Whilst at high school, we develop in our students that capacity to take responsibility for themselves, their learning and their environment in an adult way in preparation for further study and work. Students study in open classrooms where teachers can team-teach, enabling discussion and debate with a wider range of their peers. Nossal’s truly unique learning environment gives students the freedom to utilise the ‘break out spaces’ around the school, during class times to independently study or meet with teachers for advice and support.
The school models a university style with open spaces for students to gather socially, common study areas, specialist laboratories and classrooms, a lecture theatre and ubiquitous ICT access throughout.
Where possible we provide students with the environment, trust and opportunity to behave in an adult way from the moment they join us; some students require more scaffolding than others to develop these behaviours. The students have more rights and are likely to find there are fewer rules than they are accustomed to. They also find that there will be higher levels of responsibility expected of them, as with any adult in the workplace. This expectation will affect many aspects of school life:
We do not use bells to signify when classes and break times begin and end; in an adult environment everyone takes responsibility for knowing when and where they are supposed to be.
The school buildings and classrooms are largely open-planned, we have many couches and different seating configurations around the school. The open nature of the school requires all members of the school community to behave in ways that are respectful to others in terms of noise, respect for property and movement throughout the buildings.
Students have access to boiling water and microwaves and are trusted to use them responsibly. They are permitted to have lunch and morning tea within the buildings. In an adult learning environment we do not have issues with litter or untidiness, since for the main part, students do not create these issues, but when they do arise, all students take responsibility for putting it right. In an adult learning environment, we take pride in the school’s appearance.
Students are trusted to sign in at the attendance kiosk when they are late to school and sign out when they need to leave early.
When students are in Year 10 – Year 12 they are given independent study time. Students are expected to behave in an adult way by:
- Managing their time effectively
- Behaving in a way that supports the learning of others around them
- Seeking help when they need it
- Utilising the resources in an appropriate way
- Choose spaces that support the type of task they are working on (silent or collaborative spaces)
Whenever an issue or concern arises between students or between students and staff it is usually because there has been a breakdown in a relationship and/or communication. We promote an adult learning environment by using a restorative conversation to resolve these issues. Students are encouraged to discuss issues and reach a workable resolution.
Students are given the responsibility to use their laptops and other personal devices as learning tools. Obviously, just as you would expect of an adult, they are expected to use devices such as phones responsibly i.e. not answer it or use social media during class time. Students are expected to be ethical users of their personal devices and to take responsibility for the care and safety of personal belongings.
Information Resource Centre
The Information Resource Centre, as the educational hub of the school, holds an extensive range of print as well as digital resources to complement the curriculum being delivered at Nossal. The Information Resource Centre also holds an extensive fiction collection, general non-fiction books as well as audio visual resources and equipment. An extensive collect of online reference databases is provided to students and staff for 24/7 access to research materials, in a similar way to the access provided by university libraries.
The programs delivered by the Information Resource Centre are wide and varied. Complementing the guest speakers and performers who visit the school throughout the year, the Information Resource Centre also runs a range of interesting and exciting programs and competitions for the all-round development of the students. Some of the programs and projects students can be involved in include:
- Literature Circles
- Wide Reading Program
- Creative Writing Competitions
ICT and e-Learning
Nossal High School aims to empower students to become ethical cybercitizens, who approach the use of ICT and e-Learning in a systematic, disciplined, and respectful manner. Our students are encouraged to challenge data, and synthesise their findings. A Nossal cybercitizen knowingly adopts cyber ethical approaches when digitally interacting at local, national, regional and global levels.
Approach – The overall philosophy is to use e-Learning and ICT to develop responsible, ethical student learning pathways in Virtual Learning Environments, the intranet and the World Wide Web. The digital pathways are to be used to develop logical thinking, problem solving, and collaborative techniques, alongside the ability to synthesise and to demonstrate creativity.
ICT has a critical role in enhancing the learning process at all levels and across a broad range of activities in each of the curriculum areas. Through the use of ICT, underpinned by cyber ethics, we are challenging the students to become knowledgeable about the nature of information, comfortable with new technology and, able to recognise its relevance and potential.
Definition of Cyber ethics – Cyber ethics is defined as the values, beliefs and behaviours needed to ensure safe, responsible and respectful use of digital technology. It takes into consideration all users’ moral and legal rights in terms of:
- feeling comfortable, safe and free from cyber bullying
- intellectual property, including copyright and
- online privacy
Nossal High School utilises a Student e-Learning policy and adopts a Curriculum delivery structure in our teaching practice that aims to engage, explore, explain, elaborate and evaluate.
Engage – Utilise ICT at the introduction of each topic to engage students in subject areas. Example: accessing NEO, online mind mapping, internet based research, direct online media and digi-learn activities.
Explore – Use e-Learning activities to foster students’ exploration of set topics. This includes developing their own lines of questioning and supporting this through clear documentation using ICT tools such as: NEO, software, collective commons, the IRC online resources and manipulation of digital devices to undertake primary level research.
Explain – Use of 1-1 devices for students to present their gained knowledge using a variety of engaging and innovative methods. These include: microphones, flip cameras, blogs/nings, cloud computing like Google Docs, Wordle and Toodoos, podcasts/ vodcasts and interactive whiteboards.
Elaborate – Use of ICT to generate new forms of communication between students and staff on both a peer-peer and assessment level. This would include: use of forums and subject based webpages, use of the NEO to communicate via email and make use of online chat, use of blogs and commenting features to provide feedback.
Evaluate – Develop methods of reflection for all students to record their own progress and identify strengths, areas for improvement and future goals, which are supported by access to 1-1 ICT devices. This includes: use of the NEO, develop an e-portfolio, podcasts/vodcasts, movies, web 2 products, online journal entries, development and completion of personal learning rubrics and the use of blogging and journals as a form of peer assessment.