Wednesday, 8 March 2017

Year 7 & 8 Church Strand Teaser!

We have completed thirteen video's for our Church Strand Project with Jason McTeague. Here is a Year Seven Lesson.........

Thursday, 2 March 2017

What are they doing at the Catholic Education Office???

Today is Friday so let's find out what they are doing at the Catholic Education Office.........

Thursday, 23 February 2017

Canterbury Religious Studies Network - Update

'Start children off on the way they should go, and even when they are old they shall not turn from it.'

The Canterbury Religious Studies Network is a group of teachers who come together to share and discuss our teaching of Religious Studies. We currently have four faith schools involved and we are looking for more members/ schools to join us!

This is open to Primary and Secondary teachers/ schools who are interested in asking questions, seeking advice and sharing resources. Coming together as a Network allows us to form connections with others who are working on similar projects or those who are able to develop our thinking.

We have just launched our website which will provide you with details around our vision and areas of development. Click here to view our website!

To sign up and join our Network please fill in the Form below:

A key feature of our Network is the focus on 'Collective Genius'. Each individual has particular skills and knowledge. When individuals are connected on a platform (such as this Network) the possibilities for innovation are huge!

'For complex change you need many people working insightfully on the solution and committing themselves to concentrated action together' - Michael Fullan.

Wednesday, 8 February 2017

What has been happening in the Office?

I hope you have had a fantastic start to the year and know you will be well underway getting to know your classes and completing school events.

We were thrilled to work with two school cluster groups on RE 102 - Introduction to Spirituality and TH 101 - Introduction to Catholicism through our blended learning approach which covers 9 hours on line learning and 9 hours face to face time. This has been a significant shift in the delivery of Religious Education professional development and we are continuing to reflect on how we use the individual, group and on line spaces.

You can explore the Moodle site through this video here and if you would like to know more about Blended Learning approaches please comment on this post. 

We are looking forward to travelling around the Diocese and celebrating Catholic Schools Day Mass with you. This is an important time where we are able to come together and celebrate our Catholic faith and Education system. Be sure to take plenty of photos and please send them in so we can place them up on this blog.

We are looking forward to working with you in 2017.

Online for lent - A daily retreat

Father John O'Connor has created a daily online retreat for Lent that will provide excellent spiritual nourishment for all of us. 

Consider Lent 2017 (Ash Wednesday 1st March - Easter Sunday 16th March) as a time of retreat in the midst of your daily routines and commitments with online
encouragement for prayer and growth in faith.

Every day of Lent will offer resources including reflections, brief
videos clips and podcasts with links to other helpful resources for your prayer,
reflection and growth in faith.

These online resources have been linked to the CARITAS Units you will be using in your schools during Lent and also he will incorporate aspects of the Spiritual Renewal Programme that Father Rick is suggesting we implement.

Registering for this online retreat takes less than a minute and you will receive an email that is succinct, to the point, prayerful and will be a great way to start your day.

You can connect with this programme and Father John via Twitter and Facebook.

We look forward to this wonderful opportunity and thank Father John for his efforts in making this available. 

Monday, 6 February 2017

Senior School - Methods on Scripture Interpretation

Pope Francis:

“I would like so much for all Christians to be able to comprehend ‘the surpassing worth of knowing Jesus Christ’ through the diligent reading of the Word of God, for the sacred text is the nourishment of the soul and the pure and perennial source of the spiritual life of all of us.”

The Sacred Scriptures are fundamental to our Catholic faith and reading God’s word actively brings us toward a greater relationship with God. Presenting this to our students can at times be challenging and it is important that we have a sound understanding of Scripture.  

In this post you will be presented with two methods of Scripture interpretation that you can use with your students as they grow and develop in their understanding of God's Word. 

1. The KITE Method

The first method of interpretation we will explore is the KITE Method developed by Barbara Stead. Stead outlined five principles which are central to helping students develop a strong understanding of Scripture both in a 'knowledge and spiritual' capacity. 

Please watch the following video which summarizes how to apply the KITE Method to Scripture.

There is also a resource you can use here which outlines the steps to take when applying the KITE Method to a piece of Scripture you are exploring with your class.

