/ k o: n . s k i’e n .t i . a / n . 1 . k n o w l e dg e s h a r e d w it h o t h e r s
C a t h e r i n e ’ s
S c h o o l
C O N SC I E N T I A
Mrs Michelle Carroll Welcome
Ms Kimberly Mannix Why Visual Arts Subjects are an Important Part of Learning
04 Ms Gillian Hosking The Search for Identity 08
Miss Tamara Andrews Global Citizenship is Nurtured through Trips and Exchanges
Mr James Walsh Physical Education is Imperative
Mrs Victoria Baldicchino The Time to Read is Now
Ms Fiona Ganino-Day Revising the Smart Way
Ms Sarah Bethune Technology in Childhood Education
Mrs Mary Hugh Confucius Classroom at St Catherine’s
Mrs Helen Nicolaou Projects are Vehicles for Learning
Ms Sue Cooke Making St Catherine’s History Come Alive
Mrs Diane Rundle A Little Assembly Creates a Big World
Mrs Michelle Carroll The Development of Character
Mrs Caroline Morrison The Joys of Dressing a Production
40 Miss Kristy Forrest Critical Thinking 42
Mr Adrian Puckering Data: PANDA-monium
44 Ms Merran O’Connor Emotions Matter 48 Ms Fiona Ganino-Day eRelationship Clean Out 52
Ms Julia West The Future of Work and the Relevancy of Media Literacy
Mr Alex Borlenghi Neophobia
Miss Elizabeth Ryan Reflections on a Semester with Year 8
64 Nicola Sitch School Captain’s Address, 2015 Speech Night 67
Jaquelin Cantarella School Vice Captain’s Address, 2015 Speech Night
Mrs Lisa Gionfriddo The Enjoyment of Reading
Mr Paul Cross Learning to Communicate
Mrs Sue Collister Wellbeing @ Illawarra
Ms Fiona Ganino-Day Are You Still Awake?
Mrs Michelle Carroll Motivation and Resilience
90 Mrs Cherie Johnstone Shining Outside of Academics 94
Ms Loretta Carter World Challenge Expedition, Southern Peru 2015
Mr Timothy Olsen Trimester Electives: A Safe Haven for Innovation
100 Mrs Alana Moor Stubbornness and Thinking are Great Partners 102 Mr Adrian Puckering The Island of Knowledge and the Sea of Ignorance...Both need Foxy Thinking 106 Miss Kristina Schrader Embodied Pedagogies in the Early Learning Centre 110 Miss Jenny Molloy Benefits of Educational Study Tours 112 Ms Ingrid Hildebrand Challenging Students with Choice 114 Mr Bradley Hicks The Rewards of Responsible Travel 118 Mrs Pauline van der Poel Transitioning from School 122 Mr Adrian Puckering The Upside of Teaching is Learning 126 Mrs Glenda Lingard Early Morning Maths Builds Skills and Confidence 130 Mrs Jenny Mathers The Hand 134 Mrs Tracey McCallum Financial Education and Confidence
St Catherine’s School enhances student learning experiences through the employment of exceptional staff. Our School is committed to ensuring effective recruitment and the development of dedicated and well-qualified educators who are passionate about the field of education, girls’ wellbeing and advances in technology and educational practice. In 2015, St Catherine’s staff continued to uphold our strong tradition of academic and teaching excellence. The articles published in our second edition of Conscientia showcase the passion, commitment and dedication of our staff to their students and their own professional development.
St Catherine’s is proud to provide our teaching staff with a professional learning environment that encourages and enables them to be leaders in their selected fields of expertise and across the wider educational sector. Through avenues such as St Catherine’s School Blog and Conscientia, our teachers are recognised for their capacities and become active mentors and inspirational role models for students and fellow colleagues. I invite you to read Conscientia and be inspired by the professional undertakings of our staff. Mrs Michelle Carroll Principal
Name: Ms Kimberley Mannix Title: Art Teacher Date: 5 February 2015
WHY VISUAL ARTS SUBJECTS ARE A N I M P ORTA N T PA RT OF L E A R N I NG
Art Teacher Ms Kimberley Mannix explores the role of Visual
from our ability to integrate Art, Music, and Literature with the hard
Arts in enhancing learning and study skills across the wider
sciences,” Friedman says. “That is what produces an iPod
revolution or a Google. Integration is the new specialty. That is
No one debates the important role of Art to help children develop
what we need to prepare our children to be doing.”2
concentration, fine motor skills and confidence in early preschool
Visual Arts subjects develop student confidence and enhance a
and primary years. But it has been shown that comprehensive
love of learning through exploration and experimentation with
and innovative Arts programs in the middle years also promote
ideas, processes and materials. The middle years are often a time
transferable skills that assist across-the-board learning and
when students evaluate themselves very critically—both
improve academic performance in other subjects.
personally and against their peers—by focusing on, and
A 2005 report by the Rand Corporation about the Visual Arts1 argues that the intrinsic pleasures and stimulation of the Art experience do more than sweeten an individual’s life—according
comparing outcomes only. Although this process of self-reflection has its place, it should not overshadow the many new and transferable skills that are developed over each student’s journey.
to the report, they can “connect people more deeply to the world
An appreciation for the value of Art subjects needs to be nurtured
and open them to new ways of seeing.”
for our next generation of creative thinkers. Next time your
A practical involvement in Art subjects encourages critical thinking, visual-spatial ability, personal expression, communication, motivation, self-confidence, teamwork, observation, reflection and an appreciation of visual aesthetics. Art Theory looks at movements, styles, techniques and artists, which helps contextualise a better understanding of history, culture and politics, and encourages the use of expressive
daughter brings an artwork home, consider the creative journey she has been on; researching, planning, developing and communicating ideas, exploring materials, making decisions, learning new skills, creative risk-taking, making, critiquing and reflecting. Display it with pride! Ms Kimberly Mannix Art Teacher
language and analysis.
1 McCarthy, Kevin &O (2005) A Portrait of the Visual Arts, Rand Corporation www.rand.org/pubs/monographs/MG290
In his book, The World Is Flat, journalist Thomas L. Friedman
1 US National Art Education Association (2009) Learning in a Visual Age, NAEA www.arteducators.org/learning/learning-in-a-visual-age/NAEA_LVA_09.pdf
argues that aesthetics and creativity are just as important as technical knowledge in this visual age. “The secret sauce comes
Name: Ms Gillian Hosking Title: English Teacher Date: 12 February 2015
THE SEARCH FOR IDENTITY
English Teacher Ms Gillian Hosking examines how literary
exposed to the complexities of human nature, as they navigate
texts shape students’ own journeys.
the transition from childhood to adolescence by making choices
Year 9 is a transformative year, with students experiencing great cognitive, emotional and social change. It is a time when they are establishing an independent identity and questioning who they are, and where and how they fit into the world. This coincides with a greater ability to engage in moral reasoning and a greater capacity to empathise with others. With this in mind, it is fitting that the texts we study in Year 9 English explore identity and the search for one’s place in the world.
that will define who they are and lay the foundations for the adults they will become. The study of this text requires students to consider how the moral choices people make can shape identity and, moreover, invites them to draw on their growing capacity for empathy and to consider how their decisions affect others. Our study of the social and historical events that inform To Kill a Mockingbird range from the introduction and abolition of slavery in the United States to the Civil Rights Movement. This allows us to foster a growing understanding of the School’s Values in the
We began the year studying a selection of Australian poems,
girls, enhancing their sense of curiosity through discussion of
investigating how these contribute to the concept of a national
groups and individuals who have fought against various
identity. Students become aware of the beauty and importance of
injustices. The exploration of the discriminatory segregation laws
language in providing a means by which poets give voice and
that are integral to understanding the racial inequalities in the text
representation to myriad life experiences. These range from the
embraces our School Value of empathy. In To Kill a Mockingbird,
migrant experience, to Indigenous and female experiences and
students see that finding your place in the world often requires
the shared experiences of life and death and our place within the
natural world. The speakers in all of the poems explore the integral role that our experiences play in shaping who we are. Through this, students are able to see how poetry helps contribute to the establishment of a varied and evolving sense of national identity. In turn, this provides a context for the girls’ own sense of self.
The theme of ‘identity’ becomes more prominent towards the end of the course, through our study of Whale Rider. The film follows Paikea Apirana’s search for identity amidst restrictive social and traditional conventions. This unit asks students to explore their own sense of self and the things that inform who they are. For a number of years, this part of the course has been enhanced by a visit from
Later in the year, we explore how the moral influence of others
Bernard Mangakahia, a wonderfully powerful presenter who
helps to inform emerging identities, though our study of To Kill a
speaks about his Maori heritage and the ‘stories’ that have helped
Mockingbird. We see the characters of Jem and Scout Finch
shape who he is. The students find this aptly timed presentation
both enriching and inspirational; not only does Mr Mangakahia make real and meaningful connections between Whale Rider and his own life experiences, but his focus and self-belief come at a crucial time. Bernard conveys the significance of personal stories, seeing these as an empowering and integral part of identity formation, as well as a way of paying respect to ancestors and, importantly, learning from them. He talks about facing the challenges of adolescence one at a time, gaining strength from overcoming them and the influence of this on one’s character. Bernard’s exploration of identity is a fitting culmination of our own study of this theme throughout the year. His advice to “help other people and it will help you find who you are” is pertinent to our discussions on empathy and compassion that stem from the texts. Through this unit, we clearly see how the merging of cultural, familial and social influences shape individuals. Throughout the Year 9 English course, we are able to make significant links to the students’ own journeys and their emerging sense of where they belong. The texts we study, and the manner in which we do this, helps to reinforce individual character strengths, as well as personal and School Values through consideration of the lives of others. One of the wonderful things about Literature is its power to move beyond the confines of an academic discipline and enable students to make meaningful connections with their own lives, their sense of self and the moral decisions they make. Ms Gillian Hosking English Teacher
Name: Miss Tamara Andrews Title: Trips and Exchanges Coordinator Date: 19 February 2015
GLOBAL CITIZENSHIP IS NURTURED THROUGH TRIPS AND EXCHANGES
Students grow and develop in our incredible travel programs. Students at St Catherine’s School have opportunities to learn in many ways; the traditional component of classroom lessons is supplemented by learning in other environments. The Trips and Exchanges program provides many opportunities for students to grow and develop. Some of these opportunities relate specifically to language study or a specific subject area, whereas others relate to the opportunity to be global citizens.
themselves to cover the costs associated with the trip. Our students have taken on part-time jobs and held fundraising barbecues and film nights among other efforts towards this goal. The girls fundraise for their service project, in addition to raising money to cover their own expenses. The Destination Dreaming organisation works with schools to create sustainable community partnerships that teach students about global citizenship, self-awareness and social justice. It aims to assist young people to thrive through practical social
In 2015, St Catherine’s will work in conjunction with both World
education programs. In April this year, 20 Year 10 and 11
Challenge and Destination Dreaming to offer two different, but
students will travel to the village of Nasivikoso in Fiji to build
both life-changing experiences, for our students in Years 10 and
upon the relationship established in 2013 by our first group of
11. These opportunities are both incredible and unique and it is
students who traveled to Fiji.
pleasing to see that nearly one-third of the girls in these Year levels have signed up for these trips.
The Nasivikoso School has only been operating for three years and the students will be involved in delivering some lessons in
World Challenge offers education through experience. The
the school during their time in the village. Students have
program’s expeditions are packed with eye-opening cultural
received information from the teachers at Nasivikoso School
exchanges, physical challenges, and meaningful service projects
about the content they will be covering when they are there and
in some of the world’s most beautiful countries. In June this year,
are now in the process of developing ideas and lesson plans to
24 Year 10 and 11 students will travel to Peru. The students are
take with them.
engaged in all aspects of the planning for this trip.
Their preparation will also involve collecting resources, such as art
There are two expedition teams that have each developed their
and craft materials, sporting equipment and books. In addition to
own itinerary to reflect their members’ desired level of challenge
spending time at the Village School, the girls will also interact with
for the trip’s trek component and areas of interest for the trip’s
the women in the Village through Netball. They will play some
service component. Students participating in World Challenge
friendly matches and use this time to find out about life as a female
expeditions are encouraged to raise as much as possible
in a remote Fijian village. The girls will be taking a water filter to
donate to the Village to help provide a safe water supply. They are currently raising funds to help cover the costs of the installation of the water filter. These trips are so much more than just time away from home; the students spend months preparing and planning them. The girls are fully engaged and invested in these trips, which shows that they want to learn, grow and become responsible and aware global citizens. Miss Tamara Andrews Trips and Exchange Coordinator Mathematics Teacher
Name: Mr James Walsh Title: Junior School of Physical Education Date: 26 February 2015
PH YSIC A L EDUC AT ION IS IM PER AT I V E
The strong Physical Education program at St Catherine’s
There also appears to be a negative correlation between academic
School promotes health and fitness in students of all ages.
results and obesity in students. Another study conducted by
The subject of Physical Education exists to help students understand the benefits of regular physical activity and develop an awareness of the opportunities to do so in the local and wider communities. The strong PE program also supports their knowledge of the body, Sports Science and teamwork. These lessons also aid their understanding of various other academic subjects.
Howard Taras and William Potts-Datema (2005) 2 suggests a strong association between junior school students who measure as ‘obese’ on the Body Mass Index (BMI over 30) and low academic test results. The prevailing trend is that students carry these habits into their senior school years. Students taught by specialist PE teachers will spend more time on fitness-related activities, including strength, balance, flexibility and group work.
The St Catherine’s PE and Health staff are all experts in their fields.
This helps their fitness, their gross and fine motor skills and their
Our students benefit from a wealth of knowledge and experience in
understanding of nutrition and how the body works.
both PE lessons and co-curricular sporting endeavours. Research suggests that there is a strong correlation between a student’s exposure to specialist PE teachers in the Junior School years and their continued involvement in PE and co-curricular sport in the Senior School years.
There is no doubt that specialist PE teachers provide students with an excellent knowledge of the standards and learning focuses of Health and PE. It is imperative that students are encouraged to participate in physical activity, especially in their Junior School years, as the rewarding experiences of this time can lead to lifelong
It has been proven that the exercise that students undertake
involvement in physical activity. Instilling positive experiences
through PE lessons helps them achieve improved academic
through PE in these early years ultimately benefits students’
performance. A 2012 study conducted by Richard Telford (et al,
attitudes towards sport, health and exercise.
2012) at the Australian National University Medical School 1 showed that students with top NAPLAN test scores at the junior school level also had the highest level of physical activity in their school’s curriculum. The study also showed that students who are taught by specialist PE teachers at junior school level have much higher literacy and numeracy results in NAPLAN tests.
Mr James Walsh Junior School Head of Physical Education Richard D. Telford, et al. (2011) Physical Education, Obesity, and Academic Achievement: A 2-Year Longitudinal Investigation of Australian Elementary School Children, American Journal of Public Health, US NCBI
Taras (2005) Obesity and Student Performance at School: Journal of School Health Journal of School Health Volume 75, Issue 8, Potts-Datema
Name: Mrs Victoria Baldicchino Title: Barbreck Librarian and Teacher Date: 5 March 2015
THE TIME TO READ IS NOW
It is easy enough for us to remember to help our children
behaviour, or an everyday treat. Value reading – her reading and
learn to read, but it is also important that we continue along
also your own. In doing this, you are building a cornerstone for
that journey with them.
her; a touchstone that she will carry with her forever.
How often have we heard ourselves say to our young daughters
At the end of their time in our Junior School, our Year 6 students
any (or all) of the following: “Not now, I am on the phone,” “We
are asked to reflect on one great story everyone should read
have to go and pick up your brother,” “We will do it after dinner”,
before they leave Junior School. Most suggestions are classics,
or “Later!” We all try to do the right thing and hear our child read
rather than the current trendy paperback (although we receive a
every night, but lives are busy and we get distracted.
few of those too). It is not just the ‘brainy’ students, who waded
What if we bring that conversation forward a couple of years? When was the last time you read to your daughter in Year 2, Year 4, Year 6, even Year 8? Most people would admit that it certainly would not be
through Little Women on their own, but often the girls who were read Wind in the Willows, Black Beauty, or Heidi by an older reader.
every night, maybe not even once a week. Perhaps it would be
One lovely anecdote involved a student whose father travelled a
more like once a term, on a wet and windy day when there was
great deal. The first thing that always happened upon his return
nothing else to do, or on a slow day in the school holidays.
was the reading (and re-reading) of The House at Pooh Corner.
