Dean of Learning

Dean of Learning

FACE curriculum – developing evidence-based opinions and autonomy in learning

Power of many fused with the will of one.

Bronte Campbell

We would like our students to develop their own viewpoints and work towards having autonomy in learning. How can we do this in order to achieve evidence-based opinions not shaped by misinformation, myths and falsehoods? How do they develop independence in learning when sometimes their preferred fallback mode of learning is direct instruction? Achieving evidence-based opinions starts with a focus on depth in learning before breadth in learning. Deep learning can start as an individual  action through focused reading, mindful listening, purposeful action and discerning viewing and then built upon through collaborative learning. 

Having mastery of knowledge in an area of interest builds a depth of understanding. Having deep knowledge enables one to build context around issues from which a breadth of understanding and opinions can develop.  This makes it possible to have informed opinions, perspectives and arguments. In the classroom, the depth of learning translates into knowing the subject’s content and associate skills.  Once this base is established the breadth of understanding and opinions can evolve by applying, for example,  the National Curriculum’s General Capabilities. This includes understanding of Numeracy, Literacy, ICT Capability, Personal and Social Capability, Critical and Creative Thinking and Ethical Understanding capabilities.  We seek to integrate these capabilities into teaching and learning programs and collaboration in the classroom. This involves cross faculty discussions and developing strategies to reap the benefits of the general capabilities. 

In relation to autonomy in learning the following example may provide insight. A swimmer can be supported, coached and instructed on how to swim but she must do the swimming.  In Mark Howard’s Howie Game Podcast (No.71 Part 2)  with Australian swimmers, Cate and Bronte Campbell, Bronte recites from one of her poems ‘Power of many fused with the will of one.’ She wrote this in the lead up to the 2018 Commonwealth Games. In the context of the whole poem I view this as the power of those supporting her in her swimming, but her success was also due to her ‘will’ to perform.  What does this look like for the students? Teachers, parents, other students and friends represent the ‘power of many’ to support the learning of Loreto Normanhurst students. The ‘fusing’ cannot happen unless the girls have the ‘will’ to act. 

This autonomy in learning requires having a vision that is greater than the fear of failure, a plan which can withstand changing circumstances, the ability to relax when pressure is exerted, a capacity to concentrate in an era of numerous distractions and self-reflection through the lens of improvement. 

Attending Friday morning communion, wishing to excel in formative and summative  assessments, having a sustained commitment to community service and turning up to early morning sport training or music practice, are all examples of the FACE Curriculum.  Each component of the FACE Curriculum affords the opportunity for students to cultivate evidence-based opinions and the capacity to be autonomous learners.


Mr Martin Pluss

Dean of Learning