Local Schools Leading the Change
The world is changing; and our local schools are leading the change. The future can be full of fear or full of opportunities. Preparing young people for a future full of opportunities is the key focus of our local schools and it is on display for anyone who visits them.
This year’s state budget continues to invest in supporting teachers and school communities to lead this change by investing in more teachers, their professional development and infrastructure.
I attended the multi-year philosophy class at Seville Rd State School with former Education Minister Kate Jones. There is nothing new about teaching philosophy, although I don’t recall it being on the subject list when I was in primary school. “Why” we are teaching philosophy is where the novelty lies.
The Foundation for Young Australians (FYA) report “The New Work Smarts, Thriving in the New Work Order” suggests that young people need to be prepared for “Work Smarts”:
• Smart Learning
• Smart Thinking
• Smart Doing
Smart Thinking workers will spend
• 100% more time solving problems
• 41% more time on critical thinking and judgement
• 77% more time using science and maths skills
• 17% more time using verbal communication and interpersonal skills
Seville Rd’s philosophy program is linked to the Academy of Ideas at Cavendish Rd State High School. The University of British Columbia encourages students to study philosophy because it allows students to develop communication skills, critical reasoning skills and general problem solving skills. Students at Seville Rd and other local schools are getting the opportunity to study these skills across the entirety of their primary and high school years. Exactly the sort of skills that will see them equipped for the future, not just in the workforce but as good citizens and community leaders.
Whites Hill State College received funding in this year’s budget for a Collaborative STEM Learning Hub. This centre is not just focused on developing knowledge of science and mathematics; it will also focus on developing collaboration and entrepreneurial skills in young people. According to FYA’s report “The importance of science, maths, engineering and technology (STEM) skills is well documented. However, young people can’t rely on these skills alone to thrive in the future of work. To activate and fully utilise STEM skills effectively, enterprise skills including problem solving, critical thinking and communication are of prime importance.”
Whites Hill Principal Melanie Harth welcomes the funding and notes it complements the College’s Strategic Plan.
“The real-world focus of the project this funding goes towards will mean students will learn the Mathematical and Scientific skills that will enable them to make the most of the opportunities in the future. Our focus at the college is developing solution-focussed learners for a rapidly changing world, preparing them for jobs that in many cases don’t even exist yet. Projects like the Collaborative Hub help enable these outcomes”
There are so many examples of local schools leading change in how we prepare young people for the future:
• Students studying coding and robotics at Mt Gravatt State School and High School
• The Loreto students participating in (and usually winning) the “Buy Smart” Competition each year
• Problem based learning programs uniting geography, maths and science at Cavendish Rd High School
• Film and Television collaboration at Greenslopes State School
• E-Gen Innovation Forum at the Brisbane School of Distance Education providing professional development opportunities for teachers from around the state
• Coorparoo Secondary College collaborating with Coorparoo Junior Aussie Rules Program to run a centre of sporting excellence
• Philosophy programs at Seville Rd State School and Holland Park State School
The Advancing Education Action Plan is guiding the Palaszczuk Government’s investment in schools to assist school community’s to lead this change. The 2018/19 budget backed this plan with resources including investment in more teaching staff, more professional development and infrastructure to support a changing learning environment.
As a local member I will continue to back our local schools and advocate strongly for budget funding for key programs and infrastructure. Those lines in a budget paper matter, they turn into STEM Centres, robotics kits and sporting excellence programs and these things make a real difference to the capacity of our school communities to prepare young people for the future.
It is easy to fear the future; it is much smarter to prepare for it. I back local schools because they are doing just that - preparing young people for the future, not just in the world of work, but as good citizens capable of being community builders and leaders.