There are a number of skills and attributes, including communication, emotional intelligence, collaboration, agency and critical thinking, that, to become good at, requires more than just one experience.
Many adults have multiple opportunities to practice these skills and attributes and still struggle with them because they are difficult.
For example, it is often easier said than done to collaborate.
Different perspectives and different ways of communicating and listening can all add to the complexity of being able to work as a team.
At Perth College, we know these challenging skills and attributes are critical in today's world and we know that the secret to getting really, really good at something is to practice.
Creating neural pathway circuits and bypassing established ones takes time and practice, practice, practice.
Having one chance to work in a team is unlikely to make you a highly effective team member and having one week focused on leadership is unlikely to make you an amazing leader.
This has been one of the key reasons we have integrated sparc from Pre-Kindergarten to Year 10, allowing students multiple opportunities to grow and develop such skills through a tapestry of experiences.
There are three essential elements of sparc at Perth College that allow students to shape their own futures and positively influence society.
From Pre-Kindergarten to Year 10, sparc allows time each week in the timetable for students to engage in a tapestry of experiences that inspire their curiosity, creativity and innovation. Each opportunity challenges students to take risks and get comfortable with being uncomfortable, as well as possibly sparking a passion they didn't know they had. These experiences grow skills and attributes from persistence to resilience, confidence to embrace failure as an opportunity to learn, teamwork, effective communication and divergent thinking to tackle complex problems.
Sparc allows for students to realise their potential, know they can positively influence society and that this influence can begin at any age. Through a focus on leadership and citizenship, students have the chance to develop their emotional intelligence and consider being in someone else's shoes, as well as grow their ability to identify, evaluate, control, and express emotions. Students will also discover that leading is not about being in charge but listening, negotiating and building genuine relationships to serve those around you. It is about having a big vision, a big heart and plenty of energy. In regards to citizenship, students learn about being part of a bigger picture, understanding their place in the big world's many smaller worlds (home, school, community, national, state and global) and the importance of their contribution to it.
In recognition of sparc's experiential approach, we have chosen to refer to the staff involved in the framework as 'mentors'. These Junior and Senior School sparc mentors role model the values and qualities we are trying to instill in our students and journey alongside them every step of the way. We have a combination of staff from many disciplines and year levels contributing their skills and expertise to guide students through each learning experience. Mentors help students frame their own reflections with the lens of new knowledge, encourage them to acknowledge their progress and support them to decide how best to meet what comes next.
Explore how sparc allows opportunities for students to bring our school vision alive, shape their own futures and positively influence society by visiting the Parent SPACE page here.