2. The Composite Method

The Composite Method was developed by Margaret Carswell and is underpinned by four theoretical conceptions. These conceptions are:

1. The Scripture text should be first experienced as story, enabling students to think and imagine what they hear.

2. Students should engage directly with the Scripture text. The teacher's role is therefore to deliberately arrange activities so that the Bible can be brought into direct contact with students. 

3. The Scripture text should be actively taught rather than simply used with children. This involves the teacher engaging in some study of the text prior to teaching so that their teaching is based on a grounded understanding.

4. A thematic approach to scripture teaching is required in which the themes are drawn from the Bible itself. Teachers need to b discerning in their selection of texts to ensure those chosen provide a stepping stone in the development of your students understanding. 

The Composite Method uses a three stage process:

Please watch the following video which summarizes how to apply the Composite Method to Scripture.

There is also a resource you can use here which outlines the steps to take when applying the Composite Method to a piece of Scripture you are exploring with your class. 

Comment in the section below if you have any questions about applying these approaches to your classes. 


Stead, B. (1994). A time of jubilee: Using Luke's gospel with children. Thornbury: Desbooks.

Bowie, R. (2016) Doing RE hermeneutically - learning to become interpreters of religion. RE today, 34 (1). Pp. 60- 62.

Carswell, M. (2001) Teaching Scripture: The Gospel of Mark: Sydney: Harper Collins Religious.

Elliot, P.l (Ed). To know, worship and love student text series. Books 1- 2. Melbourne: James Goold House Publications.

Engebretson, K., & Fleming, J. (2002). Thriving as an RE Teacher. Cengage Learning: Sydney.

Paul Ricoeur: Essays on language, action and interpretation, CUP 1981, Searching for Meaning, SPCK, 2008.

Wednesday, 21 December 2016

Four benefits and an opportunity in the Flipped Classroom approach

It has been over eighteen months since I attended a workshop and introduced to the Flipped Classroom. The presenter discussed the ability of her Mathematics students to stop, pause and rewind her teaching around a particular concept. We watched a short video of her class in action -  the students were engaged, active and mentoring one another by practicing the content the teacher had presented in class time. The concept of watching video content to learn or understand something was not foreign to me. Just a week earlier I had taught myself how to reconnect the tie cord on my lawn mower after it had fallen off!
I left the presentation reflecting on the benefits of this shift in teaching time and space and how I could get it underway with two classes as a trial. I was also aware that this would not be a miracle panacea for my teaching and also decided to delve deeper into this pedagogy by completing research into Flipped Learning through the University of Canterbury.
A question that often comes up when discussing Flipped Learning is that there is no definitive research or data that demonstrates its effectiveness. I would begin by stating that the body of peer reviewed literature into Flipped Learning, Flipped Classroom and Inverted Classroom is small however, it is growing at an exponential rate. In an analysis completed by Robert Tolbert, 38 articles were written in the first half of 2016 for Flipped Learning, Flipped Classroom or the Inverted Classroom. In the image below you may notice a sharp spike in 2012. It coincides with the year Jon Bergmann and Aaron Sams released their book ‘Flipping your classroom’. If you continue to hear there is no research basis for Flipped Learning - this is simply not true. There is a rapid shift in the amount of research and scholarship being produced on this pedagogy. Take a look at this bibliography I have compiled for you to have a look at the range of studies that have been completed.

In this post I will outline four benefits and an opportunity to develop in the Flipped Classroom approach. It is important that we encourage awareness of cases where the Flipped Classroom approach did not work. Doing so allows us to continue to develop and refine the Flipped Classroom approach rather than declaring victory too early.


Increase in Personalised Learning
At the center of Flipped Learning is its focus on individualizing learning. Class Time is spent focusing on problems, questions, inquiry and project based learning (Roach, 2014, Halili & Zainuddin, 2016, Lage, Platt & Treglia, 2000). This enables time for teachers to help students stuck on a difficult concept or a problem that traditionally is completed during homework time (Bergmann & Sams, 2014, Hung, 2015, Straw, Quinlan, Harland & Walker, 2015). In a traditional classroom, this interaction would not occur as often because teachers spend the bulk of their time lecturing content. In this model the teacher becomes a, “facilitator and students become the focus of the class.” (Talley & Scherer, 2013, p. 340) Flipped learning has been identified as one of the most promising approaches to transforming learning for our students (Hung, 2015). It encourages students to take responsibility for their learning and to, “learn at their own pace and to make faster progress than would otherwise have been the case.” (Straw, Quinlan, Harland & Walker, 2015, p. 4). Little research has been completed on the impact of Flipped Learning however, the sheer number of teachers that have reported successful implementation of the strategy provides evidence of its powerful use as an instructional method (Enfield, 2013). Students across studies have shown the ability to interact with content that suits their learning style, allowing the teacher to have a greater insight into student understanding, resulting in increased interaction with students (Peters, 2015, Enfield, 2013, Roach, 2014).

