PROJECT BASED LEARNING

PARTNERSHIPS

Quetico College School has teamed up with University Technical Colleges in England and High Tech High in California - two of the most successful school systems in the world. QCS is committed to fully promoting the principles behind project-based learning so that these principles will guide the entire QCS approach to the development of our curricula. With project-based learning, QCS will not only meet but exceed the guidelines established by the Ontario Ministry of Education.

Quetico's teaching staff have attended project-based learning workshops at the San Diego campus of The Gary and Jerri-Ann Jacobs High Tech High in Point Loma, California. High Tech High outperforms the State by almost double for Grade 12 graduation and admissions to further edcuation. Similarly, in England University Technical Colleges marks a dramatic diversion to the regular public school system. University Technical College secondary school commenced in England 10 years ago, in response to frustrations that employers faced in locating suitable talent for their industries and businesses. There are currently 39 campuses, each school developed as a response to a local need.

We are in the process of establishing a relationship between the founders of University Technical Colleges in England with our locally established Trust for Quetico College School. Directors of our Trust will include dynamic professors from Lakehead Univesity and inspirational leaders from local Industries and Organizations.

Project-based learning provides a dramatic shift away from the teacher as the "font of knowledge". Rather, with project-based learning, the focus is on the student who seeks meaning and understanding in learning the details of subjects through activities that create meaningful "real-life projects" that could actually be utilized immediately or in the foreseeable future. The teacher guides the student in securing this knowledge and helps the student understand how to apply the meaning of this knowledge directly to his/her life.

Through the project-based learning framework, knowledge is often not focused on just one subject area but occurs in combination with other subjects or learning elements through knowledge interconnectedness reflecting the real world.

For example, although this is not how information is normally communicated, the following illustration outlines how many learning connections occur when someone asks for simple directions and those directions are given in a subject-based answer:

"Geographically there are fixed coordinates to your destination and start by heading northwest; Mathematically there is a distance that involves travel in a straight line, a curve, another straight line; Artistically there is recogniztion of certain specific and context-rich signs along the way; Linguistically, English understanding occurs with recognition of the words describing the directions that provide guidance; And so on." Real world experiences don't match subject-based learning.

METHODOLOGY

By focusing on the most meaningful moments graduates have had in their secondary education, 5 key components have been identified to structure the project-based learning environment:

  • Working within a group
  • Making something worthwhile, such as a project or project-related outcome
  • Having a voice and choice in the work that is created
  • Achieving work that is worthwhile
  • Having a public exhibition of the work accomplished

The learning process is integrated in three key ways and on three primary levels:

  • Integration through personalization at the student level
  • Integration through adult-world connections at the curriculum level
  • Integration through common intellectual missions at the world level with extensions beyond the school.

CLASS STRUCTURE

Daily classes at Quetico are longer to provide opportunity for project development and creation, but there are fewer of them: only 3 per day. Your son or daughter will experience:

  • Humanities: including Language Arts (English) and Social Sciences (History, Geography)
  • Sciences: including Physics, Electronics, Circuits, Astrophysics, Chemistry, Biology, Engineering, Art Mathematics: including Business Studies
  • We will also integrate Green Industries, Hospitality and Tourism and Leadership in our curriculum.

INTEGRATED FACULTY

Quetico teaching staff work in integrated faculty teams that support the same cohort of students. These meetings occur early each day - well before students commence their studies - so that teachers can together discuss and refine the learning plans of each student for the day. This provides a powerful and productive mechanism through which Quetico teachers can identify and address any and all issues for the most enhanced student learning outcomes possible.

INTERNSHIP PLACEMENTS

Quetico students have internships to experience contact with the real-life adult world where they will not only experience hands-on learning that tie directly to their school experience, but will also gain a more complete understanding of potential future employment opportunities. Our staff will assist and guide students toward internship placements, but the students themselves will also be active in arranging and finalizing their placements. Many opportunities exist within the local industries and organizations of Northern Ontario, yet students are encouraged to also consider the wide provincial, national and global arena as possible placement locations. Placements outside of the local Quetico catchment areas are in addition to our international exchange programmes with overseas schools.

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