“Video games are a huge part of my life and mixing a boring class with one of my favorite things in the world makes for a great class,” he said.
Many students have disabilities which make it more difficult to learn. Mr. Sproule said it was a source of great pride to see them get excited about their writing projects.
“We have a no homework policy at school, but they send messages saying they write it down in the evening, ready to go out in the morning,” he said.
“It’s really invigorating to watch.”
University of New England School of Education program director Dr Robyn Cox said initiatives like Level Up are a fantastic thing for schools.
“People are trying to innovate all the time, absolutely,” she said.
“It’s multimodal literacies – whatever they do when they play. There is some very good outcome research that shows these skills are transferable. “
Dr Cox said that while the innovation is admirable and important, educators need to walk a fine line to ensure the curriculum stays aligned with established teaching standards and assessments.
This was a priority for Mr. Sproule, who made learning a fluent English subject a prerequisite for moving to the next level. He said the positive effects of the class spill over into the rest of the students’ studies.
“They write a lot more now and they’re a lot more confident,” he said.
“I walked past two kids and they were talking about commas. I have been teaching for eight years and have never seen two athletic children discuss punctuation before.
“It was a light bulb moment; like that, it’s something we’re really going to be able to work with.
Ross Huggard, a board member of the Victorian Association for the Teaching of English, said Victorian schools used to evolve subject content to suit students’ interests.
“Victoria was actually at the forefront of introducing films into English studies,” he said.
“It’s about showing students that English has different elements and is needed in different ways, to help them recognize that there are different ways that English works that affect them and that they don’t. Often don’t see it, they think it’s hard and dusty work and it’s not. “
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