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Editorial by Jane Curran

On Wednesday of this week we celebrated the various achievements of the 2016 HSC class – in service, application to studies, academic achievement and excellence, cocurricular involvement and extraordinary contribution. Many of the girls walked across the stage to great acclaim and some of them didn’t – that is the reality of an awards ceremony. There is always an element of competition and competition results in both win and loss. And we live with that. But the one thing they all have in common is the gift of their education and that is priceless. There is no competition involved so everyone is a winner if they have opened their minds to learning.

I have been lucky throughout my life. I had two parents for whom education was paramount. My father was identified as intelligent by the nuns who taught him in a tiny country town. They told my grandmother that dad needed to go to boarding school as the local high school only went to Year 9, Third Form in the old language. So dad was sent to Sydney and finished his education at Joeys and then went on to Sydney University. Mum also completed high school and went on to Sydney Teachers’ College where she trained as a teacher. For them, education was what the Irish poet, William Butler Yeats, described, not as the filling of a pail but as the lighting of a fire. And that was what they modelled to me – a love of learning, of discovering, of experiencing, of sharing.

My father once told me that he would not be rich enough to leave his five children much money but he would make sure that we would get the best education he could afford. When I was in Year 12, dad and mum had five of us in private schools and it was a struggle but, for them, it was worth it. Dad never got to see the other four finish their HSC but we all did.

I don’t tell you this to dwell on my childhood but to remind the girls of the extraordinary gift that their parents and teachers have given them and it is a gift that they should nurture. The purpose of education is not to make us remember that Captain Cook claimed discovery of Australia nor the equation of the area of a circle. We live in an age when we can google most things so knowledge is at hand. What education provides us with is the intellectual capacity to think deeply and critically, to judge and assess and take up the ultimate challenge of acting wisely with the knowledge and understanding that our education has given us.

Education is essential to intellectual freedom and it improves how we view, exist in and participate in the world. Despite great progress in the last few decades, millions of children are still denied their right to education. Restricted access to education is still one of the certain ways of transmitting poverty from generation to generation. Education reduces poverty, boosts economic growth and increases income. It increases a person’s chances of having a healthy life, reduces maternal deaths, and combats diseases. Education can promote gender equality, reduce child marriage, and promote peace. In sum, education is one of the most important investments a country can make in its people and its future.

According to the United Nations Organisation, educated girls and women tend to be healthier, have fewer children, earn more income and provide better health care for themselves and their future children. Women currently represent two thirds of the world’s illiterate. 63 million girls of primary and lower secondary age are not in school and participation of girls in school decreases as they move through the education system. Can we even begin to imagine the long term impact of such global crises as that faced by Syrian refugees.

Nelson Mandela stated that “education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world”. Just imagine if our Year 12 were to leave this place with heads full of knowledge that had little purpose beyond the attainment of a grade or an ATAR. What I hope for each of them is that the journey they have had so far is just the first step and all the wisdom and understanding that is the sum total of their education is what enables them to go forth from Brigidine as women committed to making a difference, to using the gift of their education to enhance their world and the lives of others. Father David Ranson’s challenge to Year 12 in his homily on Monday night at their Graduation Mass was to be the person who makes it happen, who makes a difference.

During the Mass last Monday evening, there was a prayer that ended

Understand that I’m doing the best I can
With what you have given me.
Because all that I have to work with ...... is me.

I want Year 12 2016 to know that what they have had to work with has value beyond understanding. They should never underestimate what it is that they bring. My wish for them is that they stay true to who they are and do the best they can with the gifts God has given them. In doing this, they grace the world with their presence and make it a richer place. I have no doubt that this world will be better for their presence because each of them truly understands what it means to be educated and to have the courage to remain open to learning.

Jane Curran
Principal

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Editorial by Bill Gleeson

With the recent canonization of Mother Teresa I resurfaced a book a friend had presented to me at the time of her beatification in 2003. It is titled Mother Teresa: Come Be My Light and details the private writings of Mother Teresa. Compiled by Brian Kolodiejchuk, MC, the postulator of Mother Teresa’s cause for canonization, the work covers the inner spiritual life of one of the most beloved and significant religious figures in history. Anyone who visits the Missionaries of Charity in Kolkata and serves in places like Kalighat, Prem Dan, Daya Dan or the Loreto school would testify to the legacy of St Teresa.
Along with many staff, students and alumni, I have experienced the Pilgrimage of Hope serving alongside Mother Teresa’s Missionaries of Charity Sisters. This is an experience to treasure for life. Mother Teresa’s canonization reinforces her life as one of total service as an icon of God’s tender mercy, radiating the light of God’s love to everyone she met, especially the poorest of the poor.

