As students settle back into the classroom, Cornish College principal Nicola Forrest considers how sustainability, innovation and student-centred learning are shaping the college’s future.
“Our passion is our desire for change,” says Nicola, pictured. “Discussions are starting to be had around why we need to change how we prepare young people for the world beyond school. Despite significant changes in our world, approaches to schooling remain largely the same as they were 100 years ago. At Cornish College, we are focused on designing a richer and more authentic curriculum that better prepares students for life beyond the classroom.”
This is why Cornish College teachers design dynamic, relatable classes using the Australian Curriculum as a guide, but not as a limitation to what students are capable of learning.
“Being innovative means bringing bigger ideas to the topics,” Nicola says. “For example, instead of just studying ancient history, let’s look at that through the lens of conflict and change. Students might not need to know details about ancient Egyptians later in life, but they will need to apply broader, more conceptual understandings about change and conflict as they navigate their way through many aspects of life.”
The Cornish curriculum is underpinned by concepts that help students learn beyond school, including sustainability. Nicola says this is integral for a better education – one that considers both personal well-being and the wider environment, including cultures, languages and political movements that allow societies to thrive.
“We design our curriculum around four interlocking Rings of Sustainability: personal, natural, urban-technological and socio-cultural sustainability. If we were just a ‘green school’, we would be neglecting these other dimensions. We are ready to challenge outdated schooling norms and traditions, and instead transition to structures and curriculums that are responsive to the modern world and make a difference for our kids’ futures.”
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