Hands on Learning is giving Mt Clear Secondary students another option at school

PRACTICAL: Students Kaiden, Katie, Matt, Mikaela and Jasmine with teacher Nathan Maultby and principal Lynita Taylor. Picture: Lachlan Bence
PRACTICAL: Students Kaiden, Katie, Matt, Mikaela and Jasmine with teacher Nathan Maultby and principal Lynita Taylor. Picture: Lachlan Bence

Hands on learning is giving students at Mt Clear Secondary College a different pathway to stay engaged at school.

For one day a week, 10 students spend time working on building projects around the school and in the community in the innovative Hands on Learning program.

“We introduced Hands on Learning because we wanted to make sure that every student at Mount Clear College had an opportunity to discover their talents and experience individual success, helping build self-esteem and strong pathways into the senior school,” said principal Lynita Taylor.

Students from year seven to 10 are renovating a shipping container on the school grounds to become the project’s headquarters. They have also built an aquaponics system for the Earth Ed group next door to the school.

The program, which has won acclaim for international educational experts, has proved a hit with the students taking part.

“I can’t sit and listen all day in class.  I need to be doing something and I’m better at hands on things,” said year nine student Jasmine.

“School is barely hands on in the classroom. We all learn all in different ways, so this might help most students thought their week at school,” said fellow participant Katie.

Hands on Learning schools development manager Lisa Vagg praised the school for “being brave enough to try something that isn’t traditional schooling for at least one day a week”.

Other schools who have had Hands on Learning established a little longer have completed community projects including bridge building, landscaping, installing exercise stations, bushfire regeneration, community hall maintenance and installing football oval seating and fences.

“The whole thing is about giving a whole range of students the opportunity to experience success at school. The important thing about Hands on Learning is that it’s located on the school site and caters for learning in a different way to enable students to build confidence, engage and achieve at school,” Ms Vagg said.

​“If they can have the opportunity to build success it builds their own confidence and what they can achieve. Self belief builds well-being which is a platform for literacy and numeracy success.”

Finnish education non-profit HundrED recently listed Hands on Learning among the 100 most inspiring education innovations from across the world.