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St Brendan’s College staff work on the core principle that educating boys is simply a different practice to educating girls.
Physiological variations in brain structure, differing rates of language and memory development, changes in hormone types and levels, adaptability at social reasoning and anger management all mean that while good teaching practices will work for both sexes, a boy’s educational experiences can be significantly enhanced when teachers understand and specifically address these variations.
The College is proud of the fact that its Pedagogical Framework (A.S.P.I.R.E) is designed on research from noted boys’ educators and that our teachers use and are mentored in techniques from this framework to suit an all boy environment. These include:
We believe that as a community we challenge gender stereotypes and broaden the educational aspirations of our boys. They are free to learn and discover in any subject and from the perspective of co-curricular activities get the opportunity to participate in debating, singing, dance, drama and orchestra; activities that are often dominated by girls, in co-educational schools. Teaching religion through an artistic medium, offering percussion classes for all in Year 7, having numerous kinaesthetic learning options in agriculture, industrial technology and physical education further cater to the need of boys for spatial activities and movement.
The College runs a system of Journey Groups for English, Mathematics, Science and Geography/History classes. Journey Groups are classroom structures where students of similar ability are grouped together. For ease of recognition we have called the groupings, ‘Foundation, Core and Extension’. These groups allow the teacher to plan and present classroom activities and learning strategies suitable to the student’s understanding and needs. Journey Groups are not a rigid system and students can move between groups. When students indicate that they have the necessary skills to handle the work at the upper level, they move to the Core and Extension classes. Conversely, students can move to Foundation Group when it is indicated that they are not coping satisfactorily with the concepts or topics.
Our behaviour management processes are based on a respect for self and others. Bullying is not tolerated and any incidences are resolved through a restorative justice meeting with the College counsellor, students and families. Teachers follow a set of agreed standards to ensure a calm and harmonious environment and when dealing with conflict, facilitate graduated actions. Knowing that boys need to own their actions before any changes will occur, we also operate a Responsible Thinking Centre. It is here, that the boys articulate their behaviours and create goals for improvement.
Finally, boys will flourish when they feel safe, supported and when they are a part of something bigger than just themselves. To achieve this we put in place experiences which promote strong bonds of friendship and which celebrate rites of passage. Induction programs, leadership activities, camps, house events, academic ceremonies and regular Masses all open the doors for interaction between the broad range of boys and cement their affiliations with each other and the school.
More information about the academic program in Middle School (Year 7-9) and Senior School (Year 10-12); the significant Vocational Education and Training opportunities we offer; the careers support in place; and the policies, procedures and forms in use within the College can be found within this section of the website.