Catherine Misson, Principal
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A New Order for Education: Personalising learning and developing student autonomy and agency via a blended learning model
What is A New Order for Education: Personalising learning and developing student autonomy and agency via a blended learning model?
At Melbourne Girls Grammar our Year 9-12 Senior Years Program is designed to facilitate agency, autonomy and capacity, with an unwavering focus by our teachers and support staff on knowing each girl and encouraging her to stretch and challenge herself through diverse and new experiences. We believe that to flourish in the highly complex, accelerating world in which they will live and learn, our students must emerge from school confident in their own interests, their preferred learning styles, and their capacity to manage themselves in unfamiliar contexts.
The structure of our program is designed to allow students to exercise a greater level of control over the pace at which they work, the spaces in which they work and what they choose to focus their time on.
The students have 60 periods per fortnight (cycle) which is broken down as:
FIXED CLASS TIME: Students attend 4 periods per fortnight of fixed class time for each course in which they are enrolled. Teachers use these classes for the introduction and development of conceptual understandings, application and deepening of knowledge and skills developed through the online course content and group based collaborative project based learning.
FLEXI CLASS TIME: Students have 2 flexi class times per fortnight for each course in which they are enrolled. These times provide flexibility for the teacher to make choices about seeing students individual, in small groups or as a whole class. These sessions are also flexible for the student. If a student is not part of the target teaching group or is working ahead of the course timeline, they may choose to convert these times to Independent Learning Times.
INDEPENDENT LEARNING TIME: Students have 17 periods per fortnight of ILT. At these times, a students may choose to work on the online content of any course in which she is enrolled. She may also use this time to engage in the Fit for Life Program offerings and target her physical goals, or meet one-to-one with her Wellbeing Coach. As the program develops we also expect our girls will use this time for such things as internships and enterprise activities. The ILT times allow the student to make decisions about what to focus on and where to work based on their personal goals.
A Student’s Learning Team is comprised of:
EXPERT TEACHERS: responsible for the progress and achievement of students within courses, including assessment, examinations and reporting. They provide their students with advisory sessions to ensure students are on track to achieve their optimal performance. Their time with students is in fixed whole class time 4 periods per fortnight and flexible classroom time 2 period per fortnight
ACADEMIC COACHES: available to students in each learning pathway, to assist them with review, practice and application of learning. The academic coaches are drawn from a pool of academically outstanding university students. Academic Coaches work in teams of 4-6 on the Learning Commons.
WELLBEING COACHES: responsible for the overall wellbeing management of students, monitoring their goals and their level of connectedness within the student community. They provide their students with advisory sessions to enable girls to understand and respond to their personal and community responsibilities within the Senior Years Program, and to support and encourage them when faced with challenging contexts.
FIT FOR LIFE COACHES: work with the girls to create individual fitness goals and create and facilitate group fitness activities. The Fitness Coaches support the girls to make choices about the types of activities they might complete in order to meet their goals. The Fit for Life team also track data to ensure that all girls have physical components in their weekly programs.
STUDENT ENTERPRISE MANAGER: responsible for provision of opportunities that extend learning into local and global contexts, facilitating the development of a student’s enterprise profile. This is a unique offering by Melbourne Girls Grammar, under the auspices of our Centre for Educational Enterprise.
LEARNING COACH: responsible for targeted support for students who, at times, find progress within a course exceptionally challenging. They work in a one-one capacity to assist in the development of skills and strategies that support independent learning. Learning Coaches meet with girls on a weekly basis to support them to develop their immediate and medium term learning goals and identify strategies and behaviours that may support them to achieve these goals.
We have invested in technology platforms that enable all members of the Learning Team to access, review, and give feedback on learning and wellbeing data generated from the many activities in which a girl participates and performs. In doing so, we have achieved an integrated environment in which we can know and respond to each girl’s needs, and more importantly visually represent that progress so that the girls can understand and actively manage their schooling experience.