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Marine Studies: insight into our oceans

The Marine Studies Stage 6 (Preliminary and HSC) course provides students with a basic introduction to marine safety; the chemical and physical makeup of the marine environment; the enormous diversity of life found in the sea; the problems facing humans as they enter the water; and the wide range of employment opportunities offered by marine and maritime industries. It builds a valuable foundation for a range of courses at university, other tertiary institutions and private providers.

“Taking students outside of the classroom helps make learning real, relevant and more engaging.”

KEITH GAWMAN, SCIENCE TEACHER

Students learning Scuba diving at college pool

Scuba Diving certification begins at the College Pool

KEITH GAWMAN, MARINE SCIENCE TEACHER:

This is the first year that Marine Studies has been offered as a Stage 6 subject – something that is not offered by lots of other schools. Waverley College is a member of the Marine Teachers Association of NSW which has 77 schools currently listed and 170 members. With optional modules in a range of related practical disciplines like scuba diving, CPR accreditation and small-boat handling, it gives students practical and theoretical learning opportunities, and teaches them to hone their acquired skills to solve real-life problems.

Scuba diver jumping into pool

Skill Development sessions in the College Swimming Pool

RICARDO DUILO:

It’s a great course that’s very interesting to learn about, it also has a lot of practical activities and gets you many useful qualifications that can be used outside of school such as scuba diving and first aid.

JAKE GALLUCCIO:

Marine Studies has certainly added a different dimension to the learning environment. I enjoy the practical lessons the most. I am thankful that Waverley College has introduced this subject as I realise it is not common in NSW schools.

Scuba Diving training in pool

Keith Gawman conducting the skills session

KEITH GAWMAN, MARINE SCIENCE TEACHER:

Being a Science teacher and having a Masters Degree in Tropical Coastal Marine Resource Management, I have been looking for a way of combining two of my great passions in life: teaching and the marine environment. The Marine Studies course has allowed me to foster a sense of ownership of our oceans in the students through a series of meaningful experiences.

WILL JOHNSTON:

As we live so close to the coast I have grown up in the ocean. When a course at school popped up where you could do things in the water, it was most definitely going to be my first choice of a subject.

OSCAR THOMPSON:

My family is really proud and excited that I’m doing this subject at school, and think that this should be taught at more schools.

KEITH GAWMAN, SCIENCE TEACHER:

There are myriad reasons for taking students out of the classroom: it makes learning concepts real, relevant and more engaging; and when students are engaged they learn more. It also improves attendance and reduces behaviour problems because students are more motivated to turn up to school and participate.

JAKE GALLUCCIO:

Many components of the subject require direct trust between you and a partner or the whole class. It has certainly made friendships stronger.

KEITH GAWMAN, SCIENCE TEACHER:

As teachers we establish trust by showing students respect in the form of exacting and rewarding learning activities that are worthy of their time and best efforts. Teaching the boys to scuba dive is simply an extension of what Waverley College teachers do in their classrooms every day. I was really pleased with the way the boys conducted themselves during their PADI Open Water course and I am very proud to have been their certifying instructor.

Scuba divers at Camp Cove Sydney

Open Water Diving at Camp Cove, Sydney Harbour

WILL JOHNSTON:

I enjoy the mates I made in the class and also having such a good teacher you couldn’t ask for anything more! Being able to get your scuba diving licence, going free diving, and getting your boat license – it’s the best choice I have ever made doing this course.

MATAN SHARON-LEMON:

I gained a scuba licence, which I will definitely be using in the future. Communicating underwater was tricky at first, but we got the hang of it. We built a better relationship, making sure everyone’s okay and bonding with Mr Gawman outside the classroom makes a better relationship.

KEITH GAWMAN, SCIENCE TEACHER:

Marine Studies provides an opportunity for the future custodians of the marine environment to study it and to appreciate its value. It gives students the opportunity to develop the necessary knowledge and skills to use and protect its unique ecosystems, and at the same time communicate their appreciation to the community. It provides an opportunity to instill in students an acceptable ethical code towards use of the marine environment, increasingly demanded by communities and governments.

Sydney Harbour

WILL JOHNSTON:

The course makes you so much more aware of the thing [the ocean] we have surrounding us, living in the Eastern Suburbs.  

OSCAR THOMPSON:

I now know a lot about marine life and marine safety. I enjoyed scuba diving because because it’s a hands on experience that some people will never normally get to do.

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