Learning opportunities

Differentiation

Our challenge is to offer learning opportunities that meet the needs of the girls in relevant, meaningful ways. This occurs within the planned curriculum structures and within each class. Every classroom teacher is expected to know their class and where necessary, adjust the expectations so every girl can access the curriculum.

Extension

The teaching classes within each year group are organised to enable two of the classes in a subject to pursue higher order concepts in their learning. On the elective lines in Year 10, students are offered Extension English, a course which has been designed for Stage 5 from the HSC course of English Extension 2 for students passionate about their English.

Acceleration

Opportunities are provided for girls to learn a subject beyond the usual expectations for the age of the cohort. It is offered because the girls are exposed to the rigour and high expectations of an HSC subject which develops their capacity to think in more complex, challenging ways. The learning attributes acquired from this can propel their thinking and learning to higher levels of operation in other subjects which is beneficial.

Acceleration opportunities:

  • HSC Studies of Religion II is offered to a class of Year 10 students with identified strengths in literacy and the humanities.
  • HSC Mathematics is offered to a class of Year 9 students with identified strengths in numeracy and algebra.

Learning Support

The Learning Support framework at Brigidine is inclusive of all students with a range of learning needs. Each student’s needs are identified and assessed, then an individual plan is created which considers reasonable adjustments to the mainstream delivery of subjects within the curriculum. The adjustments are many and varied but all are designed to enable each girl to access the curriculum and achieve at her level.

Three full time Learning Support teachers, a team of teachers’ aides, speech therapists, itinerant teachers and external consultants support mainstream teachers to differentiate their classroom practices and where necessary, provide tailored, dedicated Life Skills programs. In some instances the withdrawal of students can occur to meet the goals of their Individual Plans.

Enrichment

Girls are encouraged to pursue their academic interests in a variety of other ways than the classroom experience following the formal curriculum. These opportunities are catalysts for interests and talents to be developed. The context is less formal, more collaborative, more flexible but nevertheless characterised by high personal goals and expectations.

The Centre for Excellence

The Centre for Excellence is a Brigidine innovation. Many of its activities take place weekly during lunchtimes or after school. The philosophy behind the Centre is non-selective and aims to encourage the pursuit of excellence by any student who expresses an interest in any of its activities.

A feature of the Centre is its emphasis on student leadership, with a Club Captain from Year 12 who leads each club. Staff members support the activities of the Centre for Excellence as Convenors of the clubs.

Centre of Excellence Clubs:

  • Animal Ethics
  • Art
  • Computer
  • Debating
  • Drama
  • Justice and Democracy
  • Film Appreciation
  • Languages
  • Liturgy
  • Mock Trial
  • Music
  • Public Speaking
  • Science
  • Textiles
  • Tournament of Minds

Honours Program

The Brigidine Honours Program is an enrichment opportunity offered to students in Years 7–12. It is designed to engage girls in a range of structured activities which encourage multidimensional thinking, creativity and depth of analysis. During regular Honour Tutorials, students explore a wide range of philosophical notions, scientific concerns and political debates. They are called upon to reflect on their own learning styles and confidently and clearly express their views in a myriad of forms and representations.

Students are also required to complete a research project inspired by their studies or an area of interest. This could address social justice issues, metaphysical dilemmas, ethical concerns, historical conundrums, technological discoveries or artistic evaluations. In addition to this, each Honours student must submit a portfolio containing examples of academic and co-curricular successes which are evaluated and assessed during a Viva Voce. Fundamentally, the Brigidine Honours Program is designed to energise and motivate interested learners.

External Learning

We are committed to the girls having every opportunity to realise their academic goals. To that end we embrace external options and support the girls who choose to learn subjects in this way.

Learning Options:

  • Open High School for girls studying languages other than French and Italian
  • TAFE HSC for girls wanting to complete a course over one year in the evening.
  • TVET for girls wanting to pursue an industry accredited course for their HSC
  • Lismore Online for students who want to complete an HSC course in an online environment with students from other parts of the state.
  • Distance education for students who are only able to attend school part-time or who wish to study a subject which cannot be provided by the school.

Learning Technologies

Each girl at Brigidine College is provided with a fully featured computer to access digital resources in a self-regulated ‘anytime, anywhere’ approach to learning. The focus is not on the technology itself but on its capacity to facilitate engagement with ideas and concepts beyond the constraints of traditional sources.

The opportunity to think critically about knowledge with its real-life issues and consider creative solutions to the problems they present is enriched by the girls’ access to the many learning technologies available. Analytical, creative, collaborative and research skills are all developed to a level which enables girls to engage with their learning in more independent, challenging and complex ways.