Our professional learning is having a positive impact in schools and preschools across the state. Leaders and teachers continue to tell us:
- the professional learning is relevant
- they can quickly apply new knowledge
- they see results in student learning.
Read our case study and participant survey feedback to learn more about the impact Orbis professional learning can have in your classroom. You can also check out our 2022-2024 Road Map (PDF 4MB) to find out about our plans for an exemplary future.
Impact of Orbis at Blackwood High School – a case study
Blackwood High School supported 4 teachers from different faculties participate in our Literacy 7-9 program.
To help teachers link professional learning with their own work, all Orbis programs include an applied learning project. The team from Blackwood High School focussed their project on using low stakes writing as a mechanism to enhance student writing.
‘As a school, I think low stakes writing was very scary for some. We had to change that stigma and we had to explain what we were doing at Orbis and how it was benefitting our students,’ Emma Molloy, Science teacher at Blackwood High School explained.
In 2019, the team of 4 trialled low stakes writing in their own classrooms and quickly saw improvement in student’s writing.
English and Humanities teacher, Jess Rogers, said she saw the most rewarding results in students who found writing challenging.
‘It was really gratifying to see students had engaged with low stakes writing and I could actually chart their growth.’
With support from the Principal, the team then rolled out low stakes writing across the whole school and translated the knowledge to all staff.
‘Being from 4 different faculties, I think it helped us reach that whole-school approach quicker.’ Emma told us.
In 2021, the school continues to see the benefits:
- SACE results are improving as students become more confident in their writing
- students have developed subject specific vocabulary in both oral and written language.
Adeline Reiter, Science and Technology teacher, Blackwood High School: The greatest benefit from completing the program for me was having a better awareness of what literacy actually is what it means and how I can use it to model processes to help students with their own literacy learning and development. I think before coming to complete the program literacy seemed like this huge thing to me like I knew what it was, but I didn't really know what it was, and the program unpacked it and really allowed me to see the nature of literacy the different ways that we use it.
Jess Rogers, English and Humanities teacher, Blackwood High School: Orbis helps lower performing students because the people who participate in the program build their knowledge and it means that we now as teachers have the meta-language and the understanding, we need in order to help those students lift.
Emma Molloy, Technology teacher, Blackwood High School: As a school low stakes writing was very scary for some, I think that we had to change that stigma. When we had to explain what we were doing at Orbis and how that was benefiting our students and how it's benefiting our classes. Now that we're doing it as a whole school approach, I think a lot more of the staff are on board and they're seeing the results in their classes.
Jess Rogers: The learning from Orbis is hugely relevant to my practice I have found that I am incorporating a lot of the knowledge and understanding from Orbis as I write or re-jig new materials for all of my year level classes it's been awesome.
Tara Baron, Leader, English and Humanities, Blackwood High School: In my new role as a curriculum writer for English for the Department for Education, the Orbis program has really strengthened my understanding of literacy and now I’m able to embed that and write that into our new curriculum for South Australia.
Jess Rogers: Because we're all from the same site it made sense to try and do something collaboratively.
Emma Molloy: As a whole school approach, because we're in different faculties I think it will reach that whole school approach quicker.
Tara Baron: Teaching as a whole is about collaboration, whether it be with staff or students or SSOs and you know all those really important players, so I think it's just so important that we've done this as a group.
Emma Molloy: I was writing like artists was my focus Tara’s was writing like a writer Adeline’s was writing like a scientist.
Sharon Goldman, Principal, Blackwood High School: The team's been able to collaboratively plan and implement the project which has had a focus on improving student writing and it's been across four classes, so the other important thing it's been for different curriculum areas. As we gather the evidence of impact that's really powerful because when we take that to staff and share what the evidence is, the finding from that, although a short trial but has had a positive impact, we can then put that with proposal to staff to you know consider and hopefully roll out as a whole-school strategy.
Jess Rogers: Anecdotally I found the most rewarding student results were for a couple of my very low-level students it was really gratifying to see that these very low-level students had engaged with it and I could actually chart their growth which was just mind-blowing honestly.
Emma Molloy: I’m really excited to see the cohort that we've worked with now progress into those higher year levels and into the SACE and to make those comparisons with what's happening now in our SACE results compared to how this prompt and how this action research will help those students.