What if I challenge you to keep reading to your daughter, no matter how old she is? Share a page at a time if she is younger, and read the books she is reading as she gets older. Remember, it is acceptable to say no when she says she wants to read
Oh, how that story was cherished; it brought warmth and a love of literature together in one enduring memory. Yes, that Dad was a very busy man, but he made it his business to read to his daughter a story that he had loved, and that love shone through.
something beyond her age and stage, even when everyone else
It is easy enough for us to remember to help our children learn to
is allowed to read it. Alternatively, you might say yes to her request
read, but it is also important that we continue along that journey
and read it together. Keep pace with the School novels, read your
with them. It is important to help them when the words are too
old school novels to her when appropriate. Set a time and
hard, or the distractions too great. We can remind them that
develop a habit; make it a part of your family routine.
literature is there as a steady candle in the window to guide them
Model appropriate reading situations by visiting good local and independent bookshops regularly. Make books a reward for good
back to the beauty of the written word.
For who, at the age of nine, can truly read and love the difficult words in Anne of Green Gables when you are trying to read it by yourself? What words and emotions spring forth from the page when they are read aloud! Who has not been terrified reading The Witches when we were young? Put those words into voice and their power is amplified tenfold. If you are nervous about starting to read together, begin with a book you know well – make it short, perhaps. Start with a book that will allow you to share the reading of pages. Turn off your phone (but make sure the brother is still collected) and snuggle up on the couch (or under the doona) for an excellent read. There will be distractions; it will be hard to do at times, but the rewards will be boundless. If you are still not sure, you can always ask the Librarian. So I challenge you to keep reading, keep sharing and keep growing that love of the written word so that it can become something that is passed on and treasured. “You’re never too old/Too wacky, too wild/To pick up a book/And read to a child.” – Dr Seuss. Mrs Victoria Baldicchino Junior School Librarian and Teacher
Name: Ms Fiona Ganino-Day Title: Dean of Year 9 and Psychology Teacher Date: 12 March 2015
R E V I S I N G T H E S M A R T WAY
Many people confuse learning and memory. However, while
Research conducted by Oppenheimer and Mueller (2014) on the
the two processes are linked, they are distinctly different.
role of technology in learning found that students who take
Our amazing brain consists of 1.5 kilograms of tissue mass, with at least one hundred billion nerve cells compacted into the skull. Our brain is engaged from the moment we are born; we are born ready to learn and learning helps form and strengthen neural connections. Frequently, many people confuse learning and memory. While the two processes are linked, they are distinctly different. Learning is the process of acquiring new information about the world, whereas memory is storing that information. Memory occurs from learning, but learning can occur without memory – in other words, information may not always be transformed into memories. Often, learning is an attempt at creating a permanent
handwritten notes rather than laptop notes performed better on tests, including on questions that required conceptual thinking. They also found that handwritten note takers outperformed laptop note takers on recall one week later when participants were given a chance to review their notes before taking the recall test. Other research examined the effectiveness of different study techniques. It was found that one of the most common techniques students tend to use initially is highlighting text and then re-reading information just prior to an assessment task. This technique of highlighting and re-reading provides little benefit to learning and performance (Dunlosky, Rawson, Marsh, Nathan and Willingham, 2013).
memory. This is an issue that we all face in our everyday lives
While these techniques are easy to complete, they prevent
and one that our students face when learning new concepts, or
learners from engaging in other, more productive, strategies.
trying to study for assessments.
Students should be using a variety of revision techniques and
Many students will often tell you they have a bad memory, or that they do not know where to start when trying to revise because “nothing sticks in my head.” Other students will try to revise for tests using limited techniques or may purchase technology to aid their learning. The types of revision techniques and technology that students use can have an impact on their retention and recall of information under examination conditions.
metacognition to consider how effective the techniques are for them. This is an important part of learning and becoming a successful student. Current research has identified and examined the effectiveness of a number of revision techniques suitable for students of all ages. Some of these are outlined below: •
Practice Testing (highly effective): This involves self-testing using past examination papers and questions while learning, flash cards (handwritten), quick quizzes or end of chapter questions.
Distributed Practice (highly effective): Students develop a
involves using imagery or acronyms to associate with
content, so cramming the night before is not effective
concepts. It does not allow students to learn detail, so would
long-term learning. Those nights when students do not have
be more beneficial if used in tandem with other techniques.
homework they could begin writing flash cards on the current topic, or complete the questions at the end of the
information prior to an assessment task.
Elaborative Interrogation (moderately effective): This
Re-reading (low effectiveness): The student re-reads a text that has already been read.
involves students providing an explanation for a response
When the above techniques are used properly, students will gain in
to a question and asking themselves ‘why’ they wrote this
classroom performance, test performance and many other areas
response (a form of metacognition).
of life. However, these methods alone are not the only solutions for
Interleaved Practice Technique (moderately effective): Students use a variety of revision techniques, including some of the less effective techniques. Alternatively, they
effective learners; students must be motivated, their learning must be supported by their parents or guardians, and they must ensure they have a healthy diet and are not sleep deprived.
study different concepts at the same time instead of
Ms Fiona Ganino-Day
focusing on one concept. This would be particularly helpful
Dean of Year 9 and Psychology Teacher
in Mathematics, where students revise a number of different problem solving techniques at once, rather than focusing on just one. This allows the student to recognise when the appropriate strategy is required from a question. •
Highlighting (low effectiveness): The student uses highlighters or underlines text while reading or re-reading content.
chapter, giving them plenty of time to review and consolidate
Keywords/Acronyms (low effectiveness): This technique
schedule of revision over time for a longer retention of
Summarisation (low effectiveness): This involves the student writing summaries of topics and is best used alongside other techniques.
Name: Ms Sarah Bethune Title: Early Learning Centre Coordinator and Teacher Date: 19 March 2015
T ECH NOLOGY I N CHIL DHOOD EDUC AT ION
There is a distinct difference between using technology for
inquiry. Children work alongside one another on individual iPads
education purposes and entertainment.
whilst working on educational Apps. The Apps used with the
Today’s children are growing up in a digital age which is quite different from previous generations. Children have access to a range of technology and media, and from a young age, many of
children are educationally based and help to develop pre-literacy and pre-numeracy skills, or provide opportunities for creative expression and problem solving.
our students know how to manipulate a mouse or navigate their
Technology and media are used to support children’s learning as a
way around a touch screen.
research tool and source of information. At times, our students use
When incorporating technology into the curriculum in the Early Learning Centre, it is therefore important that our students develop an understanding of the purpose of technology so that it can be used to support their learning and development.
the Internet under the supervision of the educators to access images or source information which is connected to a current project, interest or inquiry. For example, a group of children may be researching the life cycle of the silk worm. Through accessing the Internet, the children are able to look at images of silk worms and
The Early Years Learning Framework (DEEWR, 2009) outlines in
the various stages of their life cycle and gather information to help
Outcome 5 : Children are effective communicators who ‘…use
develop their understanding of this area of interest. The Internet is a
information and communication technologies to access
wonderful source of information and is used by the children as a
information, investigate ideas and represent their thinking.’ As
research tool alongside reference books from our Library.
educators we promote this learning when we provide authentic experiences involving technology. These experiences are carefully and intentionally selected. There is a distinct difference between using technology for education purposes and entertainment. We ensure all experiences involving technology or media are designed to directly support educational learning and development.
There are also opportunities for our students to access technology as a means for communicating. Exploration and play with the computer keyboard and a word processing program can be a great way for children to begin exploring letters and words. There may also be times when a class is using email to communicate with the wider community or to consult an ‘expert’
The use of technology and media in the Early Learning Program
in a particular field to ask a question relating to an inquiry.
is not an isolated experience. Our students are encouraged to
Through these activities the children begin to learn that email can
work in small and large groups. Small groups of children may use
be used for communicating and interacting with others.
the iPads to conduct research on a current area of interest and
The children in the Early Learning Centre also have access to
understandings beyond traditional areas of competence and to
other forms of technology and media. Light tables are used in a
learn about people and places beyond their immediate
multitude of ways to provide children with opportunities to learn
experience. â€œCarefully managed information and communication
about light, colour, transparency and reflection. Similarly,
technologies open new doors for children to understand, interact
overhead projectors are often set up for children to explore the
and re-imagine their world.â€? (Every Child, Vol 16 No 3, 2010)
concepts of light and shadow or experiment with shadow puppetry. The children are provided with opportunities to use equipment such as digital cameras, video and audio recording equipment to document their play and learning. These experiences are reflective of our Early Learning Centre philosophy which is inspired by the Reggio Emilia approach. It is important to understand that technology and media are not used to replace creative experiences, physical play and real-life exploration. Play is central to the learning and development of children therefore their interactions with technology must mirror their interactions with other play materials. The key to using technology with young children is balance. Technology is therefore used as a learning and research tool at times when it is appropriate to extend or support the childrenâ€™s learning and inquiries. Information and Communication Technologies are an integral part of the world in which young children are growing up. Working with technology can enable young learners to use and demonstrate
Ms Sarah Bethune Early Learning Centre Coordinator and Teacher
Name: Mrs Mary Hugh Title: Chinese Teacher Date: 26 March 2015
CON F UCIUS CL A SSROOM AT ST C AT HER I N E’S
Since 2012 St Catherine’s has offered students a ‘Confucius
Employing Confucius as a symbol of Chinese culture, the first
Classroom,’ in partnership with the Confucius Institute at
Confucius Institute (CI) was opened in 2004 in Seoul, South
Melbourne University. This partnership underpins the
Korea. The Confucius Institute is a public, non-profit organisation
School’s commitment to the teaching of Chinese language
run by the Chinese Government. The aim of the Institute is to
promote the study of Chinese language and culture and support
Upon entering Beijing International Airport, there is a cascade of banners welcoming visitors in different languages. One of these is a Confucius saying, “It is such a delight to have friends coming from afar – 有朋远方来不亦乐乎.” These were also the first words in the Opening Ceremony in the 2008 Beijing Olympics. In the last decades of the Twentieth Century, as China began to depart from many of its Communist policies and reinvent itself as a powerful economic and cultural force in the world, Confucius has been revived to become a symbol of the greatness of Chinese civilisation. Under Mao, Confucius’ teachings were banned and Confucian scholars were either punished or incarcerated. After the considerable cultural devastation of the Cultural Revolution, many Chinese have sought to rediscover their own heritage and many have turned to the teachings of Confucius. Confucius is, without doubt, one of the most influential Chinese teachers and philosophers. He lived around 2,500 years ago, a contemporary of Buddha and a little earlier than Socrates. His philosophy and teaching, Confucianism, formed the foundation of Chinese society, government and education. Confucius had a profound influence, not only in China, but also in neighbouring countries such as Japan, South Korea and Vietnam.
Chinese language teaching programs following the models of Alliance Française, Japan Foundation, or the Goethe Institute. Since then CIs have been established worldwide, mostly in universities. In Australia there are CIs in the University of Sydney and University of Adelaide. In Victoria there are two CIs at the University of Melbourne and La Trobe University. Since 2012, St Catherine’s has entered into an agreement with the CI at Melbourne University to become a Confucius Classroom. This agreement is based on the School’s commitment to the teaching of Chinese language and culture. This year the agreement has been renewed for another five years. As a Confucius Classroom, we have received funding and support for a range of learning activities including: China Study Tour, Language Assistant, establishing School links, excursions and incursions, cultural performances, resource materials and guest speakers. The CI also assists schools in a variety of programs and activities including: organising student and teacher exchanges, organising professional learning programs related to the teaching of Chinese language and culture, supporting in-country Chinese language study, supporting Chinese cultural activities and competitions.
With the support of the CI, we were able to establish friendly school ties with He Ping Jie First School in Beijing. Our Principal, Mrs Michelle Carroll spent time at the School during the St Catherineâ€™s China Study Tour in September 2014. The two Schools signed a Friendship Agreement signifying the beginning of a meaningful and beneficial exchange for both Schools. The work of Confucius Institutes has certainly raised the profile of Chinese studies in Australia. The students have become more aware of the relationship between Australia and China and of the importance of Chinese language and culture in their future studies and careers. Mrs Mary Hugh Chinese Teacher
Name: Mrs Helen Nicolaou Title: Early Learning Teacher Date: 16 April 2015
PROJECTS ARE VEHICLES FOR LEARNING
Children are quite capable of constructing their own learning. In the Early Learning Centre (ELC) at St Catherine’s School we are inspired by the Reggio Emilia philosophy that believes children are capable of constructing their own learning. They are driven by their interests to understand and know more.
Projects begin with us observing, listening, and questioning topics of interest. You will often find the children in the ELC gathering in a circle for a Morning Meeting with their teachers. Through these meetings, children learn that they have the opportunity to be speakers and listeners. They learn that their thoughts, ideas and comments are respected and valued by
Reggio Emilia is a city located in Emilia Romagna in Northern
others. This is often a time where projects emerge as
Italy. Just after the Second World War, a young teacher, Loris
provocations, ideas and thoughts are then shared by the children.
Malaguzzi, encouraged families in the region to join him in a quest for excellence in childcare. The Reggio Emilia approach is one which encompasses, with respect, the findings of Dewey, Piaget, Vygotsky and many other learning experts.
Based on the children’s responses we introduce materials, questions and opportunities to provoke children to further explore the topic. The children are viewed as “active constructors of their own knowledge.”1 They learn by being actively involved and are
In the centre of the Reggio Emilia approach is the powerful image
provided the opportunity to make connections between prior and
of the child. Not seen as needing to be filled with facts based
new knowledge, while engaging in experiences that are authentic
upon notions of emptiness before filling, children are seen as
and allow them to express their understandings through the
being full of potential, competent, capable and confident. The firm
belief is that educators and parents must place higher value upon the search for constructive strategies of thinking and action rather than the direct transmission of knowledge and skills.
A project can last from a few days to several weeks or months and often move in unanticipated directions as children’s understandings, knowledge and ideas emerge and change.
Our role as educators is to observe our children, listen to their
Often many small projects can evolve at the same time, or can
questions and their stories, find what interests them and then
capture the interest of the whole class.
provide them with opportunities to explore these interests further. We are always working alongside the children as partners and as co-learners researching together.
Ms Helen Nicolaou Early Learning Teacher Katz, Lillian (1993) Edwards, C., Gandini, L., Forman, G (Eds), ed. The Hundred Languages of Children: The Reggio Emilia Approach to Early Childhood Education. Norwood, NJ:Ablex Publishing Corporation. Pp 19-37
Name: Ms Sue Cooke Title: Year 2 Teacher Date: 23 April 2015
M A K I NG ST C AT H ER I N E’S H ISTORY COM E A L I V E
“Why do our Houses have the names they do?”
“This is a true story about…” eye contact is strengthened and backs
“Who was our first Principal?”
straighten. The students are keen to learn more! History is relevant
“How has the School changed?”
and has connections.
These are commonly asked questions by the students in Year 2.
Nothing is more powerful when teaching History to young students
The curiosity and interest of young students about the world
than providing meaningful primary sources to spark their interest. Our
around them is inspirational. However, the challenge is how to
Year 2 Old Girls’ Panel has become an annual highlight in our study
design a program in History that maintains the interest of seven and
about the history of St Catherine’s. Family members, babysitters and
eight year olds, yet still addresses the requirements of the
friends who were students at St Catherine’s are invited to join a panel to
talk about the experiences they had when they were at School. The
In Year 2, we are required to investigate the history of a chosen person, building site or landmark using various sources: books, oral histories, photographs etc. An investigation that explores the history of our School, is a perfect vehicle for this. The history of St Catherine’s is a story and each chapter is explored in depth each week. As the story unfolds and the names of the principals and buildings reflect the names of the Houses, the anticipation rises – “When will my House be mentioned?” Lower Junior School students love ‘true stories’. I have the wonderful advantage of being able to tell ‘true stories’ about many aspects of the history of St Catherine’s from personal perspectives that relate to several important eras of the history of the School – a great-aunt who was a student when St Catherine’s was at Williams Road, a mother who was a student during the time of Headmistress Miss Holmes and the evacuation of the School to Warburton and my own personal
pride the Year 2 students feel about their connections with members on this Panel and the enthusiasm and interest the girls show when asking questions, is tangible. The learning that arises from these discussions is huge. A different voice and a different perspective become an amazing vehicle from which comparisons can be made between the ‘then’ and the ‘now’. Imagination can be channeled to help write detailed pieces, based on the factual content we have shared. To witness the respect, enthusiasm and the excitement exhibited by the Year 2 students in 2014, when they spoke to a group of St Catherine’s Old Girls about their experiences during their evacuation to Warburton, was a true privilege. To listen to the recounts and conversations on our return to the classroom was heart-warming. So much learning had taken place; so much was remembered. Connections had been made with the past and history had come alive.
experiences as a student during the time of Principal and
Ms Sue Cooke
Headmistress Miss Davis. When class discussions begin with,
Year 2 Teacher
Name: Mrs Diane Rundle Title: Year 1 Teacher Date: 30 April 2015
A L I T T L E A S S E M B LY C R E AT E S A B I G W O R L D
Stories spark emotions. A good story can reshape our world. Since the dawn of humankind, stories have been connecting people, healing wounds, moving us to action and driving change. A highlight in the Prep to Year 2 week is Little Assembly. It provides the girls with an opportunity to come together in a unified environment of learning and sharing and is an integral part
Acting as an informal weekly ‘episode’ of community spirit and inspirational storytelling, Little Assembly serves to inform and empower our young global citizens by providing them with the tools and confidence to function in an ever changing world. Mrs Diane Rundle Year 1 Teacher
of reinforcing community spirit and good citizenship. Through stories, discussions and cross-age group activities, Little Assembly reinforces the value system required for effective learning and positive wellbeing. Little Assembly promotes and teaches crucial life skills such as harmony, fair play, personal achievement, good manners, charity, cooperation, perseverance and confidence. With a central theme of cooperation, problem solving and sharing, Little Assembly offers an invaluable opportunity for students to come together with purpose and for staff to model good relationships. It is a valuable time spent working together, while reinforcing the ethical and moral learning paralleled in the classroom and playground. Through the power of storytelling and discussion, the girls connect with a world beyond their own and are united by the basic human attributes of compassion, integrity, empathy, curiosity and understanding – in short, the very Values of St Catherine’s School itself.
