The Chase

Ms Jo Duffy, Director of Sport It was apparent to me long before I commenced my current role, that Girls Grammar is a school that prides itself on achieving excellence across a broad cross-section of disciplines, including sport. Flip through the pages of Mrs Pauline Harvey-Short’s history of Physical Education and Sport at the School, To Become Fine Sportswomen, and you will appreciate the legacy of the world-class athletes that Girls Grammar has produced and the fine tradition of Sport at the School. The quest for sports excellence is certainly a worthy challenge, but how is this defined? Is it a QGSSSA premiership, a personal best or a gold medal? And, what if we fall short of our aspirational pursuit—when we miss a critical shot or falter in a crucial decider? In 2016, I embarked on a significant personal sporting challenge and entered the Gold Coast Marathon. During a marathon, the challenge of overcoming your mind’s…

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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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What can games teach us about educational practice?

Mr Brendon Thomas, Director of Technologies Video games have been the topic of debate for years. From their association with behavioural addiction to their influence on social engagement, the popularity of gaming among young people is to say the least, contentious. However, removing ourselves from the pros and cons of actual gaming, it can be productive to explore how some of the non-digital techniques—for example, storytelling and character development—are employed by developers to engage players, both young and old. Perhaps an understanding the efficacies of these techniques can be used in the classroom, to better engage students and inspire learning? By analysing the extraordinary immersive appeal of games we can potentially expand on our pedagogical views for how to creatively engage students in thinking and learning. We know that a well-designed game, like a great novel, has the power to captivate a mind, young or old, immersing players in a quest that compels them to solve…

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Prebunking trumps debunking

Dr Sally Stephens, Director of Science, discusses the difficulties in debunking the myths propagated by science sceptics and the importance of approaching new scientific claims with a degree of circumspection.

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