The start to the academic year at Grace College saw the inception of the Grade 8 Innovation Programme for 2018, led by Mrs Quibell and her team. This programme embraces an innovative approach to learning through critical thinking and experiential teaching.
The key elements which this program addresses are;
• Creativity
• Collaboration
• Communication
• Cognitive Flexibility (resilience)
• Character Education
• Cultural Competence
• Curiosity
• Imagination The core skills focus for the program being addressed are;
• Language Thinking
• Mathematical Thinking
• Visual Thinking
• Complex Thinking Grade 8 students are following a normal academic programme which includes contact sessions, assessments, homework etc. Once a month the students are taken out of their classrooms to be taught the content matter in a ‘different way’ with a more interactive approach. The last Innovation day was held on 1 March when the Grade 8 students were all exposed to an interesting approach to music as presented by Mrs Hackland, this was followed by a Drama session with Mrs Cronje.
The students were then divided into teams which rotated between the Math, Natural Science, Geography, EGD, English and a Cross Curricular station where they solved problems using levers and pulleys. The latter station provided a lot of amusement and getting wet in our dam!
The activities in these subjects were designed to be fun and interactive but had defined outcomes from each of the subjects. Focus points that are a struggle to address in the classroom were addressed through these activities. The activities took on an amazing race theme with Ubuntu being the underlying social skill that was addressed during the activities. To this end some of the students were blindfolded, had their hands tied or their ears covered at times during the activities.
This Grade 8 Innovation Programme has resulted in a number of positives thus far. I am happy to report that the Grade 8 average this year for Mathematics is almost 8% higher than it has been comparing results at the end of Term 1 over the last four years, doing the same syllabus at the same pace. Also important is that the students display enjoyment of their academics and we have found that they are putting in more effort to achieve better results. We are excited to see what this program will yield in the future.

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