Our Diamond Education Model allows us to honour everything educational research advises us about providing a great education.
At St Margaret’s Berwick Grammar children are taught together in the Junior School to help them develop positive relationships with the opposite sex. As they approach their teenage years, they are then separated to allow us to tailor our teaching to suit the different learning styles of girls and boys. We do this as there are a number of subtle differences in the preferred learning styles and support needs of boys and girls. For example, boys typically have shorter attention spans and benefit from practical teaching methods. Girls typically have longer attention spans but often lack confidence in their own abilities, particularly in STEM subjects. These differences can have a direct impact on educational outcomes. As a diamond school we are able to tailor our teaching styles to give every pupil the opportunity to excel.
Diamond schools are also unaffected by traditional gender stereotypes which means more girls choosing STEM subjects and more boys taking up creative subjects and getting involved in the performing arts.
The senior years (11 and 12) of schooling pupils are then brought back together again for some subject electives. We do this as we recognise that these years are a critical transition point for young people – emotionally, socially, and educationally. These final years see great possibilities for students as they learn, grow and serve. These years should provide all students with the high-quality, relevant and engaging education that choosing academic subjects afford and the support necessary to complete their secondary school education.
By the time students reach the senior years, they have sufficiently matured and established themselves academically. Students can cope with a mixed gender classroom environment and become better prepared for their life at university or in the world of work.
Senior students who participate in shared learning environments grow in their learning. Their greater maturity levels allow students to be intelligently engaged in learning for longer. Shared learning promotes an increase in perspective taking as boys and girls can greater appreciate each other’s views, thereby increasing communication and collaboration. Shared learning environments allow young women to present their ideas confidently in a mixed context and understand the male perspective, whilst enabling young men to participate confidently and learn to understand and respect the female point of view.
A further benefit of this approach is that the students experience a growth in subject choice enabling teachers to focus on their specialised subject area. Thus allowing for the maximum number of courses to be delivered to senior students.
Teaching and learning in select electives in the Senior College, equips students in their final years of learning for the VCE, future study, employment beyond school and successful adult lives.
The Diamond model is particularly appealing to parents with sons and daughters because their children can be taught in a way that best suits their gender while ensuring they share the same core St Margaret’s Berwick Grammar values.