Teaching & Learning
Teaching and Learning at Dominican College Sion Hill is underpinned by our Mission Statement:
“Dominican College, Sion Hill aims to help each student achieve her full potential, academically, spiritually, physically, emotionally and socially in a happy secure environment.”
The Dominican ethos of developing the full potential of every student permeates all aspects of school life.
Our approach to teaching and learning is one that focuses consistently on developing the capacity of our students to become life-long, independent learners. We endeavour to create a school environment, where there is an expectation of exceptional progress for all students as well as an atmosphere that is engaging, challenging and above all, an enjoyable experience for both teacher and student. We are committed to achieving the goal of every pupil achieving her academic potential and being exceptionally well prepared for the State Examinations.
In a world that is changing so rapidly, we are very conscious of advancing skills that students require to live as happy and fulfilled citizens in the twenty first century. To this end, all our programmes, Curricular, Co-curricular and Extra Curricular seek to develop skills and qualities, such as collaboration, communication, creativity, critical thinking, resilience and empathy.
The school has invested and continues to invest in the provision of professional development and equipment for teachers so that they can employ the most innovative methodologies and resources in teaching and learning.
In the academic year 2016-17 the school moved from 40-minute to one hour lessons.
The rationale for the change included the following:
- Improve teaching and learning through a more interactive and engaging classroom
- Improve group/peer learning
- Develop 21st century skills of communication, collaboration, inquiry, problem solving and key skills of the new Junior Cycle requirements.
- Embed methodologies and strategies to facilitate a more active learning environment for all students.
Assessment and Tracking
All teachers use a common approach to revision, assessment and feedback, ensuring that the student experience is consistent and cohesive
Teaching & Learning Group
The school has a group of volunteer staff members who have dedicated themselves to promoting excellence in Teaching and Learning at the school. Members are committed to improving their own practice as well as researching effective new methodologies and disseminating good practice among all staff.
Schoolwise is a seamless workflow platform that allows interaction between teachers and students with regard to planning, lessons, assessment, academic tracking and reporting. Teachers can share resources,e.g. files, Pdfs, videos, links to relevant websites, with their classes on this platform.
For further information:
In the past number of years teachers have been using Schoology, but this platform will be phased out in the short term and be replaced by Schoolwise.
Schoology is a virtual learning environment, to collaborate and communicate with students. This digital platform allows teachers post materials, resources, notes, homework, and educational links to the online classroom, that will be available for access by their students at all times. It is a very valuable tool that enhances the teaching and learning experience for both students and teachers. Learn more about Schoology here
The use of mobile technology in the classroom commenced with the first year group in 2013. Students’ use of iPads has had a profoundly beneficial effect on the learning experience for our students. School bags are lighter and the use of educational Apps greatly enriches the teaching and learning environment. While mobile devices will not replace good teachers, mobile technology in the hands of good teachers can be transformative. The school works with a company called Wriggle who helps with the deployment and management of devices in the school. Learn more about Wriggle here.
A number of teachers have initiated the process of creating content for their own subject area, that they can, eventually allow students access on their iPads to their very own electronic text book.
The school provides wi-fi coverage in all classrooms and across the campus.
All students are assigned a unique school email ending in @sionhillcollege.ie. This email address allows for communication between school and students both on an individual and group basis. Students will also access many apps on their iPad, ebooks and platforms, such as, Schoolwise, VsWare, Unique school App using their email address. All of these platforms form an integral part of, not just communication, but more importantly the learning and teaching of all in our school community.
The school has invested heavily in Interactive Whiteboards in the past number of years. Currently 80% of classrooms in the school are equipped with interactive whiteboards. The use of the interactive board greatly augments the array of tools available to both teacher and student in the classroom. The technological capabilities of the boards allows for greater collaboration, creativity, and communication between teacher and student as well as the opportunity for the teachers to cater for diverse learning styles in the classroom.
We are very fortunate to have a very substantial school library. It is a very valuable resource for promoting students’ research skills.
The library catalogue, now searchable online, includes over 6,000 books and audio-visual resources as well as many thousands of approved websites. You can access the system via the school website at: www.sionhillcollege.ie. The first time you access the system it may ask you to install Microsoft Silverlight; please allow this to be downloaded and installed on your computer as the system cannot run without it.
There is also an App called ‘iMLS’, available for iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch, Android & Windows Phone 7. This App can be freely downloaded by going to your App provider and searching ‘iMLS’.
We have unique spacious rooms with state of the art equipment and furniture that can be used by all teachers. It affords the students and teacher greater flexibility when trialing new methodologies for developing skills such as problem solving, critical thinking and creativity.