Name: Mrs Michelle Carroll Title: Principal Date: 4 May 2015
THE DEVELOPMENT OF CHARACTER
Through a strong culture of service we can encourage girls
achievement, years pass and the deepest parts of you go
to give back and enable the development of life skills.
unexplored and unstructured. You lack a moral vocabulary. It is
As a leading girls’ school in Australia, St Catherine’s is committed to nurturing and empowering independent and globally responsive young women, enabling them to approach all their endeavours with confidence, wisdom and integrity. Whilst St Catherine’s boasts a proud tradition of academic achievement–and this remains a strong focus for the School, a St Catherine’s education is not solely
easy to slip into a self-satisfied moral mediocrity.” Brooks comes to the conclusion that wonderful people are made, not born. He believes inner virtue is built from specific moral and spiritual accomplishments. These accomplishments fill your moral bucket list and lead the way towards your “richest possible inner life.” Included in this bucket list was The Humility Shift:
linked to an ATAR score at the end of Year 12. Grounding our
“We live in the culture of the Big Me. The meritocracy wants you to
education in developing girls of character and ‘empowering
promote yourself. Social media wants you to broadcast a highlight
independent and responsive young women’ through a strong
reel of your life. Your parents and teachers were always telling you
culture of service, encourages girls to give back and enables the
how wonderful you were. But all the people I’ve ever deeply
development of the life skills required to navigate the world with
admired are profoundly honest about their own weaknesses….they
empathy, curiosity and insight.
have achieved a profound humility, which has best been defined as
International experiences, like that of the recent St Catherine’s Fiji
an intense self-awareness from a position of other-centeredness.”
Trip, fosters a cultural understanding and provides the girls with a
Character development and the ‘getting of wisdom’ is interwoven
greater global perspective and personal awareness. During our
within the culture at St Catherine’s. As a School, we aim to
time living in the Nasivikoso Village in the Fijian highlands, an
engender traits such as generosity, honesty, courage, good
awakening in our understanding of a ‘rich life’ was felt by all. At
humour and friendliness. In reflecting upon the words of our
times, a humiliating gap was apparent between our two worlds.
Charter – “approaching endeavours with confidence, wisdom and
This was a lesson in what was frequently described by the girls as:
integrity”, we must continually ask ourselves as educators and as
humility, gratitude and appreciation.
parents, how can we ensure our St Catherine’s girls enter a world
In a recent article published in the Sydney Morning Herald, ‘A moral bucket list: How to live the richest possible inner life’, author David
with wisdom and integrity so they can engage ethically and with humility in their life.
Brooks suggests achieving generosity of spirit and depth of
Mrs Michelle Carroll
character allows an inner light to radiate: “But if you live for external
Name: Mrs Caroline Morrison Title: Mathematics Teacher and Costume Designer Date: 7 May 2015
THE JOYS OF DRESSING A PRODUCTION
Costume Design not only brings the characters on stage
is translated effectively through the costumes. The School
‘alive’ but offers students another insight into the complex
production of Anything Goes had a colour palette of red, white,
process of character creation.
blue and black. This proved a challenge at times, but looked
Performing Arts in schools provide wonderful opportunities for
incredibly effective on stage and was worth the effort.
students to express themselves creatively, develop
If costumes are researched, selected and made correctly they can
communication and inter-personal skills and build a greater
bring the entire play to life and help enhance cast performances.
sense of self-esteem and self-awareness.
The best day, as a costume designer, is full dress rehearsal. It is
These benefits also extend to the many people who work behind the scenes during a school production. From the director, musical ensembles, light and sound technicians and costumes and make-up team a school production generates just as much enthusiasm and passion behind the curtain as it does for audiences and performers. Being involved in the design of costumes for St Catherine’s School productions provides a great insight into the School and a different perspective of the girls. As I teach Mathematics, I see the girls in class grasping key mathematical concepts and complex exercises. It is a delight to see the girls’ creativity expressed on stage and watch them dive into different characters. As well as the transformation of the girls it is rewarding to watch the costumes come to life. Costuming a production is an ongoing process. Initiating from the selection of a play by the director, costumes must consider the era that the play is set in, cast
rewarding to see the girls, and for this year’s Senior School production, The 39 Steps, the boys from St Kevin’s College, really ‘become’ their characters as the layers of their costumes are worn. For the students, you can see the pride on their faces as the hours spent learning their lines become worthwhile. A windfall this year was the able assistance provided from three Theatre Studies students; Alexandra Culliver, Junbing (Amy) Li and Naomi Moseshvili, who selected costume design as their area of study for this subject. It was a great opportunity for the girls to gain an insight into the level of research and fossicking required for costume selection and design and provided them with real life experience in this area of work. The buzz from the girls as they enjoyed their involvement and their appreciation makes it all worthwhile. Now, it is time to think about our Years 7 and 8 Musical production of Seussical Jr later in the year!
selections and the intent of the director. There can be many
Mrs Caroline Morrison
challenges in costume design to ensure the vision of the director
Name: Miss Kristy Forrest Title: English Teacher Date: 14 May 2015
Challenging the mind to take hold of its thoughts, understanding
the capacity to argue through to a conclusion rather than simply
basis for opinions and examining society’s conventions is not only
offer a position.
applicable in the Philosophy classroom but throughout education.
This was reiterated for the Unit 1 Philosophy class at the recent
The Stoic philosophers, following in the tradition of Socrates, argued
Excellence Conference. The conference was the Melbourne session
the central task of education is to confront the passivity of the pupil,
of a national tour run by the philosopher and theologian Dr Peter
challenging the mind to take hold of its thoughts. This task underpins
Vardy. An internationally renowned educator, Vardy challenges his
the purpose of a liberal education, where students are made ‘free’ in
adolescent audience by demanding they evaluate the basis for their
the truest sense of the word, able to not only produce an opinion, but
opinions as preparation for engaging with the moral challenges of
to understand the basis for the opinion and to conduct a critical
their generation, such as genetic engineering and climate change.
examination of their society’s norms and conventions.
In his opening presentation, Vardy outlined the crimes of Socrates,
Socrates was sentenced to death by the authorities at the time, charged with ‘corrupting the youth of Athens.’ Yet centuries later, it is the Socratic skillset of critical self-examination and reasoning that are now required to negotiate the complexity of the modern world. In his conversations with St Catherine’s students last year and earlier this year, Dr Simon Longstaff, Executive Director of the St James Ethics Centre, cited Socrates as his ‘favourite philosopher’ as he understood the core role of critical thinking in enhancing ethical understanding. In the Australian curriculum, ethical understanding is one of the seven General Capabilities, where students learn to ‘identify and investigate the nature of ethical concepts, values and traits and understanding how reasoning can assist ethical judgment.’ 1 It is therefore important as educators we do not pay lip service to the word ‘reason’ but explicitly teach the skills of critical thinking to our students, emphasising clarity of thought above all else, valuing
finishing by stating “he was condemned to death for what hopefully your teachers do to you. I hope your School is corrupting you by teaching you to think for yourselves and be independent.” The smiles from the students and the lunch time discussions confirmed this was the case. The students felt secure that St Catherine’s was ‘corrupting’ them in the best way possible. Whether it was in their classes, their Debating teams or co-curricular activities such as Global Young Leaders or the Constitutional Convention, they felt as if there was always the opportunity for them to engage with important ethical questions and, more importantly, to do so in a rigorous manner. Socrates would have been pleased. Miss Kristy Forrest English Teacher http://www.australiancurriculum.edu.au/GeneralCapabilities/Pdf/Ethicalunderstanding
Name: Mr Adrian Puckering Title: Director of Curriculum Innovation and Development Date: 21 May 2015
DATA : PA N DA-MON I U M
The illusion of knowing is a dangerous frailty. The eminent theoretical physicist and cosmologist Stephen
we question – and in this VUCA world, these traits are now the hallmarks of a great teaching community.
Hawking once remarked that “the greatest enemy of knowledge
Personalising the learning experience has long been known as
is not ignorance, it is the illusion of knowledge.”
the key strategy in improving learning outcomes. However,
The illusion of knowing – and therefore not needing to ask, not needing to challenge, not needing to question – is a dangerous frailty in all areas, but a particularly damaging one in education. As teachers we are often regarded as the ‘expert’ – our very title, ‘teacher’, suggests the one-way traffic of information...we teach, students learn...of course though, it is never quite that simple. ‘VUCA’ is a term used by the military to describe a particular environment, one that is volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous; such environments require heightened awareness and situational readiness because they can change quickly, mistakes can easily be made and surprises lurk around every corner. In reality, this is the kind of environment that exists in education; technology, personalisation, national curriculum and standardised testing have contributed to creating an exciting environment but nevertheless one that is increasingly volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous.
standardised testing, standardised curriculum and increasingly crowded instructional time make personalisation at the classroom level difficult at best. The question is then begged: given these instructional challenges, how can we better personalise? One answer is to use data. If student data allows teachers to intrinsically know their students then they are more capable of personalising learning. Data is the key that unlocks the treasure chest that is personalisation. It has been said data is the new oil, because data is a resource that is so ubiquitous, so easily mined, so readily transformed into new insights; at St Catherine’s data is perhaps better thought of as the new ‘soil’, a fertile ground, irrigated by new software allowing data visualisations to spring upwards like flowers. The student data collected can be placed under two headings: Performance and Assessment. Performance data allows teachers to easily track the learning behaviours of their students whilst assessment data allows teachers to track results – together (Performance AND
In such an environment, teachers are once again learners,
Assessment — PANDA) form a very powerful partnership
perhaps even (in the short term) determined amateurs rather than
enabling teachers to see new insights.
all-knowing experts – not entirely a bad thing, for was not the Ark built by a determined amateur whilst the Titanic was designed by all-knowing professionals? As learners we ask, we challenge and
Mr Adrian Puckering Director of Curriculum Innovation and Development
Name: Ms Merran Oâ€™Connor Title: Director of Student Wellbeing Date: 28 May 2015
EMOT IONS M AT T ER
‘We need to train everyone with a face to understand the
goals and strategies frame key aspects of the weThrive:
importance of emotional intelligence.’ Professor Marc
Wellbeing @ St Catherine’s Program. Students are
Brackett - Yale University ‘Centre for Emotional Intelligence’
encouraged to consider scenarios whereby when an event
To assist children in our care to navigate the challenges of childhood and adolescence, we need to more fully understand the spectrum of emotional intelligence and help our children do the same.
happens, it is their thoughts and interpretations of the event, and not the event itself, that lead them to experience certain emotions and feelings, and to act or react in particular ways. Importantly, this model proposes that while we often cannot change events, we do have the power to change the way we
Emotional intelligence is defined by Yale Professor Peter
think about those events, and therefore how we feel and how
Salovey as “a type of social intelligence that involves the ability
to monitor one’s own and other’s emotions, to discriminate among them and to use the information to guide one’s thinking and actions.”1 The ability to recognise and control our feelings before they determine our actions and responses is essential to our emotional intelligence and, perhaps more importantly, that of our children. Holocaust survivor Viktor E. Frankl observed that “Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom.”
Put simply, changing the way we think can help make us feel better, irrespective of circumstance. I recently attended a fascinating lecture by Professor Marc Brackett of the Yale University Centre for Emotional Intelligence. The Centre has conducted research on the role of emotional intelligence in schools and universities as well as in business and leadership. The Centre has created a practical tool to measure EI. Professor Brackett’s research shows that students with higher EI experience less anxiety and depression and perform better academically.2 The RULER Program, an
It is the relationship between feelings, thoughts and actions
acronym for the need to Recognise, Understand, Label,
that is key. As well as being a vital aspect of parenting, the
Express and Regulate emotions, advocates that all emotions
value of emotional literacy is very relevant to the school context
matter and we learn and grow even from the most challenging
and its positive influence on personal development and
times in our lives.
academic achievement is well known. Emotional intelligence
Using a tool called the ‘Mood Meter’, Professor Brackett reminds us we need to ‘name it to tame it’ and ‘to feel it to heal it’; important precursors to building self and social awareness. Ms Merran O’Connor Director of Student Wellbeing 1 Salovey & Mayer - http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/ pii/0160289693900103 2 http://passthrough.fwnotify.net/download/480180/http://www.nasponline.org/ advocacy/updates/documents/Emotional_Intelligence.pdf
Name: Ms Fiona Ganino-Day Title: Year 9 Dean, Psychology Teacher Date: 4 June 2015
eR EL AT IONSHIP CL E A N OU T
Managing online relationships is not easy... ‘The reason we struggle with insecurity is because we
‘unfriending’ occurs it is a result of a negative experience, rather than management of their social network sites.
compare our behind the scenes with everyone else’s
Teenagers must keep in mind that digital relationships are often
highlight reel’ – Steve Furtick
different to those in the real world. Often people behave differently
The Year 9 student wellbeing program is centred on the theme of weEngage. At St Catherine’s this semester, we have been encouraging the girls to engage with each other, their self and the community. There has been a focus on the formation and changing of relationships within their lives. Today, many teenage relationships are online. Most teenagers own smart phones allowing internet access and seventy six percent of young people are using the internet to reach their peers. At St Catherine’s, we encourage teenagers to consider
with e-relationships and develop interesting and sometimes questionable behaviours. For instance the ‘duck face’ pout pose that many young teenagers are posting, or the cryptic message, ‘I do not know why people are so mean…” Often teenagers are ‘banking’ on good karma by making nice and shallow comments “OMG you look so pretty” in the hope they will at some point receive one back. Teenagers should consider how genuine their relationships are with those people and also consider how they market themselves.
their online behaviours, reassess those relationships and, at
Managing online friends is not an easy task but below are some
times, to take stock and do a clean out.
guidelines to help:
When teenagers begin using social networking sites they add
It is okay and easier to ignore a friend request than it is to
many friends to their pages, with the belief that the more friends,
unfriend. Just because someone ‘friends’ you does not
the greater their status among peers. As a consequence, they are
mean you have to accept their request for contact. If the
inviting many people to join their pages. Sometimes they like and
person is not someone you want to share your information
know these people and other times they may not like them but still
and conversations with, do not accept their invitation
invite them to be friends.
Culling a friend’s list can fall more naturally at certain times.
Often they are connected to people they may not have spoken to
For example at the end of a school year, or at the start of a
for many years (junior school friends). So as time passes, friends
new school year, where friendships may naturally change.
are constantly added, but there is no culling. This may be due to
People are less likely to feel annoyed when there is a natural
the potential drama an ‘unfriending’ can cause. Usually if any
point of change.
If a friendship or relationship begins to go bad, teenagers can significantly reduce the amount of digital drama by quickly moving to sever the online friendship. This blocks the person from being nasty on pages, or participating in conversations. Teenagers need to consider the quality of their connections not the quantity of their connections. Ms Fiona Ganino-Day Dean of Year 9 Psychology Teacher
Name: Ms Julia West Title: Media Teacher Date: 11 June 2015
THE FUTURE OF WORK AND T H E R E L E VA N C Y O F M E D I A L I T E R AC Y
An in-depth knowledge of the viewer or in more economic
economic terms the consumer is what gives Media students a
terms the consumer is what gives Media students a tool kit
tool kit for future employment.
for future employment.
So how does this discussion about media literacy link in with
Over the years many parents have asked me why study Media?
predictions about the future of work? How does knowing about
Their perceptions are formed, quite understandably, from their
audience lead to future employment? One argument is that an
experience of watching their daughters sit in front of the computer
active audience equals access to data and a large active
trawling through Facebook, eyeballing their phone, downloading
audience equals big data.1
images, taking selfies, talking over Skype to a far off friend or even creating their own blog about an interest. To many, that is media. So why study it at School?