Increase in Engagement and Ownership
Recent case studies of Flipped Learning discuss the benefits of increased learner agency and their ability to manage their learning. Due to the range of technology available to students it has increased their ability to have greater autonomy of their learning and when they complete this learning. A recent study completed by Waikato University, into a first year Engineering class, found that, “90% of students appreciated learning in their own time and 84% at their own pace.” (Peters, 2015, p. 6). This skill of autonomy and independent learning is significant to Flipped Learning and could be, “appropriate for preparing students for a 21st century career that will require continued on job learning.” (Enfield, 2013, p. 25). Within a trial of nine schools in England and Scotland, teachers noted that students were more willing to learn for themselves and this helped them developed a positive work ethic (Straw, Quinlan, Harland, Walker, 2015). Flipped Learning enables more time for learning where students can apply their knowledge in labs, problems and tasks, requiring students to use the higher order skills of Bloom’s Taxonomy (Bergmann & Sams, 2014, Talley & Scherer, 2013, Hung, 2015, Love, Hodge, Grandgenett & Swift, 2014).  Students’ curiosity is triggered, developing their, “tactile memory of speaking, discussing and solving problems with their  classmates instead of the basic learn and recall that traditionally happens.” (Roach, 2014, p. 78). As noted by students across many studies; the more interactive the class environment meant the more likely they were to be focused and engaged with their learning.

Anywhere & Anytime
The notion of Flipped Learning is a grassroots teaching movement where initial concepts are covered outside of class, allowing class time for students to participate in a more comprehensive and thorough understanding of content. (Bergmann & Sams, 2014, Hung, 2015, Straw, Quinlan, Harland and Walker, 2015). This teaching pedagogy shifts, “learning into any time and place, not only being limited to class time.” (Roehl, Shweta & Gayla, 2015, p.45). Where, “today’s students can access online video resources, anywhere at their convenience.” (Halili & Zainuddin, 2016, p. 2).

Personalisation and Engagement Combined - JiTT
A technique that is created through this pedagogy is Just in Time Teaching (JiTT).  In this strategy, the teacher reviews students’ understanding before class through formative assessments and, “adjusts the in class activities to address the deficiencies reflected in the assessments (Love, Hodge, Grandgenett & Swift, 2014, p. 320). Other formats ask students the question before class, ‘What did you find difficult or hard about the content in this video?’  The teacher is then able to begin class with these questions and work through any misconceptions that the students have. The JiTT approach adapts the content to where students’ understanding is at the moment of confusion. This strategy is, “a natural application of one to one teaching that is possible when students are working in class time.” (Roach, 2014,  Kim, Kim, Khera & Getman, 2014). The student is able to clear up any confusion immediately and the, “instructor is able to monitor performance and comprehension,” (Lage, Platt, Treglia, 2000, p.37) which would be otherwise difficult in a traditional classroom.

Weaknesses of Flipped Learning
Teachers and students, within the Flipped Learning model, have indicated issues with the model around student completion of work, incorrect video content, poor quality video instruction and lack of preparation for this pedagogical shift. In order for this learning programme to operate, students need to have high levels of self management. It places, “more dependence on the student and their own learning,” for which some students are not yet ready (Peters, 2015, p. 6) A number of studies found that students in Flipped Learning environments expressed concern that the, “teacher was not teaching and they were just being told to Google it.” (Enfield, p. 22). Flipped Learning requires students to develop analytical skills where the teacher acts as a guide to direct them to potential solutions (Enfield, 2013, Kim, Kim, Khera & Getman, 2014), while working on collaborative tasks in class. The main challenge in beginning this programme is the amount of time to create videos/content that relate to their teaching topic (Tucker, 2012). When searching for video content already available, many teachers found that, “content was technically erroneous and did not relate to course learning outcomes to make them relevant to the programme,” (Peters, 2015, p. 8requiring large amounts of time investment if completed by untrained teachers. As a result, many times teachers produce poor quality video content where students do not want to watch  video content. Finally,  access to technology can be another barrier particularly around access to resources which are predominantly in a digital format (Roach, 2014, Enfield, 2013, Bergmann & Sams, 2014). Many students can become frustrated if there are technical issues with out of class content, although teachers must provide an alternative if this is an issue.  Although a range of studies have been completed, there is no specific evidence that, “Flipped Learning had improved student grades,” (Kim, Kim, Khera & Getman, 2014, p. 46) which needs to be taken into account if shifting to this teaching method.