Tara Baron: I can say I know which bits I need to teach to improve them and to stretch them so it's that continual growth.
Sharon Goldman: It is really exciting, and I think that you know we've really got the potential to really help kids to develop you know responsibility for their writing but in particular their capacity to be far better writers in the future.
Adeline Reiter: I think presenting our results to staff was really useful, I think a lot of the staff could actually see okay 4 staff members of our school have gone out and done a program that has been successful and seen achievements in their own classrooms. I think they got a lot out of our experience in us being able to be mentors to help them move forward as well.
Emma Molloy: A year on the year 9 design class has been able to develop subject-specific vocabulary in their oral and written language. I've been able to see the dramatic change and shift in their writing from their formative stuff to their summative.
Jess Rogers: There have been a number of topics that I’ve returned to, I teach English and HUMSS and so I have found that deconstructing subject-specific texts for humanities is something that I keep on coming back to.
Tara Baron: We've also found that across the board our SACE results are starting to particularly pick up. So, we have students that again are more confident in writing so they're more likely to give it a go and they know what feedback to ask for and also their self-editing has really improved.
Adeline Reiter: We can all see the benefits of using low stakes writing now as a whole-site.
Emma Molloy: The impact of low stakes writing here at Blackwood has been that students are able to develop subject-specific vocab. They've been able to distinguish between what is best writing practices as well as they're able to self-edit so they know, and they can reflect on their writing to improve it to that next level.
Tara Baron: The most powerful impact of the work so far has been student confidence in writing efficacy and seeing that they translate writing across all subject areas.
Adeline Reiter: Using the low stakes writing prompts I think I saw them coming out using that specific scientific language a lot more confidently, so a lot more impersonal writing which is the work of scientists. So that's probably the most powerful and then I’d see that resonate in pretty much any of the writing that they would do from then on.
Tara Baron: The impact so far has been really positive. All teachers have been on board and they all see value in the in the project which is great.
Jess Rogers: The Orbis work has impacted lower performing students because I have a better basis of knowledge and understanding now around grammar, word type, sentence structures, text types.
Adeline Reiter: I think the highlight of the program for me was understanding that if you have this meta-language and you have this agreed upon language that you speak as educators and that you use with your students, you're more likely to reach those goals in improving student literacy.
Tara Baron: The greatest benefit from completing the program was definitely the conversations that we were able to have as professionals in our in our fields, but also able to translate the literacy across all areas to our staff and develop their skills as well which has been a really positive outcome for us. I would definitely recommend the Literacy 7-9 program to a friend or colleague, purely because of the professionalism and the level of knowledge that you gain from the program.
Adeline Reiter: I would definitely recommend the Literacy 7-9 program for a colleague, you just come away with so many useful resources that will completely transform how you think about your lessons, how you structure your lessons.
Tara Baron: The learning from the Orbis program has remained relevant, we're continually improving our literacy practices and skills with low stakes writing, but also now venturing out into different literacy programs and approaches that are really going to benefit our students.
New to Orbis in 2021
We remained focussed on designing more ways to support you, so you now have access to even more exciting professional learning opportunities.
- We introduced programs for preschool educators
- We designed the Understanding Adolescent Learners program, specifically for teachers making the move from primary school to high school as part of the year 7 to high school transition.
- We co-designed new programs to develop capability to teach the 7 to 9 curriculum.
2020 year in review
Tracking our ongoing performance plays an important role to make sure we continually evolve with the education sector. Despite COVID-19 presenting challenges in delivering face-to-face professional learning, over 400 educators enrolled in Orbis programs in 2020. Across the state, 124 schools participated, including:
- 82 primary schools
- 32 high schools
- 10 area schools.
Since launching in 2019, we’ve had more than 1500 enrolments.
Our 2020 survey results show our programs are relevant to the current education landscape and educators were able to apply new learnings in their day-to-day work. 90% of teachers who participated told us:
- professional learning at Orbis was relevant to their teaching and to leading school improvement
- they will share ideas presented in the Orbis program with colleagues
- professional learning at Orbis offered new insights and helped improve their teaching practice.
Read our 2020 year in review to find out more about the impact of our programs and explore our plans for future projects.
2019 year in review
Read our 2019 year in review to find out more about the impact of our programs.