Mordialloc College is a state co-educational secondary school located by Port Phillip Bay in the City of Kingston, an area renowned as being extremely well serviced in terms of secondary schools. Founded in 1924, the College currently has an enrolment of approximately 750 students in year 7 to year 12 and offers a broad range of academic and creative subjects, taught by a teaching staff of approximately 60. As a smaller secondary school which is situated in an area saturated with educational options it has a need to distinguish itself in some way in order to attract its ‘market share’ of enrolments.
The school’s Innovative Learning Environment (ILE) can be best described as a personalised learning through the use of Quality Learning (Quality Learning Australia, 2010), team-planning and teaching, and flexible spaces as a means of maximising learning. Catalysts for the ILE included leadership with a specific vision, teacher renewal, exposure to new pedagogical principles and strategies and the possibility of funding. These enablers created an opportunity for innovation. Funding was an external driver which legitimised the innovation within the broader educational community and drew widespread international and local attention to the school.
The Year 7 Learning Centre and the Year 8 Enquiry Zone are the most evident expressions of the Mordialloc ILE where students work for 75% of their school time. The former is a specially constructed open-learning area and the latter a redesign of an existing block of classrooms. Other designated learning areas include the Think Tank; a Glasshouse; dedicated outdoor areas; a library; and Science and Arts areas. Structures include family groups and family guides; team teaching and planning; optional workshops; student planning and documentation; engagement in learning; and development of self-management and social skills. Flexible learning is continued in Year 9 within the subjects of the Mordialloc Experience Program.
The spaces lend themselves to the sort of pedagogy valued at Mordialloc – one which engages students in personal and interpersonal learning through an integrated oriented approach to curriculum. Pedagogy and personalisation are at the heart of the innovation; however the flexible spaces offer a tangible expression of the ILE, unique environments which have attracted widespread interest and support a renewed pedagogical approach.
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Mordialloc Secondary College (pdf, 600kb)