The progressive Principal at Canterbury Boys’ High School, Ms Belinda Giudice, has volunteered a group of year 9 & 10 students into a world-first pilot program to address these issues.
In partnership with a local Bupa Aged Care home, the students sit with residents and ‘interview’ them using online template questions, such as, ‘tell me about a typical day at school’ or ‘tell me about your first job?’.
As the resident relays their life stories, the students must actively listen and write the answers directly into the template. The software automatically compiles the text and photos into a printable digital memoir book, as a keepsake for the resident.
Anyone with a teenager can appreciate the magic required to get them to listen, but the skills required for this task include a lot more than just chatting.
The students are learning all of the 4C skills, while using Internet Communication Technology ICT, learning first hand about historical events, comparing the life of 60 years ago to theirs today and gaining real-world practical knowledge.
The students must articulate themselves clearly, so the older person can hear and understand them. They need to listen attentively and critically analyse which of the details are pertinent to the story, so they can keep up with documenting the facts accurately. They need to multi-task many skills, such as, talking politely, listening attentively, thinking and writing quickly, paraphrasing complex concepts, all while staying calm and engaged.
The attending teacher, Ms Patricia Bursill, succinctly said to the students afterwards “It doesn't matter if you are academic or not, from what I saw today, you will all do very well in life”.