An exciting new way of teaching at Kuranui College has seen year 9 and 10 students engaged and motivated to learn. The Ignite programme of courses centres on the students’ interests and independent learning, within the framework of the New Zealand curriculum.
Year 9 student Aimee Clouston, a self-confessed book nerd, loves this way of doing things. “I get to concentrate on things I like, but also see how the subjects look and feel in the real world,” she explains. “I am becoming more independent with my learning and I feel more confident in trying new things.”
Students are given choices within the subjects and can choose different courses within them. The Book Club is an English-based subject where students are encouraged to write about anything they are interested in, while learning skills such as proof reading and editing.
The class also completes an inquiry in the community focused on the importance of reading to others. “That’s what I like about this sort of class,” Jorja Holden says. “We get to go places and do things that are exciting and different.” The junior students spent time visiting and reading to different age groups, including children from Greytown Kindergarten, a year 5 class at Martinborough School and residents at Arbour House in Greytown.
Year 10 students are finding this way of learning different from last year, and at first, were not sure how it would work. They no longer have a core class which would move around from room to room, but are in classes based on interests and different year groups.
“I didn’t know how having year 9s in the class was going to work, but after the first few days, no one cared and I’ve made new friends,” adds Charlotte James, a year 10 student. “I also feel like I am being better prepared for NCEA by having choice. I am able to focus in on what I am interested in, learn new things and I feel empowered by it all.”
The Ignite curriculum has resulted in smaller class sizes, which the students appreciate as they feel they are getting more of the teachers’ time and energy. And it is not just the students who are enjoying the change. English teacher Kathryn Homes, who ran the Book Club, says this course has allowed the college to get out into the community. “I have loved the first semester of the new curriculum. It also lets the students direct their own learning and has produced results in terms of student engagement, sense of belonging and academic results.”