From the Principal
What’s the Point of School?
Two weeks ago, I shared some thoughts around the notion of belonging and being part of a community that cares for each other as part of my thinking about how we re-engage as a College family at the beginning of a new year.
As the year gathers momentum and I have spent time visiting campuses, sitting in classrooms, and chatting with students, I have wondered whether our CCG community considers regularly enough the question, “What’s the point of school?” I know that our staff immerse themselves deeply in their planning, professional development, and teaching, to embrace the tenets of our College Strategic Goals for Education, but how do all these facets of our approach to education appear to our students? And what level of understanding do our families and wider community have about all of this?
For as long as there have been schools, people have been asking what the point of them is. Some notable individuals have pondered this very question. In 1947, Dr Martin Luther King presented a lecture entitled, ‘The Purpose of Education’, in which he told his audience that the goal of true education was to develop, “intelligence plus character“, while American philosopher, John Dewey, thought that schools should teach the skills to “take command” of yourself.
Wider society has long grappled with the purpose of schools, from thinking they predominantly exist to impart sufficient knowledge to pass tests or exams, to believing their main function is to nurture students and support them to grow in character.
So, we should ask ourselves the same question and interrogate it in terms of our culture and learning framework. For me, this is where our strategic goals become real and meaningful for us all within a common and shared understanding. We have labelled this, ‘The Learning That Matters’.
Rediscovering the heart of education
Cognitive scientist, and author of over 30 books on psychology and education, Professor Guy Claxton, wrote a book titled “What’s The Point of School? – Rediscovering the Heart of Education”.
In his book, published in 2008, Professor Claxton outlined the challenges that lay ahead of educators back then. He was provoking schools to challenge their thinking beyond the assumptions of the time and to look at the need for fundamental change.
Thankfully for our community, Professor Claxton has been a significant influence on the growth and development of our thinking at Christian College. We have indeed been privileged to have Guy visit us on several occasions to speak and work with our staff, and most significantly interact closely in learning spaces with our students. His firsthand experiences at Christian College enabled us to receive specific feedback and encouragement around our work with our students. We have benefitted greatly from his work as we have framed our strategic goals with broad and lofty intentions to support each student to become the best version of themselves.
If we consider some of the key aspects of Professor Claxton’s influence on our learning culture, and indeed factors that have influenced education worldwide, some key points that we should clearly understand and keep front of mind are:
Education above all is a preparation for life
Young people can be highly stressed. They live in a complex world that demands high levels of cognitive and emotional expertise. Education should develop these personal resources.
School is not a production line and young people are not endowed with a fixed quantity of intelligence, but they have expandable and fillable minds.
Minds are like bodies and can get fitter with a combination of training of habit and attitude.
Rather than considering skills of learning or thinking, students benefit more from the development and growth of traits or dispositions that mould character for a learning age.
Professor Claxton suggests that a confident learner possesses eight such traits, termed the “Magnificent Eight”.
- Curiosity: wondering and questioning
- Courage: being resilient and ‘up for a challenge’
- Exploration: researching and evaluating information
- Experimentation: practising, tinkering, and improving
- Imagination: productive fantasy, intuition, and mental rehearsal
- Reason: thinking carefully and critically
- Sociability: balancing independence and collaboration
- Reflection: being strategic, standing back and taking stock
Teachers need to cultivate these qualities at the centre of everything they do, and they must value learning capacity. Professor Claxton calls teachers, ‘curators of learning.’ They curate through the language they use, the clarity they provide around the quality that is being strengthened, the giving of greater responsibility to students for selecting, organising, and evaluating their own learning, and provision of an environment that invites exploration and supports independent learning. Alongside that, teachers need to be a positive role model of the same learning characteristics.
Parents can help students grow in capacity and confidence by avoiding counterproductive habits of praising their child for every small achievement or continually telling them how smart they are. It has been found that these habits breed vulnerable and anxious children. We should all, whether parents, teachers or employers, create conditions in which a person’s capacity to be tenacious, creative, and reflective, emerges and grows.
I am proud of the work my colleagues have done to create our Strategic Goals for Education. I encourage you to read them to understand more about the intentional focus we have, and to explore more about what we believe the point of school to be.
The Strategic Goals for Education stem from our College Philosophical Statement and are underpinned by our five College Values of Faith, Hope, Truth, Grace, and Love. The following statement opens the document:
At the end of their journey at Christian College, students will be prepared to make a positive difference in the lives of others through ‘Good Work’ that is excellent, ethical and engaged in local, national and global contexts.
