Our recipe for successful teaching and learning:
Oaks Academy Schools focus on research. Children’s outcomes are more likely to improve if we engage with deep questions about subjects. We know that schools working together are great ways of growing and nurturing innovation.
‘When teachers become learners again their teaching improves.’
Professor John Hattie
Learning without Limits:
Oaks Academy believes in the philosophy of ‘Learning without Limits’ – a philosophy created by Alison Peacock at The Wroxham School in Hertfordshire. Learning without limits is based on the belief that ‘human potential is not predictable, that children’s futures are unknowable and education has the power to enhance the lives of all.’
‘Children grow, emotionally and intellectually, if adults believe in their capacity for learning and trust that children want to learn.’
In Oaks schools we do not put a lid on children’s ability. We do not label children as more or less able. We expect all children to surprise themselves and adults with the wonders they achieve. Children understand and apply new concepts at different rates but they can all ‘get there’ in the end if they receive the teaching appropriate for them. It is because adults believe in every child’s capacity to learn that the children feel valued and have greater self-belief. We are seeing children achieve more than we thought possible.
Growth mindset is the deep-down belief, born of experience, that putting in the effort in learning is a worthwhile thing to do, because it is likely to bear fruit both in terms of making progress on things you care about, and in terms of strengthening your intelligence itself, which will stand you in good stead for the future.
We build a community with a ‘growth mindset’ where we do not see intelligence as fixed but rather we see the brain as a muscle that can be worked and grown.
All staff use consistent, positive language around our school. Specific praise identifies and encourages effort, risk taking and creative thinking. We believe it is possible to grow your intelligence if you are resilient, prepared to practise, enjoy challenge and trust in yourself. Children no longer say ‘I can’t do that.’ They are taught to say ‘I can’t do that ……… yet!’
‘Knowledge is like a tree that grows by daring to put out shoots into the unknown.’
‘Those who believe they can get smarter usually do’
Creative Thinking or Habits of an Expert
Oaks aims to equip their children with the skills of creative thinking so that they are ready to face and surmount the challenges life throws at them. Oaks schools have identified habits used by experts: observant, determined, co-operative, curious, imaginative, adventurous, investigative and the use of reasoning. Alongside teaching the content of the lesson, the children are taught which skills to use or how to ‘behave’ for each subject. They take on the role of an expert and so are artists, scientists, historians or gymnasts. They are not ‘doing art’ rather they are artists learning in the same way that an artist would. This implicit expectation of quality raises their aspirations, enables them to take charge of their learning and as a consequence raises their self-esteem.
The children tell us ‘It has taught us how to be.’
Assessment for Learning – questioning, clarity of learning, success criteria, learning partners, teacher modelling and self-evaluation ensure that learning is clear and that children are actively driving the process
Diagnostic comment-based feedback is the best way to help children to improve.
‘Feedback to learners should focus on what they need to improve, rather on how well they have done, and should avoid comparison with others.’ Guy Claxton
Values and Emotional Literacy are at the heart of our schools. The values guide our actions and decision making. We chose the Jammie Dodger biscuit as a symbol for our values! The biscuit represents learning but the jam is the heart of the school. It is the most important part of a good person. When asked ‘What should we do to make the term the best ever?’ a Year 6 child replied: ‘We need lots of jam in our biscuit.’
Time is given to listen to children. Using a shared language, the children are taught how to manage their feelings and how to be a good friend/citizen.
Inspiring, authentic curriculum which engages the children and promotes intrinsic motivation with literature at its heart.
High expectations of achievement for all children. Creating ‘more room at the top’ by providing the conditions for all children to be successful: high performance is nurtured systematically every day
Positive Approach to Behaviour Management – We make expectations for behaviour clear and use praise to embed and encourage the behaviour we are looking for.
Environment where learning takes place both inside and out. An environment which supports learning and celebrates children’s successes
If you would like to know more please come and talk to us.