THE PERSONAL TOUCH
Every modern educational institution aims to deliver a personalised approach to its students. But few can claim to have transformed their campus and learning programme to do just that. A few years ago, Bendigo South East College, based in Victoria, Australia, began to focus on what it calls “personalising learning for contribution”. In practice, what this meant was adopting an approach with a greater emphasis on skills-based progression, and instigating a full campus rebuild. The new design prioritised open, flexible spaces and well-equipped specialist areas that provide students with the capacity to pursue their passions.
Notable examples include the ongoing Athlete Development Program and the Academy of Creative Arts. Students in these programmes have access to specialists and qualified coaches, a fully equipped gym and a boutique theatre. “Students who show a capacity for athletics or the arts, for instance, are given all the tools and guidance they need,” says Ernie Fleming, Principal. “The school’s specialists and coaches work with them to design individualised programmes in their chosen fields.” Unsurprisingly, these programmes are in high demand.
Bendigo South East College caters for students from Year 7 to Year 10, delivering personalised support to each and every child. For instance, there is a “summit” programme for those who are excelling in a particular field, and a “base camp” programme to help build the core-skill capacity for those who need it.
In addition, students keep track of their learning through an in-house programme called BSE Virtual. This serves as a “one-stop shop” of multimedia and interactive resources that enable students to demonstrate and explore their learning. It also allows teachers to deliver curriculum, and provide responses and feedback anytime, anywhere to students. The information automatically feeds into a live, personalised, student dashboard that tracks performance in the diverse elements that cover all aspects of the college’s holistic approach to learning.
“The personalised approach is based on our determination to achieve our vision statement, developed in conjunction with our Council of International Schools accreditation and membership, that every student can develop the capacity to make a significant difference as a global citizen,” says Fleming. “Individuals are valued for the unique skills, insights and contribution they can bring to make a positive difference in their local, state, national and international communities.”