This article is based on the 7:30pm report by Louise Milligan, 1 Sep 2015.
Broadmeadows Primary School is located in Melbourne’s lowest 12th percentile for socio-economic disadvantage. However the school’s principal, Keith McDougal, stated that their postcode does not determine the child’s destiny as “where you start doesn’t matter – it’s where you end up that counts”. Therefore, this school has implemented revolutionary approaches based on neuroscience with the aim of improving the children’s learning potential and boosting grades.
All of the students wear a “learning goal badge” every day. These goals are based on interviews with students, parents and teachers and are based on each student’s individual needs. Some students focus on academic goals like improving handwriting where other goals are more fundamental, such as getting more sleep at night, eating properly or improving anger management.
This school looks at “behaviour as a learning experience”. From this, the number of students removed from the classroom and playground due to aggressive behaviour has decreased enormously.
Moreover, before lessons in the morning, the students visit the “emotion wall”. Through this, they post their photo on a noticeboard next to an image of the emotion that they are feeling. This helps teachers keep track of any children who might be struggling and need extra attention and help. So if they see a child move from a happy to a negative emotion, they can implement a one-to-one follow-up.
Through all of this, the children appear to be showing better emotional and behaviour regulation and seem happier in general. Moreover, the school’s NAPLAN results are higher than any other school in the area and their year three results are above the Victoria state average.
Therefore, this school teaches an important lesson to all educators and parents; as learning occurs at its best when children are feeling confident, safe and happy.