Just like students around the country, Haeata Community Campus students Manaia Mahuika-Davies and Bodie Barker gained NCEA Level 1 last year, but unlike most of those other students they also gained credits at other levels too.
Things are different at Haeata. Individual learning plans allow each student to explore their own interests to their full potential. NCEA standards are applied and assessed alongside that work. The individual learning model enables students to focus on one subject area or area of interest and therefore advance more quickly through the NCEA levels in that subject.
Manaia and Bodie, now in Year 12 at Haeata, have embraced this model. Last year they each achieved credits at all three levels, as well as developing their goal-setting, time management and workload management.
Last year, Manaia achieved NCEA Level 1 fully and gained 59 credits at Level 2 and eight at Level 3. This year she is working on an interactive art project that links to standards in both science and art. Her project focuses on the effects of plastics in our oceans. This grew out of an essay she wrote at the beginning of last year, for which she gained science credits.
Bodie achieved both Level 1 and Level 2 last year in maths, English and a sports and nutrition course at Ara, as well as a barista course. This year he is taking up various opportunities through Haeata, including a New Zealand Institute of Sport course on personal training, and developing his skills as a barista. His goal for the year is to achieve NCEA Level 3.
Achieving NCEA Level 3 is also Manaia’s big goal for this year, which would allow her to spend next year working and saving. She then hopes to go to university to study marine biology so that ultimately she can “help save the dolphins”.
Manaia’s study pathway typifies Haeata’s approach of encouraging its students to set a big goal and then work at it in smaller parts. “We have a weekly goal, term goal and a year goal,” Manaia says. “We focus on the weekly goal to get to the year goal.”
The approach brings particular challenges but also rewards. “You have to push yourself and be positive about it,” Manaia says. “But you learn how to do the research yourself, instead of always relying on the teacher to help. And you learn to ask others for help too.”
Bodie loves the opportunity to develop his passions and manage his own time. “I have a goal each day, so that I know I’m on track with my work, and I have the freedom to get experience in other areas while still managing my own workload,” he says.
Haeata provides many opportunities for students to engage outside the classroom. Manaia and Bodie have both been involved with the Student Volunteer Army, and the Red Shirts programme run by The Warehouse. These experiences help to widen students’ perspectives and expose them to options for after they finish school.
Instead of preparing students to head out into one job or one career path, the research-based modern learning model prepares students for a rapidly changing world and jobs that may not even exist yet.