Symposium, the Voice of Youth

Inspired by the Summit 2020, we last year launched a ‘Youth Symposium’ for our Year 11 English class. This has been a fantastic, purpose driven task that really helped to develop the leadership of our Year 11s as they prepared for provisional leadership in their final years at the college.

Last year, students focused on CHANGING OUR SCHOOL with symposium proposals that included: school lockers, a student study centre at the college, development of the Duke of Edinburgh Award, a ‘School Band’ and ‘Music’ program and laptops in school.

The Principal, Deputy Principal, Business Manager and a range of other classes (and teachers) were invited to attend the final Symposium presentation after a full rehearsal. Students commented that they were committed to their project presentation because they knew ‘that the people who were attending had the influence and money to make the projects happen’. Just what we had hoped! 

We have just launched a similar brief with our current (2010) Year 11’s and I have produced an overview of our progress (comments below). I would LOVE to hear if others have tried this and what success they have experienced.


One comment on “Symposium, the Voice of Youth

  1. SYMPOSIUM REPORT “How the Project has Unfolded”

    Week 1 – Ending 3rd September, 2010 – LAUNCH NOTES (MEETING ONE – 2 hours)

    •Joined two year 11 English classes together to launch our 2010 Symposium.
    •THEME: “Ellenbrook’s Next….” – Open to multiple interpretations!
    •Assessment Outline distributed to all students
    •Brainstormed over 60 ideas on the Whiteboard and photo taken of student ideas (I will post this later)
    •Mapped out a SAMPLE SYMPOSIUM TOPIC and the volume of research and information that would be required to make the proposal.
    •Outlined that this is a comprehensive six week project.
    •Collaboration activity – students work in groups of three or four.
    •Week One Goal – Clearly define project and roles.
    •Assessment incorporates a Journal Task for all students.
    Week 2 – Ending 10th September, 2010

    •Organising groups of ‘ideas’, what students have common ideas.
    •Identified key research questions and core aspects of their proposal.
    •Capturing a BROAD picture.
    •Introduced teacher as ‘project manager’ and ‘facilitator’ roles.
    •Will establish a clear ‘template’ for weekly progress for students, at least for first 2-3 weeks as their proposal takes shape.
    •All computer work requires a written statement of research intent
    •Commencing informational pathways with interview times established, emails, letters and phone questions approved by the teacher from each of the groups.
    •All groups formally ‘locked’ and research topics submitted to the teacher/s.
    •Review of research plan.
    Week 3 / 4 – Ending 24th September, 2010

    •Extensive research – included nearly 200 emails (each pre-approved and CCed to teachers), supervised phone calls (with written pre-planned questions) and one on one interviews
    •Research and Evidence Plans for school break
    •Guest invitations are sent out – includes Principal, Deputies, Heads, Finance Manager. Encouragement for all Year 10s to attend so they start to have ideas for their Symposium in 2011
    (2 Week Holiday Break – 1 Week Year 11 Camp)

    Week 5 – Presentation Preparation & Rehearsals – Ending 15th October, 2010

    Week 6 – Assessment (Pre-Presentation) – Ending 22nd October, 2010

    •Students are assessed pre-Symposium to tighten technical and oral presentation skills.
    •Selection of 5 teams for presentation
    •Remaining students will become the ‘hosts’ for the event and have a further opportunity to re-present their task to their teachers for re-assessment (i.e. ALL groups present TWICE)
    •Thrilled that of the 9 groups – 4 developed their own websites, 8 used powerpoint. We will video the student presentations and with permissions pending we will post their presentations, powerpoints and website proposals.

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