Education outcomes are imperative to future economic and social opportunity, which has educators committed to improving Australia’s slipping standards compared to other countries.
It’s encouraging to see that schools are becoming open to the idea of collaborating with businesses to deliver key learning imperatives to future-proof kids for unknown digital futures and jobs not yet invented.
“Effective school-community engagement unlocks a world of applied learning and development opportunities for students.”
“Harnessing learning opportunities in the community helps support students’ progress through schooling, and provides them with rich and engaging learning, personal development and citizenship opportunities,”highlighted the report.
Formal or informal partnerships with businesses to provide mentoring, volunteering or access to extra-curricular activities is recommended by contributors to the report.
“Currently Australia is using an out-dated model of mass education, focusing on specified learning outcomes by age, before moving them in ‘lock-step’ to the next year of schooling. Rather than, flexible learning growth, determined by ability not age,”the report said.
Three priorities were identified:
Deliver at least one year’s growth in learning for every student every year
Equip every child to be a creative connected and engaged learner in a rapidly changing world
Cultivate an adaptive, innovative and continuously improving education system
1. Learning Growth
“Parent, carers, other family members and guardians have a significant influence on a student’s success at school.”
A ‘growth mindset’ has been determined as a pivotal driver in a student’s success at school and this is nurtured in the child’s early years by involved parenting.
Research shows that if family and carers are involved with the child’s learning activities and school life, the stronger the foundations for learning become.
2. Creative, Connected & Engaged Learners
“Schools can engage students as partners in learning by involvement in decision making; and by using new ways of learning.”
New ways of learning can be provided by external business, and can be a much more cost-effective way to provide creative, connected and engaging learning experiences.
STEM initiatives, with a focus on coding and creating software or robotics are becoming increasingly popular school-business partnerships.
Although the interpersonal skills of communication, collaboration and creativity have been identified as more critical for future jobs, not many external businesses are partnering with schools to develop these abilities.
3. Adaptive, Innovative & Improving Education System
“The cross-disciplinary aspects of STEM education have brought a key component of the Australian Curriculum to the fore—the interweaving of general capabilities throughout the learning areas.”
The Australian Curriculum has three dimensions:
Eight Learning areas: English, Maths, Science, History, Humanities & Social Sciences (Geography, Economics & Business, Civics & Citizenship), The Arts, Health & Physical ed, Languages, Technologies (Design & technologies and Digital technologies).
Seven General capabilities:Literacy, Numeracy, ICT capability, Critical & Creative thinking, Personal & Social capability, Intercultural understanding and Ethical understanding.
Three Cross-curriculum priorities:Sustainability, Asia & Australia’s engagement with Asia, Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Histories & cultures
“Strengthening the development of the general capabilities is critical to the national innovation and skills agenda.” Cited the South Australian Department of Education and Child Development in the report.
General Capabilities lack support because there is no consistent method of assessment (apart from Literacy & Numeracy) and teachers are expected to embed the general capabilities into subject based learning areas.
“In practice, teaching and assessing the general capabilities, particularly in an embedded form, is a highly complex task,”quoted the report.
Bookform is partnering with various schools as an online resource that provides embedded general capabilities into subject based learning areas.
Bookform’s ‘The Family Book Project’empowers students to collect stories from their family and community to create printable digital books, for education, culture development and fundraising.
Students follow online template questions to interview anyone using voice-to-text technology, where the spoken stories, in any language, are instantly transcribed and appear in their book.
Students can invite others to contribute stories and photos, to quickly build an anthology on any topic.
Students collect stories for their own bespoke family book, or help Aboriginal, migrant or disengaged minorities to collect, save and share their cultural stories, knowledge and experiences, for the whole community’s benefit.
All books are branded with the partner school’s logo and message and can be gifted at school ceremonies to engage family and community or sold for fundraising.