Big Picture founder Elliot Washor says
“There is no teaching, only learning. You have to focus on the learning. That’s what you’re there for.”
Education is fundamentally about
“kids pursuing their passions, and kids finding their interests, it drives the whole thing,”
says Graham Speight, Principal of Rosetta High School Tasmania.
Big Picture – founded in the US – is a Non-Profit company that aims to create schools that pair students with mentors in the community to encourage learning and lower drop out rates. They keep track of students for six years after graduation.
Victorian teacher Geoff Allemand – also of Scratch me Back – is passionate about the Big Picture approach to education after doing a workshop in Tasmania earlier this year. He tells this story about one of his students:
SHANNON JUKES – KOORI DRAWING IS HIS PASSION
“Shannon’s story was one of being disengaged with learning, being badly behaved at school and asked to leave during year 12. He decided a few years later to finish his Year 12 and enrolled at TAFE to do his senior VCAL (Victorian Certificate Of Applied Learning) with a cabinet making trade component. While growing up Shannon took to drawing when he was bored and would explore his Koori heritage in his work.
At the Big Picture (teachers’) workshop, Shannon spoke of how much he is enjoying the (different).. approach and how he has the opportunity to be an assistant to his mentor in a Koori Drawing class at GoTafe. The class was asked to design a mural for the local primary school and both of Shannon’s drawings were the chosen designs. Shannon used powerpoint slides to show his artwork and photos of the class. He also mentioned how he is now keen to exhibit his work in galleries and maybe one day become a Koori art teacher. It was great to see Shannon now talk about his career aspirations.
The audience asked Shannon many questions when he finished and gave him steady applause for such an informative talk and showing courage to talk in front of a group of teachers. Also in attendance were Shannon’s mentor, Robyn Thompson, his younger brother and fellow students.”
Geoff is a teacher at Goulburn Ovens TAFE in Shepparton, Central Victoria.
If you watch the ‘Tasmanian Schools are taking on big ideas about school reform’ video you’ll understand why Geoff, Graham – and a lot of other educators – are so enthusiastic about the ‘one student at a time…in the real world’ method of learning.
Education IS all about ‘horses for courses’ isn’t it?