Youngtown Primary School in Australia seeks to inspire their students to be the very best they can be and to provide them with the skills and mindsets needed to thrive in an ever-changing future.
Here’s the story of how they allowed Wabisabi Learning to be part of their journey.
Every enterprising school strives to offer its students exceptional educational experiences. That’s what Youngtown Primary School is all about.
So when Youngtown decided to supercharge their mission of engaging children to be learners of tomorrow, they called on the experience of the Wabisabi Learning’s dedicated team to guide them.
A teacher at Youngtown takes learners through a problem using Solution Fluency
Through integrated coaching with inquiry- and project-based learning processes and specialized workshops and resources, the GDCF team helped Youngtown realize their goals. And now there’s no stopping them in their continuing journey of excellent teaching for great students.
Youngtown’s leadership team was eager to respond to various challenges. They realized their teaching practices needed refining to meet the needs of 21st-century students. Classrooms were now facing a different learner and needed to respond.
Additionally, they saw a need to promote critical thinking skills and problem-solving outcomes and place a focus on the importance of the kind of inquiry-based learning that engaged students in a meaningful and real-life context.
With Solution Fluency, learning for both teachers and students is more authentic and based on plausible, meaningful scenarios.
Ultimately it was the aim of Youngtown and other Tasmanian public schools to develop innovative and skilled 21st-century learners. As such, Youngtown began its relationship with Wabisabi after seeing president Lee Watanabe-Crockett explain the Essential Fluencies.
Mario recalls, “Some of our colleagues at the district level had listened to Lee present at the ACEL conference in 2012. He sparked some interest in the terminology of the Fluencies. The work presented in Lee’s book Literacy is Not Enough provided the structure surrounding how to begin their implementation.”
With the Essential Fluencies, Youngtown launched a whole-school vision for change. Lee provided an introductory workshop to help the staff understand 21st-century learning and how to address it in teaching practices.
The staff explored scenario writing and the 6Ds process of Solution Fluency, which is the framework. It involves crafting exciting and challenging project-based learning scenarios designed to connect learning to real-world meanings and applications.
Learners receive feedback on a project from their teacher
Participants also engaged in practical problem-solving exercises like “Paper Tower” which were also explored later by the students. This fun, collaborative team-building activity develops aspects of Solution, Creativity, and Collaboration Fluencies.
Each group constructs a free-standing tower out of newspaper and tape. Communication, critical thinking, and teamwork are vital to achieving success. From there, staff can accomplish the transfer of these skills to their students as they let them take ownership of various projects.
Now that Solution Fluency is going strong at Youngtown, here are some of the remarkable transformations that have been happening across the school with teaching and learning.
Solution Fluency puts responsibility for learning where it belongs—in the hands of our learners. This is what has changed for the learners at Youngtown Primary.
- Students are sharing more about what they are learning with their parents.
- The learning is more collaborative.
- Students connect Solution Fluency to other subjects and everyday life.
- They understand the need for structured problem-solving.
- Students now see higher levels of relevance in their learning.
The Essential Fluencies make a teacher's job much easier by reducing workload and shifting responsibility for learning. Here is what has changed for the Youngtown staff.
- Teachers are now working from the same ideas and towards the same outcomes using consistent metalanguage.
- Team planning fosters more clearly-stated outcomes.
- There is a greater focus on an understanding of key concepts/skills.
- The Fluencies give teachers a pedagogical approach that puts children at the center of the learning.
After working with Wabisabi, Youngtown's culture of learning has experienced a beneficial shift school-wide. From parental connections to staff collaboration to more student buy-in, Solution Fluency has taken Youngtown to new heights.
- There is an enhanced partnership between home and school.
- Scenario learning provides greater student engagement and allows for more effective assessments.
- Parents are more actively involved in the learning processes.
- Planning authentic Fluency-based learning scenarios has become highly valued at Youngtown.
- Students and teachers are happy, engaged, and enjoy learning together.
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