From the Head of School
Mrs Erica Thomas
It was great to see the good spirits Years 6 and 7 were in as they left for camp this week and hear the positive reports coming from both groups. When the students return home tired on Friday no doubt they will have lots of stories – including a few I suspect about the cold weather.
The Year 11 Presentation Ball will be held at the Town Hall on Saturday evening. The students have excitedly prepared for their dance and presentation over the past few months and it is good to hear parents have been practising their dance moves with their son or daughter! The Ball, over many years, has been part of the rich tradition of the School. This year we wanted to give the Ball a more contemporary feel. As a result, the girls from 2017 will not be dressed in white. An audience is welcome for the first part of the evening – you can view the formal part of the proceedings from 7.00pm-7.45pm for a $5 donation to the Vietnam project.
I remind parents about the Internet Safety presentation on Thursday evening at 6.00pm in the Horbury Hunt Hall on Hill Campus. Years 8 and 9 will hear the presentation during the day and I encourage parents of children and adolescents to attend and ensure they are aware of the latest research and engage with strategies to prevent problems. Brett Lee from Internet Safe Education is the presenter. ( http://www.internetsafeeducation.com )
Next week both the Primary and Secondary athletics carnivals will be held at Glendale. Please >Click here for the permission note and details for the 7-12 Carnival on Tuesday, 6 June and >Click here for the permission note and details for the Primary K-6 Carnival on Thursday, 8 June.
To end this newsletter, enjoy some of the wonderful works of art created by students in our Co-Curricular ‘artist in residence’ programme. This activity has grown in popularity and now runs two afternoons per week. Thank you to Sophie Mill for her work in leading this programme. >Click here.
From the Deputy Head of School
Mr Alan Parsons
Can Positive Thinking Result in Positive Outcomes?
In a recent newsletter article, I discussed the advantages and disadvantages of the belief in the almost mystical power that positive thoughts by themselves will result in positive outcomes. This is the message promoted by Peale in his best-selling self-help book out of 1952, The Power of Positive Thinking (Peale, 1994), supported in 2003 by the publication of The Secret by Rhonda Byrne (Byrne, 2008).
There is no research evidence to support these theories that somehow positive thoughts on their own will lead to positive outcomes (Oettingen, Mayer & Portnow, 2016), in fact, while there may be short term benefits such as an increase in positive emotions leading to temporary decrease in blood pressure and anxiety, reliance of positive thinking as the key to a positive future in the long term can lead to symptoms of depression and increasing anxiety.
As I walk along the Honeysuckle Foreshore on the way to work each morning, I pass by a newsagency with the perennial A-frame board out the front exclaiming “Powerball this Thursday $30 Million!” And so I imagine winning and how I would distribute this windfall. Set up my three kids and their families. With a few million each, Nicola could buy a small flat in London, Jeremy a house in Melbourne and Daniel an entire suburb in Hobart, while I would take off in my motor yacht with my wife to the Mediterranean. According to Fredrickson’s “Broaden and Build” theory of positive emotions (Fredrickson, 2001), such fleeting and temporary positive thoughts and emotions can broaden my outlook and build my health, resilience and optimism, so long as this is not my game plan and I don’t become obsessed with the thought that winning Powerball is simply a matter of positive thinking.
So how to convert positive thinking to reality? Gabriele Oettingen, in her “Fantasy Realisation Theory” (Oettingen, 1996, 2015) describes 4 thought modes people may use when thinking about an important wish:
- Mental Contrasting – Elaborate first on the desired future associated with achieving a wish followed by present reality that stands in the way of achieving it. “I’d like to get a “B+” grade for maths on my next report, but right now I’m not putting in the time or effort needed.”
- Indulging – elaborate on the desired future only – “It would be so great if I could get a B+ for maths.”
- Dwelling – Elaborate on present reality only – “my maths results are lousy!”
- Reverse Contrasting – Elaborate on reality first, followed by future – “my maths results are lousy. I wish I could get a B+.”
Of these, only mental contrasting is an effective self-regulatory strategy, that is a strategy that leads to improved self-regulation and self-discipline – the key to success (Duckworth, 2006; Duckworth & Carlson, 2013). Mental contrasting leads to the development of expectancy-dependent goals for which there is a high expectation of success with the limited resources we possess invested in feasible goal pursuits.
