I recall as an elementary student admiring the coiled manual my teacher held in her hand. Believing that book held the key to my learning, I ambled through my young non-teaching years thinking good teaching was pretty straight-forward.
Boy was I wrong.
Optimal teaching is anything but straightforward. It doesn’t come from a book, but grows thanks to the endless efforts of the teachers who deliver it, and thanks to a culture that supports them.
By now, KCS parents, you’ve already met many of the outstanding teachers at KCS. You might be wondering, however, about the culture that drives what we do. It’s worth wondering about. It explains how these teachers grow from each other’s strengths and create learning experiences that surpass anything a single teacher could deliver on their own. Here are the elements of a culture that leads to a curriculum where 1 + 1 = 3:
- A foundation rooted in knowing each student’s needs, aspiring to our school mission, and a broad awareness of the tools and techniques that will help us meet both
- Regular collaboration and frank conversations
- A framework that meets or exceeds Ministry expectations
- An environment free of practice based on doing what’s comfortable, unsupported opinion, what’s in fashion, how we were taught or what we’ve always done
- An atmosphere saturated in the Habits of Mind, Body and Action, so teachers and students exercise and strengthen them through their work (Embrace learning, think flexibly, take responsible risks and do what is right are some of the stand-out Habits required in curriculum development.)
- A balance between Direct Instruction, Project-Based Learning, and other learning experiences, as deemed worthy
- An ever-present search for how to enrich learning, inspire a love for learning, inject critical and creative thinking, and differentiate instruction
I sure wasn’t aware of this as a young student, and don’t know that many outside of KCS faculty would be aware of it either. I do know you care a lot about what we do with your children, and thought I would share how we determine what we do, just in case you were wondering.
Assistant Head, Academics
You can follow Andrea on Twitter @afanjoy.