In our society where happiness is a right and personal choice is pre-eminent, this presents a challenge. I think education is operating near peak efficiency.Whilst the teaching year has remained constant, schools pack so much more in than they once did. High performance sport, dance or music are an additional staple for most students and they are emerging with more knowledge and better higher order thinking skills than ever before. The pressure on time is enormous. Additionally we have a culture that promotes individual pathways and tailored experiences. This in turn induces a pressure for parents (and students) to want to optimise every experience – there is so little ‘slack’ in the system.
For my generation resilience opportunities were embedded in a system that permitted little choice. No choice about what class or what teacher or what camp or what classmates or even what school. No question as to what you could opt in or out of and very little choice around sport or other extracurricular offerings. Parents had little pressure from their peers to ‘optimise my experience’ – they had grown up post WW2 and ‘you just put up with stuff’. Learning wasn’t tailored or maximised but resilience training certainly was. I saw this taken to the next level with my students in Addis Ababa.
I am not sure I want to go back to my past (or import Ethiopian conditions!) – but it illustrates the tension. I think there is some level of mutual exclusivity with meaningful resilience training on the one hand and tailored choice in a crammed schedule on the other. Do we intervene more in their homework and organisation, thus promoting learning progress or do we choose not to rescue? Do we enable students to opt out of activities or particular classes or do we allow them to endure, even at the detriment of specific academic progress? Do we advocate for specific teachers or friendship groups to maximise learning or do we allow students to wrestle with things as they stand. The choices may not always be binary and the context is usually not so simple. I don’t envy parents the task of helping navigate students through and I know first-hand the challenges of trying to work out when we should intervene or support and when we should let students struggle. Sometimes, of course, we can err the other way, asking students to battle through situations which are not, in fact, fruitful. I would be the first to say that we may not always get it right.
The point for me is that we can’t just add resilience theory on as an extra element of the curriculum and feel that it is now sorted. By its nature it is challenging and it comes at some cost. And in those times I try to think of the bigger win – young men and women able to cope with faith, grace and confidence with anything life will throw at them.
Year 9 Wilderness
The Year 9 students have returned from the Bogong high plains, wet, tired and triumphant. Despite almost constant rain, low clouds and low visibility (down to less than 5m on occasion) the students persevered in challenging conditions. Morale remained high throughout and the staff were incredibly proud of the determination and effort of the students. A huge thankyou to Jonathan Goodluck and the staff who put so much work into the preparation and so much energy into the week away.
Congratulations to all students who participated in the EISM Division 2 swimming carnival at Ringwood pool on the 14 March. We had some great results throughout the competition with the team placing in an impressive 48 races and winning the competition overall. This was a fantastic achievement for all the students who competed - especially considering it was our first year in division 2! Well done to everyone involved!
Following the divisional carnival, the top swimmers from across the 21 EISM schools were invited to compete in the Champions carnival at the Melbourne Sports and Aquatic Centre on Monday evening. We had 35 students representing the school, again with some impressive results. A special mentioned to the two students who placed, Madison Boyd who came 3rd in both the breaststroke and butterfly and Oscar Hillman who came 2nd in the butterfly.
The students participated in the Secondary Athletics on Tuesday, with Sturt breaking a 9-year drought emerging winners on the day. The weather was perfect, the day ran smoothly and a number of records were broken. The House captains worked incredibly hard and led their teams enthusiastically. We appreciate the support we received from the athletics club and some of our parents. The PE department were again phenomenal, particularly following straight on from the EISM swimming sports the previous evening.
Rotary Arts Awards