Vision for Learning
To liberate young people to become life-long learners and to live meaningful, selfless and spiritual lives.
Vision for Learning
To be visionary is to identify a trajectory to a new and alternate future that is only possible through foresight and imagination. This is the intent of our Vision for Learning.
Our Vision for Learning is presented as an infographic that explores the interconnected stories, ideas, aspirations, and pedagogical practices that will drive the agenda for school improvement and professional development in teaching and learning.
We strive to be contemporary and future focused, equipping students with the skills to flourish in our rapidly evolving world.
To understand our Vision for Learning we adopt the thinking of Simon Sinek and his model of the Golden Circle. Sinek believes that we must always start with understanding why we do what we do and then look at how we do it before we look at what we do, not the other way around. In the context of our Vision for Learning the drivers of why we do what we do come from our distinctive and unique faith story and our alignment with Catholic Education Western Australia (CEWA), and other authorities. If we are to be authentic to our goals and dreams, how we do it must link directly to the aspirations expressed in our Vision and Mission statements. These aspirations then inform what we need to do to achieve our ambitions, that is, our pedagogical practices.
So, let’s start with our Why
Our Vision for Learning is deeply grounded in our rich faith story. Our story is first and foremost centred in Christ. Christ is our teacher and role model for all we do. Of the 90 times Jesus was addressed directly in the gospels, 60 times he was called Teacher. This was the word the multitudes used. This was how the disciples referred to him. Jesus himself used the term when he said, “You call me Teacher and Lord, and rightly so, for that is what I am” [John:13:13]. When Nicodemus came to Jesus by night, he said, “We know that you are a teacher who has come from God” [John:3:2]. With Christ at the centre, we are then manifestly student focused. That is, our College focusses on designing learning experiences that recognise and respond to the individual needs of each student. Student focussed learning puts students’ interests first, acknowledging student voice as central to the learning experience and empowering students to have agency over their own learning. The mantra, Christ Centred – Student Focused creates a direct alignment with the vision of Catholic Education Western Australia (CEWA), which aims to create “communities of engaged learning environments, inspiring all to actively live the Gospel”.
The central image of our Vision for Learning infographic contains our College Crest. This is important, as our learning is underpinned by our values, symbols, rituals and traditions. The crest uses the cupped hands to signify care, nurture, labour and prayer. The rising sun portrays the light of Christ who will illuminate our hope-filled journey as we learn and grow on our pilgrimage through school. The stars are aligned to form the shape of the Crucifix, the universal and most sacred symbol in all of Christendom. It reminds us that Jesus sacrificed himself so that we may have life, and have it in abundance. The stars are intentionally representative of the Southern Cross, a revered symbol of being Australian and our obligation to be stewards of the great land that sustains us and the respect we have for the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, the original custodians of this country.
Radiating from the central image is the seven-pointed star, which represents the Seven Gifts of the Holy Spirit. The Seven Gifts are:
- Wisdom – a person with the Gift of Wisdom is able to understand things from God’s point of view when finding solutions or solving problems;
- Understanding – allows us to grasp the essence of the truths of the Catholic Faith. Through understanding, we gain a confidence about our beliefs that allows us to move beyond faith;
- Counsel – also known as a Gift of Right Judgment. With this Gift we are able to judge how best to act in keeping with our beliefs and values;
- Fortitude – also known as the Gift of Courage. Through this Gift we are not afraid to stand up for good against evil;
- Knowledge – allows a person to understand the meaning and purpose God has for them and to live up to this meaning;
- Piety – is the willingness to worship and to serve God the way that we desire to honour our parents and do what they wish; and
- Fear of the Lord – is an understanding of the greatness and awesomeness of God. A person with this gift understands who they are and why they are here.
Our story continues with our College patron, Sister Irene McCormack, who embodies the values and spirit that defines the charism of our College. Sr Irene was a teacher, school principal and missionary who dedicated her life to serving the people of Western Australia and the poor and marginalised people in Peru. She lived a life of Prayer, Service and Justice; the three precepts of our College motto. After receiving her secondary education under the auspices of the Sisters of Mercy, she chose to join the Order of St Joseph of the Sacred Heart, an order of Australian nuns founded by St Mary of the Cross MacKillop. St Mary MacKillop initially established the Order to provide education to the poor, particularly in the country areas of Australia. Her mantra, “to never see a need without doing something about it”, emphasises the service-learning component of our Vision for Learning.
The story of Irene McCormack tethers together the uniquely Australian origin of the four College House Patrons (Fr Tom Dunlea, Sr Joan Evans, The Golding Sisters and Frank McGarry), all of whom provide examples of Australians whose commitment to their Catholic faith inspired their work to bring equality and justice to all Australians. Furthermore, based on the motivations of their life’s work, each House patron is assigned to one of four Pillars, Catholic Identity, Education, Community and Stewardship, which also align with the four Pillars of CEWA.
|Fr Tom Dunlea
|“The work will continue… whether I am there or not, because it is God’s work, not mine.”
|Sr Joan Evans
|“Education is the only way out of poverty”
|The Golding Sisters
|“… rise to your responsibilities, to your potentialities… ask Divine guidance, and go forward, never resting, never looking back…”
|“Love of God and Love of God’s poor”
Our College Pillars, immortalised by the spirit of the associated House patron, are critical to the Vision for Learning as they provide support and guidance to the learning programs. This includes pastoral care and health and wellbeing, learning support, extra-curricular and enrichment opportunities, and service learning.
This brings us to our Vision and Mission Statements. Our Mission and Vision statements identify the aspirational elements of how our faith story (the why) comes to life. The how identifies the key values and strengths that create a distinctly Irene McCormack Catholic College Vision for Learning. The five key phrases from our Vision and Mission statements that categorise our learner aspirations are: Spiritual Lives, Life-long Learners, Skills for Life, Feeling Safe and, Service and Justice. These elements help to identify strategic issues, define performance standards, build frameworks for ethical standards and guide decision making.
Finally, we are able to identify what we do. That is, what we do in the classroom to achieve our aspirations. Our what are the pedagogical practices that inspire, engage and transform students to become the best they can be. To further align with the System level Vision for Learning we are guided by the Five Teacher Practices of the CEWA Vision for Learning. The Five Teacher Practices provide teachers with an understanding of pedagogical practices that enhance learning. These practices support teachers in building their own professional capacity and knowledge and enables them to develop their professional judgement in discerning how and when to apply specific practices.
- Learning design – the practice of creating and enabling learning experiences for each student to achieve their true potential.
- Instructional range – the practice of being agile and responsive to the needs of each student, employing a wide range of effective strategies to optimise learning
- Engagement – the practice of attracting and holding the attention, curiosity, interest, optimism and passion of each student in the learning process and for their development as a whole person.
- Place, space and technology – the practice of using all aspects of the learning environment to scaffold and accelerate learning for each student.
- Quality relationships – the practice of modelling Christ-like relationships between students and teachers, enabling all to grow in the image of God.
The particular attributes of the how and the what have been discerned through research; parent, student and teacher voice through online surveys; collegial collaboration; and professional learning.
We are proud of our Vision for Learning and believe that it provides an excellent resource and guide for enhanced teaching and learning as well as a source for strategic planning and school improvement initiatives.