Xtending the curriculum for the 21st Century

In its continued endeavours to offer relevant and cutting-edge instruction to its students, Dainfern College has now introduced its own cross-curricular programme for Grade 8s and 9s, known as Xtend-it.


The College’s teaching staff are constantly researching international educational trends and evaluating them within the South African context. One of the most recent international trends is the integration of various subjects in the senior education phase. An integrated curriculum connects different areas of study and emphasises unifying concepts, allowing students to engage in relevant, meaningful activities. This integration also leads to less assessment and teaches skills more than content.


Dainfern College’s Xtend-it programme has been developed by its own High School staff to embrace these 21st Century educational trends. Teachers spent many hours being stretched and extended themselves as they designed and perfected programme modules, wrote materials and workbooks and created innovative lessons that incorporate active learning for the students.


The Xtend-it programme takes place at certain times during the academic year. When following this innovative new programme, Grade 8s and 9s still attend their core subjects. Other subjects combine under the umbrella of Xtend-it into modules that seek to harness the students’ unique potential and offer a discovery-driven approach that is designed to awaken their curiosity, and to make them question, not for the sake of answers but so that they might better understand the questions facing all of us at this particular point in our history.


There are three modules for the Grade 8 students and four for Grade 9s:


  • iMe, which probes the nature of artificial intelligence and its place in our world.
  • StratSci, which offers an inside look into strategic planning.
  • Nervis Terrae, which delves into the core issues of ownership of our planet.
  • Second Sight (Grade 9 only), which introduces the students to the amazing concept of biomimicry.


These modules are cross-curricular and focus more on 21st Century core skills and less on specific subject content. They emphasise collaboration, creativity, collection of information, critical thinking, character development, reflection and communication. There is far less assessment and all tasks are completed in class, thus alleviating the need for homework. Students may be asked to do some pre-reading or thought preparation but there is no actual homework as they know it


Staff involved in teaching the Xtend-it programme in 2018 saw tremendous growth in a very short time and we are confident that our students are being enriched by the process.