There are times in life when we crave a change; a disruption to our normal routine or something out of the ordinary to happen. At other times we search for stability and the security that routine brings with it. Term 2 has brought us a balance of both, which leaves the school tired but content as we come to the end of the term. It has been a huge relief to get through a second term without lockdown, and the anxiety about that prospect is fading further from view. Students and staff are well into the routines of school and appreciate the value of each other’s company and the benefits of learning together. At the same time our faculty weeks, drama performance, sporting competitions and (of course) Chorals have brought welcome distractions along the way.
Within the classrooms a trend that has been noticeable this term is that some of our students are struggling with their academic resilience. Academic resilience is the ability to effectively deal with setback or stress in their learning. We have noticed an increase in students becoming upset if their results were not what they had hoped for and other behaviours that indicate a lack of resilience such as questioning their marks or becoming demotivated. We know our students, and their families, care deeply about their learning and want to achieve to the highest possible level. However, we also know that a focus on the grades rather than the learning and the efforts students have made is ultimately counterproductive. Instead we need to work with the students to build their confidence that they can improve and to reduce their anxiety over academic performance.
At our recent curriculum day, the acclaimed author and educationalist Glen Pearsall spoke to all our teachers about ways to build resilience and reduce academic anxiety with students. He spoke passionately about how important it is for students to make mistakes and for the adults in their lives to encourage them to learn from these mistakes. Using the analogy of elite sports people, he explained that those really striving to master challenging skills will make mistakes 20-40% of the time. In an academic sphere the same rationale would apply, and students who are consistently getting things right without making mistakes along the way are quite possibly doing work that is too easy for them. As you look at the semester reports released today, we would encourage families to focus discussions upon the effort that students put in, and what they can learn from their mistakes this semester rather than the grades they obtained.
This evening I will be joining our Year 12 Cohort for their formal at the Grand Hyatt, and look forward to seeing them celebrating together this important milestone. I wish all families a relaxing break and look forward to an even more exciting term 3.
Phone: (03) 8734 2800
School Website: www.suzannecoryhs.vic.edu.au