Principles of Learning
Principles of Learning
The public school program is based on principles of learning that teachers and administrators use as the basis of the experiences they plan for their students. These principles include the following:
- Learning is a process of actively constructing knowledge.
- Students construct knowledge and make it meaningful in terms of their prior knowledge and experiences.
- Learning is enhanced when it takes place in a collaborative and a social environment.
- Students need to continue to view learning as an integrated whole.
- Learners must see themselves as capable and successful.
- Learners have different ways of representing knowledge.
- Reflection is an integral part of learning.
Essential Graduation Learnings
Public school education in Nova Scotia has two major goals: to help all students to develop to their full potential cognitively, affectively, physically and socially: and to help all students to acquire the knowledge, skills, and attitudes necessary for them to continue as thinking, learning, physically active members of the community.
The Department of Education believes these goals can best be met if school communities help students to develop in certain areas of learning called essential graduation learnings. These areas cross traditional subject boundaries and are not the monopoly of any one discipline. The Department of Education and Culture have identified six areas of learning:
- Aesthetic expression – Graduates will be able to respond with critical awareness to various forms of the arts and be able to express themselves through the arts.
- Citizenship – Graduates will be able to assess social , cultural, economic and environmental interdependence in a local and global context.
- Communication – Graduates will be able to use the listening, viewing, speaking, reading and writing modes of language(s) and mathematical and scientific concepts and symbols to think, learn, and communicate effectively.
- Personal development – Graduates will be able to continue to learn and to pursue an active, healthy lifestyle.
- Problem solving – Graduates will be able to use the strategies and the processes needed to solve a wide variety of problems, including those requiring language, mathematical, and scientific concepts.
- Technological competence – Graduates will be able to use a variety of technologies, demonstrate an understanding of technological applications, and apply appropriate technologies for solving problems.
The Learning Outcome Framework
The Department of Education and Culture has developed a learning outcomes framework for each curriculum area. The framework consists of a series of curriculum outcomes statements describing what knowledge, skills and attitudes students are to demonstrate as a result of their cumulative learning experiences in the primary-graduation continuum.
General curriculum outcomes provide the organizational structure for other learning outcomes statements and reflect the "big ideas" in that subject area.
Key-stage curriculum outcomes identify what students are expected to know and be able to do by the end of grades 3, 6, 9 and 12 as a result of their cumulative learning experiences in a curriculum area.
Specific curriculum outcomes identify what students are expected to know and be able to do at the end of a particular grade level or a particular course.
Teachers and administrators refer to the outcomes framework to design learning environments and experiences that reflect the principles of learning and the needs and interests of the students.