A radical new secondary school model opening in Fremantle next year will challenge traditional ideas about teaching, but one WA education expert says it will mainly suit students who are already self-motivated or can be taught self-motivation.
The Studio School, an initiative of the private school All Saints College, will do away with classrooms and timetables, instead delivering learning pathways tailored to the individual interests of students.
“The Studio School offers an alternative to mainstream schooling structures and systems through a studio model that sees students combining their studies with real-world projects and engagements in order to achieve their WACE,” the school’s website reads.
ECU education lecturer Dr Bill Allen said the new school represented a rejection of traditional “factory” models of learning that had changed very little or so in the last 100 years.
“When you listen to the Studio School/ALL Saints school leaders … they talk about ‘personalisation’ – designing schooling to meet the needs of each individual child, which the ‘factory model’ does not do,” Dr Allen said.
“(But) traditional schooling is still with us and the reason is that it actually works pretty well.
“Like democracy, it has many faults but it’s better than any of the alternatives.”
Dr Allen said teacher-student ratios would be key to the school being successful in its desired outcomes.
“Officially, they will argue that personalisation means that they can meet the needs of any young person, no matter who they are,” he said.
“To be successful, the students will certainly need to be self-motivated and self-starters and accept a lot of personal responsibility.
“Self-regulation and metacognition will be very important, and these will need to be taught to the students.”
Studio School’s website states that students are not left alone in their progression.
“A key role of the mentor teacher is to ensure that students are staying on track, and to offer support to ensure that commitments are maintained,” the site reads.
“Mentor teachers are also trained to offer specific support for students in time management.”