At Melrose High School, Big Picture is an opportunity for students from year 7 to 10 to empower themselves as learners. In years 9 and 10, students have the opportunity to engage with our Learning Through Internship (LTI) program. An LTI involves taking their learning out of the classroom and into a real-world context where students are active participants of a workforce. For our younger years, students get to engage in out-learning through establishing adult relationships with people who are experts in their fields.
Big Picture students learn in small groups of 17 known as an ‘advisory’ where there is a culture of belonging, support and respect. Each advisory will have one advisor who will guide and support them through engaging with the Big Picture learning design. Our advisors work closely as a team to continuously improve student work habits, skill building and learning.
Big Picture Education Australia (BPEA) is an independent network of schools and agencies, which agree to collaborate in pursuit of a shared vision of establishing a new model of schooling focused on better meeting the needs of individual students.
BPEA was established in 2006. By 2014 there were around 40 schools using the Big Picture learning model based on highly personalised learning supported by parents and connected to the world of work. Big Picture promotes intellectual rigour consistent with curriculum requirements.
‘One student at a time’ is a foundational principle of BPEA and acknowledges that each student has different interests, strengths, needs and learning styles and these can be used by the student, with advice from the advisor, to plan learning across a range of disciplines to create a well-balanced, individualised curriculum.
Current education research and our own ACT Education Directorate is highlighting the importance of independent, self-directed learning to support critical thinking and problem solving. The Big Picture Learning Design aims to harness student interests to support a breadth and depth of content knowledge and the development of critical learning skills not always available in more traditional learning settings.
There are five basic Learning Goals: Empirical Reasoning, Quantitative Reasoning, Communication, Social Reasoning and Personal Qualities. These five Learning Goals are a critical part of developing individual learning curriculum. Academic rigor is a fundamental part of Big Picture learning and the Learning Goals is the structure through which this is managed.
We feed into Canberra College who also offer Big Picture for years 11 and 12. Students who undertake Big Picture through college do not get an ATAR, however, they graduate year 12 with a Learner Profile. Almost half the universities in Australia, including University of Canberra and Australian National University, accept students based on their Learner Profile.