Whether you are young, old or somewhere in between, your school days will have, almost without exception, included the study of English, Maths and Science.
There would also have been subjects such as History and Geography, as well as others like Art, Music and Physical Education.
They are all important. Each subject takes students on a journey of discovery that will lead to pathways in upper secondary, tertiary and vocational education and then a myriad of possible career paths beyond that.
School and education must offer more than just a selection of subjects.
Furthermore, we are constantly reminded of a rapidly changing world.
Globalisation and technological advances are shifting the employment landscape.
What, then, should schools be doing to prepare young people for this uncertain world, where, to use a sporting metaphor, the goalposts are shifting?
Christian College recognises that the necessary skills for the future are not those found in a single subject leading to a narrow career pathway.
It is therefore important for schools to not only teach subjects like English, Maths and Science, but to provide students with opportunities to develop their skills in problem-solving, critical and creative thinking, self-management, collaboration and communication.
These are what we call transferable skills or global competencies – they can be equally learned in a Maths lesson, an Art class or on an Outdoor Education field trip. It is, essentially, life-worthy learning.
As a result of extensive collaboration with the researchers from Project Zero at Harvard’s Graduate School of Education, Christian College has developed a range of initiatives across different year levels specifically targeting these global competencies.
At Year 7, for example, students embark on a two-week collaborative project focused on addressing one of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. In this dynamic learning environment, students are assessed not on individual subject criteria, but on their problem-solving, self-management and collaboration skills.
We have also designed a unique termlong program for our Year 9 students to participate in full of experiential learning through the Transformation Program, including five weeks in residence at our ‘Back Creek’ farm campus near Ballarat
and five weeks in a unique openplan learning space back on campus. Again, the learning here across the ten weeks is centred on the skills of thinking, problem-solving, self-direction, collaboration and creativity.
The opportunities to embed global competencies, those in the classroom and the specially crafted experiences beyond it, are therefore providing students at Christian College with lifeworthy skills and, ultimately, the sort of learning that prepares them for the challenges of the 21st century world.