An example of this is online versions of print newspapers can, through technology, chart and document your reading; what you clicked on, how much time you spent reading an article, what
One identifiable attribute, among many in media education is the
time of day you read it, what your next preference of story was
study of audience. Students learn the rudiments of media
and so on. Through this, online news organisations can create
language; the world of visual and written codes known as
their own version of big data and suddenly gain an intimate and
semiotics. They begin to understand that media texts are made
detailed information about their audience.2
for a specific audience who, depending on their context, create meaning; thus students learn audience reception theories.
This data collection was unthinkable forty years ago. Back then journalists knew if people read their stories, if a letter was written
They also create media artworks or products such as film or
to the newspaper or how many newspapers were sold that day.
photography with a specific audience in mind; thus students
Suddenly the audience has become up close and very real. To
make their own media products and become knowledgeable
add, they now make commentary, form online communities and
about the technical and creative applications.
make judgments. Thus those who know the audience suddenly
This concept of the audience and the study of relevant cultural
become more valuable and more employable.
and communication theory, is in part what is meant by media
Employees who know how to create for a specific audience and
literacy. This in-depth knowledge of the viewer or in more
readily engage them, a problem that online news organisations
now face, is a skill that begins in the contemporary media classroom. As Tony Wagner of Harvard University, School of Education says technology is a commodity – the world no longer cares what you know – it’s what you do with it, that’s important’.3 Ms Julia West Media Teacher 1
The Second Age of the Machine, Erik Brynjolfsson and Andrew McAfee.
Niemen Lab http://www.niemanlab.org/2014/05/the-leaked-new-york-timesinnovation-report-is-one-of-the-key-documents-of-this-media-age/
Tony Wagner, Harvard University, School of Education, TEDx NYED https://www. youtube.com/watch?v=hvDjh4l-VHo
Name: Mr Alex Borlenghi Title: Head of Digital Learning and Practice Date: 18 June 2015
In a very powerful prediction of a world our students may inhabit,
Al Gore, in his 2013 book The Future: Six Drivers of Global
a tendency to dislike anything new; fear of novelty
Change, identifies the drivers that together make the world
In an era of great change, emerging technologies and professions must be embraced by educators, students and parents...
fundamentally different from the way it was 20 or 30 years ago: a more globalised economy, planet-wide electronic communications and developments in robotics, a new political economy in which influence and initiative is shifting from west to
The term neophobia is most commonly used in conjunction with
east, unsustainable population growth and resource depletion,
‘fussy’ eating in young children, in particular a refusal to try new
advances in Science that enable human beings to reshape the
foods. It has however, been shown that neophobia is far more
fabric of life as never before and a radically unstable relationship
widespread than that – generally people have a wariness of the
between human civilisation and the earth’s ecological systems.
new and a preference for things that are familiar and common. Robert Anton Wilson stated in his 1983 book Prometheus Rising that neophobia is instinctual and argued that it is the reason human culture and ideas do not advance as quickly as our technology. We currently live in an era of great change, both in the area of technology and in many other disciplines. It can be justifiably argued the rate of change is faster than at any time in history and it is showing no signs of slowing. Today’s world is more global, more interconnected and more interdependent; almost unrecognisable from the world of only a few decades ago. We need to ensure we are preparing our students not only for the current post-School environment, but for that, almost unimaginable world which will exist a decade or two in the future. An illustration of this is the constant improvement in technology.
His question is whether our thinking can keep up with the pace of these closely interconnected and mutually reinforcing changes. Our question, as educators, is how we prepare our students to live, and indeed thrive, in this future world. It is vitally important that schools continue to stay informed with the possibilities offered by new technologies and forms of communication our students are exposed to. Even more importantly, we need to ensure they become educated consumers of the vast repository of knowledge that is the internet and sophisticated and safe users of social media. Sir Ken Robinson’s often quoted statement is that many schools, and school systems, are preparing students for a world that no longer exists. The challenge however, is not how to prepare our students for the world that exists today, but for an unknown future, for jobs and technologies that do not yet exist. In this regard the
most important skill we can teach our students is how to be flexible and how to embrace and adapt to the new technologies we have not yet imagined. This exponential rate of technological change makes this a vitally important element of the education we provide. To be able to do this, we need to be able to put aside our innate neophobia and embrace the possibilities of the new. On the radio on my commute into St Catherineâ€™s a few weeks ago I heard Sally Sherwen, a specialist in animal welfare from the University of Melbourne, talking about her research into stress levels in zoo animals. She explained how different animals dealt with changes to their environments in very different ways. Penguins, she said, would be very excited by a new object placed into their enclosure; they would immediately go up to it and play with it. Giraffes, by contrast, are highly stressed by even the smallest change in their environment. If we relate this to the constantly evolving world of technology and its use in both everyday life and in education, my advice is to follow the example of the penguins and overcome your neophobia. Do not be a giraffe, be a penguin! Mr Alex Borlenghi Head of Digital Learning and Practice
Name: Miss Elizabeth Ryan Title: Dean of Year 8, History Teacher Date: 16 July 2015
REFLECTIONS ON A SEMESTER WITH YEAR 8
A successful Year 8 student is motivated, engaged during
and developmental goals. There are times when this drive for
classes and communicative with staff about her own learning.
perfectionism is palpable: you can hear it in conversations
So far this year, I have spent my days at School surrounded by an effervescent, wickedly humorous and intriguing group of young women: the Year 8 cohort. Having an office immersed in their native habitat – the locker area – has given me direct contact with each Year 8 girl, whilst also allowing me to inadvertently overhear
amongst the girls about lengthy hours spent on homework, or in the intense disappointment conveyed after receiving a ‘less than perfect’ result. From my perspective, a successful Year 8 student is motivated, engaged during classes and communicative with staff about her own learning.
many conversations and interactions. Despite the inevitable
She may not always receive the ‘best’ result, but she will show the
challenges that arise within a Year level over the course of a
signs of burgeoning intellectual curiosity and academic resilience.
Semester, I have been most impressed by the kind manner in
As teachers and mentors, we aim to teach and model this resilience
which so many of our girls interact with one another.
by opening clear channels of communication and encouraging
They greet each other warmly on cold mornings, decorate lockers with an array of streamers and signs on birthdays, show genuine interest in one another’s challenges and upheavals and rally together like a battalion preparing for war in the lead up to
mindfulness in the way that School work is completed. For some girls, this is a reminder to stay focused and to remove opportunities for procrastination; for others, this is a message about moderating the time spent each night on homework.
significant milestones, such as their Mathematics examination. I
It has also become increasingly apparent to me that the social
am so pleased to observe a strong sense of connection within
sphere can be a hotbed of challenges for Year 8 girls. This Year is
Year 8; I believe that this will sustain and nourish our girls as they
a time of considerable growth and personal learning, and with
progress at St Catherine’s.
these changes, many girls find themselves questioning their
In my time spent nestled amongst the Year level, I have tried to understand what our girls perceive as their biggest challenges. St Catherine’s girls set high standards for themselves and work
friendships and where they ‘fit’ in their Year level. This, of course, is a very natural and logical part of social development, but in the moment, it can feel upsetting and even isolating.
hard to achieve academically, which is an impressive trademark
I have found that Year 8 is a unique time to teach students that the
of our students. However, at times this academic drive seems to
notions of a single ‘best friend’, or an unchanging circle of ‘best
push some students to pursue a more competitive notion of
friends’, is not necessarily sustainable. It is wonderful to
being ‘the best’, rather than working towards their own intellectual
experience close, long-term friendships and this is something that
a school like St Catherine’s readily engenders. However, forging
This is certainly no simple feat; maintaining unpopular
relationships with a range of different students – including girls
boundaries, as mentioned earlier, usually engenders hostility and
from the other Year levels – can really help to build social
a fair amount of hackle-raising. If we stay mindful, however, of our
resilience and confidence. Furthermore, it is through increased
role as guides and mentors in the development of our girls, our
social interaction, and the learning that accompanies this, that
boundaries become non-negotiable. And our girls will appreciate
students can develop empathy – the most sustaining and
this, even if they do not know it yet.
important social gift of all.
Miss Elizabeth Ryan
In what can often be a tumultuous world of social, academic and
Dean of Year 8
personal change, there are moments when Year 8 students simply
know how to push our buttons. They can be incendiary, deliberately oppositional and seemingly disinterested in the advice of the adults in their lives. Probably the most important observation that I have made this year is that when a Year 8 girl consciously expresses hostility, she is subconsciously seeking guidance. She often has not learnt how to say ‘no’, or the parameters that she needs in her life, and is yearning for an adult to guide her. I have learnt that it is far easier for a Year 8 girl to be able to say “no – I am not allowed to do that” than “no – I do not want to do that”, even when the latter is most likely the case. As such, I believe that it is our responsibility as adults to provide clear, calm and consistent boundaries around Year 8 behaviour.
C A P TA INS’ A DDR ESSES, 2015 SPEECH N IGH T
We often speak about the intimacy of St Catherine’s. But, I am
awards, or have sat in their seats and cheered on their friends, I
hooked on its strength. And, as I stand in the School Hall tonight,
have wanted to pinch their cheeks and take a photo, because
addressing the School for what will be my final time - I feel its
we are celebrating such a special moment. A group of people
strength more than ever. It is this unpronounced, resounding
on the precipice of it all, strong with what they have learnt, and
feminine force. A quiet understanding that we are all here, on the
felt, and known, here at St Catherine’s.
same team – as happy for each other as we are for ourselves.
And I guess, for that, we have to thank the strength of our parents.
Walking out the gates yesterday with 75 of my closest friends, I
Their bravery as we disappear on trips for weeks at a time to
knew, somehow, that it would always be this way. It is the strength
foreign countries. Sometimes, offering no contact except
of tradition. The hand marks on the walls. The way Sherren House
perhaps, an unexplained photo of us eating a frog, or driving up
creaks under the weight of 7,000 girls past and present.
hills in the back of trucks. Or in my case, what looked like a
The knowledge that, for almost 120 years, St Catherine’s students have sat together and wondered about the future. And so, as leavers in 2015, we step into a world full with their legacy, abounding with their curiosity and made better by their spirit. We are embraced by generations of that same St Catherine’s fortitude. It is also the strength of our teachers and leadership team. Their unspeakable commitment. Their diligence, their patience, their care. The sense of profound mutual respect that they offer us – every day. It is the strength of this group, right here, now. Both as individuals and as a collective. Tonight, I feel a little bit maternal, which, I will admit, is not a common experience for me. But as each of these girls have graced the stage and collected their
wedding picture with a strange Fijian man. And the patience they demonstrate as their political views and lifestyle choices are scrutinized and condemned by a fifteen year old who has just learnt to think critically; testing out the esoteric knowledge she picked up in her Years 9 and 10 Electives. I know that, in my Year 10, mum endured hours of Socratic questioning as I endeavoured to break down her defences and expose how little she really knew. But most of all, parents, thank you for your foresight. For looking at St Catherine’s, and knowing what it would become to each of us, one day. 2015 has been spent occupying our new building. Assigning memories to the classrooms, wearing in the carpets and desks, battling with the Library for control over the central heating, making it ‘ours’. Now, our stories are as much a part of its build as the glass and brick. In 10, 20, 30 years’ time girls will walk through
the halls and feel these memories, as we do when we step into
So parents, teachers and friends we are leaving today, not
the boarding house or the winter garden. Some day soon, we will
because we particularly want to, but because, to paraphrase the
come back and look at that desk, or through that window and feel
American Novelist, Jack Kerouac, St Catherine’s has left us with
the presence of our friends at fifteen, sixteen, seventeen and
“nowhere to go, but everywhere.”
eighteen. We will remember that life-changing conversation, or teacher and how empowered and loved we felt here.
Nicola Sitch School Captain, 2015
I am so honoured that the first story the building knew, was the narrative of 2015. A year of indescribable success. A time when St Catherine’s was more than a close-knit community, we were truly a team. The awards presented tonight are a testament to the guts and tenacity of our girls. Their capacity to extinguish fear with hard work and modesty. Their burning ambition to do more, learn more, be more. St Catherine’s is not just close or small – we are an amalgam of opinion, ferocity and passion. But most of all, we are strong. We are strong in our self-perception and in our awareness of others, strong in our capacity to love and be loved. I have come to realise that life has a funny way of moving forward. It does not ask whether you are ready or willing to leave, it just compels you on. And today, life is carrying me kicking and screaming out that door. But when you are a fully grown eighteen year old who accidentally calls her teachers ‘mum’ on more than a weekly basis, it is probably time to keep moving.
As I stand here tonight, it is very strange to think of the image of
up in wishing away the present so much so that we forget to truly
Nikki and I nervous and jittery as we prepared for our first speech
embrace it. This being said, it is completely natural to look to the
at last years’ Awards Night, almost a year ago. It is still a vivid and
future for the strength or motivation to persevere in the present.
recent memory. I can recall joking in my speech that Mrs Carroll
But in today’s fast paced society in which instant gratification
was off to a better start as Principal than Tony Abbott as Prime
characterises almost everything we do, we often forget to step
Minister, having not threatened to shirt front another school
back, to slow down, to consider the value of the present. And so,
principal. It gives me great pleasure to continue this analogy
we let the beautiful, everyday things pass us by. We eventually
tonight, to say that Mrs Carroll has also managed to lead the
realise that all those things we were looking forward to are now
School so brilliantly that she has avoided a leadership spill at the
just distant memories.
hands of one Nicola Sitch.
It is safe to say that each Year 12 has spent the greater part of the
Since that first nervous speech, I have learnt so much as my time
year excitedly anticipating the very moment that stands before us
at St Catherine’s draws to a close. For one, I have experienced
– the conclusion of our schooling and a leap into the unknown. We
firsthand the true evil that is procrastination. But this is not all bad.
have often used this as solace from the challenges of SACs and
In one such attack of procrastination, I became suddenly inspired
exams. But the unstoppable force of time has crept up on us and
to fill my room with quotes to motivate me, at the time not realising
left us asking ourselves where on earth the time went. The sheer
this as a vain attempt at avoiding my homework.
speed with which the everyday things we have taken for granted
One of these quotes has proven to be quite relevant as the Class
this year have become a memory, is almost unfathomable.
of 2015 are confronted with the fact that life outside St Catherine’s
It is with this in mind that I implore every girl here to embrace the
is on our proverbial doorstep and knocking ferociously to be let in.
everyday moments at St Catherine’s that you will soon come to
Scrawled on a pink sticky note on my wall are the words of
miss. Cherish your mornings with your form group, embrace the
American writer Joshua Glenn Clark: “We waste so many days
fact that you have got to get up early for Swimming or stay after
waiting for the weekend, and so many nights wanting morning.
School for Debating. Because soon you will find yourself
Our lust for future comfort is the biggest theft of life.”
graduating, and your chances of joining the Melbourne University
This quote reflects perhaps the most significant thing I have come to realise over the year that has transpired. Often we get caught
Badminton team or wind quintet plummet quicker than my level of fitness in Year 12.
Eleanor Roosevelt once said that, “The purpose of life is to live it,
which she replied with practically a thesis on why the Year 10s are
to taste experience to the utmost, to reach out eagerly and
without fear for newer and richer experience.” So, girls, utilise the array of opportunities you are presented with at this great School. Live your schooling life in the present, rather than hanging out for the summer holidays, or for the next semester, or for when you can finally call yourself an Old Girl. By doing so, you can reach
It was 737 words of pure passion, awe and excitement at her students’ accomplishments this year. I was instantly aware of the highlights of the year, as they were not only bold and in all capitals, but had at least seven exclamation marks following them.
your final days as a student, and confidently say to yourself that
On top of this, the teachers’ limitless humour, friendliness and
you have done enough, that you have harnessed your potential,
passion for what they do was clearly evident within Mr Brown’s
and that you have made the most of your time here. Because
reply to my request for some interesting stats about the Drama
when you arrive at the conclusion of your schooling life, you do
department. His reply was as follows: Drama at St Catherine’s
not want to leave St Catherine’s regretting how little you did.
has seen a steady 5.7% increase in awesomeness across the
Lastly girls, stop to consider the things you would usually take for granted – a prime example being the kindness and generosity of your teachers and the wealth of knowledge that they impart every day. In preparation for this speech, Nikki and I contacted teachers to give us some insight into the many achievements at St Catherine’s this year. However it was not only the sheer amount of
past five years, culminating in an 8.4% jump in 2015. Audiences came away from St Catherine’s performances roughly 1/3 more satisfied when compared with any other performance. Mr Brown concluded this by saying that, alas, 48% of statistics are made up. These are just two snapshots into the incredibly talented and enthusiastic cohort of teachers we have the privilege of being taught by here at St Catherine’s.
accomplishments that astounded us, but the delight in our
Girls, we are extraordinarily lucky to have such generous,
achievements these dedicated teachers displayed.
supportive and dedicated teachers – to all the staff, I cannot
The devotion and pride in their students, and passion for education shone through their emails. This is epitomised by Ms Spanos’ response to my queries about the Year 10 cohort, to
express my gratitude enough for always seeing the potential in each of us and fostering an environment in which we can maximise this potential.
