The transition from childhood to young adulthood presents many challenges, not only physically, but emotionally and spiritually as well. During this period of early adolescence, the obvious physical change is accompanied by mental development, which allows teenagers to learn, interact socially, and react to – and think about – situations with an emerging maturity, and with this, greater self-regulation, responsibility and independence.
The needs of young people in early adolescence
In the 7-9 Phase, Learning and Teaching is grounded in an understanding of the developmental, social and emotional needs of students in their early adolescence. Learning is optimised when young people
- feel safe, respected and valued, have a sense of belonging;
- are in an environment in which mistakes are regarded as both permissible and integral to the learning process;
- are supported and challenged personally and academically and believe that they can achieve success
- are afforded opportunities to make choices and decisions that facilitate their growth towards responsible independence.
Consequently, MacKillop Catholic College offers a specially tailored curriculum in an innovative learning environment aimed at nurturing our students holistically and engaging them in interactive and collaborative approaches to their studies through a relevant and student-centred curriculum.
The 7-9 Learning and Teaching Philosophy
The 7-9 program has a mission to encourage our students to learn and grow in ways that reflect and acknowledge their growth as young adolescents, whilst instilling a love of learning. Years 7, 8 and 9 are recognised as years of discovery and exploration in which students build on the experiences and learning of their primary years and prepare for the rigours and opportunities afforded by the QCE phase (Years 10-12).
The approach to learning and teaching in this phase is dynamic, deliberate, and meaningful, informed by research, and responsive to the diverse needs and interests of our students. It encourages them to find their voices and individuality, whilst recognising that they are members of a global community which will rely on their skills and knowledge as future leaders. The days where classrooms comprised of four walls, thirty desks, and an all-knowing teacher as the sole vessel of knowledge are long past, and contemporary best practice reflects this. Thus, learning from the perspective of a student in a classroom, comes not just through transmission of knowledge from above, but through a multiplicity of interactions. Knowledge is not imparted to the student as a direct facsimile of the teacher’s syllabus, but rather, it is mediated by, negotiated with, and embodied in the students’ past experiences and prior knowledge, making everyone’s learning unique (Clarke and Collins, 2007). MacKillop’s approach to curriculum reflects this, and seeks out purpose, transfer, and authenticity across all learning areas. Fundamental to this, is the adoption of the integrated curriculum model, which seeks to break down the perceived walls between disciplines, and seeks out common material and opportunities for organic alignment. This is does not negate or devalue discipline specific skills or knowledge, but rather brings them into the ‘real world’, which is naturally integrated and is not divided into clear cut silos of knowledge. This is the MacKillop difference, and builds critical and creative thinkers who are excellent communicators and collaborators, the key skills necessary to thrive in a rapidly evolving world.
Learning needs to be challenging, relevant, flexible and engaging if students are to be motivated and truly immersed in learning. Therefore, the curriculum goals of Year 7-9 are to:
- Incorporate flexibility – to cater for different levels of ability and learning styles
- Develop academic rigour – to prepare them for the demands of future pathways
- Provide intellectual curiosity, challenge, and flexibility – to question, extend their minds and transfer knowledge and skills to unfamiliar contexts
- Be authentic – to make their own connections and provide relevance in real world contexts
- Explore integrated, cross-curricular and transdisciplinary learning – to make both explicit and implicit connections between learning areas
- Offer choice – to provide a measure of control over their own learning, to offer opportunities to explore individual talents and interests
Adolescent learners today are not only technologically savvy, they expect technology to be an integral part of their learning experiences at school. The College’s Digital Resources Program supports the philosophical and pedagogical approaches adopted in the 7 to 9 curriculum, and this, in conjunction with state of the art Innovative Learning Environments, provides flexibility in the way curriculum is delivered, as well as providing diversity and choice in the way students opt to learn. Young people in the 21st century need to develop a set of skills, behaviours and dispositions that apply across discipline content and equip them to be lifelong learners who can work with confidence in a complex, information and technology-rich, globalised world, and MacKillop Catholic College provides these important foundations.
A relevant curriculum is fundamental to the engagement of any learner, and is crucial in nurturing intellectual curiosity. The three faculties of Humanities, STEM and The Arts, have designed real world and authentic programs that are underpinned by the curriculum prescribed by the Australian Curriculum which has been developed to ensure consistent high standards for what all young Australians should learn as they progress through schooling. Learning is designed to push young people beyond their comfort zone, and challenge them as young men and women facing the realities of a globalised 21st century world.
Across these years of study, students will complete a range of core subjects in accordance with the regulations of the Australian Curriculum and the Queensland Curriculum and Assessment Authority, as well as other compulsory subjects and electives. In Year 9, a broader range of subject offerings and specialisations will become available, as student independence and responsibility are increased.
- Religious Education
Compulsory Year Long Subjects
- Mindset – adopting a positive approach to learning
- Academic Fitness –responding to academic tasks and using the right tools for learning, study and revision
- Personal Bests – setting goals and reflecting on learning with a dedicated mentor
- Social and Emotional Learning
- Instrumental Music Program
- Physical Education
Over the course of the year, students will engage with the specialist disciplines of :
- The Arts
|Year 7||Year 8||Year 9|
|Compulsory Year long||
|Specialist Semester based||
|Specialist Year long||