Reflecting on Student-Led Conferences
Last week I had the privilege, like many parents, of participating in my sons’ Student-Led Conferences. These conferences are one of my favourite times of the year as both a parent and teacher. They provide a unique opportunity for the boys to share a little more about themselves as learners. As parents, we get a glimpse into their everyday learning experience in the classroom and what learning is like at Trinity in 2017. For many of us, this is really different to the way we learnt when we were in primary school. I trust that the experience has deepened parents’ appreciation for their sons’ educational experience.
Motivation and Engagement
On Wednesday night, we held a Parent Information session for Year 5 parents about a newly introduced tool called the Motivation and Engagement Survey. The survey is a self-assessment that provides parents of Year 5 students with a summary of their son’s perception of himself as a learner in comparison to a series of motivation and engagement factors (both positive and negative). Dr Andrew Martin, a Trinity parent from the High School and lecturer in the School of Education at the University of New South Wales, has created the tool and compiled the large research based behind it. Dr Martin joined us on the evening to speak to parents about the results and how to make use of them. One of the overwhelming messages that he shared was the importance of celebrating each of our boys as individual and unique learners, with different abilities and approaches. He encouraged parents to use the understanding, gained through the survey results, to work with their sons to set short term goals and to invest in partnership with the teachers in the long haul of education. His message tied in very nicely with our recent focus on EQ v IQ. If you missed this presentation, I encourage all parents to find time to watch the video of the night or look at the slides.
At this morning’s Primary Chapel, Mr Smith organised a quiz related to recent Chapel focuses. It was great to be able to join the boys in reflecting on the important messages that have been shared over the last term or so. One of the strongest messages that rang true for me was the importance of our actions matching our beliefs, or in other words, faith without deeds is dead. This is a message that comes through strongly in the book of James which has been a focus throughout Term 3 at Chapel.
Next week is a big week for the boys in Years 3 to 6 as they will be participating in School Camps focusing on outdoor education and providing them with valuable opportunities to develop their independence, resilience risk-taking and to support the ongoing development of positive relationships with their peers and teachers. These camps form an integral part of the Trinity learning programme as we seek to provide opportunities for our boys to develop in Mind, Body and Spirit. Next week Year 3 will be heading to Galston Gorge, Year 4 to Rathane and Year 5 to Waterslea. I encourage the boys to embrace these learning opportunities!
Prior to each of the Camps, I speak to the boys (in grade meetings) to share with them some important information about camps. The focus of the meeting is to ensure the boys understand the purpose of the camps and the importance of looking after one another. I discuss the fact that the boys are Trinity ambassadors, the need for everyone to have fun and feel safe, the value of the learning that they are going to experience and the need to be sensitive and accommodating of one another (and the teachers). From recent experience, these pre-camp briefings help to set the scene, calm fears and to set the tone for what are extremely valuable learning experiences; in mind, body and spirit.
While Years 3 to 5 venture off to their respective School Camps, Year 6 will be staying at School to delve deeper into their Exhibition inquiries. It has been a very exciting week in the Year 6 Classrooms as the boys have embarked on the challenge of ringing, emailing and interviewing primary sources (adults in the world outside School who are experts in their fields). The mixed look of joy and excitement on the boys’ faces shows the value of the Exhibition process as they take learning risks and reap the enormous learning benefits. We look forward to sharing in the boys’ learning at the Exhibition evening on Monday 23rd October.