Insights – teenagehood

Dear Community,

I have always loved teaching teenagers. This precious time between childhood and adulthood presents individuals who are speedily acquiring a personal sense of ethics, who can express with assuredness their perspectives on many issues and also have an exuberance of energy and verve that is fun to be around.

That said, I once heard Dr Michael Carr-Gregg characterise teenagehood by stating that a teenager’s developmentally appropriate characteristics would be considered a major personality disorder if they presented in a grown ...

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Insights – holistic education

Dear Community,

This week I was privileged to participate in a series of educational discussions at an Australian Heads of Independent Schools Association Branch meeting. The discussion topics focused on perceptions of the decreasing relevance of the ATAR and the vital role of schools to provide a broad and holistic educational offering.

Reference was made to the 2018 Mitchell Institute study which showed that tertiary institutions are increasingly looking at other factors than ATAR to determine admission. In fact, the study found ...

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Insights – celebrating diversity

Dear Community,

Too many times this year we have had our hearts broken by the extreme violence and hatred that comes from fearing “the other.” From Christchurch, Sri Lanka and the United States we have mourned with different targeted communities through each new tragedy.

With this in mind it is especially gratifying to paint a different scene for you. This one involves young Jewish students engaged in a spontaneous musical jam with First Nations members of the Black Rock Band. I stood ...

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Insights – light triad

Dear Community,

Professor Howard Gardner from Harvard University has been a leading scholar working on The Good Project. This directs research on establishing what constitutes “goodness” in different contexts such as work and play. Once these are identified we can explore how to promote them in education, in the work force or in our homes. The Project has produced research, tools and activities that promote spreading positive qualities.

Similarly, a recent research project has attempted to identify the character traits that are ...

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Insights – NAPLAN – striking the balance

Dear Community,

This week our students across Years 3, 5, 7 and 9 broke from their regular teaching and learning cycle to complete the annual NAPLAN tests. These are nation-wide assessments conducted in the areas of reading, grammar, spelling, writing and numeracy. For the first time in 2019 these tests have been conducted via computer instead of the traditional hand-written format. While this has grabbed some headlines due to connectivity issues, the tests ran quite smoothly at our school.

In what is ...

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Insights – our digital footprint

Dear Community,

In 2010 CEO of Google, Eric Schmidt, made a dire prediction regarding the future of the generation raised with access to social media. He explained that he believes that laws will need to change to make it easier for young people to change their names upon reaching adulthood in order to escape the digital footprint that has been stored on their and their contacts’ social media accounts. He suggested that young people were unable to fathom the consequences of ...

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Insights – Never again

Dear Community,

“I swore never to be silent whenever and wherever human beings endure suffering and humiliation. We must take sides. Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented.” In this quote Holocaust survivor and Nobel Laureate, Elie Wiesel, demonstrated a courageous response to the most unbearable of experiences by committing himself to action.

One of the great challenges of Holocaust memorial is in representing a duality of purpose – to turn inwards and grieve those ...

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Insights – meaningful Jewish experiential activities

Dear Community,

At King David we move to the rhythm of the Jewish calendar. Our weeks are punctuated with Kabbalot Shabbat and acknowledgment of the minor and major festivals. This term we have cycled through thematic changes in our school bells as we have transitioned from Purim to Pesach. At various times during the day, the air is punctuated with a different Hebrew earworm and while it is sometimes infuriating to catch oneself humming ‘Dayenu’ at inopportune moments, the overall message ...

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Insights – Gross National Happiness

Dear Community,

In March 1968 Robert Kennedy gave a speech in which he railed against the economic principle of measuring progress by growth in Gross Domestic Product (then called Gross National Product (GNP)). Kennedy explained that GNP was used to measure any economic activity regardless of the benefit to society but that it fails to address the valuable contribution to society of valuable but less quantifiable indicators of a society’s character.

He stated that “[GNP] counts air pollution and cigarette advertising, and ...

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Insights – the importance of “struggle time”

Dear Community,

This time a year ago I had the privilege of hearing eminent educational theorist, Sir Ken Robinson, speak at the National Future Schools Conference. As a prompt he presented a perplexing image of a multi-story brick building with many open windows. At each of these windows there were a number of adults balanced precariously on window ledges clinging to the window frames and looking inside the building. Robinson explained that the image was taken in Bihar in India and ...

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