Year 8 Humanities dive into Deep Learning

Some of you may have seen our Learning Charter on the College website. It is an aspirational vision for our learning community where we are striving for an education that is transformative, developing in all a capacity to engage with empathy and love in the lives of one another and our broader community.  Over the course of this year some of our learning leadership staff have been training in developing a learning design framework that allows students to have greater voice and agency in their learning and links their learning more purposefully to the world they live in. Our new learning design framework ensures learning for everyone is forward-facing and courageous and develops more than just skills and knowledge. We seek to develop the core competencies of character, citizenship, collaboration, critical thinking, creativity and communication.

In the spirit of courage, the Year 8 Humanities team have embarked on a pilot program to run in Term 4. The team consisting of Jen Talbot, Luke Keane, Daryl Lyon, Justin McInerney and led by Clare Meredith began their planning by first listening to the students. This is quite a departure from how teachers traditionally work, where they take the curriculum standards and plan what they need to ‘teach’. Deep learning design demands that we begin with what the students need to learn. A focus group of a dozen students met with the teachers to talk about their prior learning on the topic of being an active citizen. Over the course of half an hour we learned so much about what they perceived to be the barriers and enablers of learning and how they felt about issues affecting the world today. We asked the following questions:

  • What social issues are you passionate about changing?
  • What do you know about social change and Australian governance now?
  • What involvement have you had in participating in your local community?
  • How do we engage students in class to care about and want to investigate these issues?
  • How can we best learn about how to take meaningful action?

The team will now convene to design a learning experience that will enable student choice, agency and voice underpinned by a strong sense of social responsibility. We will continue to listen to the students, gather data and evidence and showcase what we have learned to the community at the end of this year. Watch this space.

Natalie Stephenson

School Improvement Leader – Learning