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Blog: Wednesday, April 5th, 2017

Reconnecting through Electives

At Bakerview Centre for Learning, we seek to engage students, many who have been disengaged from school for quite some time. Our challenge is to reestablish a positive connection with school for many of our students. This desire for reconnecting students led our teacher collaboration team to put together a school wide electives morning at Bakerview on February 21st.

Students signed up for electives such as crochet, cookie decorating, guitar, iMovie, spaghetti bridge challenge, and intramurals in the gym. Teachers chose these electives as it is an area of passion or something they wished to learn themselves. In total, we had 89 students sign up and achieved 86% attendance overall. We were pleased with the attendance, but even more so, the mood in the building – it was positive and students and teachers were enjoying learning together. The momentum continued through the week with improved attendance.

We conducted a student survey shortly after our day, and our results were overwhelmingly positive as well: 73% responded that they “really enjoyed the elective” and not one student would not want to continue with electives. More telling were the responses from students about why they enjoyed themselves:

  • “It was relaxing. I felt good about myself.”
  • “That everyone was super involved.”                     
  • “It was my first time and I learned a lot.”
  • “It (crocheting) was calming and very fun to do.”

We saw 85% of respondents’ state that they would like electives morning offered every couple of weeks or every month, and when asked for suggestions for improvement, most students asked for even more choice, to include their personal wishes, and to offer electives more often and not just dedicated to a special day.

Continuing with the positive momentum, we have another electives morning planned for April 25th, and have included more offerings like hip hop, yoga, rock climbing, sushi making, wood work, and leather crafting. The positive student response has led to staff wishing to share even more of their interests.

If we are able to offer students more choice in their education, and allow them to co-create with staff in areas of interest and passion, we expect to see increased engagement. The success of our electives morning confirms this belief.

Watch the Video: Elective Day at Bakerview Centre for Learning

SEAN MCLAUGHLIN
Vice-Principal, Bakerview Centre for Learning