We all have our own learning preferences, so it is helpful if students have an opportunity to trial different ways of learning. Many of our boys, particularly our Senior secondary students, have already identified and regularly use a number of helpful learning tools that work for them. One example of how we support students in this way is our Year 8 2XL program. This course presents students with a variety of learning strategies, including how to take notes effectively in class, how to use different graphic organisers to reorganise information, and techniques to identify key information in task sheets, textbook chapters and websites. By trialing each of these methods for learning, students can decide for themselves what the right learning tool for the job will be.
When it comes to identifying and building skills that make us a better learner, we cannot overlook the importance of organisation and planning. Again, many students will find particular techniques that work for them. As a school, however, we do promote a number of specific organisation and planning tools across the Senior School and expect students to use them because we know they work. The obvious one is our student diary, a valuable resource that helps boys to manage their busy school lives without having to rely on short term memory – a risky and often unreliable option.
This year we have also introduced colour coding of student files in Years 7 to 10 as a very simple and effective way for all our boys to manage resources across their academic program. Colour provides a strong visual stimulus that can be very helpful when making a quick trip to a locker to retrieve the right file for the next lesson. Introducing coloured files also supports another of our expectations; that students have a separate file for each of their courses. Whilst the idea of having multiple subject resources in one file may seem like a genius idea to many of our boys at the beginning of a new school year, it’s not long before their file and the genius idea buckle under the pressure.
The coloured files also make it easier for our teachers. At a glance at the start of the lesson, they can ascertain whether all students have a course file with them and that it is the correct one. On a personal note, one of the things I have enjoyed with the introduction of coloured files is the ability to ask a boy “What did you learn in English today?” when passing him in the school yard, because I noticed he was carrying his blue file. A number of boys have also been eager to show me how they have colour coded their hard copy and SEQTA learn timetables so that the lesson colours match their course files – it’s a simple tool but one we believe is worth our boys adopting in Years 7-10.
Colours have been assigned to each faculty. Courses offered through faculties that require a file must be of the correct colour as listed below:
English – Blue
Maths – Green
Science – Burgundy
HASS – Yellow
RPE – Black
Languages and all Discovery courses – Red
As parents, we appreciate your support with this new initiative and hope you also see the benefits for your son – a growing tool box of skills to help them with their learning that now includes a little colour.
Head of Catalyst
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