Investment in Pedagogy

“Pedagogical Content Knowledge is knowing what, when, why, and how to teach using a reservoir of knowledge of good teaching practice and experience.”

Shulman, 1986

What characterises the CGS approach to pedagogy?

If curriculum is the content of education, the art and science of turning that into effective teaching and learning is the definition of pedagogy. Understanding how students learn is the basis of effective teaching. Developing a repertoire of successful strategies, including the use of digital technologies, enables CGS teachers to select appropriate and exciting approaches to learning. This is called pedagogical content knowledge (PCK), a term created by Lee Shulman in 1986, a term that is widely used and understood as the ability to translate curriculum content into effective teaching strategies.

How does CGS achieve this?

Shulman’s PCK taxonomy includes the following qualities for effective pedagogy:

Subject matter teacher knowledge – that is, the teachers’ own subject knowledge. To this end, CGS’ recruitment strategy includes a focus on strong subject knowledge in its teachers, and many of our teachers have or are pursuing higher degrees or are actively researching in their subject area.

Angela Prickett, Teacher, St Michael’s School

CGS also invests in its teachers to ensure they are kept up to date with developments in their subject field, including support for teachers as researchers. Best practice and new ideas are shared within our subject-teaching community, and a digital bank of resources (including schemes of work) are being developed and will be available to all of our teachers.

For CGS, the possibilities afforded by bringing digital technologies into the classroom and student learning are creating new opportunities.

Jason Lewis, Headmaster, Bosworth Independent School

And both CATS Cambridge and Boston have introduced AI and Robotics.

A second component of effective pedagogy is ‘knowledge of learners’, that is, understanding each learner’s profile. The CGS curriculum responds to meet individual students’ needs, whether that relates to academic skills or learning habits and behaviours.

In the prep school, that knowledge of learners translates into taking learning ‘risks’ in learning.

Karen Wyborn, Head of Prep, Bournemouth Collegiate School

As an international community, our knowledge of learners means we tailor pedagogies to meet our students’ individual needs. For example, we have an extensive programme relating to teaching English as an additional language, both for our students and for teachers who wish to teach EAL.

For students whose academic development would respond to additional support, CGS is developing a comprehensive and far-reaching programme for all our teachers working with students with additional learning needs. Angela Prickett, who is completing her thesis in this field, talks about a school-wide initiative she is leading:

Angela Prickett, Teacher, St Michael’s School

Shulman also refers to general pedagogical principles, which link to teachers’ knowledge of learning theory and the ways in which subject content can be made accessible to all students. Learning theories suggest a number of ways of motivating students, including experiential learning, where lessons reflect a strong sensory component, which might include dramatic techniques, music, visual impact, and staging. Knowing the student is central to effective teaching.

Maria Coulter, Head, Bournemouth Collegiate School

CGS knows that for students to be inspired learners, they need inspirational teaching. That is why effective pedagogy is a priority for all of our teachers.

“Pedagogy expresses the contingent relationship between teaching and learning… and does not treat teaching as something that can be considered separately from an understanding of how learners learn.”

James & Pollard, 2011

Our Education Philosophy

We have an unrelenting focus on the skills and knowledge our students really need from education to live and thrive in a complex and ambiguous world. Regardless of the CGS school, students benefit from our well-honed philosophy, which centres around investment in five key areas: students, teachers, curriculum (what to teach), pedagogy (how to teach), and boarding.

Investment in Students

Empowering students to become leaders of their own learning

Investment in Teachers

Professional development for teachers at every stage of their career

Investment in Curriculum

Creating a curriculum to help learners be the best that they can be

Investment in Pedagogy

Tailoring pedagogies to meet our students’ individual needs

Investment in Boarding

Creating a home away from home for boarders