Local and Global
Educating Global citizens
In the following interviews, school leaders talk about the ways that they position their teaching in terms of preparing students for participation in the wider world. At Reece High, the team approach to preparing units of work is highly effective in ensuring that curriculum studies are integrated. This is discussed in detail in another digistory (see Professional Learning).
Reece High leaders consider that the collaborative efforts of teachers creates a model learning community that inflects the school philosophy into all teaching and learning activities. At both Reece High and Brookvale Public School considerable efforts are made to place all learning into a global context with a problem solving approach to student activities.
The particular needs of students at Brookvale Public School were identified over time and addressed in a number of ways that engage the students and community with school life and additionally with projects that expand the students' horizons and expectations.
. but if you look at our kids when they come in in kindergarten, they've got no idea what school is about. A lot of them come from non-English speaking backgrounds, many of them haven't been to pre-school, a lot of them come from working class families where both parents are working, a lot of single parent families... It takes our kids years sometimes to work out what school is about. By the time they get to year 3, our basic skills tests results are about the state average, and by the time they get to year 5, our basic skills tests are well above grade average. We have the strongest growth rate between year 3 and year 5 of any school in the northern city region. (Principal, Brookvale High)
Three strategies were identified at this school:
- Specific work to enhance students' understandings of school life, the role of school, and its enjoyment.
- Initiatives to better involve the community of parents in the workings of the school.
- Projects that relate students to the environment, local community and to their place in a global setting
Well when I first came here we used to do pen pals, teachers used to write to classes overseas, and now we use key pals, email, most of the time the classes now are in contact with a group of similar aged children from overseas - not all the time, because obviously the curriculum is so crowded now, it's hard to fit it all in, but most of the classes are emailing overseas as some point during the year with a class overseas. So that has great benefit because it helps with the kids' writing, it's personalised use of technology and it helps them to understand other cultures. (Principal, Brookvale High)
We try to teach them awareness of things like the environment, like that's really important; that's a big part of what we do. We just signed up for Every Drop Counts, which is a project from Sydney Water and we just have the water guard devices installed on our water meter so we'll be able to monitor water usage and we can actually use the internet to log on and get some information on water use. (Principal, Brookvale Public School)
At Reece High, restructuring the curriculum and organization of the school was partly driven by a desire to better engage the school and local community activities.
Effective examples of technology focus
The following discussions articulate effective examples of technology focus, parent involvement and the use of the Sharepoint Virtual Learning Environment as a means of linking parents with their children's school work in a complete and transparent way.
It's a smaller community and if you get people along to our presentation assemblies, end of year assemblies, which many of the public come and see, and then if they think, 'Gee, Reece students can do a reasonable job', they'll go back and talk at their Rotary or Lions Club or whatever and then they'll approach us. So if you're showcasing what the students can do then people will come. And we get people hiring our facilities here and saying, 'Can we have the students to do the sound, do the lighting, do the videoing?'. The school - I'd say that in our wider community the school's got a good name of what - the quality of work and the reality of our students as well (Teacher, Reece High)
My kids will do their work and then they'll put it on their MP3 player, bring it home and finish it off at home, you know, English or whatever they're doing. So I suppose that's sort of using technology to do that. Yeah, Daniel was in Grade 10 last year and he brought home a disk from the school and loaded them onto our computer and was doing maths from home, and then would follow it up with the teacher the next day. And it was a SharePoint, so he'd being doing work at home and putting it onto SharePoint, saving it to SharePoint, so that the teacher could look at it at home, to mark his work. (Parent, Reece High)
The Sharepoint Virtual Learning Environment is built up by the teaching teams to provide a single location for parents, students and teachers to locate school work in the forms of:
- The Task or Problem described in a social context
- Students collaboration and online discussion
- Teacher planning and documentation
- Feedback and discussion between teachers and students
- Assessment expectations
- Student work in draft and completed forms