enCOURAGE 6: A Culture of Learning

Carrie Hughes-Grant News

Welcome to the HNMCS Head of School blog - ENcourage. The name comes from the core values and our vision statement that aspire to support our girls to stand up for their convictions. By examining four themes - faith, teachers, the head of school position, and our girls, ENcourage communicates how we at HNMCS help our girls live our values.

December 1, 2020

A Culture of Learning

At HNMCS we are currently exploring what A Culture of Learning is and what it looks like at the school. While this process started with the emphasis on students, the culture of learning is permeating all aspects of HNMCS. The teachers are a big part of this process as learners themselves. Engaging in on-going, continuous professional development opportunities at the school, teachers have come together to make a route forward for our students that moves away from a culture of judgment and marks and moves towards fostering learning, thinking and creativity.

What is a culture of learning?

During the Professional Learning Committees (PLCs) that we run regularly, our teachers have built a set of principles for what a culture of learning looks like. Much of it comes down to having our students engage in deeper learning that encourages them to think in authentic ways. Look at the qualifiers that we our teachers have developed: growth opportunities, making connections, creativity, risk taking, extended/critical thinking, building confidence, removing the stigma of failing. All of it this really means that we want our students to move away from simple, shallow, rote learning and move towards deeper, complex learning that fosters the development of the qualifiers we’ve created as a staff. We want our girls to be comfortable and confident to advocate for themselves. We want to attack the fear of failure by making learning risk free! To do this, we are examining Outcomes Based Evaluations and Assessments that will allow girls to explore the course outcomes in more personalized ways and over time. This assessment practise looks at most consistent strategies that allow girls to take chances and explore their own curiosities without early marks hampering their desire to try new things. This is just one of the ways HNMCS is looking to give the girls more control over their own learning, thus empowering them on their educational journey.

For the culture of learning to take root, our faculty must become less of a teacher and more of a facilitator. From the schematic below, it is clear that educational facilitation fosters the deeper learning our girls will need to succeed in today’s and tomorrow’s economy and society.


Carrie Hughes-Grant
Head of School

Our goal is to help our girls become curious, open minded, creative learners. With educational facilitation, learning starts with your daughter - we meet her where she is academically, and help her identify what she needs to grow going forward. Our role is to shrink everything down to the personal level and discover what your daughter needs, which should then open up many opportunities and pathways for your daughter to grow as a learner. We want to assist her in creating that space so that she can flourish in her own way and becomes a confident leader.

Every girl’s path to success is different. Every girl will define success differently. Our role is to facilitate their route, show them a variety of options and help each one of them see her potential and all of her opportunities at HNMCS, post secondary and beyond. Learning doesn’t stop with school - their journey has only just begun.


october 26, 2020: Transformation

October 8, 2020: Changing Properties of the Rock

September 24, 2020: What Rock?

September 17, 2020: Moving the Rock