Moreover, the School would not be the remarkable place it is,
of ourselves that makes St Catherine’s girls so astounding. So
without the leadership of Mrs Carroll and Mr Cross. Mrs Carroll
congratulations girls, on another incredible year, and I sincerely
has worked tirelessly to be an accessible, receptive and
thank you all for allowing me the greatest honour of serving as
progressive principal. Her advocacy for equal opportunity for
School Vice-Captain this year.
women, passionate approach to leadership and determined nature are qualities we all aspire to possess as young women and leaders.
Jaquelin Cantarella School Vice Captain, 2015
Moreover, Mr Cross has been an unwavering presence throughout our time in the Senior School, working tirelessly to maintain and further the supportive and unified community of St Catherine’s that we know and love. The huge amount of work he puts in behind the scenes, especially with facilitating many School events and helping us with organisation of charity events, is truly astounding. Lastly girls, both Nikki and I have been overwhelmed by your boundless enthusiasm to embrace ‘absolutely’ this year without any reluctance or skepticism. We have had the absolute privilege of being exposed to the awe-inspiring calibre of girls, from Years 7 to 12, who distinguish a St Catherine’s girl from the rest. We leave knowing we have been a member of a School of capable, determined and optimistic young women. The grit and conviction which characterises a St Catherine’s girls’ approach to every challenge, is where our theme of ‘absolutely’ has truly come to life. As evidenced by the huge amount of achievements this year, it is this resolve to be the very best version
Name: Mrs Lisa Gionfriddo Title: English Teacher Date: 23 July 2015
THE ENJOYMENT OF READING
“My dear Lucy,
But reading can be so much more than necessity; as John Green
I wrote this story for you, but when I began it I had not realised
author of The Fault In Our Stars writes, “great books help you
that girls grow quicker than books. As a result you are already
understand and they help you feel understood.” As readers we
too old for fairy tales, and by the time it is printed and bound
experience love, grief, mystery, adventure, fear and laughter. Book
you will be older still. But some day you will be old enough to
characters allow us to see that someone else feels the same as
start reading fairy tales again. You can then take it down from
we do and this in itself offers relief and the understanding that we
some upper shelf, dust it, and tell me what you think of it.”
are not alone in our feelings.
C.S. Lewis, The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe
As English teachers we choose novels, films and plays with care.
Great books help you understand and feel understood...
We do not want our students to read simply for the purpose of assessment, but we want to foster a love of reading, a connection
Do we ever really grow out of our books? Sure, we can move
with the story. As a consequence we try to introduce our students
away for a while, maybe a year or ten or more. But often we come
to novels that might not otherwise come to their attention. We
back to our favourite books to visit their world and people, as we
discuss the characters in order to understand them. The
would old friends; Avonlea and Narnia are as familiar to me as my
motivation of Macbeth, Scout Finch’s gradual awareness of
childhood home. I consider myself lucky; I have always had a love
hatred, racism and hypocrisy in her home town, why Meursault
of reading. I would collect my pocket money and browse the
does not cry at his mother’s funeral.
bookshop, finally purchasing my next treasure. As an adult I covet my book vouchers from my local bookshop and select my next novel with high anticipation.
We learn about settings to gain an awareness of history and the values people held: in post First World War Germany, 16th Century Elizabethan England, 19th Century New York. Whilst regicide is
Reading is a functional necessity; without reading we lose our
uncommon we can certainly understand the emotions of jealously
independence and freedom. For anyone who has spent time in a
and ambition. We may not live in a small town driven by prejudice,
non-English speaking country and realised the difficulty of
however many of us have had our eyes opened to the presence of
ordering from a menu, catching a train or knowing what products
evil in our world. Books address the qualities that make us human;
a shop sells, it is obvious to understand the ease reading brings
the light side of humanity and the presence of our darker, more
to day to day activities.
hidden motivations. Ultimately, this is what makes us revisit our favourites and gain an appreciation for new stories.
One thing that makes me happy as a teacher, is seeing our girls sitting in a quiet space with a novel. Although the wide reading program’s forty minutes a fortnight seems so little, it allows the girls to ‘window shop’ the library; browse the shelves, offer book advice and receive another’s recommendations. Wonderfully the girls often fall into their ‘book world’ and a sense of calmness settles over the library; when the bell rings they gradually leave their own Avonlea or Narnia and come back to face the day ahead. However, for a small part of the day, they have had the opportunity to visit another place with a new, or sometimes, a familiar friend. I believe Jane Austen sums up the emotion of reading perfectly, as Elizabeth Bennet, the heroine of Pride and Prejudice exclaims, ‘…after all there is no enjoyment like reading.’ Mrs Lisa Gionfriddo English Teacher
Name: Mr Paul Cross Title: Deputy Principal, Geography Teacher Date: 30 July 2015
L E A R N I NG TO COM M U N IC AT E
Every experience at communicating provides students with
hearing, not what they are seeing. The girls soon learn the value of
opportunities to develop a range of skills and confidence.
geographic terminology such as direction, distance and adjectives
On the path to adulthood, our girls are learning the skills of negotiation and communication. Learning to speak in public, whether it is giving a report at Assembly or voicing an opinion in
such as cluster, linear, dispersed and uniform. It is by undertaking challenges that the girls receive immediate feedback about their communication ability and learn to adjust their descriptions.
class, experiencing various writing styles, or forming an argument
A dynamic communication revolution in society is evident with the
for a debate; each experience at communicating provides
rapid changes to technology. Communication is becoming faster
opportunities to develop a range of skills and confidence.
and to be effective must be thoughtful and carefully considered.
As they learn to speak Mandarin, Japanese or French, the
Learning to listen carefully and communicate effectively is a vital
subtleties associated with the appropriate choice of terms and
skill that relates to career aspirations â€“ whether it is the application
phrases, the sensitivities needed to communicate with other
for a job, presentation for a scholarship or communication with
cultural groups, and an appreciation of the complexity of
classmates, peers or work colleagues. Linked with learning the
communication is central to all that is taught.
mechanics of the verbal and visual communication experience at
Many class activities focus on a studentâ€™s ability to communicate appropriately. Listening to the views of others, preparing and
School enhances the emotional intelligence of students required to decipher the myriad of messages sent to them in a variety of forms.
delivering a presentation to the class, or developing the skills
Listening to the girls reporting on their experiences in Fiji and on
needed to create a written response to a range of audiences are
the recent Duke of Edinburgh trip, it is obvious that being
all important as our girls learn the importance of being aware of
separated from technology, although initially challenging,
provides the opportunity to become more focused on the
In Geography, our girls learn the value of writing clear descriptions
personal one-on-one communication.
of patterns. Describing the distribution that can be seen on a map
The formal written letter has been replaced with email. Messages
is the first step in creating an analysis and making thoughtful
on Facebook and Instagram are instantaneous and, despite the
observations, predictions or develop a management plan. A class
risks of miss-interpretation and privacy concerns, we are all now
activity that challenges students is to verbally describe a map to
reliant on technology based communication to participate
another student, who has the task of drawing what they are
effectively in our society. The judgments and reflections our girls
make every time they communicate at School, provides a foundation on which they will continue to develop. The Year 10 girls who visit the Friday Night School, appreciate the challenges of communicating with those much younger and from a non-English speaking background. They tutor migrant and refugee children in English and Mathematics. Year 11 students in Term 3 will participate in the Mentor Program later this year, visiting professionals in the workplace. This is a valuable opportunity to engage in conversation regarding the workplace. For many girls this will be the first time they have had to introduce themselves and then ‘make conversation’ in a professional environment. Time and time again, we hear how mature and responsive our girls are when communicating with members of the public. It is the huge range of experiences in classes, when leading their peers, and when participating in our programs, that provide the foundation for each girl’s development – learning the complexities and nuances of communication in its variety of forms. Mr Paul Cross Deputy Principal Geography Teacher
Name: Mrs Sue Collister Title: Director of Boarding Services, History Teacher Date: 6 August 2015
W E L L B E I N G @ I L L AWA R R A
The launch of the weThrive: Wellbeing @ St Catherine’s
the start of Term 2. A number of activities, shared platters of food
Program at the beginning of the year provided an excellent
and an opportunity to hear our stories filled the Illawarra Dining
opportunity in our Boarding House, Illawarra to examine how
Room. The highlight was a rendition of We are the World in which
we look after the wellbeing of our Boarding community.
we all sang the chorus. This theme was further highlighted as part
In 2014, the World Health Organisation defined wellbeing as a state in which “every individual realises his or her own potential, can cope
of our annual Invite the School Staff to Dinner where the enjoyable theme was Bollywood @Illawarra.
with the normal stresses of life, can work productively and fruitfully,
Most of the Wellbeing Program at Illawarra is centred on how we
and is able to make a contribution to her or his community.”1. This
care for our girls. Having the staff desk situated in the centre of the
definition underpins all we strive to achieve within our Boarding
house provides the Boarders with the opportunity, when they return
community as we all believe that happy, resilient and self-confident
from School in the afternoon, to interact with the staff on duty and
girls achieve well at School and in life.
share the highs and lows of the day. The girls are often found sharing
In Illawarra, our philosophy concentrates on the wellbeing of the
their news on the couches with other Boarders and our staff.
girls so they can achieve academic and personal success and
One of the favourite times of the day is after Prep at 8.30pm each
fulfill their own potential. As part of the new weThrive Program, we
weeknight. Over a late night snack and hot drink, the girls can sit
were thrilled at Illawarra to adopt the weShare motto. Within this
around with our staff and talk about what is happening in their
we have three threads:
lives. This informal chat brings together girls from all Year levels
We share our home (50 girls ranging in age from 12–19 years plus staff) We share our stories (everyone has their own story to share) We share our world (we come from three states of Australia and six countries)
and enables the younger girls a chance to chat with their older Boarding sisters and feel very much part of the community. It is these deliberately structured activities in the Boarding House that make Illawarra a home away from home for our Boarders and our staff a familiar face and sounding board for them. We have also introduced mindfulness sessions for our older girls, a ‘health and hygiene’ session with the School Nurse for the Years
We launched our weShare motto at an evening event with our
7 and 8 Boarders and recently created a Food Committee to
Boarders and members of the School’s Wellbeing Committee at
provide input and guidance in developing the menu at Illawarra.
The role of the staff at Illawarra is vital in creating a supportive and caring home for our Boarders. This ensures our girls are supported to achieve their potential, not only in the classroom, but in their co-curricular life at School, and in developing their interest in supporting community service programs. Our well qualified Boarding staff come from a range of backgrounds and experience, mostly nursing and education. Our Boarders are encouraged to attend all their co-curricular activities; for example we currently have 12 girls involved in the Years 9 and 10 Badminton Squad, a number regularly participating in Girl Sport Victoria (GSV) Sport and Music tuition, and many attend language classes. We also encourage the girls to have friends for sleepovers at Illawarra on the weekend, to volunteer for a myriad of community service programs, or to assist in applying for a part time job. With this, we believe our girls will thrive. Mrs Sue Collister Director of Boarding Services 1
World Health Organisation, August 2014
Name: Ms Fiona Ganino-Day Title: Dean of Year 9 and Psychology Teacher Date: 13 August 2015
A R E YO U S T I L L AWA K E?
Regardless of recommended sleep guidelines, teenagers
will not function well when sleep deprived, they can be moody and
will want to stay up late and sleep in.
grumpy and this may impact their School grades.
Are you still awake? One of the most common questions asked in
There are, however, biological reasons as to why teenagers want
many families each night.
to stay up late; they have a different sleep/wake cycle than an
There are many theories as to why we sleep and scientists are still researching and confirming those theories. A more current theory is the restorative theory.
adult. This is known as ‘phase delay’, when their cycle shifts and they fall asleep later and take longer to ‘wind down’. This occurs because the sleep/wake hormones such as melatonin in the night (which makes us sleepy) and cortisol (which makes us alert) is
This theory proposes that we sleep:
released up to two hours later in teenagers.
This explains why they may not be tired at 9.30pm – 10.30pm
to replenish and repair the body as well as prepare it for the next day
it enhances our mood
it activates growth hormone
it increases immunity to disease
it increases alertness
it consolidates memories.
Obviously there are many benefits to sleep, but the amount of sleep we need is influenced by our lifestyle and genetics. Sleep also varies with age. As a guide children six to 13 years of ages need nine to 11 hours. Teenagers need eight to 10 hours and adults need seven to nine hours.
when some adults are way into ‘slumber land’ on the couch. This may explain why teenagers will prefer to go to bed later and wake up later. Scientists believe this is due to teenage brain development. Once they reach adulthood, their sleep/wake cycle will be similar to an adult’s cycle. Take note though that there are other reasons as to why teenagers will stay up late, such as working late (homework or part-time jobs) and staying up too late on the weekends which disrupts the sleep/wake cycle and can change sleep patterns. Further, using technology just before bed can disrupt the sleep/ wake cycle, as light stops melatonin from being released. So
Regardless of the recommended sleep guidelines, teenagers will
direct light from technological devices such as phones and
want to stay up late and sleep in, but during a School week this is
laptops can prevent or slow the release of melatonin and as a
difficult and, as a consequence, they do not get enough sleep. So
result can cause the teenager to not feel tired.
teenagers need to be taught good sleep habits and know that they
Some tips to improve the teenager’s sleep: •
follow a regular sleep routine
sleep in on weekends but limit for how long and only on one day of the weekend. When teenagers rise from bed they should seek outdoor light and try to be more active
switch off technology at least an hour before bed and keep it out of the bedroom
avoid caffeinated products
dim the lights in the room
do not worry if they do not fall asleep straight away and tell them it is okay, it generally takes 15 minutes to fall asleep
seek help if there is persistent problems, see the family doctor or psychologist.
Remember good sleep leads to better health, better relationships, better School marks and fewer accidents. Useful websites to learn more about sleep: http://www.sleephealthfoundation.org.au/ http://sleepfoundation.org/ Ms Fiona Ganino-Day Dean of Year 9 Psychology Teacher
Name: Mrs Michelle Carroll Title: Principal Date: 17 August 2015
M O T I VAT I O N A N D R E S I L I E N C E
A student’s ability to bounce back after academic difficulties
circumstances. In the academic context, it can be defined as
and failure, can be improved by factors such as self-belief,
students’ ability to deal effectively with academic setbacks,
commitment and control…
stress and study pressure.
Distinguished, educational psychologist and researcher,
Academic resilience is relevant to all students. This is because at
Dr Andrew Martin, has successfully published a series of books
some stage in every student’s school life, she will experience
(listed below) and been in the world’s leading academic journals.
some level of poor performance or stress or pressure that must
One of his most successful books, How to Motivate Your Child for
be dealt with. The question is whether this student deals with it in
School and Beyond, is aimed at helping parents boost their
a proactive and adaptive fashion or whether she deals with it
child’s motivation and details how to effectively maintain it.
counterproductively or not at all. For the large part, we cannot
Dr Martin’s comprehensive research is underpinned by the philosophy that every student has the potential to improve, reach personal bests, become interested in school work and deal more effectively with setbacks and study pressure. Academic buoyancy, a term coined by Martin to describe a student’s ability to bounce back after academic difficulties and failure, can be improved by factors such as self-belief, commitment and control. Of particular relevance for girls is their
eliminate setback from students’ lives and stress and pressure are a reality of our competitive school system. Essentially students will experience setback, stress and pressure. The question is how will they deal with these? Martin’s research examined the specific facets of academic resilience and concluded that it is most strongly predicted by high self-belief, high planning, high control, high persistence and low anxiety. Professor Andrew Martin describes these as the 5Cs:
level of composure; that is their ability to emotionally deal with
academic setbacks and adversity.
To achieve their potential, alongside motivation and engagement, is the need for students to effectively deal with academic challenges. This brings into consideration the issue of academic resilience. In a general sense, academic resilience
Confidence, also termed self-efficacy, focuses attention on
has been defined as the process of, capacity for, or outcome of
increasing students’ self-belief and establishing a ‘growth
successful adaptation despite challenging or threatening
mindset’ as opposed to a ‘fixed mindset’.
Control focuses attention on increasing students’ sense of
They are then encouraged to start with that question so that they
control, by giving clear and timely feedback, and by emphasising
feel more relaxed and can also get a little ahead of the time
to students that hard work and effective study strategies can
restrictions. Teachers also talk to the girls about relaxation
impact their achievement.
techniques such as mindfulness before a test. Many other
Coordination (Planning) and Commitment (Persistence) focuses attention on encouraging students to set effective goals and
techniques are useful for the girls in a test situation and taught progressively throughout the years.
showing them that effort and strategy are important factors for
Mrs Michelle Carroll
improvement, as is working systematically towards short and long
term academic goals, when finding things challenging.
