Philosophy and Ethos

Ethos and Learning Culture

Nossal High School’s ethos is readily expressed in its school motto and logo and is an attempt to make real its vision and values. It finds its fullest expression in the ideal of an adult learning environment, which underpins much of the way the school operates. This principle is not always explicitly referenced, but it can have far-reaching effects on the cultural norms which staff and students maintain. 

An Adult Learning Environment

We aspire to develop in our students the capacity to take responsibility for themselves, their learning and their environment in an adult way.  Where possible we provide students with the environment, trust and opportunity to behave in an adult way from the moment they join us, while recognising that some students require more scaffolding than others to develop these behaviours. Nossal students have more rights and are likely to find there are fewer rules than they are accustomed to. They also find that there will be higher levels of responsibility expected of them, as with any adult in the workplace. This expectation affects many aspects of school life. It is in part a recognition of our students’ ability to function at a high level, and in part a recognition of the need to prepare them fully for learning at the tertiary level and beyond. 

A more detailed discussion of how the idea of “adult learning” permeates life at Nossal High School is available here.
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Growth Minded Learners

A fundamental understanding about the nature of learning which underpins many aspects of learning and teaching at Nossal is that gleaned from the work of psychologist Dr Carol Dweck. Learners with a “growth” mindset tend to be focussed on progress rather than achievement. They believe that they can improve through dedicated effort, rather than being paralysed by the belief that their level of ability is “fixed” or inherent. This belief is of course an essential one, and is at the core of the whole educative process. Nossal’s teaching staff have made their own dedicated effort to embed structures and assessment practices which will encourage such a mindset in all students.

Other Foundational Ideas

Nossal High School prides itself on basing its practice on confirmed research rather than fads or untested tradition. 

A more detailed discussion of how the idea of a “growth mindset” affects practice at Nossal high School and some of the key thinking which has guided the development the learning culture at Nossal are discussed here.
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