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Capricornus Quarterly : CQ April 2018
Strathcona Baptist Girls’ and Methodist Ladies’ College Ms Catherine Cuddihy and Mrs Emma Pershouse Methodist Ladies College (MLC) is a girls’ boarding school in Melbourne’s inner eastern suburbs catering for around 2200 students from its Early Learning Centre to Year 12. Strathcona is a girls’ day school in Melbourne’s eastern suburbs with around 800 students from Prep to Year 12. Ms Cuddihy and Mrs Pershouse arrived at both schools with an aim to discover where RGS was sitting in terms of its preparations for ATAR and what both MLC and Strathcona, both high performing schools, were doing in terms of both student and teacher success under the ATAR system. “I wanted to find out what they are doing that we can introduce back here at RGS to further enable our students and teachers to succeed as best possible in this new system,’’ Ms Cuddihy said. Mrs Pershouse said this process was also about, “being open and willing to embrace change.” Encouraging st udent cognitive independence is a key factor in making the external system work. “At the end of the day when it comes to the external exams those students are entirely independent. We need to be teaching students the skills they need in terms of exam preparation, in terms of subject specific cognitive skills so they can succeed as best as possible in those external exams. Students and teachers also need to be mindful that the internal pieces of assessment are just as important as the external exams,’’ Ms Cuddihy said. Mrs Pershouse was interested in the terminology of “exam fitness” rather than “exam preparation”. “It was about making sure students’ minds are in the right place and what they need to do to respond under exam conditions,’’ Mrs Pershouse said. Successful management of anxiety and stress levels is another integral part of preparing students for external exams. “Both MLC and Strathcona have embedded positive education and growth mindset into their curriculums. That’s something RGS has started to introduce,’’ Ms Cuddihy said. Part of a Positive Education experience is helping make students realise they do not have to get something right immediately. “It should be a progression to success,’’ Mrs Pershouse said. A whole school approach was also visible – providing a continual learning environment from the younger grades to Year 12. This involves mapping a smooth transition from Middle School to Senior School subjects. Often Senior School teachers w ill teach Middle School classes to give students a better understanding of how their Year 9 studies flow into the final line of study in Year 12. “ Students should be able to see the correlation between the two,’’ Ms Cuddihy said. Both Ms Cuddihy and Mrs Pershouse gained a sense of confidence on where RGS is currently positioned. “It also provided a moment of reflection of how far we have come in such a short space of time. Moving forward – exam fitness and exam literacy will be key and that’s something we can keep working on in terms of the fact that this new system is new; it is different,” Ms Cuddihy said. “We are doing the right thing and we are preparing our students and staff as best we can. There’s always areas to work on and progress to be made. But the visit provided us with reassurance that we are doing absolutely ever ything that we can to best prepare our students, and our teachers,’’ Mrs Pershouse said. Ms Cuddihy said it was an interesting and exciting space to be in – Queensland’s changing educational space. “ The Study Tour to MLC and Strathcona fostered new collegial relationships w ith staff in other schools in a different state; it opened doors to new advice and learnings. RGS can learn a lot from our Southern counterparts as they have been living and breathing the system for a long time. The Study Tour was a great success and reinforced how well placed RGS is in the transition to the new system.” THE ROCKHAMPTON GRAMMAR SCHOOL PRODUCTION OF PILBEAM THEATRE AUGUST 17, 18 & 19 DIAL‘N’CHARGE 4927-4111• SEEITLIVE.COM.AU Book by BAZ LUHRMANN & CRAIG PEARCE Adapted by TERRY JOHNSON Introducing new musical numbers by DAVID FOSTER, SIA FURLER, ISAAC HASSON, BERNIE HERMS, BAZ LUHRMANN, MOZELLA, THERON FEEMSTER, CRAIG PEARCE, EDDIE PERFECT, LINDA THOMPSON, ELLIOTT WHEELER Orchestrations by SIMON HALE BY ARRANGEMENT WITH ORiGiNTM THEATRICAL ON BEHALF OF THE GLOBAL CREATURES HOLDINGS PTY LTD KEY LEARNINGS • Exposing the Year 10 students to a true Senior structure at Carey Baptist enabled the students to make more informed choices in regards to subject selection, assessment items and assessment preparation. • Efficient use of Information and Communication Technologies, par ticularly the eClass platform, to facilitate differentiated learning styles and teaching activities. • Student preparation for external exams has prompted a shif t in Term/Holiday structure. • Observing differences in teaching, learning and assessment around an external model. • The impor tance of independent learning and self-monitoring in an external system.
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