MICAH Week

MICAH WEEK is almost upon us, but what exactly is it? This is a preparatory week for the transition of Year 10 students into Year 11. Examinations take up part of the week but form only a small part of the overall plan. The philosophy is all about "good preparation and resilience."

"And what does the lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God (Micah 6:8)."

Introduction

MICAH WEEK is the product of an enthusiastic group of leaders at the College, led by Ged McCann, who came together in 2007 to help better prepare Year 10 students for the rigours and challenges of upper school.

The Deputy Principal for Curriculum proposed the introduction of examinations for lower school as a way to ease the transition into the higher academic skills required for TEE/WACE courses. The group seized the opportunity to make the proposed examination week into something more productive, preparatory and enjoyable. This led to a number of objectives:

  1. To practice examination procedures and familiarize the Year 10 students with the policies and expectations for assessments.
  2. To develop strategies to cope with examination stress.
  3. To develop organizational skills.
  4. To develop teamwork skills.
  5. To develop resilience.
  6. To become aware of the responsibilities of Year 11 students as leaders in the John XXIII College community.

In order to develop these important life skills, the group put together several cognitive and practical activities that built progressively towards a whole team challenge, The MICAH Cup.

The activities introduced and the aims of each are outlined in the following table:

Activity

Aims

Resources

Examination briefing

1,2

School Counselor/Deans of Year Ten & Year Eleven

Compassion

6

House Coordinators

Problem Solving exercises

3,4 and 5

House Coordinators/ Ged McCann/ Damian Owen

Reflection/Examen

2, 6

House Coordinators/ Chaplain/ Faith & Justice Coordinator

Coordinating the activities in a way that emphasizes the key points presents quite a challenge. It became obvious that "Problem Solving" was the perfect vehicle as facing a "challenge" and "tackling it logically" was the message that we wanted to impart on the students.

The Points system

Each activity involves the potential to accumulate points as a team. From being the first House group to arrive at an activity, to wearing the correct uniform for the activity, to being able to answer spot check questions about forthcoming activities (demonstrating good communication amongst the team)... there are endless opportunities throughout the week to reward and emphasize important life skills. The Problem Solving exercises become a metaphor for dealing with the challenges of Year 11 & 12.

Problem Solving (learning how to deal with challenges)

Ged McCann used a lot of his previous experiences from a former occupation to develop this program.

Session One

This starts with a workshop run in House groups under the direction of the House Coordinator. Tackling a simple problem through a scenario requiring logical thought helps one to build a scaffold. This scaffold involves identifying the:

  • aim/mission
  • priorities
  • resources
  • constraints
  • options

Out of these considerations comes the formulation of the plan. The students learn how to draw a schematic timeline with key activities identified. The key learning outcome is to plan concurrent activities and avoid distractions. These skills are very relevant to upper school success.

Session Two

This workshop is followed by an individual problem solving exercise done under examination conditions. Taking one hour, the students are given a whole lot of problems based on an impending natural disaster, a Tsunami. Each student submits a written plan to the House Coordinator (HC). Overnight, the HC reads through the plans and selects the best ones for further discussion in session three.

Session Three

Using a power point slideshow, the HC draws out the key points (see session one) from the whole group. As a group, the team develops one plan and forms a presentation team who will deliver the plan to the whole year group. The latter part of this session involves a demonstration of how to work through a typical MICAH Cup challenge.

Session Four

On the final day, each team has two leaders (the newly elected House Leaders) who are taken away from their teams and briefed by Ged McCann. A problem is verbally described and a written document containing essential information is given to each pair. The problem involves moving their team and material over an obstacle course. The pair is given 5 minutes to develop a quick estimate after which a whistle is blown and the whole team arrive to be briefed. No sooner have the team been briefed than another problem is hand delivered by the HC. The obstacle course is tackled by the team with additional problems/challenges continually coming along during the mission. This is the most enjoyable part of the week with all students being involved in some capacity. Contributing cognitively and/or physically or maybe just offering verbal support, each has a part to play. It develops great "esprit de corps" in the House. The key message becomes:

"doing nothing is not the answer!"

For further information regarding Micah Week contact Mr Ged McCann, Science Coordinator or Mr Damian Owen, Dean of Year Ten.