Being taught by a specialist teacher from an early age has tangible benefits for students.
This according to ACG Sunderland Dean of Year 7 and 8, Jack Dawson, an educator with 20 years’ experience teaching including four years as a Visual Art and Design Technology specialist at the independent school in Henderson.
From the age of five, students at ACG Sunderland leave their main classroom to receive specialist subject teaching in Science, PE & Health, ICT, Music and Visual Art.
As they advance through the years, the range of subjects increases until, by Years 7 and 8, English, Mathematics, Social Science, Art, Design & Technology, Spanish, and Computer Science are all on offer.
This, Mr Dawson says, has multiple benefits – from widening students’ horizons to improving academic results.
“Students need to be given opportunities to experience all areas of the curriculum such as arts, sports, sciences and main subjects such English and Maths so they can then make smart and informative choices around hobbies and careers,” he says.
“Specialist teachers have the experience, knowledge and ability to draw out the best in their students. They can extend the advanced students and help lower-ability students with many different approaches. Their subject knowledge is at the highest level.”
He says a well-prepared teacher with a high-quality understanding of their subject helps students gain a deeper understanding and therefore prepare better for both assessments and the next level.
Most importantly, specialist teachers have the passion, excitement and motivation to teach their subject well.
“Students feed off this vibe. They see their teacher’s love for the subject, and it motivates them to excel,” Mr Dawson explains.
And on a side note, even teachers feed off other specialist teachers for their love for the subject.
It’s a win, win.