Video transcript - Scarborough Public School

[Upbeat music]

Chris Hopkins, Principal Scarborough Public School:
The aim of this journey really was to reshape how we approach the curriculum and I don't think by any means that we have achieved that goal yet. It's a long journey that's going to take us a long time but really moving into a project-based learning approach with real-life learning that motivates students and gives them a real purpose but at the same time using that explicit teaching from the curriculum to underpin those projects at the point of need so that it's relevant and explicit and the students really do see its purpose.

James So, Classroom teacher:
Being on this journey of implementing project-based learning and STEM projects has been a steep learning curve for me and we did come up across a lot of challenges for that. I guess first and foremost is that we wanted this culture of, it's okay for kids to make mistakes, it's okay for them to take risks, but we had to also do that as teachers. We have to model that as teachers and be prepared to make mistakes, see what works, what doesn't, give it a dive in, give it a go learn from what didn't work and refine that for next time.

Margaret Leslie, Classroom teacher:
I think the biggest benefits or the greatest benefits that we've seen is the growth mindset change in the children in this classroom. Admittedly they're so malleable at this age and so to teach them the meta language of growth mindset means that they can use those words when things do get a big tricky and when things are looking as though they're not solvable they will use the meta language of I can't do this yet but I will be able to do this and who are the experts who can help me?

Student 1:
Get it as like if you get something wrong it's learn from your mistakes or sometimes if I do a mistake I just learn from it.

Margaret Leslie, Classroom teacher:
So embracing project-based learning in the classroom, we had a whole school project of tiny houses which came from the concept of homelessness. Having the junior end of the school we realised we needed to adapt that a little bit and we talked about our heritage here in Scarborough and we realised that there were some residents who were no longer able to have a home because we had possums that had invaded the school. So that became our project. The children decided that we were going to look at the homelessness of the possums and how we might solve that.

Student 2:
Tiny home project. So we have to make a little model of a tiny home but first we're going to look at how much space we have and how to make use of the space that we're going to have because it's very tiny as 'tiny home' says and we've been working trying to figure out the capacity of the home, trying to see, we made a little model of how big it would be and now we're just researching ideas and trying to see what we can put in and how the space works and you know, yeah.

Student 3:
I really liked it. I think it was a really fun way of learning. Our house went extremely well or at least I think so because I managed to get a solar panel attached to the roof and we had to make the roof bigger so we could fit the batteries inside and so the solar panel attaches to the fan. We got a light working. We even got a doorbell at the end. Yeah, we got a lot of things done.

James So, Classroom teacher:
One of the benefits of project-based learning is that it tends to be a lot more student driven which is also very engaging for them. They really want to do the project. They're really driven to do the project and that's fantastic.

Student 3:
Sometimes when the teacher gives you a project that you know you're not too enthusiastic about it, you don't really get it done, but when you actually get to choose like I chose Scratch, you're really enthusiastic about it. You really want to keep on doing it. It encourages you to keep on going until you've got a perfect project.

[Upbeat music]

Emma Cattell, Classroom teacher:
So at Scarborough Public School and in this classroom we have a flexible layout of the furniture. We have desks that are able to move around. We have high tables. We have couches and lots of different learning spaces for different learning needs.

Chris Hopkins, Principal:
We've looked at a number of different arrangements in our classes, all with feedback from the students, feedback from the teachers and an experimental evolving layout where we've moved from students having structured seats to a range of bean bags, high tables, lower tables, couches and really giving students the option to choose where they're going to learn and how they're going to learn.

Some students prefer to lay on the ground with their laptops while others prefer to sit at a table and work in a more traditional way but giving that flexibility to students has really made a massive impact in our classes and you go in every day, it's a bustling busy place and the students are on task. They're interested and they're engaged and they're working collaboratively in these new spaces.

Student 4:
You know, some people find it more comfortable to sit on a lounge or high stools or just low tables. So I think it's really helped our learning.

James So, Classroom teacher:
We're following this idea of creating flexible classrooms. We then moved into the idea of vertical learning where the walls are pretty much covered, as you can see behind me, with whiteboards, building on the idea of sharing each other's learning, sharing lessons from each other's mistakes.

Kids now work on Maths problems along the whiteboards. They can see each other's approaches and there are many different approaches. So it opens up their ideas for the different possibilities or different ways to go about solving a problem and they can learn from each other as well and help each other along.

So it's been fantastic as far as their learning but it's also been fantastic as far as this culture of sharing, sharing ideas but sharing learning but also sharing mistakes and all benefiting from mistakes.

James So, Classroom teacher:
We've seen the impact that this can have on students. We've seen the impact that project-based learning and the motivation that that gives our students. We believe strongly that we are heading in the right direction. It's a rocky road and it's a hard road but the satisfaction that we get out of those successful moments and those projects that succeed and the students realising those eureka moments when they've gotten themselves out of the learning pit and they've gone through the challenge and they've suddenly seen the light, that's what makes this journey so exciting for us.

[Upbeat music]

[End of transcript]

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