Phoenix program is flying

Online learning: South East Melbourne Phoenix players Kendall Stephens and Kyle Adnam shared their stories as part of the new Take Flight e-learning courses. photograph supplied


NATIONAL Basketball League (NBL) team South East Melbourne Phoenix (SEMP) has joined forces with Leaders of Evolution to release the ‘Take Flight’ suite of e-learning courses, free for Latrobe Valley Secondary Schools.

The courses focus on teaching students in Year 8 and 9 important life skills like leadership, growth mindset, resilience, teamwork and emotional management.

SEMP players play a pivotal role by sharing their own experiences of personal development, something which Leaders of Evolution’s Jon Shepard believes will help students relate to their learning.

“We had a strong emphasis on pulling through the athletes stories in to the actual learning area of the course so young people can make a connection and once you have that you can have an impact,” he said.

The courses go for 8-10 weeks and have been tailor-made to run alongside existing Victorian curriculum so they can be implemented in to sports, leadership, business or personal development classes.

Teachers will first go through an introduction course during which they receive accredited professional development and an understanding of how best to incorporate the ‘Take Flight’ content in to their classes.

Each student will have access to the online portal on any compatible device at home or at school which includes their own profile with their guidebook and other course materials.

Berwick College teacher and former Perth Wildcats player Brent Hobba recently completed the Teacher Introduction Course and is implementing both the Year 8 and 9 course this term.

Mr Hobba said he expects the sporting nature of the course will feel more approachable to students, giving them a better chance at utilising learnt skills later in life.

“Although they are relating it to sport, you need all of these skills to do well in life, in whatever pathway you’re taking. I expect the engagement will be really high and I’m really looking forward to seeing what the kids will produce and how they build on the information they learn,” he said.

The online nature of the courses, also known as educational technology or EdTech aims to improve upon face-to-face learning by being readily accessible and having a focus on a broad range of life skills.

SEMP head of operations Rohan Short said the club saw an opportunity to utilise EdTech after last year’s lockdowns which forced many students in to remote learning.

“Off the back of COVID-19, education technology and harnessing online has become more prevalent and with that schools are much more on board with using technology because it provides a future-proof learning environment,” he said.

Mr Short said the course is strengthened by players’ willingness to share their personal setbacks and challenges as former students and professional athletes.

“They certainly have been very open in the process, especially around having difficult conversations, how to deal with learning challenges, setbacks, they all have transferable stories that seem to resonate with young people,” he said.

With Lavalla Catholic College in Traralgon recently signing up, Mr Shepard is urging other secondary schools in the Latrobe Valley to follow suit.

“This is a fantastic opportunity for schools in the Latrobe Valley to start now, it’s open, it’s available and the SEMP would love to see as many Latrobe Valley schools get started this year as possible,” he said.

“We’re really motivated and excited to see this not only grow throughout the Latrobe Valley but also throughout Victoria and the rest of Australia.”

To get started on the course contact South East Melbourne Phoenix at