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New curriculum a game changer

Year 9 students Michael Hartley, Rosemary Glancey-Love, Lachlan Taylor, Summer Didsbury and Charlotte James. PHOTO/CATHERINE ROSSITER-STEAD

Kuranui College will be offering a ground-breaking new curriculum for its Year 9 and 10 students from next year.

Students will no longer study subjects, but courses.

Each course will combine several subjects to create a collaborative, future-focused environment where students solve real-life problems.

Vicki Wish, head of junior college at Kuranui, said they had recognised every child was different and motivated by a variety of interests and passions.

“We believe these new personalised programmes of study will be far more relevant and a lot more engaging for our students.”

“They will ultimately give every student a chance to learn through real-life problems and situations, allowing them to grow into resilient, young adults capable of solving everyday issues that involve not just one skill, but a mix of skills, capability and know-how when they leave school.”

The new programme will be delivered in two semesters each year, over the two years of junior college.

Each student will study six courses per semester, 12 courses in each year, completing a total of 24 while in Years 9 and 10.

There will be several compulsory courses in the curriculum areas and in each curriculum area there will be choice.

The students will be required to do three math courses over the two years, but they will have a choice of eight to choose from.

In a course entitled ‘Build it Now’, students will learn the mathematics needed to build a structure, while at the same time they will learn the design process in design visual communication (DVC).

Both these skills will be developed further when the students build the structure in ‘Build it Now II’.

The ‘Choconomics’ course brings together the social sciences, mathematics and design, and explores real-life issues such as fair trade, environmental impacts, marketing, business ethics and public health policy.

Through their own mini chocolate business, students will learn about the tough decisions producers and retailers have to make to maintain levels of consumption.

“When we began evaluating how effective we were in delivering the curriculum in our junior school, and started to look at what other schools were doing, we quickly identified that there were three key issues that needed to be addressed,” Ms Wish said.

“We were giving an unequal amount of time to the study of core versus option subjects.”

She said students were having little ownership in what they learnt, and many were having trouble in seeing the connections between the subjects they were studying and the relevance for real life after leaving school.

The new curriculum will bring Year 9 and 10 students together to study without streaming, and the courses are designed to accelerate students to a higher level if they are achieving beyond their expected level.

“The adult world of work is not divided into subjects — adults are expected to use all their skills and knowledge to solve problems and complete tasks,” she said.

“Learning should be a part of life.”

An information evening on the new curriculum will be held for parents in the Kuranui College Library on Wednesday, October 18 at 7pm.

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