Benefits of the Diamond Model
Improving Boy’s Reading in the Secondary School – An initiative by the Calrossy PDHPE Department
By Rob Marchetto, Director of Quality Teaching and Learning, Calrossy.
One of the benefits of Calrossy’s Diamond Model is that our teachers can target interventions aimed at increasing student participation and self-confidence. Our 7-10 boys grow in confidence in all-male classrooms as they are able to mature at their own rate, without feeling intimidated by the girls who tend to be more articulate at an earlier stage.
During the past year the PDHPE Department have introduced an initiative aimed at increasing the take up and enjoyment of boy’s reading. Mr Conrad Starr initiated a program aimed to increase boy’s reading offered to both elective Yr 9 and Yr 10 PASS (Physical Activity And Sports Studies) classes.
Professional development of teachers at Calrossy presented them with evidence that suggests there is a clear correlation with reading proficiency and the acquisition of vocabulary, oracy and writing. Put simply, the more one reads the greater the benefit is for verbal and written expression of knowledge. An increased ability to express and use knowledge will open doors to career opportunities beyond the school gates.
In response to this professional development Mr Starr suggested that the department find relevant and targeted books that could be read and discussed during class time that included a range of narratives (autobiographies, biographies and memoirs) aimed at teaching the boys vital life lessons. These life lessons learnt through the example of sport stories afforded opportunities for students to be challenged, connected and extended in their thinking. All of this had the dual purpose of increasing the boy’s literacy levels and in raising their self-awareness so that they may be inspired to discover what they are capable of achieving.
Books chosen for the 2018-2019 reading course in PASS were:
“Born to Run Christopher McDougall” – Cultural link and sports science links
“Legacy: What the All Blacks can teach us about the business of life” James Kerr ‘’Relentless: From good to great to unstoppable” Tim Grover
Mr Starr models the reading of these books by choosing to read with the class so that they
see him doing it as well, thereby reinforcing the inherent value of reading. Feedback from the classes has been positive. The students borrow the book and take it home, read in class, and discuss collaboratively at completion with written and verbal reflection.
As teachers, it is our job to broaden horizons and support young people to escape the limitations of their own experience. This view is backed up by the book ‘Successful Single Sex Classrooms’ written by Michael Gurian, Katie Stevens and Peggie Daniels) suggesting that boys prefer texts which have, “characters they can identify with in terms of what they themselves like to do or hope to become.”
If we make reading great literature a habit – by reading daily and discussing their ideas – we help them to see the merits of reading. Reading is not just about reading what you enjoy: it’s about expanding your world and being brave.
In a future newsletter I will write about an opportunity aimed at increasing student participation and self-confidence for our girls at Calrossy.
Gender Specific Education: Improving Girl’s participation in TAS (Technological and Applied Studies)
One of the benefits of a single sex secondary education as part of the Diamond Model at Calrossy is that our teachers can target interventions aimed at increasing student participation and self-confidence. Our 7-10 girls grow in confidence in all-girl classrooms as they are able to participate with increased involvement in practical subjects within the TAS department offerings such as Mandatory Technology Stage 5 Agriculture Technology, Stock Appraisal, Stage 5 Agriculture, Industrial, Textiles and Food Technologies (NB: Food Tech is co-ed class in 2020). There will be cases in Stage 5 where coeducation classes will run to ensure the elective can be offered.
As young teenagers, our 7-10 girls are liberated from the negative peer pressure of having to perform in mixed classes. Single sex classes allow Calrossy Anglican School to have larger groups of girls as part of classes where there is a major practical component; this allows more girls the opportunity to undertake the elective of their choice. Our all girl classes allow for safe and positive participation which promotes focus and engagement.
The TAS Department agree that as a result “Girls become more confident in themselves and are happy to be players rather than just an audience; not afraid to defend their opinions and confident that others are interested in their perspective”.
Thus, single sex classes allow young teenagers to be themselves, not having to prove themselves to the opposite sex and take more risks. As a consequence, Calrossy girls will be more adventurous in their approach to new practical experiences.
As the single sex classroom approach is developmentally appropriate, gender stereotypes of subjects are removed thereby encouraging the large number of young women that participate in subjects like Agriculture and Primary Industries.
The Calrossy Diamond Model approach is seen as an approach which not only gets the very best from students, but also from teaching staff, as they are able to tailor their professional techniques for girls and boys.
By making education enjoyable, exciting and inspirational, a true love of learning is fostered, which will stand our students in good stead for the rest of their lives.