Not everyone can experience the Pilgrimage of Hope, however as St Teresa attests, “You can find Calcutta anywhere in the world. You only need two eyes to see.” She challenges all to aspire to the selfless quality of being a servant, ready to provide service, especially to the marginalised. Furthermore, she proposed that “If we pray, we will believe. If we believe, we will love. If we love, we will serve.” This resonates perfectly with the foundational elements set by the Sisters of St Brigid. Core to the patronage of St Brigid is a commitment to hospitality and service with a focus on the poor. As part of the College Strategic Plan it is crucial that this element underpins all areas of College life.

Recently I attended a conference organised by the National Catholic Education Commission (NCEC) and found it interesting to learn more about current trends in schools across Australia. A key theme of the conference centred on the heart of education; a belief to get to the core and away from the superficial, offering real and substantive learning. Many facilitators challenged a lip service model to service learning posing such questions as:

What do we want to achieve? Do we engage in Service Learning simply because it ‘looks good’ for the school? Is it trendy? Is it merely a ‘feel good experience’ – a moral notch on the belt that I have done my bit, or we have done our bit, to tick the box of moral responsibility in the context of our brotherhood and sisterhood?

Service learning is becoming more of a focus in teaching pedagogy. Indeed the Board of Studies, with the advent of ROSA (the NSW Record of Student Achievement), recognises a broader cumulative record of achievement. This will acknowledge a more comprehensive snapshot and will include aspects of service. With a vision for a transformational aspect to education, service learning aims to extend and deepen classroom learning through service to others. It is undertaken by the girls in the context of meaningful school community partnerships and at Brigidine is seen as an essential component in the overall curriculum and pastoral experience of all students. It is part of holistic education.

All College service learning programs aim to build relationships and challenge the girls to give and receive, to look beyond themselves, to seek out the needs of others and to respond by sharing their gifts of time and talent. The essential learning experience in programs is to realise that giving is difficult but that selflessly helping others is the most rewarding and gratifying way to live, just as St Teresa of Kolkata modelled in her life.

With this mindset for service learning it is encouraging to see College staff, students and parents prepared to volunteer in the myriad of opportunities available at Brigidine. Programs such as the recent immersions to Thailand, Laos, Cambodia and Goodooga, the Marist Camp, Duke of Edinburgh Awards, Year 10 Community Involvement, charity fundraising initiatives, Year 11 Street Retreat, and the 40 Hour Famine all give meaningful experiences.

In a society that increasingly knows the price of everything but the value of little, if we have not convinced our young of the absolute necessity of living a life for others then we have failed them – we have failed the future. As Mother Teresa once said, “If I ever become a Saint, I will surely be one of darkness. I will continually be absent from heaven – to light the light of those in darkness on earth.”

May the Brigidine community continue to follow in St Teresa’s footsteps.

Bill Gleeson
Assistant Principal Religious Formation

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Editorial by Jane Curran

I recently had the good fortune to travel and one of my true pleasures is people watching – you know what I mean. You sit at a café or on a bench and watch the world go by in its infinite variety. You imagine the lives of the people you see, imagine what their families are like, where their homes are, if they are safe, if they are happy. There are stories to be read in the way they interact with each other, their choice of clothes, the expressions on their faces and the accessories that adorn them. The best moment was in a small mountain town in Italy called San Gimignano. We stayed in a beautiful hotel just outside the walls of the old town and caught a bus around the walls to the other end so we could wander through the town back in the direction of the hotel. About two thirds of the way through is the Cathedral, in Italy called the Duomo, and, in front of the Duomo is the main piazza or plaza. There are no cars, just crowds of people, mainly tourists with a few locals, old men, sitting around the piazza, drinking coffee and chatting to each other. I sat down on a ledge and started to indulge in checking out the crowd. The variety was endless and I was fascinated. A German family stopped in front of me. Dad was very tall, tanned and good looking. Mum was attractive, much shorter than her husband and they had two children. The girl was in her very early teens, shorts, T-shirt, ballet flats, earphones in and phone in hand. Sound familiar? But it was their little boy who took my notice. He was about five or six and wore the thickest lensed glasses I had ever seen on a child. Dad never let go of his hand and, when he said he needed to go to the toilet, Dad walked him off, his huge hand enveloping the child’s in a way that spoke volumes of the love he felt for this little boy of his. Mum and Dad chatted to each other negotiating where they would meet up and the way they looked at each other told me that this family was safe. Love was what bound them, even their teenaged daughter sunk in the world of her music. She might have positioned herself on the periphery but the connection was visible.

