New Beginnings

‘When it is obvious that the goals cannot be reached, don't adjust the goals, adjust the action steps.’
Confucius

As we begin what promises to be an engaging, challenging and exciting term, it is certainly worth reflecting on how we are travelling and setting some specific goals moving forward. The cyclical nature of the school year allows for a new beginning at the start of every term. Students can return after a holiday rested, rejuvenated and with a new vigour for school. The students are also armed with some self-refection and wise council from Term 1 which can create a new sense of hope and promise. Hopefully the Parent Teacher Student Interview sessions will have illuminated some strategies for growth by providing feedback and information to ensure that learning is focussed and productive over the rest of the semester.

Developing well-rounded minds
In his book Five Minds for the Future, Howard Gardner explores the idea that we need to cultivate different ‘minds’ to help us to deal with what is expected in the future, especially given these volatile times, and to adapt to the things that come out of the blue. The five minds are the disciplined mind, the synthesizing mind, the creating mind, the respectful mind and the ethical mind. Gardner asserts that they span both the cognitive spectrum and the human enterprise.

In the Middle School we certainly focus on trying to provide opportunities for the ‘whole student’ to learn and flourish in the spheres of the five minds. Throughout Term 2 there will be a wide variety of experiences that help to grow the five minds in Middle School students ranging from our moving Anzac Day service last week to the popular and exciting House Music competition. These activities are also enhanced by our rich and engaging curriculum programs in and out of the classroom. Some of the other exciting and fun opportunities for growth going on this term include the Middle School musical, Charlie and Chocolate Factory, the Middle School Fun Run, the Carey Celebrates Literature Festival, House Chapels, Music Camp and the fantastic Year 7 Enterprise Week to finishing off the term.

What to do to support your child now
A great way of getting ready to make the most of a new term is to ask some questions about the previous term and then set some goals moving into the new term. Below are a set of questions you might like to discuss at home as the students formulate some goals for Term 2, based on the learning domains of the Carey Learner Attributes.

Thinking

  • do I use my imagination to solve problems?
  • did I manage my work efficiently and do I reflect on processes to plan?
  • am I curious about my learning in all subjects?
  • did I receive and act on feedback?
  • how could I improve my study habitats?
  • did I ask questions and did my achievements match my effort?

Self-management

  • did I step out of my comfort zone?
  • did I persist through a challenge?
  • did I support others in the Middle School and regulate my behaviour?
  • did I make the most of my opportunities and seek knowledge independently?
  • did I make a positive difference in the family, school, community, world?

Relationships

  • was I able to listen to others?
  • did I show some empathy and understanding?
  • did I collaborate well throughout the term?
  • was I respectful of others and not put people down or be mean?
  • was I an ‘upstander’ for others?

Most people learn by example, especially in childhood, and an effective way to support and encourage others is to demonstrate healthy self-esteem, self-worth and quiet confidence. Being present in your experiences as a family gives you the chance to positively reflect and support student growth. The balanced parent is sensitive to the needs of others and practices patience; as parents and educators we need to strike the right balance between sage, supporter and guide.

Students will learn and grow the most, not from the times when everything is going well, but from the guidance and constructive criticism offered when they are on the wrong track. As parents, we should be able to point out problem areas in a constructive and kind manner. A good parent will help kids avoid mistakes as often as possible, but, when kids fall, they will not catch them. It’s vital that young people make mistakes along the way so they can learn from personal experience and gain important skills. The best teachers and parents will offer guidance, but they will not do the work for students.

I wish everyone a wonderful and engaging Term 2 and most of all be kind to yourself and others.

Michael Nelson
Head of Middle School

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