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Learning Outcome 5

Reflect on how the school structure (physical environment, committees, extra-curricular activities etc.) impacts student learning.

Throughout the semester, I have been able to observe and collect evidence of the student learning enviornment. In the main art room, there are long tables that are separated into rows that fit 4 students that are spread out to make it accessible for students with physical difficulties. The art supplies are organized in the front with materials such as rulers, pencils, pens, markers, crayons etc. that makes it easy for students to access while the other tools and construction materials such as hammers, screwdrivers, saws etc.are stored in drawers or cupboards. There is also a shelf for visual arts resources for teachers as well as art history books and art techniques for students to read. The flammable materials and other such as spray paint are kept in a bright yellow cabinet that is only accessible with a key from a teacher to provide to students. Safety rules, instructions and precautions are labelled on this cabinet. There are also 3 sinks/washing stations, a kiln room and throwing wheels used for cermaics. In the photography classroom, there are access to windows desktops and adobe programs such as photoshop for student use. The room comes equipped with a smartboard and there is a backdrop with lighting equipment accessible for students to conduct photoshoots. Students have access to professional cameras that are safely stored and locked in a closet as well as a memory cards and charging stations for camera batteries. Posted in each classroom are the health and safety procedures, stairwell exits for emergencies and they are also decorated with students' artworks across bulletin boards. Students have access to school computers that can be used in the classroom during lessons, for research or for work periods as well as the options to use school iPads. In my walk around the school, there are also Bible quotes for inspiration as well as student painted murals that represent the identity and interests of the school. I noticed that through the access to various materials, technology such as computers with advanced editing software like Photoshop and having their artworks represented in the school garners student interest in the arts through its hands-on learning approach.

My mentor teacher is the SHSM lead for Arts and Cultures so I had the opportunity to learn about student co-op experiences. I have learned that Urban Grant often works alongside JCM's SHSM team to provide funding as well as the Angel Foundation to support students in their learning opportunities off school property. For example, a student had the opportunity to participate in a dance co-op and teach younger students about dance, while another student had the opportunity to learn about 3D animation from the field. I also had the opportunity to go on a field trip to support senior SHSM students at their competition to see their skills on display alongside other SHSM students across the Catholic board. I have learned that through experiential learning programs like SHSM, students are able to gain hands-on and real world experiences in various areas of interests that they might have not known or had previous access to. I have also learned from talking to students that they are interested in technology, sports and trades. Gaining these real experiences through the SHSM program offered at the school and learn from people in the community and/or field has been beneficial to student learning since it encourages them to actively engage in real world experiences and further develop their own interests for potential career paths. The goals of SHSM can be directly linked to John Dewey's book "Experience and Education" and specifically, his theory of experiential learning that looks at how students can become actively engaged in their own learning if it is connected to hands-on, real world experiences that are meaningful to them as learning is best gained through these experiences.

I have also had the opportunity to participate in extra-curricular activities such as Art Club. During this club led by my mentor teacher alongside the department head, we spend the time discussing activities that students are interested in doing as well as cleaning and organizing the art classrooms, hanging up student artwork and discussing how to display them around the school. Other opportunities I know is that there is a breakfast club every morning for students to have access to a full meal in the morning that is free for all. There are also various sports teams that students can sign up to participate in as well as other clubs such as video game club, anime club, eco club etc. that is built around student interest. These extra-curricular activities and clubs helps establish a sense of community and connects students across the school that they might not encounter often but are brought together in their shared interests that are meaningful to them. Below are images that demonstrate this outcome. Please click on them for more details.


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