Making good decisions in ‘an information tsunami’

From the Acting Dean of Students “Trying to drink from a fire hose of information has harmful cognitive effects and nowhere are those effects clearer, and more worrying, than in our ability to make smart, creative, successful decisions.”  (Begley, 2011) The area of the human brain responsible for decision making is the prefrontal cortex (PFC) which is located in the anterior part of the frontal lobes of the brain. The basic activity of this brain region is considered to be the orchestration of thoughts and actions in accordance with internal goals. The PFC contributes to the executive control of information and specifically selects, maintains, updates and reroutes information. It has been proposed that ultimately the PFC acts as a selective gating or filtering mechanism that controls how the brain processes the information it receives. Teenagers do not have a well-developed prefrontal cortex. The adolescent brain is in a state of developmental transition. It differs structurally and…

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Remembering our heritage – Foundation Day, 15 March

From the Deputy Principal Emerita When Queensland was formally separated from New South Wales on 6 June, 1859, three major pieces of legislation concerning education were passed almost immediately by the new Colonial government in 1860. What was remarkable was the intention of establishing not only a system of primary education but also a number of state-subsidised post-elementary schools – the Grammar schools. The Acts – An Act to Discontinue Grants from the Revenue in Aid of Religion (August), the Act to Provide for Primary Education in Queensland (September) together with The Grammar Schools Act (September) reflected the high priority placed on education by such leading lights in the new legislature as Robert Herbert (later Sir), Sir Charles Nicholson, and Charles Lilley (later Sir). The 1860 The Grammar Schools Act asserted: … it is expedient for the encouragement of learning that public Grammar Schools should be established in the Colony of Queensland for conferring on all…

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Moving beyond individual performance

From the Director of Health Studies For nearly thirty years I have been a fan of the Boston Celtics basketball team.  They are the American National Basketball Association’s most successful team.  In the history of the NBA, no other team has won more Championships.  According to basketball writer, Bethlehem Shoals (2010), the Celtics teams that won sixteen titles between 1957 and 1986 did so with an “almost dismissive attitude toward individual glory”.  These teams had great individual players, any one of whom on any given night was capable of (and often delivered) an outstanding individual performance.  In the main though, the strength of these teams came from a wonderful intermingling of player and team identity.  It seems that the Celtics then lost sight of this, as their most recent (and seventeenth) title came in 2008, twenty-two years after their last. This 2008 Championship was on my mind over the Christmas break because I was reading Top of…

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Helping our girls to achieve their full personal potential

From the Head of Griffith House and Year 9 Coordinator At School Assembly last week, Dr Bell spoke to the girls about the importance of eating healthy food, engaging in regular exercise and gaining adequate sleep. She encouraged the girls to practise the habit of consuming nutritious food with the consumption of less healthy “treats” occurring only occasionally. The subject of eating a balanced diet to maintain strong physical health is very topical at the moment with various media reports exploring the disturbing possibility that the current generation of teenagers will not live as long as their parents.  In The Weekend Australian, February 12-13 2011, an article by Alexander Gambotto-Burke entitled “Mum’s the word on obese kids” featured the work of Flinders University senior lecturer and dietitian, Anthea Magarey.  Magarey heads the Parenting, Eating and Activities for Child Health programme, known as PEACH, designed to engage parents of younger children in making healthy lifestyle changes to…

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Career Integrity is in the journey

A career is not an end in itself. Neither is it a simple succession of occupations. A career is an evolving journey that includes work, personal interests, friendships, spirituality, citizenship, values and the like. For senior students their journeys are only beginning as they consider choices for further study. The Combined Grammar Schools Careers Evening on Tuesday 11 May will provide an opportunity to gather information about possible options.

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NAPLAN – Selective Data Interpretation vs Transparency

Dean of Curriculum, Ms Samantha Bolton, addresses the controversial list of the nation’s top 100 primary and secondary schools published in The Weekend Australian (May 1-2, 2010). Such a list is seen by many people as a natural extension of the My School website and may be regarded as a move towards desirable transparency in the education system or as inappropriate use of data generated by specific assessment instruments, namely NAPLAN tests. Regardless the lists generated by The Weekend Australian require significant scrutiny.

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From the Director of the Centre for Professional Practice

Is education the soul of society? Dr Kimber, Director of the Centre for Professional Practice, focuses on two Grammar-inspired individuals, Kathleen Lilley and Edna Hopkins, linked across generations, who became their society’s soul-builders through education. From Dr Kimber’s perspective, visionary leadership, tenacity in meeting challenges, empathetic mentoring and compassion for humanity all play their part in shaping the soul of education and society.

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