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.

1. Biblically Shaped

We are committed to teaching Christianly. This does not mean we use a special approach, a particular set curriculum or through 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 Australian Curriculum
  • Victorian Early Years Learning and Development Framework
  • Victorian Certificate of Education

There are eight principles that underline the design and delivery of our curriculum

1. Upholding of a Christian Worldview

A Christian worldview is incorporated to all aspects of teaching and learning. The Christian worldview adhered to is a Christ vision of life, one He referred to as the Kingdom of God. It is one that is based firmly on the Bible, both as the source of truth and the unifying factor which gives perspective and meaning to all life and learning.

2. Holistic & Coherent

The content of learning programs has breadth and balance and is based on the Australian Curriculum. The content taught in one part of the program is well integrated with other parts of the program. Our curriculum offers all students a broad education that makes links within and across learning areas, provides for coherent transitions, and opens up pathways to further learning. Learning programs have appropriate sequences and coherent progression over the years.

3. Significance of Knowledge & Wisdom

We are dedicated to the development in our students of knowledge (recall of information, comprehension), understanding (application and analysis), and wisdom (synthesis and evaluation). We do not support the positivistic enlightenment or post-modern secular humanist views that regard humans as the sole source and constructors of knowledge but rather that the capacities to discover, reason, create, reflect, assimilate, evaluate and so on are God-given as part of what it means to be made in His image.

4. Realising of Potential

We are dedicated to students being inspired and equipped, supported and empowered, to learn and achieve personal excellence; reaching their full potential in all aspects of life. We recognise that each individual has been endowed with natural talents and ability to develop strengths and skills across a range of endeavours so that they find life-long fulfilment in making a unique and positive contribution to society.

5. Commitment to Life-long Learning

We are committed to developing learning programs for students that build their general competencies and scaffold their development as learners, while allowing for them to work at their own pace and in contexts of interest to them. We encourage all students to reflect on their own learning processes and to learn how to learn.

6. Valuing & Engaging of Our Diverse Community

God is the originator of cultural diversity (Acts 17:26-28). We value the many cultures, histories and traditions of the families associated with the College and seek to ensure that students’ identities, languages, abilities, and talents are recognised and affirmed and that their learning needs are addressed. We recognise the special place of Aboriginals and Torres Strait Islanders as the first peoples of the land.

7. Commitment to Democratic Principles

The College supports and promotes the principles and practice of Australian Democracy in its educational programs and policies. Specifically, we are committed to:

  • Elected Government
  • The rule of law
  • Equal rights for all before the law
  • Freedom of religion
  • Freedom of speech and association
  • The values of openness and tolerance

8. Focusing on the Future While Honouring the Past

We encourage students to look to the future by exploring such significant future-focused issues as sustainability, citizenship, enterprise, and involvement in humanitarian service regardless of ethnic, cultural, social or religious background. While the focus is on the future it is considered vital at our school that we carefully study and consider history as a guide to what promotes righteousness and justice in society, and the stewardship and sustaining of planet earth.