PACED Home Learning

The question of homework is often a contentious one no matter what the age or year level of the student. Often it is about the amount, either too little or too much.

Highly regarded research by John Hattie who is currently Professor of Education and Director of the Melbourne Educational Research Institute at the University of Melbourne, illustrated through his longitudinal, global meta-analysis research that traditional homework both in primary and secondary schools is not very impactful on student learning.  However he argues that we need to ‘get homework right, not get rid of it’.

During 2017 we undertook our own review of homework at CGGS, driven by the questions:

> What is the purpose of homework?

> Is it having a positive impact on learning?

> What does the current research tell us?

> What do we value as important for a student when she goes home after her day at CGGS?

We found that for some students and families, homework is not a positive or productive experience. Yet for others, it helps to set important routines and study habits that can contribute to successful progress in student learning.

In trying to ‘get it right’ we began to focus on the idea of home learning rather than homework. This phrase that is more focused on a person’s ability to learn new information or skills with the possibility of applying it to new or emerging contexts or create new value. This inspired the development of our home learning framework, called the PACED Home Learning Framework.

It is often difficult to challange longstanding perceptions around understandings and routines that many of us experienced as children ourselves. The notion of ‘homework’ is no different. However, we have a responsibility to our children to ensure that we are providing them with the best learning opportunities informed through the best contemporary educational research.

PACED home learning is reimagining homework rather than reducing or eliminating it. It is about structuring homework for a purpose so it has meaning for the student. At CGGS we are committed to our students developing the competencies that will prepare them for their future. So we are making our home learning ‘fit for purpose’ and in John Hattie’s words ‘making it right’.

As we have re-launched the PACED Home Learning Framework again this year, with a teaching and learning team responsible for the development of the program including:

> Dr Charlotte Forwood, Director of Learning Design and Development

> Ms Nirvana Watkins, Deputy Head of Senior School – Wellbeing Curriculum and Programs

> Ms Kate Manners, Deputy Head of Senior School – Teaching and Learning

> Ms Emma Hinchliffe, Deputy Head of Junior School – Teaching and Learning

I share with you below their introduction to the CGGS PACED Home Learning Program in 2019.

With best wishes,

Debbie Dunwoody


PACED Home Learning

In 2019, the PACED Home Learning framework at Camberwell Girls Grammar School continues to be a core component of our teaching and learning program across Ormiston and Senior School. PACED is an acronym, which stands for:

Preparation for learning involves interacting with content and concepts that are the focus for upcoming classroom learning. In preparation for learning, students develop the ability to independently access, engage with, and possibly respond to content and concepts that will be encountered in the classroom.  For example:

> Year 6: Complete your role’s task sheet for Literature Circles prior to our weekly meeting. This week your role will be one of the following: Discussion Director, Questioner, Vocabulary Enricher, Contenessa Comprehension, Connector or Literary Luminary.

Application of learning involves intentional practice and application of concepts that have been encountered in the curriculum. Research suggests that intentional, frequent application of some skills is beneficial. Application tasks should not be beyond the student’s current ability or achievement level.  For example:

> Year 9 English: Complete a body paragraph of your own using the TEEEEL structure. Use one of the topic sentences from the PowerPoint in today’s lesson.

Consolidation occurs in the process of learning through targeted review, revision and reimagining of the concepts and content encountered in classroom learning. Consolidation should also be used as a prompt for persistent questions or concepts that require further attention in the classroom. For example:

> Year 10 Science: Complete a summary card about our Physics unit. Your summary should include the following concepts: Forces, Newton’s Laws of Motion, gravity, friction, air resistance, displacement, speed, velocity and acceleration.

Enrichment of learning has at its core, the purpose of students advancing their own understanding and ability, regardless of their starting point. Enrichment tasks allow students to take their learning ‘one step further’, by representing their understanding in new forms, making new connections, and developing new skills. For example:

> Year 4: In our recent STEAM lesson, we learnt about computational thinking and branching. For home learning design, present a flow chart to help teach a family member how to complete an everyday task such as making a cup of coffee or walking a dog.

In divergent home learning tasks, students have the freedom to take their learning outside the classroom in highly individualised directions. Divergent
home learning takes the classroom content as its starting point, but may include passion pursuits, interest-oriented online courses, community-based research, and enterprise or invention concepts. For example:

> Year 8/9 Future Design Thinking Elective: In class we have been learning about the idea of using STEMpathy for design. This week, you need to use an empathy simulation relating to your design challenge with family and friends, and survey them on their reactions, which will inform your final decision.

All home learning tasks that students undertake fit into one of these categories.  In alignment with current research, extensive review, focus groups and community surveys, PACED reimagines what homework can be. It clearly articulates that home learning is purposeful and helps students to see connections in their learning therefore developing deep understanding.

As a school community, we value intellectual inquiry and students having every opportunity to develop high quality work in response to their learning. We also recognise that learning goes beyond the classroom.

At Camberwell Girls Grammar School, we strongly believe that every day, each student should enjoy time to:

> Connect with family

> Develop her personal health and wellbeing

> Interact within the community

> Engage with home learning, where appropriate.

PACED Home Learning is designed by subject and class teachers to build confidence and rigour, and supports students to take increasing responsibility for their own learning.

Students across the Junior and Senior Schools have expressed their appreciation of our purposeful approach to home learning.

“It’s so much clearer now WHY we have to do certain tasks, and it gives me a good reminder to revise more consistently rather than doing it all near the end of the unit” (Year 8 student)

“At first I thought it was weird that it was called home learning now and not homework like before, but I can see that there’s a bit more focus on how the things we do at home connect to what we’re learning in class” (Year 10 student)

“It’s very clear and we can see how this will help her with her school work.” (Year 8 Parent)

Families are encouraged to be in contact with their daughter’s classroom teacher, form/tutor teacher or Year Level Coordinator if they would like further information about their daughter’s home learning.

Dr Charlotte Forwood, Ms Nirvana Watkins, Ms Kate Manners and Ms Emma Hinchliffe