Middle School – a vibrant learning community
Head of Middle School, Pascale Drever, has spent much time re-focusing specific needs on the education of Middle School learning, and using these new facilities to the students’ advantage.
“Our middle school space is exciting because we have transformed a traditional classroom environment into a vibrant learning community where all students are engaged and are learning in social, collaborative groups”.
Entering its 7th year of Middle school education, Ravenswood is recognizing this period as an important conduit between junior and senior school with significant transitional stages bordering both sides.
Looking towards AMLE (Association of middle level education) and MYSA (Middle Years of School Association) for guidance, Pascale has been able to recognize student motivation and engagement as paramount where at this age risk of disengagement is greatest.
Acknowledging the need to “tailor approaches to teaching, a number of our staff have been trained in the ‘Harvard Visible Thinking’ course through Harvard University” she said.
The flexible format of the learning studio allows for a number of teaching and learning activities to be used, including group lectures or demonstrations, workshops, teacher led discussion, co-teaching, independent work and more.
The use of technology, like other areas of the school, is also an important aspect to new ideas of teaching and learning. “As we improve the amount of technological resources, staff can begin to develop the virtual spaces for their students – we already do some of this via the portal” says Pascale.
The ground floor of the Middle School building is dedicated to learning spaces, with staff located on the upper floor and during the first half of 2012 the Languages Department will relocate to Corner House, becoming the new Languages Centre. This will create a direct access from the new Middle School building to the new Languages Centre providing easy movement for the girls in Middle School who all study a language to the end of Year 9.
While these facilities continue to be received positively, Vicki Steer is aware Ravenswood’s development “isn’t just about the buildings”, however, its hard to deny the advancements that have and will continue to be made within teaching and learning thanks to these new environments.
The senior leadership team will “update the master plan this year, now that the Mabel Fidler Building is in place” says Vicki. “We want to do some work on improving our science facilities and then we have to look at other areas people have nominated to change and then prioritize those plans with what we can afford to do”.
In view of all these building initiatives, it is clear that Ravenswood continues to develop in accordance with a modern world.
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