Martin, A. 2003 How to Motivate your Child for School and Beyond, Bantam Books
Composure focuses on reducing anxiety, usually underpinned by
Martin, A. 2005 How to help Your Child Fly through Life – the 20 Big Issues, Bantam Books
a fear of failure, enabling an environment where mistakes are experienced as a natural and essential part of learning, and understanding this does not actually reflect on a student’s worth as a person. By providing specific ways to reduce students’ test anxiety such as practice tests, developing test-taking skills and strategies, will also assist in alleviating anxiety. Our Mathematics teachers are aware of the anxiety that can sometimes surround Mathematical exams. As such, Mathematical tests are always written with some very easy skill questions at the start of the paper to build confidence early in the test and then become progressively more challenging. At the same time, teachers focus on ensuring girls read questions carefully during reading time and use this preparation time to decide which question they ‘like’ best.
Martin, A. 2010 Building Classroom Success – Eliminating Academic Fear and Failure, Continuum Books
Name: Mrs Cherie Johnstone Title: Gymnastics Coordinator and Mathematics Teacher Date: 20 August 2015
SHINING OUTSIDE OF ACADEMICS
Co-curricular activities allow our students to further develop
skills in their weekly class culminating in a levels test in
skills and self esteem.
Semester 2, when they receive a cloth badge to sew on their
Co-curricular activities at St Catherine’s provide an amazing variety of opportunities in which the girls can participate. They
leotards. In Term 4, it is a rush to have all the girls ready and learning routines for the annual display for parents and friends.
allow the girls to further develop communication skills and
Gymnastics is also part of the Physical Education curriculum
increase their self-esteem. They give the girls the opportunity to
where all girls can experience, often for the first time, the
shine in areas other than academics.
sensation of being upside down, swinging through the air on a
These activities also give many staff, not necessarily from the Sports Faculty, the opportunity to see the girls in another light rather than just in the structured class environment. It is wonderful to often see usually quiet girls transformed in their manner,
rope, balancing precariously on a narrow beam over a metre from the ground or falling into a big squashy mat. This unit usually precedes the House Gymnastics to give the girls a chance to practise their skills.
confidence level and leadership qualities. The passion with which
The annual House Gymnastics competition at the end of Term 2
St Catherine’s staff approach these roles is to be commended.
is a wonderful opportunity for both the Senior girls and more
Gymnastics is only one of the many opportunities available for the girls to express themselves in other than academics. Gymnastics has been part of St Catherine’s for many years. Each day, I smile as I pass the photo in Sherren House of the 1987 Senior Gymnastics Team. Back then the equipment was set up and pulled down each session in what was then the School Hall. It is now our permanent Gymnastics facility.
recently the Junior School girls to be involved in a fun day, full of House spirit and encouragement. With multiple divisions, there is a suitable level for everyone to participate with success. The Junior School kicks off the event on the first day with all from Years 3 to 6 participating. The next day starts early with all Years 7 to 10 girls giving it a go. The middle of the day sees our more able gymnasts and athletes strut their stuff to the delight of the audience. Our enthusiastic Years 11 and 12 girls finish off the
Gymnastics is a large part of the present day St Catherine’s. Our
carnival with wonderful colour and costumes. The enthusiasm
School offers after School classes for all Year levels for girls
developed in Term 2 follows through into Term 3 when training for
wishing to experience the joy of Gymnastics and wanting to
Interschool Gymnastics begins.
develop new skills. The skills and agility developed in Gymnastics often transfer to many other types of activities. The girls learn
Interschool Gymnastics involves girls from Years 2 to 12. Generally the team consists of nearly 100 Junior School students
and 60 Senior girls. Term 3 starts with training at lunch times and
see them develop new skills in Gymnastics classes, perform with
the sizing of leotards for the Senior girls. This is quite a fun activity
enthusiasm and self-awareness in House Gymnastics and then
as the samples are a very unattractive maroon colour. The girls
representing the School with dignity and sportsmanship in
always try on their usual size only to find they are in a big baggy
sack as the sample sizes are quite unusual. It give us all a laugh. The joy on the girlsâ€™ faces when their new sparkly leotards arrive is priceless. The Junior School students cannot wait to come up to lunch training in preparation for their competition which without the assistance of Mrs Jenny De Nardis would not be possible.
The excitement these girls exhibit as we arrive at the Interschool Gymnastics venue, ready to go in their leotards and with hair gelled back is contagious. I am truly privileged being able to work with these wonderful girls.
Currently the girls are preparing for the 2015 championships
Mrs Cherie Johnstone
which are to be held in a new venue.
In September 2014, our Gymnastics Team competed in the Victorian Interschool Gymnastics Championships at Donvale Indoor Sports Centre. We had some wonderful individual and team results over the week including many girls placing first individually. Our Junior D Team and Senior E Team also won their respective competitions. Our girls were complimented on their cheerful and pleasant manner throughout the competition. The Junior School Team of 95 girls completed the first two days of competition placing second out of 21 schools and the Senior School Team of 61 girls placed third out of 43 schools in the remaining four days of competition. My role as Mathematics teacher in the Senior School and the Gymnastics Coordinator at St Catherineâ€™s enables me to see the girls in class grasping difficult Mathematical concepts and also
Name: Ms Loretta Carter Title: Mathematics Teacher Date: 27 August 2015
WORLD CHALLENGE EXPEDITION SOUTHERN PERU 2015
Visiting Southern Peru provided a life changing experience
five day stay. The girls had raised a significant amount of money
for 22 St Catherine’s Year 10 students.
before arriving in Peru so we were able to provide the organisation
During the three week mid-year School holidays, two groups of
a significant donation.
St Catherine’s students set off on a World Challenge Expedition
The Peruvian girls were very appreciative of our efforts but of most
with our leader, Carla Strong, to Southern Peru for an
value were the opportunities to spend time with our groups on the
unforgettable experience. Team One consisted of nine Year 10
Volleyball court, Soccer field or Basketball court at the end of the
students led by Miss Dani Carroll and Team Two, a group of 13,
day. These girls come from farms in very mountainous areas so
including Mr Fiachra Barry and myself.
they proved to be tough competition winning two out of the three
World Challenge Expeditions are not just about visiting tourist attractions overseas. In fact, in the 12 months leading up to the trip there are a series of training sessions, meetings and student fundraising activities.
games. The celebratory gathering at the end of the project with popcorn and the local soft drink, Inca Kola, allowed all the girls to mix in an informal setting and learn more about each other’s cultures before saying final good-byes. Following the project phase, the St Catherine’s team completed acclimatisation day treks
Students are in charge for the duration of the expedition so
to ruins and markets whilst taking in beautiful surroundings in
they decide the itinerary, book the accommodation, organise
Cusco and surrounding areas. Even the fittest amongst us were
all the transportation between destinations once in Peru and
challenged by the impact of altitude on our bodies but there was
decide when and where we are eating. They do all of this while
always reserve energy at the end of a hike for shopping at the local
working within a set budget. Out of necessity, the girls became
markets. Pisac market proved to be a very popular destination with
good at communicating in basic Spanish, often with the help
several purchases made by many of the girls.
of hand gestures.
The greatest challenge for most, was the five day hike on an
After allowing a couple of days to adjust to the altitude in Cusco,
alternative to the Inca Trail named Salkantay. This trail reached an
we travelled to a town in the Sacred Valley of the Incas called
altitude of 4,650m on day two and crossed through some
Ollantaytambo. Our task was to work with an organisation that
magnificent scenery ending in Aguas Calientes, the gateway to
improves education for low-income families in remote mountain
the ‘Lost City of the Incas’. Machu Picchu is not only an amazing
communities in the area. We painted walls, window frames and
archaeology site but set in a stunning landscape. It was a definite
doors, as well as gardening and general maintenance during our
highlight of the trip.
The final phase of our trip was a visit to Lake Titicaca, the highest navigable lake in the world, followed by a couple of days in the ‘White City’, Arequipa, where we explored the Basilica Cathedral and the Monasterio de Santa Catalina before starting the long trip home. The St Catherine’s girls rotated leadership positions throughout the trip and were amazing at navigating us around Southern Peru, finding accommodation and some interesting and delicious Peruvian meals, all within budget. Teachers and students had a life changing experience and I would encourage anyone to take advantage of any opportunity to participate in a World Challenge Expedition. Thanks must go to Miss Tamara Andrews, Trips and Exchanges Coordinator, for all her work behind the scenes in organising the trip. Ms Loretta Carter Mathematics Teacher Supervising Teacher – Southern Peru Trip 2015
Name: Mr Timothy Olsen Title: Extras Timetabler, History and Mathematics Teacher Date: 3 September 2015
TRIMESTER ELECTIVES: A S A F E H AV E N F O R I N N O VAT I O N
Amazing results can emerge when innovation and new ideas
tri-elective model for Years 9 and 10 students in 2016. In moving to
are protected and nurtured.
a trimester based Elective program at St Catherine’s in 2017, we
In his book titled Adapt: Why Success Always Starts with Failure,
have the opportunity to create our own safe haven for innovation.
economist Tim Harford tells the story of how the Supermarine
With the potential to have many Electives not so heavily weighed
Spitfire plane played a role in winning the Battle of Britain.
down by prescribed content, the curriculum can be opened to
The interesting part of this story is, although the Spitfire was one of the most significant new technologies in history, it was almost never built. The British Air Ministry had demanded a large fleet of bombers and heavily armed aeroplanes be built. Winston
allow further exploration of ideas and thinking, as well as more opportunities for cross-curricular collaboration. In addition, because the Elective will run for a shorter length of time, any ideas that do not work or ‘failures’ will be survivable.
Churchill dismissed the Spitfire design as ineffective because it
In the same book, Tim Harford discusses the three Palchinsky
was a single seater fighter and required the entire plane to be
principles of innovation. First seek out new ideas; second, do it on
pointed in the direction of the target. Conventional wisdom at the
a small scale where failure is survivable and third, learn from your
time dictated that even if a fighter plane was to be built – and why
mistakes. It seems to me a trimester based Elective program is
would you when you could be building more bombers – then it
very well set up to adhere to these three principles. We will be able
would require two crew members, one to fly the plane and the
to try new ideas, keep the ideas that work and quickly discard the
other to man the gun turret. It was only when the design for the
ones that fall flat. We will be responsive and adaptive to feedback
Spitfire came across the desk of Air Commodore Henry
to adjust the course for the second or third trimester.
Cave-Browne-Cave, who decided to bypass the regular commissioning process and conduct what he described as a ‘most interesting experiment’, that the Spitfire’s potential came to
It might just be that out of this safe haven, the next ‘Spitfire’ might emerge.
light. The prototype cost the government 10,000 pounds and Tim
Mr Timothy Olsen
Harford explains it might only be a small exaggeration to say the
Spitfire was the plane that saved the free world.
The idea I took away from this story is that amazing results can emerge when innovation and new ideas are protected and nurtured. One Elective option we are looking to trial is the
Name: Mrs Alana Moor Title: Head of Early Learning Centre and Junior School Date: 10 September 2015
STUBBORNNESS AND THINKING A R E GR E AT PA RT N E R S
Whilst stubbornness can be viewed as an unwelcome trait it
guarantee of success is imperative. Children are amazingly
does have some benefits for learning.
capable and competent and it is vital we permit them to sort
Behaviourally, stubbornness can be viewed as an unwelcome characteristic especially when it comes to discussions about
through matters which initially may appear too difficult well before we ‘rescue’ them by solving the problem for them.
needs and wants, behaviours and actions. Stubborn reactions
The sheer joy of ‘finding a solution and meeting success’ is
can indeed stand in the way of cooperation and harmony!
emphatically pure and long lasting. As adults we know how
However, the presence of stubbornness can also be considered as positive, highly productive and incredibly useful when it comes to thinking. This personality trait can actually lead towards achievement, initiative and affirmation. So much conversation
satisfying it can be and children glow and grow with that feeling also. Robbing young learners of this joy by always providing adult advice is quite disabling and can lead to a certain ‘learned helplessness’ which, if permitted to flourish, is counterproductive.
centred around ‘building resilience’ is offered to parents these
The observant adult is vigilant and prepared to assist if required
days as a ‘must’ when raising children, however, too little is often
but sees their role predominately as encouragers and prompters
actually identified specifically about how to actually do so.
until it is evident help is required. Italian educational researcher,
Meeting challenges and problems in all areas of life is a common occurrence. Developing the capacity for children to be able to do so with confidence, positivity, hope and an ability to sort their way through a problem with a strong determination takes time, patience and, most of all, the willingness of adults to encourage and support. Importantly, adults must remember to refrain from
Sergio Spaggiara, remarks “Children’s eyes and adults’ eyes must see beyond the wall. This is our aspiration…to be able to jump over walls.” There is something so joyful, as an adult, to hear the words ‘I did it myself’ and witness the warm, self-satisfied smile spreading across a child’s face. Stubbornness does have its benefits!
immediately solving a child’s problem or assume the child is not
Mrs Alana Moor
capable of solving it.
Head of Early Learning Centre and Junior School
Bouncing back after challenges and disappointment is vital for all of us and certainly, the development of such capacity must be imprinted early. Endorsing stubbornness in thinking our way through challenges and trialling various solutions without
Name: Mr Adrian Puckering Title: Director of Curriculum Innovation and Development Date: 17 Sept 2015
THE ISLAND OF KNOWLEDGE AND THE SEA OF IGNOR ANCE...BOTH NEED FOXY THINKING
Classroom teaching is perhaps the most complex,
our known, and that of all our unknowns grows too. We can either
challenging, demanding, subtle, nuanced, and frightening
look internally, scavenging the island, sitting beneath a familiar
activity our species has ever invented.
palm tree, or we can look out from the shore and wonder at the
Former US Secretary of State, Donald Rumsfeld, once famously stated “there are known knowns. These are the things we know that we know. There are known unknowns. That is to say, there are things that we know we do not know. But there are also unknown unknowns.” Trying to venture into the world of the ‘unknown unknowns’ is like trying to find a black cat in a pitch black room – a job made much harder if no cat actually even exists. Perhaps for this reason, we are all more comfortable, and more certain, in putting energy into the things we know and ignore the unknown, fearing change might lead us there. Depending upon your viewpoint, it is either the security of the known which prevents us from changing or it is the fear of the unknown. But in a world of increasing complexity and diverging opportunity, remaining simply in the ‘known’ is no more a certain recipe for improvement – and as the known increases so too does the unknown. Imagine all human knowledge is an island. As the collective
vast body that lies before us. Either way suggests a type of thinking – one nimble and adept, one certain and stubborn, one suited to the innovative and complex world of today, one possibly suited to an increasingly bygone age. In the 1950s essayist Isaiah Berlin wrote The Hedgehog and the Fox, a work loosely based upon a parable by the ancient Greek poet Archilochus. In it, Berlin divided the world into two types of thinkers – Hedgehogs equipped with specialised knowledge and Foxes that are more multidisciplinary. Hedgehogs are confident in their world view, which is often ideological, and are difficult to shift, they seek order and certainty in thinking; Foxes are adaptable, they are tolerant of complexity, they are often self-critical and empirical. In reality, we all tend to move between the two, but leaders of education must be on the shoreline where ‘foxy thinking’ is required. In his book The Wisdom of Practice (Jossey-Bass, 2004)Professor Lee Shulman writes:
knowledge of humanity, the known, exponentially increases, so
Classroom teaching…is perhaps the most complex, most
too does the island in size. Imagine now that the island sits in an
challenging, and most demanding, subtle, nuanced, and
ocean of ‘unknown’, a sea of ignorance, then as the island of
frightening activity that our species has ever invented…The only
knowledge grows so too does its shoreline with the ocean of
time a physician could possibly encounter a situation of
unknowns. Consequently, as we learn more, we also learn that
comparable complexity would be in the emergency room of a
there is so much more we do not know and the shoreline between
hospital during or after a natural disaster.
