In celebration of our amazing teaching staff, we will be showcasing a staff member each week.
This week we feature Christopher Scholten, Head of Years 7-10 Curriculum and Politics & Law and IB Global Politics Teacher.
Christopher has worked at PLC for 10 years, joining the School straight after completing his university studies. Starting at PLC at such a young age enabled Christopher to hone is craft from the very beginning with what he describes as “access to the best resources and role models”. Christopher is also a twin, and was born 12 minutes before his brother, Jeremy.
What inspires you?
Integrity. I have an enormous degree of respect for people who “practice what they preach”, and stand up for their beliefs. Like many young boys in the 90’s, I grew up with comic books. My grandparents had a small but rich library, which quickly directed me from comic books to classics like Homer’s Illiad, and the Arthurian romances. The idea of the unwavering, internally driven hero has had a lasting impact on me. So many of our girls (I suspect unknowingly) embody these ideals, and it makes coming to work so much more enjoyable.
What are you working on at the moment?
A great many things! I have had the joy of reworking and developing the new “Defining Project” for the Year 9s. I am a passionate advocate for project-based learning and indeed any pedagogy that encourages individual ownership over learning. I am also working with others to build and refine the reporting and assessment model applied in Years 7-10, including a review of the feedback process. Wearing my “teacher hat”, I have been experimenting with the use of simulations in the teaching of International Relations, and Visible Thinking and Visible Learning strategies and routines with my Year 10s.
What is important to you as a teacher?
A dedication to the profession. Teaching is a craft, and the craft of teaching is becoming increasingly more important than subject knowledge or expertise. Teachers should most certainly be experts in their chosen fields, but the capacity of the teacher to deconstruct knowledge, and empower students to reconstruct understandings in powerful and meaningful ways is critical. It is said that the average person today is exposed to more information in a single day than a person in the 15th century in their entire lifetime. We can never hope to teach or impart all of this – but we can teach the skill to construct meaning from it.
What experiences have you had in the past and what do you feel you bring to PLC?
I was fortunate enough to come to PLC straight from my studies – I was only 21 at the time! It was certainly a daunting experience, but I was able to dedicate my time to honing my craft from the very beginning with access to the best resources and role models. Since then, I have had incredible opportunities to develop and refine my skills and it is with great pride that I now get to work with the International Baccalaureate directly training other teachers and providing advice.