When we talk about teaching and learning, our focus has traditionally been directed at the institution called ‘school’. The Big School initiative centres on the philosophy that learning is not solely the responsibility of a school- that, in fact, an entire community is responsible for meaningful teaching and learning.
When calculated, young people spend a small proportion of their time at school, in a formalised learning environment (approximately 12-15% of their time in any given year). Given this, there is an enormous opportunity for the broader community to bolster this teaching and learning time to ensure the greatest possible opportunities for their young people.
The Big School approach takes both the opportunity and responsibility of teaching and learning from the school site to beyond the school perimeter and into the local commuity. By building the capacity of all community members and recognising the expertise and human capital within a local community- the prosperity of all within the community will grow.
Learning and teaching becomes the focus of not just the school, but of the whole community.
If we raise the individual capacity of all community members to both teach and learn well on a daily basis then not only educational outcomes for children will improve but the whole of community will benefit intellectually, financially and culturally from a true learning community.
This project expects a range of outcomes, with the main expected outcome being that rural communities provide a whole of community approach to learning that engages students and impacts positively on their opportunities and outcomes.
Specifically outcomes include:
– greater involvement of the community/families in supporting and providing quality learning;
– increased partnerships between education organisations and local businesses, community organisations, sporting clubs, etc.
– greater utilisation of the resources available within communities to provide learning;
– increased engagement of students in learning resulting in improved outcomes;
– a resource kit that can be utilised by other communities.