Flipped Learning is an approach to teaching that is growing in popularity throughout primary, secondary and tertiary education sectors by providing active learning experiences for students. In this reflection I have outlined five benefits to this approach and one area for continued development. In the past people may have scoffed at this approach due to the lack of data and research on its effectiveness on learning. However, the amount of research and peer reviewed literature being produced is continuing to grow. Flipped Learning, Flipped Classroom, the Inverted Classroom, will continue to re imagine  the use of time, space and expertise in learning. If you are interested in this approach please review the bibliography for a fantastic range of research and feel free to comment below.

Bergman, J. & Sams, A., (2014). Flipped Learning: Gateway to Student Engagement. New York: International Society for Technology in Education.
Bolstad, R. & Gilbert, J. et al. (2012). Supporting future-oriented learning and teaching - a New Zealand perspective. Wellington: New Zealand Council for Educational Research. Retrieved from
Dumont, H., Istance, D., & Benavides, F. (2010). The Nature of Learning. Using  Research to Inspire Practice. Practitioner Guide from the Innovative Learning Project. OECD Centre for Educational Research and Innovation. Retrieved from:
Enfield, J. (2013). Looking at the Impact of the Flipped Classroom Model of Instruction on Undergraduate Multimedia Students at CSNU. TechTrends , 57(6), 14-27. doi: 10.1007./s11528-013-0698-1
Hung, H.T. (2015). Flipping the classroom for English language learners to foster active learning. Computer Assisted Language Learning, 28(1), 81-96. doi: 10.1018/09588221.2014.967701
Kim, M. K., Kim, S.M., Khera, O., & Getman, J. (2014) The experience of three flipped classrooms in an urban university: An exploration of design principles. The internet and Higher Education, 22,37-50. Doi: 10.1016/j.iheduc.2014.04.003
Lage, M.J., Platt, G.J., & Treglia, M. (2000) Inverting the classroom: A gateway to creating an inclusive learning environment. The Journal of Economic Education, 31(1), 30-43. Doi: 10.1018/00220480009596759
Love, B., Hodge, A., Grandgenett, N., & Swift, A.W. (2014). Student learning and perceptions in a  flipped linear algebra course. International Journal of Mathematical Education in Science and Technology, 45 (3), 317-324. Doi: 10.1018/0020739X.2013.822582
McLaughlin, J.E., Roth, M.T., Glatt, D.M., Gharkolonarehe, N., Davidson, C.A., Griffin, L.M., Mumper, R.J. (2014). The Flipped Classroom: A course redesign to foster learning and engagement in a health professions school. Academic Medicine, 89(2), 236-243. Doi: 10.1097/acm.00000000000086
Peters, M. (2015). Flipped Learning in an Undergraduate Engineering Class. Austrlasian Association for Engineering Education, 15 (6). 10-18.
Roach, T. (2014). Student perceptions towards flipped learning: New methods to increase interaction and active learning in economics. International Review of Economics Education, 17, 74-84. doi:10.1016/j.iree.2014.08.003
Roehl, A., Shweta, L., & Gayla, S. (2013). The Flipped Classroom: An Opportunity to Engage Millennial Students Through Active Learning Strategies. Journal of Family and Consumer Sciences, 105 (2), 44-49.
Straw, S., Quinlan, C., Harland, J. and Walker, M. (2015). Flipped Learning: Research Report. London: Nesta.
Zainuddin, Z., & Halili, S., (2016). Flipped Classroom Research and Trends from Different Fields of Study. International Review of Research in Open and Distance Learning, 17(3), 36-53.