What does it take to inspire
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 Global Digital Citizen Foundation’s dedicated team to guide them.
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 great teaching for great students.
Where do we
begin to transform?
Youngtown’s leadership team was eager to respond to various challenges, beginning with the realization that 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.
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 the GDCF after seeing president Lee 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. This 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.”
How do we plot a
path to success?
A whole-school strategic initiative was soon launched with the 21st Century Fluencies as an integral part of Youngtown’s 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 was then introduced to scenario writing and the 6Ds process of Solution Fluency, which is the framework. It involves crafting interesting and challenging project-based learning scenarios designed to connect learning to real-world meanings and applications.
Participants also engaged in practical problem-solving exercises like “Paper Tower” which were also explored later by the students. This fun collaborative team-building exercise develops aspects of Solution, Creativity, and Collaboration Fluency. 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 are able to achieve the transfer of these skills to their students as they let them take ownership of various projects.
How do we measure
growth and progress?
How do we continue to
improve and excel?
What’s next for Youngtown Primary School? Continuing excitement, engagement, and prosperity with the Essential Fluencies. They have committed to a further exploration of the most effective pedagogies for developing the Fluencies, including their appropriate assessment.
They will also be engaging in professional development practices focusing on the other Fluencies, and plan to further embed the skills of the other Fluencies into the work they do in their classrooms.
With the help of Lee Crockett and the GDCF, Youngtown is now collaborating virtually with the Wilderness Girl’s School in Adelaide. Their partnership with Lee has also aligned with the Tasmanian Department of Education Learners First Strategy and has supported Youngtown’s commitment to global learning.