Callan Bolst on Toronto Campus News

On show: news production models practical pedagogy

Friday, November 8, 2019
Immersive experiences add value to Avondale education courses

An Avondale teacher education student observing innovative use of technology in the classroom became part of the observation when interviewed by primary-aged children on television.

Bachelor of Arts/Bachelor of Teaching (Primary) student Callan Bolst appeared on Toronto Adventist School’s Toronto Campus News (TCN) during a visit as part of a unit exploring approaches to education within the Australian Curriculum framework.

Given a clipboard with his script and taken to makeup, Bolst took direction “from the get-go” from a production team led by Year 5 student Stephen Tasker, the director of the shoot. What impressed Bolst the most: seeing software program Final Cut Pro used with confidence. The editor completed post-production tasks such as audio sweetening and chroma keying “without hardly any guidance at all.”

An initiative of teacher Andrea Thompson, TCN involves every student in Years 3-6. According to an article in the TEACH Journal of Christian Education, the students apply in writing and sit an interview for production roles including camera operator, editor, newsreader, reporter, scriptwriter, sound technician, stage manager, teleprompter and wardrobe assistant.

Collaboration is key. Students pitch stories for the program and then, as a group, select which stories to include and the order in which they will appear. Once stories are assigned, students draft and write scripts on Apple iPads, one of which they use as a teleprompter during filming. In addition to their production roles, students also create content, including taking photographs and shooting videos, for a behind-the-scenes blog.

The authenticity—TCN features on the school website, in the worship service of the campus church and at school events such as Open Day—“enhances the learning experience and motivates the students,” says Bolst. As a teacher education student completing school placements with other digital natives, he understands his students may teach him about information and communication technology. “If you’re open to leaning from them, the classroom becomes a much richer experience, for you and for them.”

The response will please the head of the School of Education, Bev Christian. As lecturer for Primary Curriculum Studies: From Theory to Practice, she uses innovative learning initiatives in partner schools to expose teacher education students to “the endless possibilities of educating students in creative, engaging ways.”

The class also observed a gardening program at Toronto as part of the nature pedagogy movement, listened as Year 3 students at Avondale School led them on a Captain-Cook-and-indigenous-Australians voyage of discovery using project-based learning, joined the staff of a hospital in an immersive Year 3 program, also at Avondale, and learned as Year 4 students at Avondale initiated them into the world of computer coding as part of the school’s STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) program.

In addition to Seventh-day Adventist Christian education, Bolst and his third-year primary teaching classmates have also explored other approaches to education, including the International Baccalaureate program and Steiner, Montessori and Forest schools. “I want them to grapple with the idea that a school’s philosophy guides its purpose and practice,” says Christian. “We can explore philosophy, purpose and practice through research and discussion, but nothing compares to watching it live in the classroom.”

Toronto Campus News

Watch Toronto Adventist School Year 6 students Jessica and Jasper interview Avondale teacher education student Callan Bolst on Toronto Campus News.

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