Transition, not transfer

The aim of the Transition Program at Marian College is to give students an equitable and positive start to secondary school

The aim of the Transition Program at Marian College is to give students an equitable and positive start to secondary school. With this in mind, the priority in the first weeks of the school year is about building relationships and focusing in on the students and how they learn; not on our curriculum. The program empowers students and gives them an opportunity to learn about themselves and their new surroundings, perhaps saving weeks/months of anxiety.

Integral to the Transition Program is the Year 7 Camp, a three day camp to Lorne. Staying at the Lorne Surf Life Saving Club, students focus on getting to know each other, friendship-making and team-building activities. They also have surfing lessons with instructors from Club Lorne and have the opportunity to participate in a wide range of activities including beach/bush walks, sandcastle competitions, boogie boarding and night walks.

English and Languages Faculty:

“You asked for something dramatically different. You got it.”

The Marian College VCE English students of 2020 will recognise this quote from Alfred Hitchcock’s 1954 film ‘Rear Window’. Little did we know just how dramatically different 2020 would be to any other school year in living memory. We certainly ‘got’ something ‘dramatically different’!

2020 has been a year which has challenged our community; our students (particularly our Year 12 students), staff and parents/guardians alike as we have had to change our way of life, adapt, learn and try to make sense of the world in which we found ourselves.

A challenge was to transfer teaching and learning to the online environment while retaining those all important student teacher relationships, albeit not in person, but rather across the tyranny of distance via Zoom meetings and a variety of online platforms.

Despite the obstacles, remote learning provided opportunities for students and staff alike to develop new skills. Staff experimented with different online resources, programs, and teaching approaches. The curriculum was frequently reviewed and changed in response to how students were travelling during remote learning. Both staff and students adapted quickly to the format of Zoom meetings and while some students found online learning was not for them, others relished the opportunity to learn without the interruption of bells.

What we study in English often mirrors real life. We study the changing nature of the English language and our Year 10s who studied Shakespeare’s ‘Romeo and Juliet’ would appreciate just how much language has changed over time. Consider however, how our language has changed in 2020 with terms such as ‘Zoom’, ‘Zoom-bombing’, ‘pandemic’, ‘COVID-19’, ‘COVID normal’ and ‘epidemiologist’ were at the forefront of our vernacular. An essay our Year 12s recently responded to asked them to consider the ‘power of human goodness’. We have witnessed‘ human goodness’ during this year within our own school community and beyond, and possibly acted it out ourselves through kindness, compassion and patience towards others.

All students, and particularly those completing their VCE, are to be congratulated on the courage, persistence and effort demonstrated during remote learning and during what was a ‘dramatically different’ year.

RE-mote Learning: Supporting Respectful Dialogue in the age of Zoom Teaching.

“The grace to be strong and vigilant

The grace to be firm and true

The grace to be faithful always

To God,

God’s Mother

And you”

Marian College prides itself on being a Kildare Ministries school in the Brigidine tradition. Through the example of St Brigid and the Brigidine sisters that have followed her, we aim to bring these words of St Brigid’s Prayer to life.

2020 has hit everybody hard but it has been a credit to the whole Marian College community that we have been able to stay strong together, supporting all, and doing what has been needed to always move forward.

2020 was already penciled in to be a big year for the Religious Education faculty as we completed the full roll-out of the Ballarat Diocese’s new Religious Education curriculum. This new curriculum, Awakenings, builds upon the previous one by allowing us the opportunity to bring our school’s identity to the fore in our units, while also entering into a respective dialogue with our communities, whatever their backgrounds or beliefs.

With COVID-19 impacting the way we taught in 2020, in order to keep this dialogue going throughout Remote Learning required a great commitment from not only the RE Faculty but the students as well.

Gone was the familiarity and support of the free flowing classroom discussions where students were encouraged to explore themes such as identity, decision making and spirituality, replaced by the stilted conversations and all of the “you’re on mute” comments that Zoom brings.

However, necessity breeds creativity and with a brand new curriculum to work with we were able to implement new strategies and tasks that supported the students to continue to engage in topics and to grow with their own identities, whether that be in faith or not.

COVID-19 will continue to impact our communities for the foreseeable future but with St Brigid as our guide to Christ and the Kildare Ministries values of Wonder, Courage, Hospitality, Hope, Compassion and Justice instilled in all that we do, we will continue to support our students as they grow academically as well as spiritually no matter what obstacles they face.