Learning to stop

Ms Natalie Smith, Director of International Studies An article that crossed my desk recently caught my attention with its title “Learning to stop; Stopping to Learn” (Brady, 2005). I wondered why the title of the article intrigued me— perhaps it was the word “stop”. I was told that in the midst of the inherent busyness of school life that it was permissible to stop: that stopping equated with learning. I was more than interested. On reading further the introduction asserted that to arrive at the simplest truth required not activity, not reasoning, not calculating, not busy behaviour of any kind, not reading, not talking, not making an effort, not thinking. It required contemplation: simply bearing in mind what it is one needs to know (Brown, 1979 as cited in Brady, 2005). Contemplation, the act of attending with nonjudgmental awareness or being open to things just as they are has long been practised and cultivated in the…

Continue Reading

Setting Boundaries

Mrs Violet Ross, Head of Woolcock House “Even as kids reach adolescence, they need more than ever for us to watch over them. Adolescence is not about letting go. It's about hanging on during a very bumpy ride.”   (Taffel, 2012)                                                                                                The lives our young people lead seem very different from what may appear to have been our own relatively simple and technology-free teenage existences. Adolescents seem more sophisticated, self-assured and certainly more technologically savvy than we were, and we all feel at times that we don’t really understand the world they live in.  This is when we wonder how we can possibly hope to help them navigate their way…

Continue Reading

Whose turn is it to set the table?

Ms Sarah Boyle, Acting Head of O’Connor House At each break throughout the school day the tables around the Main Building become a hive of activity and the excited buzz of chatter from Year 12 students. When passing by the tables you can hear the girls talking about weekend events, discussing assignments, or planning the next bake stall. Everything happens at the Year 12 tables, it is the hub of their final year. While they typify chatting teenage girls, a more significant observation about the tradition of the Year 12 tables is that the girls are sharing and supporting one another through the ups and downs of their final year at school. It is at the table that they find comfort and reassurance in each other’s company, reinforcing meaningful friendships. Can the same be said for the family dinner table? With the pressures of modern life, there is a renewed emphasis on the importance of sharing a…

Continue Reading

Celebrating diversity: many threads, one tapestry

Ms Sarah McGarry, Dean of Student Transition This week has seen the School celebrate the diversity of our community in Multicultural Week. At first glance, this has taken the form of students (and teachers) donning national dress, sharing internationally-flavoured foods, and partaking in music and dance. On a deeper level, though, it has provided us with the opportunity to reflect upon the importance of each individual’s contribution to our community. ‘We tell ourselves stories in order to live,’ wrote Joan Didion in 1967. Even SBS television’s slogan ‘7 billion stories and counting ...’ is recognition of the value of the narrative in our local, national and global communities. UNESCO (2001) notes that culture is at the heart of contemporary debates about identity and social cohesion and that the process of globalisation, facilitated by the rapid development of new information and communication technologies, creates the conditions for renewed dialogue among cultures and civilisations. In our particular biosphere…

Continue Reading

Personally significant learning

Why our kids need a powerful disposition to be self-managing learners when they finish their schooling, why they are unlikely to have it, and what we can do about it. For some time now it has been obvious that middle class kids are becoming more vulnerable. This is so despite the fact that they may be living in nice homes with supportive parents and attending well resourced schools and having comforts that their Third World counterparts can only dream of. They are vulnerable because learning is not personally significant to them. Kids who learn to avoid the discomfort of unfamiliar ideas, who do not welcome the instructive complications of error, who think learning is a boring necessity because it is basically about preparing for tests, who are reliant on parents and teachers to tell them what to do, or to do it for them, who expect university degrees to be passports to employability and financial security…

Continue Reading

From collection to connection: Teaching and learning science in an interactive multimodal learning environment

Dr Sally Stephens, Director of Science and Mathematics …the walls of the classroom are literally made irrelevant by the creation of communities of learners that span oceans, races, genders, and generations. Richardson (2009, p.130)  Take a snapshot of how students conduct their out-of-school lives and you will see them using a kaleidoscope of digital technologies to communicate, collaborate and form social constructs with the world around them. They might tweet, text, chat or blog, buy and sell online, Skype or use Facetime. Or they might play online games. On their Facebook page they might update their status, write on their friend’s wall, upload and view still and video images, sort their ‘friends’ into social groupings, make their likes and dislikes known, and play games with other Facebook users. They might watch a video clip of One Direction singing ‘What makes you beautiful’ over and over (preferably wearing their headphones) or even, like thousands of other people,…

Continue Reading
Close Menu