Learning happens everywhere

Thursday 26 Mar 2020

Learning is a lifelong business. We are always learning and some of our most meaningful experiences can come from unplanned, incidental learning opportunities.

One of our primary goals at Living Faith is to instil and build contemporary competencies within our students. Contemporary competencies are a range of ‘soft skills’ which are vital in developing innovative, flexible lifelong learners. Students with these skills are able to learn independently, adapt and persevere to overcome unexpected challenges.

Some of the main contemporary competencies we intentionally embed at Living Faith are:

  • Collaboration
  • Self-Direction
  • Adaptability
  • Reasoning
  • Grit
  • Creativity
  • Problem Solving
  • Leadership
  • Initiative
  • Communication

The development of these skills means that Living Faith students realise that learning can and does happen anywhere, everywhere and at all stages of life.

I witnessed this first hand just the other day as I was on duty in the Nature Play Area. The newly constructed water play river was understandably getting a workout as the weather was warm. About ten students had been working together for several days to pull the rocks from the centre of the river to the side banks so that they could see the water flowing better. I was already pleased to see that the students working together were from a range of different year levels. As I stood closer to them, I overheard the conversation between two Year 2 students, a Year 4 student and a Year 5 student. They held a meaningful organic conversation about water pressure, the slope of the creek bed and the speed of the water flow. The children experimented through play - watching as a leaf flowed down the creek and agreeing that the sloped section was flowing faster. Older students joined the conversation explaining that the slope was an angle and instructing the younger children on how they could measure it. They agreed that the slope was an acute angle because it was less than 90 degrees. As the bell rang I overheard one of the Year 2 students tell his friend that he wanted to play in the river tomorrow so that they could look for more ‘cute’ parts of the river!

The beautiful part of this little Maths and Physics lesson was that it happened naturally as part of creative, collaborative and unstructured play. These students were demonstrating multiple contemporary competencies including grit, reasoning, collaboration, initiative, communication and self-direction, just to name a few.

Neuroscience tells us that meaningful connections and engaging experiences help us to learn better and build stronger neural pathways so that the learning ‘sticks’. These sorts of interactions and experiences can happen anywhere, whether it be in an engaging classroom challenge, working out change at the grocery store, playing in a sandpit or building prototype rocket ships from lego. Students who display contemporary competencies are far more likely to seek out, facilitate or embrace incidental learning opportunities.

Sometimes the most significant learning opportunities can be found in the smallest and most unexpected places, we just need to remember to look.

- Bianca Ravi, Director of Learning