Our Learning Framework

Brisbane Grammar School from its inception in 1868 has remained committed to providing young men with the lifelong advantages that a broad liberal education confers. The capacity to think critically and creatively, to deal effectively with diversity and change, to respond analytically and imaginatively to complex challenges; these are the enduring virtues of a liberal education.

Historically, Brisbane Grammar has always seen innovative practice in teaching and learning as essential to maintaining our standing as a leading academic school. During the 1990s, we undertook an extensive search of teaching approaches and methods to find research-based systems which, when enacted through highly adept teachers and carefully planned curriculum, would create a teaching and learning environment of the highest standard. This environment would not only enable students to develop the skills and ways of learning essential to the 21st century but would also make explicit the teaching of higher-order thinking in classrooms.

Consequently, Brisbane Grammar School adopted the Dimensions of Learning and Habits of Mind frameworks, enacting these throughout the school curriculum. These frameworks have been complemented by a sustained commitment to the ongoing integration of ICT into all teaching and learning, specifically the purposeful use of digital platforms to organise and deliver curriculum. Finally, the explicit teaching of literacy and numeracy, enacted via the rigour and precision of traditional disciplinary models, informs all our curriculum design and classroom practice.

Dimensions of Learning
Since 1997, Brisbane Grammar School has made use of the learning framework Dimensions of Learning throughout its academic curriculum. Dimensions of Learning (popularly referred to as ‘DoL’) provides teachers and learners with a framework which can guide and shape curriculum planning, delivery and assessment. The DoL framework places a strong emphasis upon the deliberate development and use of complex reasoning processes while optimising the learning environment and making explicit the strategies for knowledge acquisition that best enable learners.

The five dimensions of the framework are as follows:
1. Positive attitudes and perceptions about learning.
2. The acquisition and integration of knowledge.
3. The extension and refinement of knowledge.
4. The meaningful use of knowledge.
5. Productive habits of mind.

Since the original launch, the School has continued to apply and adapt DoL strategies to support necessary changes in assessment and Grammar’s now substantial digital and 1:1 environment, while also renewing particular approaches through the research published in texts like Classroom Instruction That Works, which supplements or refines the original framework.

Habits of Mind
The Habits of Mind, initially derived by Professor Art Costa, can be defined as the dispositions that are skillfully and mindfully employed by characteristically successful people when confronted with problems, the solutions to which are not immediately apparent. A Habit of Mind is a composite of many skills, attitudes, cues, past experiences and leanings towards certain patterns of behaviour. It requires the valuing of certain patterns of intellectual behaviour over others. In involves making choices about which patterns of behaviour to employ at certain times, and being responsive to situations that are appropriate ones in which to employ these patterns of behaviour. It involves the possessing of basic skills and capacities to engage in these behaviours and also includes the use of reflection and evaluation to help develop and shape behaviours for the future.

In their series of books – Habits of Mind: A Developmental Series – Costa and Kallick describe sixteen attributes of what people do when they behave intelligently. These are: 

  • Persisting

  • Managing impulsivity

  • Listening with understanding and empathy

  • Thinking flexibly

  • Thinking about thinking

  • Striving for accuracy

  • Questioning and posing problems

  • Applying past knowledge to new situations

  • Thinking and communicating with clarity and precision

  • Gathering data through all senses

  • Creating, imagining, innovating

  • Responding with wonderment and awe

  • Taking responsible risks

  • Finding humour

  • Thinking interdependently

  • Remaining open to continuous learning.

The Habits of Mind integrate with and extend Dimension 5 of the Dimensions of Learning framework and provide the foundation for the deliberate development of mindful behaviour at Brisbane Grammar School.

Connectedness and the Australian Curriculum General Capabilities
Twenty-first century learning can be seen as predicated on two principles: ‘connecting’ learners and the effective use of space. Connecting learners refers not only to the vast network connections to information that we can enable through ever newer and faster ICT infrastructure and services but more importantly to the personal and human connections and interactions that remain essential to ensuring meaningful learning. The effective use of space refers to our taking maximal advantage of the opportunities the School’s diverse physical spaces offer staff and students through the conscious alignment of space to pedagogical practice and also to the deliberate and thoughtful navigation of digital space by staff and students so as to best enable learning. Our students develop the high-order skills necessary to operate within and across complex information networks where knowledge is constantly being recreated and distributed in new forms.

The School uses the Learning Management System Desire2Learn (D2L), badged as MyGrammar, to support both classroom teaching and as a delivery platform for learning resources, objects and services. The curriculum resources provided include course documents, slide-shows, educational videos, interactive quizzes and tutorials, discussion forums, surveys and access to academic databases. The School has an extensive wireless network that enables access across the entire campus and all classrooms are equipped with a range of display technology. A One to One Mobile Computing Program operates across Years 8 to 12 and allows students immediate access to their learning anywhere, anytime.

Brisbane Grammar School is well advanced in the process of phasing in the Australian Curriculum. Outlined by the Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority (ACARA) – the independent authority responsible for implementing the national curriculum – the Australian Curriculum includes seven General Capabilities. These General Capabilities traverse all specific disciplines and study areas and are regarded as the core skills and dispositions for 21st century students. The General Capabilities are:

  • Literacy

  • Numeracy

  • Information and communication technology capability

  • Critical and creative thinking

  • Personal and social capability

  • Ethical understanding

  • Intercultural understanding.

The School is committed to nurturing these core capabilities in students through all our programs and across year levels.The regular mapping and auditing processes undertaken by the School’s Studies Directorate ensure that the alignment and sequencing of curriculum across Years 5 to 12 enables the consistent development of these capabilities.