Student Centred Learning at Findon High School will be based on the following four key principles.
1. Learning is Personalised where the teacher knows each individual student
2. Learning is Competency Based – this enables a student to move at their own pace demonstrating their mastery rather than moving through the curriculum and allows the teacher to respond to the students’ personal interests, needs and challenges.
3. Learning Happens anytime anywhere – learning doesn’t stop when the bell rings
4. Students Take Ownership – no decision will be made without students
Yes has become the default position at Findon High. Students now understand that if it’s not too expensive, not going to take overly long to achieve, or not going to hurt anyone then yes it will be done.
A new culture of teaching and learning is unfolding at Findon High. Over the next 6 – 12 months there will be a number of key announcements made about the exciting future that is in store for Findon High.
The word will quickly spread that if your student wants to start with a dream, they will finish with a future at our school.
A key priority is for the school to create a point of difference from neighbouring secondary schools. This point of difference is student centred learning. Visiting classrooms in the first five weeks of this year, talking with students, I observed levels of disengagement and degrees of boredom with school. I detected that students were the passive recipients of the knowledge and were lacking a connection and purpose with the curriculum.
The key message from the students was that it was time to move away from the traditional method of teaching and learning within the confines of a traditional classroom space. They wanted a voice to create real change for Findon High that sits within the modern concept of 21st century teaching and learning.
Student centred learning is by no means a new concept but to do it authentically, means to break the mould of traditional education system and remove the barriers that currently exist within schools.
What does this mean for Findon High School and what will change?
Over the last three months the entire school has been engaged in building a vision for student centred learning. This will continue to evolve as our understanding grows, particularly from the perspective of the students. At the beginning of next semester, which is week 9 of this term, the school will introduce electives for students in Year 8 and 9. Under the key umbrella of Digital Learning, Mind & Body and Make Create Spend students will have the opportunity to study game design, drone coding, basic ICT skills, team sports, boot camp, weight training, swimming, rock climbing, film making, running a business, finance and fashion design as a starting point.
In 2019 students in Years 10 -12 will have the opportunity to select electives currently not available this year.
The vision is to create around 150 electives. Students will continue to study English, Mathematics, Science, Humanities, as well as having the opportunity to study PE, Arts, Technology, and Home Economics. 5. In 2019 there will be no year levels, as we know them today. There will be no bells. Students will have the opportunity to enter a subject based on their interest and capabilities. For example if a student starting at Findon High in 2019 is able to demonstrate the capability to work at a higher year level equivalent because they demonstrate higher levels of competency, then this is where they will go. Having said this, there will be flexibility put into our structures to support the student coming down a level if they require additional support.
All students at Findon High School will have a One Plan. This is a document that enables the individual student to achieve their best and reach their potential. We want to ensure that every young person has a broad range of opportunities to fully develop their skills and capabilities. We see each and every student as unique, with their own potential – therefore it is our responsibility to help them to achieve their goals. Students, with their families and the school will work together to create a One Plan. This document will outline a chosen pathway for their secondary schooling, outlining specific goals, aspirations and learning challenges. It is important to note that the One Plan will be reviewed annually and will include the option to be flexible if the student wishes to change their chosen pathway.
There will be a transition towards students taking control of their learning, rather than the teacher being the possessor of all the knowledge. Students will be given the opportunity to create new electives that enable them to further explore their passion and personal interests. Fundamentally, throughout this process, teachers will become the coaches, mentors, guiding students through the learning process so that the learning process goes deeper rather than delivering a premediated curriculum where time constraints inhibit independent, critical and creative thinking. In a student centred learning environment students will work at their own pace, will be required to take responsibility for their own learning and will be required to manage their own time. The school is not removing the existing support structures, but is providing students with the necessary life skills required in the real world when they graduate from Findon High School.
New learning structures will be offered in 2019 where students will have the opportunity to start school earlier and leave earlier. This is particularly useful for our senior students and obtaining part-time work. We will also have the option for students to start later and finish later. This will all be determined by student choice.
Proposed new learning environments will create flexible learning environments thus supporting the philosophy that learning can take place at anytime, anywhere. The school is currently presenting a series of proposals to the Department as part of the Building Better Schools funding program where our school has been allocated $10million. This will include a purpose built music and performing arts facility, the creation of an open learning arts studio, expansion of the Palms Disability Unit, upgrades to the existing science laboratories, and a reconfiguration of the resource centre to create new flexible learning space.
Students will be given the opportunity to become entrepreneurs of tomorrow. As part of our proposal to the Department is for students to access advanced manufacturing equipment and work with local industry to implement emergent thinking into practice, creating employment opportunities and pathways into new and existing industries, and or completing prerequisites for a tertiary pathway rather than following a traditional ATAR approach.