Middle School

Students entering Year 7 (the first year of the Middle School) are divided into multi-ability classes. All classes follow a common programme of subjects covering religious education, English, mathematics, science, study of society, physical education, Japanese, design and technology, art, graphics, music, dance, drama, home economics and information and communication technology.

Year 7 Curriculum

The Year 7 Curriculum comprises of four core subjects which include:

  • Core Studies A (Maths & Science)
  • Core Studies B (English, History & Geography)
  • Religious Education
  • Physical Education

Students will also be offered rotational subjects each term. These subjects will include but are not limited to: Catering, Art, Japanese, Industrial Technology and Design and Performing Arts.

Religious Education

Our aim at Shalom College is to provide a holistic education for the students in our care. This is reflected in our decision to include Religious Education in the formal curriculum of the junior school. Religious Education in its broadest sense involves many activities that will contribute to the spiritual formation of our students including: retreats, class masses, visits to the chapel and formal classes.

There are a number of reasons why we study Religion. Some people choose to study Religion because they are searching for meaning and purpose in their lives. Others again may not practice Religion but study Religion as a phenomenon, common to all cultures of history.

In the Middle School the formal Religious Education program covers a broad range of topics including Church history, Scripture, Social Justice, significant people, Catholic Sacraments and Catholic life.

Core Studies

Core Studies (formerly known as Integrated Studies) incorporates the learning areas of English, Mathematics, Science and Humanities & Social Science into one subject organized into two strands. Strand A integrates Mathematics and Science and Strand B, English and Humanities & Social Science.

As a consequence of the organization of Core Studies students spend most of their time in a home class shared by a team of two teachers. Teachers in each team specialize in both Mathematics and Science (Strand A) or English and Humanities & Socail Science (Strand B). These teaching teams plan together to facilitate integration both across Core Studies and the curriculum generally where opportunities can be identified.

Core Studies is a subject that applies much of the research of the "Middle Years of Schooling". Seeking to improve the learning outcomes for all students between the ages of 10 and 15, it was expanded into Year 9 in 2005 and is now a cornerstone of our Middle School Curriculum.

Why the change to Core Studies?

Research in the last ten years has shown that it is in the first years of secondary school that many young people turn off school and lose their sense of purpose and belief in themselves as learners. This has led educators to try middle school organisational models which directly respond to the needs of adolescents. At Shalom College this has resulted in interdisciplinary teaching teams using more integrated approaches to learning, the timetabling of larger blocks of teaching time and the widening of teaching strategies to include collaborative group work and a greater emphasis on reflective and self directed learning. Our aim is to develop 'lifelong and life-wide learning' in our students (Catholic Diocese of Rockhampton, 2003).

The Core Studies program was introduced into Year 8 in 2004 to replace the discrete subjects of English, Mathematics, Science and Humanities & Social Science. This was based on the belief that children learn best when they are able to make meaningful connections about information, and learning is not a fragmented set of content, skills and activities. The program does not totally do away with the distinction between Mathematics, Science, English and Humanities & Social Science. These remain important for the purposes of balance and organization and some topics will be treated as distinct subject areas. Each of the Core Studies units is designed to cater for a range of different learners and developmental stages.

Features of the Core Studies curriculum are:

  • a core curriculum featuring varying degrees of integration
  • a deeper coverage of material activating higher order thinking
  • an emphasis on literacy and numeracy
  • smaller teams of teachers who have a better chance to get to know their students well
  • larger uninterrupted blocks of time
  • a focus on active, challenging enjoyable, student-centred learning
  • encouragement of reflective and self-directed learning
  • strong links with home and community
  • the use of technology as an integral part of the student's learning
  • an inquiry approach that will be incorporated into each unit

Core Studies is the model for the ongoing implementation of the Key Learning Area syllabi across the Middle School.

Elective Subject Areas

The elective subject areas offered in the Middle School include:

  • Art
  • Business Education
  • Catering
  • Dance
  • Drama
  • Graphics
  • Industrial Technology and Design
  • Information Processing
  • Japanese
  • Multimedia Studies
  • Music
  • Physical Education
  • Technology Studies

Individual descriptions of each elective subject area are provided in the Middle School Subject Selection Booklet. It is expected that students will study four elective modules across two semesters in Year 9. Students will then have the opportunity to further refine their choices by selecting semester modules of particular interest for study in Year 10. Details of what is studied in each semester module are also included in the elective subject area descriptions within the Middle School Subject Selection Booklet. Elective modules may be changed as individual circumstances change. Procedures for subject change are outlined in the Student Record Book.

A copy of the latest Middle School Subject Selection Booklet is available for download here.

Subject Selection

Subjects are selected by students entering Years 9 or 10 through the completion of a Subject Selection Form. To complete the form students are required to select in numbered order of preference elective subject areas for Year 9 or semester modules for Year 10 that they are prepared to study. Detailed instructions and examples are included on each form.

Some elective subject areas or semester modules offered initially for selection do not proceed for a variety of reasons. The Principal reserves the right to determine subject viability and class membership based on merit if necessary. However, it is likely that most students will receive their first preferences. Students who do not receive any of their preferences or who have selected a subject area or module that has not proceeded will be consulted and given the opportunity to make a further selection.

We hope that parents and students will collaborate in the choice of elective subjects. Some issues to be considered when choosing subjects for further study are:

  • interest in subjects
  • performances to date in subjects
  • likely subjects to be studied in Years 11 and 12
  • future employment or career directions.

A Course Planner can be downloaded from our website here. The course planner is for personal use only and is not submitted as part of the subject selection process.

In addition, a Curriculum Overview can be downloaded here to illustrate how subject areas are developed through the College from Year 8 to Year 12. Students do not have to follow subject area pathways once selected. Most subject areas can tolerate different points of entry and exit by students. However, whilst there are no prerequisites for the study of subjects such as Accounting and Dance in Years 11 and 12 it is useful to have taken related subjects in Years 9 and 10 such as Business Education and Dance respectively. It is also strongly recommended that students who intend to take Senior Japanese select Japanese in Years 9 and 10.

Advice

All teaching staff at Shalom College are available to offer advice in relation to subject selection. However, subject specific queries should be directed to individual teachers and Learning Area Coordinators. Queries related to curriculum policy should be directed to the Principal or Assistant to the Principal – Curriculum. The Careers Advisor is also available to assist if necessary.