Case Study

Peter Hayes, Principal – St Brendan’s Primary School, Flemington, VIC

We’re a school that is always looking to improve teacher practice.

Many of our students come from non English speaking backgrounds – and a few know very little or no English when they start with us.

Our students make incredible gains over these very formative years and by year 3 catch up and by year 5 operate at or above the minimum levels set by NAPLAN.

Having said that, looking for ways that we can improve our practices so that their gains are greater and quicker is really what I’m all about.

The Catholic Education Office approached me in 2011 and spoke very highly of John Corrigan.  His amenable manner, product and approach to how the leadership team could be coached to support staff in learning and teaching really appealed to me.

I believe having an outsider come in and look at our school to help us improve learning and teaching is a great opportunity.  Getting help and support in developing better structures seemed a very good move to me, my team and it would most certainly benefit our students.

We started the program mid 2012.  Unfortunately we had a couple of hic-ups around September 2012 when I went on leave and my Deputy Principal, who’d taken over, went on extended sick leave.

We’ve just re-started the program and are looking forward to positive results.

I know it’s early days but these are some of the aspects of the program I really like.

Each participant has to set 2 goals for the year in areas they want to improve as teachers.  Setting goals helps them focus on what’s important and be held accountable to their goals.

My goals also help me be more focussed and not get side tracked with daily details and forget about the big picture for the school.  This keeps my team and myself accountable and on track.

Learning by rote and regurgitation is alive and well in many parts of the education system.  Australia is struggling with finding good science and maths teachers and I believe many of them are simply bored out of their minds with the way teaching is currently practiced.

It’s a teacher’s job to excite their students about learning.

It is my belief that education needs to change towards a more “hands on” approach from a learning as well as teaching point of view.

Learning and teaching is becoming more and more about inclusion and collaboration.  One way of making a difference is rolling up your sleeves and getting down with groups of children so that they can see you partnering with them, rather than sitting in your ivory tower.

As such, classroom visits of 15 minutes per week per class is one of my goals for 2013.  I want become more familiar with the students and their learning as well as supporting my teachers in their quest for improvement.

John Corrigan is an excellent coach and role model.

He has a lovely manner, is in control of the process, but is not controlling.  He’s very articulate and knowledgeable on a number of topics.  What I particularly appreciate is that he puts his theory into practice with himself.

John’s heart and soul is in “our corner” which is fantastic.  My leadership team enjoys working with him too.

Change in education is inevitable, just as change is a reality in life.  The Group 8 Performance Development and Coaching program is not about adding extra work or burdens on our staff.  It is about living the change in what it is we’re already doing.

Teachers and educators need to sharpen their tools, and John’s program can help us achieve this.

I rate the program at an 8 out of 10, and I give John a 9 out of 10.

Group 8 Education
Phone: +61 418 432 316

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