Dean of Studies | Mrs Julie Quinn

Welcome back to Term 2 after what I hope has been a time for some relaxation and family activities.

With the Term 1 assessment and reports completed, an academic summary that tracks both individual and class results has been compiled. The follow up of the data in this academic summary will take place over the next few weeks with Parent/Teacher /Student interviews and conversations between Heads of Faculties, House Deans and students. I do encourage students to reflect on “what worked” and “what didn’t work “in Term 1. As outlined in the information emailed home with reports, bookings for the Parent/Teacher and Student interviews are to be done via the Parent Lounge. I would encourage boys to also attend these interviews as this is a time where strategies to move forward or to sustain strong outcomes can be offered by the classroom teacher. Classes will conclude at 12.55pm on Wednesday to allow teachers and students to attend these interviews.

All students have been issued with assessment calendars that outline the date issued and due dates of assessment. This is a most important document in planning for the term ahead. Also on Moodle, there is the “checklist” which outlines all concepts, knowledge and skills required for comprehension and learning for this term. I encourage all students to have their study plan completed by the end of this week in preparation for the term ahead.

Last evening, we had our Immersion information evening for Year 10 students and families. My thanks to the Waterford staff who so generously give their time and expertise to allow such a program to run. Programs on offer to date this year are: Cape York, Beyond Borders, Career Pathways, Photography, Australian Catholic University, Outdoor Education, Pilgrimage through India, Timor-Leste, Fijian Village life and the US exchange program. These programs offer learning experiences beyond the class room setting and hopefully provide our boys with life skills, opportunities for leadership and the ability to work in teams.

Below is an extract from an article from the magazine Scientific American. It serves as a timely reminder as we commence Term 2 that whilst technology is a wonderful aid to learning our focus is to continue to use hand written notes for our understanding and memory.

Mueller and Oppenheimer included a study in which participants were asked to take notes by hand or by laptop and were told they would be tested on the material in a week. When participants were given an opportunity to study with their notes before the final assessment, once again those who took longhand notes outperformed laptop participants. Because longhand notes contain students’ own words and handwriting, they may serve as more effective memory cues by recreating the context (e.g., thought processes, emotions, conclusions) as well as content (e.g., individual facts) from the original learning session.

Because students can use posted materials to access lecture content with a mere click, there is no need to organise, synthesise or summarise in their own words. Indeed, students may take very minimal notes or not take notes at all, and may consequently forego the opportunity to engage in the mental work that supports learning.

Technology offers innovative tools that are shaping educational experiences for students, often in positive and dynamic ways. The research by Mueller and Oppenheimer serves as a reminder however, that even when technology allows us to do more in less time, it does not always foster learning. Learning involves more than the receipt and the regurgitation of information. If we want students to synthesize material, draw inferences, see new connections, evaluate evidence, and apply concepts in novel situations, we need to encourage the deep, effortful cognitive processes that underlie these abilities. When it comes to taking notes, students need fewer gigs, more brain power.”