For boys growing up in a world full of technology, the need for students to develop transferrable life skills is becoming increasingly more vital. Sometimes trying to learn these skills in a classroom can be ineffective in preparing students for the “real world” – enter Year 9 City Experience.
Over the course of four days, students were challenged to take ownership of their learning as the Melbourne CBD became their extended classroom.
From planning their week around the daily schedule and basing themselves at Victoria University, students had to navigate throughout the City of Melbourne exploring big topics such as Art, Culture, Sport, Sustainability, Law and Hospitality. Using problem solving, teamwork and communication skills, students were given the opportunity to take ownership of their learning, working in small groups on a variety of projects.
For some students, the learning focussed on the research projects, while for others, simply exploring the City for first time was their primary objective. We have been so impressed with the way students have shown independence, organising themselves while researching and documenting their projects over the week. Students were also excellent in their communication if they were running late due to a tour running overtime or missed public transport, and/or negotiating various projects ideas.
One thing that made me smile, is listening to students try to work out which will be quicker… a 20min tram ride or a 15min walk to the next landmark? All while waiting to catch the tram. Something so simply as making a decision for themselves, without a parent or teacher to guide them is an example of the learning in action.
Of course, with almost 200 students navigating their way to and from the City via public transport, we often get feedback, both positive and negative. The positive feedback is great and further confirms what we already know – that Whitefriars boys are courteous and respectful young men. The negative feedback also acts to remind us that they are young men that are learning the way of the world. With boys in particular, “learning by doing”, sometimes they need to experience something first hand, receive feedback and learn from it, helping shape and develop them further.
Students have also been engaged in a variety of workshops and tours, including Victoria Police Public Safety, Future Focus Enterprise Program, Salvation Army Homelessness Tour, Sports and Museum tours to name a few. Each workshop and tour allowed for further development of knowledge and understanding, skills and capabilities.
The Salvation Army Tour was a highlight for many of the boys as they learnt that homelessness is much more than the rough sleepers you see on the streets. Students learnt about the important role the Salvos play for the people of Melbourne, and provided a reminder of how lucky we are to have shelter, security and hope among the Whitefriars Community.
The City Experience plays an important part in the formation of Whitefriars students, assisting and empowering students to live with integrity and a sensitivity for justice, while encouraging them to be valued individuals in a global society.
Well done Gentlemen.