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Teaching and learning

Dimensions of Learning

Dimensions of Learning was adopted by Deception Bay State High School in 2008 as a Pedagogical Framework for all teachers. A program of implementation was developed which has seen the strategic integration across the school of the 5 dimensions in the years since. All teachers are trained to an Advanced level in their first year of teaching at DBSHS.

What is Dimensions of Learning?

Dimensions of Learning is a comprehensive framework or model to help educators plan learning experiences for their students. It is based on extensive research about learning and how the mind works. It has been designed to help educators improve students' learning through planning curriculum, instruction and assessment using five critical aspects of the learning process, or dimensions of learning.


Dimension 1: Attitudes and perceptions

These affect the student's ability to learn. A learner needs to
- be in a safe, caring and well-organised environment 
- have a positive attitude towards learning 
- enjoy the learning process and class interactions.

Dimension 2: Acquire and Integrate Knowledge

To acquire and integrate new knowledge (declarative knowledge) learners need to - build on what they already know - be able to organise information - find strategies to make new knowledge part of long term memory. To learn new skills and processes (procedural knowledge) students need to 
- learn a model (set of steps)
- shape the skill or process so that it is effective for them 
- internalise the new practice so they can perform it easily.

Dimension 3: Extend and Refine Knowledge

Once new knowledge has been acquired and integrated, students need to develop in-depth understandings by extending and refining their knowledge. This is done through deeper consideration of the knowledge by
- analysis that involves application of more complex reasoning processes (higher order thinking) or
- transforming the knowledge into another from, for example metaphoric expression through visual arts, theatre/drama or poetry.

Dimension 4: Use Knowledge Meaningfully

Learners will more effectively internalise knowledge when they are able to use it to perform a meaningful task.This may be
- something in real life that uses the new skills, or
- a life-like opportunity so that students can practice their new knowledge and skills in a safe environment.

Dimension 5: Habits of Mind

There are three habits of mind that support effective learning. These are: - critical thinking
- creative thinking 
- self-regulated thinking.

The Relationship between the five Dimensions of Learning

A student's attitudes and perceptions (Dimension 1) and productive habits of mind (Dimension 5) are the foundations for acquiring, integrating, extending and refining and applying knowledge. (Dimensions 2,3,4).
Effective teachers continually move between many of the dimensions during lessons and other classroom interactions. The dimensions are interrelated and interconnected and should not be considered alone.