For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith – and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift from God – not by works, so that no-one can boast. For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. Ephesians 2: 8-10
Our clear Strategic Goals for Education cover five key areas:
- Encouraging, Nurturing and Modelling Christian Faith
- Quality Effective Teaching
- Building Capacity to Learn
- Our Learning Environments
- Our Thriving Community
You can read the detail and specific aspects of how we seek to achieve these goals on this website page. (CCG homepage > Discover > The Learning That Matters). You can also learn more here about the Global Competencies that inform our approach and aim to equip students with skills and dispositions to use and influence our world positively.
The point of school will always be debated. But for now, we are well positioned as a community with a clear reference point and purpose for education at Christian College Geelong.
I am delighted with the way the year has begun. It has been wonderful to meet some of our new students and to see many familiar faces around the campuses. Three weeks into Term 1 and there is already clear evidence of happy students, engaging in the learning that occurs in the classroom, via a range of other routines and activities at school, and at camps and sporting events.
I must say it is a joy!
Student Safety and Supervision – Front of School
The safety of our young people is our upmost priority. I am concerned, particularly for our younger students at the front of the school during afternoon pick up times that are playing between the footpath and the road. Once teachers dismiss our younger students, I would ask that parents are supervising their young person from this time closely, and not allowing play along the footpath and nature strip at the front of the school.
Thank you for your support in this matter.
From the Head of Campus
With the new school year well underway, it has been wonderful to see a number of our Bellarine students adopting the new wardrobe and wearing it well. There are, of course, many of our students wearing the original uniform, and it has again been great to see the majority of these students doing so neatly and respectfully.
In light of the fact that we have both the original uniform and new wardrobe options present on our Campus, it is timely to remind parents and students of our College Wardrobe Regulations. The most important thing we are expressing to students with regards to uniform is that, regardless of which option they have chosen, they wear it well and wear it appropriately. Furthermore, anything that is not a part of our College Student Wardrobe Policy should not be visible. This includes clothing items as well as jewellery, piercings, cosmetics and hairstyles beyond those permitted in our College Wardrobe Regulations.
We appreciate the partnership we have with parents in guiding students to wear the uniform as outlined in the Student Wardrobe Policy as this is an important part of building a positive school identity and culture. Please find attached here the Christian College Student Wardrobe Policy for your reference.
It’s All About Us in Prep
The newest members of Christian College Bellarine have had an excellent start at school!
The Prep children have been exploring their new surroundings, meeting their teachers and making new friends. They have immersed themselves into the wonderful world of Prep by engaging in a range of engaging and exciting activities.
One particular favourite has been the Integrated Studies Unit, “All About Me”. The children have enjoyed learning how to write their names, talk about their likes and dislikes and even drawing a self- portrait! They had to look closely in the mirror to be able to draw all their special features. It has been great to see all children engaged in tasks and working collaboratively with their classmates and Year 4 buddies.
It is such an exciting time watching all children grow, learn and enjoy being at school.
Minibeasts, “Cute” to Some!!!
The Year 1 and 2 students were thrilled to meet some of the minibeasts they’ve been learning about this term in Integrated Studies. Incursions such as these are extremely beneficial for the children’s learning, as they get to personally experience what they have been reading about and discussing in class.
There were a lot of impressed “Wows” as Tracey from Roaming Reptiles demonstrated how a scorpion glows in the dark when an ultraviolet light is shone on its exoskeleton. Some of the students were brave enough to hold giant beetles, and they all wanted to look at the tarantula called Charlotte (from afar). Tracey described her as “cute”, but we weren’t all convinced this was true!
Year 3 Pastel Portraits
In Year 3 we have been working hard across all of our subject areas and setting up our classroom learning routines. We are enjoying reconnecting after the holidays and getting to know one other more deeply using our spoken and written words and using art to express who we are as people.
On this day we used pastels to create a self portrait from a photograph of each of us. We planned our portrait using grey lead, ensuring that our body parts and features were in proportion. We learned how to blend colour to show form and three dimensionality. We were delighted with the results! What do you think?
We have thoroughly enjoyed our first few weeks together and are excited at what the year will hold for our learning community.
