Change in Action 2021


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The World Economic Forum* identifies skills needed for our future workforce, updating the list annually with emerging employability skills. Critical thinking and problem-solving top the list of skills employers believe will grow in prominence in the next five years. Newly emerging are skills in self-management such as active learning, resilience, stress tolerance and flexibility.

The QAHS Change in Action problem-based learning intensive was launched in 2020, with input from our Academy community, in a desire to engage students in the skills of collaboration, problem solving, analytical and critical thinking to address a compelling real-world problem.  Student delegations are asked to design a solution to the problem through the lens of a United Nations sustainability goal and to ensure the solution is one for all, inclusive of the needs of vulnerable groups.

The 2021 Change in Action Problem: 137 countries have committed to carbon neutrality by 2050. Australia is not currently one of them. To what extent can Australia reduce its net carbon emissions by 75% by 2030?

Delegations were asked to delve into recently released research from the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

The four day program was peppered with engaging presentations on climate change education by Professor Cutter-Mackenzie-Knowles from Southern Cross University; information literacy by Mrs Kary Stratton and teamwork by Mrs Alita Lee.

The program culminated in a Presentation Expo held in the Lecture Theatre today where delegations presented as the Australian delegations to the United Nations Conference on Climate Change (due to be held in Glasgow, Scotland in November 2021)  with critique questions from fellow delegations and feedback from our expert panellists Ms Julia Styrylska and Mr Timm Hayer.

Today's Presentation Pitch Expo was superbly hosted by Year 10 students Mathilda Bester and Samuel Brown. The Expo drew on feedback from our invited expert panellists. We were joined by Ms Julia Styrylska who is highly credentialed in the legal implications of Climate Change. Ms Styrylska holds a Master's degree in Law with a thesis written on the legal status of the Arctic and its environmental protection in the light of the  Law of the Sea from Jagiellonian University, Krakow, Poland. She also holds a Master in Maritime Law with a thesis in CO2 reduction in the international maritime industry in the light of international law from the University of Oslo, Norway.  Julia has held positions with The Directorate-General for Mobility and Transport, part of the European Commission responsible for transport within the European Union and with the Polish Government's Executive Agency. We were also joined by Mr Timm Hayer, Senior Education Officer in STEM.

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I reserve the final commendation for our Year 10 cohort. The level of critique questions to delegations from an audience of their peers showed insight on how addressing productive design solutions around evidence, scalability, feasibility and value will contribute positively to the Climate Change problem. Having their voices heard by their peers with mature questions from the floor generated a dynamic for this culmination of the Change of Action intensive that left us all feeling that the learnings of this week will inform not just the IB journey, but the futures for all.

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A selection of reflective comments from Year 10 students this week revealing learnings in teamwork:

'Working with people that I haven't met yet or never spoken to is quite challenging. Working with friends is much easier in the beginning, but it is always good to work with new people.'

'The most personally challenging thing I have faced as part of working in this group is coming up with ideas that match the vision other members of the group have had but our discussions have made our end product much better.'

'I think the most challenging thing has been finding a balance between voicing my own opinions and asking for others' opinions, because I don't want to take total control but I also want to make sure the group is getting things done quickly.'

'The greatest challenge we have had so far is time. Our group is working extremely well together, but we are pressed for time. Having had only 6 hours of work together so far, it has been a challenge to keep everyone on the same page and to ensure that we are getting everything complete.'​

* Source: Whiting, K. (2020). These are the top 10 job skills of tomorrow – and how long it takes to learn them. World Economic Forum. Retrieved 10 September, 2021 from

Vanessa Rebgetz

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Last reviewed 10 September 2021
Last updated 10 September 2021