How We Teach & Learn

“If a child can’t learn the way we teach, maybe we should teach the way they learn.” Ignacio Estrada.

We do our best to ease children into a formal learning environment, gradually transitioning from a child-centred learning environment to a more structured learning environment.

When young children come to a “big” school for the first time, they have their own hopes, expectations and apprehensions. Some of them come with a lot of excitement while some are anxious about stepping into the new environment. To put children at ease, we provide a child-friendly, child-centred classroom environment for the first two years of Primary School.

We place a lot of importance on understanding each child’s unique personality, temperament and varied strengths so that we can help them move forward at their own pace. We offer a range of activities that engage children’s varied interests, so that they develop as secure, confident, young citizens, well equipped to thrive and contribute positively to society.

As they grow older, our teaching is not just about delivering lectures and rote memorising answers to pre-determined questions; it is about involving children and engaging them in the process of understanding. Instead of asking children countless questions from each textbook, we encourage them to ask us questions to help them gain clarity about new concepts and develop the skills to articulate what they are thinking about and what they have understood.

We follow the National Curriculum, Ministry of Education, Govt. of Pakistan, as a Framework and add appropriate Learning Outcomes as and when required.

We are affiliated with the Aga Khan University Examination Board (AKU-EB) which is a Pakistani educational system founded in 2003 by the Aga Khan University, operating under the Government of Pakistan’s Ordinance CXIV. We are affiliated with their Secondary School Certificate (SSC) programme.

Active Learning : Our pedagogy is based on Active Learning, which is a hands-on, minds-on approach to instruction that engages students in their learning. Teachers are facilitators instead of being one-way providers of information. They involve students in inquiry, questioning, role play, project based learning, exploration, and discovery. We help our students “own” their knowledge, which is reinforced by integrating academics with music, drama, and the visual arts.

Active Learning is important because it provides a deeper understanding of material, as students are engaging with the content rather than just listening to an adult talking about it. It helps to maintain student concentration and deepens learning towards the higher-level skills such as, critical thinking. This level of thinking goes beyond simple comprehension of text, and can also improve memory. When students get the opportunity to think about, talk about and engage with content they are better able to process the content.

Plan-Do-Review: In the plan-do-review (PDR) process or cycle, which builds on active learning principles, children make plans, carry them out, and then reflect on what they have done. In doing so, children learn to take initiative, solve problems, work with others, and accomplish their goals; their learning becomes more purposeful and focused.

When children plan it gives them the opportunity to take initiative, to establish a goal or a problem and decide what they want to learn from a range of learning activities. When they do they implement or carry out their plan and begin engaging in learning that they have initiated. Children explore, interact, and exercise their creative imagination through purposeful play. Teachers facilitate and guide them through this process of playful learning. When they review they reflect on their plan and its implementation. How far they got, what challenges, if any, they faced and how they can improve and make more realistic plans in future. This plan-do-review process helps children develop critical thinking skills, self-confidence and problem-solving skills.

Time keeping and making realistic plans is a very important piece of the Plan-Do-Review sequence. The teacher draws the children’s attention to the wall clock, reminds them about how much time they have by referring to the numbers on the face of the clock and where the big hand and small hand will be when they need to finish work time or Clean-up time. She gives them a couple of reminders to look at the clock when ten minutes of work time remain so that they can begin to wind up their work.

PDR gives students a sense of agency, ownership and responsibility for their learning and for their life and we practise this in different ways. From Years 1-6 as a classroom strategy, and for Years 7-10 through setting goals, making choices about the activities they want to participate in, making responsible decisions and taking positive action around what they need to change. When students play an active role in their education, they are more motivated to learn because the learning is more meaningful and driven by their own interests with appropriate guidance from teachers. To put it simply, student agency gives students a voice and often, choice, in how they learn.

No School Bells: We have a no-bells policy. Bells have been rung in schools from time immemorial to signal the change in periods. At the PECHS Girls’ School, all of us have to be responsible for managing our own time. There are clocks in every classroom and clocks in every corridor which are synchronized regularly. It is a great joy to observe our children looking at the clocks during recess to get back to their classrooms on time. Our no-bells policy also adds to the sense of agency our students experience.

Social-Emotional Learning (SEL): Self-awareness, Self-management, Responsible Decision Making, Social Awareness and Relationship Skills are core SEL competencies and SEL is an integral part of our school curriculum. SEL helps students identify their feelings, understand and communicate with others, build strong relationships, and make good, empathetic decisions and getting a grip on all these will have a positive effect on their success in school.

Research informs us that people with strong social-emotional skills are better able to cope with everyday challenges and benefit socially, academically and professionally. And so, SEL activities are integrated into our curriculum in several ways, including the links that have been identified in textbooks, especially Literature and Social Studies. Children from Years 1-10 are also given regular brain-breaks to refresh their minds and bodies. Emotional check-ins are also carried out in the morning and before home-time by Year Group Teachers.

At the core of good teaching there are some basic ethical values: mutual respect, honesty, fairness, freedom and responsibility – and this is what we strive for.