Gifted & Talented
It is said that in his old age Michelangelo observed, “I am still learning.” These words embody the philosophy of the College’s Gifted & Talented Program, which aims to recognise that learning should not only be a means to an end, but rather a lifelong process of growth in our unending journey to know ourselves and others.
While a range of subject-specific extension opportunities are offered by the College’s different learning faculties, the mission of our Gifted & Talented Program is to provide cross-curricular academic extension that reaches beyond the traditional core subject areas. Students involved in our programs are encouraged to develop a true love of learning through an immersion in a broad range of multi-disciplinary academic experiences.
The College takes an inclusive approach to the delivery of academic extension; although we actively identify students who have demonstrated outstanding academic capability, we also use baseline data to seek out students who have potential but may not have manifested their abilities in conventional ways. Furthermore, we aim to strike a balance between selective and inclusive extension opportunities to ensure that students who wish to be extended are given the chance. To best achieve this balance, a broad range of experiences are offered to cater to different age groups across our Junior and Secondary schools – both inside and outside the classroom.
In seeking to nurture their creative, collaborative and critical thinking skills, the College aims to mould our boys as learners for life who will be prepared to grapple with the challenges of an unknown future.
To learn more about our Gifted & Talented Program, please read our White Paper here.
Inside the classroom
Teachers regularly use open-ended tasks and assignments in a variety of learning areas to cater for differences in student abilities, interests and learning styles. This differentiation helps to ensure all students, including the gifted, have the opportunity to showcase their potential.
Selected students work individually and in collaboration with like-minded peers on various programs which have an emphasis on problem-solving, research, creativity, and critical thinking. Such programs include:
- Philosophy – a unit of work that introduces students to the terminology and practice of philosophical inquiry
- Evening of Eminence – a research-based project on an eminent person that culminates in an oral presentation to parents and teachers
- Clued Up Kids – a ‘Who-dunnit?’ group challenge in which the best presentation becomes the entry for the competition run by the Law Society of WA
Outside the classroom
- Sculptures by the Sea – a guided tour and visual literacy workshop for selected students from the Junior School
- Cartooning workshop – a one hour workshop on how to improve drawing and cartooning skills for selected students from the Junior School
- Academic All Stars – an interschool competition in which teams work on challenging tasks from a number of areas including English, Mathematics, Science and Art and Poetry. This competition also has a fund-raising component with all proceeds going to Compassion Australia.
- Clued Up Kids – an interstate competition that teaches students about the legal process and assists them to develop analytical skills, remember key information, conduct research, evaluate and prioritise data, work within a team, justify decisions, formulate plans and complete a creative presentation.
- The da Vinci Decathlon – an interschool competition in which teams work on challenging tasks from a number of areas including Philosophy, Cartography, Engineering and Code Breaking.
- Speak Up Award – an interschool competition promoting public-speaking skills amongst primary school students.
- Perth Young Speakers Award – a local interschool competition promoting public-speaking skills amongst primary school students.
- Chess tournaments – interschool competitions for talented chess players.
Inside the classroom
Flexible Learning Enhancement (FLEX) is the College’s bespoke Gifted & Talented elective class program, offered to selected students in Years 8, 9 and 10.
FLEX serves as a sequenced, flexible and cross-curricular learning opportunity for small groups of gifted students. Boys in the mentioned year levels are invited to participate based on outstanding potential, achievements or contributions they exhibit through their academic studies. With the aim of developing our students’ cognitive and metacognitive abilities, the themes for each respective year are ‘Futuristic Thinking’, ‘Critical Thinking’ and ‘Philosophical Thinking’.
Approximately one period each week is used to explore content related to the theme of each year, with the remaining time spent undertaking student-directed flexible learning. Although we do not seek to make onerous demands on the boys’ workloads, students are engaged in mature discussions to help them structure their time productively.
The aims of FLEX are as follows:
- To provide a dynamic and supportive learning environment which connects Gifted & Talented (GAT) students with each other and the GAT coordinator
- To allocate time for students to prepare for upcoming academic competitions, such as the da Vinci Decathlon, Rostrum Voice of Youth, World Scholar’s Cup, Perth Philosothon and Lions Youth of the Year
- To promote high-order learning skills, including creative, critical and ethical thinking
- To facilitate the provision of extension for students’ existing core-subject learning tasks (in consultation with relevant learning area teachers)
- To involve students in their own learning goals and provide an opportunity for rich, open-ended and project-based learning experiences
As this elective program is unique to the College it is specifically designed to target the needs of our own students. By involving themselves in the class, it is hoped that our boys will be inspired to become independent and enthusiastic lifelong learners.
Outside the classroom
The College invites our students to participate in a wide range of academic events and competitions. Coaching and support is provided to extend students with both inclusive and selective extension opportunities, which include:
- The da Vinci Decathlon – a prestigious academic inter-school gala day operated in the spirit of an Olympic Decathlon, with a variety of team events covering categories such as Literature, Cartography and Code Breaking
- Rostrum Voice of Youth – Australia’s premier public speaking competition for students in secondary schools
- The World Scholar’s Cup – an international academic and community building competition that features a range of team activities, including debate, collaborative writing and fast-paced problem solving
- The Perth Philosothon – an exclusive competition for which students contemplate important philosophical questions in moderated small-group discussions
- Lions Youth of the Year – an initiative coordinated by Lions Club Australia to promote and facilitate the development of effective leadership amongst young Australians
- A number of other excursions, competitions and conferences are offered over the course of the academic year