Supporting our educators to pursue further research both contributes to the teaching profession and continues Crofton House School’s 120 year history of excellence in education. During the 2016-2017 school year, Sophia Hunter and Gail Robinson became our first Chairs of Teaching and Learning, engaging in exciting research that’s already shaping the School.
Phil Stringer, Department Head of Mathematics in the Senior School, and Quinn Cumming, Junior School Physical and Health Education teacher, are the next Chairs of Teaching and Learning.
Phil’s is investigating the concept of interleaving as an aid to long-term memory retention and the application of this principle to teaching. The aim is to move beyond a blocked approach to units of study and rather present students with mixed problems throughout the year, requiring them to recall and apply a range of skills on an ongoing basis.
“Traditional math instruction focuses on fractions or geometry independently, and just practices that one thing. There’s no critical thinking skills going on. I’m looking for more problem-solving and critique, the interleaved approach of ‘I don’t know what this question requires of me, but I should be able to do it.’” Phil will develop, implement and measure the effect of interleaving on skill retention over the next three years.
Quinn will be investigating a question of “grit”. Having observed that some girls are able to “push through” difficulty or discomfort while others tend to give up as soon as they are confronted with obstacles, she will look into the reasons for this behaviour (such as fear of failure or the pressure to be perfect) as well as the effect of teaching perseverance on later education and life.
Quinn aims to use her findings on the relationship between adolescent girls, Outdoor Education, grit and its social context to develop a program within PHE that empowers girls to become more resilient using mindset lessons, physical goals, and time for reflection.
“I believe that teaching girls to persevere when confronted by physical challenges, especially in their middle school years, will help them to increase their confidence and resilience in physical activity, and in turn, their courage to take risks and try new things in their daily lives.”