‘Thinking schools, learning nations’ is the paradigm at the heart of teaching and learning at Mount Litera Zee School, Goa. Implementing a thinking curriculum depends on highly skilled, creative and flexible educators who are able to adapt their pedagogy to prepare students for the world beyond tomorrow. Mount Litera Zee School, situated next to Birla Institute of Technology and Science, Pilani, on a lush green campus of five acres, caters for 900 students.
Operating as a Central Board of Secondary Education affiliated school, Mount Litera Zee School is undertaking assessment reform to recognize students’ learning progress in terms of academic disciplines like maths, science, literature, history, geography, art, music, health and so on but also in terms of general capabilities like collaboration, critical and creative thinking, problem solving, digital literacy and personal and social capability.
The teaching and assessment approach at Mount Litera Zee is not simply about identifying where students are on their learning journey but also about ensuring that teachers are able to evaluate the effectiveness of their teaching and adapt it as required to meet the needs of students at particular stages in their learning progress.
The school recruits and develops highly skilled teachers who collaborate in delivering a high-quality curriculum, in developing appropriate learning materials and in understanding and acting on assessment results to enable improvements in teaching and learning.
Teachers’ ongoing professional learning is a continual process in that involves frequent school-based monitoring and evaluation to identify appropriate training and further development in teaching, planning and assessment for effective curriculum delivery. Professional learning operates in tandem with further evaluation, drawing on the assessment data collected by our Zee Learn Regional School director.
Ongoing professional learning involves a blend of face-to-face and online participation, to suit particular learning objectives through involvement in local seminars, global MOOCs, British Council online programs and the like. Members of Mount Litera Zee’s leadership team themselves model life-long and ongoing professional learning not only to learn but also to empower staff.
The school takes a skills-based approach to curriculum design and teaching methods in order to provide students with:
- meaningful, ‘hands-on’ learning experiences
- enhanced problem solving and collaboration skills in the practical application of concepts, processes and knowledge to make real their theoretical understanding
- a globally focused approach to learning
- opportunities to select projects with a view to the pursuit of particular careers, based on their interests, talents and goals, and
- learning beyond the four walls of the classroom.
A further benefit of this skills-based approach is that it enables a student-centred approach and provides a diverse curriculum that enables students to apply and develop their knowledge, skills and life skills in terms of multiple intelligences. at Mount Litera Zee, we focus on this using a tool we call the ‘Emerging Student Profile.’
The rich information we obtain about our students through the Emerging Student Profile also informs our experiential approach to teaching and learning, and guides students’ learning progress across the scholastic and coscholastic domains.
Teachers are supported in implementing a student-centred pedagogy through a program of quarterly professional learning that addresses Mount Litera Zee’s ‘I Care’ and ‘what is right for the Child’ policies.
Our digital Citizenship program involves students engaging in projects with their peers to develop their digital literacy practices and cultural resources and, following the categories identified by Doug Belshaw, develop their cognitive, constructive, the communicative, civic, critical, creative, confident and cultural mindset. Students organize digital literacy activities such as writing slogans and songs, delivering parent workshops and preparing videos.
Tech smart teachers also collaborate with colleagues through professional learning communities using technology, and promote collaboration at school.
Mount Litera Zee’s financial literacy program – FLiP – enables our students to develop their financial literacy in terms of the financial knowledge, skills, attitudes and behaviours necessary to make sound financial decisions and understand banking, investments and loans, and the pros and cons of using the many financial instruments available to them.
Maintaining and developing a school’s infrastructure provides students with access to smartboards and other digital devices, facilities like a swimming pool and sports fields, karate, squash and football coaches and an extensive co-scholastic program.
Mount Litera Zee’s co-scholastic program, which includes opportunities for students and staff to work together in the school’s Eco Club, Literary Club, Science Club, art Club, Scouts and Guides and various intra-school competition and activities, enables students not only to develop, consolidate and apply their skills in areas of interest to them, but to show leadership, become experts and truly shine.
Co-scholastic experiences expose students to the wider world and the opportunities that others enjoy, and the problems others face, in ways that can extend them. Students benefit from such opportunities not simply because they have shown ability but because coscholastic experiences so often uncover their hidden talents, even to themselves, and the process of discovery and growth is what the learning journey is really all about, for all of us.
Panke, S. (2015). Digital literacy: An interview with Doug Belshaw. Innovate Learning review.