The next group which grabbed my attention was a group of nuns. Now, our nuns in Australia wear ordinary clothes so we often wouldn’t know they were nuns except for a little cross or religious symbol they wear on their jacket or collar. These nuns were a little like our nuns in this year’s musical, The Sound of Music. They had on their religious habits or dress, black, sitting just below the knee, ¾ sleeves with a small white rolled collar. On their heads they wore a black veil with a rolled white edge, held in place by a headband beneath. Now, there is nothing extraordinary about this until I noticed their footwear – not so traditional. It was about 30 degrees and humid so they had allowed themselves the luxury of no stockings – very sensible. But here is what I saw. The eldest nun wore walking sandals with Velcro straps; two others wore joggers and sandals but the one that amused me no end was the youngest – she wore crocs. Now, they were black to match the habit but I couldn’t stop smiling – this was the newest look for religious orders. Old habits and modern footwear.

Suddenly I was distracted from the nuns by a young woman walking right past me. She would have been about 20, had very short blonde hair, and the body of strong athlete such as you might see in shot put. She was very solid and her legs were solid muscle. She wore a T-shirt and denim shorts which were quite fitted and went down to her knees. Why did she grab my attention? Well, one very powerful leg was tattooed in the most brilliant colours, totally covered. On the front, from knee to ankle, was a tattoo of Bart Simpson. On the back was a beautiful depiction of Springfield, houses and fields with the sun shining down. I couldn’t take my eyes off the back of her leg as she walked away from me, not from shock or surprise, but taking in all the aspects of the image. Now, while I am not a fan of tattoos, there was an element of gratitude within me for the fact that she had at least chosen to avoid black and blue and skulls and banners and had chosen instead a colourful image of frivolity and fun.

And it suddenly hit me – the grace and glory of humanity. If God created us in his own image and, in each of us can be seen the face of God, then our beauty lies within. Within we are all the same; it is only our packaging that is different. Every tourist in San Gimignano that day, wandering the streets and churches, sitting in the piazzas eating pizza and gelato, gazing in awe at the beauty and history of this little town, shared a common humanity. These tourists represented countries from around the globe – there were Australians like me, Americans, English, Europeans, Africans, Asians and probably a mixture for good luck. But we all shared a moment in time because, at heart, we were the same. Probably somewhere in the world is someone writing an article on the strange lady who sat on the perimeter of the piazza checking out everyone who walked by.

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Today we announce our leaders for 2017, a variety of girls, each of them different and unique who will bring their own special quality to the role they assume. At their core is the common humanity that connects us all and their shared purpose to serve their school and the students and staff within it. I’d like to think that each girl who takes on a leadership role will keep the image of the father, holding the hand of his son, and that will be the way you lead us through 2017 – by our side, guiding gently. They have the support of their school and this will give them the courage to lead with strength and gentleness.

Jane Curran
Principal

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Editorial by Brian Loughland

“I know what a good man is, because I’ve seen it in my father.”

– Raymond Gaita (author of Romulus, my father)

This is a tough standard for all fathers to consider in the week leading up to the celebration of Father’s Day on the weekend. It is timely every year to reflect on the key role fathers play in the raising of their daughters. Recent studies and research are showing that the keys to understanding this new ‘millennial’ generation are communication and reclaiming one’s place in the hearts and minds of your children.

This is a generation of kids that are growing up in a culture of criticism and critique with a huge array of shallow and ‘overblown’ people claiming their time and attention. The focus seems to be strongly on external appearances and making quick judgements of others with the simple tap of a keyboard. Our girls are so image conscious and the external self is even more dominant and prevalent in girls’ thinking today than it was when most of us were teenagers. Our challenge as educators and parents is to tip the balance back toward the inner qualities and being ‘real’ with oneself. The girls need us to provide them with advice, common sense and a sound perspective even when they seem to not want this from us at all.

