Paraparaumu College is using some new approaches for learning with its year 9 students from 2018. A key feature of the change is that year 9 students have been placed into learning hubs, termed ‘Ngā Rōpū Ako’. This involves teachers from Mathematics, Science, Social Studies, English, Health and Physical Education collaborating to develop integrated approaches to learning. Curriculum Change Leader, Aaron Mead, explained that while each teacher would still focus on their subject, “they would also be working more closely with their colleagues from other subject areas to ensure that, where appropriate, learning would be connected and relevant to students’ lives and interests.”
“A cross-curricular collaborative approach will provide learning experiences for our students, where values, concepts and skills are explicitly interconnected in a manner that traditional stand-alone subjects struggle to achieve,” Mr Mead explained.
“We live in an interconnected and interdependent world. Our programme aims to foster collaborative, leadership and entrepreneurial skills that will enable our students to thrive in the future.”
Paraparaumu College has been awarded funding from the Ministry of Education’s Teacher-Led Innovation Fund and has been working with Kenakena Primary School to develop new skills and ideas among its teachers. The focus of the professional learning has been on how teachers can effectively use digital technology to support the learning of students and ensure that the learning suits the needs of different groups of students rather than being one-size-fits-all.
“Our focus is to make learning ‘life-worthy’ for all our students,” Mr Mead said. “It is no secret that changes to society, technology and employment in the 21st century have had a significant impact on what needs to be prioritised within education. It’s exciting to be working alongside staff and students at Paraparaumu College who are committed to working in new ways.”
Many new approaches derived from the Teacher-Led Innovation Fund programme and other initiatives are now used throughout the school. The Year 9 ‘Ngā Rōpū Ako’ or learning groups will be operating from the start of Term 1 2018.