INNOVATION IN THE CLASSROOM: A RECIPE FOR SUCCESS
Renowned for being outstanding teachers, coaches, and mentors, our faculty are dedicated to ensuring that each student meets with success. The classroom experience at SAC is second-to-none because of the following ingredients:
ENGAGING INSTRUCTIONAL STRATEGIES
SAC teachers know that boys respond best when the instruction is varied, and the work is hands-on and highly social. Much of what we do is informed by our participation in the International Boys’ School Coalition (IBSC), a not-for-profit coalition of schools for boys from around the world dedicated to the education and development of boys, and the professional growth of those who work with them. The results of the qualitative research being performed by this body of educators confirms that boys respond best when technology is ubiquitous, and teachers focus on the making of ‘products,’ gaming, motor activity, role play, open inquiry, and teamwork.
A SENSE OF BELONGING
The most recent IBSC study, titled The Sound of Significance: Listening for the Origins of Purpose in Boys’ Lives, reveals that boys crave a sense of belonging, purposeful work, and happiness. The faculty at St. Andrew’s recognizes when a boy feels he belongs and that his teacher cares for him, everything is possible.
Carefully planned curriculum ensures that classroom activities, assignments, and group projects are based on real life. John Dewey wrote: “I believe that education, therefore, is a process of living and not a preparation for future living.” We move beyond the theoretical and give boys the opportunity to engage in performative activities they will encounter throughout their lives.
St. Andrew’s faculty are life-long learners who engage in professional development both locally and abroad. Teachers attend and present at conferences hosted by such organizations as NAI (National Association of Independent Schools), TABS (The Association of Boarding Schools), and NCTE (National Council for Teachers of English).
In house, our faculty are engaged in regular PD sessions and participate in our Professional Growth program, a peer-driven reflection process. SCETL, our Standing Committee for Excellence in Teaching & Learning, meets regularly to discuss emerging academic issues and develop a common academic vision and agreed upon assessment and evaluation practices.
Motivation is deeply tied to problem solving, and so we are careful to ensure that inquiry is predicated on questions that don’t have obvious answers. As a result, our students are trained to find evidence that will support their thinking to ensure that opinions and ideas are grounded rather than speculative.
TAPPING INTO THE RIGHT BRAIN
As Daniel Pink notes in A Whole New Mind, we have moved beyond the Information Age and into the Conceptual Age. As a result, our graduates will need to be able to tap into the right brain as they design, narrate, invent, play, and ‘intuit’ their way to success. SAC teachers transition their students through linear, logical thought toward creativity, empathy, and what Pink calls ‘symphony.’
We pride ourselves in being on the cutting edge of technology, and we are committed to ensuring that students graduate as citizens of a digital world. Each student is provided with a Fujitsu LifeBook T935 convertible tablet to facilitate the completion of all coursework. All classrooms are digitally equipped. Students take notes, receive and submit assignments, access handouts and supplementary web materials, and collaborate with teachers and fellow students through a campus-wide wireless network.
A number of the SAC faculty have dedicated over 25 years of service to the School. The wisdom, guidance, and commitment to the traditions of the School demonstrated by these veterans affords our younger faculty members an invaluable mentoring resource. This translates directly into teachers who know boys best, and boys who understand that they are participants in a rich legacy of tradition and success.