“The Best of Both Worlds” – Our new Year 11 courses for 2024

Posted Wednesday March 27, 2024

“Graduates from St Peter’s College will be resilient, creative problem solvers who are able to communicate effectively and work collaboratively while holding firm to the gospel values of Jesus Christ in a challenging 21st century world.”

St Peter’s College Graduate Profile

As I have spent time in Year 11 classes over the last month, I have been delighted to see evidence of this aspirational statement in action. Sixteen new courses have been created for this first semester (Terms One and Two), aimed at appealing to ākonga and their interests. Over the course of the last three newsletters of the term I will share some of the mahi, work, that ākonga and kaiako, students and teachers, have been involved in to bring these words to life.

“Learning about the inspired word of God” - Te Rongopai, The Gospels

Religious Studies is our foundational, core subject at every level of our kura, school. This year sees the introduction of a new curriculum, “Tō Tātou Whakpono, Our Faith” at Year 11. In the first semester the course focuses on Te Rongopai, the formation of the Gospels, or as the ākonga were able to tell me, “the inspired word of God”. Having to learn and use the format of a formal letter for their assessment about Te Rongopai was “a really useful way to learn something practical – like for when I’m applying for a job” and “getting ready for the Literacy assessment”. It was “good to be learning and knowing that there is more out there than NCEA”.

Image by: Amy-Rae Rooijackers

Heroes and Heroines - “You Get to Be Yourself in Art”

Image by: Amy-Rae Rooijackers

The “relaxed, quiet and focussed” environment of the Art room was where I found ākonga learning to use acrylic painting techniques while developing hero - themed graphic novel pages, covers and posters. Ākonga easily communicated that they enjoyed the “freedom to be creative without the stress of credits while preparing for Level 2”. For one ākonga the greatest enjoyment came from “getting better at drawing – improving myself” with the guidance of his teacher.

“Setting me up for my career path” in “Atoms to humans and everything in between”.
When I visited one of our two semester one Science courses, everyone was hard at work on a short written assessment, so I went away and came back half an hour later to hear what they had to say about the course. And say things they did! Things like “this is definitely my best year in Science so far”, “I’m doing two semesters of Science because it’s setting me up for my career path”, “I love that we got the choice of which courses we could do to suit us” and “it’s great to have the pressure taken off without NCEA so we can just get on with the learning and go off on tangents if we want to without being restricted.”

Image by: Amy-Rae Rooijackers

“Learning useful life skills and getting ready to be independent” in Materials Technology

Image by: Amy-Rae Rooijackers
Image by: Amy-Rae Rooijackers

Materials Technology, Food and Nutrition and Physical Education are three of the largest classes at Year 11 this year. Talking with some ākonga in this class, they declared themselves to be “practical learners who prefer hands-on learning” which is why several had chosen to do Materials Technology, Physical Education and Agricultural Science or Foods and Nutrition. They valued the fact that they were able to “do Maths stuff in ‘Wood’, like measuring and getting angles right” and not having to be behind a desk! Having completed their concept drawings, they were getting into preparing for the construction of a piece of furniture “which is cool because I get to keep it at the end.”

The media has recently been awash with articles about kura where ākonga are absent and are missing out on, or are disengaged with their learning. How blessed are we at St Peter’s College, Hato Petera, that across Year 11 in these classes, we have full engagement, deep and relevant learning and ākonga who feel valued because they are at the centre of their own learning and they can articulate it! Ngā mihi nui, thank you very much, to the kaiako who have created these new courses, and to the ākonga for sharing their learning experiences with me.

I wish them and everyone reading this, a happy and holy Easter, and I’ll be back next week with the next instalment of the new and exciting Year 11 journey for 2024.

Bridget Ryan
DP Teaching and Learning