A local school with a global outlook, St Andrew’s Anglican College in Peregian Springs has been awarded Best Co-Curricular Program at this year’s Australian Education awards.
The award-winning Global Learning Program, which focuses on building personal capacity and cultural intelligence, is a focal point for the College, offering a variety of service and experiential learning opportunities as well as training modules through the College’s research and innovation unit, St Andrew’s Institute of Learning (SAIL).
In a year where co-curricular programs have been difficult to execute due to social distancing and travel restrictions, the physical and hands-on nature of the program at St Andrew’s made it especially challenging.
However, Director of Sail, Mr Tim Barrett saw this as a learning opportunity and a chance to focus on growing the structure, integrity and foundations of the program at a grass roots level.
“Our regular service trips to Cambodia and Thailand, experiential learning trips to New York, China and Everest Base Camp, and visitations and exchanges with our Partner schools in China, Japan, Hong Kong, Singapore and Spain were all cancelled this year,” Mr Barrett said.
“This limited our communication with our partner schools to zoom calls and increasing our focus on local opportunities.
“What we can attest to is that 2020 gave us many examples of cultural intelligence (CQ) in action and, unfortunately, many instances when it was obviously lacking, We were able to draw on world events and help the students to observe, discuss, reflect and articulate how their global perspectives changed as a result.”
Whilst containing many different opportunities, the overarching aim of the Global Learning Program is to provide opportunities for students and staff to increase their cultural intelligence, build local and global connections, improve relevant skills and establish values and character that will allow them to become the change agents of tomorrow.
Whilst many schools might run similar trips, the thing that sets this co-curricular program apart is the CQ testing and training that is done in partnership with the Cultural Intelligence Centre (CIC) which is based in the U.S. These online training modules and face-to-face workshops are crucial in developing the right mindset and attitude when it comes to living and working with those from other cultures and backgrounds.
“Our program focused on building our students’ personal capacity in the areas of cultural intelligence, cross-cultural communication and ethical decision making,” Mr Barrett said.
“We believe that in a world that is increasingly interdependent, growing, and measuring the skills needed to function effectively in culturally diverse situations is incredibly important. This approach forms a key part of our strategic intent that seeks to ensure the holistic development of our students.
“The need to equip students with empathy, understanding and respect has been highlighted by recent world events in 2020.
“This Global Learning Program aims to not only influence St Andrew’s students and our Partner Schools but other students throughout Australia through the CQ testing and training aspect of this program through the St Andrew’s Institute of Learning.”
In 2015, the College first saw the need to develop CQ with students who participated in overseas trips and cultural exchanges. This stemmed from an observation that many of the students were from a monocultural background and, through no fault of their own, were not accustomed to thinking, speaking and acting in a way that was culturally appropriate. This would not only have an impact on their interactions with those from other cultures on school trips, but, looking ahead, it would negatively impact their ability to collaborate with those from different cultures in the global workforce of the future.