“By three methods we may learn wisdom: First, by reflection, which is noblest; second by imitation, which is easiest; and third by experience, which is bitterest.” – Confucius

As exam blocks draw to a close, the nights draw on and the frost sparkles in the morning light, it is a time of reflection at SCOTS PGC.  Feedback and reflection are an essential part of the learning process, not just in schools, but for every lifelong learner.  Without constructive criticism, it is very difficult to identify areas for improvement.  For learning communities it is a vital cog; being able to use feedback to determine areas to work on and being resilient enough to keep going despite setbacks enables us to work towards academic and personal excellence.

This reminds me of my favourite inventor and engineer, Thomas Edison, the inventor of the light bulb.  Edison placed a great importance on reflection, seeing each failure as an opportunity to learn something new about the problem and about himself.   This was the key to his success and eventual breakthrough.

“I have not failed. I’ve just found 10000 ways that won’t work.” – Thomas A. Edison

Self-reflection is a humbling process as often we are our greatest critic.  However, it is essential to find why you think, say and do certain things.  This informs and inspires us to better ourselves.  There would be no iPhone if Steve Jobs had not been able to reflect on and improve himself after he was fired as CEO of Apple.  No moon landing for Apollo 11 if the NASA engineers had not reflected and improved on the Apollo missions 1 through 10.  Large companies like Google and Microsoft devote whole divisions tasked with asking one question “how can we improve?”

Here at SCOTS PGC, we see this reflection and self-improvement as a core skill and, after every assessment item, there is the opportunity for students to gain feedback from their teachers and reflect on their own learning.  Students are encouraged to set goals for the future and to make improvements for next time.  It is in this self-reflection that the most powerful learning happens and resilience is developed.

 “Our greatest weakness lies in giving up. The most certain way to succeed is always to try just one more time.” – Thomas A. Edison

Finally, let me take this opportunity to update you on a few things that are changing in the Curriculum Area over the next year at the College.  Firstly, the travel day at the beginning of Term 3 will not be Parent-Teacher interviews, instead, we will run the Year 10 SET plan interviews on this day. This is an opportunity for the students to reflect on where they are at and plan for Year 11.  This has been done to allow the College to commence Year 11 midway through Term 4.  The Parent-Teacher interviews will be moved to the Travel Day at the beginning of Term 4.  However, if you would like to arrange an interview please do not hesitate to contact either myself or Beverly Hobbs, we would be happy to accommodate any request.

Secondly, we will be changing the reporting structure for next year, to adjust to the new senior system, which has different timelines. This will focus more on quality continuous feedback on student achievement.  Details of these changes and requests for feedback will be sent out over the holidays.

Lastly, you may have noticed the introduction of Year 9 and 10 exams blocks.  There will be two exam blocks each year, one at the end of Semester One and one in Term 4.  This is to get the students used to the external assessment environment and having to revise and study whole semesters and, in some subjects, a year’s worth of study.  All these assessments will be modelled on the new internal and external assessments that the students will experience in Years 11 and 12.

If you have any questions about any of the changes please do not hesitate to get in contact.  I hope everyone has a restful and happy holiday.

Mr Mark Richards – Director of Learning and Innovation