Innovation @ Bennies
Mount St Benedict College (MSB) invests significant time, energy and resources to ensuring all students engage deeply with their learning. One of the significant outcomes of this investment is the development of an integrated approach to College programs, underpinned by the MSB Learning Framework, Positive Education and Benedictine Good Samaritan traditions and values.
Understanding how young people learn and develop is central to our focus of nurturing and ‘Inspiring Young Woman to Transform the Future’. We are constantly striving to engage students in all aspects of their school life and to help develop healthy patterns of learning behaviour in their ‘Middle Years’ (MY) of schooling. We have created programs that provide opportunities for our girls to develop in challenging and appropriate ways.
Central to these programs is our belief that girls learn at their best when they have strong connections; when they feel valued, respected and known; and when their learning is interesting and relevant to real-world experiences. There is a volume of information telling us that employers in the future will be looking for young people who are: creative problem-solvers, independent yet good collaborators, good communicators, critical thinkers and aware of the global opportunities available to them.
These exciting developments in education are all underpinned by our Good Samaritan heritage, the Gospels and Catholic tradition, and the Rule of Benedict. We are building on the core elements that we value at MSB in the work we are undertaking to further engage learners as they progress through the Middle Years.
Our Innovation programs have been developed created specifically to meet the needs of our girls in our context with our expertise. In this way, we believe we will be educating young women who can take their place in the world in the 21st Century, with the confidence and the ability to transform themselves and the world.
This approach is highlighted throughout the curriculum and also specifically through:
- MYBennies - Year 7
- REAL (Reflective, Engaged, Authentic, Lifelong learning program) - Years 9 & 10
MYBennies – Year 7 Integrated Course
All Year 7 students participate in an integrated subject called ‘MYBennies’. A team of teachers from a wide cross section of faculties work together to deliver MYBennies. This program fosters student creativity and problem solving, communication, critical thinking, information and media literacy, global citizenship, collaboration and teamwork and independence in learning.
The students are grouped into smaller classes allowing girls to meet students not in their base classes. Five units are addressed throughout the year:
- What’s behind the red brick wall? With a focus on wellbeing and the identity of the College, students will explore what it means to be a Bennies girl.
- Going Global. This unit focuses on identity through storytelling, indigenous understanding and drama skills. Students realise their place in the global community.
- See a need. Fill a need. This unit introduces students to STEM and has a hands-on learning day where students work in collaborative teams to solve a problem in the world today.
- MYLearning. This unit will culminate in a Student-Led Conference with their Homeroom Mentor and parents in early Term Four.
- MYChoice. In the final unit students work on a project that addresses a need they see in the Bennies community and pitch their idea to their peers and an authentic audience of adults from the Bennies community.
This subject has run for seven years and each year develops anew. It provides a solid foundation for other Middle Year initiatives which all have a clear focus on preparing our girls for their futures beyond Bennies.
MYBennies Library Program
MYBennies Library classes are digital information literacy lessons for Year 7 students and run in conjunction with the MYBennies Program, for one set period each fortnight in the Library reading area and collaborative space, with the Teacher Librarian.
During these lessons, students have the opportunity to learn about digital citizenship, research and referencing skills and participate in a range of reading activities.
The REAL Program – Years 9 and 10
This program was developed in response to student, parent and staff feedback that our girls wanted to engage in learning that goes beyond the traditional boundaries of the classroom.
They expressed interest in exploring content that would assist them in making informed choices after and outside of school including further education options, careers and life skills. Some activities that we will be participating in throughout the year include completing learning profile assessments, financial literacy workshops, offsite further education visits (universities and TAFE), our career expo ‘Connect’, as well as life skills such as self-defence, how to write a resume, car maintenance, how to pay a bill, workers’ rights, and so forth. This demonstrates the ongoing commitment of the College to prepare the girls for life beyond Bennies.
We continue to build on their understanding and application of 21st Century skills that are first introduced to them in MYBennies and consolidated across all key learning areas.