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New AVID event prepares students for university

The recent AVID Spring Student Institute encouraged primary and secondary school students to aspire to tertiary education by simulating the university learning experience.

The inaugural AVID Spring Student Institute was the latest initiative from the AVID Australia program to engage and further develop students to reach their full potential, and took place from 4-5 September 2014, at Victoria University's City Flinders Campus.

Since 2009, the AVID (Advancement Via Individual Determination) university-readiness program, with the support of HEPPP funding, has educated more than 7500 students across 23 sites in Australia, and continues to grow.

AVID is defined by its holistic approach to education which enables it to reach and improve the educational outcomes of students at AVID schools, especially those from disadvantaged and underachieving backgrounds.

Chief Investigator for AVID Australia, Claire Brown (also Associate Director of The Victoria Institute) says the AVID Spring Student Institute was an opportunity for students to network with fellow AVID students, further develop their critical thinking skills and engage in global issues.

"AVID has now been operating in Australia for nearly 6 years. We would like to create a student learning community to allow learners from around the country to stay in contact with one another. This event served as an initial phase for establishing such a network," said Claire.

"We encourage students to develop into critical thinkers who are aware of their responsibilities as global citizens and have the confidence and know-how to lead change in their schools and community." 

The event boasted a vibrant line-up of leading academic, student and guest speakers. Nick Allardice, Founder and Director of Change.org shared his insights on empowering millions of people to achieve social change, in his keynote presentation.

University modelled workshops led by prominent thought leaders such as Professor Roger Slee (Director of The Victoria Institute), Professor James Arvanitakis and Dr Tim Corcoran gave students an introduction to learning and thinking like a tertiary student.

The final day of the conference gave attendants from each school the chance to have their say, in a Socratic styled seminar, for which Senator Scott Ryan, Parliament Secretary to Federal Minster for Education was in attendance.

Claire believes Socratic seminars help to augment students’ existing academic skills and during the process they develop confidence in their leadership and academic ability.

"The Socratic seminars form a key part of the AVID program's methodology. Students help one another to understand ideas, issues, and the values of a specific topic which in turn develops their critical thinking skills and ability to engage in collaborative dialogue. This exercise serves as a means for students to think deeply about what they've learned and consolidate it," said Claire.

"AVID Spring Student Institute is about giving those students who are capable, but have not been identified as aspiring leaders, a chance to demonstrate their potential."

Fast facts on AVID

  • AVID Australia has educated over 7500 students in 23 sites across Australia.
  • In 2011, The Victoria Institute received Commonwealth HEPPP competitive funding of $1.4m for the implementation and research into the AVID program in Australia.
  • The Victoria Institute annually hosts the AVID Summer Institute, a professional learning program for AVID teachers. In 2013, 300 educators attended.
  • AVID was developed over 30 year ago in the USA and has noticeably improved the educational outcomes of millions of students in America. 
  • There are currently over 700,000 AVID students in the USA.

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