Principal | Gippsland Grammar



As a teacher, I have always been curious to know more about the conversations my students are having in my class. What do they say to each other when I am not listening? How do they give each other feedback and how accurate is it? The answers to these questions would significantly influence the way I teach and the strategies I use to help my students learn.  


Yesterday I was fortunate to watch some of our Year 5 students participate in a research program at the University of Melbourne. The University have developed a teaching laboratory at their Graduate School of Education in Parkville. The lab enables the researchers to observe a class from behind a mirror and record the conversations that occur. It was fascinating to watch Mrs Condron facilitate a magnificent lesson on animal adaptation, listen to and observe our students as they were challenged - initially by surface level concepts, which gradually developed and required more understanding and deeper thinking.


I watched as our students sought answers and affirmation by Mrs Condron as the concepts and activities became more challenging. Mrs Condron directed the students to ask each other questions and to discuss and unpack these concepts with each other. This is in comparison to the traditional teaching approach of giving students information and asking them to memorise it for a future assessment task.  The record of these lessons will be thoroughly analysed by the researchers and this research will contribute to our understanding of how we can positively influence the thinking process for our students.  


I am grateful to our students, Mrs Condron and Mrs O’Reilly for making the effort to travel to the city for this activity. It was great to take the opportunity to show the students around the University. They were enthralled by the culture of the University and the grandeur of the architecture of both historic and contemporary buildings. While we were taking a photo on the famous South Lawn, an Old Scholar just happened to be walking past and came to speak to the students about her experience at the University. I could not have scripted it better. We now have many students in Year 5 who dream of studying at the University of Melbourne in the future.  


I would also like to thank the parents of this class for the early start and late finish they had to their day. I look forward to sharing the results of this research with our community in the not too distant future.