Expanding time with slow thinking

Dr Sam Peng, Head of Economics Précis: The subjective nature of time perception suggests that we can expand students’ brain time in learning by engaging them in more slow thinking.   Today is a special day for the current Year 12 students. It is a day on which they celebrate growth, maturity, friendship, learning, independence, responsibility and a new beginning. Today is also a special day for their teachers, as waves of joy, pride, happiness and memory will gently tap their hearts. At this very special time for farewell and reflection, I wonder how our students will remember their education at Brisbane Girls Grammar School. Will their memories play out as a rapid time lapse of sunrise and sunset in this vibrant learning space, a slow motion of some unforgettable, enlightening moments, or a montage of both? What determines how moments of their learning experience are processed in their brain and contribute to their cognitive development?…

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Educating for purpose

Mrs Anna Owen, Deputy Principal Former UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Dr Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein, appeals for a movement that will compete directly with the deleterious effects of the ‘leadership’ being provided by some current heads of countries and regions. He describes many present global leaders very frankly as ‘bullies, deceivers [and] selfish cowards’, and as ‘too busy with themselves’, rather than being focused on their responsibilities as world leaders. Against this poverty of leadership, Al Hussein asserts the power of the foot soldier, or ‘grassroots leadership’. He provides examples of acts of grassroots courage from around the world that not only defend local communities, but also help solve broader social issues. He implores all of us to seek to coordinate this local work on a worldwide stage. His vision: take the small-scale organisations and voices protecting human rights around the world to create an effective, coordinated, focused, human rights movement with the backing…

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Developing student agency

 Mrs Hazel Boltman, Head of Gibson House One of the comments teachers often make when writing student reports is ‘she is encouraged to take responsibility for her own learning.’ Over the years, parents have queried what this phrase means, and asked how their daughters can apply this advice in their education. This year, Girls Grammar staff have joined colleagues in a group that investigates precisely this concept; the group focuses on noticing learning and how to develop student agency. Under the guidance of Dr Ann Farley, Director of Cross-Faculty Initiatives, and with input from Associate Professor Lenore Adie from Australian Catholic University, the Noticing Learning group aims to observe student learning in the classroom and to use this to inform further practice and develop student agency through many means, but particularly through the medium of formative assessment. As defined by the Achievement Gap Initiative at Harvard University, in their study titled ‘The Influence of Teaching’, ‘agency’…

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Silence between the notes

By Miss Ellena Papas, Dean of Co-curriculum ‘The music is not in the notes, but in the silence between.’ —Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart In Japanese aesthetics, there is the most beautiful concept, known so simply, as ‘ma’. Translated to ‘negative space’, ‘ma’ is that space between the walls of a building, the white between the lines of a drawing, the silence between the sounds in music. It is not form, yet form cannot exist without ‘ma’; it is almost a philosophical statement—what is darkness, but the absence of light? It is what the person in the building, the person admiring the picture or the person listening to music experiences, and without it, there would be chaos. In music, silence can take us on an emotional journey in almost any direction. We can find the building of incredible tension, the utter heartbreak of indescribable beauty, a sense of anticipation or the shock of surprise; the possibilities are endless, and…

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The Power of the Ensemble

Mr Paul Holley OAM, Acting Director of Instrumental Music, spoke to students about the ensemble's ability to provide skills of collaboration, discipline, commitment and resilience, while building a community of like-minded learners.

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Be brave

Head of Beanland House, Ms Rachael Christopherson, reflects on what it means to be a strong girl and a strong woman, and how the School has fostered strength throughout its history.

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