St Francis de Sales College, SA (A)

Introduction - Civics and Citizenship focus

The Civics and Citizenship team at St Francis de Sales College set out to develop a scope and sequence in Civics and Citizenship Education document for students in Years 7–9. The purpose in their development of the learning program was to improve students’ Civics and Citizenship knowledge and understandings, so that their participation in their school and community could be more informed, and better connected to Civics and Citizenship learning outcomes.

View the resources mentioned during the filming of the video clips for St Francis de Sales College.

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Segment 1: School context

St Francis de Sales College is a Catholic, co-educational R–12 school in Mount Barker, South Australia. Within easy reach of Adelaide, Mount Barker is undergoing a transformation from a semi-rural town to an outer suburb of the city. While the school’s population is primarily middle-class from traditional family settings, students’ civics and citizenship knowledge varied widely. Their teachers felt a need to emphasise connections between students’ civics and citizenship knowledge and their civics participation.

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Segment 2: The program

To improve students’ civics literacy, the civics and citizenship team at St Francis de Sales College designed a semester-long civics and citizenship program for Year 8 students, titled ‘Civics and Citizenship with State Government as a Focus’. The team’s intention is to design a scope and sequence docuement for Years 7–9 in the future. Beginning with Year 8 would allow them to gauge students’ pre-existing Civics and Citizenship knowledge, and then to decide where students in Years 7 and 9 might fit into the developmental sequence. The program was centred on state government as it could be made relevant to the experiences of the students in the local community, where issues to do with the environment, growth and development are increasingly topical.

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Segment 3: Implementation

Implementation overview

To inform the design of the program, the Civics and Citizenship team developed a test to determine the Civics and Citizenship level of knowledge in the Year 8 cohort. The baseline data helped them to assess whether their cohort was achieving at Year 5 or Year 7 levels, and determined the ‘pitch’ of the Civics and Citizenship program. The team was keen to develop a program that:

  • developed students’ general civics and citizenship knowledge
  • allowed for students’ civics and citizenship participation
  • made links between local issues and the state government
  • included literacy-rich tasks
  • contained learning activities and assessment tasks that catered to different intelligence domains
  • drew upon teachers’ strengths across the curriculum, and accommodated their range of experience.

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Experienced teacher

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Beginning teacher

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Segment 4: Outcomes

The Year 8 cohort at St Francis de Sales College made real strides in their Civics and Citizenship knowledge, conceptual development, and dispositions during the program. Some of the more rewarding moments for their teachers were assessing demonstrations of their conceptual understandings of key Civics and Citizenship concepts, and facilitating opportunities for them to make ‘real world’ connections to their school and community through their classroom learning experiences. Teachers, too, learnt from the unit, including finding the courage to confront the gaps in their own knowledge, structuring the learning activities for students, and trusting that students could achieve learning outcomes in a variety of ways, and not just in producing ‘copious amounts of written work’.

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Video length: 5:02

Resources

The following resources were mentioned during the filming of the video clips for St Francis de Sales College, South Australia:

 

Introduction | Brighton Primary School | Narre Warren South P–12 College | St Francis de Sales College (B)