Being a learning powered school counts now more than ever.
Many schools in the Greater Sydney area and the regional areas of NSW have debated the benefits and the pitfalls of holding trial examinations while schools are in lockdown. At Lakes Grammar we made the decision that our Year 12 students would complete these examinations using an online platform and zoom. Our decision to proceed was calculated and deliberate. As a Learning Powered school, the school felt that holding the examinations would not only help students prepare for the HSC but would also prepare them for those inevitable difficult and challenging situations that they may face in the future; where although there may be uncertainty and even fear, they can stay strong and complete the task that needs to be done to the best of their ability. Or, in the words of Winston Churchill “give us the tools and we will finish the job”. (Gilbert, 2012)
As a Learning Powered school, Lakes is committed to giving our young people the skills to flourish beyond school in the real world. Guy Claxton, the author of the Learning Powered Approach (Claxton, 2018), advocates that to be an LPA school you need to focus on developing long-term attributes in students. At Lakes, these attributes are built into our ‘Vital’ character framework, where we strive to develop students who are determined, flexible and open-minded. During online learning this has been achieved through immersing them in positive relationships, connecting with them via live lessons and having regular wellbeing connections and online events which help them to continue to feel supported and part of a broader community. As an LPA school, the relationships and trust that staff build and maintain with students (and their families), and a focus not only on what we teach our students but how we teach them, leads to confident and capable learners who are curious, adventurous, determined and collaborative.
The values underpinning the Learning Powered Approach mirror the values here at Lakes Grammar. We want to build better futures for our students and give them the skills to flourish in spite of difficulties and uncertain times. We want our students to have a strong and confident character, and the attitudes and dispositions that will prepare them for life, whatever it brings. It is not enough to ‘read, write and calculate’ (Claxton, et al., 2020) but to successfully navigate life our students need a broader set of skills and attributes. The uncertainly of covid and its associated challenges for the school, student and families has highlighted the importance of what we do here at Lakes for our students. That is, we focus on not only quality teaching and learning, but we focus on building strong relationships and better futures for our students for life.
Claxton, G. (2018). The Learning Power Approach. Wales: Crown House Publishing.
Claxton, G., Robinson, J., Macfarlane, R., Powell, G., Goldenberg, G., & Cleary, R. (2020). Powering up your school. Wales: Crown House Publishing.
Gilbert, M. (2012). Churchill: The Power of Words. New York: Da Capo Press.