Broadening Horizons

For Educators

Why get involved in Broadening Horizons

The Broadening Horizons program was established in 2013 as a joint commitment between the Department of Education and Training and the former Gippsland Regional Managers Forum. It was initiated to focus on the development and delivery of a real life workplace learning model aimed at increasing the rate of positive outcomes for young people in Gippsland.

The Broadening Horizons program vision is to:

  • Build aspiration for students, teachers and families
  • Improve student engagement in their learning and school completion rates; and
  • Contribute to the prosperity, social and economic growth of Gippsland communities

To work towards this vision, the aims of Broadening Horizons are to:

  • Engage families and the broader community in the student’s learning and aspirations
  • Establish partnerships with industries that entail the delivery of a co-design and co-facilitation approach to student learning; and
  • Develop and implement an innovative learning model that provides meaningful, ongoing workplace linked learning opportunities and develops 21st century skills.

How Broadening Horizons benefits the student:

  • Improves student education aspiration specifically in regard to further and tertiary education.
  • Develops student skills in collaborative problem solving and develops an awareness of the skills required for the 21st century future world of work.
  • Develops individual character strengths and employability skills.
  • Develops skills in creativity and innovative thinking.
  • Develops individual capacity for reflection and evaluation.
  • Develops a personal learning journey that is goal orientated.
Students meeting Industry Partners in a Workshop

Narelle Loechel leads the Broadening Horizons program at Traralgon College, where the program is offered to students in year eight and taught as part of the curriculum to all students in year nine. She said it helped students develop a range of skills, including problem solving, teamwork, public speaking and social interaction, and proved they could achieve things they previously thought were unachievable. 

“It gives them a chance to use the skills for real, in situations which can’t be taught in the classroom, and the students feel like the work they do and the contribution they make is valuable,” she said. 

“The students are more engaged with their learning because what they are doing is real and they can see that everything they are doing is meeting a need in their community, and they are giving back. 

“When you get them out in to the real world and remove the protection of the school building they step up and shine in situations they did not think were possible, and the pride and confidence they have in themselves at the end of the program is amazing.” 

The ‘Broadening Horizons’ program, sees secondary and primary schools partner with local organisations, agencies and community groups to allow students and industry to work together to identify local issues and develop solutions, all while helping the students develop career aspirations and learn life skills which cannot be taught in a classroom. This year, more than 900 students from 15 schools across Gippsland participated in Broadening Horizons, a model of learning incorporated into the school curriculum which aims to get students

Teaching and staff involvement

Commitment from the school Principal and support for lead teachers who deliver the work in the schools is critical to the success of the delivery. Leaders and teachers in the schools recognised that the success of the program has in large part been due to the disposition of the staff involved in facilitating its implementations.

Ask any teacher and their ultimate goal and reward is to have a direct impact on the lives of the community. Their career in teaching is a career for life, one that feeds their heart and mind and helps to grow personally and professionally.

Broadening Horizons not only challenges the student but you as a teacher. Handing over the reigns of the class into the hands of the students to take control of their own learning can be quite confronting for a teacher. This program will enhance your passion for teaching and help you to grow personally and professionally.

For the success of delivery in class, a teacher needs to be open minded, be approachable, a guide, an influencer, build confidence, be active and encouraging. Through-out delivery, the Broadening Horizons learning model will be implemented: Understand, Design, Deliver and Evolve has a focus on development of the enterprise skills and character strengths needed in the 21st century workplace and growth mindsets. Educators and organisations use this model to work collaboratively, co designing and co-delivering units of work to students from Grade 5 to Year 9, in primary and secondary schools across Gippsland with a commitment to delivering the work in line with the Broadening Horizons principles.

Raising student engagement and aspirations

Educators are encouraged to engage with the learning model, to develop a plan of implementation with their partner, to get their students off site into the partner’s workspace and broader community. This style of learning and model of delivery is not rigid – it is a way of engaging the Victorian Curriculum in an innovative way that is tailored to the students learning needs. The schools that use this model of learning reported an increased level of engagement with school as this style of learning tends to be hands on and allow for creativity. The students, while initially challenged with the complexity of this style of learning, reflected that they appreciated the level of flexibility they had with approaching the model. They also recognised how what they were learning would be used in a workplace.

Classroom delivery

The way in which the actual learning looks for each partnership varies and is dependent on the school environment and student needs. The work is delivered differently in each school and the way in which industry participates is different for each school. For example, some schools deliver Broadening Horizons across the entire school year, others choose to deliver it across a school term and others deliver it across a school semester. Some schools deliver the work to small groups within their cohort and other schools deliver the work to entire year levels.

Questions when determining mutual benefits are:

  • How will this be positive for my school?
  • How does it align with our strategic plan?
  • How will this benefit my students?
  • How will this support my students skill development at their point of need?
  • How will this expose my students to a workplace and real work?
  • How does this support my community?
  • How open am I to negotiate with my industry partner?
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