Epsom Girls Grammar School Curriculum Statement
Epsom Girls Grammar School is a supportive learning community which challenges young women to achieve personal excellence and to develop as confident, caring, life-long learners positively engaged in our world.
The curriculum at Epsom Girls Grammar School aligns with the vision, values and principles of The New Zealand Curriculum (NZC) through the provision of a broad range of subject courses, co-curricular activities, pastoral support and home-school partnerships.
Curriculum decision-making is based on student and community needs, national qualifications requirements and the imperative of changing learning and pedagogical needs.
Curriculum design is based on the Vision and Values of the School, which in turn reflect the vision and values of the NZC (refer to Appendix).
Learning area courses are subject based and taught by subject specialists.
Learning Area courses focus on the development of the Key Competencies of the NZC in contexts of increasing complexity over Years 9 - 13. The development of Key Competencies in co-curricular activities is acknowledged.
Teaching as inquiry provides a framework for continual self-review of teaching and learning practice and curriculum design.
CURRENT IDENTIFIED STUDENT NEEDS
High levels of interest, motivation and achievement characterise many students at Epsom Girls Grammar School.
The learning needs of Epsom Girls Grammar School students include:
Personal academic excellence
Challenging and stimulating courses and learning environments
A broad based curriculum across the Learning Areas
Specialist teaching in subject areas promoting depth of learning, creativity and future focus
A strong foundation in Literacy and Numeracy
Support in a variety of contexts as appropriate
Opportunities to learn one or more language
Programmes of learning to meet emotional, physical and social needs, as well as academic needs
Career education and guidance
Active engagement with meaningful, authentic learning contexts
Active engagement with a range of elearning contexts
ICT literacy and digital tools to learn in new ways
A sense of community and shared endeavour and responsibility
Scaffolding of personal choice
Opportunities for co-curricular activities to enrich learning
The pedagogy of teachers at Epsom Girls Grammar School is constantly developing to place students at the centre of learning and to make them active partners in their individual learning journeys.
Strong learning relationships between students, teachers and parents provide the foundation for this pedagogy.
eLearning is used to enhance student engagement and to support the pedagogy.
Student centred learning is concerned with:
We have ways of making you learn maths ...
Philip Lloyd, revered maths teacher, was asked what his secret was in making mathematics come alive in his classes. This was his answer: -
My fundamental secret is ENTHUSIASM and helping to build up the SELF ESTEEM of students. I was teaching a class about Pythagoras’ famous theorem and decided to introduce the topic by telling them a few interesting things about this famous mathematician.
Pythagoras was the founder of a mystic society which had to meet in complete secrecy or they would be persecuted. To show a person was a member of the Pythagorean society, he had a pentagram (a five sided star) tattooed on the palm of his hand.
Before the lesson, I had prepared by carefully drawing a pentagram on my own hand, using a blue whiteboard marker. I surreptitiously showed them my hand and I swear that half the class believed I really belonged to this secret society of Pythagoreans! The rest just laughed of course.
Apparently, Pythagoras only took on two or three new students at a time and for the first two years, he instructed them from behind a screen. They were not allowed to see the great master!
After a few jokes about my fixing up such a screen for my classroom, the class was in such a good frame of mind that learning the details of how Pythagoras’ theorem works was a real pleasure and went really well. Telling little stories is a good way to relate to students and certainly keeps everyone in a relaxed and receptive mood for learning any subject.
One reason why we have such success at teaching mathematics at EGGS is that we teach using REASONS and not just RULES. People invariably get “rules” mixed up but if they understand the “reasoning” then they have much more success. I believe there is a big difference between “knowing” something and “understanding” it.
“There is nothing we need so much as nourishment for our self-esteem.”
If a student feels that she is achieving in mathematics, it does a lot for her self esteem. Basically, students benefit tremendously and show remarkable improvement by experiencing FREQUENT FEELINGS OF SUCCESS. We do this by presenting them with “short-term goals”.
This means, they study a single topic for perhaps only 2 or 3 weeks then have a mastery test on it. These tests are specifically designed so that all students can succeed to some degree or other at the achievement, merit or excellence levels as used in NCEA. Typically, very few students get “Not Achieved”. If however, a student does not achieve, the teacher will find time to see that student separately, find out what extra skill the student needs, re-teach it and in nearly all cases, the student will get this necessary feeling of success to help her self image.
A student recently said, “Mr Lloyd, your lessons make me feel good about myself!”
A recent drama class for Year 10 students provided a unique occasion to combine a history lesson with an opportunity to hear about and challenge cultural mores and create performances based on stories they had heard and researched.
To set the scene three staff members, one dressed in her national costume, shared with the class their parents’ experiences of coming to New Zealand in the 1940s, from what is now Croatia on the Dalmatian Coast. The prejudices they encountered, the strange way of life, the loneliness, the food – all these were discussed with the students.
The students in turn questioned why children of these immigrants were not made to speak their own language at home. They were mystified that in those days it was deemed important for the children to assimilate into NZ culture rather than cling to their own. How could this have happened when today all different cultural groups in this school are fiercely proud of their diversity and celebrate it to the full? Also identified were the many different powers that had ruled that part of the world.
Students were then invited to prepare for their next lesson when they would enact scenes about how they imagined immigrants would have felt and behaved on arrival in New Zealand. What better way to understand another person than to attempt to ‘walk in their shoes’.
Turn ideas into reality
When a Year 13 Graphics class was assigned the task of designing a tree house their enterprising teacher decided to invite in the experts to guide and encourage the students.....
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