As a school community, Sacré Coeur understands we need to prepare our students for a world where the future is a series of "unknown unknowns". All young people deserve an education that equips them to confidently take their place in the world. We know the world is rapidly changing and all aspects of people's lives face disruption. The world needs people who can make a positive difference, who understand that our survival requires hope and empathy and working together to solve problems. How can we ensure all our students are "women who shape their world" (Sacré Coeur Strategic plan 2017-2020)? How can we ensure they all have exposure and encouragement and a passion for what we know are the skills required to "thrive in a transforming world" (Hannon, Valerie, 2017)
As part of our strategic plan, we examined the concept of contemporary learning. Our research led us to conclude that contemporary learning at Sacré Coeur needed to be based around four key principles: connection, agency, mastery and authenticity. These four principles encapsulate the mindset and habits required for a successful transition into the world beyond the school walls — to be able to negotiate with confidence "the unknown unknowns". From this research grew our STEAM project.
Our STEAM project aims to offer an inter disciplinary program at Year 8, using a design thinking framework, and taught by a team of experts in their area across the science, technology, arts (including the humanities), engineering and mathematics subject areas. These teachers, who are masters in their subjects, will set students onto the path of their own mastery by supporting them with expert guidance. Students will also be involved in collaboration through this program with a number of other students, teachers and our wider community. They will come to understand the importance of these different areas being intertwined and complementary when coming up with solutions to complex problems or the process of production of a tangible end product.
Another one of the aims of the program is influencing students' in terms of connecting what they learn and how they are taught, to the reality of what the world needs from its women (and men). This is a major shift for schools but one that is sorely needed — our young people need to be ready to lead the world and be equipped with literacy, numeracy, a framework and mindset for problem finding and problem solving, an appreciation and inclination towards creativity and an understanding of the past and lessons it can offer for the future.