Elements of Learning and Achievement

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The Elements Manual

The content published in this section (Introducing the Elements) has been taken from The Elements of Learning and Achievement Manual.

Reference: Prumm, K. and Patruno, R. (2016) The Elements of Learning and Achievement Manual, Department of Education, NSW.

What are the Elements of Learning and Achievement?

The Elements of Learning and Achievement is a learning and achievement framework to support the school community in delivering holistic quality teaching to improve students' academic and social outcomes.

The Elements aim to provide students with the skills to become respectful, responsible and safe learners in a global community and ensure learning for students across stages and is based on quality educational delivery, high expectations and shared professional practices.

Why were the Elements of Learning and Achievement created?

The Elements of Learning and Achievement were originally created by the team at Dorchester Education and Training Unit to address the needs of their students, and provide a consistent understanding of the educational framework for all members across the school community. They were designed to create a practical and relevant platform that students and staff at Dorchester Education and Training Unit could engage with, and a means to simplify all relevant documentation to create one workable document for staff to program with.

The aim of the Elements is to engage students in all areas of the curriculum, improve student outcomes, and to support them in working towards becoming respectful, responsible and safe life-long learners through whole-school practice and the development of a common core language, vision and mission. From there, the Elements of Learning and Achievement have been shown as being able to be adapted and applied to a variety of school settings.

The Elements of Learning and Achievement was created as a holistic program

Flowchart 1 demonstrates the main connections between the aspects of the Elements framework.

Flowchart 2 represents the key links between the Elements of Learning and Achievements, current policies by the Department of Education, and curriculum documentation.

Background of the Elements of Learning and Achievement

Robert Patruno

The Elements of Learning and Achievement Framework developed from a simple request. I had just started working within an Education and Training Unit and the retiring principal's departing words were if you need advice 'see Laurie'.

The only problem was Laurie had his own plans about retirement. So when he spoke to me about this a few months later, I asked a favour of him.

I said, 'Can you share with the staff after over 40 years of working students with behavioural and emotional issues across a number of settings and in a number of different positions within the department of education, what is needed for students to become successful?'

During this highly engaging presentation, he suddenly put up a slide of a curriculum model he believed should be taught constantly to students to reinforce the foundational skills they had lost over the years due to one or numerous factors such as trauma, education failure, emotional, physical or educational neglect.

He spoke about:

  • the importance of literacy and numeracy being taught every day.
  • learning living skills that will teach them what is needed during different transitions in their lives.
  • teaching students about the world through geography and history.
  • training students in cooking skills and maintaining a healthy living style by making good choices.
  • introducing technology to reinforce skills and gain basic operation of a computer.

A number of staff walked away from that meeting thinking, believing that we should trial a teaching and learning model around these vital skills.

The Elements of Learning and Achievement Framework from that moment began to evolve and improve learning and social outcomes for all students.

The core of the Elements of Learning and Achievement Framework are seven student pillars that could be described as a skill set.

These pillars are incorporated into all areas across the school community to provide and reinforce the skills students' require to not only engage in the learning cycle but work towards becoming successful lifelong learners.

Students engaged in the Elements Framework will begin to understand that these skills are linked to everyday life and therefore work towards gaining learning and social outcomes.

The Elements provides members of the school community with the framework that incorporates the pillars of Functional Literacy, Practical Numeracy, Actions and Choices, Independent Living Skills, Health and Wellbeing, 21st Century Learner, Global Citizen into every subject area, teaching and learning program and school plan.

By teaching pillars within all lessons allows students to learn new skills, constantly practice and consolidate their new knowledge, build their self-esteem, not fear new learning experiences, and most importantly understand the significance of what they are learning.

Finally, the Elements provides all stakeholders within the school community with a visual framework to demonstrate to students how the staff constantly plan to ensure that students are working towards the skill set they need towards achievement.