Ambrose Treacy College Middle School provides a dynamic, intentional approach to teaching and learning that is responsive to the full range of needs, interests and achievements of young adolescent boys. Years 7, 8 and 9 are years of discovery and exploration in which boys build on the experiences and learning of their junior years and prepare for the rigours of the senior years. That is why our Middle School is discrete but not isolated from the Junior and Senior Schools.
At Ambrose Treacy College, we believe that the pastoral care of each boy is very important and underpins all activities. We are concerned about each boy’s development as a whole person: spiritually, academically, socially, emotionally and physically. Learning is optimised when boys feel safe and valued, and they believe that they belong and are capable of achieving success. Boys also need an environment in which mistakes are viewed as permissible and integral to the learning process whether on a sporting field or at a high level of academic pursuit. Our Middle School recognises this need for a specially tailored curriculum and learning environment where we care for, and show a personal interest in, our boys and engage them in interactive and collaborative approaches to their work. They are challenged and given opportunities to feel successful, through our relevant and student-centered curriculum.
A relevant curriculum is paramount in engaging the Middle-School learner. The three faculties of the Middle School, STEM (Science Technology, Engineering & Mathematics), Humanities and The Arts, have designed programs that relate the Australian Curriculum content to work in the real world. Projects are designed to take the Middle School young man beyond his immediate community, where he will learn to grapple with the realities of a globalised world.
The Australian Curriculum framework has been developed to ensure consistent high standards for what all young Australians should learn as they progress through schooling. Each week students in Years 7 & 8 will study the following subjects (the number of 45-minute lessons is listed after the subject): Religious Education (3), English (5), Humanities (5), Mathematics (5), Science (4) Health and PE (2), Japanese (2), Design and Technology (3), The Arts – Music, Art, Drama, Media Arts (3) Formation (1), School / Year Level Assemblies (2).
“People have to be capable of understanding and engaging with a globalised, complicated world, to be equipped to overcome the human propensity for tribalism, limitation, and self-interested short-termism.”
The Humanities, the study of English, Religious Education, History, Geography, and Languages, relate directly to the exploration and understanding of human nature and the human condition. They widen the horizon and deepen insight by introducing the student to diverse perspectives, experiences, and observations. They allow the student to confront new challenges, opinions, and assumptions. They encourage the student to ask thought-provoking questions, and to respond to these by considering differing outlooks and wisdom gathered over time. The Humanities equip students with two invaluable skills: the ability to understand the lessons and examples of the past and present and apply these to new circumstances in response to new challenges; and a capacity to think deeply, creatively and ethically. This kind of thinking allows our students to evaluate ideas and information, to solve problems, and to apply the lessons of experience. It equips them with the capacity to capitalise on new opportunities, to innovate, and to lead.
In our rapidly changing world, one of the fundamental purposes of education is to develop students so they’re equipped to respond to unpredictable changes and challenges, such as the new ways we must compete in a global economy. No matter what field our boys chose to pursue beyond their schooling, they need to be flexible, alert and well-informed if they are to become an effective member of society. Our contemporary world is tumultuous, noisy and fast paced. Humanities in our Middle School prepares students for this world by building on discipline-based studies in projects that connect the boys with each other and with local and international groups, and by providing an authentic context for applying their learning in real world contexts.
A strong, relevant humanities program, embedded in the global realities of today but anticipating the trends that will shape the future which aims to foster empathy and equip our boys for ethical action is the key to developing young men prepared for the world they will inhabit and, indeed, lead.
“At root, science forces us to reckon with the truth as best as we can ascertain it. Science cannot supplant our ethics, our values, our principles, or our faith, but science can inform those things, and help put these values, that faith, to work – to feed a child, to heal the sick, to be good stewards of this earth.”
In our day to day life, we are surrounded by and dependent upon the products of Science as perhaps never before. This is simultaneously a source of great comfort and convenience and a profound challenge. The study of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) cannot be underestimated as a preparation for active participation in modern society. Not only does it open up the possibility of careers in a wide variety of professions, but it enables boys to be informed participants in vital political and personal decision-making.
Innovation is key to solving the challenges of the future and STEM is a key driver of innovation. STEM education and skill development are the foundation of the industries of tomorrow. The research is clear: an inquiry-based, practical and relevant approach to teaching and learning STEM, produces the most positive outcomes and will best prepare our boys for their future.
Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics are a priority at Ambrose Treacy College. These learning areas challenge our boys to solve real problems relevant to their world. The concepts are taught in a way that connects them to their purpose and application in the real world. When boys see relevance, they engage. Partnerships with universities and industry allow us to create meaningful projects designed to switch on all learners in these vital areas. A rich co-curricular offering in the STEM program and a rigorous pedagogical approach provide opportunities for our boys to fully explore specific interests in and beyond the classroom.
“Especially now, as we all must confront the fallacy of a market-only orientation, uninformed by social conscience; we must seize and celebrate the power of the arts to shape our individual and national characters, and especially characters of the young people, who all too often, are subjected to bombardment of sensation, rather than digested experience…”
It has been long established that involvement in the arts is associated with gains in mathematics, reading, cognitive ability, critical thinking, visual analysis and verbal skill development. Studies have linked participation in the arts with the ability to learn from mistakes and the capacity to make better critical judgments. Learning in the arts can also improve motivation, concentration, confidence, and teamwork. However, as Ken Robinson, a passionate advocate for arts education reminds us, “The arts are not just important because they improve Maths scores, they are important because they speak to parts of children’s beings which are otherwise untouched.”
Together, the Visual Art, Media Arts, Music and Drama learning areas offered at Ambrose Treacy College invite deep exploration and expression of human experience. They provide a space for contemplation, for open discussion and for creativity. Learning experiences in The Arts have been specifically designed to help boys see and respond to their world in new ways.
The artistic experience also brings intrinsic pleasures. The enjoyment of participation is justification alone for this vital component of a middle school education. At ATC, each boy’s studies in The Arts will complement the programs in the Humanities and STEM, to provide a well-rounded, broad education.
“The arts, whatever they do, whenever they call us together, invite us to look at our fellow human being with generosity and curiosity. God knows, if we ever needed that capacity in human history, we need it now.”