Personalised learning allows learners to choose subjects that resonate with them
While we may not know exactly what we want to become when we are at school, it would be helpful to be guided in a particular direction, that is personalised and not a one-size-fits-all. This allows us to choose our career path from a young age, while also cultivating our skills around subjects we enjoy and are good at. This is the impetus behind Curro Holdings, the JSE-listed independent school group’s decision to offer its Grade 10 – 12 learners access to a broader range of subjects including IT, economics, tourism, and French, and that are beyond the ‘traditional’ subject options. It is the only school group in South Africa to offer this innovative study option and the offering is available to learners across the group’s various school models.
The extended offering – which will be offering a total of 16 subjects – ensures that learners are not pigeon-holed into one particular direction or interest area. Instead, Grade 9 learners who must choose their preferred subjects for Grade 10 onwards, are given the freedom to choose what really resonates with them which ultimately helps to direct them towards a particular career.
Called ‘personalised learning’, it is a growing trend internationally as more and more learners want access to education that is customised to their specific needs and interests. It is counter to the standard Grade 10 – 12 subject choices that are limited by staffing at a school or the limitation of subjects offered at a specific school.”
“By the end of Grade 9, some learners may already have an idea of where they’d like to go in life. Currently, the subjects on offer may be too generic for those learners. We now provide the option to help steer them towards a career in engineering, robotics, or the languages, for instance, harnessing specific skills early on which only has significant benefits later on in life,” says Ferdi Niemand, Executive Head for Curro wider subject choice offering.
Curro’s personalised learning approach works as follows: Instead of choosing 3 traditional subjects in addition to the 3 mandatory language subjects, Maths or Maths Lit and Life orientation in Grade 10, learners can replace some or all of the 3 with other subjects previously not available at their school. Or, if they so wish, they can extend their 7 subjects to choose as many new subjects as they feel capable of doing, choosing up to 16 if so desired.
Among the extended subjects offering are Computer Applications Technology (Grade 10 to 12), Information Technology (Grades 10 to 12), Advanced (AP) Mathematics (Grade 10), and Engineering and Design (Grade 10). “These additional subjects have been developed in line with the changing world of work that our young people will soon become part of,” says Niemand.
All classes for the extended subjects are available online during normal class times and an online teacher leads the lesson while tutors provide support for the rest of the week. Lessons are offered in a seven-day cycle and are worked into learners’ timetables.
School-based assessments will be completed by learners at home or school, while tests and exams must be done at school under strict supervision like all other subjects. Academic performance will be provided in real-time diagnostics, while learners also receive weekly feedback from the Moodle platform with regards to their progress.
“Curro understands that every learner has unique interests and life goals and should be empowered to pursue them. As a school group, we offer customised and personalised learning because we believe that if you can choose what you want to study, you will immediately have a greater sense of commitment to your studies, helping you to achieve academic success and giving you clarity on your future career path of choice,” concludes Niemand. The video here illustrates how learners battle to choose from limited subject choices and how this new innovative approach could be life-changing for them.