Advancement Via Individual Determination (AVID) is a highly successful and innovative teaching program which supports students with academic and organisational skills.
AVID is underpinned by five key skills: Critical Writing, Inquiry, Collaboration, Organisation and Critical Reading (WICOR). The College runs AVID elective classes as well as using the strategies school-wide in every class.
Students enrolling at the College to commence in Year 7 have the opportunity to apply for entrance into the AVID elective. Students who undertake the elective will have two periods of AVID in Year 7 and then three periods a week from Year 8. In the AVID elective class, students undertake a rigorous and engaging curriculum that extends and develops their skills in the five key areas of WICOR. Developing these skills allows students to succeed in all their subjects and sets them up for success in both VCE and tertiary education.
AVID students are ambitious and aspirational. They spend time thinking about their futures and determining what they will need to do in order to reach their goals. From Year 8 onwards, students in the AVID elective participate in weekly tutorials. In a tutorial, students work collaboratively in groups of 5-7 to address points of confusion in their coursework; drawing new strategies for learning during this process.
Students also have the opportunity to attend excursions to universities, so that they are exposed to the learning and entry requirements of tertiary education. Students undertake regular binder, diary and Cornell note checks to ensure they are able to meet important deadlines in their school work.
At VUSC, the WICOR strategies are implemented school-wide. This includes the use of a binder, which students use to organise their Cornell notes and resources for every subject.
Cornell note-taking is a system every student uses in all subjects. Cornell notes are designed to support student learning by teaching them to identify new vocabulary, summarise their ideas, take detailed and well-organised notes, and develop questions about their notes in order to test themselves later. Students are expected to review their notes 10 minutes after writing them, 24 hours later, and then after 7 days in order to retain new information they have learnt in class.
All students at the College are encouraged to work collaboratively with their peers, in order to develop interactive and leadership skills. Students regularly participate in activities which develop these skills. For example, Philosophical Chairs enable students to discuss and debate ideas, and Socratic Seminars encourage students to develop key questions, and discuss texts they have read with strong perspective.
Students’ comments about the AVID Program:
“Being in the AVID program has been one of the most important decisions in my life. AVID has changed me in many ways. It made me feel more confident in almost every way. It taught me lots of skills and gave me many tips on studying and public speaking. After one year of study in the AVID group, I can now use my time more efficiently both in school and at home. I can have better exam revisions using my Cornell Notes. AVID also give me the chance to discover universities and professions. I decided to become an aerospace (astronautical) engineer. If I wasn’t in AVID, I would probably not have found out that there is such an interesting job as an aerospace engineer.”
“Tutorials helped me in all my subjects. They helped me to answer difficult questions and made my homework easier by having a tutor to guide me and help me better understand it.”
“An AVID Socratic Seminar is a group activity where everyone has to work together as a team and collaborate with others like a debate; it is also a great opportunity for kids to share their opinions and thoughts to everyone. During the Socratic Seminar I was scared in case everyone would laugh at me when I made a mistake, but then I learnt that without mistakes in your life you can’t improve or fix your mistakes. In a Socratic Seminar, it is a place where everything you say or do is neither wrong nor right. A Socratic Seminar is where people get inspired to speak up and share what they are thinking.”
“The AVID program has shown me that I can be successful and has taught me different kinds of skills that I can use in the future.”
“A key point of AVID is WICOR (Writing, Inquiry, Collaboration, Organisation and Reading). Inquiry is asking and writing questions. Questioning increases your speaking confidence by encouraging you to speak in front of your classmates and other audiences. Collaboration is discussing the work with other classmates or in AVID we have tutorials, where we ask questions to students who are battling a certain question in another subject, with help from tutors from Victoria University. Organisation is a KEY to AVID. What if you were in a job interview and your paperwork was a mess, they wouldn’t want to hire a disorganised employee would they? So that’s why AVID has binders that are checked regularly for neatness and to make sure they are organised. Reading and Writing – everyone has to learn to read and write. Reading makes your vocabulary expand.”