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Universal Learning Programme (ULP)

“Future ready students need to exercise agency” (OECD, 2018, p.4). an acute focus in the junior school is to develop agentic students who can make informed decisions about their learning pathways as well as enhance vital personal skills such as communication and collaboration. The understanding of student agency is that it is a “student's capacity to act in ways that exhibit their own choices in their learning, informed by their beliefs and careful consideration, self-regulation, and self-reflection about their ability to control and take ownership of their own learning” (Moses, Rylak, Reader, Hertz & Ogden, 2020, p.214) but, crucially, as a school we actively encourage the students to embrace these skills through both authentic and deep learning.

The Year 7 cohort have only taken their initial steps into college life yet they have been able to embrace the competence of Character. The students throughout this year develop and demonstrate their understanding of the micro-competencies of How to Learn, Curiosity, Critical Thinking, Communication, Problem Solving, Reflection and Innovation. The Year 7 student have returned from an exhilarating camp and this is the stimulus for their first Character project of the year. The camp journal allows the students to reflect upon where they have demonstrated the micro-competencies through activities such as canoeing, orienteering and yabbying. As the term progresses, the students begin to focus on themselves as individuals in the project Who Am I? as they examine their individual character strengths and, importantly, areas for personal growth as they embrace the beginning of their learning journey at St Aloysius College.

“If we are together, nothing is impossible. If we are divided, all will fail” (Winston Churchill), a thought that resonates with the Year 8 focus of Collaboration. The students throughout the year enhance their application of the micro-competencies of Teamwork, Respect, Negotiation, Leadership, Followship and Conflict Management. The students will take part in Future Problem-Solving challenges. The program develops the critical 21st Century skills and competencies whilst broadening their abilities to think on a global perspective. Furthermore, the competency of Collaboration and the associated micro-competencies are woven throughout the entire curriculum such as Teamwork through Wearable Arts projects in STEM and Leadership through Invasion Games in Physical Education as well as Respect being a core value of St Aloysius College.

“Once something is a passion, the motivation is there” (Michael Schumacher), a poignant quote that applies sincerely to the Year 9 cohort who have a focus on Passion. The students enrich their abilities to make their informed decisions about their learning pathways as well as the courage to act independently by developing the micro-competencies of Initiative, Motivation, Resilience, Responsibility, Accountability and Self-Respect. The explicit development of these micro-competencies is supported by the authentic learning processes within the Mercy RITES program, which embodies relationships, interests, togetherness, excellence and service. The purpose is to develop a passion for learning and skills for both studies as well as real-world application. The caring relations, by making learning personally relevant and by paying homage to the beauty of content, we develop passion for learning. This brings out traits such as self-respect, curiosity, motivation, energy and vision. The Mercy RITES program has a very strong focus on living out the Mercy Education Values and continue to build on the legacy of Catherine McAuley. The Mercy RITES program will support the development of leadership, service, resilience and confidence. Influencing students to make a difference in their community, by working on individualised projects that are based on their interests and strengths. The Mercy RITES program has student led projects at its foundation, with staff acting as mentors. The skills developed from this program will be skills that the students can take beyond their secondary school and use in their future education, employment and life after St Aloysious College.

Chris Needle
Director of Learning, Years 7-9