About Alia College, Melbourne.
Alia College is a small, not-for-profit, independent, secondary school.
It is registered with the State Government [No. 1981] and Federal Government [No. 16610] and receives funding from both.
Alia is also registered by the Australian Government to accept overseas students [CRICOS 02448G].
The college has a mainstream academic focus aiming for the best possible tertiary entrance score along with a style that is variously described as holistic and/or community and/or democratic and/or family-like.
Alia college does not fit easily into any of the usual categories of schools.
We do not fit with the other strongly academic schools because we are so considerate of students' concerns and feelings, and because we do not ascribe to the militaristic discipline and uniform dress requirements of the traditional English public schools, and because we are so supportive of students who are artistic, creative or practical.
We do not fit with the usual alternative, progressive, holistic, caring, community type schools because of our high expectations of academic learning, in particular mathematics, sciences and languages.
Bob Morgan - The Alia College Founder and Principal
Alia College is the dream child of Bob Morgan, an educator with over 40 years of teaching experience.
For a number of years he has also given addresses at conferences of Mathematics and Science teachers on teaching methods, discipline and school atmosphere.
Bob had a growing frustration with problems in the traditional schools in which he had always taught; and as his own children came to secondary school age he began to think about making a difference.
He met up with like minded educators and began gathering teachers and students around a vision of the school that is here today.
The school is built around values of tolerance, creativity, self-expression, respect and responsibility. The problem of course is that every school can say that, and people are so used to hearing spin that nothing can be believed until it is observed.
Bob found that giving students a real voice in school matters that affected them had a remarkable effect on their stress levels and their academic performance. However he also found serious resistance to this approach among most teachers.
Even most parents feel that allowing greater freedom of expression to students simply disadvantages the quieter and more sensitive students. However we found that if the cultural settings are developed carefully from the start, then students naturally develop into co-operative and caring school members.
Once students see that the other students are already happy, cheerful and co-operative they are able to relax their natural level of defensiveness and engage in study with interest and much greater productivity.
The more common assumption is that students are naturally irresponsible and need to be compelled to do the right thing. This assumption can lead to behaviours in both students and teachers which can become a self-fulfilling prophesy.
A similar problem occurs with rigid punishment systems. Rules used to be enforced with a sense of reasonableness. Now it seems almost unprofessional to have a sense of humour.
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