without health and wellbeing qualifications. Learning Mentors based in smaller, family based groups supported by in-house allied health and wellbeing personnel such as speech pathologists, occupational therapists, paediatricians, psychologists, etc.
Students’ birth dates define the learner’s journey… Students are grouped based on:

  •  Literacy, numeracy and academic standards.
  • self awareness of general capabilities.
  • level of independence and ability to self-direct.
  • ability to collaborate.
Learning revolves around curriculum (and mainly content) requirements… Student learning involves real world challenges which contextualises cognitive skills, technical skills, character strengths, and subject-area content.
The school day is divided into subjects… Subjects are integrated into self-interest projects. The school day is a balance between deep learning time for long-range projects, and time for self-paced mastering of core skills and content with ‘opt in’ small group workshops.
Static A-E grading and twice yearly reporting. Students work folios reflective with a mastery transcript and evidence of learning, accessed 24/7 by parents.  Learning Mentors communicate with post school industry and tertiary groups aligning student capability with direct entry post school pathway options.

What are your suggestions for the ‘new normal’. What’s missing from the new normal above? What are you doing that would constitute the ‘new normal’? What is your learning community doing that would constitute the ‘new normal’? Feel free to add to the table via the comments section of this blog.

Thanks for reading,

Greg.

10 thoughts on “What is the ‘new normal’?

  1. Definitely in the ball park. It’s almost impossible to precisely define the ‘new normal’ as I feel that it is constantly shifting due to the society and culture we live in. What we think we’ve described now looks accurate to our lived context however in 10 years we may have a different take on it. The best we can do is always remain student centered and ensure they are firmly poised to be able to meet, and go beyond, the challenges of the society they live in. Being truly equipped for the future is then the outcome of the ‘new normal’.

  2. I believe that Experiential Religious Inquiry and personalised faith experiences will bring more children and their families to know a loving and just God.

  3. Greg – as always thank you for sharing.

    These are my ‘idealistic’ wanderings…

    I would like to see the ‘new normal’ for the professional development of teachers. Evolving from (*broad generalisation) cultures of expediency to self-efficacy and growth. We value general capabilities, learning dispositions and 21st-century skills (soft skills, executive function, agency etc) in our students because these dispositions/ skills will be key in a future of constant change.

    I would love to see a ‘new normal’ for teacher development that:
    – Empowers teachers to become expert learners (mastering 21st Century Skills) to support learning
    – aligns with the concepts of an educational community, where there is an investment into the development of 21st-Century teacher skills (research, connection, self-management, communication/collaboration) to address unique contextual needs on a deeper level
    – limits demands competing for teacher time – where jurisdiction through to school values aren’t aligned
    – Teachers are too often passengers in PL driven by established school goals – developing a dependency on PL content/agendas as opposed to the challenge of self-directing or building the capacity to identify, engage with and persist with new learnings/skills to serve the dynamic needs of individual contexts. Teachers can be Drivers of self-identified PL needs that are in direct alignment with their context

    What are your thoughts? What am I missing?

    Chris

  4. I was also wondering how technology fits into this framework – then saw your response Greg: “Continually moving from content consumption to curation and creation of content.” Great response. I would look at both sides – we need technology to make the learning accessible and “flip” the learning, and then “From new skills, concepts and knowledge and new perspectives, students are enabled to create media, art and tell stories through using technology as a tool.”

    BTW my WordPress Handle “flippedmusiclearning” is actually Phil Rooke

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