These expectancy-dependent goals formed through mental contrasting fit the well-researched SMART Goals framework, that is they are:
- S – Specific
- M – Measurable
- A – Achievable
- R – Realistic
- T – Time based
In my next article, I will explore goal setting through this process further, discussing MCII – Mental Contrasting with Implementation Intentions – and how this process can be utilised by our mentor teachers, our students and our parents in a simple yet effective evidence-based goal setting activity.
From the Head of Primary
Mrs Alicha Dyer
In our Inquiry Learning our twenty-first century students are being introduced to a global community. They being given opportunities to connect to schools in other parts of the world by ties of culture and a shared environment. Enabling young people to participate in shaping a better shared future for the world is at the heart of global education. It emphasises the unity and interdependence of human society, developing a sense of self and appreciation of cultural diversity, affirmation of social justice and human rights, building peace and actions for a sustainable future in different times and places. It places particular emphasis on developing relationships with our neighbours in the Asia-Pacific and Indian Ocean regions.
Global education promotes open-mindedness leading to new thinking about the world and a predisposition to take action for change. Students learn to take responsibility for their actions, respect and value diversity and see themselves as global citizens who can contribute to a more peaceful, just and sustainable world. With its emphasis not only on developing knowledge and skills but also on promoting positive values and participation, global education is relevant across all learning areas.
Our Year Three classes have made contact with a school in Norway, with both schools exchanging presentations about their daily experiences. Our students have lots of questions to ask them about the temperatures in their region of Norway and how that impacts on their lives.
Last term, our Year Six students participated in an online PenPal program. Each week students around the world viewed Virtual Reality videos based on life in Pakistan and exchanged ideas and comments via the PenPal schools’ website.
Professor Empowerment has arrived safely at the Australian International School in Singapore, ready to spread the Flag of Friendship message.
From the Director of Pre-school
Ms Angela Tapp
Being situated on Park Campus and being part of the K-6 learning environment the Pre-school children are given wonderful opportunities to experience some of what the “big school” children get to experience. One of these opportunities is to visit the Life Education Van and meet Healthy Harold. After a false start, with poor Healthy Harold not feeling so healthy, the Friday and Monday groups were able to walk through the school playground and participate in the The Healthy Harold Pre-school program. This program aims to provide the knowledge and skills to help children make informed choices to lead a healthy and safe lifestyle. Healthy Harold focuses on the body, personal hygiene, safety, exercise, nutrition, sleep and relationships.
The anticipation and excitement was very evident with many of our Pre-schoolers having siblings in the big school who had already visited Healthy Harold and shared their experience at home. The Groovers and Shakers were very interested to hear about what our hearts, lungs and brains do – with one of our Groover boys continuing to ask questions when we returned to our rooms and the educators finding some x-rays to show him and help him understand how everything fits in our bodies!
As an extension of this visit, we have been reading various books that the children have really enjoyed. They are written by Kate Rowan and are titled:
“I Know How We Fight Germs”, “I Know How I Brush My Teeth”, “I Know How My Cells Make Me Grow”, and “I Know Where My Food Goes”. (This last one is the favourite – discussing where food comes out of our bodies and producing lots of giggles and comments!).
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From the Head of School
A number of families have requested leave for family holidays in the middle of this term. While some trips are unavoidable, parents are reminded that missing school is not in the interests of their son or daughter’s education. All leave requests over two days require additional documentation to be filled out and approved by either Mrs Dyer or Mrs Thomas. The School has obligations to encourage school attendance for all students, for all days during school terms.
Hosting for Chinese Visiting Students Wanted
In July and August, Newcastle Grammar School will have two teachers and eight students, from Year 8 to Year 10, visiting from A Rong Qi No. 1 Middle School, Inner Mongolia, China.
We are seeking families to assist with the accommodation of their visit.
For more information, or to express an interest in hosting, please >click here for an information letter.
Unfortunately, Kaylene will be away for a while. This means we require reliable volunteer support to assist the Hill Campus Canteen.
If you can help, please contact the School Reception on 49 29 5811.
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Uniform Shop opening hours:
Monday: 8.00am – 2.00pm
Wednesday: 10.00am – 4.00pm
Friday: 10.00am – 4.00pm
If you require an appointment outside of these times or would like to place a phone order, please phone Kerrie at the uniform shop on 4908 4035.