Year 8 Food Studies
The Year 8s are learning all about grains in our first four weeks and this week’s focus was all about rice. Students learnt how to cook rice on the stove top and had a great time perfecting the art of making and rolling Sushi – so much fun!
Recognising and Exploring Digital Systems for a Purpose in Prep
Prep students have been developing an understanding of the presence and role of digital technologies in their everyday lives and for a range of purposes – including in the classroom. Students consider ‘What is a computer?’ and explore the basic features (hardware and software) and peripheral components that make up a digital system. By comparing the Windows laptops used in Digital Technologies classes with iPad devices used in general classrooms, students can identify similarities and differences between different digital devices. Students have also begun to identify and explore different contexts and purposes where they use digital technologies in their daily lives.
An eSmart focus for Prep is to consider healthy screen routines for a safe, positive online experience. In Digital technologies classes this term, initial lessons have been ‘unplugged’ (no screen time) as we first develop these habits with the students to instill positive digital routines for learning.
Preps have been exploring their usernames and recognising the locations of characters in upper and lower case on a keyboard printout to support them in signing into digital devices. They have also enjoyed an activity building their own cardboard computer and identifying hardware and software components.
Online Safety Hub: (VIC) – Hub (onlinesafetyhub.com.au)
Year 7 Camp – Cave Hill Creek
Year 7 students and staff spent a wonderful 2 nights and 3 days of fun, challenge and relationship building at Cave Hill Creek Camp from Tuesday 15 – Thursday 17 February. What a blessing it was to go away together, enjoy the fresh air and spend time building our Year 7 community!
Upon arriving, students were told which of six tribes they would work through various activities over the duration of the camp, competing for tribe points in a friendly competition. Students enjoyed activities including abseiling, archery, canoeing, raft building, hut building and giant’s ladder. There was also opportunity to spend time with their CCG tribe leader reflecting on the first few weeks or Year 7 and sharing stories of new connections being made, what’s going well, what is challenging, what is surprising / different from Year 6 etc. In the evenings, students participated in a bushwalk and campfire with some marshmallow toasting and damper making.
Another important aspect of our camp was the opportunity to participate in a devotional message each evening by the lake, led by Mr Crole. Students explored the concepts of resilience / perseverance and appreciating God’s creation.
Students completed their final activity on Thursday morning before our annual Cave Hill Creek Challenge (decathlon). They competed against one another in the spirit of friendly competition, perseverance and challenge combining disciplines of swimming, running and canoeing, amongst others, around the course. Congratulations to Yellow Tribe on their win in the Challenge, and to Red Tribe on being the Tribe winners. Also, congratulations to Jess Phelan (Best Female Camper) and Ryan Tolley (Best Male Camper) who demonstrated CCG values throughout the three days and generally made the camp an enjoyable experience for those around them.
All Year 7 students should be congratulated on the way they embraced the camp, challenged themselves, and for the relationships that were built. Thank you also to the following staff. Victoria Kent, Matthew Burgess, Gary Crole, Julie Leo, Bishi Leatham and Jackson Williams who supported the camp. We trust this will provide an excellent platform for a successful year ahead for our Year 7 students.
eSafety Parent and Carer Webinars
Parents and carers of our students have access to a range of eSafety webinars made available by the eSafety Commissioner throughout the year.
eSafety’s free webinars provide parents and carers with the knowledge, skills and tools to support children to have safe, positive online experiences.
I encourage all parents and carers in our community to explore these webinar offerings and register for events that are relevant to you. The link is below:
CCG Tennis Championships 2022
One of our College’s most popular sporting events – the CCG Tennis Championships – lived up to its reputation again in 2022.
Riding on the momentum of the recent Australian Open, our yearly Tennis Titles held at Geelong Lawn Tennis Club drew a huge following this year, and it was certainly a night to remember for our students.
Not only did we have nearly 60 students from three campuses participate in the Championships, but there was also a significant number of staff involved in the event – either playing or spectating – along with lots of parents which created a lively, feel-good atmosphere.
Due to the high volume of entries, the format for this year’s Championships was broken down into three Divisions – a Junior Male Singles Draw, a Female Singles Draw and a Senior Male Singles Draw, all played under knock-out rules.
Once a student lost their match and was eliminated from the Singles Draw in their Age Section, they then played in Double Matches, often against staff members or parents.
The students relished this opportunity to interact with their teachers and parents in a unique way, allowing them to see a different side of the people who take care of them every day, and vice-versa.
