Video transcript - Our learning journey

Janeen Silcokc, Principal:
My name is Janeen Silcock, I'm the Principal of Ballina Coast High School. In 2015, the Minister for Education announced the building of a new school in Ballina.

It was to be an amalgamation of two of our local high schools, 7 to 12. We will open our doors in 2019, to a purposefully built school to reflect the pedagogy that has become part of the culture of Ballina Coast High School.

The design of this has been a culmination of a few years work, that we see growing into the future. We want to grow together to create futures for our students. Through working collaboratively, we will create students who will find the love and joy in life-long learning.

Damien McClymont, Head Teacher Science and Year 7:
So we spent a lot of time working together and trying to come up with a set of clear expectations for working in the space, and that allowed us to have some consistency. We have also employed a Head Teacher of Pedagogy, whose role has been to specifically to support staff in these open spaces. Not to be an expert in the open spaces, but to listen and support what staff need in those spaces.

Zoe Tiernan, Head Teacher English and Year 8:
We used the amalgamation as motivation to create two spaces in, on our current site. So we don't move till 2019, but the two spaces on our current site have been used as spaces to experiment and get teaching in a flexible learning space, happening in our school before we move our whole school to that kind of innovative space. The Team Vision was built through, starting with the small group of teachers that were very willing to work in flexible learning environments. Though, there was eight people, from across four KLA areas, those people had all identified, at some point in their practise, that traditional learning spaces did actually impede them from what they wanted to do, from time to time. They were also very happy to work together, collaboratively, to go through kind of the learning pit, if you like, and to discuss different ways and then implement different ways of actually working in the flexible learning spaces.

Damien McClymont, Head Teacher Science and Year 7:
So, with that, it's allowed us to have a cross-curricula collaborations as well, so the students working in those spaces, based on a common theme for their Maths, English, Science and HSIE subjects and at times CAPA and TAS.

Sarah McDonald and Stephen Bignell, Year 8 Learning Hub Coaches and Teachers:
Sometimes, we're not always just, Maths, Maths, Maths, it might be thinking of some cases, I'll have English with me, and it made me want to then, you know liaise with that English Teacher and come up with an assessment that covered both our outcomes, and we've actually done that, so with our renaissance topic, yeah, we were able to collaborate with the topic. It provides that basis of content. Like they're not coming in and going, "Oh, what's renaissance?" Because they've already been studying that in English with the Shakespeare.

Damien McClymont, Head Teacher Science and Year 7:
The learning space is designed to support teaching and learning in that, we've got it set up so it's very collaborative. So the students work in small groups and it almost forces staff to work in a collaborative environment.

All the furniture is set up so that students can access the other students and the social nature of learning can really come to the fore.

Student:
[Girl] Working in a group, in an open space where you can choose comfy seats and choose an area that everyone likes.

Student:
[Girl] But some people work better with friends and they can be like, oh, "How did you work it out?" "Like, I don't know."

Damien McClymont, Head Teacher Science and Year 7:
Technology's been used to support teaching and learning in the space. Because it is open, we do rely on the technology to actually enable kids to access their learning.

Student:
The teachers can assign you things on Google Classroom for you to do.

Student:
[Girl] Works on your phone, your laptop, your iPad, even your iPods.

Student:
[Girl] You can access it from there.

Student:
As long as you have a connection to wi-fi and to the Google Classroom, and you know your password.

Damien McClymont, Head Teacher Science and Year 7:
As part of this space, not only do we have collaborative structures, but we also have areas where students can work independently and quietly. As well as furnishings that allow students to work in a more comfortable environment.

Student:
[Girl] Space for the people who would like to kind of work on their own and kind of make sure they're going to do everything right and keep kind of quiet.

Damien McClymont, Head Teacher Science and Year 7:
The students have been involved in a lot of choice on this, and they've fed back to us what is actually supporting their learning the best. So areas, that as we've designed the space, areas that have come up that, have been less productive, based on kids information, that's really allowed us to design our spaces, moving forward.

Zoe Tiernan, Head Teacher English and Year 8:
Teacher practise has been supported through that, by those people being given time and resources to work together, in the initial stages. And then in the second year of using the flexible learning spaces, on our current site, we've brought more people into the space so now we're up to about 25 staff that are working across those spaces. Some of the ways that teacher practise has been supported has been through team teaching, through setting up consistent goals across the two spaces. And through staff workshops. The students have been involved in the planning through discussing what the rules and expectations should be around using flexible learning spaces. They're involved through the choices they get. They get regular opportunities to feedback through surveys, as do their parents.

Student:
[Girl] At first I was a little bit, like, I wasn't too sure about it, but now that I’ve started it, I love it so much more. It's way easier and it just, I don't know, because modern day like everything is on technology and in the future, when we're getting jobs, most of it probably will be on computers. And so, it's more preparing us for the future where the old type of learning was preparing them how it was then.

End of transcript

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