Chris Needle

From the Assistant Principal

With discipline, belief, and the right knowledge, we become the best we can be
Georges St-Pierre   |   

Students truly own their learning when they can express what and why they are learning specific content and skill sets. Furthermore, having a variety of strategies to consolidate their learning is a powerful attribute for taking both a leading and active role in becoming agentic in their learning pathways. As a school, we are encouraging the development of student agency and ownership of learning in every cohort.

The articulation of opinions and perspectives, along with proactive questioning for clarity, allows students to deepen their understanding of the learning material. Equally, as students engage in independent study, actively reflecting upon feedback and re-evaluating their learning goals provides a significant platform for long-term success—a point illustrated in the research on student reflective practice, that students learn by reflecting on both success and setbacks, making necessary changes to reach different outcomes (Pandolpho, 2018; Wiliam, 2016).

As we begin the new academic year, the reinforcement of the learning partnership among staff, students, and parents is crucial for cultivating motivated, engaged, and responsible learners. There are multiple avenues for students to develop their agency and own their learning decisions.

Firstly, understanding and responding to feedback are key. All feedback from formative and summative assessments is visible on SEQTA, and students will be required to comment on the feedback to plan the next steps in their learning. This also provides a great opportunity to hold meaningful learning conversations with subject teachers and parents alike, fostering a supportive learning environment. We encourage students to consider the feedback and ask questions, as emphasized by Wiliam (2011): “Feedback should cause thinking, not an emotional response.”

Secondly, all students in the school have timetable periods of Coaching & Mentoring (Year 7-9) or Success Advisor Sessions (Year 10-12), where academic support and the development of their skill sets are personalised, strengthening positive learning relationships. These sessions provide opportunities for one-on-one discussions that focus on enhancing learning through increasing self-awareness and personal responsibility (van Nieuwerburgh, 2012).

Finally, discipline, belief, and knowledge are the keys to success, according to the UFC legend Georges St-Pierre. The forming of good study habits from the beginning of the year provides the landscape for positive learning experiences. All cohorts are encouraged to maintain a balance and maintain positivity across their learning and wellbeing, inclusive of sleep, exercise, study, friends, and time spent with family.

Students are urged to plan their time for each learning cycle between negotiable and non-negotiable commitments, enabling them to identify times for purposeful study. Wise time management, including pre-reading and consolidating learning tasks, allows for the continual deepening of subject knowledge. These structures empower students to make meaningful decisions about their learning, holding themselves accountable to their goals (Jacovidis, 2020; Spencer, 2017).

I look forward to all students engaging in all facets of school life throughout 2024, and your ongoing support on their learning journeys.

Chris Needle
Assistant Principal, Curriculum Design and Innovation