A Challenge facing teachers and leaders in Catholic 1

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A Challenge facing teachers and leaders in Catholic Schools today:

A Challenge facing teachers and leaders in Catholic Schools today \ Gregory Esposito - 09507705n

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Generation Y and their impact on Education

Developing a picture of students social and religious context.:

Developing a picture of students social and religious context. School Background Saint David’s Parish School is situated in the suburb of Tea Tree Gully in the North Eastern suburbs of the Adelaide Metropolitan area. The school has approximately 630 students and ranging from Reception through to Year 7. The school is based on the Jospehite tradition and overseen by the Oblates of Mary Immaculate. The families of Saint David’s Parish School can be described as middle to upper middle class with reasonable discretionary incomes. Saint David’s community is predominantly Anglo-Saxon with some European influences. (Italian predominantly). With minimal Asian families and none from Africa. The Saint David’s Parish and Church is located on the school grounds and has two presiding priests. Saint David’s Parish School

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Saint David’s Vision Statement Vision Statement Saint David’s Parish School is grounded in the Josephite Tradition of care and compassion. In partnership with our families, we are committed to providing a holistic and contemporary education underpinned by the Gospel values. We respect the dignity and uniqueness of each individual and encourage life long learning to enable students to become positive contributors to their community.

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Saint David’s Parish School – Core Values

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Statistical Evidence Relating to Saint David’s Parish School Community Breakdown of students as of February 2010 Census: (566 students total) Cultural Back Grounds Australian – 437 Italian – 56 Eastern European – 24 (Includes Poland, Ukraine etc) Western Europe - 21 (Excludes Italy and UK) United Kingdom – 20 Asian – 7 (Includes China, India and Philippines) South American – 1 The school has no funded students on which are English as a Second Language (ESL) and no ‘New Arrival’ students. The school has one indigenous student currently enrolled. SES (Ross Farish Index) and ICSEA Scores (ACARA) SES (Ross Farish Index) Score – 101 (Score Range = <85 to 130>) ICSEA Score – 1035 (Score Range = 900 to 1100) Both scores demonstrate the community as middle class socio-economically)

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Religions within the School Community Hierachy (from DUX system – 621 Students) Roman Catholic 88% Anglican 7% Uniting 3% Greek Orthodox 1% Lutheran 1% Student Numbers breakdown by Religion and Gender (from DUX system – 621 Students) Catholic 237(M) 209(F) Non Christian 63(M) 42(F) Other Christian 33(M) 37(F) ___________________________________________ Total 333(M) 288(F) Students Eligible to qualify for School Card (from DUX system – 621 Students Male 26 Female 23 Total 49 (7.89% of school population)

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Who are Generation Y? Definition and Characteristics of Generation Y (or Gen Y) “Generation Y are those born between 1982 and the 2000 which accounts for 26% of the population.” “Today’s young adults are more disconnected, yet more in search of authentic community, greater meaning of life and spiritual connection.” McCrindle (2005) p.1 Gen Y students have much greater access to information and are more technologically aware of how to gain access, but also how to use it in the most time and effort effective ways. Gen Y require greater stimulation to maintain focus and will question the meaning as well as their understanding and interpretation of all information put to them. They are more sceptical than previous generations and this is particularly true when discussing Christians and church. McCrindle (2005) p.8

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What impact do students from within Generation Y have on Teachers and Leaders in Catholic Schools A large decline in the number of students who attend Church on a regular basis with their parents and families. The number of students within a school population who are now non Catholic, of other religious denominations or non religious. Students are more willing to challenge what they are learning in Religious Education and question what it is they are being taught and its validity in their own lives. This is compounded by the readily available technologies within schools such as the internet, digital radio and television, pay tv , mobile phones and other portable technologies.

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Students believe in spirituality but not necessarily the Traditional forms (of major world religions) but to New Age ( Non Traditional religions) or Secular forms (based on human experience and human reason). Adapted from Mason, Singleton and Webber (2007) Students seek greater stimulation in their learning. Moving away from traditional educational pedagogies. Generation Y seek “instant gratification” and use a variety of means to meet these needs in the quickest and easiest way possible.

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How do School Leaders address these issues? Both Leaders within schools and the teachers who are working with these students on a daily basis first must have an understanding of what Generation Y believe and how they go about their daily lives. Leaders within schools and also the wider parish and church must seek to find ways in which to embrace the attitudes (often perceived as disinterest) of Gen Y. They must in particular take notice of their attitudes towards Religious Education, “Young people don’t want to join up, or attend (congregations) but rather ‘do life’ and be apart of something (community).” McCrindle (2005) p.10 With the access to information and knowledge Gen Y may “look to ‘mix and match’ components of their spirituality from a wide range of sources rather than having to buy one complete package.” Mason, Singleton & Webber 2007 p.37 This must be done in a variety ways such as keeping up with the latest educational pedagogies as well as sociological research. However, it is too easy for leaders in particular to put all their credence into this when, simple conversations and face time with students will often tell a similar and just as useful story.

