Using HPC with all subjects in primary and high school curriculums

Future SchoolsThe High Possibility Classrooms (HPC) framework is a pedagogical model for teaching and learning. It landed on the education stage in late 2013 and since then its use has resonated with principals and teachers in increasing numbers of NSW and ACT primary and high schools in Australia. The HPC framework is supported by a book published in March 2015, this website, various peer-reviewed papers, industry journals, professional association papers and an Edutopia blog post including a handbook for teacher professional development (available here).

High Possibility Classrooms is now accredited PD on the NSW BOSTES website – shortly there will be a further suite of HPC workshops to add to the introductory session. This session consists of becoming familiar with HPC and the research in teachers’ classrooms that led to its development, working collaboratively in stage or KLA team/s with the HPC handbook in each of the five conceptions and using the framework to plan lesson/projects/units of work in an action research cycle.

Scaling up and sustaining HPC within the school context is achieved through appointing ‘HPC coaches’ who are considered expert in the framework and then they mentor other teachers – the role of Head Teacher Teaching & Learning in high schools is ideal for this.

Front Page Book Cover Teaching ResourcesLast Friday, I had an opportunity to present HPC in a keynote address at Future Schools in Sydney – this time with two outstanding classroom practitioners – both considered ‘edu pioneers in pedagogy’, Debbie Evans from Wahroonga Public School and Bianca Hewes from Manly Selective Campus. A big thank you to Bianca and Debbie for agreeing to take part – what champions – it was great fun!

Screen Shot 2016-03-13 at 6.21.10 pmI also wanted to thank a number of people for taking the time to write up their thoughts about the conference: Bianca Hewes, Michael Eggenhuizen and Claire Amos. And, also to the many school leaders and teachers who met with us after the morning keynote in three roundtable discussions to express their ideas and ask more questions about HPC.

Future Schools was seamlessly run and the organisers are to be commended for their efforts in putting on such a large education event. The place of this particular learning showcase is well integrated into the school conference calendar. As a teacher educator, I like to attend because it means you stay connected to the field and can come face to face with important education thinkers, principals and teachers … sharing their joys, their dreams, the realities and their concerns.

BOSTESEduTECH is on in Brisbane in late May and I am looking forward it – it is a huge expo by Australian conference standards: this time I will be supporting Amanda Fox who is flying out from Savannah, Georgia, USA. Read about Amanda’s school here. She will present a keynote on STEM, titled: It’s all in the DNA – can’t wait to hear that! Then, Amanda is coming to Sydney to conduct STEM/STEAM master classes with teachers in NSW primary schools over two days – one at Wahroonga Public School hosted by Debbie Evans in her fabulous Steampunks2016 event and the other at Georgia Constanti’s school at McCallums Hill.

Send me a DM if you would like more information about either of these two upcoming excitements.

Screen Shot 2016-03-13 at 5.03.49 pm
Steampunks 2016 at Wahroonga PS – don’t miss it

In 2014-15 I conducted further HPC research in three Australian schools – one primary and two high schools to understand whether, a framework developed out exemplary teachers’ practices, would still be valid in mainstream teachers’ classrooms. Mainstream being teachers who did not ‘fit’ a set of rigorous sampling criteria. Results of the research are found in a book chapter and an upcoming peer-reviewed paper currently in press – I will formally present the findings at DEANZ in Hamilton in April. Snapshots of the results  are referred to in this post.

It must be noted that teachers at all three sites chose to use HPC to drive learning in a range of subjects, for example, HSIE, Science, HPE, English and in an integrated Year 7 project. HPC as a pedagogical scaffold of design-based learning works with any subject. In an invited project at Wahroonga Public school in early 2015, teachers used HPC with support from a highly innovative Deputy Principal in Maths, and in a range of KLAs from Kindergarten to Stage 3; and in another project in Term 2 at Epping West Public School in Science and HSIE with a creative Deputy Principal and eight Kindergarten teachers.

Latest HPC table
HPC conceptions with the 22 themes of teaching strategies and students learning processes

As a pedagogical framework, HPC is suitable for teaching and learning in curriculum areas from K-12. Teachers, both in the most recent research and in the invited projects, chose the syllabus outcomes they wanted to work with and then planned the students learning using HPC to support how the lesson/s/unit/s of work would unfold. One of HPC’s strengths identified in research is that it gives teachers a metalanguage to discuss practice.

HPC is being implemented by primary and high school teachers in similar ways to the model of Quality Teaching (NSW Department of Education & Training, 2003). For example, all conceptions are not present in every lesson ie instead across a day, a week or over a term teachers are mindful of each HPC conception and the underpinning themes and these are evident in teaching strategies and the students learning processes in classrooms.

Further HPC research using mixed methods of data collection will commence in 2016 in NSW primary schools to examine how HPC builds Stage 3 teachers’ capacities in STEM. Now that’s exciting! I am also conducting a number of other STEM research activities in schools – please contact me if you are interested.