“Le Secret des Bons Profs” by Jean-Benoit Nadeau in the September 2019 issue of l’Actualité, provides insight into a growing movement in Quebec where educators have seen the benefits of moving away from traditional teaching methods to what is being called “effective” teaching practices . Effective teaching looks at how to use specific strategies that are focused on the achievement of student success for the greatest number of learning styles in a student population. The article provides examples of schools that have seen positive results from applying innovation to their teaching approaches, resulting in more “effective” teaching in the classroom and successful outcomes for students. Their mission: to align the best teaching practices with the needs of a variety of learners versus a one-size-fits-all model that assumes everyone learns the same way.
The Centennial Academy Difference
Over the last decade, Centennial Academy has been at the forefront in Quebec for putting in place a formalized global school approach based on the research of “best practices” aimed at effectively teaching a greater variety of learners versus doing what works for the average learner.
Centennial’s mission is to help students become autonomous and resilient learners through innovation and collaboration. The Centennial Approach is based on Universal Design for Learning, a scientifically-driven framework that says a flexible learning environment gives all students the opportunity to succeed. Our approach is also guided by the work of Professor John Hattie. Professor Hattie conducted over 800 meta-studies comparing factors that influence positive and negative learning outcomes in students. Using the results from these studies, Centennial has embedded patterns and routines that are aligned with what works best for the greatest variety of learners, and it is applied to everything that we do. Based on Hattie’s work on student achievement, as well as Dylan Williams (a Hattie follower) who looks at the professional development of teachers, and the latest findings in neuroscience, Centennial has developed a teaching and learning framework which is applied to all classes and school structures. Teachers are trained to coach students using consistent strategies that focus on effective routines, procedures, patterning, data collection and feedback.
While 95% of Centennial’s student body have a learning challenge, over 90% of them graduate on time. As the movement grows to connect the best teaching practices with learning outcomes, Centennial aims to set an example for other schools to follow. Through the creation of a Center of Excellence, Centennial will become a place for educators and school teams to learn how to adopt and embed the right structures and strategies into their school approach to maximize student success.
The Secret to Success at Centennial
How does Centennial concretize “effective” teaching into their approach? Centennial has created 25 accommodations and strategies which are embedded in its approach and which all students have access to.