Cavendish Road State High School
At Cavendish Road State High School, students are turning up early for class to stake their place at a new innovation lab which has writable furniture, LCD screens and a variety of learning spaces.
This year Cavendish Road State High School (CRSHS) junior school students have fewer assignments, helping to drive up the number of As being achieved in English and History. The strategy has also freed up precious time for students to study a new Philosophy subject.
CRSHS students are able to study under the Academy of Ideas – which combines Philosophy, Archaeology, Problem solving, Sustainability and Creative Writing, and is the first of its kind in Queensland – and under the Academic Excellence Program (AEP), which links them with the University of Queensland (UQ), Griffith University (GU) and Queensland University of Technology (QUT).
These changes and initiatives at CRSHS, aimed at increasing student engagement, achievement and creative and critical thinking, are being led by Strachan (Strak) Kosanovic, who is a finalist in the Queensland College of Teachers (QCT) Excellent Leadership in Teaching and Learning Award.
Strak collaborated with the Dream Factory to create an innovation lab.
“There are writable walls, writable desks, there’s LCD screens, there’s data projectors that are linked up – it just makes for a wonderful place to teach and the students really enjoy it,” Strak says.
“We literally do have students turning up early to get into the classroom because they want to sit at certain booths and different places, depending on their style of learning.”
He says the lab was helping to increase engagement, which was “such a crucial part of education”.
Strak created and led the formation of the AEP, which partners CRSHS with UQ, QUT, GU, Australian Future Problem Solvers and three state schools. Under the initiative, experts in Forensics, Archaeology, Philosophy, Mathematical Problem Solving and STEM areas work with students.
The Humanities Head of Department has been selected for the Aspiring Leaders Program and is a Queensland Curriculum and Assessment Authority Ancient History Panellist.
He says all of the initiatives he is leading would be impossible without his staff. The former member of the Australian Defence Force is particularly passionate about his students developing critical thinking.
“The Melbourne Declaration made that (critical thinking) as important a focus as literacy and numeracy, so I think we are doing our students a disservice if we are not teaching them how to be critical and creative thinkers,” Strak says.
QCT Director John Ryan thanks Strak for his innovative thinking, his initiative and the enormous difference he is making for students at CRSHS and surrounding feeder schools.
The winners of the QCT Excellence in Teaching Awards will be announced on 27 October, on the night before World Teachers’ Day is celebrated in Australia.
Congratulations Strak on being a finalist.