At the end of 2019, the Head of Department for Humanities, Alicia Harris and I were looking different approaches to further extend and enrich students in our Academic Excellence Program for Humanities. We endeavoured to incorporate the work and theories of Renzulli’s ‘Re-examining the Role of Gifted Education and Talent Development for the 21st Century: A Four-Part Theoretical Approach’ to provide an inclusive approach for students to develop their leadership abilities and 21st century skills. Our goal was to create a program that was authentic to the real world and integrated 21st century skills into the students learning to best prepare them for the future.
After I attended a Design Thinking professional development day with Inspired I knew this was the path to take. I created a project initially for Year 9 students that followed the Design Thinking approach to tackle a particular challenge. This allowed students the ability to practise problem solving in a similar way to that practised by big businesses.
They worked collaboratively in groups, broke down the problem, researched, consulted with community, narrowed their focus to a target audience and generated innovative solutions to the challenge which they had to pitch to a panel of judges. Students were engaged during the entire process. They were constantly learning about the challenge but also themselves. At the end of the project, students were not only judged on areas of innovation, collaboration, impact and pitch but they were also given a result based on their use of the General Capabilities (21st Century Skills) which was transformed into a professional job reference letter that students could take to future employers.
Now in 2022, we have our ACE classes across Years 7-9 completing the project. We are tracking students use of the General Capabilities across Junior Secondary to see just how well they develop their 21st century skills over time. Our program now has a strong point of difference from our standard Humanities curriculum and is supporting students to learn real world skills which will help them to create a better world.
(Kawana Waters State College)
(HOD Wavell State High School)
(HOD St. Johns Anglican College)
(Forest Lake State High School)