Our Wellbeing On Wednesday (#WOW) program has grown by leaps and bounds this year, with a number of students relishing the opportunity to guide and direct their own learning through Personal Project time.
For one Year 8 student, Personal Project time recently hit top gear, as his love and passion for cars opened the door to a new application for his automotive appreciation – working with the Faith Lutheran College Marketing Team to develop his very own car review website.
Year 8 student, Cohen Ryder, is a keen car enthusiast.
He knows makes and models. He knows transmissions, engine capacities and top speeds – and can excitedly recall these facts from memory at will, and with very little prompting. Cohen loves cars. They are his passion. It is this petrol-fuelled passion that leads him to spend his time reading BMW brochures, car magazines and the automotive reviews in the local paper, increasing his knowledge on the latest models and designs and technologies
But where in the regular curriculum is there space for this passion to blossom?
There is scope for his reading in English and Humanities – but the content material isn’t likely to inspire Cohen the way that cars do.
There is scope for his fascination with technology in Science or Industrial Design – but without engines and exhausts to bring the concepts to life, Cohen might not be as engaged as he is when he is studying the specifications on the newest model of sports car – even if the core concepts are the same.
Where can these things be combined?
How can we bring learning to life, and, more importantly, life into learning for students?
These are the sorts of questions that drive a pivotal part of our Wellbeing On Wednesday (#WOW) program. By handing the keys over to our students, and allowing them to sit in the drivers’ seat, behind the wheel of projects that contextualise learning in a way that is meaningful, real, and fuelled by passion, students, like Cohen, are suddenly able to connect English, Science and Technology in a way that actively encourages them to invest in their own learning.
For Cohen, this has taken the form of creating his very own Car Review website.
At the age of 13, he may be a little young to personally test drive the vehicles, but that hasn’t stopped him from approaching a number of car dealerships and manufacturers to request opportunities to put their cars through their paces.
Cohen wrote letters, sent emails and made phone calls.
He contacted his favourite car reviewer from the local newspaper.
He approached a number of staff, including members of the Faith Marketing Team, to help him find opportunities to learn through his passion.
And last week, Cohen was rewarded, as he climbed into a brand new BMW M135i (courtesy of James Waldron and BMW Toowoomba) to complete his first review. For two hours, Cohen was enthralled – interviewing staff from the dealership, questioning specifications, and keeping detailed notes on his thoughts and experiences as he was taken for a test drive. His questions were rigorous and his engagement with, and passion for, the subject matter were something that many professional motoring journalists would find inspirational.
Through our #WOW program, and through the opportunity to engage and pursue a Personal Project, learning and passion have come together for Cohen to create an amazing opportunity – an opportunity that he looks forward to sharing with both our College community, and with the world, in the very first article for his new website, the aptly-named, Test Ryder.