In recent years the role of father has changed. Many fathers have worked hard on being more involved with their children and being ‘hands on’, they have been involved in their children’s sports, coaching and helping with homework. The physicality of doing things with your kids and being fun are an important dimension of being a father, but it is not all there is either.

“Whatever words we utter should be chosen with care - for people will hear them and be influenced by them for good or ill”

– Buddha

Research shows that this new generation of kids needs to hear from their fathers. Mothers play a key role too and it is understood that their advice and relationship is critical for girls. Some well-chosen and considered comments from their father can greatly influence a girl’s thinking and outlook. Being present to your daughter when she is feeling fearful, lonely or sad is important for fathers. It isn’t just Mum’s work. Talking honestly about feelings and values is important, and being able to admit to weakness and feeling vulnerable can greatly assist in the social and emotional development of children.

One of the best techniques fathers can use is storytelling. Passing on wisdom and knowledge through stories based on their own experience is a simple and effective way to influence children. Telling realistic stories about times when things were difficult, or when you faced a challenge in your life can help girls navigate through the world. A father’s ideas and life stories will have an impact on girls and they will remember these messages as they face new challenges and new experiences in their own life. It is well known that the men they will connect with in their own life in relationships will be based around their experience with their own father.

The studies show that we can and should reclaim our place as parents and give not only support and encouragement, but carefully chosen thoughts and suggestions when we feel we need to. For times when the clothing is not suitable, the attitude is not right, your daughter’s company concerns you and the priorities are not in alignment, is a time for Dad and Mum to work together and present a combined block of wisdom and experience to assist our girls to navigate the adolescent minefield.

One of my favourite thinkers and Parent Educators, Michael Grose, puts it this way for fathers:

“A man’s got to talk to get his messages through. He can start by letting his kids know when their behaviour is likely to offend others; when they behave like chumps when they are not yet champs; and when they need to show respect to those who’ve trod whatever path they are on before them. This is what great fathering is about in these interesting times in which we live.”

We wish all of the fathers in our community a rewarding and enjoyable Father’s Day this weekend.

We are mindful of those families who will be missing their fathers through loss and distance this weekend. We know their spirit and love stay with us and guide us in our own journeys throughout life.

Brian Loughland
Assistant Principal Pastoral Care

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Editorial by Jane Curran

Sometimes in your life there are moments when it is okay to wallow in pride, to feel thrilled and joyful because of the achievements you witness. We experienced it during the Olympics, especially when Australians we had never heard of rose to glory to take gold. Their journey to Rio was often a humble one, some financial support from the government or sponsorship, but mostly done on the cheap. I experience that same intense pride when I see the faces of teachers light up at their students’ achievements and the smiles on the faces of girls who have challenged themselves to be the best they can be. Last week, we held two exhibitions in which HSC Major Works and the Years 7-11 works undertaken by students in Visual Arts and TAS were shown. When I arrived in the Bowie Hall, I was dragged by a smiling Head of Visual Arts to the works done by her Year 12 Life Skills Art students. Her pride in their achievements manifested itself in a grin that remained throughout the evening and her pride was justified. It also extended to all the work on display by the Year 12 Art students whose concepts and their realisations were worthy of public exhibition.

The Head of TAS also spent the evening with a grin stretched across her face and this was shared by all Visual Arts and TAS teachers throughout the week as they proudly spoke about the girls’ achievements. All works are now packaged up and sent through to the marking centres.

At the same time as this was happening, our athletes were competing at Olympic Park in the Broken Bay Secondary Schools Sports Association. Our Junior Team (12-13yrs) was the Champion school placing first, our Intermediate Team (14-15yrs) placed 3rd and our Senior Team (16-17yrs) placed second, placing the school second overall in a field of 12 schools. 16 girls will represent Broken Bay at the Combined Catholic Colleges Carnival on Friday 16 September. Ta’alili Feaunati of Year 8 set a new record in the 13 years Shot Put and Melissa Fitzsimmons of Year 12, Isabelle Ronksley of Year 10, and Esme Sergi of Year 7 all won their events.

