At William Clarke College, a P-12 Anglican school located in Sydney’s Hills District, the definition of an extraordinary learner extends beyond mere memorisation of answers.
An extraordinary learner is one who skillfully applies and expands their knowledge in novel and challenging ways, showcasing an innate ability to think critically.
This ethos serves as the driving force behind the College’s innovative and dynamic educational approaches, both in the primary and secondary schools. A prime example of this approach is what is known as Deep Learning, an educational method that fosters student agency, voice and choice.
“To encourage deep learning, where knowledge is not only acquired but applied, we give students opportunities to tackle authentic, real-world problems, come up with real-world solutions and present their work to a real-world audience, including their peers, the school community, parents and beyond,” Head of Curriculum Mr Dan Miller said.
“These learning experiences help students not only gain a greater depth of knowledge and skill, but also grow in enterprise skills such as critical thinking, creativity, collaboration, communication and citizenship. Each project includes a driving question that provokes thinking and inquiry that leads to the exhibition of learning to an audience
Deep learning is prominently exemplified in the almost 40 Xplore courses available for students in Years 9 and 10, aligned to knowledge, personal interest and future career pathways.
For instance, students with a keen interest in Aeronautics and Space Exploration can immerse themselves in a practical field of study that integrates mathematics, physics and engineering. Students explore fundamental principles such as aerodynamics, fluid dynamics, fuel consumptions and control systems, and apply this knowledge to assess the future of aeronautics and its role in space exploration. Their projects focus on solving real-world problems that may arise in the realm of space exploration.
Those students interested in a trade career could explore the Vehicles and Automotives course, where they can gain hands-on experience modifying and enhancing second-hand café racer-style motorcycles in the College’s workshop. Students delve into the mechanics of various vehicles, learning how they function and can be improved for optimal performance. Practical projects result in impressive end products showcased at the course’s conclusion.
Some students may have a strong interest in whipping up some culinary magic in the kitchen, meaning courses such as Master Chef or Food Safari will appeal. In the Master Chef course, students face diverse practical challenges, with a particular emphasis on cooking for larger gatherings, including event catering and the intricacies of running a food business.
On the other hand, Food Safari offers a platform for students to explore their individual culinary passions. The course encourages them to create dishes that resonate with their personal backgrounds and heritage, allowing them to express their unique cultural identities through the art of cooking.
Students interested in the field of information technology can opt for Good Game, a programming and technology-based elective with a strong focus on computer hardware and software. Good Game enables students to engage in a series of projects, including developing 2D and 3D video games, learning coding in various languages, creating interactive game elements, and building gaming PC’s. Additionally, students acquire skills in coding, hardware design, software development, cybersecurity, IT support and troubleshooting.
The array of Xplore electives goes far beyond these examples, encompassing subjects like Oceanography, Photography, Criminology, Dimensions of Dance, Cosmetology, Outdoor Challenge, Medical Mavericks, Robotics, Psychology, So You Want to be a Writer? and The Fashion Designer.
William Clarke College is a recognised Scuba Schools International (SSI) Snorkel Diving Training Centre which allows Oceanography students to learn from their SSI trained teachers in the field.
“Each of these courses gives students the opportunity to explore their passion and strengths, whilst continuing to build skills, knowledge and understanding in key areas,” Mr Miller said.
“This approach to learning provides students with more freedom to explore their interests and take ownership of their learning journey. We are passionate about enabling our students to develop a sense of agency so that they are responsible for their learning and ultimately, best positioned to experience success at the College and beyond,” he said.
For more information about William Clarke College, visit www.wcc.nsw.edu.au