Sunday, 2 July 2017

Getting rid of the silos in Secondary Education

After being inspired to write my last blog and then enjoying the summer holidays, I forgot about my idea until recently the topic popped up again.  Our Year 9 & 10 students are undertaking a 'cross-curricular' project this week, spearheaded by the Head of the English Department.  The students have been put in groups of 4-5 and will have the week to plan and create a 3-4 minute film about 'The Future'. The groups have all been assigned a mentor teacher and the will go to that teacher in period 1 to plan what they are going to achieve for the day and where they are going to be.  All the teachers of Year 9 & 10 will be involved so the students can choose to work either with teachers that they have good relationships with or that have the expertise that they need at that particular stage in their film creating.

Students to work collaboratively to produce a final product within a shared context using concepts and resources from all curriculum areas.

Resources could include: classrooms to work in, subject specific equipment, tech equipment, shooting locations, computer access.  The biggest resource will be teacher support and expertise.
The Future: “What do we want our world to be like?”
This allows students to learn about, reflect upon, challenge and address the most important issues to them.
Why are we doing this?
  •  Because it will be fun.
  • To understand that learning doesn’t exist in a subject vacuum – the concepts studied in Science have relevance in Social Studies and the strategies developed in Maths have applications across all subject areas.
  • To develop student engagement and learning partnerships in a new and innovative way.

It will be very exciting to see how this plays out this week.  I think it will be great, the teachers involved are enthusiastic about it and embracing the fact that it will be uncomfortable sometimes as they let go of the reins and let go of the traditional silo model of learning.

I've been thinking about how this could play out in the future too. It would be great to see the teachers who teach Year 9 and 10 working more collaboratively together.  Rather than having subject departments they could work in year level departments like the Year 7&8.  Planning learning experiences and projects together rather than in the traditional silos. Hmmm more food for thought!

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