Preparing students for lifestyles and the team of workers consists of equipping them with skills along with problem-solving, collaboration, and crucial and creative questioning. How do those capabilities expand through the years, and what do they appear like in terms of teaching and assessment?
School leaders and personnel at Eltham High School, in north-east Melbourne, we’re grappling with those questions for the satisfactory part of a decade. Loren Clarke (Curriculum and Data Leader) and Melissa Hughes (Head of Junior School) have been sharing information of the paintings that’s already been achieved, and the ongoing development, with delegates at Research Conference 2019.

The foundations for embedding coaching and evaluation of those competencies throughout the curriculum had already been laid. Clarke and Hughes explain that, prior to the creation of the overall talents, the faculty made a decision flow away from siloed disciplines and content. It became a shakeup that involved the transforming of the curriculum structure.
‘When we embarked on this adventure a touch over 10 years in the past, a few humans had been elevating a few eyebrows and questioning what we had been doing,’ Hughes tells Teacher. ‘At that point, we felt a piece like pioneers – we had a crew of teachers who have been carving out space, carving out the curriculum and turning the entirety upside down.
‘We had been fortunate because we have been capable of sail forward – that turned into the permission that we had been given by way of the faculty leadership, to do matters in a different way, and by the time every body else changed into interested a number of the teething issues had been ironed out.’
That endured hobby during the last six years has been from international, country wide and local school room instructors and leaders who’re eager to make contact and go to Eltham High to find out more. The faculty has additionally featured in a Victorian training branch case study.
Developing a continuum
In their Research Conference paper, Clarke and Hughes factor out the Australian Curriculum and Victorian Curriculum each articulate these standard abilities students want to broaden, but precisely how and in which those abilities are taught is a choice for each faculty (Clarke & Hughes, 2019).
At Eltham High School, a focus on the coaching of wondering, conversation, collaboration, hassle fixing and innovation was executed via the Year 7 Integrated Studies Program – a curriculum underpinned via inquiry version knowledgeable by the paintings of Kath Murdoch.
The theme for Research Conference 2019, hosted by the Australian Council for Educational Research (ACER), is ‘Preparing college students for lifestyles within the twenty-first Century: Identifying, developing and assessing what topics’.
Clarke says the paintings that had already been performed in restructuring the curriculum meant the faculty turned into a high-quality vicinity to expand a continuum for those abilities. ‘You really must start from: What does the curriculum look like now? What do we need it to appear like? How do we get there? How can we damage down a number of the one’s obstacles?
‘It took several years of truly doing paintings in the school room with children around the talents and doing paintings round our interdisciplinary studying for you to see what the continuum would possibly even appear like.’
This procedure culminated at the stop of closing 12 months with a evaluate and replace related to instructors in the Year 7 Integrated Studies Program, interdisciplinary topics in Year nine and extended investigation at VCE (Victorian Certificate of Education) degree. Clarke says extending the focus across the year degrees supposed it could be used as a real continuum in the course of secondary college, with college students coming into and exiting at distinctive factors instead of being tied to their yr level.
‘So, we had a team of teachers across remaining yr working on that mission pretty intensively. Alongside that, reviewing what it intended in phrases of the inquiry version that we use. One of the important thing matters that got here out of its miles we’ve moved far away from year degree descriptors [for development of the skills] – so, it doesn’t say Year 7, 8, 9, 10, it says “rising”, “consolidating” and “set up”. We wanted it to be a factor of development for students to understand the subsequent step, but additionally for instructors with a view to differentiate what they had been doing in the school room.’
Hughes says reviewing the continuum and building it based on their very own enjoy and context, staff drew heavily on Australian Curriculum and Victorian Curriculum. ‘Really seeking to use what we do inside the college to validate or verify those descriptors which might be in [national and state] documentation as properly.’
Teaching routines and strategies to support students
The colleagues say understanding what those abilities appear like, and what increase looks like, permits time to training exercises and techniques that enable students to illustrate their capabilities and progress. In their conference paper, they provide an explanation for: ‘As instructors, we work to discover the numerous questioning, communique and collaboration routines that help students as they pass approximately this kind of highbrow paintings. When we find gaps, we create new routines and via trial and blunders, compare, refine and enhance those with each new cycle of coaching and gaining knowledge of.’
These exercises and techniques consist of KWL (What do you recognize? What do you need to understand? What did you study?), classroom debates, pushing students to provide evidence and to cause by asking ‘Why?’, magazine writing and Socratic circles.
Finding the time and area
These gear and techniques are taught explicitly thru the Year 7 software and, because the focus is embedded at some stage in the curriculum and across the year stages, college students continue to engage with them as they move through college. This integration makes it viable, from a coaching time element. ‘We have masses of discussion about the ‘curriculum pie’, and certainly right at the start whilst we definitely shook matters up at Year 7 there were some actual demanding situations approximately how human beings have been organized to relinquish time that they formerly had connected to their curriculum location,’ Hughes remembers.
‘And, I suppose it’s an ongoing conversation, but it’s approximately ensuring that we nonetheless have the possibility to use the content material, however, the content is how we teach the capabilities and no longer the opposite manner round. So, the concern is on the abilities.