#ACEL Day One | Paul Watson and Ernie Ayala - Redefining Education - Innovation in Education (Emmanuel Catholic College)

These are rough and ready notes but great to see a traditional school taking the initiative to transform their school.

Education doesn’t need to be reformed - it needs to be transformed!

The key is not to standardise education but to personalise it.

Prioritise the acquisition of skills over content.

Community buy-in is needed. Started with staff, then students, then parents.

What do we believe about how kids learn best? Conditions for powerful learning do not describe our current system. There is a major disconnect between what the research tells us and what we continue to do in schools.

Provocations included OECD - Four Futures and the reality that we may not exist if we don’t change things.

From the OECD: https://www.oecd.org/education/ceri/Brochure-Four-OECD-Scenarios-for-the-Future-of-Schooling.pdf

Scenario 1 | Schooling extended
Scenario 2 | Education outsourced
Scenario 3 | Schools as Learning Hubs
Scenario 4 | Learn-as-you-go

Think Learning Studio was another source of provocation:
(Well worth a look at the articles in the News section)

2023 saw a major shift across what is a mainstream large secondary school.

The school started by sending out provocative videos each Sunday night. All videos were less than 7 minutes and focused on schools doing things differently.

Changed the structure of the school day.
Leaders create the right conditions for students to flourish.
Demand for change led by new teachers.

2023 - What did we learn?

Learning blocks - changed from 6 periods to a mix of 100-minute blocks and 50-minute blocks. The pedagogy behind it is what made the difference.

Students were surveyed regularly.

Create opportunities for better learning experiences. More collaborative and experiential learning. More experiments. More active learning.

Surveyed parents, students, and teachers. Students were 75% positive, parents 67%, and teachers 64%.

Thursday optional day - online from home, school or do external work experience. Teachers are scheduled to be on the floor. No new content is taught that day. Practical workshops run all day.

Students doing better at university as a result. Did you find the introduction of the Year 12 flexi days useful? Students were 94% positive, parents 77%, and teachers 72%.

Students used flexible days in a variety of ways - appointments, study, workshops, going to the beach, and mental health day.

It’s not all about academics - every Thursday I go to the beach with my Dad. This year we have reconnected.


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