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They must not compromise on their final goal in relating to their education. However, they must be willing to explore different ways when: Planning the Educational Outcomes Delivering the Content Assessment of work How do Teachers address these issues? Planning the Educational Outcomes Teaching Pedagogies and Learning Theories continue to develop and evolve, as do the planning tools which teachers use to educate their students. Constructivism as introduced in the SACSA Framework has provided educators with greater flexibility in both the teaching and the direction of learning. Teachers are no longer bound by what is in the school library, encyclopaedia’s, teachers book stores and generally hard copies of information. Which provides greater freedom and scope to explore particular areas of study in greater depth. Teachers can utilise different mediums to provide info, and varying levels of interactivity with students. They can also take advantage of integrating any work into a number of curriculum areas to meet multiple educational goals.

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Delivering the Content While the more traditional ‘chalk and talk’ still has some place in our educational lexicon, educators are now looking for ways to better engage the students in meaningful forms of learning. This can be done in a variety of ways, such as: Use of specific technologies as a hook. E.g. – Youtube clips, DVD, Clickview etc. Interactive brainstorming of ideas – IWB’s , ActiveXpressions etc Discussion with students about what they want to learn from the topic. Working with students using available technologies to research relevant information and using critical literacy when searching for credible sources. Provide a range of ideas and opportunities for students in how they complete the task. E.g. – multi media, interactive, construction based etc When possible act as a facilitator of the task and project allowing students the opportunity to experience both success and failure. While ensuring that they are still seeking to meet the educational goals required.

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Assessment of Work Whilst educators use assessment to complete progress reports for parents, students seek feedback and validation of their efforts. The greater prevalence of rubrics which provide greater feedback on a wider variety of assessment criteria. Encouraging students to use self assessment models and be critical of their own final product. The use of peer and group assessment carries a good deal of weight with Gen Y students. Using available technologies such as ActiveXpression which can provide instantaneous feedback, but also provide anonymity to others should it be necessary. To best ensure that Gen Y students use this assessment as a way to improve their work. Assessment must also be relevant and engage the student to review both it and their work. Educators must embrace a wider range of assessment tools for Gen Y students to use this feedback more constructively.

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Other Points to Consider While technology enhances the learning opportunities of all students and Gen Y have embraced new technology whole heartedly. Postman (1995, p.41) contends: “ like all important technologies of the past, they are Faustian Bargains, giving and taking away, sometimes in equal measure, sometimes more in one way than the other” While the major part of this presentation says we should embrace the challenges and changes within schools. We should also take stock to ascertain what it is we are giving up to embrace the changing conditions and attitudes of our students. Gen Y talk about the importance of Family and Friends yet will happily interact with them not in person but through on-line chat, email, text messaging or social networks. That being the case why is it that schools continue to stay open in an ‘on-line’ world? Postman (1995) states “… the class room is intended to connect the individual with others, to demonstrate the value and necessity of group cohesion.” This reinforces why schools are vital to our community regardless of when you were born. A Schools goal is to provide education, but they also provide the skills to function in society both socially and emotionally.

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Conclusion Generation Y by their own admission are full of contradictions as has been previously explored earlier in this presentation. The challenge all Leaders and Teachers within Catholic schools face is finding ways to engage the students and then maintain that focus to achieve the desired out comes. While this applies to all areas of the curriculum in none is it more important than that of Religious Education. With greater scepticism in religion and declining numbers of people involving themselves in a religious life (thanks largely to technology and an influx of available information). We as educators must be pro active in using these same tools to re-invigorate how and what we are teaching within the Religious Education curriculum. By providing interesting and relevant opportunities which allow students to feel ownership and involvement in their faith development, we also provide the students with the skills to live moral and just lives within the realm of Catholicism. In doing all of this Leaders and Teachers within Catholic schools must still ensure that we meet the needs of the whole child (student). And while we embrace new methods and tools to engage them, that we do not lose or give away cheaply the pedagogies, ideals and beliefs which have been effective in previous generations and are still of great benefit to all people regardless of their generation.

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Reference List Mason, M.C., A.T., Singleton and R, Webber, (2007), The Spriti of Generation Y: Young People’s Spirituality in a Changing Australia, 1 st ed ., Mulgrave, Vic, John Garratt Publishing, Chapter 2, pp33-70 and endnotes. McCrindle , Mark, (2005), Emerging Trends, Enduing Truths: The Spiritual Attitudes of New Generations . See [email protected] Postman, Neil, (1995), The End of Education: Redefining the Value of School , USA, Alfred A. Knopf, Inc, pp 37-58. Hughes, P., and Christian Resource Association., (2007), Putting Life Together: findings from Australian youth spirituality research. Fairfield Victoria, Fairfield Press, Executive Summary pp.9-10. Online Resources My Schools (ACARA) http://www.myschool.edu.au/Main.aspx?PageId=0&SDRSchoolId=SA%20C0000008385&DEEWRId=2604&CalendarYear=2009 Department of Education, Employment and Work Place Relations https://schools.dest.gov.au/ssp/help/html/ses/funding_09_12/ses_rates_09.html

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