These Doubles Matches continued throughout the night on the back courts, as crunch time for the Main Singles Draws brought the big finals to the front show courts.
Business really picked up late in the evening when Year 10 Burrows student Ilija Sasic squared off against another Bear, Year 11 student Aaron Hanson, in one of the most entertaining semi-finals in the event’s history.
Ilija eventually triumphed in a match both students should be very proud of, earning the right to take on fellow Year 10 Rhys McNabb, who advanced to the Final by beating Year 10 Taylor student Anthony Williams in another engrossing semi.
While Ilija and Rhys caught their breath and prepared for the all-Burrows Final, the crowd turned their attention to the Senior Female Final which pitted the top two seeds in the Draw against each other, Year 11 Kirrily McConachy from Burrows and Isabella Henry from Flynn House.
In the end it was Kirrily who etched her name onto the ‘Jon Ryan Perpetual Trophy’ once again, showing her trademark class and tenacity, however a big congratulations should also go to Isabella who made her opponent earn every point in the Final and showed why both she and Kirrily will be important leaders of our College Tennis Team at the GISSA Championships in Week 5.
Next to these two girls on the other show court, Kirrily’s younger brother – Year 7 Bellarine Campus student Stefan McConachy – and Year 8 Highton Campus student Max Gear provided an exciting glimpse into the future with a highly-competitive Final in the Junior Male Division.
Congratulations to Max for emerging victorious, however he was pushed all the way by Stefan and we certainly look forward to watching these two rising stars play against each other in future tournaments.
The stage was then set for Ilija and Rhys to return and finish the night, and the two Burrows students didn’t disappoint, engaging in a fitting climax that ebbed and flowed over the course of a 45-minute battle.
Rhys jumped out to a big lead early, however Ilija ground down to mount a fighting comeback that pushed the one-set match all the way before Rhys tipped the sea-saw back in his favour to close out the win.
It was the second time a “McNabb” made its way onto the Jon Ryan Trophy, with Rhys continuing the family tradition first started by his brother Luke’s win back in 2018.
The Sport Faculty would like to express a huge thank you to every student who participated in this year’s event for making it such a success, as well the staff from all different campuses and departments who came after hours to support our young people – especially Mr Jonathan Ryan (pictured) who was on hand to award the trophy named in his honour to our top female and male player for 2022.
However this night could not have happened without three people in particular – our College Head Tennis Coach, Mr Sam Nichols, and our Head of Sport Faculty, Mr Andrew Richardson, who prepared the event, and also Mr John McConachy from the Geelong Lawn Tennis Club (GLTC) who kindly gave the College access to over 15 courts to run this event, as well as the rest of their ideal facilities.
Our College is truly lucky to have this association with John and his team at the GLTC, and our students, families and staff truly appreciate the opportunities provided by this great Club.
We are already looking forward to the 2023 instalment of the CCG Tennis Championships!
Camp Australia – Outside School Hours Care (OSHC) – Find out More!
Christian College partners with Camp Australia to make out-of-school-hours care (OSHC) available. Camp Australia wants to ensure that new families starting school this year know that they are there to help them and their children settle into school.
To make the process easier for these families, and to answer any questions they may have about OSHC, we are hosting free virtual parent information sessions. Please see the attached document for details.
MYTERN at Christian College
Schools throughout Australia have been seeking ways to support students with the challenges that can be faced with daily life.
Christian College has been delighted to establish a working relationship with Dr Jane Foster over several years, who has developed a language that schools are adopting to assist and equip students to ‘Take Emotional Responsibility Now’. ‘MYTERN’.
Here is a link to the website – mytern.com.au
I encourage you all to take the time to look at this information. It is valuable for anyone with children, including adolescents, as MYTERN has had great success with adults as well as children.
Students will hear references to the language and have opportunities to explore more about MYTERN with their teachers and we will be regularly sharing a “MYTERN Message” in the Vine for families to read and perhaps discuss together as part of your own partnership in supporting our young people.
Here is this week’s MYTERN Message.
We all experience times when we feel that we are being left out….and that no-one seems to want to share their road with us. That’s ok. It’s often more about how they are feeling, rather than a reflection on you. Slow down, pull over and focus on a tree, a flower, the sky. Try thinking of someone who may be feeling the same way. Let them know that they are not alone…and that no road lasts forever 😊