Vivi Superusers: Teaching styles and learning philosophies

10 May 2021 | By viviedu

We asked a group of Vivi Superusers to describe their teaching styles and learning philosophies. You won’t see “Vivi” mentioned again in these fascinating responses, just a group of passionate educators putting into elegant words how they engage every student in their classroom. 


Rebecca Power – Emmanuel College 

“It’s grown as I’ve been teaching. I was very teacher-centered, standing at the front and imparting knowledge with little student involvement. I’ve since learned from colleagues and through personal development, and now find I enjoy and have success with a more collaborative approach. We work together and share with the class, rather than just me doing the talking. 


Karen Gunasekara – St Augustine’s College, Brookvale  

“Ultimately, kids learn better when they feel safe and happy. It’s about trying to make learning fun while drawing on high-impact, evidence-based teaching strategies. For me, that’s about having clear expectations, learning intentions, and success criteria – either I share them or build them with the class themselves. Regular feedback, peer and self-assessment and making learning as practical as possible – providing those real-life links so they can see the value in what they’re learning. I also try to use innovative learning spaces and technology, which means students have the ability to collaborate and synergize in their learning.” 


Wendy Irwin – Thomas Hassall Anglican College  

“A firm, loving hand. Building relationships is the key. You get things out of children when you build relationships. I’m firm, fair and consistent. The latter is very important in a classroom. My learning philosophy is that every child has something to learn and not every child will be an academic. We must find what it is with that child and run with it: sport, academia, other life skills like integrity, honor. We can really see that in our children, even five-year-olds. I want to maximize the potential of every one of the children in my class. See it, work out what it is, and run with it. 


Annabelle Wood – Thomas Hassall Anglican College  

In this day and age, everything is hands on. Lots of practical things. It’s important to demonstrate, explain, and let the children do their work. I’ve barely had any work in my maths books in the last few weeks, it’s all been white boards or write-and-swipe boards. They enjoy that kind of learning. It’s important to get to know each child. You might have children who are poor at maths, but they shine at English. They’re able to switch on and they just get it. Being able to support those ah-ha moments and what their interests are – they may not want to write an information report on a tiger, but they have an interest in fishing and writing about really gets the juices flowing.” 


Erin Johnson – Thomas Hassall Anglican College  

Collaborative. I’m a facilitator of their learning and I’m very hands-on – using manipulative materials with the students, trying to move away from worksheets and just feeding them information, and moving more towards enquiry-based learning. 


Thomas Schaab – Ambrose Treacy College  

I like to get the kids to do as much work as possible and not talk at them for too long. When you have a bit of autonomy and a task you can do, you can do it at your own pace with as much freedom as possible, without giving them something they can’t do. A bit of instruction and then letting them do things on their own. 


Julia Oreo  Radford  

My teaching philosophy is not as conventional as most music teachers. It’s important to hook students for life whether they are performers, contributors, or consumers. I want them to appreciate it. They won’t all be performers, but they can still make music meaningful in their life. I use technology and take pieces that they would be listening to on the radio – it helps them make music meaningful to them. 


Michele Higgins – Waverley Christian College  

Firm but fair. I have no issues with class control. The kids listen to me, that’s half the battle. Relationships and respect are really important. They need to respect me and I them. 


Dylan Koning – Mount St Michael’s College  

I want them to be comfortable and enjoy the class. My subjects are not typically ones that students engage with – not fun sciences or PE. I believe as soon as they start enjoying it, they learn more and get more out of it. After that, everything follows well.