Learning is sometimes better after the fact

From the Director of Differentiated Studies In most classes assessment for the term is now complete and all concerned (students, parents and teachers) are probably breathing a collective sigh of relief as those many stressful hours of preparation and study are now over... at least for a few weeks. Holidays await with the promise of opportunities to relax, to recharge and to forget, but is that what we really want to have happen? Learning does not end with the completion of a test or an assignment — in fact this is just the beginning. Where to from here? One element of assessment is, of course, judgement of performance but, perhaps more importantly, it helps teachers to guide students, to shape planning of future units and to inform learning. At this critical point in the year, both teacher and student have an invaluable opportunity to review the outcomes of the term. There is time to reflect on…

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The Value of the Ethics Programme

From the Head of O'Connor House and Year 8 Co-ordinator In 2004, the Howard government initiated a programme designed to ensure that all children in Australian Schools would be educated in a common set of agreed values — hence Values Education in Australian Schools was born. This $29.7 million commitment was always going to arouse contention by the mere fact that it seemed predicated on an assumption that schools were devoid of values before this programme. To some, this was nothing more than an expensive poster campaign, a mere list of character traits peddled to apparently values-free students in a values-free education system; to others it was yet another government imposed hoop for schools and educators to jump through. Now in 2011 it would seem that this values push has dropped off the political radar; the posters have come down from classroom walls and the discussion has faded. Where then does this leave values education 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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Women and the arts

This week International Women's Day was celebrated across many countries in the world marking 100 years of thought and action to address the inequities in the lives of so many women. As a result of a decision taken at the first international women's conference in 1910 in Copenhagen, more than one million women and men across several countries in Europe attended rallies in 1911 to focus attention on three key demands: the right of women to work; an end to discrimination in the workplace; the right to vote and to hold public office.

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An arts-rich education

From the Dean of Co-Curriculum In her recent article ‘What do the Arts bring to Education’, Dr Jane Gooding-Brown, Visual Arts Coordinator at the Sydney Conservatorium High School, cites international research demonstrating that arts programmes teach a specific set of thinking skills that are rarely addressed elsewhere in the curriculum. These skills include visual-spatial abilities, reflection, self-criticism, and the willingness to experiment and learn from mistakes, all of which are vital to a wide range of career paths, but are largely ignored in standardised testing such as the Australian NAPLAN tests. In a similar vein, a recent article published in The Age by Richard Gill, notable Australian Music Educator, Director of Victorian Opera, and composer of the music for our own school song Nil Sine Labore, warns us to “wake up, Australia, or we’ll have a nation of unimaginative robots”. Gill believes that schools across the country are cutting back on arts education to devote more time…

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