This week the Year 12 Drama students have undertaken their HSC performance examinations over three days. I have watched them rehearse outside my office and go in and out of the theatre, curious about how they fared. On Tuesday afternoon, I caught up with their teacher, Mr Rutherford, whose grin and thumbs up told me more than words about his pride in their performances and his desire for them to receive marks commensurate with the excellence he saw on stage as the HSC examiners assessed them.

On Wednesday evening, over 50 girls entered BrigFest, our short film festival, now in its seventh year at the College. London Hartard of Year 9 took out the Overall Best Film category with her short film, Run, about a young couple fleeing Nazi-occupied France. Other films varied from the reflective to the abstract and all reflected the joy and pride of their student directors.

Many of us buy into the notion that we should ‘fit in’ to a mould of contained behaviour, fearing to stand out or risk being judged. What has been evident over the past week in a brief snapshot of life in a school is the commitment by teachers who believe in their students and the courage of our girls as they put themselves forward for exhibition or performance.

Jane Curran
Principal

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Community

Bridget Jone’s Baby

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Editorial by Greg Smith

We are pleased to announce that Stage 3 of the Master Plan building works will commence at the end of this term. This will involve refurbishment to the McCammon Wing including new larger senior classrooms, improved access between the northern and southern ends of the campus, staffroom, common room and function space. Disability access will also be improved with the installation of a lift over the three levels of the building and wheelchair access to the College Reception. Since I last provided you with an update the tender process has been finalised and the building contract awarded to Prime Constructions Pty Ltd. Fulton Trotter (architects), Touchstone Partners (contract administrators) and a range of other consultants will continue to play important roles working with Prime, towards a high quality outcome for the College.

Brigidine College St Ives is delighted to have Prime on board as they have a strong background working in the independent school sector. In our meetings with them to date, they have demonstrated a clear understanding of the specific needs of schools, where student safety and child protection are at the centre of our considerations. Strict management plans incorporating child protection, workplace health and safety, and emergency responses are in the process of being agreed. These will be routinely administered and monitored, and reported upon at regular site and management meetings with Prime.

The timing of the project has been planned to take maximum advantage of Term 4, when rooming needs are at their lowest with Year 12 students having finished classes, and the Christmas and New Year break when students will not be present. Early works were carried out during the July non-term period with road widening along the northern side of the Chapel and structural steel measurements finalised to facilitate off-site fabrication. During the September/October break, construction sheds and fencing will be established and demolition works carried out. At the start of Term 4, Higher School Certificate exams will commence, with most exams being scheduled in areas well away from the building works to mitigate any noise interruptions to students. Those exams with large numbers of candidates will be scheduled in the Bowie Hall and building work will be suspended for those specific days.

Entry of construction and delivery vehicles will occur outside of the commencement and end of each school day and will be through Gate 2, into a compound at the front of the Chapel accessing a fully fenced roadway through to the site compound on the southern side of the McCammon Wing.

There will need to be some restrictions on the paths of travel for students throughout the College as the normal routes through the College Reception and McCammon will be part of the building site and therefore not accessible by students. Staff have been briefed on these changes and Mrs Curran will provide a detailed information session for students prior to the end of Term 3.

We look forward to a safe and successful build, and showing you our new facilities early in 2017.

Greg Smith
Business Manager

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Editorial by Brian Loughland

While walking with students on a Duke of Edinburgh hike recently I was reminded of the important role parents play in the lives of our teenage girls. The students constantly made reference to their parents and the things that they say, or ‘always say’. It struck me later that our girls really do listen to what parents have to say and it has meaning for them. As a teacher this often occurs when a student may speak to you and mention that they remember a comment you made at Assembly three years ago. They may remember a remark you made to their class or group in Years 7 or 8, and they are now in Year 12! It often means something to them. Our girls do remember, they do listen to what we say and they think about these issues often.

It highlights the need for us all, as parents and educators, to both listen to and guide our girls through their teenage years. The developmental stage of adolescence requires a stronger presence from adults in the lives of teenagers. Often parents may think that it is a time to step away more and to give them more freedom, to be less ‘hands-on’ as when they were young children. This position is not supported by research or common sense parenting.

Adolescence is too hard for our girls to navigate on their own and they want their parents to nurture, guide and support them. Parenting that enables the girl to not be smothered, but supervised and monitored to make sound decisions and to learn from life’s challenges and inevitable mistakes.

