Walk in Strength

By Callum Parker
Feb 21st, 2019

Kostka Hall is one of the three campuses of Xavier College in Melbourne. 2019 sees a major curriculum initiative in the Middle Years at Kostka- Ambula in Fortitudine.

Ambula in Fortitudine bring together hours of planning and a great amount of blue sky thinking into a cohesive and exceptional package for our Middle Years boys. We have examined projects and concepts from many other schools with our aim to Build Better for our boys. The program draws heavily from the Ignatian Pedagogical Paradigm with the process of context, experience, reflection, action and evaluation being vital elements of the design process. Ambula in Fortitudine also builds upon the inquiry based model of our PYP Early years with similar language and attributes to the IB learner profile.

So what is Ambula in Fortitudine?  Ambula in Fortitudine is Latin for “walk in strength” and along with the strong imagery that inspires in the creation of young men of purpose and good judgement it was also a part of the former Kostka Hall crest. This program is about what makes Kostka great and about what has come before and what will become for our young men. St Ignatius achieved something revolutionary through challenging his thinking and the thinking of his time and this is our inspiration.

Ambula (as we are calling it) brings together many key elements of a Xavier education. A firm and purposeful structure based in Ignation tradition, a proud and deliberate focus on boys education and a pedagogical approach that aims to provide the boys with the tools they will require in a modern creative workforce.

Reports into 21st century work skills have highlighted the needs for students to build and develop skills in

•    critical thinking
•    creativity
•    metacognition
•    problem solving
•    collaboration
•    motivation
•    self-efficacy
•    conscientiousness, and
•    grit or perseverance.

The greatest minds of human history have always been those that have seen opportunity in challenge and have solved problems others considered too hard, or had never considered at all and as such, Ambula in Fortitudine is a chance for boys to engage in learning opportunities focused on building and expanding their approaches to all learning situations. To borrow from the enhanced PYP, we are aiming to build student agency through voice, choice and ownership. In small house based groups boys will be asked to critically synthesise and solve real problems. Importantly they may fail and fail often for it is here that the true learning will occur. We don’t want a simple easy answer, we want messy, complicated and diverse.

Ambula in Fortitudine will take place every Friday afternoon for all Middle Years boys. It will provide a dynamic and creative outlet for group work in small year level house groups. This approach is deliberately aimed at building house spirit but also deepening relationships between peers, a key aspect of boys education. Each project will contain elements of challenge based learning and encourage critical and creative thinking skills.

The boys will complete one unit per term and each of these units is tied into pillars of Jesuit education and come from the American Jesuit Universities Grad at Grad project. The five pillars for success are tied into our College vision and intent and form the basis of what we hope our young men to be when they leave Kostka Hall for the Senior Campus. They are

  • Open to Growth
  • Intellectually Competent
  • Religious
  • Loving, and
  • Committed to Doing Justice.

Importantly we have also been able to build our Year 8 Social Justice activities into this program allowing us to tie this crucial experience into the spirit of the Ambula in Fortitudine experience. Our year 8 boys also have the vital role of leading the whole house reflection and examen at the end of each Friday. It is here that boys will develop leadership skills but also relationships across the year levels.

Ambula in Fortitudine is not assessed and there is no right or wrong. We believe that the creative experience will be different for each boy as they experiment and reflect on their approaches to thinking and solving problems. A product falling short in one unit may allow for success in another task or for greater awareness of the thinking required to be successful. We intentionally and deliberately do not want boys to think of grades or marks but rather skills and work competencies.

We at Kostka Hall are incredibly excited as to the possibilities offered by Ambula in Fortitudine and believe that it will highlighting what a unique experience it is to Walk in Strength at Kostka Hall.