- 22 August 2017
Dear Parents and Caregivers
I really enjoy attending our weekly assembly gatherings to see, hear and be part of the various celebrations which make us such an incredible school. The student body needs to be acknowledged and congratulated on the array of activities and achievements being achieved weekly either at school or within the wider community. I am amazed at the number of activities and subsequent results being achieved by our students. It made me feel so proud at yesterday’s Senior School assembly to hear our PE teacher, Mr. Lawrance, sharing with the students how teachers from the local surrounding schools have approached him at inter-school carnivals, held over the past month, to express their admiration for and acknowledgement of the outstanding behaviour, student engagement and excellent results of our students. Yes, we tend to take so much for granted and can get caught up in our daily “fish bowl" without realizing just how good we have it at St Paul’s. This is affirmed to me time and time again by numerous visiting teachers and prospective parents to our school. I am a strong believer that stepping out of our school and subsequent “comfort zones” on a regular basis is a most timely reminder of just how much we have to be appreciative of at St Paul’s – well done to all of you!
As an educator I am passionate about every students’ growth in and acquisition of a love of READING. Once an understanding of the written language begins to become a reality for our children, their imaginations become stimulated and it expands their understanding of the world. This week we will be highlighting the importance of reading and books as we celebrate Book Week at St Paul’s. I would like to extend a warm invitation to you to immerse yourself in the various activities and competitions on offer at the school.
If you haven’t heard by now, our Senior School Virtual Debating Team has won through to the National Finals to be held in November. Yesterday, our team consisting of Felicity [Year 6], Lachlan [Year 6], Bailey [Year 5] and Tait [Year 5] debated against Ruyton Girls’ School from Victoria, for the negative, on “That primary school children should watch the news.” They will now patiently wait to see who they will be debating against in the grand final. Congratulations to these students and their teacher Mrs. Palmer on this achievement.
Flexible Learning at St Paul’s:
As we continue to grow a learning culture and mindset that a student-centred classroom creates opportunities for students to become engaged and actively participate in and own their learning journey, rather than being passive recipients of information, evidence based research around classroom environments confirm that increased student engagement results in improved student outcomes over time.
Neuroscience and brain development: recent research shows that new neurons in children are created in a process called Neurogenesis. What drives the creation of these new brain cells is not maths equations, puzzles or reciting poetry; it is movement. Increased oxygen flow to the brain through movement has recently been shown to increase capacity and flexibility in the frontal lobe. Implementing learning frameworks such as the Daily 5 [English] and the Daily 3 [Maths] at St Paul’s is giving our students the opportunity to make independent choices about their learning with rotational activities [movement] happening every 20 minutes.
Do you remember those students at school who continually got into trouble for fidgeting [maybe you were one of them?] and were made/told to sit quietly in their desk all day? Brain research [neuroscience] now tells us that even small movements are beneficial and can serve to maintain focus through a process of occupying neural pathways. Teachers are familiar with the VAK [Visual, Auditory and Kineaesthetic] model of learning where students clearly display a preference for receiving information through one of these neural channels. The Teaching Alliance of America estimates that students are:
· Visual 29%,
· Auditory 34% and
· Kinaeasthetic 37%.
If this is the case, why are students still being forced to stay in their chair and at a desk for most of the day? Neuroscience tells us that some students doodle to listen, others fidget to focus on audio-visual tasks, while some listen to music to watch and observe. The rule of thumb is that as long as the student is not disrupting others, is being supported to take responsibility for their choice of how they learn best, then let them fidget and move as it is a neural pathway [strategy] for concentration. At St Paul’s we have begun to implement learning environments, learning frameworks [Daily 5, Daily 3 and Inquiry based learning], soft skills [such as independence and time management strategies] and flexible learning furnishings to promote and support improved student engagement to bring about improved student outcomes.
Next week: The importance of Ergonomics - Why in the adult work place have furnishings been fitted to enhance productivity, yet students have been completely neglected and still operate and “get taught” to regurgitate large amounts of information in environments which haven’t changed for decades?
I would like to take this opportunity to wish Mrs. Linda Hislop a wonderful break and much deserved rest from her front office duties. We will welcome her back again in the latter part of Term 4.
The staff together with the children look forward to hosting over 220 grandparents at the school on Friday. Have a wonderful week.
Yours in Christ