PhoenIX – Warrnambool College’s Year 9 Program

The PhoenIX Program began for Year 9 at Warrnambool College in 2008. It has been shaped by extensive research into the Middle Years of Learning and the evolving landscape of the knowledge of this age – in particular the need for life-long learning skills. What is clear from this research is the unmistakable shift in focus from the teacher to the learner. As such, new and innovative approaches and student centred inquiry-based learning are at the heart of this program. An Inquiry Approach allows for ‘deeper learning’.

The PhoenIX program provides a strong core of learning which takes into account the rapid personal growth that occurs during this year. This growth will include: an increase in maturity and recognition of the student’s place in society; strong development in their social skills and the processes involved in forming relationships with other people; an increased curiosity in the future and the pathways that exist for students and an increase in self-esteem and confidence.

A focus on student health and well-being and environmental education underpins the programs content with an emphasis on establishing close learning partnerships and relationships between students, parents and the local and broader community.

The curriculum is designed to relate to the students: through experience, authenticity or emotional connection. Latest ‘brain’ research indicates that student learning is maximised when this occurs.

The program is designed around developing a sense of place for students and developing inquiry based skills. PhoenIX is the integration of English and Humanities. Semester One units are:

My Self

An investigation into the factors that define our notion of ‘Self’. This includes physical identity, emotional development and mental health, learning styles, and includes a focus on who we are and how that shapes the decisions that we make.

Our Nation

This unit involves students investigating the experience of the local indigenous people through an inquiry-based program. Curriculum content is delivered in partnership with the local indigenous community. Students actively engage with local stories and experiences of the indigenous community. At the core of this unit is the theme of relationships, which are integral to ‘Our Nation’.