A Culture of Critical and Creative Thinking

How might we build a culture of critical and creative thinking for students, where children delight in their learning, develop deep and lasting understandings, and become critical and creative thinkers? How might we move away from a spoon-feeding culture towards a culture where it is the children who take responsibility for their own learning? How might students become thinkers, rather than do the thinking? And how does the culture of a classroom teach?

For over a decade, Masada College has been offering professional opportunities to explore these questions and many more, drawing on a wide range of research on critical and creative thinking in schools to build a culture of thinking. Cultures of Thinking are “places in which the group’s collective and individual thinking is valued, visible and actively promoted as part of the regular, day-to-day experience of all group members.” (Ritchhart, 2002)

Our flagship course, Building Capability for Critical and Creative Thinking course, takes as its starting point the notion that ‘the imparting of knowledge (content) and the development of thinking skills are accepted today as primary purposes of education’ (ACARA), however, building on this, it is underpinned by the belief that it is through the practice of critical and creative thinking, that the acquisition of knowledge and deep understanding is achieved.

By the end of this course, professional learners are able to apply a rigorous and transformative framework for building students’ capability in critical and creative thinking. It is not an either/or – knowledge and understanding or critical and creative thinking – we achieve both of these goals.

Through our professional learning courses at Masada College and in our consultancy with schools across Australia, we aim to ignite the flame of interest in cultures of thinking, create curious classroom cultures and help teachers and schools focus on developing thinking dispositions that allow our students to be successful in not just the tests and exams they face in school but in all the tests they will face in life.

 

Roots Family Heritage Project

The Roots Family Heritage Project encourages Year 9 students to think of their place both in the chain of Jewish people and within their family unit. Mazal Tov to Jessica who won first place and to our finalists for their outstanding work. We are grateful for our collaboration with the UIA which generously donates the prizes each year. Jessica has won $1000 towards a ticket to Israel to participate in a program of her choice.

Outstanding Language Educator Award

We are incredibly proud of Ada (Adi) Halevi, our Head of Languages, who has received the Outstanding Language Educator Award for 2022 from the Modern Languages Teachers Association of NSW (MLTANSW). The award recognises contributions to high-quality teaching and learning of languages in schools.

Adi has been teaching Hebrew at Masada College for 21 years and leads an exemplary languages faculty at the College. She is admired by students, parents and staff for her devotion and ability to engage students in Hebrew, with many of Adi’s HSC students achieving a band 6 in Modern and Classical Hebrew as well as First in Subject. Adi goes above and beyond to support Masada students, volunteering many outside school hours to help students reach their potential.

Adi is currently working hard with the Year 12 Modern Hebrew class in preparation for their HSC and with the accelerated Year 10 Modern Hebrew class who will sit their HSC in Year 11.

Mazal Tov Adi – the Masada community is very grateful for your endless dedication and applauds this well-deserved recognition of your outstanding contribution to teaching.

 

Kindergarten 100 Days of Learning

Masada College Kindergarten celebrated 100 Days of learning by dressing up as their 100-year-old-selves, they participated in Math activities to explore the number 100 and enjoyed a delicious cake. They were super excited to celebrate the milestone, they thoroughly enjoyed the countdown to the event and were extremely proud of all they have learnt in the first 100 days of Junior School. The celebration built the children’s knowledge of number including counting forwards, counting in tens and working out how many more days until they reached 100.

Welcome Simone Sharples Year 5 and Year 7 Art Teacher 2022

We are delighted to welcome Simone Sharples as our 2022 Year 5 class teacher and Year 7 art teacher. Simone joined Masada as a casual teacher in 2021 and shares with us her impressions of the College.

 

“I joined Masada knowing very little about the College other than it was walking distance from my house and it had a fabulous reputation in the community. I was in for such an awe-inspiring journey. 

 

At Masada, I have felt supported, appreciated and surrounded by the most amazing staff and students that I have seen during my many years of teaching both here in Australia and internationally. Masada is quickly becoming noticed as one of the best schools here in the North Shore. There are three reasons why I believe Masada is truly unique and marvellous.

  

The first is inclusivity – from the moment you arrive you will be greeted with offers of help, support and friendly faces. I have a very fond memory……within days of accepting a maternity leave position at Masada it was announced that we would make the shift to online learning. Throughout the day I had eight people send me messages to show their support and ten people pop their head into my room to ask if there was anything they could do to help. How amazing is that! I felt part of the Masada family immediately.

 

Secondly connections – the interpersonal relationships, warmth and connectedness makes Masada magical. Here, educators believe in their students, respect them and connect with them on a personal level. Happy children are successful children and flourish. 

 

Thirdly appreciation – we all know that teaching can sometimes feel very taxing and be hard work. Not at Masada. Here staff, students and parents value what you are doing, notice the small extra efforts you are making and then let you know how valued you are.” – Simone Sharples

Year 11 Chemistry Depth Studies

We are incredibly proud of the Year 11 Chemistry Depth Studies. Students were asked to make a model of a compound including a possible reaction and remote learning meant they had to be creative and use items around the house.

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