Learning brings joy at St Stephen’s

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19 June 2020

St Stephen’s School, Reservoir East, has been highlighted by the Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority (ACARA) in a video that showcases the school’s approach to STEM education.

‘STEM is about solving problems and finding solutions, and mistakes are good because you learn from your mistakes’, said principal Richard Keele. ‘It’s very much about helping kids to be critical and creative thinkers, having an open mind and being a learner yourself, and also looking at it from an ethical point of view, developing that capability to see how they can make a real difference.’

Shelley Waldon, science and STEM lead for Catholic Education Melbourne, was thrilled to see the school recognised by ACARA. ‘St Stephen’s has been working in this space for a number of years providing really rich, authentic learning experiences for all their students. Their integration of science, maths and digital technologies into their learning practices has been really well received by both their teachers and the students.’

Mr Keele emphasised the vital role that Rosetta Rametta, deputy principal learning and teaching, has played in leading the learning and in creating fruitful learning partnerships. ‘The journey started back in 2018 when a few of us went to Shelley’s professional learning program’, said Ms Rametta.

‘Then we began working with Simon Collier as part of the Digital Technologies in focus project, run by ACARA. We were also lucky that we stumbled across Greg Giannis, an artist, educator and researcher from La Trobe University, and he started working with our kids, getting them to pull things apart and see how they work, and repurpose, reimagine. Then we started a STEM club and we also connected with Zoos Victoria. This is all still a work in progress. It’s about giving things a go and not being scared. We encourage open discussion when we’re struggling with something. Finding people in your network who are able to help you. We’re trying to instil that culture that we’re all learning together, that I’ve learnt from them and they’ve learnt from me.’

At St Stephen’s, they are driven by the joy that students are finding in their learning. ‘Giving kids the opportunity to shine, using that to springboard their learning in other areas. It’s hands on, capturing what kids like to do, it’s their curiosity’, said Ms Rametta. ‘The look of pure joy when they push the pedal down on an overlocker, hearing boys in 5/6 learning stitching say “can we keep doing this?”’