Learning Overview

Quality Teaching Practice

While there is no formula that will guarantee learning for every student in every context, there is extensive, well-documented evidence about the kinds of teaching approaches that consistently have a positive impact on student learning. Quality teaching practice at Hillcrest consists of six key interrelated elements as outlined below.

1. Biblically Shaped

We are committed to teaching Christianly. This does not mean we use a special approach, a particular set curriculum or throw in a bible verse here and there. What it does mean is that undergirding and permeating all teaching is the commitment to have biblical principles and understandings inform and shape teaching practice. How that is done varies widely from a Prep teacher consoling a child and praying quietly with them through to opening up debate about euthanasia with Year 11 students and examining what scripture, various Christian writers and ethical frameworks have to contribute.

2. Relational

Learning is inseparable from its social and cultural context. Students learn best when they feel accepted, when they enjoy positive relationships with their fellow students and teachers, and when they are able to be active, visible members of the learning community. Hillcrest teachers endeavour to foster positive relationships within environments that are caring, inclusive, non-discriminatory, and cohesive.

3. Innovative

Our teachers use a variety of proven methods for engagement and assessment that facilitate student mastery. We cultivate supportive learning environments that allow students to think critically and experiment with the material, providing constructive, encouraging and corrective feedback. Effective teaching demonstrates deep subject knowledge, including key concepts, current and relevant research, methodologies, tools and techniques, and meaningful applications. We are always looking to ways in which to fully engage students in their learning, taking risks with new approaches, and designing programs, courses and learning experiences that stretch the boundaries.

4. Data Driven

Information is power. Skilled teachers are hungry for rich data on student learning. Analysing and applying understandings from data sets ensures that planning, delivery, assessment and evaluation are centred on making the biggest and most lasting impact on learning progress. Hillcrest teachers Integrate assessment throughout the instructional process, using the data to establish initial understanding, measure progress, provide feedback, refine instruction, and prepare students for future performances; this includes students reflecting on and assessing their own performance and progress.

5. Rigorous

Rigor is not lots of homework, projects, resources, or rules. Simply put, adding rigor creates an environment where students are:

  1. Expected to learn at high levels;
  2. Supported so they can learn at high levels; and
  3. Cheered on as they demonstrate learning at high levels.

In being rigorous our teachers aim to provide positive experiences and engender a pervasive sense of accomplishment students will carry for years.

6. Reflective

Since any teaching strategy works differently in different contexts for different students, effective pedagogy requires that teachers inquire into the impact of their teaching on their students. Asking critical questions of themselves and of colleagues is essential. Our teachers use evidence from research and from their own past practice and that of colleagues to plan teaching and learning opportunities aimed at achieving the outcomes prioritised in the focusing inquiry.

Curriculum Design

The College’s curriculum provides comprehensive, coherent and creative learning processes and pathways that provide students with many opportunities to excel and teachers to teach knowledgeably and skillfully. Its holistic design integrates faith and learning, a wide range of subjects, and effective pedagogy.

The Curriculum offered at Hillcrest Christian College is a unique alignment of:

  • Our special Christian character and biblical worldview
  • The 2008 Melbourne Declaration on Educational Goals for Young Australians
  • The Victorian Curriculum
  • Victorian Early Years Learning and Development Framework
  • Victorian Certificate of Education (VCE)
  • Victorian Certificate of Applied Learning (VCAL)