From the Head of Studies and Innovation
This week the College has held its annual Parent Information Evenings for all year levels except for Year 9. This will take place in Week 4. The purpose of these meetings is for families to connect with key teaching staff in the College; primarily those who will have direct contact with your children. The evenings are also an opportunity for the College to provide a clear language and vision around what we desire for your children as students at Saint Ignatius’ College.
This articulation is important because as society has changed over time, so too has how we educate our children. While we as parents have our own perceptions of what education and learning ‘looks and feels’ like based on our own experience of going to school, it is important to recognise that our experience of school is and should be different to that of our children, because the world they are growing up in is very different to the world we grew up in at the same age. Therefore the ‘intention’ of education changes to meet the needs of the time, something the Jesuits have done well for 500 years.
This is why our Learning and Teaching Framework document is of such importance to our College as we move forward now and into the future. It highlights the importance of our students to be proficient in the development of competencies; competencies not only for future career success, but also to be successful and purposeful citizens in a modern world. As such, ‘learning’ is no longer just the acquisition of ‘knowledge’ but rather the combination of knowledge, skills (cognitive, meta-cognitive, physical and social/emotional) and virtues (behaviours, attitudes, dispositions); virtues that influence and shape the skills we develop and our understanding of the knowledge we acquire. This is explicitly and intentionally taught, rather than assuming that it occurs by ‘osmosis’.
To ensure these competencies are developed, it is important that we create an appropriate learning culture. This culture is important both at school and at home. As we start the new year, and to ensure we are collaborative in our approach to our children’s learning journeys, I offer the following perspectives about our Ignatian philosophy on learning:
- Learning is a life-long process – we should always be ‘open to growth’ to ensure we become the best versions of ourselves.
- Learning is a process, not a destination. If we obsess about the ‘end result’, we don’t properly engage in the experience of learning.
- Failure is an essential aspect of learning. We need to break down the myth of the ‘errorless environment’ in education; an environment that often ‘paralyses’ our children into not taking risks in their learning, and one which causes significant issues around anxiety and mental health.
- Learning is a reflective process. We don’t simply ‘fill’ our children with information, thinking that the brain will ‘store it’. Rather, learning occurs when we can make connections and form patterns between pieces of information, including previously acquired information. This is often enhanced when a clear context to the learning (i.e. real-world relevance and application) is highlighted, time for reflection is provided, and an emotional response to the information is stimulated (this is where our virtues play an important role).
- Learning requires curiosity and questioning – a desire to seek a deeper understanding of something.
- Learning is both an internal and external process. A learner develops a better understanding of oneself (internal) so that they may be able to offer more of themselves to others and their world (external).
May your child’s learning journey this year be a positive one and may we support and nurture their progress together.
Mr Kain Noack
Head of Studies and Innovation