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The Five Elements: Real-World Learning

Woodleigh School is committed to supporting all students to find success in their learning through a personalised approach that places an emphasis on five key elements: Real-World Learning, Formative Feedback and Reflection, Capabilities for Living and Learning, Student Agency, and Wellbeing and Engagement. Developed through an extended school-wide appreciative inquiry in 2017, the Five Elements capture the essence of a Woodleigh Education. Importantly, each element maintains a strong link to the school’s traditional strengths in relation to teaching and learning, while also defining clear directions for further innovation and improvement. An emphasis on the Five Elements is seen as common to the learning experience of all Woodleigh students, from ECC through Year 12.


One of the most distinctive features of a Woodleigh Education is the focus on Real-world learning. Within this approach, the design of units of work promotes the active involvement of students in rich and authentic learning experiences that build deep understanding through the process of investigation and inquiry. Many of the iconic Woodleigh Outdoor Education experiences offer powerful examples of real-world learning, as evident in the Hattah Program at Senior Campus, the Creek Program at Minimbah Campus and the Wilsons Promontory Camp at Penbank Campus. These learning experiences challenge students to apply their knowledge, skills and understanding to complex and challenging contexts, supporting learning about natural environments and issues such as sustainability, while also promoting the development of self-management and interpersonal skills.

It is important to note that not all instances of real-world learning at Woodleigh occur in the context of outdoor education. Examples of real-world learning at the school include problem and project-based learning, lab activities, service-learning programs, cultural exchanges and partnerships, work experience and student-led clubs and events. At the heart of the approach is helping students to engage with the complex reality of the world in which they live and work with others to develop solutions to the challenges they face. In this way, a critical component of real-world learning is also helping students to develop personal resilience, while adopting a compassionate and connected stance for engaging with others, and the social and natural environments in which they live. 

Parents are invited to learn more about the Five Elements through by coming along to the workshops offered as part of the Woodleigh Explores series at the school. This series of parent workshops was launched last week, with a focus on exploring the development of capabilities for living and learning. It was great to welcome parents from Penbank and Minimbah campuses to the Senior Campus for this hands-on session. In the session, parents were able to develop their understanding of the language for skill development provided by our IB programmes, while exploring the practical learning taking place in our classrooms during Term 1. Further details about the Woodleigh Explores series for junior and senior campus parents will be released throughout the year via school newsletters, so please stay tuned for further details.

DR RICHARD OWENS
Director of Learning, Strategy and Innovation