Parenting can’t be done via mobile phone. It requires time and a deliberate focus of energy despite the demands of work and relationships for parents and educators. For parents, the ideal time would be the end of the day where a discussion of the day or recent experiences can be shared over dinner or even in the car or on the lounge in front of the TV.

A danger time for adolescents is late afternoon when parents are at work and where social media and connection with others holds sway and without you around they can be lost in cyber space, games and face challenges without you to support and guide them. Engagement in activities and sports are ideal ways to defuse this challenge. If this is not always possible, good conversation about their online use and clear boundaries for use at home need to be managed by parents. Devices need to be out of bedrooms and placed in public spaces or parent rooms for re-charging overnight. They all need time alone to look after themselves, sleep well and re-energise for their lives. The world is a different place now with the internet and we have to safeguard our adolescent children through this new world.

At Brigidine we use this time of year to interview students through the Mentor system and check their progress and goals following their recent half yearly examinations. It is a time for us to listen to our girls and to assist them in setting some learning goals for the next six months, as well as attaining a good balance in their lives. If grades need improvement they can discuss how best to improve and to learn from the feedback they have received in their reports. It is timely for parents to go through the reports as well and explore key strengths and challenges that emerge in comments and data, as well as the messages written ‘between the lines’ by teachers who are gently encouraging or urging your daughter in her learning at Brigidine.

What we do know is that they will listen to us when we speak thoughtfully to them. Our comments and suggestions and what we think of them are important to our girls. Finding time for good conversation is important. Finding the balance between being a tough parent with clear values and allowing your daughter to find her own way is difficult. Working at it and giving your best as a parent is the most important thing. The College staff will always support you in times of challenge and offer suggestions for managing difficult situations with your daughter.

It’s time to turn the conventional wisdom on it’s head and take more time to listen to our girls and allow them to voice their concerns and joys with us. We already know they are listening to what we have to say, let’s all build up our communication strategies and make time to improve these critical relationships and enable our girls to thrive and flourish as young women.

Click here to read an article from Michael Grose, author of the ‘Parenting ideas’ website, about consequences and good parenting that is worth a quick read.

Please go to the Cybersafety website for any support with online behaviour and to get some guidance on managing this area of your daughter’s life.

Brian Loughland
Assistant Principal Pastoral Care

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Editorial by Sherryl Bremner

There have been two Academic Assemblies at the College since the start of Term 3 and it has indeed been a genuine pleasure for me to be able to lead these. During these ceremonies students who have been awarded Application to Studies, Academic Application and First Place in Subjects were presented with their certificates to acknowledge their success. It was a real joy to see the girls walk proudly across the stage and I was pleased to see some of my own students up there. For me there was also a realisation that the work put into the organisation of these assemblies had finally come to an end. It is a process that starts in earnest once the results from the first semester are calculated and finalised. A great deal of collating and checking lists is involved so that all of the prize winners can receive due recognition for their efforts for that semester, and in the case of the Academic Application, for the years that they have been attending Brigidine College.

Academic Assemblies at the College also provide an opportunity to showcase student performances in the area of Performing Arts. These do indeed demonstrate the depth of talent we are fortunate to be nurturing at the College. My thanks go to all those who helped ensure the smooth running of these joyous occasions.

Having been asked to write this Editorial I reflected on how ceremonies such as these had changed since I had been at school some, dare I say it, 40 years ago. It also had me thinking about the kinds of characteristics a successful student embodies.

Being a History teacher it is not uncommon for me to illustrate a point about my own experience, especially when studying recent history. In a previous syllabus we looked at the prime ministership of Gough Whitlam and I would recount that I was studying for my last ever school Mathematics examination on the day that Gough Whitlam was dismissed. Somehow I was still able to do as well as expected in my exam, despite the fact that the world seemed to be going crazy and established routines and structures were being eroded by forces that I could not really understand. (It’s interesting how some things don’t change over time!).

That year I did get to walk across the stage and receive an award for achieving an average of more than 75% in all my subjects, which was the criteria at my school in those days. That was the only time I received an academic award for success across all my subjects. I had received book prizes for coming first in a subject, which, believe it or not of this passionate History teacher, was German. I had worked hard in my senior years to get that award and I was inordinately proud of my achievement. I trust that the students who received awards in the assemblies were also similarly proud of their achievements and acknowledge that their hard working efforts and commitment have paid off.

