Big Picture Education:
Big Picture Learning design is a dynamic approach to learning, doing, and thinking. The program is based on three foundational principles: first, that learning must be based on the interests and goals of each student; second, that a student's curriculum must be relevant to people and places that exist in the real world; and finally, that a student's abilities must be authentically measured by the quality of her or his work. Learning in the Big Picture Advisory is founded on flexible and negotiated curriculum. The cycle of learning forms the shell of unit content with different deliverables under each heading as the student progresses through the course. This is largely a reflection of the students increased ability to focus on transition from school to outside learning and from their internship placement to building their individual focus in classes back at the school. In other words, the subject is the student.
The Big Picture Program at Canberra College provides a flexible individualised curriculum that supports the Big Picture Internship and project based learning with mentors in the community. The program and the course allow for multiple pathways for students into the community after college as life long learners. Students are able to link the academic with the practical and follow pathways to future education, training and/or employment. The work that the mentors and the students undertake, informs the negotiated curriculum in Big Picture classes. These classes are also subject to project based assessment by exhibition. It is important to note that the families of students play a crucial role in their progress and are involved at all stages of the student's progress through Advisory units.
Students who enrol in the Big Picture Program can be disconnected from education and their performance has generally been held back due to a lack of motivation towards their schooling. Most students are capable of high levels of achievement and therefore need to have a more goal oriented approach to their work. Coaching, mentoring and real world learning or training all assist students to "catch up" with their cohort.
The program is deliberately kept to 30 students in total for Years 11 and 12. In Big Picture parlance, "Small By Design". This allows the teachers and trainers to do significant work with and allot significant time to each student. Big Picture Education is designed to meet the needs of all students but, as a school, we have chosen to give the places available to students by appointment and work with them individually to address their educational needs. Our retention of students is significant and we are, in our fourth year of operation, very pleased with the completion rate of the ACT Senior Secondary Certificate.