Essentially, what teachers do in a classroom contains so many alternatives, so many imponderables, no one can reduce it to a simple certainty. If teachers take on â€˜Hedgehog thinkingâ€™, where they are certain of the way things should be done then they are island dwellers and lessons become less engaged, more surface orientated with little depth; rather, teachers should seek the uncertainty, set the complex challenge, be adaptable and stand on the shoreline. Learning is far too important to be sitting under the palm tree, safe in focusing only on the knowns â€“ so my advice is simple, embrace the unknowns, you will not regret it. Mr Adrian Puckering Director of Curriculum Innovation and Development
Name: Miss Kristina Schrader Title: Early Learning Teacher Date: 8 October 2015
EMBODIED PEDAGOGIES IN THE E A R LY L E A R N I N G C E N T R E
Children require regular opportunities to connect with other
legitimate, authentic and meaningful ways to use movement in
learners and explore ideas through their bodies.
their programs. For example, in embodying the different stages of
“There is a vitality, a life force, an energy, a quickening that is translated through you into action, and because there is only one of you in all time, this expression is unique. And if you
a bird’s life cycle to a piece of music, the children learn experientially through expressive movement and are able to more accurately recall and articulate each stage.
block it, it will never exist through any other medium and will
There are evident connections between embodied pedagogies
be lost. The world will not have it.”
and the Arts. 1 believe “all Art is the embodiment of experience
Martha Graham to Agnes DeMille
shaped into something else. The sensory experiences of our bodies and responses to the environment and physical materials
Embodied pedagogies in teaching and learning are based on the
we find around us are fundamental to generating and realising
principle that human beings construct knowledge and
our intentions as we sing, dance, play a role, draw, paint or
understanding through their bodies. This is an important concept
story-tell.” The Arts enable children to explore their feelings whilst
to consider when planning and implementing learning experiences
engaging in learning experiences of a social nature, fostering
for the children in the Early Learning Centre. Embodied
empathy and respectful relationships. Profound experiential
pedagogies heighten engagement, showcase thinking in action,
learning occurs through the Arts, as they involve all the senses.
and promote wellbeing through experiential, sensory play and learning. Embodied pedagogies reflect socio-constructivist perspectives and the Reggio Emilia approach, which inspires our practice in Campbell House, by promoting social interaction through a focus on collaborative, social learning.
Embodied pedagogies share similar elements with children’s dramatic play and the discipline of Drama. Jean Piaget and Lev Vygotsky underscore that “play and Art are equally crucial to human development” 2. As Drama can grow out of children’s play, drama-based embodied pedagogies are readily implemented in
Teachers strive for a fully engaged learner and embodied
Campbell House, as the children find this way of working so
pedagogies can help foster balanced, curious, expressive, aware
accessible. Drama cultivates a co-operative approach to learning,
and fearless learners who are intentionally invited to engage fully
improves communication skills and helps children to understand
with their bodies. It is important for children to be invited to move
their world and give it meaning.
out of their heads and into their bodies. Teachers can find
Dance, Music and movement experiences allow children to learn about their world and its inhabitants by connecting social understandings, emotion and the body. Dance is “the most totally embodied of artforms, and therefore also one of the most fully sensory and most natural forms of learning” 1. It is an approach that helps give each child a voice through movement. The prevailing view of professional literature and experiences in practice, is that children require regular opportunities to connect with other learners and imaginatively explore ideas through their bodies. Miss Kristina Schrader Early Learning Teacher Deans, J., Meiners, J. & Young, S. (2012). Dance: Art embodied. In Sinclair, C., Jeanneret, N. & O’Toole, J. (Eds.), Education in the arts (pp. 128-144). South Melbourne: Oxford University Press.
Jeanneret, N. (2012). Learning in the arts. In Sinclair, C., Jeanneret, N. & O’Toole, J. (Eds.), Education in the arts (pp. 15-24). South Melbourne: Oxford University Press.
Name: Miss Jenny Molloy Title: Dean of Year 7 Date: 15 October 2015
BEN EFI TS OF EDUC AT IONA L ST U DY TOU R S
Shared experiences such as study tours create enduring
Encouraged by staff to establish new friends above and below
links between students and staff.
their age group fostered the confidence, initiative, team cohesion
Opportunities to travel with School instill greater cultural understanding and broader perspectives and personal awareness for students allowing them to further develop their self-confidence, self-esteem and resilience. Shared experiences such as study tours create enduring links between students and staff that provide support, comfort and confidence during, and well after the tours have ended.
and support that, as the week progressed, saw the students’ confidence to try new things outside of their personal comfort zones, soar. Students embraced new experiences and new challenges with fervour – whether it was the searing heat of the Northern Territory, walking through rugged landscapes, packing up tents or engaging with others. Over the eight days students demonstrated strong leadership – working together to set up camp, organise meals, clean and
Negotiation, cooperation, leadership, empathy, patience and
pack up camp. Throughout all aspects of the Tour, the students
confidence are all utilised on a daily basis as students eat, sleep,
remained mindful of the needs of the entire group. On reflection of
learn, socialise and travel together.
their Tour the students agreed the most positive experience –
During the Term 3 School holidays, 15 students, ten from Year 9 and five from Year 8, embarked on an eight day Study Tour to the Northern Territory. Our Tour explored the history and beauty of
above and beyond visiting the landmark sites in the Top End – were the strong bonds of friendships that developed amongst the group and will continue beyond their time at School.
Australia’s top end visiting amazing sites including Kakadu National
St Catherine’s provides students a wide range of opportunities to
Park, Warradjan Cultural Centre and Katherine Gorge in the
extend their learning, knowledge and confidence through
Nitmiluk National Park, as well as the Fannie Bay Gaol, Museum
interstate and overseas travel. Our well-established exchange
and Art Gallery and the Cyclone Tracey display in Darwin.
programs and study tours broaden the educational offerings
One of the most positive aspects of the Tour was the level of interaction, spirit and positive engagement between the students across the two Year levels. Throughout the Tour, students were inclusive, thoughtful, respectful, kind and caring towards each other and our staff.
allowing our Senior School students to contribute to the wider community, explore opportunities and develop a deep understanding of their responsibilities within local, national and international contexts. Miss Jenny Molloy Dean of Year 7
Name: Ms Ingrid Hildebrand Title: Academic Extension Leader, English and Humanities Teacher Date: 22 October 2015
CHALLENGING STUDENTS WITH CHOICE
“We are now at a point where we must educate our children in
Problem Solving, Collaboration, Agility and Adaptability, Effective
what no one knew yesterday, and prepare our schools for what
Oral and Written Communication, Accessing and Analysing
no one knows yet.” Margaret Mead, cultural anthropologist.
Information, Curiosity and Imagination. When considering these
Today’s curriculum must acknowledge the role of students in the learning process. ‘Do I have to do that?’ is a line uttered by many students when a new piece of work that does not spark their interest is presented. In 21st Century teaching practice, it is essential to acknowledge the role of students in the learning process. Students need to have choice to be allowed to make their own decisions to determine their best practice for learning. The freedom for students to make their own mistakes, correct their own
skills students must be prepared for more than the universal curriculum of ‘taking tests’. To solve the problems of tomorrow they need to be encouraged to ‘think’ and make independent choices. Curriculum that encourages students to be intellectual risk takers also encourages adaptability. When designing new curriculum I often refer to the list of skills by Tony Wagner and consider how I am best preparing my students to be successful in the world.
mistakes and select their own learning activity provides students
Providing students with curriculum that offers them the autonomy
with opportunities to discover their preferred ‘style’ of learning.
to select their own learning activity fosters active engagement in
Students that sit in my classroom today differ greatly from each other, and, their learning needs vary. Such classroom disparities require agile thinking about teaching and learning. Developing new teaching habits and routines can be confronting, however, in this new information age – where all students can acquire the knowledge through search engines – it is important that flexibility and responsiveness to individual students remains at the forefront of all teaching approaches. Curriculum must be skill based and
the discovery of new information. In this classroom there is a shift from a ‘teacher-directed’ classroom to a ‘learner-directed’ classroom. This transition of the roles of teacher and student builds learner autonomy by developing an intrinsic desire to think and learn. Students learn best when playing with ideas, thus every classroom should be a creative classroom. Challenging students through choice allows students the opportunity to be creative thinkers.
provide students the opportunity to make authentic and
Ms Ingrid Hildebrand
meaningful connections to the content.
Academic Extension Leader
Dr Tony Wagner, Co-Director of Harvard’s Change Leadership Group outlines the seven most important skills our students need to be successful in the world.1 They are: Critical Thinking and
English and Humanities Teacher 1
Name: Mr Bradley Hicks Title: Physical Education Teacher, Fiji Trip Supervisor Date: 29 November 2015
T H E R E WA R D S O F R E S P O N S I B L E T R AV E L
To truly appreciate a country you must meet their people,
may think makes us happy, the locals are rich in culture,
establish relationships and live the culture.
tradition, family, community spirit and togetherness. They are so
International travel, for the most part, is an enjoyable experience. I have been fortunate to have travelled to many countries and experienced many cultures, however it was not until I experienced
happy, always smiling, laughing and joking and incredibly warm and welcoming. No one wears a watch and rushes to meet deadlines and appointments.
the Fijian Highlands as a supervising teacher for 20 St Catherine’s
Our girls often questioned what makes the people of Nasivikoso
students earlier this year, that I realised the responsibility we have
so warm and friendly? It was evident to many girls that the local
as travellers and what it truly means to be a global citizen.
people were forever smiling at us and it was clear from the start,
There is an immense difference between visiting a country and experiencing its culture. To truly appreciate a country you must meet their people, establish relationships and live the culture – these are the essential elements to meaningful travel. Through actually ‘being’ in Fiji and experiencing the Fijian lifestyle, myself and 20 St Catherine’s students completely changed our outlook, ideologies and opinions on culture, philanthropy, wealth and living in the moment.
the impact a smile can have in bringing people together. Tom, our trip leader summed it up so beautifully commenting that, “Everyone smiles in the one language.” This was a very early realisation for many of us which prompted the girls to question their daily lives and if they are welcoming enough. When asked to describe the Fijian people and their culture my personal favourite is refreshing. Our trip to Fiji was so refreshing. In western society we are so incredibly time poor, we are married to our jobs, see much less of our family than we should and we
A lack of air conditioning, simplistic streetscapes, limited
are forever living in the future to obtain the extra mark, make the
electricity and the hunting and gathering culture of the village
deal and secure the client. The essence of life in Fiji, is the most
locals certainly gave us some culture shock in our first few days.
important time is the present. So for many of us upon leaving, it
However, over the following days each of our students, as well as
was our aim to not live so much in the future.
the supervising teachers, developed a greater understanding of the culture and the local people of Nasivikoso Village.
So how did we achieve such an incredibly rewarding cultural experience and learn so much in such a short amount of time? The
The people of Nasivikoso have few material possessions and
answer is simple. We were responsible travellers. We were well
live quite simple lives, yet our girls discovered these same
prepared in understanding the importance of cultural ceremonies
people are amazingly rich. Far outweighing any material item we
and customs. We did our fair share of cava ceremonies, but it was
so important to have the blessing of the local people and be
This experience will shape the way many of our girls experience
welcomed into their community. We dressed appropriately. Our
travel. The reverse culture shock of spending four days in a Fijian
girls wore their sulus and removed sunglasses whenever entering
resort after our Highlands experience was abundantly evident.
the Village. The head is sacred in Fijian culture. If you are higher
The following questions were common – why are we here
than someone else when you stand up and leave a seated group,
listening to western music, eating western food, being served and
we used the word “Tulou” to say excuse me. We never walked
waited on by people speaking fluent English? Get us back to the
through a conversation or through the middle of a circle as a sign of
highlands and our Fijian family!
respect to our peers. We learned common phrases in the local dialect and spoke to many Village people and children. Destination Dreaming can take a lot of credit for preparing us so well. Our girls realised a sense of social justice and increased their understanding of the complexity of the issues surrounding poverty and its underlying causes. Destination Dreaming’s relationship with the village is not one of charity but educational enrichment by both parties. We learned just as much from them as they learned from us. The relationship is mutually respectful with equality in partnership. Sustainability is important. The local school was built only four years ago in conjunction with the government to ensure ongoing support. Through student led fundraising, St Catherine’s was able to donate a water filter to the school and just like the school, it was installed by local people in support of the local ecconomy. Our girls learned that if we volunteer to do a role that a local person could be paid to do, we undercut the labour market and continue the poverty cycle.
Sightseeing is spectacular but a travel experience, is in a whole other league. Living the cultural experience through responsible, respectful travel makes it meaningful travel. Mr Bradley Hicks Physical Education Teacher Supervising Teacher – Fiji Education Tour 2015
Name: Mrs Pauline van der Poel Title: Careers Practitioner Date: 5 November 2015
TRANSITIONING FROM SCHOOL
There is no one size fits all approach to post School transition. The role of a Careers Practitioner, approaching the end of a
the pressures students can place themselves under in the belief that the ATAR defines who they are and their ability.
School year, is unlike the role of most other Year 12 teaching staff
Whether this is intrinsically or extrinsically motivated, is the
– I do not focus on end of year exams but rather preparing Year
question. To be honest I think it is both. How do we ensure our
12 students for the future of what lies beyond the final examination
girls know that they are more than just an ATAR, and that, as
and the transition from School into further study or the workforce.
Professor Ivison states, “your life will not be ruined if you don’t get
In a recent article by Professor Duncan Ivison, Acting Deputy Vice
the University degree of your absolute first choice.”
Chancellor (Research) at the University of Sydney, he addressed
Professor Ivison comments “treat entry scores with extreme
issues relating to the daunting process of selecting the right
caution”– in my final session with our Year 12 students I remind
University, the right degree. Professor Ivison discussed how
them to be proud of themselves and their achievements, no
“students and their families often focus overwhelmingly on only
matter the ATAR they receive. If they can walk away knowing they
some of the crucial aspects of choosing the right university, often
have tried their best as they rode the rollercoaster of Year 12 then
missing other equally important, but less obvious, issues.”
that is all they can ask of themselves.
Selecting the ‘right’ transition post School is relative. What is right
As a Dean, Professor Ivison says “there was almost nothing more
for one student will be wrong for another even though they have
depressing than hearing students being told by their parents or
shared the School experience and completed Year 12 together –
friends not to ‘waste their ATAR’. He says “that is bad advice.” The
not only are the subjects they have undertaken different, so too
entry score for universities and their degrees is a function of the
are their levels of knowledge, motivation and interests.
number of places available and the number of students who want
“Keep things in perspective” – the girls will often hear my catch phrase, something that Professor Ivison articulates well commenting that “there are many ways to the top of the mountain, but the view from the top is the same.” Many students can express anxiety and nervousness leading into the final push of Year 12. Catastrophising comments such as “If I do not receive a certain ATAR, I will be devastated!” demonstrate
(or expect to want) to do the degree. It is a supply and demand driven system. Therefore a degree with a lower entry score does not mean it is less prestigious or less rigorous. I am a strong advocate for universities that look beyond the ATAR, providing students with the opportunity to highlight other aspects of themselves, such as their ongoing community service participation, and their motivations to want to study in a particular area.
Knowledge is power and I encourage all students to research,
Finding the right transition after School is unique to the
research and then research some more to help them make their
individual. Students must invest time and effort into their
transition choices. All students should dream big but “keep
transition plans to truly appreciate what they want, and what
things in perspective” when making post School choices – our
different education institutes or workplaces can provide them. It
Year 12s will always hear me say, “great choice, but what is your
is not a one size fits all equation.
back up plan?” Students must shop around, attend open days, speak to as many people as they can about courses, jobs and workplace experiences. One very important element of the transition from School into further study or the world of work that I feel very strongly about is what Professor Ivison refers to as “remember job-specific skills aren’t everything.” We know the world of work is a constantly changing environment. For our current Year 12 students many of the jobs they will hold do not yet exist. It is also predicted that young people today will have five to seven major career changes over their lifetime. With this in mind it is imperative for schools, universities and individual students to nurture and develop strong employability skills that will transfer across industries for future employment success. Employers often make mention the kind of people they are looking for are those able to deal with change, who are perpetual learners, effective communicators, understand context and hold strong ICT skills – an ATAR score alone cannot demonstrate these skill sets.
Mrs Pauline van der Poel Careers Practitioner https://theconversation.com/five-things-to-think-about-when-choosing-a-universitycourse-45584
Name: Mr Adrian Puckering Title: Director of Curriculum Innovation and Development Date: 12 Nov 2015
THE UPSIDE OF TEACHING IS LEARNING
Teaching facilitates learning, the most challenging, exciting,
learning environment, to blended learning and beyond open
expansive and complex cognitive activity known to humankind.
education. I was fortunate to have been invited to address the
Perhaps seemingly contradictory, one of the very many upsides of teaching is in fact the opportunity to keep on learning. Once, and clearly for all, the invention of ‘Mr or Ms Google’ has ensured that no matter how much content a teacher may know, a student can access even more with quite literally a flick of the finger. Some doomsday oracles may surmise that such technology has rendered the role of a teacher somewhat redundant but, almost without exception, these so-called futurists have never taught a day in their lives. Teaching, first and foremost, facilitates learning,
conference on the theme of learning analytics. The powerful combination of data and learning information, gathered within St Catherine’s home-grown ‘PANDA’ system (Performance and Assessment), is not only innovative, but so importantly useful in understanding the value-add of teaching in learning. As a representative of St Catherine’s, I was able to connect with possible global partners including the beginnings of a discussion which may lead to a maker-space pilot program with representatives from the University of Dundee, Scotland.
the most challenging, exciting, expansive and complex cognitive
After the exhilarating learning experience that was Barcelona, I
activity known to humankind; facts may be rote learned but depth
found myself on a journey to Romania. The European Union, who
and theatre can never be replicated by a flick of the finger.
partly fund these ‘mega-education’ conferences, invite speakers
Speaking of expansive and exciting learning, I had the unique and ever so fortunate opportunity this year of attending four European learning and teaching conferences – speaking at two – within the period of a single month; a journey of personal and professional exploration, networking, light-bulb moments, questions, knowing, surprise, confirmation and prompting; perhaps truly, and more certainly, described with one single word…’learning’.
to share their presentations across Europe and I was asked to present the story of St Catherine’s and our ‘PANDA’ to a conference in Transylvania! The funny thing was that the conference was actually not primarily focused upon education but rather on myths and legends (not surprisingly, Dracula was a popular theme) with a couple of high end educationalist presentations thrown in for good measure. Nevertheless, the learning continued unabated – I for one never knew that Dracula
In early June I attended the EDEN Annual Conference which in
in a sense was like McDonald; ‘Mc’ meaning ‘son of’ Donald and
2015 was held in Barcelona, and amounted to one of Europe’s
‘ula’ meaning ‘son of’ Drac - with Drac translated as the ‘dragon’,
premier educational meetings. The theme of the conference was
or in our historical bent ‘Vlad’, as in the impaler!
