Innovative curriculum program for college
An innovative learning philosophy that aims to give students subject choices based on ability and interest rather than year level age groups will be introduced at Warragul Regional College next year.
The initiative will, in time, see years eight, nine and 10 students combined in learning areas to ensure individual needs are met.
The new program was outlined to more than 330 parents at recent information session.
Designed to give students choice and flexibility in learning, principal Paul van Breugel said the program had been embraced by the school community.
Mr van Breugal, who has been principal for two years, said the new program was an exciting change for the school’s curriculum and was an important step in giving students more opportunities.
“We know that people learn best when they are learning about something they are interested in, have some skill at, are curious about or that has some purpose or meaning to them,” he said.
The model, developed by WRC but based on philosophies of American academic Yong Zhao, is targeted at years eight, nine and 10 students. Year seven will become an “induction” year for students making the transition from primary to secondary education and introducing them to a range of mainstream education choices.
From year eight, Mr van Breugel said students would continue to undertake four core study groups including English, maths, science and health/physical education.
He said years eight, nine and 10 students would have access to a range of subjects and a range of choices that would be based on interest and ability rather than year level.
Mr van Breugel said next year’s program was the first step in a longer term plan where students of different year levels will learn together based on academic ability in core subjects and interests in elective subjects.
He said while senior students were encouraged to do accelerated programs in strength areas, the same would apply in junior levels where classes could have combined year levels to meet academic ability.
“We want to avoid putting kids into classes based on age…at the moment we think about kids in blocks. That’s where we want to evolve to – not talking about kids in year levels.
“The key change is we are looking at giving the students more choice early in their schooling.
“The key driver of this is when kids are doing what they want to do, they learn better. It’s very much a move towards a student-centred model.
Mr van Breugel said students also would have the opportunity to develop independent learning plans. But, he said, academic results and work habits would be still considered.
Mr van Breugel said the school’s student leadership team and students had been consulted during forums throughout the year.
He said there was a common frustration among students that they were “put in the same box” regardless of interests and career ambitions.
“The kids were born in the 21st century and we need to give them a 21st century education.
“This is about our school vision…to nurture the learning experience suited to each student.
“It is a focus on the individual rather than all the same. For example a student who knows early on they want a career in medicine can have the opportunity to do more science and maths in their schooling.
With 800 students at the school, Mr van Breugel acknowledged there would continue to be timetabling constraints but the new program would create more flexibility in elective classes and subjects offered.
Mr van Breugel said while parts of the program were modelled on similar programs, he hoped WRC would become a leader and it would evolve into holding a reputation of being the “Warragul Regional College model.”
After two years at the school, Warragul Regional College principal Paul van Breugel is leading a new learning model that will be introduced for years eight, nine and 10 students next year.