The end of term is upon us. For some it is a feeling of, “So soon!” for others, “At last!”. Whatever your perspective there is no doubt that a lot of ground has been covered in the past 11 weeks.
As you know July 29 is the date of our Middle School Social. The Year 13 Middle School Committee has begun work on this highly anticipated event. The committee recently introduced themselves at assembly and ran an Easter egg hunt. We appreciate their input to the Middle School and the part they play in role modeling the values of the College.
It is always a pleasure to see College Old Girls coming back to share their life stories. This year at the Middle School St Cuthbert’s Day Service, Dr Shareena Lala was the guest speaker. She spoke about her life as a St Cuthbert’s girl from Reception to Year 13, and now as a pediatric surgeon.
Pagan Plaizier and Te Rina Noon, our first two Endeavour programme graduates, were guests at the Senior School St Cuthbert’s Day Service. The Year 8 Endeavour Scholars went to listen to these inspirational women and learn about their lives since graduating. Tiaare Ahovelo, Year 7, was extremely proud to meet up with her cousin Te Rina after the service.
Mrs Glenys Waller and 1WAL came to visit the Middle School office earlier this week as part of their investigation into what makes St Cuthbert’s College special. Their confidence was a joy to behold. Thanks to Mr Stewart Allan for arranging the visit from the NZ Opera, which performed The Elixir of Love by Donizetti to Year 7 and 8 students. A huge thanks for bringing such a rich cultural experience to the Middle School. We have also welcomed Mrs Sue Elgar back into her role as Year 7 Dean and tutor teacher of 7ELG. Her mobility is improving daily and Sue is very focused on getting to know her students and preparing for camp in Week 3 of next term. The Easter Services were a lovely way to ground us all and to focus our thoughts and energies on being By Love Serve in our day to day actions. The choirs sang beautifully under the guidance of our very talented teacher Ms Megan Flint.
Thank you for your support this term and for taking the time to further your daughter’s learning by attending Student-Led Conferences. The learning journey your daughter is on with us is shaping her life in so many ways and we know that the most powerful outcomes for her happen when the three way dynamic of student, family and school sit strongly at the core.
On Staff Only Day, Year 7 and 8 teachers spent time on professional learning about the Building Learning Power pedagogy. Below is an explanation of this approach.
Building Learning Power (BLP) in the Middle School
In his book, New Kinds of Smart, how the Science of Learnable Intelligence is Changing Education, Claxton reinforces his view of BLP as somewhat akin to an orchestra, divided into the four R’s:
Resilience: being ready, willing and able to lock on to learning. Being able to stick with difficulty and cope with feelings such as fear and frustration.
Resourcefulness: being ready, willing and able to learn in different ways. Having a variety of learning strategies and knowing when to use them.
Reflection: being ready, willing and able to become more strategic about learning. Getting to know our own strengths and weaknesses.
Relationships: being ready, willing and able to learn alone and with others.
The BLP approach emphasises both self-discipline and self-control – describing these as the ability to prioritise long-term goals over short-term enjoyment. BLP embodies what Claxton refers to as the fourth generation approach to ‘learning to learn’. Not just adding a few tips and techniques, but rather, systematically helping students to develop the general habits of mind that underpin confident, curious, creative learning. In order to achieve this goal, BLP has drawn heavily on the work of eminent educational researchers and thinkers, including David Perkins, Howard Gardner, Art Costa and Carol Dweck, whose research underpins our approach to pedagogy (the art and science of teaching).
BLP is right for schools that are serious about cultivating ethically intelligent communities, through for example, the exploration of non-obvious solutions to real-life difficult problems, as well as the encouragement of flexible thinking, empathy, critical evaluation, and creativity. Claxton is aware of the need to make learning explicit for students, by providing appropriate learning tools. As a proponent of Carol Dweck’s compelling research on the significant effect of student mindset on success in learning, he refers often to her findings. He makes special mention of her notion of expansive talking – a useful way for students to reflect on their learning experiences.
- What’s going well?
- Which was the hardest bit?
- How did you deal with it?
- How else could you have done it?
- What could you do when you are stuck on that?
- What would have made that easier for you?
- What mistakes did you make that you can learn from?
- Is there anything else you know that might help?
- How could you help someone else do that?
- How could I have taught that more effectively?
- Where else could I use that?
- How could you make that harder for yourself?
- How did it feel when you had finished?
New Kinds of Smart: How the Science of Learnable Intelligence is Changing Education: Bill Lucas and Guy Claxton. 2010.
Ms Deborah Lean
Acting Head of Middle School