As we mentioned last month, Jacaranda recently hosted a series of leadership talks in conjunction with Education Changemakers. The events garnered the attention of nearly 100 school leaders across Melbourne and Sydney and left many attendees feeling inspired and motivated to lead the change in their school. In case you missed it, we put together answers to three commonly asked questions coming out of the leadership talks. Here’s what the team at Education Changemakers had to say:
1. What innovative ideas have been implemented in Australian schools?
We’re in the privileged position of working with innovative schools on a daily basis. A school like Templestowe College is brilliant example of a courageously innovative school that is truly revolutionary. The principal there, Peter Hutton, was brought in after 10 years of declining enrolments and has turned the school around completely. Student voice is at the core of every decision made at Templestowe – the school adapts to meet the needs of each individual. As a result, more than 100 elective subjects are offered, students can attempt VCE subjects from Year 8, students contribute to the design of the curriculum and can even make up their own subject. Past students at Templestowe have devised their own electives in helicopter piloting, researching their family tree and composing digital music. We will fail Australian learners if we continue to focus on test scores and Templestowe College is one example of a school where student success is celebrated in a variety of forms.
2. Technology can be a wonderful support. What is your ideal classroom set up?
We believe fervently in the power of technology as a learning tool for our current learners and future citizen innovators. 60% of current jobs will be automated in the next decade and we need to be preparing our students for a world that is even more tech-saturated than it is today. Australian learners need to be exposed to a range of tools to help them solve modern problems so our ideal classroom set up would include access to this range of tools, as well as explicit fostering of the soft skills learners need to work with these tools most effectively. We’ve seen 1:1 programs work really well when teachers are equipped with the skills and autonomy needed to create the best learning environments.
3. How can we involve students in the process of school change?
Clearly, student voice and learner needs must be at the centre of all school change. Schools like High Tech High in San Diego, USA, integrate student voice and autonomy really effectively into learning design. One of the teachers at HTH was reflecting on his learnings about student involvement, saying that you cannot predict the end product. Often as adults we have an idea about what we want the end point to look, feel and sound like, and we might ask students for their inputs (sometimes artificially) as a part of this process.
Jacaranda is continuing to partner with Education Changemakers this year to help education professional across Australia drive innovation in their schools. To learn more about how EC can help, visit their website or send us a message in the comments below.