Term 4 is always busy and many students feel the pressure of expectation and performance surrounding end of year assessments, particularly those in Year 12 completing their VCE examinations.
One of the important cultural changes we are aiming to address within our College culture of learning, is placing greater emphasis on the process of learning and the provision of improvement and more timely feedback for students to build an intrinsic desire within themselves to strive for continuous improvement.
As renowned Psychologist Professor Carol Dweck has outlined in her highly acclaimed research, we need to encourage within our students a ‘growth mindset’. Professor Dweck describes a growth mindset as ‘people believing that their most basic abilities can be developed through dedication and hard work .... Seeking to develop a love of learning and a resilience that is essential for great accomplishment.’
This term provides us with wonderful opportunities to acknowledge the learning and the efforts of our students in meaningful and tangible ways at the Annual Music Evening and the Art, Technology and Design Extravaganza. These events, as well as any other occasion that allows students and their families time to share in the educational journey, always provide wonderful opportunities to encourage individual student learning in meaningful and authentic ways. To that end I am grateful for the positive support that so many of our families provide in attending such events.
Supporting and encouraging our students in the process of learning will require a change of mindset for us all. Traditional educational experiences, and indeed the ‘system’ has placed great emphasis on grades and results alone at the expense of creativity, thinking and curiosity. This has, according to Professor Dweck, contributed to a ‘fixed mindset’ for many learners. Describing these learners as ‘believing that their basic qualities, like their intelligence or talent, are simply fixed traits. Neglecting the opportunities to develop them.’
I am convinced that if we move to change this focus as teachers, parents and indeed the students themselves we will see greater motivation and engagement in the learning.
As our Year 12 students approach their final exams I remind them of their individual worth and stress that whilst important in the educational journey and process these exams and the resultant outcome of the ATAR awarded to them does not define who they are or determine their worth or the life God planned for them.
I include these two links as references to students and families in Year 12 to provide context and support during this challenging time in young peoples lives and wish them well for the coming weeks:
Life After Year 12 article- CLICK HERE
Headspace Exam Stress article- CLICK HERE
I conclude wishing all students a term of growth in learning, spirit and mindset.
Glen Mckeeman- College Principal
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