Bayfield pupils do all their own work

Bayfield High School year 10 pupils (from left) Georgia Auckram, Gemma Cleaver and Penny Woods ...
Bayfield High School year 10 pupils (from left) Georgia Auckram, Gemma Cleaver and Penny Woods (all 14) in front of the Dunedin - Creating a Big Picture exhibition, which they helped conduct research to create. Photo by Peter McIntosh.

Things are a'changin' in classes at Bayfield High School.

It used to be that teachers spoon-fed pupils all the information they needed, from the front of a classroom, using books or electronic media.

But, more recently, year 10 pupils at the school have become the first generation to learn subjects such as English, social studies, statistics and history all at once through the school's new Integrated Research Unit.

Pupils have created a large exhibition titled ''Dunedin - Creating a Big Picture'', by researching a Dunedin event or person.

Along with learning how to conduct an interview, pupils have been able to explore aspects of Dunedin's rich history, as well as improve their comprehension, creative writing skills, speech skills and formal writing.

Media studies head teacher and English teacher Lynda Scott-Araya said the pupils' work ranged from filmed interviews to posters to power point presentations to the production of books.

They have interviewed community members, friends, family, teachers, and staff members of Larnach Castle, the Otago Daily Times and Toitu Otago Settlers Museum, she said.

The new style of teaching is starting to be used in other schools, and Ms Scott-Araya said it seemed to be becoming a popular way to teach English, social studies, maths and history.

''I'm avoiding spoon-feeding them the information because it caters for their different styles and different speeds of learning.

''This way, they will remember the information much better.''

The pupils agree.

Gemma Cleaver (14) believed it was a far easier and more interesting way to absorb the information.

''It's more enjoyable seeing it first hand rather than just reading about it in books. We're actually doing it. If you research it yourself and see it for yourself, you understand it better.''

The exhibition will be on display during the school's open night later this month.

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