Torch - Fall 2013


As this is a multi-year project, the school and OISE researchers will review survey results and make any required adjustments at the end of each year. “It’s a dynamic concept. If we find patterns—such as grade- or experienced-based patterns—we may be able to determine the impact of our programs and where interventions would be beneficial to help students. For example, do students who go on an excursion or exchange feel more or less capable than other students,” says Ann, noting that self-efficacy is not only impacted by the school, but also impacted by other factors such as family, social relationships and one’s age and stage of life.

The results of this survey will add to the school’s growing knowledge of self-efficacy findings, including a research project with Women’s College Hospital with our Grade 7 to 12 students. Led by Old Girl Dr. Gillian Hawker 1978, this study set out to measure the validity of the standardized measures of self-efficacy (normally applied to at-risk groups) through an online survey, as well as qualitative one-on-one interviews to better understand students’ understanding of self-efficacy and its determinants.

Feedback that Works By Jennifer Goldberg Havergal Chair of Learning and Teaching 2013-2014

Students invest so much time producing work for teachers. Teachers invest so much time assessing students’ work. Yet, students often feel teachers haven’t understood their work, and teachers commonly feel that students haven’t understood their feedback. Why do we—students and teachers—invest so much time and energy in a cycle that so often produces feelings of failure on both sides? This question is the one driving my research this year as the Havergal Chair of Learning and Teaching. I am investigating what kinds of assessment and feedback produce the best results by exploring what approaches: • actually improve student work; • encourage a growth mindset in students; • promote the highest sense of self-efficacy in students and teachers; • allow teachers to most effectively monitor their impact; • facilitate dialogue between students, teachers and parents that speaks to the whole girl; and • are consistent with ministry policy, build on assessment using levels and achievement chart categories and balance assessment for, as and of learning. We know that feedback speaks to the essence of education, and yet so much it—at least the formal part—is students’ and teachers’ least favourite aspect of schooling. My hope is to work with colleagues and students to develop ways to make feedback a more meaningful opportunity for teaching and learning at Havergal.

Investing in Education Professional development is the R&D (research and development) of education. It provides teachers with the opportunity to gain new knowledge, to explore innovative concepts, to share learning with colleagues and to advance the practice of teaching. Each year, a member of Havergal’s faculty gains the opportunity to take on a leadership role in enriching the life of the school as the Havergal Chair of Learning and Teaching, an opportunity made possible by an investment from Michael and Heather Gardiner who established the Havergal Chair of Learning and Teaching endowment at the school in 1998. Since then, the recipients of this position have focused their research on a diverse range of topics (for more information, visit ). English and Social Sciences teacher Jennifer Goldberg holds the position this year. Jennifer is investigating what kinds of assessment feedback yield the greatest results, promoting self-efficacy in students, and in turn, teachers.


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