Canberra Trip 2016
At the start of Term 4, Year 10 spent three days in the national capital. During the tour, students were given the opportunity to participate in a variety of educational programs with a focus on Australia’s history, culture, heritage and democracy.
This year’s itinerary was packed full of rich and diverse learning experiences for the girls that sought to build their appreciation for an integrated approach to their learning. Traditional sites like Parliament House, the High Court, the National Museum and the War Memorial were the foundation for the tour, but the girls also had the opportunity to explore new sites this year like the National Arboretum which built their understanding of environmental issues and sustainability.
We were most fortunate this year to be able to witness Question Time in both the House of Representatives and the Senate. Girls were given 30 minutes in each chamber where they were able to witness debates such as the same-sex marriage plebiscite, the growing economic relationship between Australia and Singapore and government apprenticeship programs for young Indigenous Australians. Seeing these debates first-hand was a wonderful learning experience for the girls and certainly stimulated lots of discussion in the aftermath of our visit. Another highlight were the sound and light shows at the Australian War Memorial. The quality of these presentations is astounding, especially the one on WW1 fighter pilots which is directed by Lord of the Rings director, Peter Jackson. The visit to the National Gallery of Australia also provided girls with the knowledge that, contrary to popular opinion, Jackson Pollock’s Blue Poles is in fact not the most expensive art work in the gallery. The work of Romanian sculptor, Constantin Brancusi, entitled Bird in Space, is conservatively estimated to be worth $400 million. The girls were shocked by this, especially considering the light security around the piece and the fact that it was purchased in 1973 for just under $1 million!
These types of learning experiences are just a small snapshot of the value of experiential learning that took place on this trip. Being able to absorb these pieces of information through talking to guides and listening and observing their surrounding intently, showed the girls that some of the best learning can often take place outside the walls of the classroom.
It should be acknowledged that this tour was supported by the Australian government who recognise the importance of all young Australians to visit the national capital as part of their Civics and Citizenship education. To assist families in meeting the cost of the excursion the Australian government funds $20 per student under the Parliament and Civics Education Rebate program. This rebate is paid directly to the school at the completion of the excursion. This shows how aligned Loreto is to the values of the Australian government on this issue of Civics and Citizenship education.
Overall, the girls fully embraced all aspects of the Canberra experience and returned from their visit in high spirits and reinvigorated by the alternative approach to learning they experienced during their time away.
Mr Marco Scali
Head of History