I have also been reflecting on and researching what it is that makes a student successful. Common factors include prioritising study, having a routine and sticking to it, knowing or determining what your preferred learning style as well having good results. The last factor is somewhat subjective and this is why modern learning theory talks about the idea of one’s personal best.

The development of skills is also crucial whether they be metacognitive (research and synthesis of information) or developing one’s cognitive abilities. Embedded in the metacognitive skills is the notion also of learning how to handle ICT. One article suggested that having a sense of humour is a characteristic of a good student, while another put it that good students get excited about the material. Honest work was also a feature as were creativity, adaptability and having extrinsic motivation.

Many of these ideas are also embedded, albeit expressed in different terminology, in the General Capabilities of the Australian Curriculum that is now in place for Years 7 to 10 and that will be in place by 2019-2020 for Years 11 and 12. BOSTES is currently seeking teacher feedback on Draft Stage 6 syllabuses in English, Mathematics, Science and History.

One article suggested that good students participate, take notes, ask questions, avoid distractions and even sit near the teacher if possible. In these modern days where teachers and students are just as likely to be moving about the classroom, or not even in a classroom, I had a little giggle at that one.

I encourage our students to consider these qualities of success and I do hope that in doing so they can recognise themselves.

For those interested in reading one of the online articles I came across regarding how to be a successful student, click here. It is written in accessible language and could provide some beneficial advice to students who are looking to achieve academic success. Thanks to the internet, we are so fortunate to have access to so much information at our fingertips that it is hard to imagine a time without it.

The article also says that good students remember to have fun. I know I do in my work as a teacher at Brigidine and it is my hope that our students do too.

Sherryl Bremner
Acting Assistant Principal Teaching and Learning

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Study Skills

Your Mid-Year Check-Up

Taken from Prue Salter’s Study Skills Handbook

As we approach the second semester, now is a good time to go through the following checklist to see if you can improve your approach to school.

  1. Have you set yourself goals to strive for over this year? YES / NO
  2. Do you know what motivates you to do work? YES / NO
  3. Do you try to take a positive approach to your studies? YES / NO
  4. Do you make an effort to make the thoughts in your head positive ones? YES / NO
  5. Are you making the most of class time, listening and focusing and completing all work? YES / NO
  6. Have you been asking for help if you don’t understand something? YES / NO
  7. Have you been writing all your homework into your diary or online planner and getting it done? YES / NO
  8. Have you been breaking down bigger tasks and scheduling the work in your diary/planner? YES / NO
  9. Have you been keeping track of what you complete and rescheduling unfinished work? YES / NO
  10. Have you organised your folders for papers and digital resources for school? YES / NO
  11. Do you have folders or somewhere at home to file away all your work for your topics? YES / NO
  12. Have you decided what you will keep or do your study notes in? YES / NO
  13. Have you been working on study notes each time you finish a topic for a subject? YES / NO
  14. Do you have a term planner above your desk where you can easily see the heavy weeks? YES / NO
  15. Have you set up a good study environment at home, a place where you can focus and work? YES / NO
  16. Are you doing around an hour and a half of schoolwork most nights (2-3 hrs for seniors)? YES / NO
  17. Have you thought realistically about whether you have too many outside school activities? YES / NO
  18. Have you allocated set periods of time for school work (eg at least 3 x half hour blocks)? YES / NO
  19. Do you remove all distractions etc. when you are focusing on your schoolwork at home? YES / NO
  20. Do you prioritise each afternoon what you will work on that night? YES / NO
  21. When you make study notes, are you making them visual with mind maps, highlighting etc? YES / NO
  22. When you study for a test, do you both ‘learn’ the content and ‘practise’ the skills? YES / NO
  23. Do you try to do lots of the practise under examination conditions? YES / NO
  24. Have you reviewed the different study techniques that you should use for your learning style? YES / NO
  25. Are you doing more than ‘just reading’ when you study for an assessment? YES / NO
  26. Have you thought about how you will overcome the obstacles you face in achieving your best? YES / NO
  27. Have you set up some routines to try and create habits that will help you this year? YES / NO

You can learn more about being more effective and efficient in your schoolwork at www.studyskillshandbook.com.au by logging in with these details:

Username: Brigidinecollege
Password: Brigid1

Leanne Miller
Head of Library Services

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