Dean of Studies | Mrs Julie Quinn

Yesterday afternoon and evening we had our final round of scheduled Parent/Teacher interviews. My thanks to the many parents and students who took the time to attend these interviews.


Last week at school assembly I shared with the boys the latest research from the Harvard Business School. This research entitle “Reflection is The Most Important Part of the Learning Process” involved a study of a random sample of 202 people, each individually given an online creativity test. One group of test-takers were instructed to reflect on a pre-test, writing down any strategies they thought might be helpful for the next test. Another group was told to also write down their thoughts and strategies, with the caveat that their notes would be shared with others. The final group was given no instructions for rumination.

In the end, both of the groups that were tasked with thinking about the pre-test performed significantly better than the group that did not spend any time thinking about the tasks at hand.

According to the study, these results reveal reflection to be a powerful mechanism behind learning, confirming the words of American philosopher, psychologist, and educational reformer John Dewey: "We do not learn from experience ... we learn from reflecting on experience." Key concepts included:

  • Learning from direct experience can be more effective if coupled with reflection-that is, the intentional attempt to synthesise, abstract, and articulate the key lessons taught by experience.
  • Reflecting on what has been learned makes experience more productive.
  • Reflection builds one's confidence in the ability to achieve a goal (i.e., self-efficacy), which in turn translates into higher rates of learning.

As such, I do encourage our students to reflect on “what worked” and “what didn’t work” in Term 1. Continuing into this week is our academic mentoring between tutors and students. This is a further opportunity for our boys to summarise their practices from last term and initiate revised practices for the term ahead.

I had the pleasure and privilege to meet with the newest Year 5 members of our community who achieved a grade of A in every subject for their Term 1 results. Their insight and strategies behind this success were just inspirational. Taking their own notes, doing multiple revision sheets and listening in class were some of the shared strategies.

Master class - Year 12

Tomorrow afternoon from 3.15 to 5.15pm is our master class for Year 12 students. This master class will focus on writing skills led by Dr Ian Hunter who is currently working with us in a whole school literacy program. I encourage our Year 12 students to attend this workshop as they have so dutifully done in the past.

Year 10 Benchmark testing

Last Thursday our Year 10 students completed their external numeracy and literacy testing. This testing is facilitated externally and the results will be used to further assist in the selection of Senior subjects and for our tracking and mentoring purposes.

Research on the link between use of technology and Sleep patterns

I include some of the research on the link between poor sleeping patterns and the use of technology for parents to consider. With adolescents requiring an average of nine hours of sleep, this research is particularly important for our boys.

The risk from intense light is especially significant for teenagers.This is because teenagers need more sleep (8-10 hours vs 7-8 for most adults) and also because changes in the brain mean teens already have a delayed sleep-wake pattern.
Teenagers also love to be engaged with other teens, and are especially fearful of "missing out" on well, pretty much anything. This creates something of a perfect storm for a sleep problem to develop.
Says sleep physician Dr Chris Seton: "The screens not only take away sleep because they take up time, but they make kids more wakeful, and the more wakeful they are, the more activity they do, so it's a vicious cycle."
And the evidence is this problem's getting worse. Between 2010 and 2016 there's been a significant increase in complaints of inadequate sleep among 18-24 year-olds, with 60 per cent of this age group now affected, Professor David Hillman, chair of Australia's Sleep Health Foundation said.There is also emerging evidence this is resulting in an increased risk of behavioural disorders in young people.
Passive activities like reading an e-book or watching a movie are thought to be less disruptive than interactive ones like playing a video game, making posts, or messaging.
Reducing the impact of screens on sleep

  • Dim the screen on devices as much as possible at night
  • Reverse the setting on e-readers so that the type is white on a black background, rather than the other way round.
  • Consider using a free software program for PCs and laptops called f.lux which decreases the amount of blue light from screens.
  • Try the different apps, screen protectors and in some cases, inbuilt night settings that reduce blue light on phone screens.
  • Try to restrict technology use, especially the most stimulating kind, to earlier in the evening

First Quarter

I remind all our students that we have now completed over a quarter of the teaching and learning for this term, with most exams commencing in Week 8. It is most important that all students are allocating sufficient time into their assignments and also their revision for exams. Students should be very diligent in completing revision from the checklist. I encourage boys in Years 7, 8, 9 and 10 to make good use of their checklist booklet.