A student perspective on the staff conference

At Carey, students are at the heart of all we do. In fact, our Carey charter reminds us that all decisions will be made to improve student learning. With this in mind, we invited a range of students to be a part of the important staff learning that was the Carey Collective in the final week of the school holidays.

Amber in Year 11 was one of the student reporters who joined the staff as they learnt more about the Carey Positive Learner Attributes. Sam in Year 12 captured the excitement with his camera and cleverly worked with staff to record the experiences. We also admired the ‘Courage’ shown by Gianluca in Year 7 and Dylan in Year 12 who facilitated the student panel. All students who took part expressed their gratitude for the opportunity to work alongside Carey staff and felt a deeper connection with the community as a result of their contribution. I was thankful for their insights and the perspectives they shared so wisely as we plan for their future learning.

In aptly demonstrating one of the Carey Attributes, ‘Reflection’, Amber has outlined her experience at the conference:

The first day of the Carey Collective commenced with an overview by Mr Grutzner, talking about the future for the teachers of a generation whose world is rapidly changing. He expressed how emotional intelligence is equally as vital as academic intelligence, and outlined the approach Carey will take to sustain the development of the Carey Positive Learner Attributes in both students and staff. There is no singular approach however, due to the diversity in learning styles and the attributes present in each individual. One of the aims of the staff conference was to acknowledge this diversity and make changes within the classroom, curriculum and the workplace to embrace it.

The day continued as we broke out into ‘homebase’ groups to discuss our personal experiences with the attributes. The homebase I worked with identified their need to use more imagination and creativity. Through discussion, the teachers collaborated to effectively devise new plans to further incorporate the development of these skills in their own lives and how this will flow onto the students in their care. Staff were then asked to identify someone who inspired them, and overwhelmingly the people who inspired them the most demonstrated the attributes they felt they lacked or wanted to improve upon. My interpretation of this discussion is that it is fundamental for teachers to consciously improve their own attributes in order to showcase to the students how to do the same.

In the afternoon, a group of nine students from across the year levels, including me, took part in a student panel. We addressed how we’ve experienced the learner attributes in our education, and we all agreed that developing an attribute can be more achievable when we see simple examples of them in our daily lives. We discussed the desire to be independent in our learning, as well as our preference for the attributes to be intertwined in daily activity, rather than featured at the forefront of class discussion and activities. This approach gives us the space to explore our own strengths and weaknesses, to self-instruct and self-improve.

As a student, it inspires me to see my teachers endeavour to learn how best to help students grow emotionally as well as academically. It’s refreshing to know that my teachers realise the importance and value of developing lifelong learners who respect themselves and their community, while also possessing professional skills to offer in an ever-changing world. It’s reassuring to see Carey staff recognising their own areas of improvement, and learning that to best develop the attributes within themselves, they must be honest with themselves, follow inspiration and work collaboratively.

Thank you Amber for your insightful reflection. I hope that our staff were able to gain as much from the conference as Amber did!

Staff are also invited to reflect on their Carey Collective experience through this online survey. You can read more about the purpose of the conference in our Director of Positive Education and Wellbeing's article.

Leanne Guillon
Deputy Principal

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