People can succeed in many ways throughout their lives, while students can succeed in very few throughout their academic journeys. Right now, school systems look for the same light from every learner. Students need to be able to shine their own light—in ways that express the unique value they bring to the world. When students shine their own light, learning is deeper.
Bundoora Secondary College is committed to individual student pathways. Whether is the 'Take control program' or the 'Big picture academy', these new learning structures support greater degrees of personalised learning. This means that students have a real choice in their education.
Why the change?
Around the world, education is in a crisis. One quarter of young people do not complete their secondary schooling; classrooms are full of students who are not interested in, or engaging with, the curriculum being delivered; students are entering tertiary studies and employment without the necessary 21st century skills. See the diagram below from a report by the World Economic Forum:
Illustration from http://www3.weforum.org/docs/WEFUSA_NewVisionforEducation_Report2015.pdf
At BSC, we are passionate about our students developing the 21st century skills in a positive, supportive environment, with expert teachers and through studies they find useful and engaging.
In a traditional schooling model, students have to study all areas of the curriculum, whether interested in those areas or not. It assumes that ‘one size fits all’: that all students will need, and should have, the same knowledge and skills for the future. Additionally, many ‘elective’ subjects such as the arts and physical education are often undervalued in schools and can be given very little time and resources. Bundoora Secondary College has moved away from this traditional view of education in an effort to give our students the world class education they deserve.
Our model gives control back to students by allowing them to choose for themselves the learning areas they wish to focus on. Other than English and Maths, which are compulsory due to their necessity in everyday life, students are free to choose from a broad range of exciting subjects, run by specialists.
We encourage students to choose breadth, as we value many different learning areas and styles. However, our system now allows students to study specific areas more deeply than would otherwise be possible. It also allows them to focus more intensely on particular skills and concepts, such as writing (rather than ‘English’), algebra (rather than ‘Maths’), photography (rather than ‘Art’) or on genre-based areas such as performance poetry, ancient civilisations and outdoor recreation.
For more in depth information about these subjects, please click on the Subjects and pathways tab.
Assessment of what matters most
Students regularly self-reflect on their development of these essential skills and set new targets for growth in each semester. Classroom teachers and their students self-assess using a tool developed collaboratively by BSC teachers called ‘The BSC Great Student’. This tool encourages students to identify where their 21st century skills, attitudes and characteristics lie. Learning behaviours at each level are explicit, so students can easily identify what to do to work towards the next level. In this way, they can become increasingly independent and self-driven and understand the value of these skills to their lifelong learning. We want to empower our students to understand the skills, dispositions and kinds of knowledge they need for the future.
The Victorian Curriculum determines the basis of the developmental sequence within each subject offered at BSC from Years 7-10.
One of the great strengths of the BSC model is the scope and sequence that is available for each subject, allowing students of multiple ages to access learning at the appropriate stage for them. They are not locked into age or year level expectations and therefore can be sufficiently challenged and supported regardless of where their skills lie on the spectrum.
Having observed and being inspired by the journey at Templestowe College, we are implementing personalised learning for every single student at BSC. This TEDx talk by Peter Hutton gives an insight into the reasons behind our vision and why we believe that the 'Take Control' concept is the way of the future in education.