The Principal’s Blog

Allan Shaw
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Important points to remember: 1. Take a common sense approach to the use of social media. Usage should not be excessive, nor interfere with other aspects of a well-balanced life, especially important aspects such as school work, sleep and exercise; 2. Remember when posting to social media sites that posts are public and the record is permanent; 3. Treat all your online relationships, photos and commentary as though they were face to face. If you would not show or tell your grandmother, then do not post it online. In other words, be polite, respect privacy (yours and others), don’t gossip and don’t ... Read More
On June 17, about 70-80 parents gathered in the auditorium for the Term Two Community Consultation. At that time, I raised with the group several topics and parents raised with me a number of questions and other topics for consideration and comment. A healthy discussion on homework occurred with many astute questions and comments. The research on homework is now reasonably clear and a summary of this research in included in a previous blog entry (May 11 2015). In summary, homework and study is generally of considerable benefit to older students with the greatest benefit seen amongst senior secondary ... Read More
The latest research by Dr Gary Marks was published yesterday in the Australian Journal of Education. Titled, ‘Do Catholic and independent schools “add-value” to students’ tertiary entrance performance? Evidence from longitudinal population data’, the research paper presents analysis of the academic performance of over 40,000 Victorian students. The analysis confirms that, yes, independent schools do add value – represented by an average gain of 8 ATARs over students in government schools. The gain is net of student SES, prior academic achievement, gender and language background. According to Dr Marks’ analysis, non-government schools increase students’ tertiary entrance performance net of ... Read More

Cybersafety

Over the weekend there was considerable press coverage of cybersafety issues for young people. The Weekend Australian’s front page led with the headline Click bait: kids at risk as sexualised behaviour becomes the ‘new normal’, with follow-up further in the newspaper. The catalyst for this commentary was a highly inappropriate ‘selfie’ by a 13 year old girl posted to Instagram. While the catalyst for the media ‘rush’ was an awful thing for a 13 year old girl to be associated with, we need to stop and consider the day-to-day reality that our children face. Our collective knowledge of the ... Read More

Homework

The issues surrounding homework have been the subject of lively debate and discussion for many years. There are a multiplicity of views encompassing the full range across a spectrum from absolutely no homework to ‘the more the merrier’ where ‘time on task’ is regarded as the criteria of success. In our School community, parents and staff have high expectations for their children and want them to do well. All parents have their own school experiences that are drawn upon. Education/teaching is one of the few professions where nearly all those who deal with us, be they older children or ... Read More
The 60 Minutes program which went to air on Sunday April 19 had a section, titled Public vs Private. The segment focussed on a very complex area of decision making that many parents face: the choice of a school for their children. The segment tended to focus on two criteria only: money and academic results, and even the latter theme was mostly limited to NAPLAN results. The 60 Minutes segment is the latest in a number of media reports comparing the academic results of government and non-government schools. These reports cite research studies which purportedly show that non-government schools ... Read More

Welcome to Term Two

Welcome back to Term Two. I trust that you have enjoyed the time with your children that school holidays afford, even if that was confined to the Easter days as I know it likely to have been for some of you. For others who had longer, I hope the break has been rewarding and focussed on fun activities with family and friends. Thank you for your contributions as parents over Term One. Term One was short, only some 8 weeks, but we all packed a great deal into it. Teachers, and in many cases with the help of ... Read More
Digital devices proliferate throughout the lives of many, if not most, children, tweens, teenagers and young adults. The data for Australia shows: • 95% of 8 to 11 year olds had accessed the internet ‘in the last four weeks’. • 37% of 8 to 9 year olds and 51% of 10 to 11 year olds have accessed the internet via a handheld mobile device. • Mobile phone ‘ownership’ increases significantly with age with 11% of 8 to 9 year olds having their own mobile phone, increasing to 67% of 12 to 13 year olds. • 45% of 8 to 11 year olds ... Read More
On Thursday evening 26 February 2015, approximately seventy parents, a few prospective parents and a small number of staff attended the second Knox School Community Consultation. The evening commenced with some commentary on the end of 2014 and the commencement of 2015, in relation to School culture, expectations of students and staff and goals set under the new general banner of Growth and Improvement, Focus and Effort. After the introductory comments, there ensued a lively flow of questions, comments and answers on a range of topics until the formal component concluded at 9:00pm, two hours after commencement. Informally, an ... Read More

Changing our Mindset

Over the last few weeks there has been much discussion amongst staff on Carol Dweck’s research. Dweck is Professor of Psychology at Stanford University and her popular book, Mindset: The new psychology of success (2006) has created conversations amongst staff. In the introduction to the book, Dweck outlines that the field of psychology shows the power of people’s beliefs. She notes that these beliefs may be clear as conscious beliefs or beliefs we are unaware of, but either way they strongly affect what we want and whether we succeed at getting it. Psychology can also show how changing ... Read More