Wednesday 7th June, 2017
With campuses spread throughout each state, getting OneSchool students together in one place can sometimes be challenging, but once together it is well worth the effort. OneSchool Tasmania has three campuses – Devonport, Hobart and Launceston – spread over 300 kilometres and they manage gatherings a few times a year.
Caroline Massey is the Maths head of department for Oakwood and is a house patron. She says these activities prove popular for both students and teachers.
“A STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art and maths) challenge and school photo day was held recently where all three campuses met at a local park to have a school photo on the tiered seating of Royal Park, Launceston,” she says. “Back at the school, the tasks were completed in house teams across several year levels. Teachers were assigned several roles including supervisors and judges.”
Another event held this year was when the Hobart Campus hosted the annual Oakwood athletics carnival. It was Oakwood’s first major event using the new house names and colours.
“As a house patron, I loved experiencing the congeniality, involvement and encouragement demonstrated on the day,” says Caroline. “Staff were a pivotal part of running this day as starters, measurers, data entry, timers and field marshals. Working as a team strengthened cross campus relationships and staff and students boarded the buses feeling a sense of accomplishment.”
Cross country days are also held, and Caroline sees it as a great way for students from different parts of the state to interact via team building exercises. Then there are the face-to-face days which are also popular.
“[One exercise comprised] my students collecting data by measuring a partner's wrist and neck circumference to explore bivariate data,” says Caroline. “We deliberately allocated partners from a different campus to build cohesion in the cohort. Then there is Profile of the Arts Day, which is another opportunity for our students to work together as a team. Rehearsals are ardent in the weeks preceding this community celebration of music, technology and art.”
Because of the aforementioned distances, when the faculties from the campuses have meetings they are carried out via VC, which also crosses over to the classroom.
“Tasmania has been delivering VC lessons for many years and of late students and staff have been taking the opportunity to experience cross campus visits,” says Caroline. “These days are an excellent was to deepen relationships with students you usually only see over a monitor.”
“One common positive from all these activities is being able to form relationships with students face to face utilising all the other forms of non-verbal communication,” says Caroline. “Sometimes it is difficult to detect somebody’s mood in a virtual classroom. Being in the same location as the students, teachers can become magic weavers who can cajole, encourage or empathise with a student that may be having a rough day.”
And when it comes to teacher development, OneSchool encourages its teachers to reach out to other teachers within its ranks – not just from Australia, but other parts of the world.
“On a wider scale, there have been several opportunities for me to attend professional learning activities with staff from One School across Australia and New Zealand,” says Caroline. “Many of these activities have focused on the SDL model and writing Assignments. The most influential of these was attending Teacher Academy in Auckland with a representative from every state of Australia, Canada, Ireland and England. It was then that I fully appreciated that I work for a global school.”