Learning and Teaching

The future is an unknown country. It is an unfamiliar place, imbued with our hopes and desires, our anxieties and uncertainties. As a projection of our present reality, how we conceive our future is largely dependent upon our current frame of mind.

Learning can be thought of as an activity conducted for the benefit of days yet to come. What will be useful for me to know to go on to a successful, fulfilling future? How can I best invest in myself today, in order to reap the benefits at a later time? It is not all that long ago that schooling was considered to be an exercise in preparing young people with the knowledge and skills for adulthood. In this paradigm, students are often seen as empty vessels, waiting to be filled with information that they will draw upon at some point down the road, within a chosen vocation.

This view of formal education is problematic within our contemporary context. The ready accessibility of information through the digital revolution has changed our emphasis on what it is important to learn about at school. Dramatically increasing levels of student retention through to Year 12, expanding opportunities for tertiary study and shrinking industry demand for unskilled labour has caused an adjustment in what is emphasised in school learning.

Last week, a number of our students were conferred with Academic Achievement and Endeavour Awards, at two ceremonies.

Please click here for more photos from the Academic Awards ceremonies for Semester 1, 2019.

In addressing the attendees of those ceremonies, the central point I was hoping to convey was in relation to the importance of academic growth for all students. To summarise, growth in learning is the demonstrable progress that a student has made over a period of time, regardless of their starting point. Seeing growth in learning has been made easier in recent years due to developments in electronic data collection and analysis, supported by appropriate assessment regimes.

The message for students was that irrespective of their current level of academic achievement, maintaining healthy growth and improvement is critical. Over a period of months or years, it is possible for a student exhibiting a commitment to improvement and growth to achieve success. Conversely, those who do not may encounter significant difficulties as they progress through school. Analysing our students’ results over time has shown us that capable students, without applying sustained effort, have underachieved. On the other hand, a number of students coming from lower achievement levels, through a deep, ongoing commitment to improvement, have seen remarkable success by the conclusion of their time at the College.

Throughout the coming term, as students face decisions about their future through the many activities of the subject selection season, it is appropriate for them to consider their choices carefully. Students who choose subjects in areas of prior strength will be in a position to capitalise on their learning successes to date. Those who are seeking new experiences in areas that they are unfamiliar with are encouraged to do so. This, however, requires that study habits, attention to homework, assessment preparation and overall application to their learning are well in place. Students choosing subjects in unfamiliar areas, simply due to a lack of previous success in others should do so with caution. Irrespective, each student going through subject selection over the coming weeks is advised to take advantage of access to advice from the resources provided to them, from families and the teachers who know them.

There is no doubt that students who are showing growth in their learning will increasingly discover that options and possibilities will emerge for them. Those yet to show that they are able to focus on improvement over an extended period of time may find the reflections on what lies ahead for them through the subject selection process to be an opportunity to exert constructive changes. For all students, an honest appraisal of where they sit in terms of their progression in learning, coupled with a positive conception of what the future may hold, will no doubt assist in opening exciting and fulfilling possibilities ahead.

Mr Mark Gustincic
Deputy Principal — Learning and Teaching

Back to The Duce Issue 2019 10 - 1 August 2019