‘Expanding Learning Scenarios’ and discussion ebbed and flowed from e-competencies and e-skills, through society as a
A couple of days later I had one of the finest learning experiences
fact) to share that much of his presentation has been incorporated
any teacher could wish for – I had lunch with Sir Ken Robinson,
into St Catherine’s TIDE (Technology, Innovation, Design,
the most watched person on the TED talks phenomenon. When I
Engineering) Program at Years 7 and 8 – we are certainly now on
say ‘I had lunch’ I am referring to quite a few people, but yet small
the verge of virtual reality in the classroom as a learning activity. If
enough to have a relatively lengthy and private conversation. That
you are interested in listening to Donald’s amazing speech (be you
conversation took place in late June as I attended the Digital
a teacher or anyone just interested in technology as learning) I
Education Show at London’s magnificent Olympia Centre, where
could not offer you a more eye-opening, mouth dropping, energy
Sir Ken was a keynote alongside other learning luminaries
filled experience than this, so please visit: http://iated.org/talks/
including Professor Sugata Mitra and Ewan McIntosh. I was like a
child in a sweet shop when I had access to world class keynotes and workshops ranging from mobile learning, to 1-2-1 learning, from big data to social media, from cloud based learning to coding, and from gaming to real assessment. The insights, the learning, the pitfalls and the opportunities are now embedded and broadened into the foundation of the work we are beginning to undertake in our very own St Catherine’s learning and teaching
In conclusion, as Director of Curriculum Innovation and Development, the month of June speaking and listening at the four mentioned conferences was a month of unparalleled professional learning. I returned enthused and with a wealth of contacts and experiences which will prove very significant as we venture along the path of St Catherine’s 20/20 Vision.
framework; never underestimate the power of being able to tap
One may conclude that…although perhaps seemingly
into the very best and the very next-practice. As an aside, any
contradictory, one of the very many upsides of teaching is in fact
educationalists out there should check out Ross Morrison McGill,
the opportunity to keep on learning.
the most followed teacher on Twitter in the UK…and now a very good friend of St Catherine’s! A few days after the Digital Education Show in London, I was back in Barcelona, this time to attend EDULEARN15 – and, wow, what an experience! Professor Donald Clark was the most outstanding keynote on technology and its use in education that I have ever had the good fortune to hear. I am certainly not afraid (rather proud in
Mr Adrian Puckering Director of Curriculum Innovation and Development
Name: Mrs Glenda Lingard Title: Junior School Head of Extension and Learning Support Date: 19 November 2015
E A R LY M O R N I N G M AT H S B U I L D S SKILLS AND CONFIDENCE
Spatial thinking is a fundamental component of learning. Would you choose to arrive at school early to engage in a range of non-compulsory mathematical activities at 8.00am? The answer in St Catherine’s Junior School is a resounding ‘yes!’ Students from Years 1 to 6 are able enjoy one session each week to work on a range of mathematical projects.
Whilst there has been discussion regarding spatial ability across gender – with suggestions boys may be advantaged in the development of their spatial skills and therefore their mathematical skills – research also states spatial skills are able to be enhanced and developed with practice. With future careers in Mathematics, Engineering, Science, Technology and the Arts in mind, Morning Maths provides a
The Morning Maths activities have been developed to complement
stimulating program that develops spatial skills. Program activities
and extend the Mathematics curriculum in our classrooms. The
include measurement, symmetry, geometry, tessellation, two
nature of the activities offered has been developed from
dimensional and three dimensional shapes, tangrams and
observations of students’ responses to Mathematics questions in
making complex models from written instructions. The activities
assessments or classroom programs, and consideration of
have been designed to not only achieve practical outcomes using
Mathematics as it relates to educating girls. The projects have also
geometric/spatial concepts but also to promote a positive,
been designed to be engaging and motivating.
confident attitude towards Mathematics.
From my experience teaching Mathematics in upper Junior School
Of course, logical thinking, problem solving and other
classrooms, it became clear that questions and topics involving
Mathematical skills are integral components of the Morning Maths
spatial skills could be quite challenging. Researching relevant articles
program as well. Depending on the project, students either work
about the development and importance of spatial thinking found, it
independently to produce their own product or, in groups to
was a fundamental component of the Prep to Year 12 curriculum and,
contribute one outcome.
it was important to develop spatial skills in students from an early age. Spatial skills are a significant component not only in the study of mathematical concepts, but also in Science, Technology, the Arts and everyday life. Dr John Munro, a lecturer in education at
The activities at each Year level include: Year 1: Using iPads with Dash and Dot robots, the Year 1 students have been practising their coding skills.
Melbourne University has described spatial knowledge as an
Year 2: Development of two dimensional nets into three
understanding of shapes, the properties of shapes and their
dimensional shapes. The shapes were then used to construct the
position or location in space.
familiar buildings of St Catherine’s School. Finally, the buildings
were placed on a grid to show their correct position in relation to each other. Year 3: Science and Mathematics combined when Year 3 students made their own tetrahedron kite. Year 4: Science and Mathematics combined when Year 4 made their own kaleidoscope. Years 5 and 6: Bridges were designed and built using 200 icypole sticks. The sticks were formed into strong geometric shapes which were put together to make a bridge. Weights were used to check the maximum load for each bridge and students were required to make hypotheses regarding the load capacity. Morning Maths is an opportunity to use mathematical materials, concepts and thinking to hypothesise, learn and create as well as empowering our Junior School students to be confident in their mathematical skills and abilities. Mrs Glenda Lingard Junior School Head of Extension and Learning Support
Name: Mrs Jenny Mathers Title: Head of Music Date: 26 November 2015
We teach at St Catherine’s School that Music is historical,
instruments. Consider also the surgeon, the seamstress, the
mathematical and language-based and most importantly Art.
athlete, the rock climber, the builder, the dancer and the infinite
In what might be called a series of fortunate events (no Lemony Snicket here), I have found myself increasingly interested in that incredible part of the human body called the hand. A simple Google search reveals the hand has 27 bones, not including the sesamoid bone(s), which can vary in number from person to person. Eight are in the wrist, five in the palm which link to the fingers and thumb, and each finger has three bones, with the thumb having two. It is our particular opposable thumb which sets us apart from all other animals, (apparently koalas have two on either side of their hand or paw – necessary for their grasping ability) including our closest relatives the apes, and it seems very likely the hand has been most responsible for the incredible development and capabilities of the brain in humans. The thumb is undoubtedly the ‘master digit’ of the hand, giving value to all the other fingers, and the ulna and radius could be considered part of the skeleton of the hand because they create further axis of movement with supination (palm facing up) and pronation (palm facing down).
subsets of these. Some of these tasks require gross motor skills, and some fine motor skills, but all are testament to this most amazing part of the body. It has been my privilege to attend a number of conferences this year, generously supported by the St Catherine’s School. The first, in the April holidays, was Choralfest, held in Melbourne. With many wonderful speakers and clinicians, the work of Mr Randy Stenson, an American living and working in Tokyo for over 30 years, was particularly interesting to me (my first fortunate event!). He introduced us to the many years work he has undertaken using movement with his choirs, and the reasons for it. In particular, he teaches his choristers to ‘conduct’ their own singing. In each performance the singer’s personal interpretation of the shape of the melody or phrase is evident. The sound of the choir is free, unrestricted and joyous, and the ownership of the music making is handed over to the individual. As a conductor of musical ensembles I was taught long ago that I needed ‘soft hands’, otherwise any tension would be transferred to the ensemble and result in a strained sound. Certainly, observation over many years
I have taken my hands for granted for many a long year. After all,
has revealed that any tension in singers’ throats seriously impairs
they subconsciously pick up things, communicate, wash,
the quality of sound achieved, both as a soloist and in an
prepare, draw, grasp, throw, sooth, write, type and – mostly due
ensemble. Furthermore, if sustained, may lead to serious damage
to my persistent parents who hassled, harried and supported me
of the vocal chords. A singer subconsciously picks up any tension
in a dominant area of interest – play the piano and woodwind
from the conductor, thus the learnt adage ‘less is more’ has always
been of great benefit. What then is the connection between the
movement? Daphne estimated that one third of the brain is
hand and so many other human functions?
required to ‘operate’ the hand, which was backed up by a little
My second ‘fortunate event’ was a particular plenary session at the Sounds Great conference, held at the Victorian Arts Centre.
more ‘Googling’ on my part: “Body parts with complex repertories of fine movement, like the hand, require more cortical space.”
Mrs Daphne Proietto captured the audience of Music teachers
In a third ‘fortunate event’, I was cleaning out a bookshelf and
with her work as a piano teacher. Daphne has a flock of students
found a book called The Hand: How its use shapes the brain,
with special needs and through piano lessons, she changes their
language, and human culture by Frank R. Wilson (Vintage 1999).
lives. On June 15, 2015 the Herald Sun wrote: “While specialists
My first feeling was obviously one of disappointment. Clearly I
and doctors tell parents of the things their children will never do
was not onto anything new with my sudden passion for the hand!
– never talk, never do VCE Maths, never be a ballerina – Mrs
However, this wonderful book did answer a lot of questions, and
Proietto has opened the door to a world of possibility.” She has
pose many more. Wilson writes, “This book has been an inquiry
students with autism and cerebal palsy who could hardly move
into the premise that the hand is as much at the core of human life
their fingers before commencing lessons. The results of Daphne’s
as the brain itself.” Further, Wilson asked, “ How does, or should,
patience, care and belief were evident to all in the plenary
the education system accommodate the fact that the hand is not
session. They played far better than many who have learnt the
merely a metaphor or an icon for humanness, but often the
piano as a passing phase in their ever-busy lives. The joy on
real-life focal point – the lever or launching pad – for a successful
these children’s faces was, and is, indescribable. Through her
and genuinely fulfilling life.”
lessons Daphne places her hand(s) over the hand(s) of her students to guide them in the learning of each note. The necessary repetition of patterns we all need to gain mastery had the extra element of touch from the teacher. How often do we wish we could hold a student’s arm or hand so they can experience for themselves the particular ‘effort’ required of any
Wilson quotes Yale psychologist Professor Seymour Sarason who said, “Education can succeed only when it understands that every human being is born with the potential to be creative and artistic.” As a teacher of Music I was happy about that! Unfortunately Sarason also recognised that, “all students learn
best and most quickly when self-interest orients and drives the
instrument or ‘French’ horn? Wilson writes, “We have now come
search for information, understanding and skill.” Like so many
to a point where we can more fully sense the convergence of the
areas of learning, a detailed study of Music is vast, and beyond
neurological, linguistic, developmental, and anthropological
what a general classroom education can offer, mostly due to time
perspectives in our world for an understanding of the role of the
constraints. In Australia, a study of Music is not universally
hand in human life.”
accepted, despite so many examples of success and off-shoot advantages to all learning around the world.
My instinct, and now general research have led me to believe that the development of fine-motor skills must have a positive effect on
We teach at St Catherine’s School that Music is historical,
the overall development of the brain. My premise is the learning of
mathematical and language-based and most importantly Art. In
particular musical instruments is an effective way to maximise the
the words of a much-loved professor from long ago, “everything
dexterity of the hand, and therefore the effect on the plasticity of the
relates to everything.” We need vocal training for, amongst many
brain. It is, of course, our ongoing quest at School to support both
things, the development of our ‘ear’ – that sense of excellent pitch
girls and their families who are interested in Music and who already
and tuning. Wilson writes, “Musical skill is obviously highly
understand the power of mastery on an instrument, as well as
correlated with, and dependent upon, refinement of hearing, and
those for whom the ‘self-interest’ is not yet strong. Let us look after
the links between auditory perception and human speech and
our hands, enjoy using them in a myriad of different ways, every
language are so strong that the Darwinian brief for a ‘musical ear’
day, and develop them as much as possible.
(is) easily argued.” But, how important might the learning of an instrument be? Particularly one that requires the use of both hands equally, for ultimate left/right brain function, such as the piano or a woodwind instrument, or one which, in the case of a right-hand dominant person, trains the left-hand particularly, such as a string
Mrs Jenny Mathers Head of Music
Name: Mrs Tracey McCallum Title: Humanities Teacher Date: 3 December 2015
FI NA NCI A L EDUC AT ION A N D CON FIDENCE
Why financial literacy is important for women in the 21st Century. Financial literacy is the possession of knowledge and understanding of financial matters. It often entails the knowledge
homelessness. This has been blamed on a range of factors, but both a lack of superannuation and a lack of money skills have been significant contributors.
of properly making decisions pertaining to certain personal
Financial literacy as part of the core curriculum during Senior
finance areas such as investing, saving and retirement. It also
School is key to young women being able to make effective
involves intimate knowledge of financial concepts like interest,
financial decisions. If financial literacy is developed early, this will
financial planning, consumer rights, the value of money and the
give young women and girls the opportunity to develop the
mechanics of a credit card.
necessary confidence and skills to deal with money in the future.
The absence of financial literacy can lead to poor financial decision making and result in an adverse impact on the financial health of an individual. So why is financial literacy so important for women in the 21st Century? •
A person who pays off their credit card balance in full, each month, because of their knowledge of the effect of high interest rates and the consequences of debt demonstrates effective financial decision-making. Evidence on the economic participation of young women indicates the importance of effective financial decision making by
Statistics have shown women on average earn 18.2 percent
these people. Young Australians (girls and boys) are high users of
less than men.
basic bank accounts – four out of five Australians aged 12-20
Women are more likely to take career breaks for family reasons.
have a transaction account with a bank and 57 percent have a
50 percent of women state that dealing with money or
debit or EFTPOS card. Young females are strong consumers of
finances is stressful.
goods and entertainment and most own, or use a mobile phone.
While on average women live longer than men, they have less superannuation in retirement. Research has shown that between the ages of 58 to 62 men’s superannuation is a staggering 120 percent more than that of women. The consequence of this, is
However, consumer activity can lead to compromised financial outcomes if young people lack the knowledge and skills to make sound financial decisions or because they do not understand their consumer rights.
that approximately 77 percent of women rely on some form of age
While women only make up 23 percent of leadership roles in
pension in retirement. Over the last decade there has reportedly
Australia’s top 2,000 companies, reflecting there is more work to be
been a higher incidence of older women confronted with
done to achieve equal representation, there has been a significant
increase in the number of women graduating from University and entering into highly regarded professions. In the past, many of these professions were dominated by their male counterparts. This has given women an opportunity to embark on careers that will see them well remunerated. With all of this money, what to do? Armed with the appropriate financial tools women are able to take control of their finances, prepare for their future, have freedom in the choices they make and feel confident in doing so. St Catherineâ€™s offers a wide range of opportunities for students to engage in financial education. As part of the Years 9 and 10 elective program, students can elect to study Dollars and Sense, Enterprise and Entrepreneurship and Revista-Recording and Reporting. These electives provide students with the opportunity to develop knowledge and skills relating to taxation, budgeting, business planning and management and recording and reporting financial information for future decision making. At VCE level, students can pursue Economics, Business Management or Accounting. While these subjects may be elected as a pathway to Commerce related tertiary courses, they also provide students with important financial skills and knowledge to enable informed decision making in the future. Mrs Tracey McCallum Humanities Teacher
St Catherineâ€™s School 17 Heyington Place Toorak VIC 3142 Telephone +61 3 9822 1285 Email email@example.com www.stcatherines.net.au CRICOS 00574F ABN 90 004 251 816
St Catherine’s staff share an ethos of commitment. They strive for excellence in teaching practice, and their extensive knowledge can be see...
Published on Apr 27, 2016
St Catherine’s staff share an ethos of commitment. They strive for excellence in teaching practice, and their extensive knowledge can be see...